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The Best School Districts in Every State


Whether you're starting a family, selling a home or choosing a new city to live and work in, the strength and reputation of an area's public school district is of great importance.

StartClass sifted through data from the U.S. Department of Education and identified the best school district in every state (this list also includes Washington, D.C.). Each school district is evaluated using our Smart Rating system and scored on a scale from 1 to 100.

This was determined by picking the school with the highest Smart Rating, which is calculated using the school's average performance on a variety of standardized exams.

The ratings are primarily based off student math and reading proficiency on state assessment tests, with a few other institutional factors considered as well (i.e. student-teacher ratio, student discipline, etc.)

Each state’s selection for “Best School District” is determined by the highest average Smart Rating of all the schools in the district. Districts that have only one school or have charter schools were not included.

It’s important to note that each state defines the term “school district” differently. For example, Hawaii and Washington, D.C. each have just one school district for all schools in the state or territory. Other states have districts with a mix of school type—as in elementary schools, junior highs and high schools all together in the same school district.

Whether you're thinking of moving to a new area, or you're just curious about the best school district in your state, look no further: Here are the top school districts in each state, in order from lowest to highest Smart Rating.

High schools across the country spend four years preparing students for the "real world." Judging by the nation's climbing graduation rate over the past few years, schools have been doing their jobs effectively.

Schools are only rated against other high schools in their state — for example, high schools in California are only rated against other high schools in California, not against elementary schools in California or high schools in other states.

Alabama: Spain Park High School

Location: Hoover, AL
Total students: 1,535
Student-teacher ratio: 12:1

Alaska: South Anchorage High School

Location: Anchorage, AK
Total students: 1,545
Student-teacher ratio: 21:1

Arizona: University High School

Location: Tucson, AZ
Total students: 893
Student-teacher ratio: 21:1

Arkansas: Haas Hall Academy

Location: Fayetteville, AR
Total students: 316
Student-teacher ratio: 17:1

California: Gretchen Whitney High School

Location: Cerritos, CA
Total students: 1,021
Student-teacher ratio: 26:1

Colorado: D'evelyn Junior/Senior High School

Location: Denver, CO
Total students: 1,002
Student-teacher ratio: 20:1

Connecticut: Darien High School

Location: Darien, CT
Total students: 1,315
Student-teacher ratio: 11:1

Delaware: Charter School of Wilmington

Location: Wilmington, DE
Total students: 970
Student-teacher ratio: 20:1

Washington, District of Columbia: Benjamin Banneker Academy High School

Location: Washington, DC
Total students: 413
Student-teacher ratio: 15:1

Florida: Westshore Junior/Senior High School

Location: Melbourne, FL
Total students: 964
Student-teacher ratio: 17:1

Georgia: Columbus High School

Location: Columbus, GA
Total students: 1,333
Student-teacher ratio: 18:1

Hawaii: Kealakehe High School

Location: Kailua-kona, HI
Total students: 1,541
Student-teacher ratio: 19:1

Idaho: Malad Senior High School

Location: Malad City, ID
Total students: 248
Student-teacher ratio: 13:1

Illinois: Young Magnet High School

Location: Chicago, IL
Total students: 2,164
Student-teacher ratio: 20:1

Indiana: West Lafayette Junior/Senior High School

Location: West Lafayette, IN
Total students: 1,049
Student-teacher ratio: 16:1

Iowa: Gilbert High School

Location: Gilbert, IA
Total students: 388
Student-teacher ratio: 14:1

Kansas: Mill Valley High School

Location: Shawnee, KS
Total students: 1,138
Student-teacher ratio: 14:1

Kentucky: Dupont Manual High School

Location: Louisville, KY
Total students: 1,890
Student-teacher ratio: 21:1

Louisiana: Baton Rouge Magnet High School

Location: Baton Rouge, LA
Total students: 1,275
Student-teacher ratio: 18:1

Maine: Cape Elizabeth High School

Location: Cape Elizabeth, ME
Total students: 548
Student-teacher ratio: 12:1

Maryland: Western School of Technology and Environmental Science

Location: Baltimore, MD
Total students: 890
Student-teacher ratio: 15:1

Massachusetts: Winchester High School

Location: Winchester, MA
Total students: 1,091
Student-teacher ratio: 14:1

Michigan: International Academy of Macomb

Location: Clinton Township, MI
Total students: N/A
Student-teacher ratio: N/A

Minnesota: Mahtomedi Senior High School

Location: Mahtomedi, MN
Total students: 1,174
Student-teacher ratio: 20:1

Mississippi: Lewisburg High School

Location: Olive Branch, MS
Total students: 748
Student-teacher ratio: 19:1

Missouri: West High School

Location: Ballwin, MO
Total students: 1,222
Student-teacher ratio: 15:1

Montana: Frenchtown High School

Location: Frenchtown, MT
Total students: 393
Student-teacher ratio: 15:1

Nebraska: Auburn High School

Location: Auburn, NE
Total students: 264
Student-teacher ratio: 11:1

Nevada: Southeast Career Technical Academy

Location: Las Vegas, NV
Total students: 1,747
Student-teacher ratio: 20:1

New Hampshire: Bedford High School

Location: Bedford, NH
Total students: 1,327
Student-teacher ratio: 15:1

New Jersey: Haddonfield Memorial High School

Location: Haddonfield, NJ
Total students: 746
Student-teacher ratio: 12:1

New Mexico: Moreno Valley High School

Location: Angel Fire, NM
Total students: 89
Student-teacher ratio: 9:1

New York: Brighton High School

Location: Rochester, NY
Total students: 1,161
Student-teacher ratio: 11:1

North Carolina: Raleigh Charter High School

Location: Raleigh, NC
Total students: 557
Student-teacher ratio: 15:1

North Dakota: Carrington High School

Location: Carrington, ND
Total students: 273
Student-teacher ratio: 14:1

Ohio: Olentangy High School

Location: Lewis Center, OH
Total students: 1,261
Student-teacher ratio: 18:1

Oklahoma: Booker T. Washington High School

Location: Tulsa, OK
Total students: 1,302
Student-teacher ratio: 19:1

Oregon: Lakeridge High School

Location: Lake Oswego, OR
Total students: 1,051
Student-teacher ratio: 22:1

Pennsylvania: Mt. Lebanon Senior High School

Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Total students: 1,786
Student-teacher ratio: 15:1

Rhode Island: East Greenwich High School

Location: East Greenwich, RI
Total students: 767
Student-teacher ratio: 13:1

South Carolina: Academic Magnet High School

Location: North Charleston, SC
Total students: 618
Student-teacher ratio: 15:1

South Dakota: Hamlin High School

Location: Hayti, SD
Total students: 178
Student-teacher ratio: 15:1

Tennessee: Hume-Fogg Academic Magnet High School

Location: Nashville, TN
Total students: 917
Student-teacher ratio: 21:1

Texas: Wall High School

Location: Wall, TX
Total students: 313
Student-teacher ratio: 10:1

Utah: Maple Mountain High School

Location: Spanish Fork, UT
Total students: 1,242
Student-teacher ratio: 25:1

Vermont: South Burlington High School

Location: South Burlington, VT
Total students: 893
Student-teacher ratio: 13:1

Virginia: West Point High School

Location: West Point, VA
Total students: 254
Student-teacher ratio: 11:1

Washington: Interlake Senior High School

Location: Bellevue, WA
Total students: 1,510
Student-teacher ratio: 21:1

West Virginia: George Washington High School

Location: Charleston, WV
Total students: 1,108
Student-teacher ratio: 20:1

Wisconsin: East High School

Location: Brookfield, WI
Total students: 1,304
Student-teacher ratio: 17:1

Wyoming: Star Valley High School

Location: Afton, WY
Total students: 684
Student-teacher ratio: 16:1