Special Report

Every State's Best Public High School

Source: Chris Pruitt / Wikimedia Commons

Alabama: Loveless Academic Magnet Program High School
> Location: Montgomery
> Number of students: 513
> Student-teacher ratio: 15-to-1
> Avg. SAT score: 1360
> Avg. graduation rate: 95%

As is the case in many other states, the best public high school in Alabama is a magnet school, the Loveless Academic Magnet Program High School. Among the top-rated publicly funded high schools in Alabama, Loveless has the highest share in the state of students who, as determined by standardized tests, are proficient in mathematics. Additionally, the school’s Advanced Placement enrollment rate of 93% is far and away the highest of any public high school in the state.

Source: Courtesy of Mat-Su Career & Tech Education High School via Facebook

Alaska: Mat-Su Career & Tech Education High School
> Location: Wasilla
> Number of students: 701
> Student-teacher ratio: 18-to-1
> Avg. SAT score: 1180
> Avg. graduation rate: 95%

Mat-Su Career & Tech Education, located in Wasilla, ranks as the best public high school in Alaska. More than one in every four students are proficient in reading, and nearly all students graduate on time.

As is the case in many of the schools on this list, Mat-Su Career & Tech Education is a magnet school. In order to be admitted, prospective students must fill out an application, submit an essay, participate in an interview, and attain a certain score on a math placement test.

Source: Courtesy of BASIS Scottsdale via Facebook

Arizona: BASIS Scottsdale
> Location: Scottsdale
> Number of students: 1,081
> Student-teacher ratio: 11-to-1
> Avg. SAT score: 1480
> Avg. graduation rate: 95%

BASIS Scottsdale ranks as the best high school in Arizona, in part because of student achievement on college entrance exams. The average SAT score at the school is 1480, the highest of any public high school in the state. Enrolled students benefit from small class sizes as the district employs about one teacher for every 11 students.

BASIS Scottsdale offers students what it describes as a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics)-inspired liberal arts curriculum. As is the case in many schools on this list, BASIS Scottsdale is a charter school, and to maintain small class sizes, a lottery system is often used to determine who can enroll and who cannot.

Source: Courtesy of Haas Hall Academy

Arkansas: Haas Hall Academy
> Location: Fayetteville
> Number of students: 466
> Student-teacher ratio: 16-to-1
> Avg. SAT score: 1320
> Avg. graduation rate: 95%

Haas Hall Academy is a charter school located in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The best school in the state, Haas Hall has a 95% graduation rate, a reading proficiency rate of 96%, and a math proficiency rate of 94%. Students at the school are more likely to enroll in Advanced Placement courses than those in any other high school in Arkansas.

Source: Gunn High / Wikimedia Commons

California: Henry M. Gunn High School
> Location: Palo Alto
> Number of students: 2,006
> Student-teacher ratio: 19-to-1
> Avg. SAT score: 1410
> Avg. graduation rate: 96%

Henry M. Gunn High School, located in Palo Alto, ranks as the best public high school in California. An average of 96% of seniors at the school graduate on time, and the average SAT score among survey respondents is 1410 — well above that of the vast majority of test-takers nationwide.

Students of well-educated parents are more likely to have high academic achievement. In the Palo Alto Unified School District, 83.8% of adults have a bachelor’s degree or higher, well above the 31.5% share of adults nationwide.