Newsweek Public Elites
Keeping track of Newsweek "Public Elites," schools considered too good to be on Newsweek's "Best High Schools in America" aka "Top Public High Schools in America" list
For the past few years, Newsweek has ranked public high schools in the US by the Challenge Index, the number of Advanced Placement, Intl. Baccalaureate and/or Cambridge tests taken by all students at a school divided by the number of graduating seniors. The top 5 percent of public schools measured in this way are included in a "Top Public High Schools in America" list. In 2008, 1428 schools were listed out of 23,800 public secondary schools. 
Newsweek excludes public schools with exceptionally high test scores from the list, and names them "Public elites." Typically, the cutoff is schools with average SAT scores above 1300 (Mathematics+Critical reading/Verbal) or average ACT scores above 27. In 2008, the reasoning was their "sky-high SAT and ACT scores indicate the schools have few or no average students" and according to the designer of the Challenge Index (Jay Mathews) are "too good for my list." 
The following table shows the Newsweek "Public Elites" from 2006-2009. There were 22 in 2006, 21 in 2007, 17 in 2008, and 16 in 2009.
- Newsweek (May 8, 2006) The Public Elites. Newsweek Magazine. Retrieved on 2006-11-17.
- Newsweek (May 28, 2007) The Public Elites. Newsweek Magazine. Retrieved on 2007-08-07.
- Newsweek (May 20, 2008) Newsweek Public Elites 2008 Newsweek Magazine. Retrieved on 2008-05-21.
- Newsweek (May 20, 2008) The Top of the Class: The complete list of the 1,300 top U.S. high schools. Newsweek Magazine. Retrieved on 2008-05-21.
- Newsweek (June 8, 2009) Newsweek Public Elites 2009 Newsweek Magazine. Retrieved on 2009-07-16.
Newsweek/WSJ ranking and automatic minimum importance
I believe Newsweek's Top Public High School List is one of the only regularly published numerical academic rankings of public secondary schools in the United States. The Newsweek ranking of a school has influenced how editors rate the importance, but I don't think we have a set standard. If the Newsweek ranking is one of the only major standouts, I think importance should have a set minimum of:
consistent top 50 or "public elite"-> automatic Mid importance ranking
Note: there are approximately 26,500 secondary schools in the United States 
23,800 public secondary schools are considered
1,428 schools were ranked in 2008 , + 17 public elites 
A Newsweek ranking alone shouldn't be enough for Mid importance unless the school is in the top 50 or public elite list, about 70 schools total. Also, I've been keeping track of Newsweek public elite schools and their rating at User:Jh12/Draft3. Our assessment ratings have been good; as expected they are all Mid-High importance except for the two schools that don't even mention they are on the list. --Jh12 (talk) 06:59, 25 July 2008 (UTC)
Wall Street Journal
Unlike the Newsweek list, I think every school on the Wall Street Journal list here should probably be automatic High importance. The WSJ list is based on admission to top American universities, regardless of school type, and as a result includes some of the best boarding, private, and public schools in the nation. --Jh12 (talk) 21:17, 28 July 2008 (UTC)