Colorado Springs' newest junior high school sports monolithic dome shape

The Vanguard School is completing its new dome-shaped school and has the name and the school's logo on a portion of the dome that can be seen from I-25 freeway. The school will be for the junior high and will have an official ribbon cutting on October 13, 2017 in Colorado Springs. (Photo by Dougal Brownlie, The Gazette).

The Vanguard School, a charter school in Cheyenne Mountain School District 12, ranks highest among Pikes Peak region schools on U.S. News & World Report's 2018 edition of Best High Schools, released Wednesday.

Vanguard ranks as the seventh-best high school statewide, down one notch from sixth-best in 2017.

Nearly three-quarters of the high school's 282 students took advanced placement tests, and 86 percent of them passed. Enrollment consists of 40 percent minorities and 19 percent economically disadvantaged students. The school has a 92 percent graduation rate and a 65 percent college-readiness score.

Vanguard earned its best ranking in 2015, when it was second in the state.

The annual rankings evaluate more than 20,500 public high schools nationwide to identify schools that best serve all of their students - including historically underserved populations - and assess the degree to which students are prepared for college-level coursework.

Peak to Peak Charter School in Lafayette, part of Boulder Valley School District, retained its No. 1 slot again.

The number of local high schools that made this year's "Top 20" list more than doubled over last year, from two to five.

Palmer Ridge High School, a traditional high school in Lewis-Palmer School District 38 in Monument, jumped nine spots to 13th best in Colorado this year, compared with 22nd best last year.

The school has a 94 percent graduation rate of its 1,156 students and a 57 percent college-readiness rate.

The Classical Academy, a charter school in Academy School District 20, is 16th on the statewide rankings, down one from 15th best in 2017. The school broke into the top 10 in 2015, ranking 10th best.

Two schools improved by seven spots on the list this year.

Cheyenne Mountain High School in Cheyenne Mountain School District 12 in western Colorado Springs went from 25th last year to 18th best this year.

And Pine Creek High School, in Academy School District 20 in northern Colorado Springs, moved into 19th best this year, up from 26th last year.

The complete list and rankings are at usnews.com/education/best-high-schools.

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