Top Public Middle School in Every State

November 2, 2017 by Sam Stebbins

Source: Thinkstock
When it comes to American public schools, early childhood education and high school achievement tend to dominate the conversation — while middle school quality tends to take a backseat. Despite the apparent lack of emphasis, children spend some of their most pivotal years of development in middle school.

Middle school serves as a critical bridge between elementary school and high school. Middle schools typically consist of the sixth, seventh, and eighth grade, and sometimes include the fifth grade as well. Currently, about 1 in every 5 Americans enrolled in school are fifth to eighth graders.

The best methods in education remain a matter of debate and schools approach teaching, administration, and discipline differently. While there is little consensus as to which methods are the best, it is clear that some schools manage to deliver exceptional results where others struggle. Based on analysis by school ranking website Niche, which considers factors such as academic proficiency, parent and student reviews, school culture, and more, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data from to identify the best public or charter middle school in each state.

Click here the see the top middle school in each state.
Click here to see our detailed findings and methodology.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

1. Alabama
> Middle school: Mt. Brook Junior High School, Mountain Brook
> Students: 1,091
> Student-teacher ratio: 13:1
> Pct. proficient: 84% (math), 77% (reading)

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Source: Northern Lights ABC School / Facebook

2. Alaska
> Middle school: Northern Lights ABC K-8 School, Anchorage
> Students: 609
> Student-teacher ratio: 20:1
> Pct. proficient: 67% (math), 69% (reading)

Source: Basis Scottsdale / Facebook

3. Arizona
> Middle school: BASIS Scottsdale, Scottsdale
> Students: 754
> Student-teacher ratio: 11:1
> Pct. proficient: 95% (math), 90% (reading)

Source: LISA Academy / Facebook

4. Arkansas
> Middle school: LISA Academy North Middle School, Sherwood
> Students: 177
> Student-teacher ratio: 15:1
> Pct. proficient: 82% (math), 82% (reading)

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Source: Palo Alto Unified School District

5. California
> Middle school: Terman Middle School, Palo Alto
> Students: 722
> Student-teacher ratio: 15:1
> Pct. proficient: 78% (math), 84% (reading)

Source: Peak to Peak Charter School / Facebook

6. Colorado
> Middle school: Peak to Peak Charter School, Boulder
> Students: 1,444
> Student-teacher ratio: 21:1
> Pct. proficient: 55% (math), 70% (reading)

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Source: Wikimedia Commons

7. Connecticut
> Middle school: Bedford Middle School, Westport
> Students: 853
> Student-teacher ratio: 11:1
> Pct. proficient: 70% (math), 86% (reading)

Source: GoingBatty / Wikimedia Commons

8. Delaware
> Middle school: Newark Charter School, Newark
> Students: 1,787
> Student-teacher ratio: 10:1
> Pct. proficient: 84% (math), 93% (reading)

Source: Pine View School for the Gifted / Facebook

9. Florida
> Middle school: Pine View School, Osprey
> Students: 2,186
> Student-teacher ratio: 17:1
> Pct. proficient: 99% (math), 99% (reading)

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Source: Buford City Schools

10. Georgia
> Middle school: Buford Middle School, Buford
> Students: 1,002
> Student-teacher ratio: 16:1
> Pct. proficient: 67% (math), 54% (reading)

Source: Education Laboratory Public Charter School / Facebook

11. Hawaii
> Middle school: Education Laboratory Public Charter School, Honolulu
> Students: 444
> Student-teacher ratio: 11:1
> Pct. proficient: 62% (math), 89% (reading)

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Source: Falcon Ridge Public Charter School

12. Idaho
> Middle school: Falcon Ridge Public Charter School, Kuna
> Students: 276
> Student-teacher ratio: 20:1
> Pct. proficient: 92% (math), 92% (reading)

Source: Kennedy Jr. High Home & School / Facebook

13. Illinois
> Middle school: Kennedy Junior High School, Naperville
> Students: 927
> Student-teacher ratio: 15:1
> Pct. proficient: 73% (math), 80% (reading)

Source: Creekside Middle School / Facebook

14. Indiana
> Middle school: Creekside Middle School, Carmel
> Students: 1,579
> Student-teacher ratio: 20:1
> Pct. proficient: 86% (math), 89% (reading)

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Source: Gilbert Education Foundation

15. Iowa
> Middle school: Gilbert Middle School, Gilbert
> Students: 331
> Student-teacher ratio: 15:1
> Pct. proficient: 98% (math), 93% (reading)

Source: Manhattan-Ogden USD 383

16. Kansas
> Middle school: Susan B. Anthony Middle School, Manhattan
> Students: 462
> Student-teacher ratio: 11:1
> Pct. proficient: 85% (math), 94% (reading)

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Source: anchorage-school.org

17. Kentucky
> Middle school: Anchorage Independent Public School, Anchorage
> Students: 380
> Student-teacher ratio: 10:1
> Pct. proficient: 86% (math), 87% (reading)

Source: Lusher Charter School / Facebook

18. Louisiana
> Middle school: Lusher Charter School, New Orleans
> Students: 1,691
> Student-teacher ratio: 14:1
> Pct. proficient: 97% (math), 99% (reading)

Source: Frank H. Harrison Middle School / Twitter

19. Maine
> Middle school: Frank H. Harrison Middle School, Yarmouth
> Students: 489
> Student-teacher ratio: 11:1
> Pct. proficient: 73% (math), 79% (reading)

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Source: Montgomery County Public Schools

20. Maryland
> Middle school: Cabin John Middle School, Potomac
> Students: 942
> Student-teacher ratio: 14:1
> Pct. proficient: 68% (math), 75% (reading)

Source: Edward W. Brooke Charter School

21. Massachusetts
> Middle school: Edward W. Brooke Charter School – East Boston, Boston
> Students: 393
> Student-teacher ratio: 11:1
> Pct. proficient: 92% (math), 92% (reading)

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Source: Boulan Park Middle School / Facebook

22. Michigan
> Middle school: Boulan Park Middle School, Troy
> Students: 751
> Student-teacher ratio: 18:1
> Pct. proficient: 84% (math), 86% (reading)

Source: Wayzata East Middle School

23. Minnesota
> Middle school: Wayzata East Middle School, Plymouth
> Students: 697
> Student-teacher ratio: 14:1
> Pct. proficient: 81% (math), 81% (reading)

Source: Clinton Community School District

24. Mississippi
> Middle school: Clinton Junior High School, Clinton
> Students: 768
> Student-teacher ratio: 16:1
> Pct. proficient: 89% (math), 78% (reading)

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Source: U.S. Green Building Council / Twitter

25. Missouri
> Middle school: Wydown Middle School, Clayton
> Students: 611
> Student-teacher ratio: 10:1
> Pct. proficient: 73% (math), 80% (reading)

Source: Swan River School

26. Montana
> Middle school: Swan River Junior High School, Bigfork
> Students: 37
> Student-teacher ratio: 9:1
> Pct. proficient: 75% (math), 90% (reading)

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Source: Elkhorn Middle School

27. Nebraska
> Middle school: Elkhorn Middle School, Elkhorn
> Students: 367
> Student-teacher ratio: 12:1
> Pct. proficient: 93% (math), 98% (reading)

Source: Somerset North Las Vegas - A College Prep Academy / Facebook

28. Nevada
> Middle school: Somerset Academy of Las Vegas, Las Vegas
> Students: 4,523
> Student-teacher ratio: 22:1
> Pct. proficient: 75% (math), 84% (reading)

Source: Academy for Science and Design Charter School / Facebook

29. New Hampshire
> Middle school: Academy for Science & Design Middle School, Nashua
> Students: 346
> Student-teacher ratio: 19:1
> Pct. proficient: 89% (math), 86% (reading)

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Source: West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District

30. New Jersey
> Middle school: Thomas R. Grover Middle School, West Windsor
> Students: 1,161
> Student-teacher ratio: 11:1
> Pct. proficient: 75% (math), 84% (reading)

Source: Southwest Intermediate Learning Center

31. New Mexico
> Middle school: Southwest Intermediate Learning Center, Albuquerque
> Students: 109
> Student-teacher ratio: 20:1
> Pct. proficient: 42% (math), 62% (reading)

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Source: Great Neck South Middle School / Facebook

32. New York
> Middle school: Great Neck South Middle School, Great Neck
> Students: 774
> Student-teacher ratio: 10:1
> Pct. proficient: 81% (math), 73% (reading)

Source: Metrolina Regional Scholars Academy / Facebook

33. North Carolina
> Middle school: Metrolina Regional Scholars Academy, Charlotte
> Students: 363
> Student-teacher ratio: 13:1
> Pct. proficient: 96% (math), 95% (reading)

Source: Emerado Elementary

34. North Dakota
> Middle school: Emerado Elementary School, Emerado
> Students: 92
> Student-teacher ratio: 7:1
> Pct. proficient: 75% (math), 65% (reading)

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Source: Orchard Middle School

35. Ohio
> Middle school: Orchard Middle School, Cleveland
> Students: 736
> Student-teacher ratio: 18:1
> Pct. proficient: 96% (math), 97% (reading)

Source: Cottonwood Public School

36. Oklahoma
> Middle school: Cottonwood Public School, Coalgate
> Students: 177
> Student-teacher ratio: 9:1
> Pct. proficient: 92% (math), 92% (reading)

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Source: Riverdale School District

37. Oregon
> Middle school: Riverdale Grade School, Portland
> Students: 346
> Student-teacher ratio: 15:1
> Pct. proficient: 87% (math), 84% (reading)

Source: Wikimedia Commons

38. Pennsylvania
> Middle school: Julia R. Masterman Middle and High School, Philadelphia
> Students: 1,180
> Student-teacher ratio: 21:1
> Pct. proficient: 93% (math), 99% (reading)

Source: Barrington, RI. Public Schools

39. Rhode Island
> Middle school: Barrington Middle School, Barrington
> Students: 819
> Student-teacher ratio: 13:1
> Pct. proficient: 59% (math), 73% (reading)

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Source: Spartanburg Preparatory School / Facebook

40. South Carolina
> Middle school: Spartanburg Preparatory School, Spartanburg
> Students: 367
> Student-teacher ratio: 13:1
> Pct. proficient: 89% (math), 89% (reading)

Source: Big Stone City School District #25-1 / Facebook

41. South Dakota
> Middle school: Big Stone City Middle School, Big Stone City
> Students: 24
> Student-teacher ratio: 6:1
> Pct. proficient: 85% (math), 85% (reading)

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Source: Hillsboro Elementary Middle School PTO / Facebook

42. Tennessee
> Middle school: Hillsboro Elementary/Middle School, Franklin
> Students: 529
> Student-teacher ratio: 12:1
> Pct. proficient: 86% (math), 82% (reading)

Source: Wester Middle School - Frisco ISD / Facebook

43. Texas
> Middle school: Wester Middle School, Frisco
> Students: 878
> Student-teacher ratio: 12:1
> Pct. proficient: 96% (math), 94% (reading)

Source: American Preparatory Schools

44. Utah
> Middle school: American Preparatory Academy – Salem, Salem
> Students: 464
> Student-teacher ratio: 23:1
> Pct. proficient: 65% (math), 74% (reading)

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Source: Town of Montgomery

45. Vermont
> Middle school: Montgomery Center School, Montgomery Center
> Students: 138
> Student-teacher ratio: 13:1
> Pct. proficient: 77% (math), 82% (reading)

Source: Rachel Carson Middle / Twitter

46. Virginia
> Middle school: Carson Middle School, Herndon
> Students: 1,432
> Student-teacher ratio: 16:1
> Pct. proficient: 95% (math), 95% (reading)

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Source: Bellevue School District

47. Washington
> Middle school: Odle Middle School, Bellevue
> Students: 782
> Student-teacher ratio: 17:1
> Pct. proficient: 78% (math), 81% (reading)

Source: Suncrest Middle School

48. West Virginia
> Middle school: Suncrest Middle School, Morgantown
> Students: 518
> Student-teacher ratio: 15:1
> Pct. proficient: 51% (math), 63% (reading)

Source: Pilgrim Park / Twitter

49. Wisconsin
> Middle school: Pilgrim Park Middle School, Elm Grove
> Students: 776
> Student-teacher ratio: 15:1
> Pct. proficient: 67% (math), 71% (reading)

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Source: Snowy Range Academy / Facebook

50. Wyoming
> Middle school: Snowy Range Academy, Laramie
> Students: 165
> Student-teacher ratio: 9:1
> Pct. proficient: 77% (math), 77% (reading)

An important and measurable quality of a given school is the ratio between students and teachers. Though there is widespread disagreement on the optimal student-to-teacher ratio, many argue that a low ratio often fosters stronger outcomes as instructors are better able to focus on individual students and their needs.

Nationwide, there are 16 students for every teacher in public schools. The majority of the best middle schools in each state have lower than average student-to-teacher ratios. In Big Stone City Middle School in South Dakota, there are only six students per teacher, the lowest ratio of any school on this list.

Educational outcomes are the ultimate test of a school’s quality. In 34 of the 50 schools on this list, at least three-quarters of the student body are considered proficient in reading and math. In every school on the list, at least half of all students are proficient in reading, and only one school on this list — Southwest Intermediate Learning Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico — has a math proficiency score below 50%.

Just because a school ranks as the best in its respective state does not necessarily mean it compares favorably on a national scale. Several states have notoriously weak public school systems and even their best schools rank behind thousands of others nationwide. For example, though Suncrest Middle School is the best in West Virginia, more than 2,000 middle schools in the United States are ranked higher. On the other side of the coin, four of the five best middle schools in the country are in Arizona.

To determine the best public middle 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-to-teacher ratio, and math and reading proficiency also came from Niche. Some schools on this list include high school and elementary school grade levels.