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Best Public High Schools

One of the many factors responsible for people renting or buying a house in a certain neighborhood is the education system there. For many, finding the best public school for their child is a priority, especially when they’re moving to a new place.

Speaking of America’s education system, the state has tons of public schools for you to choose from. Right from academics, school meals, including disabled children to technological advancement, public schools provide many facilities to prepare children for college. We’ve compiled a list of some of the best public high schools in the U.S.


1. Thomas Jefferson High School for Science & Technology, Annandale, Virginia

Thomas Jefferson High School for Science & Technology, also popularly known as TJ, is operated by Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia. This school follows a curriculum based on STEM. The school offers various interesting subjects to provide a challenging environment for students. DNA Science, advanced marine biology, architectural drawing and design, automation and robotics, AP calculus, and research statistics are some of the popular subjects here.

TJ also boasts of its ten specialized research labs, right from astrophysics to oceanography. If you’re thinking that TJ is all about academics, you’re wrong. Along with academics, the school also encourages students to participate in extracurricular activities. The school has several clubs like orchestra and swing dance along with tons of publications and athletic teams.

Average Graduation Rate - 99%

Average SAT - 1520

Average ACT - 34

2. Illinois Mathematics And Science Academy, Aurora, Illinois

IMSA is a three-year residential public secondary education school that is located in Illinois. In terms of the school’s curriculum design, it doesn’t follow the K-12 educational system. Instead, IMSA can be considered an independent state agency.

Along with being a public residential academy, the school also excels in STEM teaching. The students can avail themselves of the different facilities like summer camps, entrepreneurship, and much more. IMSA also has various extracurricular activities like esports, drama club, robotics, speech, and debate, etc to help in the overall development of students.

Average Graduation Rate - 99%

Average SAT - 1450

Average ACT - 33

3. The Davidson Academy, Reno, Nevada

One of the best public schools in the US for gifted students is the Davidson Academy Of Nevada. What makes this school different from others out there is its academy’s classes. The school makes groups of students based on their abilities instead of their age. So, this unique approach helps them plan a curriculum that helps to gauge the students’ strengths, interests, and abilities.

The Reno campus of the school is for the local residents of Nevada and the school also has an online campus for students that reside anywhere else in the U.S or Canada. They offer courses right from Language Arts,  Mathematics, Science to other elective courses for students. Another unique feature of the school is its teaching method is instruction-based and interpersonal. The Fall Festival, Thanksgiving Potluck, etc are some of the events that the school organizes to facilitate peer interaction.

Average Graduation Rate - 95%

Average SAT - 1510

Average ACT - 34

4. Walter Payton College Preparatory High School, Chicago, Illinois

Be it world-language, math, humanities, fine arts, or adventure education programs, Walter Payton College Preparatory High School has an award-winning reputation. The curriculum of the school involves honors and advanced placement courses to prepare students for college. One of the best things about this school is that the students get an opportunity to participate in global exchange and study programs abroad.

Along with different academic programs, students in this school are also encouraged to participate in extracurricular activities, clubs, and sports programs. The school also boasts of its seminars on horse riding, pilates, beginning acoustic guitar, and much more. When it comes to international exploration, the school is home to a Confucius Institute to support the Mandarin Chinese Program here.

Average Graduation Rate - 96%

Average SAT - 1410

Average ACT - 31

5. Academic Magnet High School, North Charleston, South Carolina

With a rigorous curriculum, Academic Magnet High School strives to provide a learning environment for students that prepares them for their college and career. This school offers Advanced Placement and Honors courses to their students. They motivate students to do community service by ensuring that every student completes 90 hours of community service.

The school also has many other strict requirements that the students need to meet like completing a summer reading list and a senior thesis and much more. In terms of extracurricular activities, the school has more than 50 student clubs and other activities like debate, robotics, etc. One of the many good things about this school is that they provide free WiFi in all of their computer labs as well as the cafeteria.

Average Graduation Rate - 95%

Average SAT - 1380

Average ACT - 32

6. Stuyvesant High School, Manhattan, New York

The curriculum of Stuyvesant High School is mainly based on the subjects of Science, Mathematics, and Technology. Along with that, the school also offers interesting courses like criminal law and journalism, plus a humanities program. The school earned the status of Specialized High School from the NYC Department of Education.

To make sure that students become all-rounders, the school has various bands, sports teams, robotics teams, and several other clubs. The school also encourages and ensures every enrollee to complete three years of a single foreign language. A considerable amount of the students here come from economically disadvantaged and marginalized groups.

Average Graduation Rate - 99%

Average SAT - 1480

Average ACT - 33

7. BASIS Scottsdale, Arizona

BASIS Scottsdale has been operating in Arizona since 2003 and is one of the best schools in the state. The school offers several competitive programs like maths, science, and humanities. Apart from the BASIS Scottsdale location, the school has another campus in Tucson North.

The school strives to make students participate in extracurricular activities like Acapella choir, 3D Animation, chess, science bowl, and many more. Apart from that, students get a chance to participate in the Advanced Placement classes at the 8th-grade level.

Average Graduation Rate - 95%

Average SAT - 1480

Average ACT - 34

8. Gwinnett School Of Mathematics, Science & Technology, Lawrenceville, Georgia

Gwinnett School Of Mathematics, Science & Technology is one of the best public high schools in Georgia. The school follows a rigorous STEM-focused curriculum. One of the best things about this school is that they provide specially-equipped classrooms, science labs and other facilities.

When it comes to learning and the mode of instruction, the school puts an emphasis on technology and so provides e-classes, online research libraries, and other technological aids. The classes conducted in this school are advanced as teachers and students use instructional computer labs, LCD Projectors as well as smart interactive whiteboards.

Average Graduation Rate - 95%

Average SAT - 1370

Average ACT - 31

9. Townsend Harris High School, New York

One of the best public high schools in New York for humanities is the Townsend Harris High School located in Queens. The school is known for encouraging students in striving for excellence by offering them Advanced Placement courses and programs. In this school you’ll find a rigorous curriculum where the majority of students take up AP courses. One of the best things about studying here is that students can earn college credits along with taking up high school courses.

When it comes to extracurricular activities, the school certainly seems to take them very seriously. Students get to participate in several activities and clubs like academic teams, anime club, athletics, book club, drama club, etc. Many of these activities and clubs motivate students in doing community service which is an important part of the school’s mission.

Average Graduation Rate - 99%

Average SAT - 1390

Average ACT - 31

10. University High School, Arizona

University High School in Arizona offers subjects like Mathematics, Science, English and also modern languages and prepares them for college. Learners in this school get to pursue honours courses as well as Advanced Placement courses. To name a few foreign languages that are taught here, Chinese, French and German are taught here. The school also has a partnership with the renowned University of Arizona to offer students enrollment in engineering courses.

The school is also known for activities apart from academics like athletics, music, photography, and french clubs. Along with a wide range of extracurricular activities, students also get to participate in academic competitions at a regional, state and national level.

Average Graduation Rate - 99%

Average SAT - 1340

Average ACT - 30


Final Thoughts

The above mentioned public high schools in the U.S prove to be the best when it comes to preparing students for their real-world success. Some of the things that make these schools the best in America are the diversity in their school curriculum, extracurricular activities, and most importantly their AP and other courses. So, if you are looking for the best schools in the U.S, the schools mentioned above are some of your best options. You can rest assured that your child will get all the training and learning for further college education.

See also: 11 Tips for Moving During the School Year with Children

FAQs On Best Public High Schools In The U.S

What Is The Number One Public High School In America?

Thomas Jefferson High School for Science & Technology is considered as one of the number one high schools in America. Right from honors diplomas to advanced level courses, the school helps students pursue their passions.

What Are The Best Public High Schools In America?

The following are some of the best public high schools in America:

  • Thomas Jefferson High School for Science & Technology
  • Illinois Mathematics And Science Academy
  • The Davidson Academy of Nevada
  • Walter Payton College Preparatory High School
  • Academic Magnet High School
  • Stuyvesant High School
  • BASIS Scottsdale
  • Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science & Technology
  • Townsend Harris High School
  • University High School

Is Public School Free In USA?

The federal government runs the public school system in the US. So, every state in the country strives to provide free education to students as children have their right to education. The United States provides free elementary education to all students from the age of 6 years. Do keep in mind that this depends on every state’s laws and regulations and also where the student’s family resides.


See also: Pros And Cons Of Buying A Home Near A School | How to Find Best School for Your Child When Moving