Newsome High School, located in Lithia, was ranked the third-best high school in the Tampa Bay area.

The U.S. News & World Report recently released its 2020 high school rankings, and Hillsborough County schools dominated the list for the Tampa Bay area.

The list placed Hillsborough County schools in seven out of the top ten positions, with Newsome High School ranked third, after Plant High School and Brooks DeBartolo Collegiate High School. Bloomingdale High School and Strawberry Crest High School also received high rankings; they were numbers 13 and 14, respectively.

The rankings are based on six different elements: college readiness, math and reading proficiency, math and reading performance, underserved student performance, college curriculum breadth and graduation rate. College readiness is a measure of the proportion of seniors who took and passed at least one AP or IB exam.

Plant High School has a college readiness score of 65.2 and a graduation rate of 96 percent. It is a large school, with a population of 2,399 students, and is located in South Tampa. Brooks DeBartolo Collegiate High School has a college readiness score of 56.5 and a 100 percent graduation rate. It is a smaller school, with a population of 604 students, and is located in North Tampa.

Newsome High School is in a large suburb, unlike the schools ranked first and second. It has a graduation rate of 99 percent, which is impressive considering its whopping population of 2,857 students. Its college readiness score is 58.6, and Newsome students performed significantly higher in math and reading proficiency than the district and state averages.

Brian Ayres, an economics and government teacher who transferred to Newsome this year, attributes much of the school’s success to parent involvement and the competitive nature of the students.

He also noted that a student’s performance in high school reflects the foundational skills taught in elementary school, saying, “To me, the ranking of Newsome has a lot to do with the preparation at the elementary school level. I think they have a whole lot more to do with success at the high school level than they’re given credit for.”

Feeder schools such as FishHawk Creek and Bevis Elementary should also be pleased with how Newsome has done.

Going forward, Newsome’s high ranking will likely become a source of community pride and will keep the bar high for Newsome students and staff.

To view the official rankings, visit

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