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By Lookout Staff

October 28, 2020 -- The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District has been ranked among the top 20 districts in California by the national academic ranking service, Niche.

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The ranking of the State's 440 school districts is based on an analysis of key statistics and reviews from students and parents using data from the U.S. Department of Education.

Niche also ranked the best places to teach in California, and SMMUSD ranked 10th among 690 districts and 19th for best teachers in the state.

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The local district -- which has 18 schools with 10,625 students -- ranked ninth among public school districts in the Los Angeles area, according to Niche's website.

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John Adams Middle School, Lincoln Middle School and SMASH middle school received an A or A+ grade, while the District's nine elementary schools earned an A+, A or A-.

Santa Monica High School -- which earned an A+ -- was ranked 36 among the 1,842 public high schools in California. Malibu High School received an A and ranked 183.

High school rankings also take into account academic data such as SAT and ACT scores "with special consideration given to schools whose students matriculate to high-ranked colleges and universities," District officials said.

Both high schools received an A in academics, which includes proficiency in math and reading, and graduation and college enrollment rates.

Based on State test scores, 61 percent of SMMUSD students are at least proficient in math and 74 percent in reading.

"Unlike traditional school rankings, which rely almost exclusively on test scores and academic performance, Niche's rankings provide a real-life view of what it's like to attend a given school," company officials said.

For its rankings, Niche looked at 94,710 public schools, 24,099 private schools and 11,822 school districts nationwide.

Its analysis included comments from current students, alumni and parents, as well as observations about campus life, extracurricular activities, sports options, diversity and programs for gifted and special needs students.

Among public school districts on the Westside, Beverly Hills ranked 15 with an A+ grade and Culver City ranked 19th also with an A+.

The top ranked districts in the LA area were the San Marino and La Canada Unified School Districts.

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