Best Public High Schools in Every State

September 21, 2017 by Mike Sauter

Source: Thinkstock
Among all public services in this country, few are as uneven in quality as the American public education system. While schools must follow certain guidelines and are held to public standards, they are largely funded by property taxes — which means their budgets largely depend on neighborhood wealth rather than per student or by need.

A review of data on public high schools in the United States shows a substantial diversity in quality and educational outcomes between school districts.

Across the country, just over 80% of students graduate, 4.9% of students enroll in Advanced Placement classes, and the average SAT score is a little over 1000 out of 1600. In some of the nation’s top public schools, virtually all students graduate, AP enrollment is well above 70%, and average SAT scores are above 1400.

While the nation’s top public high schools are primarily concentrated in a few of the the most populous states, including Illinois, New York, California, and Texas, every state in the country has at least one high school that exceeds national averages, and whose students are better set up for success. Based on publicly-available data on factors such as standardized test scores, student-teacher ratios, graduation rates, AP enrollment, and more, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the top public high school in each state.

To determine the best public high school in every state, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed rankings for all public schools from school and neighborhood data clearinghouse Niche. Data on rank, number of students, student teacher ratio, average graduation rate, average SAT score, average ACT score, and AP enrollment also came from Niche. Data on the ratio of students to teachers by state came from the National Center for Education Statistics. Graduation rates by state also came from the NCED and are for the 2012-13 school year. Data on AP enrollment by state for the 2011-12 school year came from Civil Rights Data Collection.

Click here to see the best public high school in each state.

Source: Chris Pruitt / Wikimedia Commons

1. Alabama
> High school: Loveless Academic Magnet Program High School
> Students: 488
> Student-teacher ratio: 14:1
> Average SAT: 1340

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Source: west.asdk12.org

2. Alaska
> High school: West High School
> Students: 1,899
> Student-teacher ratio: 22:1
> Average SAT: 1230

Source: basised.com/scottsdale

3. Arizona
> High school: BASIS Scottsdale
> Students: 754
> Student-teacher ratio: 11:1
> Average SAT: 1470

Source: haashall.org

4. Arkansas
> High school: Haas Hall Academy
> Students: 320
> Student-teacher ratio: 16:1
> Average SAT: 1360

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Source: Gunn High / Wikimedia Commons

5. California
> High school: Henry M. Gunn High School
> Students: 1,897
> Student-teacher ratio: 17:1
> Average SAT: 1400

Source: cherrycreek.cherrycreekschools.org

6. Colorado
> High school: Cherry Creek High School
> Students: 3,506
> Student-teacher ratio: 20:1
> Average SAT: 1350

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Source: Noroton / Wikimedia Commons

7. Connecticut
> High school: New Canaan High School
> Students: 1,250
> Student-teacher ratio: 12:1
> Average SAT: 1280

Source: northdelawhere.happeningmag.com

8. Delaware
> High school: Charter School of Wilmington
> Students: 972
> Student-teacher ratio: 4:1
> Average SAT: 1330

Source: Justin Lebar / Wikimedia Commons

9. Florida
> High school: Pine View School
> Students: 2,186
> Student-teacher ratio: 17:1
> Average SAT: 1360

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Source: Thomson200 / Wikimedia Commons

10. Georgia
> High school: Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science & Technology
> Students: 976
> Student-teacher ratio: 17:1
> Average SAT: 1340

Source: universitylaboratoryschool.org

11. Hawaii
> High school: Education Laboratory Public Charter School
> Students: 444
> Student-teacher ratio: 11:1
> Average SAT: 1190

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Source: boise.boiseschools.org

12. Idaho
> High school: Boise Senior High School
> Students: 1,473
> Student-teacher ratio: 18:1
> Average SAT: 1240

Source: wpcp.org

13. Illinois
> High school: Walter Payton College Prep
> Students: 899
> Student-teacher ratio: 17:1
> Average SAT: 1400

Source: indyprojectseed.org

14. Indiana
> High school: Indiana Academy for Science, Mathematics & Humanities
> Students: 307
> Student-teacher ratio: 9:1
> Average SAT: 1290

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Source: ames.k12.ia.us

15. Iowa
> High school: Ames High School
> Students: 1,271
> Student-teacher ratio: 16:1
> Average SAT: 1420

Source: Ichabod / Wikimedia Commons

16. Kansas
> High school: Blue Valley High School
> Students: 1,511
> Student-teacher ratio: 17:1
> Average SAT: 1420

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Source: local louisville / Flickr

17. Kentucky
> High school: DuPont Manual High School
> Students: 1,896
> Student-teacher ratio: 19:1
> Average SAT: 1400

Source: bfhsla.org

18. Louisiana
> High school: Benjamin Franklin High School
> Students: 894
> Student-teacher ratio: 17:1
> Average SAT: 1350

Source: mssm.org

19. Maine
> High school: Maine School of Science & Mathematics
> Students: 139
> Student-teacher ratio: 7:1
> Average SAT: 1370

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Source: Wikimedia Commons

20. Maryland
> High school: Poolesville High School
> Students: 1,225
> Student-teacher ratio: 18:1
> Average SAT: 1380

Source: John Phelan / Wikimedia Commons

21. Massachusetts
> High school: Massachusetts Academy of Math & Science
> Students: 97
> Student-teacher ratio: 13:1
> Average SAT: 1460

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Source: iatoday.org

22. Michigan
> High school: International Academy
> Students: 1,371
> Student-teacher ratio: 108:1
> Average SAT: 1390

Source: Bobak Ha'Eri / Wikimedia Commons

23. Minnesota
> High school: Wayzata High School
> Students: 3,228
> Student-teacher ratio: 17:1
> Average SAT: 1420

Source: themsms.org

24. Mississippi
> High school: The Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science
> Students: 245
> Student-teacher ratio: 11:1
> Average SAT: 1350

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Source: Town of Clayton / Flickr

25. Missouri
> High school: Clayton High School
> Students: 875
> Student-teacher ratio: 11:1
> Average SAT: 1340

Source: Hawk TV / Vimeo

26. Montana
> High school: Bozeman High School
> Students: 1,963
> Student-teacher ratio: 15:1
> Average SAT: 1250

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Source: brklynn / Flickr

27. Nebraska
> High school: Millard North High School
> Students: 2,521
> Student-teacher ratio: 17:1
> Average SAT: 1360

Source: Davidson Institute for Talent Development / Wikimedia Commons

28. Nevada
> High school: The Davidson Academy of Nevada
> Students: 160
> Student-teacher ratio: 8:1
> Average SAT: 1510

Source: Ken_Gallager / Wikimedia Commons

29. New Hampshire
> High school: Hanover High School
> Students: 718
> Student-teacher ratio: 11:1
> Average SAT: 1330

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Source: bcts.bergen.org

30. New Jersey
> High school: Bergen County Academies
> Students: 1,044
> Student-teacher ratio: 11:1
> Average SAT: 1440

Source: aims-unm.org

31. New Mexico
> High school: Albuquerque Institute of Math & Science
> Students: 369
> Student-teacher ratio: 17:1
> Average SAT: 1310

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Source: Jellybean100 / Wikimedia Commons

32. New York
> High school: Stuyvesant High School
> Students: 3,297
> Student-teacher ratio: 21:1
> Average SAT: 1460

Source: Wikimedia Commons

33. North Carolina
> High school: The Early College at Guilford
> Students: 198
> Student-teacher ratio: 24:1
> Average SAT: 1400

Source: Douglas P Perkins / Wikimedia Commons

34. North Dakota
> High school: Central High School
> Students: 949
> Student-teacher ratio: 12:1
> Average SAT: 1330

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Source: bormang2 / Wikimedia Commons

35. Ohio
> High school: Walnut Hills High School
> Students: 2,591
> Student-teacher ratio: 21:1
> Average SAT: 1330

Source: Julia Mills / Wikimedia Commons

36. Oklahoma
> High school: Booker T. Washington High School
> Students: 1,329
> Student-teacher ratio: 19:1
> Average SAT: 1270

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Source: Nick Brumfield / Vimeo

37. Oregon
> High school: Lake Oswego Senior High School
> Students: 1,289
> Student-teacher ratio: 23:1
> Average SAT: 1280

Source: OnlyInAmerica / Wikimedia Commons

38. Pennsylvania
> High school: Conestoga Senior High School
> Students: 2,051
> Student-teacher ratio: 16:1
> Average SAT: 1300

Source: 0xF8E8 / Wikimedia Commons

39. Rhode Island
> High school: Barrington High School
> Students: 1,055
> Student-teacher ratio: 13:1
> Average SAT: 1260

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Source: amhs.ccsdschools.com

40. South Carolina
> High school: Academic Magnet High School
> Students: 644
> Student-teacher ratio: 15:1
> Average SAT: 1370

Source: AlexiusHoratius / Wikimedia Commons

41. South Dakota
> High school: Lincoln High School
> Students: 1,924
> Student-teacher ratio: 18:1
> Average SAT: 1310

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Source: EVula / Wikimedia Commons

42. Tennessee
> High school: Hume-Fogg Academic Magnet School
> Students: 915
> Student-teacher ratio: 19:1
> Average SAT: 1310

Source: lasahighschool.com

43. Texas
> High school: Liberal Arts & Science Academy
> Students: 1,002
> Student-teacher ratio: 16:1
> Average SAT: 1390

Source: VCBO / Wikimedia Commons

44. Utah
> High school: Park City High School
> Students: 1,131
> Student-teacher ratio: 19:1
> Average SAT: 1240

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Source: Webpage882003 / Wikimedia Commons

45. Vermont
> High school: South Burlington High School
> Students: 901
> Student-teacher ratio: 12:1
> Average SAT: 1230

Source: Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

46. Virginia
> High school: Thomas Jefferson High School for Science & Technology
> Students: 1,820
> Student-teacher ratio: 16:1
> Average SAT: 1500

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Source: MSPACE HOLDINGS / Wikimedia Commons

47. Washington
> High school: Tesla STEM High School
> Students: 557
> Student-teacher ratio: 24:1
> Average SAT: 1410

Source: gwhs.kana.k12.wv.us

48. West Virginia
> High school: George Washington High School
> Students: 1,100
> Student-teacher ratio: 20:1
> Average SAT: 1250

Source: Photo by C.T. Kruger

49. Wisconsin
> High school: Whitefish Bay High School
> Students: 985
> Student-teacher ratio: 16:1
> Average SAT: 1360

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Source: sheridan.k12.wy.us

50. Wyoming
> High school: Big Horn High School
> Students: 149
> Student-teacher ratio: 11:1
> Average SAT: N/A