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The best high school in Utah is Karl G Maeser Preparatory Academy, a Lindon charter school, according to rankings released Tuesday by U.S. News and World Report.

This year's rankings, released annually, showed three Utah schools earning "gold medals," based on data from statewide tests and college preparation rates.

"We are excited," Maeser Director Robyn Ellis said Tuesday. "It's nice to see that the students' hard work and preparation is being acknowledged."

Maeser enrolls about 640 students in grades seven through 12, Ellis said. Two-thirds of students tested proficient in English last year, according to the U.S. News rankings, and three-fourths got a score of three or higher on a college Advanced Placement exam, earning college credit.

The charter school was followed in the rankings by Park City High School and Skyline High School, both of which also earned "gold medal" status. Maeser earned a national ranking of 238, while Park City and Skyline were listed in the top 500 high schools in the country.

While many charter schools focus on subject areas likes the arts or STEM — an acronym for science, technology, engineering and mathematics — Ellis said Maeser Preparatory Academy relies on an education model that encourages discussion and deep thinking in a variety of academic areas.

She said school faculty are not focused on testing, but a byproduct of the school's model is proficiency on end-of-year tests and college readiness assessments.

"That's the feedback that we get from our alumni," Ellis said, "that they were really well-prepared for their next step."

Twitter: @bjaminwood —

Utah's Top 10 High Schools

1 • Karl G Maeser Preparatory Academy — charter, Lindon

2 • Park City High School — Park City School District

3 • Skyline High School — Granite School District

4 • Salt Lake Center for Science Education — Salt Lake City School District

5 • Davis High School — Davis School District

6 • Academy for Math Engineering and Science (AMES) — charter, Salt Lake City

7 • Hillcrest High School — Canyons School District

8 • InTech Collegiate High School — charter, North Logan

9 • Viewmont High School — Davis School District

10 • Timpanogos High School — Alpine School District

Source: U.S. News and World Report