CHARLOTTE, NC (Ann Doss Helms/The Charlotte Observer) - Lake Norman Charter School in Huntersville shot up in national rankings to reclaim the title of best high school in the Charlotte region for 2018 — at least as judged by U.S. News & World Report.
Five area schools — two charters, two in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and one in Union County Public Schools — made the magazine's top 500 in the nation, based on state exam performance, graduation rates, and participation and performance on Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate tests.
While the magazine says the ratings recognize plenty of schools with strong representation of black, Hispanic and low-income students — schools can't even be considered for top ratings unless those groups score better than state averages — the local standouts are all located in the relatively affluent outskirts of Charlotte, where poverty levels are low and white students make up a majority.
Marvin Ridge fell from No. 275 to No. 369, making it second in the region.
Ardrey Kell, Providence and Lake Norman were also rated among the country's best schools for STEM, or science, technology, engineering and math.
Marie G. Davis Military and Global Leadership Academy, Northwest School of the Arts and Phillip O. Berry Academy of Technology, all in CMS, and Gaston County's Highland School of Technology were rated among the best magnet schools. Lake Norman, Community School of Davidson and Lincoln Charter made the best charter school list.
Magnets, which are run by school districts, and charters, which are run by independent boards, both take students by application and often offer specialized academic themes.
A dozen other high schools in the region, including some that are racially and economically diverse, were among approximately 2,200 schools rated overall silver medal winners.