Peninsula High stock

Peninsula High School (File photo by Lisa Jacobs)

Several high schools in the South Bay and around Long Beach area appear to be among the best in the nation at teaching STEM — at least according to one ranking.

Newsweek has put out its first list of the top-500 high schools in America that emphasize science, technology, engineering and mathematics, otherwise known as STEM. The 2020 list, which includes both private and public schools, boasts four South Bay schools and two Cerritos ones. Twenty other schools around Los Angeles and Orange counties also made the list.

The top-performing South Bay school was Palos Verdes Peninsula High School, in Rolling Hills Estates, which ranked No. 288. Chadwick High, a private school on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, was No. 322 on the list. Mira Costa High, in Manhattan Beach, ranked No. 384.

Newsweek partnered with and used an algorithm from, a private education research and credentialing organization, to compile the ranking. The algorithm, which debuted with the Newsweek list, used a rubric with eight points of measurement, including 21st century skills and the quality of the content taught.

Whitney High School, in Cerritos, ranked No. 81 on the list; Cerritos High, meanwhile, came in at No. 489.

And the California Academy of Mathematics and Science, a Carson magnet school that’s part of the Long Beach Unified School Districts, ranked 10 spots above Cerritos High, at No. 479.

It wasn’t the first time CAMS has received national accolades. This year, for example, Niche — a website that analyzes and ranks schools based on public records, including the Department of Education and U.S. Census Bureau — listed CAMS as the top magnet school in California.

The Newsweek list came out in mid-November, but the data for it had been researched and collected since 2015.

For a full list featuring Newsweek’s top STEM schools, go to

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