West Hartford High Schools Among State’s Top 15 in Latest U.S. News Ranking

Conard and Hall high school signs. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Both West Hartford high schools moved up slightly in the rankings, and were once again  among the top schools in Connecticut, and in the top 3% nationally in the 2023 U.S. News & World Report ranking of the country’s public high schools.

By Ronni Newton

West Hartford’s two public high schools – Hall High School and Conard High School – continue their legacy of earning top rankings in the state as well as nationally in the U.S. News & World Report 2023 list of the nation’s best high schools released Tuesday.

The rankings for Hall and Conard have been nearly identical over the years, and this year Conard leap-frogged over Hall in the rankings, coming in at No. 10 in the state, up from No. 14 last year. Hall moved up one place, to No. 11 among all public high schools in Connecticut, up from No. 12 in 2022.

Three of the top-rated schools in Connecticut are magnet or charter schools, including Marine Sciences Magnet High School of Southeastern, which is ranked No. 1 in the state this year. Connecticut IB Academy (No. 3) and Amistad Academy (No. 7) are also in the top 10. Among traditional high schools other than Conard and Hall, the only other Hartford County high schools among the top 15 were Farmington High School (No. 5) and Simsbury High School (No. 14).

The other traditional high schools in the top 15 are all located in Fairfield County and include Staples (Westport), Darien, Weston, New Canaan, Greenwich, Ridgefield, and Joel Barlow (Redding).

Nationally for 2023, Conard is ranked No. 442 while Hall is No. 487 – out of more than 18,000 schools ranked among the 25,000 surveyed by U.S. News & World Report in the most recent analysis.

“These awards are a reflection of our comprehensive PK-12 programming and credit for this amazing recognition is shared across all of our schools,” Superintendent Paul Vicinus said in a statement. “I could not be more proud of all of the efforts of our dedicated staff, our talented leadership and the incredible achievements of our students. This recognition comes as no surprise but is a wonderful external affirmation of the amazing work ongoing in classrooms on a daily basis in the district.”

Conard High School 2023 U.S. News scorecard

As was the case with the 2022 rankings, each school was assigned a numerical score. This year’s score was based on the number of students who took at least on Advanced Placement (AP) exam, the number of students who passed at least one AP exam, and graduation rate. Mathematics and reading proficiency were also factors in the score.

Both Conard and Hall received A-plus level grades, with nearly identical numerical scores.

Conard received a 97.5 on the most recent scorecard, with an AP exam participation rate of 72%, and 64% of students receiving a passing grade of at least 3. Conard is ranked 10th in the state among all high schools on the U.S. News “College Readiness” index and seventh on the “College Curriculum Breadth” index.

Specific details regarding Conard’s ranking can be found here.

Hall High School 2023 U.S. News scorecard

Hall’s score was 97.25 for 2023. At Hall, 68% of students took at least one AP exam, and 57% received a grade of at least 3 or higher on one AP exam. The school ranks 15th in the state among all high schools on the U.S. News “College Readiness” index and 13th statewide on the “College Curriculum Breadth” index.

Specific details regarding Hall’s ranking can be found here.

Both Conard and Hall have 98% graduation rates.

According to data used by U.S. News & World Report for the most recent ranking, the total minority enrollment at Hall is 40%, and 21% of students are considered economically disadvantaged. At Conard, the report indicated the total minority enrollment is 45.7%, and 29% of students are considered economically disadvantaged.

Due to the pandemic, which disrupted standardized testing, U.S. News noted that “statewide math, reading and science assessment data used in the 2023-2024 rankings in almost all cases is from the 2018-2019 or 2020-2021 school years. In some cases, it’s an average of the two school years.”

“While the six measures that determined each school’s rank were broadly the same as those in prior years, we adjusted how three were calculated because of the impact the COVID-19 pandemic had on schools in 2020-2021 – the most recent school year for which assessment data was available,” U.S. News states in the FAQs accompanying the rankings. “The Department of Education invited states to request a waiver for the 2020-2021 school year that allowed them not to be penalized for assessment participation below the 95% threshold typically required of states. Emanating from these waivers and the prevalence of remote instruction for the first half of the 2020-2021 school year, much of the data collected for the 2023-2024 Best High Schools rankings was either not be available for the 2020-2021 school year or reflected participation rates too low and unreliable for conducting valid comparisons.”

The vast majority of all public high schools in the country are ranked according to U.S. News’ 2023 methodology, the organization said in a news release.

“In coordination with North Carolina-based RTI International, a global nonprofit social science research firm, U.S. News ranked approximately 17,680 public high schools out of nearly 25,000 reviewed. This is the count of public high schools that had a 12th grade enrollment of 15 students or greater, or otherwise had sufficient enrollment in other high school grades, during the 2020-2021 school year to be analyzed,” U.S. News stated.

This year a new school replaced Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, VA (part of the Fairfax County Public Schools district), in the overall top spot. The Early College at Guilford, in Greensboro, NC, was ranked No. 1 in the country for 2023, according to U.S. News. Thomas Jefferson remains the top-ranked magnet school, but is No. 5 overall in the most recent ranking.

Like what you see here? Click here to subscribe to We-Ha’s newsletter so you’ll always be in the know about what’s happening in West Hartford! Click the blue button below to become a supporter of We-Ha.com and our efforts to continue producing quality journalism.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

About the author


We-Ha.com is the place to go for the latest information about West Hartford – a town that "has it all"! We-Ha.com is part of and proud of our community, and we bring a hyperlocal focus to news and features about the people, schools, businesses, real estate, sports, restaurants, charitable events, arts, and more. Contact us at: [email protected] or [email protected].

Leave a Comment

Translate »