2. Look at students’ careers.

Teaching and inspiring both critical and innovative thinking, and motivating students to succeed, are key. Schools should be rated on how many graduates are “entrepreneurs. These schools will be the most successful.” —Angie

3. Focus on the student-created community.

“The best high schools demonstrate the greatest application of knowledge (which is the goal of learning): the best student newspapers, concerts, drama productions, etc. Good test results should never be the goal of a high school; they should be the incidental result of a high-quality education.” —Keith Boniface, middle school principal (soon to be high school)

4. Look at college graduation rates.

A high school’s quality should be judged not only by the percentage “of students accepted into college, [but] how many graduate from college. It reveals how well high schools are preparing students for the rigors of college.” —Matt Wells, Gresham, Ore.