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Best K-12 private school in every state

  • Best K-12 private school in every state

    How does one define student success? Educators, administrators, parents, and even students themselves have tried to pin down a neat definition over the years, with mixed results. From GPAs to eventual job placement, the factors that contribute to an institution's effectiveness are often subjective. Therefore, when ranking schools, it can be difficult to determine what makes a school “the best.”

    That said, there are traditional hallmarks of academic excellence that can be used to measure the quality of an institution. College admission rates, AP test scores, the number of students who go on to colleges, and the quality and rigor of the curriculum are all factors that may be considered when determining which schools come out on top.

    To see how the best of the best compared in every state around the country, Stacker gathered data from Niche on private primary schools in every state. According to Niche, the rankings are “based on rigorous analysis of key statistics and millions of reviews from students and parents. Ranking factors include SAT/ACT scores, the quality of colleges that students consider, student-teacher ratio, private school ratings, and more.”

    Even within this framework, a closer look at the schools that made up the 50 best (not counting the District of Columbia) reveals as much about the states in which they are based as they do about the nature of academic and educational excellence. From schools with a religious grounding in the comparatively religious American South to schools with alternative health practices and viewpoints in the alternative Southwest, each school’s traditions and history are often tied to local culture.

    Financial aid is a significant factor many families must consider when looking to send their children to schools that are considered the best. Some schools have notably generous financial aid policies—with one even offering a sliding scale—while others are less generous.

    From Alabama to Wyoming, Stacker takes a look at the best K-12 private school in each state. Check out this slideshow to find out which school in your state stands out among the rest. 

    You may also like: Best value colleges in America

  • Alabama: Randolph School

    - City: Huntsville
    - Enrollment: 967
    - Student to teacher ratio: 10:1
    - Yearly tuition: $19,490
    - Students receiving financial aid: data not available

    The Randolph School may be in Alabama, but the school’s alumni have gone on to make impacts far and wide. Notable alums include the White House director of digital strategy during the Obama administration, opera singers at the Metropolitan Opera, and even the co-founder of Wikipedia. Thanks to a recent grant from the Ford Foundation, the school is also actively expanding its tuition assistance program.

  • Alaska: Holy Rosary Academy

    - City: Anchorage
    - Enrollment: 147
    - Student to teacher ratio: 9:1
    - Yearly tuition: data not available
    - Students receiving financial aid: data not available

    Holy Rosary’s curriculum is unique and relatively rare in its focus on the classics, including Greek, Latin, and philosophy instruction, along with its reading, writing, and math curriculum. The school has been recognized as one of the leading Catholic schools in the world.

  • Arizona: Phoenix Country Day School

    - City: Paradise Valley
    - Enrollment: 750
    - Student to teacher ratio: 7:1
    - Yearly tuition: $25,000
    - Students receiving financial aid: 23%

    With a 40-acre campus, Phoenix Country Day School has the room to offer amenities like swimming pools, tennis courts, multiple athletic fields and gyms, science labs, art studios, and a music building. The school supports many extracurricular activities, including debate and robotics clubs that have won awards statewide.

  • Arkansas: Pulaski Academy

    - City: Little Rock
    - Enrollment: 1,393
    - Student to teacher ratio: 8:1
    - Yearly tuition: data not available
    - Students receiving financial aid: data not available

    Pulaski Academy has the distinction of being the only independent, non-sectarian college preparatory school in Arkansas. But the school comes with controversy, too: It was founded in 1971 by a businessman who was upset about racial integration and school busing programs. “I even hope we’ll be able to play 'Dixie' if we want to without having a riot about it,” he said. Although the school eventually opened up to students of all races, its population is still 78% white.

  • California: Polytechnic School

    - City: Pasadena
    - Enrollment: 859
    - Student to teacher ratio: 7:1
    - Yearly tuition: $37,500
    - Students receiving financial aid: 22%

    Founded in the early 20th century in a former orange grove, Polytechnic School is widely considered one of the leading academic institutions in the world. The school often has the highest percentage of students score a 3 or higher on Advanced Placement tests compared to all other schools that administer the test, and was named by the Wall Street Journal as the #4 feeder school to elite colleges in the country.

  • Colorado: Colorado Academy

    - City: Denver
    - Enrollment: 979
    - Student to teacher ratio: 6:1
    - Yearly tuition: $28,090
    - Students receiving financial aid: 19%

    Colorado Academy hosts a unique program each spring called Interim, in which students get out of the classroom for a week for trips to Denver and beyond to build relationships and develop other skills. Options include flyfishing, glassblowing, yoga, and woodworking. Those skills seem to serve the students well—notable alumni include two Olympic figure skaters and a former ambassador to Sweden.

  • Connecticut: Greenwich Academy

    - City: Greenwich
    - Enrollment: 784
    - Student to teacher ratio: 8:1
    - Yearly tuition: $41,890
    - Students receiving financial aid: data not available

    The alma mater of no less than Jane Fonda, Ethel Kennedy, and "Girls" actress Allison Williams, Greenwich Academy is the oldest girls school in Connecticut. With a mission to counter the gender imbalance in these fields, the school has a heavy focus on STEM and robotics. Its literary magazine, Daedalus, has won numerous awards, including 21 gold medals from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association.

  • Delaware: Tower Hill School

    - City: Wilmington
    - Enrollment: 722
    - Student to teacher ratio: 8:1
    - Yearly tuition: $30,126
    - Students receiving financial aid: 28%

    Situated at the highest point in the city of Wilmington, the Tower Hill School is a nationally recognized leader in secondary education. However, a recent controversy shook the school’s reputation. In 2014, its former headmaster was sentenced to 50 years in prison for dealing in child pornography.

  • Florida: Pine Crest School

    - City: Fort Lauderdale
    - Enrollment: 2,636
    - Student to teacher ratio: 8:1
    - Yearly tuition: $33,500
    - Students receiving financial aid: 18%

    While routinely ranking among the top schools in the nation for its academics and performing arts, the Pine Crest School recently added another feather to its cap in a new field. On the hunt for investors, 15-year-old sophomore lacrosse team member Rachel Zietz pitched her idea for a new kind of lacrosse equipment on the nationally broadcast television show “Shark Tank.”

  • Georgia: The Westminster Schools

    - City: Atlanta
    - Enrollment: 1,874
    - Student to teacher ratio: 7:1
    - Yearly tuition: $29,275
    - Students receiving financial aid: 13%

    The Westminster Schools’ illustrious alumni list is also notably diverse—it includes “Gone with the Wind” author Margaret Mitchell, a bassist for Old Crow Medicine Show, and two alumni of "The Daily Show." More than $5 million is awarded annually in financial aid.

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