Top 100 Best High Schools 2013 – Lowell High School – Newsweek – 66/100
Lowell High School
1101 Eucalyptus Dr, San Francisco, CA 94132, United States
Lowell High School is a public magnet school in San Francisco, California. The school opened in 1856 as the Union Grammar School and attained its current name in 1896. Lowell moved to its current location in the Merced Manor neighborhood in 1962.
Run by the San Francisco Unified School District, Lowell is open to all San Francisco residents and charges no tuition. Admission is contingent on submission of an application and based primarily on evaluation of test scores and prior academic record.
Lowell contains a wide-ranging and rigorous curriculum and is noted for its academic excellence and prominent alumni. The school has been named a California Distinguished School seven times and a National Blue Ribbon School four times. Lowell is currently ranked 51st by U.S. News & World Report in its “Best High Schools in America” for 2012, making it the 2nd highest ranking school in the nation with over 2000 students (outscoring New York City’s famous Stuyvesant High School and Bronx High School of Science). Lowell was also ranked 49th by Newsweeks America’s Best High Schools 2012 list and 66th by Newsweeks 2013 list.
Lowell High School in 1917 at Hayes & Masonic Streets
Lowell High School began in 1856 as the Union Grammar School. In 1894, the school was renamed to honor the distinguished poet James Russell Lowell, chiefly by Pelham W. Ames, a member of the school board and ardent admirer of James Russell Lowell. The school relocated in January 1913 to an entire block on Hayes Street between Ashbury and Masonic. Lowell remained there for 50 years and established its position as the city’s college preparatory high school. In 1952, the school sought a new location near Lake Merced and moved there (its present address) in 1962.
Lowell is one of the two public schools in the San Francisco Unified School District (the other being School of the Arts) that is permitted to admit only students who meet special admission requirements. The Lowell admission process is based on a combination of standardized test scores, GPA, a writing sample, and extracurricular activities. Lowell High School is ranked 3rd in terms of test scores among the Top 10 Public Schools in California, behind Gretchen Whitney High School and Oxford Academy. Lowell was also named a California Distinguished School in 1986, 1990, 1992, 1994, 2001, and 2009 as well as a National Blue Ribbon School in 1983, 1994–1996, and 2012.
The school’s modular scheduling system and self-scheduling “arena” program allow students freedom in course choice, unlike the rest of the high schools in the SFUSD. Students also have the opportunity to choose from a large number of Advanced Placement courses. Lowell has a graduation rate of nearly 100%, and it is the largest feeder school to the University of California system, particularly to the Berkeley and Davis campuses. Many students also matriculate at other prestigious universities nationwide.