Houston is home to a few of the highest-ranked high schools in the nation. Getty Images

Three Houston high schools are continuing their streak of top appearances on a prestigious annual list of the country's best public high schools.

The 2023 rankings from U.S. News & World Report, released August 29, put Houston ISD’s Carnegie Vanguard High School at No. 35 nationally (up from No. 40 last year) among the country’s best high schools. The school also ranks No. 248 nationally among the best STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) high schools and No. 12 among the best magnet high schools.

Also in the top 100 are two other Houston ISD high schools.

DeBakey High School for Health Professions ranks No. 66 nationally among the best high schools (down from No. 50 last year) and No. 18 among best magnet high schools for the second consecutive year.

Young Women's College Prep Academy comes in No. 94 nationally among the best high schools (up from No. 148 last year), and No. 26 among best magnet high schools.

Topping the national list for 2023 is the Early College at Guilford in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Each year, U.S. News evaluates about 18,000 high schools on six factors: college readiness, reading and proficiency, reading and math performance, underserved student performance, college curriculum breadth, and graduation rates.

"Having access to a strong high school program is paramount for students as they face an ever-changing world," said U.S. News' managing editor of education Liana Loewus in a release. "Making data on our high schools available helps parents ensure their child is in the educational environment that best sets them up to thrive."

Elsewhere in Texas
Around the state, these Texas high schools also made it into the top 100 nationally:

  • Dallas ISD's The School for the Talented and Gifted, No. 6 (up from No. 8 last year and No. 13 in 2021). No. 8 nationally among the best STEM high schools for the second consecutive year and No. 2 among the best magnet high schools (up from No. 4 last year).
  • Dallas ISD's Irma Lerma Rangel Young Women's Leadership School, No. 18 (up from No. 20 last year) and No. 8 nationally among the best magnet high schools for the second consecutive year.
  • Dallas ISD's Science and Engineering Magnet School, No. 23 nationally among the best high schools (down from No. 22 last year), No. 24 nationally among the best STEM high schools (down from No. 7 last year), and No. 2 nationally among the best magnet high schools (up from No. 10 in 2022).
  • Austin ISD’s Liberal Arts and Science Academy, No. 32 (up from No. 34 last year and No. 41 in 2021). No. 34 nationally among the best STEM high schools (up from No. 70 in 2022).
  • BASIS San Antonio - Shavano Campus, No. 81 (down from No. 77 last year and No. 102 in 2021). No. 41 nationally among the best STEM high schools (down from No. 25 in 2022) and No. 17 nationally among the best charter high schools.
  • Dallas ISD's Trinidad Garza Early College at Mt. View, No. 91 (up from No. 118 last year).
  • Dallas ISD’s Judge Barefoot Sanders Law Magnet, No. 93 (down from No. 48 last year and No. 59 in 2021) . No. 25 nationally among the best magnet high schools (down from No. 17 in 2022).
  • Austin ISD's Richards School for Young Women Leaders, No. 95 (up from No. 128 last year).

When broken down just to Texas schools, Houston's Carnegie Vanguard High School (No. 5), DeBakey High School for Health Professions (No. 6), and Young Women's College Prep Academy (No. 10) are all in the top 10 best-rated public high schools in Texas this year, U.S. News says.

Other Houston-area schools that rank among Texas' 100 best are:

  • No. 12 – Kinder High School for Performing and Visual Arts, Houston ISD
  • No. 21 – Challenge Early College High School, Houston ISD
  • No. 24 – Kerr High School, Alief ISD, Houston
  • No. 29 – Eastwood Academy, Houston ISD
  • No. 37 – YES Prep - Southwest, Houston
  • No. 39 – Harmony School of Innovation - Katy, Katy
  • No. 40 – North Houston Early College High School, Houston ISD
  • No. 42 – Clear Horizons Early College High School, Clear Creek ISD, Houston
  • No. 46 – Seven Lakes High School, Katy ISD
  • No. 53 – Victory Early College High School, Aldine ISD, Houston
  • No. 54 – YES Prep - Southeast, Houston
  • No. 57 – East Early College High School, Houston ISD
  • No. 58 – Houston Academy for International Studies, Houston ISD
  • No. 64 – YES Prep - East End, Houston
  • No. 69 – Tomball Star Academy, Tomball ISD
  • No. 72 – Early College Academy at Southridge, Spring ISD, Houston
  • No. 73 – Tompkins High School, Katy ISD
  • No. 75 – Clements High School, Fort Bend ISD, Sugar Land
  • No. 82 – YES Prep - North Central, Houston
  • No. 83 – Sharpstown International School, Houston ISD
  • No. 93 – YES Prep - North Forest, Houston
  • No. 95 – YES Prep - West, Houston
  • No. 97 – High School for Law and Justice, Houston ISD

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This article originally ran on CultureMap.

DeBakey High School for Health Professions is at the top of the class. Photo by skynesher/Getty Images

Houston STEM high school declared top of the class by U.S. News & World Report

A-plus

Three Houston high schools deserve a tip of the cap (or mortarboard) after earning marks for excellence. On June 12, U.S. News & World Report released its annual Best U.S. High Schools by metro area, ranking the top public schools in each major city.

DeBakey High School for Health Professions is at the top of the class in the Bayou City. In addition to earning top marks for academics, the school is notably comprised of mostly minority students — 89 percent.

To determine the country's best schools, U.S. News ranked each school using six metrics, applying different weights to each category:

  • College readiness (30 percent)
  • Math and reading proficiency (20 percent)
  • Math and reading performance (20 percent)
  • Underserved service (10 percent)
  • College curriculum breadth (10 percent)
  • Graduation rate (10 percent)

Based on the above, the school has an overall score of 99.9 (or an A-plus in high school lingo), complete with 100 percent graduation and reading and mathematics proficiency rates. Also, 100 percent of students took and passed at least one AP exam.

Located on the prestigious Texas Medical Center Campus, DeBakey offers students unparalleled access to on-site research facilities, as well as future academic opportunities, U.S. News notes.

"Graduates are eligible for the Houston Premedical Academy, an undergraduate program at the University of Houston designed specifically for DeBakey High School students," the report says. "Those selected for the premedical academy receive provisional acceptance to the Baylor College of Medicine."

DeBakey ranks first in Houston and No. 17 nationally. The school is also rated No. 10 in the U.S. among magnet schools and No. 11 among STEM schools.

Carnegie Vanguard High School earned the No. 2 spot in Houston, 24th in the nation, followed by Eastwood Academy at No. 3 locally and 97th nationally.

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A version of this story, with information on Texas' other metros, originally was published on CultureMap.

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Innovative coastline project on Bolivar Peninsula receives federal funding

flood mitigation

The Galveston’s Coastal Barrier Project recently received federal funding to the tune of $500,000 to support construction on its flood mitigation plans for the area previously devastated by Hurricane Ike in 2008.

Known as Ike Dike, the proposed project includes implementing the Galveston Bay Storm Surge Barrier System, including eight Gulf and Bay defense projects. The Bolivar Roads Gate System, a two-mile-long closure structure situated between Galveston Island and Bolivar Peninsula, is included in the plans and would protect against storm surge volumes entering the bay.

The funding support comes from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and will go toward the preconstruction engineering and design phase of Ecosystem Restoration feature G-28, the first segment of the Bolivar Peninsula and West Bay Gulf Intracoastal Waterway Shoreline and Island Protection.

Coastal Barrier Project - Galveston Projects

The project also includes protection of critical fish and wildlife habitat against coastal storms and erosion.

“The Coastal Texas Project is one of the largest projects in the history of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers,” says Col. Rhett A. Blackmon, USACE Galveston District commander, in a statement. “This project is important to the nation for many reasons. Not only will it reduce risk to the vulnerable populations along the Texas coast, but it will also protect vital ecosystems and economically critical infrastructure vital to the U.S. supply chain and the many global industries located here.”

Hurricane Ike resulted in over $30 billion in storm-related damages to the Texas coast, reports the Coastal Barrier Project, and created a debris line 15 feet tall and 40 miles long in Chambers County. The estimated economic disruption due to Hurricane Ike exceeded $150 billion, FEMA reported.

The project is estimated to take two years to complete after construction starts and will cost between $4 billion and $6 billion, reports Texas A&M University at Galveston.

Houston organization selected for program to explore future foods in space health

research and development

What would we eat if we were forced to decamp to another planet? The most immediate challenges faced by the food industry and astronauts exploring outside Earth are being addressed by The Translational Research Institute for Space Health (TRISH) at Baylor College of Medicine’s Center for Space Medicine’s newest project.

Earlier this month, TRISH announced the initial selection for its Space Health Ingress Program (SHIP) solicitation. Working with California Institute of Technology and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Baylor-based program chose “Future Foods for Space: Mobilizing the Future Foods Community to Accelerate Advances in Space Health,” led by Dr. Denneal Jamison-McClung at the University of California, Davis.

“TRISH is bringing in new ideas and investigators to propel space health research,” says Catherine Domingo, TRISH operations lead and research administration associate at Baylor College of Medicine, in the release. “We have long believed that new researchers with fresh perspectives drive innovation and advance human space exploration and SHIP builds on TRISH’s existing efforts to recruit and support new investigators in the space health research field, potentially yielding and high-impact ideas to protect space explorers.”

The goal of the project is to develop sustainable food products and ingredients that could fuel future space travelers on long-term voyages, or even habitation beyond our home planet.

Jamison-McClung and her team’s goal is to enact food-related space health research and inspire the community thereof by mobilizing academic and food-industry researchers who have not previously engaged with the realm of space exploration. Besides growing and developing food products, the project will also address production, storage, and delivery of the nutrition created by the team.

To that end, Jamison-McClung and her recruits will receive $1 million over the course of two years. The goal of the SHIP solicitation is to work with first-time NASA investigators, bringing new minds to the forefront of the space health research world.

“As we look to enable safer space exploration and habitation for humans, it is clear that food and nutrition are foundational,” says Dr. Asha S. Collins, chair of the SHIP advisory board, in a press release. “We’re excited to see how accelerating innovation in food science for space health could also result in food-related innovations for people on Earth in remote areas and food deserts.”

Clean energy nonprofit CEO to step down, search for replacement to begin

moving on

Greentown Labs, which is co-located in the Boston and Houston areas, has announced its current CEO is stepping down after less than a year in the position.

The nonprofit's CEO and President Kevin Knobloch announced that he will be stepping down at the end of July 2024. Knobloch assumed his role last September, previously serving as chief of staff of the United States Department of Energy in President Barack Obama’s second term.

“It has been an honor to lead this incredible team and organization, and a true privilege to get to know many of our brilliant startup founders," Knobloch says in the news release. “Greentown is a proven leader in supporting early-stage climatetech companies and I can’t wait to see all that it will accomplish in the coming years.”

The news of Knobloch's departure comes just over a month after the organization announced that it was eliminating 30 percent of its staff, which affected 12 roles in Boston and six in Houston.

According the Greentown, its board of directors is expected to launch a national search for its next CEO.

“On behalf of the entire Board of Directors, I want to thank Kevin for his efforts to strengthen the foundation of Greentown Labs and for charting the next chapter for the organization through a strategic refresh process,” says Dawn James, Greentown Labs Board Chair, in the release. “His thoughtful leadership will leave a lasting impact on the team and community for years to come.”

Knobloch reportedly shifted Greentown's sponsorship relationships with oil companies, sparking "friction within the organization," according to the Houston Chronicle, which also reported that Knobloch said he intends to return to his clean energy consulting firm.

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This article originally ran on EnergyCapital.