Newport-Mesa Unified's four comprehensive high schools ranked in the top 5% of schools in the country, according to a national journal.
The U.S. News & World Report's 2012 Best High Schools ranked Corona del Mar the second-best school in Orange County with a gold medal. Costa Mesa, Estancia and Newport Harbor received silver medals, and Early College High School, where students take college courses concurrently, was given a bronze medal.
"I think [the rankings] are very representative of the hard work going on at those schools," said Charles Hinman, assistant superintendent of secondary education. "The fact that Costa Mesa, Estancia and Newport Harbor are all silver says a lot about the hard work those schools are doing. Obviously, Corona del Mar is a little ahead of the game, but, you know, that's a mark for everyone to shoot for."
U.S. News & World Report looked at 22,000 public high schools across 49 states. In California, 2,407 schools were evaluated. The journal measured the schools based on state test scores, Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate test data, and the success of different cohort groups.
CdM ranked 158th nationally, followed by Harbor at 745th.
Mesa placed at 1,212th nationally and Estancia at 1,276th.
Despite the high rankings, the district isn't sitting on its laurels, Hinman said.
The district recently implemented more interventions at all schools not meeting federal standards — including Mesa and Estancia — that will significantly improve scores for next year, he said.
"The message I would ask the community to take away is: wow. Here we have these outstanding schools, and the board and the district say 'Not even close to enough. You can do better,'" Hinman said. "There are still kids not being successful at all of these schools. We're going to continue on our mission to improve."