California schools had a poor showing on U.S. News and World Report's annual ranking of the best high schools in the nation.

Only 10 California high schools cracked the top-100, some of which are located in unexpected places.

The highest-ranking school in Northern California is Dr. T.J. Owens Gilroy Early College Academy in Gilroy. It came in at No. 42 for its high percentage of students enrolled in Advanced Placement courses, impressive scores on state-required proficiency tests and a remarkable graduation rate of 100 percent.

Just two places behind is Pacific Collegiate Charter in Santa Cruz, a school that emphasizes "cross-cultural, international and technological education," according to U.S. News. AP courses are required to graduate, as is the study of a foreign language and community service.

An important fact to note: Both T.J. Owens and Pacific Collegiate aren't your average high schools. The former was founded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and is operated as an early college school, meaning students receive college prep through honors, AP and college classes. Some students graduate with an associate's degree.

Pacific Collegiate is a charter school with about 500 students and a lengthy waiting list to apply for the admission lottery. All students are required to take AP classes.

ALSO: The best Bay Area school districts, according to Niche

Only one San Francisco school appeared in the top 100: Lowell High, a public magnet school recognized for its "rigorous curriculum," foreign language course offerings and unsurpassed athletic teams.

These are the 10 California schools in the top 100:

  • Whitney High School, Cerritos, #14
  • Oxford Academy, Cypress, #19
  • Dr. T.J. Owens Gilroy Early College Academy, Gilroy, #42
  • Pacific Collegiate Charter, Santa Cruz, #44
  • Lowell High School, San Francisco, #54
  • Preuss School UCSD, La Jolla, #58
  • University High School, Fresno, #87
  • Hawthorne Math and Science Academy, Hawthorne, #89
  • Mission San Jose High, Fremont, #90
  • Monta Vista High School, Cupertino, #96

U.S News compiles its ranking by collecting data from more than 23,000 public high schools across the country. More than 17,000 schools are included on the list, ranked on six factors related to performance on state assessments and how well they prepare kids for college. (Full methodology here.)

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