By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Apr 20, 2016 at 8:42 AM

Blink of an eye, people. Blink of an eye.

That’s how fast time flies when you have kids. So, while mine aren’t anywhere near high school age yet, I’m already keeping an eye on options for 9-12 grade.

That means I pay attention to a variety of sources ranking the best/most challenging high schools in the state. There are many factors involved in these ratings, which explains why a school like Reagan, on the South Side, is rated No. 1 in the state by U.S. News and World Report, but only 15th (still pretty impressive in a state with, according to DPI, more than 500 public high schools in the academic year 2014-15) by The Washington Post, and why Rufus King, on the North Side, is ranked 8 and 13, respectively.

Here are some recent MPS rankings, provided by the district:

  • Milwaukee School of Languages: 1st, Washington Post; 25th, U.S. News
  • Ronald Reagan College Preparatory High School: 2nd, U.S. News, 15th, Washington Post
  • Carmen High School of Science and Technology-South Campus: 2nd, Washington Post
  • Rufus King International High School: 8th, U.S. News; 13th, Washington Post
  • Riverside University High School: 25th, Washington Post
  • MacDowell Montessori School: 27th, Washington Post
  • Alexander Hamilton High School: 30th, Washington Post
  • Milwaukee High School of the Arts: 32nd, Washington Post

I’m pleased to see a number of schools on this list that I’m already keeping tabs on, like MacDowell Montessori, Reagan, King, MHSA and Riverside. And I’m happy to know that at least one more – Golda Meir – is finding its feet and may well be a top performer by the time my kids are ready.

And that’s a key factor for me. I have to stay on top of this because schools can, and often do, change. The departure or arrival of great staff can have an effect, for example. Luckily, I have time, and can follow these developments.

But there are other considerations, too. Reagan has a great visual arts program, so that could be a draw. The quality of performing arts instruction at MHSA could, too. While MSL is highly ranked and is a convenient location for West Siders, I know, too, that there tends to be very few openings (sometimes in the low double-digits) for kids from schools other than language immersions (which are fast-tracked to the school for obvious reasons).

Am I using this list to get an early jump on high school? In a sense, but not really. Just watching for now.

Should there be more high-performing high schools in the district? Absolutely.

Am I pleased to see that there are eight MPS high school options that are ranked higher than 94 percent of the rest of Wisconsin’s high schools? Damn straight.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He has be heard on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories, in that station's most popular podcast.