The best public high schools in the United States prepare students for college by providing strong math and reading curriculum, as well as high graduation rates and gains among underserved populations. The best public High Schools in the US according to US news high school rankings 2022 provide students with a path to academic and real-world success. Students learn academic research, peer collaboration, and technological innovation skills. Dual-enrollment programs for college credit are available in good high schools.
Honors, advanced placement (AP), and international baccalaureate (IB) classes are also available. Science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) courses are also heavily emphasized in good schools. Counseling for college, financial aid, and scholarship applications are available at the best high schools in the United States. These schools also assist students in obtaining internships and job opportunities.
Types of High Schools
Students receive free public education from public, charter, and magnet schools, which include rigorous academic curricula as well as blended, digital, and online learning opportunities.
1. Public High Schools
The Office of Elementary and Secondary Education develops policies to ensure that all students have access to a free and inclusive public education. Some public high schools in the US provide blended and digital learning opportunities, as well as online courses for rural and remote students, as well as computer science and STEM classes. Others offer accelerated learning, postsecondary courses, and music and arts programs. 41 states, the District of Columbia, four territories, and the Department of Defense Education Activity have adopted Common Core State Standards in math and English language arts.
2. Charter High Schools
Charter schools design classrooms that meet the needs of their students. Charter schools, as opposed to independently operated public entities, are run by a charter school authorizer. These schools follow the academic performance standards established in their charters and communities. Charter schools accept students of all racial and ethnic backgrounds, as well as students from all socioeconomic backgrounds. These tuition-free schools foster a school-wide culture that encourages teachers to use innovative and high-quality instructional practices.
3. Magnet High Schools
Magnet schools accept students from all socioeconomic backgrounds, racial and ethnic backgrounds, and academic levels. Due to the high demand for specialized curricula, the majority of these tuition-free schools use a lottery system to admit students. STEM, fine and performing arts, IB, international studies, career, and technical education, and world languages are all included in the magnet school curriculum. These schools adhere to state standards and frequently outperform expected learning outcomes.
Top 20 Public High Schools In The United States
To find the best public high schools in the US, we looked for schools that provide a traditional high school experience and atmosphere. The list excludes public high schools on college campuses and schools with students in the seventh or lower grades.
To improve student education in mathematics, science, and technology, Fairfax County Public Schools and the business community collaborated to establish Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. This high school is in Northern Virginia’s regional magnet Governor’s School for Science and Technology. STEM subjects, problem-solving, critical inquiry and research, intellectual curiosity, and social responsibility are all emphasized in the curriculum. All honours, gifted, AP, and post-AP courses are taught by faculty.
Students are required to take AP classes, and the school has a 100% pass rate on advanced placement exams. Students are required to participate in an activity period that is included in the instructional day. Learners can choose from over 150 clubs and activities. The school is a founding member of the National Consortium for Specialized Secondary Schools of Math, Science, and Technology.
Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology has very strict admissions requirements, which include an entrance exam, a personal essay, recommendations, and a track record of high academic achievement. The demonstrated aptitude and passion of students for studies in the mathematical, scientific, and technological fields are also considered in the admissions process. This is one of the Best Public High Schools in the US in 2022 today and among the best high schools in America.
Carnegie Vanguard High School is a community-focused magnet school that offers AP, pre-AP, and honours electives. 98% of its students were admitted to four-year colleges or universities, and 100% of its students passed AP exams. 100 hours of community service and ten AP courses are required for graduation. Carnegie Vanguard High School has clubs that emphasize community service and academics. Universal assessment scores, teacher recommendations, transcripts, and identification as gifted or talented are all required for admission. This is one of the Best Public Schools in the US according to the US news high school rankings 2022.
Liberal Arts and Science Academy, an advanced academic magnet high school in Austin, Texas, recruits academically gifted students from public and private middle schools. AP classes are taken by 95% of its students, with a 96% pass rate. The four-year college and university admission rate is 95.5%. The Liberal Arts and Science Academy offers project-based courses that emphasize discussion, research, and seminar-style classes. As a cornerstone of its curriculum, the school offers its collaborative Signature Courses.
Student groups conduct scientific and humanities research, design, implement, and present projects. Outside of the classroom, Liberal Arts and Science Academy has chess, debate, Future Teachers of America, and philosophy teams and clubs. French, German, Spanish, and Chinese are among the foreign language clubs. This school maintains a competitive admissions process based on previous achievements, test scores, and teacher recommendations. This is one of the Best Public High Schools in the US in 2022 today and among the best high schools in America.
Gilbert Classical Academy offers a comprehensive, rigorous curriculum that emphasizes the Socratic method of instruction. By only offering honors and AP courses, the school prepares students for college-level study. All students take AP courses, and the exam pass rate is 98%. Gilbert Classical Academy’s curriculum is supplemented with fine arts courses, clubs, and athletics. Each student is required to perform 80 hours of community service and defend a senior thesis project. Enrollment at Gilbert Classical Academy necessitates the completion of prerequisite courses. This is one of the Best Public Schools in the US according to the US news high school rankings 2022.
Senior High School for Design and Architecture is a magnet school that teaches students the fundamentals of visual communications, fine art, entertainment, and architecture. Traditional science, math, and language arts courses are also available to students. Senior High School for Design and Architecture offers AP and honors classes, as well as dual-enrollment courses with local colleges. AP courses are taken by 98% of students. Internships with local design firms provide students with real-world experience.
Students from low-income families make up 40% of the Design and Architecture Senior High School student body. The United States Department of Education designated Design and Architecture Senior High School as a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence. To be considered, each applicant must submit a sketchbook, a portfolio, and an audition. This is one of the Best Public High Schools in the US in 2022 today and among the best high schools in America.
This is one of the Best Public Schools in the US according to the US news high school rankings 2022. University High School is a college prep school that offers courses in math, science, English, and modern languages. Through a curriculum of honors and AP courses, the high school serves academically focused and intellectually gifted students. Foreign language classes are available at the school, including Chinese, French, and German. University High School collaborates with the University of Arizona to offer engineering courses concurrently.
The school shares a campus with Rincon High School, and University High School students have access to Rincon High School classes in addition to University High School classes. Except for the University High School chess team, Science Olympiad, Academic Decathlon, and Mock Trial, the schools share the majority of clubs. Academic competitions at the regional, state, and national levels are held for students. Admissions are based on qualifying scores on the Cognitive Abilities entrance exam and GPA in the two semesters preceding enrollment.
This magnet school places a premium on cultural awareness and responsible citizenship. Honor, AP, and IB classes are available at the school. Stanton College Preparatory School offers honors and AP core courses. Ninety-nine% of students participate in the IB program, with a 100% completion rate. Because of partnerships with the University of North Florida and Florida State College at Jacksonville, students at Stanton College Preparatory School can earn college credit while still in high school.
Honor societies, special interest groups, academic teams, service clubs, and music are among the more than 50 clubs and organizations at the school. Stanton College Preparatory School was named a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence by the United States Department of Education. This is one of the Best Public High Schools in the US in 2022 today and among the best high schools in America.
All IB courses and exams must be completed by International Academy students. Enrollees can earn up to one year of college credit before graduating from high school. This institution combines rigorous academic standards with hands-on, career-oriented learning. Among other core courses, the curriculum emphasizes English, the arts, humanities, science, and technology. As part of its Middle Years Program, the school also provides primarily honours classes. Okma, East, and West are the three campuses of International Academy.
To graduate from International Academy, each student must complete 150 hours of community service or co-curricular activities. Chess, dance, film, and robotics are just a few of the extracurricular activities available. A lottery system is used to select students for admission to International Academy. This is one of the Best Public Schools in the US according to the US news high school rankings 2022.
Downingtown STEM Academy is a high-performing public magnet school in Downingtown, Pennsylvania. Every student at this IB World School has the opportunity to earn an IB diploma. Students engage in rigorous, challenging academic work that necessitates a growth and effort mindset. The IB program is used by 90% of students who enrol. Traditional credits must account for at least 75% of a student’s credit requirements in each category. Except for dual-enrollment courses, grades are not calculated into a student’s GPA.
Many clubs and athletic teams are available at the school, in addition to programs available at the student’s home school within the school district. Prerequisite courses, a written essay, a recommendation from a teacher, and an interview are all required for admission. This is one of the Best Public High Schools in the US in 2022 today and among the best high schools in America.
The NYC Department of Education has designated Staten Island Technical High School as a Specialized High School. These institutions cater to the needs of gifted students in New York City. Staten Island Technical High School provides a rigorous college preparatory curriculum centred on mathematics, science, engineering, computers, and the humanities. The high school also places a strong emphasis on health, fitness, and the performing arts. Science, engineering, and computer laboratories are available to students.
The school has a 100% participation rate in AP classes, with 94% of students passing AP exams. In addition, Staten Island Technical High School provides an Early College Initiative and a college dual-enrollment program. Students who excel in the sciences at Staten Island Technical High School are eligible to participate in the school’s Science Engineering Research Program. Students can discover their career and life goals through a variety of career training and learning exploration opportunities, such as worksite visits, internships, and visits from guest speakers.
Staten Island Technical High School reports that all of its students are accepted into colleges and universities. Economically disadvantaged students make up 31% of the student body. Staten Island Technical High School has a high level of competition. Students are admitted after passing the difficult Specialized High School Admissions Test. This is one of the Best Public Schools in the US according to the US news high school rankings 2022.
Brooklyn Latin School educates students in the classical liberal arts tradition. Students receive a solid foundation in STEM, history, English, Latin, and modern world languages. The NYC Department of Education has designated the school as a Specialized High School. Brooklyn Latin School caters to the needs of gifted students in New York City. Students can pursue the IB Diploma Program while also earning college credits through dual enrollment. Structured writing and public speaking are emphasized in class.
Students can participate in Socratic seminars and learn by communicating using formal discussion rules. Students divide learning tasks and then teach one another in small groups. Each student studies Latin and laboratory sciences for four years before completing an extended research essay. The school expects students to try to make the world a better place by volunteering in their communities and assisting those in need.
At Brooklyn Latin School, economically disadvantaged students make up 67% of the student body. Students are admitted after passing the difficult Specialized High School Admissions Test. This is one of the Best Public High Schools in the US in 2022 today and among the best high schools in America.
Bergen County Academies is a free public magnet high school for residents of Bergen County. Among other things, the school provides specialized programs in math, science, engineering, design, and medical science. This tuition-free school serves students in grades 9 through 12. Bergen County Academies has an extensive extracurricular program and a distinguished faculty, many of whom hold doctorates in their respective fields. Although it offers 16 AP classes, the school does not prioritize them.
Enrollees take courses that often outperform AP courses in terms of technical rigour and creativity. Learners can also earn college credits by enrolling in dual-enrollment classes. Bergen County Academies admission remains extremely competitive, with the school typically accepting approximately 270 of the 1,600+ applicants each year through a process that includes letters of recommendation, exams, and interviews. The acceptance rate at the school is 16%.
This Blue Ribbon School is a member of the National Consortium for Specialized Secondary Schools of Mathematics, Science, and Technology. The New Jersey Department of Education designated this institution as a Model School in the Arts after it hosted five Intel Science Talent Search finalists in the previous five years. This is one of the Best Public Schools in the US according to the US news high school rankings 2022.
Academic Magnet High School caters to students who are academically gifted and motivated. The high school encourages students to develop a sense of global responsibility, give back to their community, and respect cultural diversity. In addition to the rigorous academic requirements, each enrollee must complete 90 hours of community service, take and pass at least four AP courses while in high school, complete a summer reading list, and write a senior thesis (a year-long independent research project).
Despite these stringent requirements, Academic Magnet High School graduates 95% of its students. Academic Magnet High School has a number of sports teams as well as more than 50 student clubs, including chess, debate, robotics, and physics. Each applicant must submit a written essay, grades from middle school, test scores, and teacher recommendations. This is one of the Best Public High Schools in the US in 2022 today and among the best high schools in America.
This is one of the Best Public Schools in the US according to the US news high school rankings 2022. Townsend Harris High School is a public humanities magnet high school in Queens, New York. The school encourages students to strive for excellence and to commit to serving their communities as part of its mission. The rigorous curriculum at Townsend Harris High School consists primarily of AP courses. AP exams are taken by 97% of enrollees, with a 99% pass rate. Townsend Harris students can also earn college credits while taking high school courses for dual credit.
Students may also enrol in Queens College language courses with permission from the department supervisor. At Townsend Harris High School, 78% of students come from historically marginalized groups, and 55% come from economically disadvantaged families. Many of the clubs and activities at the schools are centred on academics and community service. Students applying to Townsend Harris High School must have at least a 90% overall average, excellent standardized test scores, and excellent attendance and punctuality.
The Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology emphasizes STEM education through project-based learning. The campus includes sound and video digital media production facilities, science labs, and large project spaces for engineering, robotics, art, and design. Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology has a 100% AP participation rate and a 96% AP exam pass rate. Chemistry, physics, engineering, and language arts are among the courses available.
Some students may be eligible for dual-enrollment programs that allow them to earn early college credits. Many student clubs are available at the school, including architecture, debate, and robotics. Seventy% of its graduates attend college within a year of graduating. Economically disadvantaged students make up 36% of the student body. Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology has received the National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence designation.
Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology admits students through a lottery system. This is one of the Best Public High Schools in the US in 2022 today and among the best high schools in America.
This is one of the Best Public High Schools in the US in 2022 today and among the best high schools in America. Walter Payton College Preparatory High School is a selective-enrollment magnet school with a curriculum that emphasizes honours and AP courses in science, math, humanities, language, and other subjects. Foreign language courses are also available at the high school, including French, Japanese, Chinese, Latin, and Spanish. Global exchange and study programs are available for students in China, France, Brazil, and South Africa. Each student studies a foreign language for four years.
Walter Payton College Preparatory High School offers competitive sports programs as well as a variety of school clubs including astronomy, chess, debate, and photography. The school also maintains a strong commitment to community service and engagement. Students from low-income families make up 31% of the student body. Within a year of graduating, 85% of students enrol in college or university. 88% had enrolled within 16 months. Walter Payton College Preparatory High School is an Intel School of Distinction and has received the National Blue Ribbon Award.
Bronx High School of Science is still classified as a Specialized High School by the New York City Department of Education. This selective public high school focuses on college preparation by offering courses in foreign languages, fine arts, math, and science. Students from low-income families make up 44% of the student body. The school offers instruction in eight foreign languages. Drama, health, and visual arts are all required classes.
In addition to the Bronx High School of Science’s fast-paced science and math curriculum, every student takes ninth-grade writing seminars and research literacy courses. Students can select from more than a dozen AP classes, with advanced placement coursework being taken by 91% of the school’s students. Several post-AP courses are also available at the high school, including multivariable calculus, genetics, and organic chemistry. Candidates who meet the prerequisites may also enrol in dual enrollment courses.
The school has eight Nobel laureates among its alumni, as well as eight National Medal of Science winners and six Pulitzer Prize winners. The National Consortium for Specialized Secondary Schools of Mathematics, Science, and Technology includes the Bronx High School of Science. The Specialized High Schools Admissions Test is used to determine admission to the high school. This is one of the Best Public Schools in the US according to the US news high school rankings 2022.
Bergen County Technical High School – Teterboro offers AP classes, with 97% of students pursuing advanced placement. Students can pursue a technical major while also taking college preparatory classes. The high school also offers a wide range of electives. Before graduating from high school, students can take college courses at Fairleigh Dickinson University and Bergen Community College. Each year, students can compete in the SkillsUSA competition. Traditional fall, winter, and spring sports are also available to students.
Bergen County Technical High School – Teterboro is a National Blue Ribbon School and a member of the National Consortium of Specialized Secondary Schools of Mathematics, Science, and Technology, as well as the Coalition of Essential Schools. This is one of the Best Public High Schools in the US in 2022 today and among the best high schools in America.
This is one of the Best Public Schools in the US according to the US news high school rankings 2022. Suncoast Community High School is a public college-preparatory high school that offers four magnet programs in Innovative Interactive Technology, International Baccalaureate, Computer Science, and Math, Science, and Engineering. All of its students take AP courses, while 52% take IB courses. Students at Suncoast Community High School can earn standard, IB, and AP international diplomas. Students can gain real-world experience by completing executive internships.
Learners can also earn industry certifications through its software and hardware programs, giving them a competitive advantage after graduation. Economically disadvantaged students make up 27% of the student body. Students can participate in over 80 organizations and clubs, as well as 44 athletic teams. Admission to this high school is primarily based on test scores, recommendations, and grades. Learners who complete the IB Middle Years Program at local middle schools are also automatically admitted to the school.
The NYC Department of Education granted Stuyvesant High School Specialized High School status to meet the needs of gifted New York City students. This high school’s educational program focuses on math, science, and technology. Students can also study criminal law and journalism, in addition to a comprehensive humanities program. Each student studies a single foreign language for three years. There are five bands, a symphony orchestra, and a jazz combo at the high school. Learners can also work together to put on theatrical productions.
Sports teams, a robotics team, academic teams, and numerous clubs are available at Stuyvesant High School. Economically disadvantaged students make up 43% of the Stuyvesant High School student body. Historically marginalized groups account for 81% of students. Four Stuyvesant High School graduates have won the Nobel Peace Prize. Students are admitted after passing the difficult Specialized High School Admissions Test. This is one of the Best Public Schools in the US according to the US news high school rankings 2022.
There you have it, these are the Top 20 Best Public High Schools in the US in 2022. The best public high schools in the United States prepare students for college by providing strong math and reading curriculum, as well as high graduation rates and gains among underserved populations.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Characteristics Characterize a Good High School?
A good high school outperforms academic expectations and maintains high-performance indicators. Good schools provide helpful student resources as well as support for teachers. They also cultivate a sense of community and well-being among their students.
Which State Has The Most Excellent Public Schools?
Massachusetts public schools led the nation in technological advancements, virtual and online learning opportunities, and other categories such as math and reading test results and SAT scores.
In Terms Of Education, Where Does America Stand?
America ranks 13th in reading and 36th in math, according to the Programme for International Student Assessment.
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