Top Public High Schools in the US

The significance of a good high school education cannot be stressed enough. It paves the way for entry into a good college or university, or prepares students to transition for life after school.

What makes a good high school education? Students should be encouraged to strive to meet academic challenges and provided with sufficient freedom to explore their various interests and talents. In so doing, public schools can help students become better prepared to transition from secondary school to university, or even to enter the workforce.

U.S. News & World Report, in partnership with the Washington, D.C.-based American Institutes for Research (AIR), one of the largest behavioral and social science research organizations in the world. has released the 2013 Best High Schools Rankings, using data collected from 21,035 public high schools from 49 states and the District of Columbia. The state of Nebraska did not report sufficient data and was not included in the rankings.

Best High Schools 2013

  • School for the Talented and Gifted – Located in Dallas, Texas, under the Dallas Independent School District, this school follows the state’s Distinguished Achievement Program, with emphasis on Advanced Placement curriculum. Students are required to successfully complete 11 AP courses in order to graduate. The School for the Talented and Gifted provides students with opportunities to conduct field research through partnerships with local universities and take various electives or enroll in mini courses that fit their personal interests.
  • BASIS Tucson – Students at this Arizona public school can choose to graduate within three years or stay on for an additional year to complete capstone courses and an elective senior project. This school uses an accelerated curriculum that includes Advanced Placement courses in such subjects as calculus or music theory, to name a few. Students are also provided with various extracurricular opportunities including roller derby, fencing, and robo-rocketry, among others.
  • Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science and Technology – Ranked 1st within Georgia, Gwinnet School of Mathematics, Science and Technology also serves as one of the several STEM options within Georgia’s Gwinnett County Public Schools system. GSMST provides students with the opportunity to take Advanced Placement course work and exams. The school has an AP participation rate of 100 percent.
  • Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology ­– This school, located in Fairfax County, Virginia, uses a STEM-focused curriculum, beginning with the Freshman Integrated Biology, English, and Technology program, and concluding with a technical lab project for senior students. The school prides itself in its 13 specialized research labs (e.g., astrophysics laboratory, microelectronics laboratory and oceanography laboratory, to name a few). Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology includes various extracurricular activities and athletic teams.
  • BASIS Scottsdale – This school is one of eight BASIS charter schools located in Arizona, and is ranked 2nd within the state. Students at BASIS Scottsdale are given the opportunity to take Advanced Placement course work and exams. BASIS Scottsdale has an AP participation rate of 100 percent.

Other Top High Schools:

  • Pine View School – Osprey, FL
  • Loveless Academic Magnet Program High School – Montgomery, AL
  • Biotechnology High School – Freehold, NJ
  • International School – Bellevue, WA
  • Academic Magnet High School – North Charleston , SC