LINDON, Utah County — Fifteen of Utah's public high schools are among the top 6 percent of schools in the country, according to rankings recently released by Newsweek.

Karl G. Maeser Prep in Lindon is the highest-ranked Utah school on the list, coming in at No. 225 of more than 1,600 schools on the list. Park City High School is ranked No. 233.

Founded in 2007, the Lindon school is a publicly funded charter that offered eight advanced placement classes last year and will offer 15 during the 2010-11 school year, according to its headmaster, Justin Kennington. It's the school's first year to make the Newsweek rankings.

Kennington credits the school's position on the list to its smaller size and focus on mentoring.

"Most of the high schools in our area are very large schools, and we're deliberately smaller," he said. "Certain students really respond well to less of a teaching relationship and more of a mentoring relationship."

Karl G. Maeser Prep had 290 students overall and 38 graduates in 2010. Next year, the school will grow to 600 students when it moves to a new building and adds seventh- and eighth-graders.

Kennington said teachers at the school are focused and view teaching as a calling.

"We've just been able to really find professionals who are passionate, committed experts in their fields," he said.

The Newsweek rankings are a gauge of how hard educators work at challenging students with classes and testing. The ranking index was achieved by taking the total number of advanced placement, International Baccalaureate or Cambridge tests taken by students at a school each year and dividing that number by the number of seniors graduating.

Karl G. Maeser Prep had an index of 3.091, meaning each 2009 graduate took three AP tests on average. Schools with an index of 1.0 or more made the rankings.

Talented and Gifted in Dallas ranked No. 1 with an index of 14.938.

Utah schools on Newsweek's America's Best High Schools list

225. Karl G. Maeser Prep

233. Park City High

349. Skyline High

932. Lone Peak High

992. Davis High

1,010. Highland High

1,074. Woods Cross

1,255. Hillcrest High

1,319. West High

1,338. Alta High

1,413. Viewmont High

1,463. Olympus High

1,487. Logan High

1,557. Timpanogos High

1,618. Bountiful High

For more information on the magazine's findings, visit www.newsweek.com/feature/2010/americas-best-high-schools.html.

e-mail: mfarmer@desnews.com