EDINBURG – U.S. News and World Report has released its 2017 Best High School rankings, and for the first time ever, Edinburg CISD’s Robert Vela High School made the list. Vela High School was named No. 2,142 nationwide and No. 184 in Texas.

“We are so excited to have received this award,” Vela High School Principal Sylvia Ledesma said. “It’s because of the hard work from our students, teachers, parents, the administration and the community. This is why we are ranked in the state and in the nation.”

According to U.S. News and World Report, the rankings identify the top-performing public high schools at the national and state level and include published data on more than 22,000 schools.

The U.S. News rankings highlight public schools that best serve all of their students, including disadvantaged populations. Overall, the rankings focus on student outcomes with an emphasis on graduation rates and state proficiency tests. Students at the 6,041 schools that receive national recognition from U.S. News graduate at rates that are 15 percent higher, on average, than students at schools nationwide that are not ranked.

"It is critical that students graduate from high school to put them on a successful path to college and a career," said Anita Narayan, managing editor of Education at U.S. News. "We encourage parents to use the data included in the 2017 Best High Schools rankings to help make informed decisions about their children's education."

New this year, U.S. News made a change in the way it factors Advanced Placement exams as part of the tiebreaker in the methodology to better reflect schools that are preparing their students for college. The measure includes giving more weight to schools where students participate – and pass – a variety of college-level courses and exams.

"Research has shown that students exposed to a more diverse high school curriculum are better equipped for college success," said Robert Morse, chief data strategist at U.S. News. "With this new tiebreaker measure, U.S. News is rewarding schools that make an effort to challenge their students in a broad range of subjects.