FCPS schools come out on top in national rankings


Katherine Fray (The Washington Post)

The Thomas Jefferson High School of Science & Technology

Raj W., Writer

The FCPS school district has 30% of the top 50 high schools in the country, with the Thomas Jefferson High School of Science and Technology, also known as TJ, taking the cake in first place in the entire state of Virginia, and though it has a few schools as its competitors, the number one high school in the United States.

 It is  followed by Langley, Chantilly, and W.T. Woodson, though the rankings have other schools between them.

The schools above were taken from Niche and U.S. News being the most reliable sources to find the best schools. Niche is a school ranking website that ranks schools and colleges, places to live and places to work. U.S. News Education is a part of the media company named U.S. News & World Report, and ranks schools and colleges. The ranking criteria for the schools are different for each website, and the percentages  and the sources of the rankings differ from each website, as well.

Sahiti Tanuku, a seventh-grader on the Trailblazers team, said, “It is cool that I live in a county with good schools. The part I don’t like is that [TJ] has limited acceptance and an entrance exam.” 

Niche includes multiple criteria into their rankings which include (but are not limited to): Academics grade, teachers grade, clubs and activities grade, parent/student surveys on overall experience and resources and facilities grade, etc. U.S. News’s criteria is much more limited criteria, which includes: College readiness, state assessment proficiency, state assessment performance, graduation rate, and college curriculum breadth, etc.

According to Niche, the Thomas Jefferson High School of Science and Technology is the fifth best high school in the country, fourth if you don’t count the Davidson Academy which is based in Reno, Nevada, as it is an online school. 

U.S. news takes Niche’s praise to another level by claiming that the Thomas Jefferson High School of Science and Technology is the best high school in the U.S., followed by the Academic Magnet High School which is in North Charleston, South Carolina.

Sahiti said that she does know that some of the best schools can be found in the FCPS district says, “I already know that I am going to Chantilly, but if I get into TJ, I will have to reconsider my options. Just because I got into TJ doesn’t necessarily mean that I am going to TJ.” 

Yana Baranwal, another seventh-grader student who is on the Legacy team, shared similar thoughts about whether she thinks about the high school she will be enrolled into by saying, “Yes, everyday. I want to go to TJ, but I will probably go to Oakton.”

On the other hand, Felicia Katzman, a seventh-grader on the All-Stars team said, “No, because I am already sorted into a high school.”

TJ is one of the most prestigious schools in the entire country, and that rings true for many people. The acceptance rate for TJ is very low, and the county had to put a limitation on the number of students that could go to it from RCMS, since a lot of the students that attended TJ were former RCMS students. 

It is often debated whether or not going to TJ is worth it, and a few students shared their own opinions.

Sahiti said, “I can’t really form an opinion since I do not have enough information about TJ. It’s just a vague concept that it is an almighty school.”

Yana Baranwal, at the opposite side of the spectrum, though, had a clear and straightforward answer to this question. “No, unless you’re striving to become someone in the STEM world, or a doctor. Besides, colleges don’t really like TJ, because a lot of people are pressured to cheat to get better scores.”

She said, “TJ is just about science and math. So unless you really want to be a doctor or something, it’s really not worth it.”