Townsend Harris, long called the best public high school in Queens, has leapt up in the national ranking this year and been named one of the top 20 high schools in the entire nation.
U.S. News & World Report, which publishes the best-known annual college and high-school ratings, ranks the Flushing high school No. 11 in the United States.
Townsend Harris was ranked the No. 1 school in the city as well as New York State — beating out academic arch rival Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan — in the survey released last week.
“We were stuck at No. 40 for a few years there, but this year we jumped to No. 11,” said William Rettig, president of the school Parent Teacher Association.
The bragging rights associated with a high ranking in the U.S. News ratings are immense, he said.
“Forbes and Newsweek do something similar,” said Rettig. “But U.S. News is the gold standard.”
Queens had three other high schools in the top 20 in the city and state:
• Baccalaureate School for Global Education in Long Island City ranked No. 3 in both the state and city;
• Queens High School for the Sciences at York College in Jamaica ranked No. 8 both in New York state and city; and
• Scholars’ Academy in Rockaway Park ranked No. 13 in the city and No 15 in the state.
Stuyvesant is ranked No. 2 in the city and state and 25th nationally.
Because the admissions policies at the city’s specialized high schools have been under pressure from Mayor de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza, the rankings take on a special significance this year, Rettig said.
Townsend Harris does not use the controversial Specialized High School Admissions Test for entrance, as do Stuyvesant and seven other elite schools in the city.
Its admissions are largely based on middle-school grades and state test results.
But “all the elite schools are under attack,” the PTA president said.
“The parents are galvanized by the idea that de Blasio is trying to undermine specialized schools and eliminate the merit system.”
The principal, Brian Conlon, treated the entire student body to ice cream the day the survey came out, Rettig said.
Other ranked schools in Queens include:
• Queens High School for Language Studies in Flushing, rated No. 22 in the city and 66th in the state;
• Queens Gateway to Health Sciences Jamaica, 27th in the city and 92nd in the state;
• Francis Lewis High School in Fresh Meadows, No. 28 in the city, 99th in the state;
• Academy of American Studies in Long Island City, 35th in the city and 128th in the state;
• Academy of Finance and Enterprise, 39th in city, 153rd in the state;
• Bayside High School, 45th in the cty and No. 195 in the state;
• Maspeth High School, No. 46 in the city and 200th in the state; aamd
• Forest Hills High School, 49th in the city and No. 217 in the state.