With its teacher to student ration of 17-1, Pacific Collegiate School on the west side of Santa Cruz, has placed eighth in the country for turning out students who are ready for college.
The factors grades in AP tests as well as how the students did compared to other students in the state and how minorities in the schools did compared to other schools.
The survey of 22,000 schools in 48 states looks at College Readiness, in which Pacific Collegiate had a perfect score of 100.
The magazine says this is how it ranks schools:
"A three-step process determined the best high schools. The first two steps ensured that the schools serve all their students well, using state proficiency standards as the benchmarks. For those schools that made it past the first two steps, a third step assessed the degree to which schools prepare students for college-level work."
Test rankings are based on what is expected for average students in the state. They also consider performances by disadvantaged students, and finally AP classes and test scores.
PCS, at 255 Swift St, is a public school with 510 students that asks for families to donate $3,000 a year for 20 percent of its funding. Entry to the school is by lottery and grades. Average class size is 21, with no class bigger than 27 students.
Last year PCS principal Archie Douglas was happy about the ranking and gave some advice to other schools.
"We think what we have is a replicable, old fashioned model," he said. "Hard work, hard work, hard work. We don't have a lot of frills, technology or special approaches."
Pacific students are required to take AP courses in biology, history and English and must also take classes in visual and performing arts. He said the school doesn't necessarily attract smart kids, but kids who are willing to work hard.
"They graduate from us as complete educated people," he said. "We've held pretty steady in our performance. It's like golf. You go out and give it your best score and if someone else comes along and they are better, they are better, but we aren't competing against other schools."