In Newport-Mesa, the Sea Kings are, well, the kings of college-preparedness, according to the Washington Post.
The newspaper has ranked Corona del Mar High School the highest in the Newport-Mesa Unified School District and placed it nearly 100 spots above the best-ranked Irvine Unified High School.
"For the first time any of us can ever remember, Newport-Mesa outranked Irvine this year," Assistant Supt. Charles Hinman said during Tuesday's school board meeting to applause.
Newport-Mesa's four comprehensive high schools placed on the Post's High School Challenge, which measured how well more than 1,900 schools prepared students for college in 2011.
CdM ranked No. 264, while University High School in Irvine came in at No. 346.
Newport Harbor High School was No. 533.
Irvine's Northwood High School is No. 636, Beckman High School No. 950 and Irvine High School No. 1,076.
Costa Mesa High School ranked No. 1,230 — higher than Irvine's Woodbridge High School at No. 1,511.
Estancia High School ranked No. 1,548, beating out Huntington Beach's Edison High School, which ranked No. 1,719.
Estancia traditionally loses some students from the Mesa Verde neighborhood to Edison ever year.
Newport-Mesa Unified school board President Dave Brooks said he is ecstatic.
The district provides a quality education for every student, no matter what the measurement is, and the Washington Post ranking upholds that, he said.
"I'm just very, very pleased to have it recognized by other outside rating agencies," he said.
Irvine Unified School District board President Michael Parham said in an email that there is much to be proud of in the district, but he isn't sure that the ranking adequately reflects anything other than strong test-taking.
"I would bet there is no correlation between high test scores and wealth or job creation, or creativity, or good citizenship," he said in an email. "We need to consider such factors if America is going to prosper in subsequent generations."
Still, Parham said he is very happy for Newport-Mesa.
"That's great news," he said. "I guess more of our Irvine students moved over to Newport-Mesa than I thought. Good for them."
The Post ranked the schools using its Challenge Index, which divides the number of students who took Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and Advanced International Certificate of Education tests given out in 2011 by the number of graduating seniors.
Harbor, the only school in Newport-Mesa to offer the International Baccalaureate program, began offering it in fall 2010.
"I think this is just the tip of the iceberg and there are greater things to come," Hinman said.