Skip to main content

Main Area


Metros with the most highly ranked public high schools

  • #7. Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale

    - Top 200 public schools: 6
    - Highest ranked public schools: Basis Scottsdale (#9 nationally), BASIS Peoria (#55), BASIS Phoenix (#59)

    As BASIS curriculum schools, Peoria and Phoenix focus on subject matter other schools do not, teaching adolescents economics, engineering, and Mandarin, among other complex lessons. Along with Niche’s #2 ranking, BASIS Peoria was rated by the 2019 U.S. News & World Report as #3 for best STEM high schools, #5 for best charter high schools, and #21 for best U.S. high schools. BASIS Phoenix also ranked high in the report, coming in #35 for best U.S. high schools.

  • #6. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara

    - Top 200 public schools: 7
    - Highest ranked public schools: Henry M. Gunn High School (#27 nationally), Saratoga High School (#38), Palo Alto High School (#39)

    These top three high schools are located in the U.S. and Silicon Valley’s most expensive area, which offers abundant funding for advanced programs and curriculum. While Henry M. Gunn High School has more than 20 AP classes, it also offers unique programs including Advanced Authentic Research and Project Lead The Way. Despite being one of the top high schools in California, Palo Alto High School is not immune to school shooting threats, with one student taken into custody in August 2019. 

  • #5. Philadelphia

    - Top 200 public schools: 8
    - Highest ranked public schools: Julia R. Masterman Secondary School (#46 nationally), Conestoga Senior High School (#49), Charter School of Wilmington (#67)

    Two-time Blue Ribbon School for Educational Excellence Award winner, Julia R. Masterman Laboratory and Demonstration School also maintained Pennsylvania’s highest SAT and ACT scores since 2017. The school made recent news for English teacher David Neale’s inspiring speech to the 2019 graduating class. The Charter School of Wilmington, which admits students based on placement testing, has AP courses, a three-phase college preparatory curriculum, and the Junior Research and Science Fair that distinguish the school.


  • #4. Washington D.C.

    - Top 200 public schools: 8
    - Highest ranked public schools: Thomas Jefferson High School for Science & Technology (#1 nationally), Poolesville High School (#32), Winston Churchill High School (#78)

    Thomas Jefferson High School for Science & Technology claims the title of the nation’s top school, a national champion chess team, and robotics teams that compete on the world stage. Poolesville, noted for its design team, and Winston Churchill High School both fall in the Montgomery County Public School District in Maryland; whereas Thomas Jefferson High School for Science & Technology is in the Fairfax County Public School District in Virginia. Though the three schools are separated by different state boundaries, they all fall under Washington D.C.’s most elite high schools.

  • #3. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana

    - Top 200 public schools: 12
    - Highest ranked public schools: Troy High School (#63 nationally), California Academy of Mathematics & Science (#79), Palos Verdes Peninsula High School (#87)

    Troy High School has dominated the Science Olympiad, winning the national competition that features nearly 8,000 schools 11 of the past 20 years. Troy also won the Air Force’s National Youth Cyber Defense Competition, which began with over 6,000 schools, defeating Palos Verdes and 10 other finalist schools. The California Academy of Mathematics & Science, which is located on the campus of Cal State - Dominguez Hills and opened in 1990 with a mission to empower women and minorities, is the state’s top-rated magnet school and 12th overall public high school.

  • #2. Chicago

    - Top 200 public schools: 26
    - Highest ranked public schools: Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (#2 nationally), Walter Payton College Prep (#3), Northside College Preparatory High School (#11)

    The three-year residential Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy boasts a graduation rate of 99%, an average SAT score of 1450, and was Niche's #2 high school in 2019. Walter Payton College Prep, named for the Chicago Bears great, was the city’s most difficult to get into, followed by Northside. A labor dispute between the city and the Chicago Teachers Union over salaries and class sizes threatens a potential interruption to the 2019-20 school year.

  • #1. New York

    - Top 200 public schools: 40
    - Highest ranked public schools: Stuyvesant High School (#4 nationally), Bergen County Academies (#5), High Technology High School (#7)

    New York City spends over $17,000 per student, according to Politico, although a controversial provision in the city’s current funding plan provides an extra $1,000 per student at some elite schools. Stuyvesant High School was rated tops in New York for college prep and STEM classes by Niche, but a lack of diversity in admittance and recent spelling error has had the school in the national spotlight for the wrong reasons. Bergen County Academies, which was also rated the top high school in the state by USA Today, is located in northern New Jersey.

    You may also like: Most popular grad school majors in America 

2018 All rights reserved.