Special Report

The 50 Best Public High Schools In America

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Using data compiled by education research platform Niche, 24/7 Wall St. identified the 50 best public high schools in the United States. Niche ranked schools based on a weighted index of seven measures, including self-reported standardized test scores, parent and student surveys, extracurricular activities, and indicators of teacher quality. A full description of each measure and its weighting is available here. Charter and magnet schools were excluded from analysis. 

American public schools are funded largely at the state and local levels, and some states are investing more in their schools than others. While greater funding does not always translate to better outcomes, many of the high schools on this list are in states that spend far more than average on education. New York, for example, spends an average of over $23,000 per pupil annually on public education, the most of any state. New York is also home to 11 high schools on this list, also the most of any state. (These are the best private schools in America.)

Additionally, many of these high schools are located in wealthy areas with a strong tax base for local schools to draw from. These areas include Palo Alto, California, and Lake Forest, Illinois, where most households earn over $170,000 a year. (Here is a look at the richest school district in every state.) 

It is important to note that some high schools on this list, though still taxpayer funded, are specialized schools that students often have to apply for or test to get accepted. These schools include South Carolina Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics and Stuyvesant High School in New York City.

Click here to see the best public high schools in America.

50. Winston Churchill High School
> Location: Montgomery County Public Schools, MD
> Student-teacher ratio: 17:1
> Avg. graduation rate: 97%
> Avg. SAT score: 1360 out of 1600
> Avg. ACT score: 30 out of 36
> Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 73%
> Total enrollment: 2,245

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49. Weston High School
> Location: Weston Public Schools, MA
> Student-teacher ratio: 10:1
> Avg. graduation rate: 95%
> Avg. SAT score: 1320 out of 1600
> Avg. ACT score: 31 out of 36
> Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 62%
> Total enrollment: 630

48. McLean High School
> Location: Fairfax County Public Schools, VA
> Student-teacher ratio: 17:1
> Avg. graduation rate: 95%
> Avg. SAT score: 1350 out of 1600
> Avg. ACT score: 31 out of 36
> Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 47%
> Total enrollment: 2,317

47. Manhasset Secondary School
> Location: Manhasset Union Free School District, NY
> Student-teacher ratio: 10:1
> Avg. graduation rate: 99%
> Avg. SAT score: 1360 out of 1600
> Avg. ACT score: 30 out of 36
> Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 54%
> Total enrollment: 976

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46. Carroll Senior High School
> Location: Carroll Independent School District, TX
> Student-teacher ratio: 14:1
> Avg. graduation rate: 99%
> Avg. SAT score: 1340 out of 1600
> Avg. ACT score: 30 out of 36
> Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 62%
> Total enrollment: 1,349

45. Lake Forest High School
> Location: Lake Forest, IL
> Student-teacher ratio: N/A
> Avg. graduation rate: 97%
> Avg. SAT score: 1340 out of 1600
> Avg. ACT score: 29 out of 36
> Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 44%
> Total enrollment: 1,501

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44. University High School
> Location: Tucson Unified School District, AZ
> Student-teacher ratio: 24:1
> Avg. graduation rate: 99%
> Avg. SAT score: 1340 out of 1600
> Avg. ACT score: 30 out of 36
> Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 100%
> Total enrollment: 1,222

43. New Trier Township High School
> Location: New Trier Township High School District No. 203, IL
> Student-teacher ratio: N/A
> Avg. graduation rate: 98%
> Avg. SAT score: 1350 out of 1600
> Avg. ACT score: 30 out of 36
> Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 29%
> Total enrollment: 3,040

42. Vernon Hills High School
> Location: Community High School District 128, IL
> Student-teacher ratio: N/A
> Avg. graduation rate: 98%
> Avg. SAT score: 1320 out of 1600
> Avg. ACT score: 29 out of 36
> Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 39%
> Total enrollment: 1,570

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41. International Academy
> Location: Oakland Schools, MI
> Student-teacher ratio: 1524:1
> Avg. graduation rate: 90%
> Avg. SAT score: 1400 out of 1600
> Avg. ACT score: 32 out of 36
> Students enrolled in at least one AP course: N/A
> Total enrollment: 1,524

40. Marriotts Ridge High School
> Location: Howard County Public Schools, MD
> Student-teacher ratio: 18:1
> Avg. graduation rate: 99%
> Avg. SAT score: 1350 out of 1600
> Avg. ACT score: 31 out of 36
> Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 53%
> Total enrollment: 1,597

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39. University High School
> Location: Irvine Unified School District, CA
> Student-teacher ratio: 26:1
> Avg. graduation rate: 94%
> Avg. SAT score: 1390 out of 1600
> Avg. ACT score: 31 out of 36
> Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 44%
> Total enrollment: 1,708

38. Westlake High School
> Location: Eanes Independent School District, TX
> Student-teacher ratio: 14:1
> Avg. graduation rate: 99%
> Avg. SAT score: 1350 out of 1600
> Avg. ACT score: 30 out of 36
> Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 69%
> Total enrollment: 2,827

37. Ladue Horton Watkins High School
> Location: Ladue School District, MO
> Student-teacher ratio: 14:1
> Avg. graduation rate: 99%
> Avg. SAT score: 1450 out of 1600
> Avg. ACT score: 29 out of 36
> Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 49%
> Total enrollment: 1,337

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36. Conestoga Senior High School
> Location: Tredyffrin-Easttown School District, PA
> Student-teacher ratio: 16:1
> Avg. graduation rate: 97%
> Avg. SAT score: 1340 out of 1600
> Avg. ACT score: 30 out of 36
> Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 51%
> Total enrollment: 2,318

35. Roslyn High School
> Location: Roslyn Union Free School District, NY
> Student-teacher ratio: 11:1
> Avg. graduation rate: 98%
> Avg. SAT score: 1360 out of 1600
> Avg. ACT score: 31 out of 36
> Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 50%
> Total enrollment: 1,025

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34. William Fremd High School
> Location: Township High School District No. 211, IL
> Student-teacher ratio: N/A
> Avg. graduation rate: 98%
> Avg. SAT score: 1340 out of 1600
> Avg. ACT score: 30 out of 36
> Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 48%
> Total enrollment: 2,650

33. Walt Whitman High School
> Location: Montgomery County Public Schools, MD
> Student-teacher ratio: 18:1
> Avg. graduation rate: 96%
> Avg. SAT score: 1360 out of 1600
> Avg. ACT score: 31 out of 36
> Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 65%
> Total enrollment: 1,991

32. A.D. Henderson University School & FAU High School
> Location: Boca Raton, FL
> Student-teacher ratio: 28:1
> Avg. graduation rate: 95%
> Avg. SAT score: 1370 out of 1600
> Avg. ACT score: 31 out of 36
> Students enrolled in at least one AP course: N/A
> Total enrollment: 1,273

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31. Glenbrook North High School
> Location: Glenbrook High Schools District 225, IL
> Student-teacher ratio: N/A
> Avg. graduation rate: 98%
> Avg. SAT score: 1340 out of 1600
> Avg. ACT score: 30 out of 36
> Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 31%
> Total enrollment: 2,025

30. Neuqua Valley High School
> Location: Indian Prairie Community Unit School District No. 204, IL
> Student-teacher ratio: N/A
> Avg. graduation rate: 98%
> Avg. SAT score: 1330 out of 1600
> Avg. ACT score: 29 out of 36
> Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 44%
> Total enrollment: 3,403

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29. Glenbrook South High School
> Location: Glenbrook High Schools District 225, IL
> Student-teacher ratio: N/A
> Avg. graduation rate: 98%
> Avg. SAT score: 1320 out of 1600
> Avg. ACT score: 30 out of 36
> Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 31%
> Total enrollment: 3,139

28. West Lafayette Junior/Senior High School
> Location: West Lafayette Community School Corporation, IN
> Student-teacher ratio: 15:1
> Avg. graduation rate: 95%
> Avg. SAT score: 1350 out of 1600
> Avg. ACT score: 32 out of 36
> Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 35%
> Total enrollment: 1,102

27. Syosset Senior High School
> Location: Syosset Central School District, NY
> Student-teacher ratio: 11:1
> Avg. graduation rate: 99%
> Avg. SAT score: 1360 out of 1600
> Avg. ACT score: 30 out of 36
> Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 68%
> Total enrollment: 2,208

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26. Bergen County Technical High School – Teterboro
> Location: Bergen County Vocational Technical School District, NJ
> Student-teacher ratio: 10:1
> Avg. graduation rate: 95%
> Avg. SAT score: 1370 out of 1600
> Avg. ACT score: 32 out of 36
> Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 66%
> Total enrollment: 677

25. Hinsdale Central High School
> Location: Hinsdale Township High School District No. 86, IL
> Student-teacher ratio: N/A
> Avg. graduation rate: 94%
> Avg. SAT score: 1360 out of 1600
> Avg. ACT score: 31 out of 36
> Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 40%
> Total enrollment: 2,613

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24. Saratoga High School
> Location: Los Gatos-Saratoga Joint Union High School District, CA
> Student-teacher ratio: 21:1
> Avg. graduation rate: 99%
> Avg. SAT score: 1430 out of 1600
> Avg. ACT score: 32 out of 36
> Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 56%
> Total enrollment: 1,159

23. Marine Academy of Technology & Environmental Science
> Location: Ocean County Vocational Technical School District, NJ
> Student-teacher ratio: 12:1
> Avg. graduation rate: 95%
> Avg. SAT score: 1420 out of 1600
> Avg. ACT score: 33 out of 36
> Students enrolled in at least one AP course: N/A
> Total enrollment: 277

22. Riverside STEM Academy
> Location: Riverside Unified School District, CA
> Student-teacher ratio: N/A
> Avg. graduation rate: 90%
> Avg. SAT score: 1350 out of 1600
> Avg. ACT score: 29 out of 36
> Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 68%
> Total enrollment: 655

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21. High School Math Science & Engineering at The City College of New York (CCNY)
> Location: New York City Geographic District No. 5, NY
> Student-teacher ratio: 15:1
> Avg. graduation rate: 95%
> Avg. SAT score: 1400 out of 1600
> Avg. ACT score: 31 out of 36
> Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 96%
> Total enrollment: 496

20. Palo Alto High School
> Location: Palo Alto Unified School District, CA
> Student-teacher ratio: 18:1
> Avg. graduation rate: 97%
> Avg. SAT score: 1390 out of 1600
> Avg. ACT score: 31 out of 36
> Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 42%
> Total enrollment: 2,085

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19. Lexington High School
> Location: Lexington Public Schools, MA
> Student-teacher ratio: 13:1
> Avg. graduation rate: 99%
> Avg. SAT score: 1380 out of 1600
> Avg. ACT score: 31 out of 36
> Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 45%
> Total enrollment: 2,261

18. High School of American Studies at Lehman College
> Location: New York City Geographic District No. 10, NY
> Student-teacher ratio: 14:1
> Avg. graduation rate: 95%
> Avg. SAT score: 1420 out of 1600
> Avg. ACT score: 32 out of 36
> Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 71%
> Total enrollment: 385

17. Great Neck South High School
> Location: Great Neck Public Schools, NY
> Student-teacher ratio: 11:1
> Avg. graduation rate: 97%
> Avg. SAT score: 1390 out of 1600
> Avg. ACT score: 31 out of 36
> Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 46%
> Total enrollment: 1,226

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16. Canyon Crest Academy
> Location: San Dieguito Union High School District, CA
> Student-teacher ratio: 28:1
> Avg. graduation rate: 99%
> Avg. SAT score: 1400 out of 1600
> Avg. ACT score: 31 out of 36
> Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 57%
> Total enrollment: 2,503

15. Troy High School
> Location: Fullerton Joint Union High School District, CA
> Student-teacher ratio: 23:1
> Avg. graduation rate: 99%
> Avg. SAT score: 1390 out of 1600
> Avg. ACT score: 32 out of 36
> Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 67%
> Total enrollment: 2,614

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14. Henry M. Gunn High School
> Location: Palo Alto Unified School District, CA
> Student-teacher ratio: 19:1
> Avg. graduation rate: 96%
> Avg. SAT score: 1420 out of 1600
> Avg. ACT score: 32 out of 36
> Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 40%
> Total enrollment: 1,936

13. Jericho Senior High School
> Location: Jericho Union Free School District, NY
> Student-teacher ratio: 12:1
> Avg. graduation rate: 98%
> Avg. SAT score: 1400 out of 1600
> Avg. ACT score: 31 out of 36
> Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 58%
> Total enrollment: 1,205

12. Biotechnology High School
> Location: Monmouth County Vocational School District, NJ
> Student-teacher ratio: 13:1
> Avg. graduation rate: 95%
> Avg. SAT score: 1480 out of 1600
> Avg. ACT score: 34 out of 36
> Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 23%
> Total enrollment: 315

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11. Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science & Technology
> Location: Gwinnett County Public Schools, GA
> Student-teacher ratio: 16:1
> Avg. graduation rate: 95%
> Avg. SAT score: 1380 out of 1600
> Avg. ACT score: 31 out of 36
> Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 72%
> Total enrollment: 1,197

10. Townsend Harris High School
> Location: New York City Geographic District No. 25, NY
> Student-teacher ratio: 18:1
> Avg. graduation rate: 99%
> Avg. SAT score: 1390 out of 1600
> Avg. ACT score: 31 out of 36
> Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 90%
> Total enrollment: 1,270

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9. Adlai E. Stevenson High School
> Location: Adlai E. Stevenson High School District No. 125, IL
> Student-teacher ratio: N/A
> Avg. graduation rate: 97%
> Avg. SAT score: 1360 out of 1600
> Avg. ACT score: 31 out of 36
> Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 51%
> Total enrollment: 4,315

8. Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics
> Location: Oklahoma City, OK
> Student-teacher ratio: 6:1
> Avg. graduation rate: 100%
> Avg. SAT score: 1420 out of 1600
> Avg. ACT score: 32 out of 36
> Students enrolled in at least one AP course: N/A
> Total enrollment: 150

7. Staten Island Technical High School
> Location: New York City Geographic District No. 31, NY
> Student-teacher ratio: 19:1
> Avg. graduation rate: 99%
> Avg. SAT score: 1430 out of 1600
> Avg. ACT score: 32 out of 36
> Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 95%
> Total enrollment: 1,336

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6. South Carolina Governor’s School for Science & Mathematics
> Location: Hartsville, SC
> Student-teacher ratio: N/A
> Avg. graduation rate: 95%
> Avg. SAT score: 1380 out of 1600
> Avg. ACT score: 31 out of 36
> Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 99%
> Total enrollment: 261

5. Stuyvesant High School
> Location: New York City Geographic District No. 2, NY
> Student-teacher ratio: 22:1
> Avg. graduation rate: 99%
> Avg. SAT score: 1480 out of 1600
> Avg. ACT score: 33 out of 36
> Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 56%
> Total enrollment: 3,357

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4. Bronx High School of Science
> Location: New York City Geographic District No. 10, NY
> Student-teacher ratio: 21:1
> Avg. graduation rate: 99%
> Avg. SAT score: 1440 out of 1600
> Avg. ACT score: 33 out of 36
> Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 69%
> Total enrollment: 2,937

3. University of Illinois High School
> Location: Urbana, IL
> Student-teacher ratio: N/A
> Avg. graduation rate: N/A
> Avg. SAT score: 1470 out of 1600
> Avg. ACT score: 33 out of 36
> Students enrolled in at least one AP course: N/A
> Total enrollment: 314

2. High Technology High School
> Location: Monmouth County Vocational School District, NJ
> Student-teacher ratio: 12:1
> Avg. graduation rate: 95%
> Avg. SAT score: 1520 out of 1600
> Avg. ACT score: 34 out of 36
> Students enrolled in at least one AP course: 44%
> Total enrollment: 295

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1. North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics
> Location: Durham, NC
> Student-teacher ratio: 7:1
> Avg. graduation rate: N/A
> Avg. SAT score: 1440 out of 1600
> Avg. ACT score: 33 out of 36
> Students enrolled in at least one AP course: N/A
> Total enrollment: 680

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