What Makes the Best High School Education in America? Students, Teachers (2003)

Gretchen A. Whitney High School, called Whitney High School or WHS, is a public school in Cerritos, California serving grades 7–12. It is in the ABC Unified School District. According to US News Report 2015, Whitney High School is ranked 4th in the state of California, and rank 16 nationally.

In 1991, Whitney was recognized with the Department of Education’s National Recognition Award as a Blue Ribbon School. Senator John F. Seymour spoke on the US Senate floor to recognize the school.[2] Whitney is one of the three Blue Ribbon Lighthouse Schools Charter Members.[3] The school was again honored as a Blue Ribbon school in 1998, 2003, 2008, and 2014. Whitney became the first school to receive 5 Blue Ribbon Awards. President George W. Bush’s brother Neil, co-founder of an educational software company, has visited the campus several times, as he put it, “because of the respect the staff has for students. I’ve never seen anything like it. Every school should be this way.”[4]

Whitney has been honored with the California Distinguished School title six times: 1986,[5] 1990,[6] 1992,[7] 1996,[8] 2003,[9] and 2007.[10]

In 2005, the Associated Press rated Whitney High the best high school in California,[11] based on its Academic Performance Index (API) score.

Whitney High has been featured in a special report done by Fox News in 2005. The report on mentoring featured Whitney’s “Big Buddy/Little Buddy” system. Furthermore, CBS News’s “Weekend Journal” also reported on Whitney, focusing on the public high school’s academic achievements.

In 2006, the school was on Newsweek’s “America’s Best High School” list. Whitney was not included in the top 100 high schools because “so many of [Whitney’s] students score well above average on the SAT and ACT”. However, Newsweek did include Whitney in “The Public Elites” section, and labeled Whitney as “a comprehensive school for high performers”.[12] Newsweek again recognized Whitney in the May 23, 2007 “America’s Best High School” edition. Similar to the 2006 edition, Whitney was included as 1 of the 19 “The Public Elite” high schools and was labeled as an “award-winning school with special emphasis on college admissions”.

The passing rate for the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) for Whitney students is 100%. Whitney received a six-year accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) in 2004.[13]

Business Week declared Whitney as having the “Best Overall Academic Performance” in 2009 for California.[14]

U.S. News & World Report ranked Whitney High School as the No. 12 high school in the nation in the November 30, 2007 edition.[15] Whitney was ranked No. 10 in the December 15, 2008 edition.[16] Whitney was ranked the 3rd best high school in America for 2010 in the December 10, 2009 edition.[17]

Newsweek ranked Whitney High School as the No. 4 high school in the nation in September 2014.


Image By THOR (Flickr: Rokii Model) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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