Most Influential Public High Schools in the US

We’ve identified the 50 top US public high schools based on the accumulative influence of their alumni. Influence is based on web traffic analysis and citations of alumni associated with these high schools.

Most Influential Public High Schools in the US

American high schools in the twenty-first century are facing the increasingly difficult challenge of keeping up with a changing world. Technology is improving and developing every day, history is being written in front of our eyes, scientists are unearthing new and exciting data, and high schools must prepare students for careers that don’t even exist yet.

Of the 23,815 (according to the National Center for Education Statistics) high schools located in the US, a few have risen to the top and proven themselves capable of training tomorrow’s leaders and game-changers. The top 50 public high school schools in America listed below are all distinctive and have developed programs tailored to the needs of their students, but they share a few common factors: highly-trained faculty members, a thoughtfully selected curriculum, advanced course offerings designed to prepare students for college and careers, and an atmosphere that promotes achievement and innovation.

Public school FAQs:

What is a public school?

Public schools in America are publicly-funded, tuition-free schools that are generally assigned to students based on their geography within a school district. Typical public schools provide instruction for grades 1–12 and adhere to a set of federal and state standards to design their curricula and set their benchmarks. Students are offered preparation for standardized tests including college admissions exams like the SAT or ACT as well as career and vocational training for students not looking to pursue a college degree. The best public schools separate themselves from the pack through specialized courses, above average test scores, and a commitment to going above and beyond the expected norms of the American education system.

What kinds of public schools are there?

Public schools come in all shapes, sizes, and designations. Charter schools are public schools established to meet a specific need within a community. Charter schools can specialize on a specific discipline such as STEM or the humanities, and the curricula used and course offerings available usually focus on preparing students to enter that discipline. Charter schools are a partnership between schools, families, and community stakeholders dedicated to providing diverse educational pathways to meet the needs of all students.

Magnet schools focus around a school theme such as art or science and aim to attract a diverse student population interested in honing their skills in that area. While still public schools, magnet school students may be subject to an audition process (particularly if pursuing a spot in a music or art program). Magnet schools can also help students gain specific diplomas through an International Baccalaureate program or an Advanced Placement designation program.

What factors should you look for in a top public school?

Factors that differentiate the best public schools from other schools are the availability of courses (AP, IB, and dual enrollment options), the quality of the faculty, the college acceptance and attendance rates, and the offerings for career and technical training. The top public schools nurture the student through individualized college and career counseling, educational paths to meet all goals, and a sense of community where students feel comfortable expressing themselves and asking questions.

How do we determine the best public high schools?

We rank schools based on the influencers associated with them, with both faculty and alumni considered. We gauge influence and map the relevant connections between people and institutions by considering not only the number of citations and web mentions, but the authority of entities making the citations. Based on our analysis, the ranked public high schools display higher concentrations of influential people associated with them. Influence comes in many forms, making this a rather unique ranking of high schools.

Our machine learning technology doesn’t simply scrape the web for mentions. The artificial intelligence (AI) behind it digs deeply, by

  1. identifying entities and institutions,
  2. finding mentions of the institution across the web,
  3. mapping the people that make up an institution, including independent work done by those people and their affiliations with other institutions, and
  4. mapping institutional output by identifying ideas as entities for further tracking.

As this mapping develops and signals strengthen between these entities, we collect essential data for comparing the influence of public high schools in the US.

More about us and our methodology.

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The Best Public Schools in the US

  1. 1

    Stuyvesant High School

    Stuyvesant High School

    New York City, New York

    Stuyvesant High School (commonly referred to as Stuy) in New York City is a magnet high school founded in 1904. Originally Manhattan’s first trade school for boys, the school is now a co-educational school that attracts students interested in an education specializing in science, math, or technology.

    Admission to Stuy is open to all New York City students and is based solely on performance on the Specialized High Schools Admission Test which is available to rising ninth and tenth graders each year.

    The school offers 31 AP classes for students to select from. Ninety-eight percent of students passed their AP exams in 2018. Stay has produced a total of four Nobel laureates and a number of influential scientists and mathematicians.

    Students at Stuy frequently matriculate to the Ivies and other nationally-acclaimed schools.

    Stuyvesant High School stats:

    • Student/teacher ratio: 22:1
    • Total students: 3,348
    • Average SAT score: 1,480
    • Critical thinking: 720
    • Math: 760
    • Average ACT score: 33

    Most influential alumni:

  2. 2

    Beverly Hills High School

    Beverly Hills High School

    Beverly Hills, California

    Beverly Hills High School in Beverly Hills, California was founded in 1927. BHHS has over 180 course offerings to prepare students for college and the twenty-first century workforce. BHHS has been named a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence, a New American High School, and a California Distinguished School.

    BHHS offers 22 honors classes and 21 AP classes. In 2020, 362 students took a total of 920 AP exams. Additionally, students can participate in one of over 90 student-run clubs or organizations available on campus. Ninety-four percent of the Class of 2020 went directly into college, attending universities such as Emory University, Vanderbilt University, and University of Southern California.

    Beverly Hills High School stats:

    • Student/teacher ratio: 17:1
    • Total students: 1,258
    • Average SAT score: 1,130
    • Critical thinking: 566
    • Math: 564
    • Average ACT score: 26

    Most influential alumni:

  3. 3

    The Bronx High School of Science

    The Bronx High School of Science

    The Bronx, New York

    The Bronx High School of Science is a magnet school in the Bronx, New York, founded in 1938. The school is renowned for producing eight Nobel laureates (making it one of two schools tied for the honor of graduating the most Nobel laureates in the world) and eight Pulitzer Prize winners.

    In 2013, the school opened a Holocaust Museum with over 900 artifacts to honor the Jewish heritage of many of their students and alumni. The museum brings history front and center to a school devoted primarily to the study of science, and in conjunction with the Holocaust history classes taught at the school can bring awareness to the need to fight for justice locally and around the world.

    The school offers AP and honors classes and routinely graduates students who become leaders in scientific disciplines.

    The Bronx High School of Science stats:

    • Average class size: 30
    • Student/teacher ratio: 21:1
    • Total students: 3,020
    • Average ACT score:

    Most influential alumni:

  4. 4

    New Trier High School

    New Trier High School

    Winnetka, Illinois

    New Trier High School in Winnetka, Illinois, was founded in 1901. The school describes itself as having a small school feel with large school resources. That sentiment is reflected in their advisor program where more than 40% of the faculty serve as advisors and meet with small groups of 25 students each day for 25 minutes.

    New Trier students have the opportunity to join the Integrated Global Studies School. An institution within the larger school where students can design their own curriculum and learn about complex global and local issues. Student at the IGSS receive detailed narratives from teachers that replace grades on their transcripts.

    Students from New Trier have attended colleges such as University of Illinois, University of Michigan, and Northwestern University in the past three years.

    New Trier High School stats:

    • Average class size: 22
    • Total students: 4,040
    • Average SAT score: 1,244
    • Critical thinking: 614
    • Math: 630
    • Average ACT score: 28

    Most influential alumni:

  5. 5

    Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts

    Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts

    New York City, New York

    Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts in New York City is a magnet school founded in 1936 by Mayor LaGuardia and dedicated to the study of visual and performing arts.

    Students at LaGuardia can select studio majors from dance, drama, art, vocal, instrumental, and technical theater. The intense programs allow students to focus on their craft while still pursuing traditional and AP classes.

    The faculty at LaGuardia are all experts in their field with performance experience that enables them to teach students what they will need to succeed professionally in their chosen field. Graduates from LaGuardia frequently go on to study at universities or conservatories both in the US and internationally.

    Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts stats:

    • Student/teacher ratio:19:1
    • Total students: 2,819

    Most influential alumni:

  6. 6

    Santa Monica High School

    Santa Monica, California

    Santa Monica High School is located in Santa Monica, California, and was founded in 1891. The school offers over 30 AP classes, and 78% of students scored a three or better on AP exams in 2020.

    Despite the school’s large size, the administration has gone out of its way to make it feel small and inclusive. One way to achieve this feeling has been to implement a house system. Each student is placed into one of five houses (named S, M, O, H, and I). Houses contain roughly 600 students and are overseen by a dean and an advisor who make sure that students’ needs are met.

    Graduates from Santa Monica High School go on to attend universities such as Yale University, University of North Carolina, and Sarah Lawrence College.

    Santa Monica High School stats:

    • Student/teacher ratio: 35:1
    • Total students: 2,820
    • Average SAT score: 1,214
    • Critical thinking: 606
    • Math: 608
    • Average ACT score: 25

    Most influential alumni:

  7. 7

    Long Beach Polytechnic High School

    Long Beach Polytechnic High School

    Long Beach, California

    Long Beach Polytechnic High School was founded in 1895 in Long Beach, California. The school has over 100 on-campus clubs and student organizations to choose from, as well as a wide array of sports including badminton and water polo. Poly as it is known, proves itself on being a multi-ethnic and diverse place for students to grow both in the classroom and beyond. Poly offers Global Tutoring opportunities to help students improve their conversations skills in foreign languages.

    The athletics program at Poly is renowned. In 2005, the school was named the Sports School of the Century by Sports Illustrated. Alumni from the school go on to careers in college and professional level sports.

    Long Beach Polytechnic High School stats:

    • Student/teacher ratio: 24:1
    • Total students: 4,026

    Most influential alumni:

  8. 8

    Brooklyn Technical High School

    Brooklyn Technical High School

    Brooklyn, New York

    Brooklyn Technical High School in Brooklyn, New York, is a magnet school founded in 1922. It is the largest specialized public high school for STEM education and offers students unique opportunities to pursue research and experimentation in these fields while still in high school.

    The school requires 50 hours of community service on top of a heavy academic course load. Students at Brooklyn Technical choose a major, mimicking the college-style of study and enabling students to specialize in subjects such as aerospace engineering and industrial design.

    In 2018, 99% of students from Brooklyn Technical went on to 4-year universities, with 62% of students choosing to attend New York public universities.

    Brooklyn Technical High School stats:

    • Total students: 5,900
    • Average SAT score: 1,365
    • Critical thinking: 657
    • Math: 708
    • Average ACT score: 28

    Most influential alumni:

  9. 9

    Hunter College High School

    Hunter College High School

    New York City, New York

    Hunter College High School in New York City was established in 1869 and has gained acclaim as a feeder school for Ivy League colleges. Hunter students routinely rank the highest in SAT and ACT scores in the nation for students attending public or private schools.

    Ninety-four percent of the faculty members at Hunter have advanced degrees, and students can choose to participate in any of the 60 clubs and 22 varsity athletic teams available on campus.

    Hunter limits seniors to applying to only eight colleges in order to encourage students to think carefully about their applications. Students from Hunter in 2019 went on to attend schools such as University of Chicago, Cornell University, and Stony Brook University.

    Hunter College High School stats:

    • Total students: 1,200
    • Average SAT score: 1,520
    • Critical thinking: 760
    • Math: 770
    • Average ACT score: 34

    Most influential alumni:

  10. 10

    Hollywood High School

    Hollywood High School

    Los Angeles, California

    Hollywood High School in Los Angeles, California, was founded in 1903. The school has been used as a filing location for a number of movies and TV shows including Nancy Drew and Victorious.

    Students at Hollywood High can choose to study at one of four academies to best serve their college and career plans: Teaching Career Academy, Performing Arts Magnet, New Media Technology, and School for Advanced Studies all offer tailored programs to meet students’ needs.

    Hollywood High students planning to attend a traditional university are most likely to study at the School for Advanced Studies which prepares them for the rigors of a college education and focuses on scholastic achievement and critical thinking skills.

    Hollywood High School stats:

    • Student/teacher ratio: 23:1
    • Total students: 1,482
    • Average SAT score: 1,061
    • Critical thinking: 536
    • Math: 525
    • Average ACT score: 19

    Most influential alumni:

  11. 11

    Palisades Charter High School

    Palisades Charter High School

    Los Angeles, California

    Palisades Charter High School (usually called Pali) in Los Angeles, California, was founded in 1961 and has been named California Distinguished School and honored in U.S. News & World Report. Famously the school was used by George Lucas as an audition site for Star Wars.

    Eighty-seven teachers at Pali have master’s degrees, eight hold PhDs, and 13 are nationally board certified. The school offers 24 AP classes and 28 honors classes. The AP pass rate is 82% for all courses and an impressive 98% for Calculus.

    Ninety-six percent of Pali graduates go on to attend 4-year universities, and last year over 125 universities sent representatives to visit the school.

    Palisades Charter High School stats:

    • Student/teacher ratio: 22:1
    • Total students: 2,964

    Most influential alumni:

  12. 12

    Cass Technical High School

    Cass Technical High School

    Detroit, Michigan

    Cass Technical High School in Detroit, Michigan, is a magnet school founded in 1907. The school is the largest public school in the district, and admission is based on students’ performance on an entrance exam. The school offers a college prep curriculum including 20 AP classes, dual enrollment options, a prestigious performing arts program, and industry certification programs.

    The school is accredited as an IB World School and has a 97% graduation rate. Unusually for a public school, students at Cass wear uniforms consisting of collared or button down shirts paired with green, khaki, or black pants.

    Cass Technical High School stats:

    • Total students: 2,400

    Most influential alumni:

  13. 13

    Crenshaw High School

    Crenshaw High School

    Los Angeles, California

    Crenshaw High School is a STEM Magnet school founded in 1968 in Los Angeles, California. The school offers three pathways for students: Business, Entrepreneurship, and Technology; Visual and Performing Arts; and Sports Medicine.

    Crenshaw recently began their 3-Dimensional Education program, which aims to prepare students for all aspects of life and help them thrive in highly competitive environments. The three components of the program are academics, exposure, and access. Academics focuses on academically challenging material preparing students for college, exposure allows students to gain insight into a wide variety of career options, and access gives students the chance to learn through real-world experiences.

    A large number of graduates from Crenshaw go on to attend colleges in the California University system.

    Crenshaw High School stats:

    • Student/teacher ratio: 17:1
    • Total students: 781
    • Average SAT score: 910
    • Average ACT score: 20

    Most influential alumni:

  14. 14

    Los Alamitos High School

    Los Alamitos High School

    Los Alamitos, California

    Los Alamitos High School in Los Alamitos, California as founded in 1967. Los Alamitos proudly offers students access to the four A’s: Academics, Athletics, Arts, and Activities where students can learn and grow both in the classroom and through a wide variety of extracurricular options.

    Los Alamitos offers 71 AP classes and the chance to earn dual credit through a partnership with Cypress College. There are four different bands and orchestras and over twenty sports that students can participate in.

    The school allows students to take an active role in their own education through the Los Alamitos High School Associated Student Body which plans and oversees activities, dances, and clubs.

    Los Alamitos High School stats:

    • Average class size: 33
    • Student/teacher ratio: 26:1
    • Total students: 3,137

    Most influential alumni:

  15. 15

    Little Rock Central High School

    Little Rock Central High School

    Little Rock, Arkansas

    Little Rock Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, was founded in 1869. Adjacent to the campus is the Little Rock Central High School National Historical Site which has a memorial and exhibits dedicated to the history of the Civil Rights Movement.

    Little Rock has been named The Most Beautiful High School Campus in America by the American Institute of Architects, and students can enjoy that atmosphere while participating in any of the 35 AP classes and five foreign language options available on campus.

    In 2020, the school had 12 National Merit Semifinalists and the Class of 2020 was awarded over 10 million dollars in scholarships. Seventy-two percent of the students passed their AP exams, and 77% of students enrolled directly in a two or four-year college.

    Little Rock Central High School stats:

    • Student/teacher ratio: 14:1
    • Total students: 2,466
    • Average ACT score: 21

    Most influential alumni:

  16. 16

    Dr. Phillips High School

    Dr. Phillips High School

    Orlando, Florida

    Dr. Phillips High School in Orlando, Florida, was established in 1987. In addition to traditional course options, students at Dr. Phillips can explore the field of agribusiness or become part of the Center for International Studies. Dr. Phillips caters to all students by offering a range of programs designed to meet their needs. AP Placement, Career Pathways, Business and Medical Academies, and a unique program called AVID (designed to assist students with average or below average grades prepare for college).

    Students can participate in 17 sports, JROTC programming, and clubs such as Model UN, Battle of the Boots, and Girls in Medicine.

    Dr. Phillips High School stats:

    • Student/teacher ratio: 21:1
    • Total students: 3,878

    Most influential alumni:

  17. 17

    Alexander Hamilton High School

    Alexander Hamilton High School

    Los Angeles, California

    Alexander Hamilton High School in Los Angeles, California, was founded in 1931. Alexander Hamilton is made up of four learning communities and two magnet schools. The four learning communities are the Business and Interactive Technology Academy, the Communication Arts Academy, the Global Studies Program, and the Mathematics Science Medicine Program. The two magnet schools are for the study of humanities and performing arts.

    Alexander Hamilton has several aspects of the school devoted to its namesake. Despite being located in California, the school mascot is the Yankee, and the newspaper (which has an impressive 75 year history) is called the Federalist.

    The school has a partnership with UCLA to help students prepare for the transition from high school to college life. The school’s AP exam pass rate is 57%

    Alexander Hamilton High School stats:

    • Total students: 3,400

    Most influential alumni:

  18. 18

    Birmingham Community Charter High School

    Birmingham Community Charter High School

    Los Angeles, California

    Birmingham Community Charter High School is a charter school in Los Angeles, California. Founded in 1953, the school offers AP courses and dual enrollment through Valley College. The school has implemented a Freshman Transition Program to ensure that rising freshmen are prepared for the academic and social challenges awaiting them in high school.

    Birmingham provides students with the largest sports program in Los Angeles, and is home to a 10,000 seat stadium. Students at Birmingham hail from over 12 countries as part of the international program available at the school.

    Students can choose from nine career pathways to gain in-depth knowledge of fields like graphic design and animation.

    Birmingham Community Charter High School stats:

    • Total students: 3,100

    Most influential alumni:

  19. 19

    DeWitt Clinton High School

    DeWitt Clinton High School

    The Bronx, New York

    DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx, New York has been serving students since 1897. Within the larger school there are seven smaller, specialized schools: commercial art, computer science, music production, hydroponic agriculture, dance, health professionals, and engineering. Clinton High also offers an honors program geared to students seeking to gain a leg up for post-secondary study.

    The school offers 13 AP classes and has seven courses taught on campus by faculty members from Syracuse University. The school is also in partnership with the National Equity Lab which offers classes from Cornell, Yale, Howard, and Arizona State to students on Clinton High campus.

    Recent graduates from Clinton High have gone on to attend schools like Howard University, Rutgers University, and University of New Haven.

    DeWitt Clinton High School stats:

    • Student/teacher ratio: 13:1
    • Total students: 1,228

    Most influential alumni:

  20. 20

    Los Angeles County High School for the Arts

    Los Angeles County High School for the Arts

    Los Angeles, California

    Los Angeles County High School for the Arts is a high school devoted to the study of the visual and performing arts in Los Angeles, California. Founded in 1985, the school was the centerpiece of a documentary called Fame High in 2012. The school has received many awards including being named a Grammy Signature School and an Exemplary School of the Arts.

    LACHSA utilizes a conservatory-style method of instruction to familiarize students with the methods used at performing arts colleges and conservatories worldwide. Admission to LACHSA is based on a combination of grades and an audition process.

    The school offers students the chance to work together in the Interdisciplinary arts program where students are responsible for staging productions and learn to collaborate with students in different disciplines.

    Los Angeles County High School for the Arts stats:

    • Student/teacher ratio: 6:1

    Most influential alumni:

  21. 21

    Columbia High School

    Columbia High School

    Maplewood, New Jersey

    Columbia High School in Maplewood, New Jersey, was founded in 1885. Located roughly 20 miles from New York City, the school offers 24 AP classes and 11 career and technology courses.

    Columbia is home to a wide variety of activities including an improv club, a chess team, an ultimate Frisbee team, and a step team. The school has over 35 sports available, and students who go on to college or professional level sports careers are often featured in their athletic hall of fame.

    Ninety-two percent of the Class of 2019 went on to continue their studies at a two or four-year college. Columbia regularly hosts representatives from colleges including Columbia University, Duke University, and Penn State.

    Columbia High School stats:

    • Student/teacher ratio: 14:1
    • Total students: 1,974
    • Average SAT score: 1,179
    • Critical thinking: 595
    • Math: 584
    • Average ACT score: 27

    Most influential alumni:

  22. 22

    Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology

    Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology

    Alexandria, Virginia

    Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Virginia, was founded in 1985 and uses selective admissions based on teacher recommendations, essays, and academic achievement.

    The school has multiple research labs including one dedicated to astrophysics and one for oceanography. There are 185 clubs available and 25 varsity sports for those who wish to play. Thomas Jefferson has partnerships with both George Mason University and Georgetown University Medical School. In 2019, 99% of students taking AP classes passed their tests with a three or higher.

    Students at Thomas Jefferson are involved in an IBET (Integrated Biology, English, and Technology Program) that helps students see the interconnectedness of diverse disciplines.

    Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology stats:

    • Student/teacher ratio: 16:1
    • Total students: 1,820

    Most influential alumni:

  23. 23

    Plano East Senior High School

    Plano East Senior High School

    Plano, Texas

    Plano East Senior High School in Plano, Texas, was founded in 1981. Plano is an IB World School seeking to graduate innovative and knowledgeable risk-takers who have received the highest level of education available.

    Students in the IB program are required to take a two-year course called Theory of Knowledge that lets students dive into the creative process of learning and gaining information.

    Plano also offers a University Ready program with the aim of preparing all students for college and introducing students to the college application process. University Ready hosts college nights, and helps students navigate the financial aid and course selection processes.

    Plano East Senior High School stats:

    • Student/teacher ratio: 16:1
    • Total students: 2,944

    Most influential alumni:

  24. 24

    Edward R. Murrow High School

    Edward R. Murrow High School

    Brooklyn, New York

    Edward R. Murrow High School located in Brooklyn, New York, is an arts-focused school established in 1974. Admission to the art, music, and theater programs at Murrow are based on an audition process. The school has been designated as a School of Excellence by the US Department of Education.

    During time that students do not have a class they can participate in OPTA (Optional Time Activities) where they can study, participate in a club or activity, or utilize the library. Murrow offers AP and honors courses and has a renowned theatre program that puts on two major productions each year. Students at Murrow also have access to a planetarium to further their knowledge of astronomy.

    Edward R. Murrow High School stats:

    • Total students: 4,000

    Most influential alumni:

  25. 25

    Evanston Township High School

    Evanston Township High School

    Evanston, Illinois

    Evanston Township High School in Evanston, Illinois, was established in 1883. Over 50% of the faculty have master’s degrees, and the school was named as a Project Lead the Way Distinguished School in 2020. Evanston offers 154 courses and 34 AP classes. Six classes are designated as Project Lead the Way classes designed to give students a jump start for college-level engineering programs.

    The school offers seven foreign languages including American Sign Language. The fine arts program is made up of visual arts, music, and speech arts courses, and students may also participate in wellness education classes on top of the traditional physical education.

    Students at Evanston have recently matriculated to colleges such as Loyola University and NYU.

    Evanston Township High School stats:

    • Student/teacher ratio: 13:1
    • Total students: 3,729
    • Average SAT score: 1,079
    • Critical thinking: 539
    • Math: 540

    Most influential alumni:

  26. 26

    The Woodlands High School

    The Woodlands High School

    Woodlands, Texas

    The Woodlands High School in Woodlands, Texas, was founded in 1996. Students at Woodlands can participate in over 130 electives and 80 clubs and organizations. Woodlands offers a drill team, choir, and debate team as well as AP courses and college prep courses. The school has a partnership with Memorial Hermann Hospital for those students seeking a career in medicine.

    The Woodlands also offers career pathways for students interested in pursuing careers in fields as diverse as agriculture, architecture, AV technology, business, education, and hospitality. Students are encouraged to find real-world applications for their coursework and be part of their own academic and career development process.

    The Woodlands High School stats:

    • Student/teacher ratio: 17:1
    • Total students: 3,198
    • Average SAT score: 1,210
    • Average ACT score: 25

    Most influential alumni:

  27. 27

    Palo Alto High School

    Palo Alto High School

    Palo Alto, California

    Palo Alto High School in Palo Alto, California, is located adjacent to Stanford University and was established in 1898 on land donated from the university. Palo Alto offers 27 AP courses and 29 honors courses. There are also three specialty programs: the social justice pathway, advanced authentic research, and dual enrollment through Foothill Community College.

    The school has an impressive art program. Students won over 100 Scholastic Arts awards in 2020 including gold medals for short story and photography, and silver medalists in photography and poetry.

    Ninety-one percent of graduates went directly to a 4-year institution with 30% attending private colleges out of state and 40% attending college in the West.

    Palo Alto High School stats:

    • Student/teacher ratio: 18:1
    • Total students: 2,135
    • Average SAT score: 1,366
    • Critical thinking: 669
    • Math: 697
    • Average ACT score: 26

    Most influential alumni:

  28. 28

    Agoura High School

    Agoura High School

    Agoura Hills, California

    Agoura High School founded in 1964 in Agoura Hills, California, is an IB World School and has been named a California Distinguished School. Of the 428 Agoura students who took AP tests in 2020, 80% passed. The school had a National Merit Scholar Semi-finalist and Finalist.

    Students can participate in music, theater, visual arts, and dance at the Agoura High School Performing Arts Education Center. The music program has been recognized at the national level, and the choir has been the showcase choir at the Walt Disney Hall High School Choral Festival for four consecutive years.

    Ninety-two percent of the graduates of the Class of 2020 chose to attend a two or four-year institution after graduation.

    Agoura High School stats:

    • Student/teacher ratio: 23:1
    • Total students: 1,972
    • Average SAT score: 1,285
    • Critical thinking: 642
    • Math: 643
    • Average ACT score: 27

    Most influential alumni:

  29. 29

    Calabasas High School

    Calabasas High School

    Calabasas, California

    Calabasas High School in Calabasas, California, was established in 1975. The AP pass rate for 2020 was 79% and 86% of the Class of 2020 went on to study at a two or 4-year university. Students at Calabasas perform 15 hours of community service per year as a requirement for graduation. Students have the opportunity to participate in over 100 clubs and activities during their time on campus.

    The Academy of Media and Entertainment at Calabasas is described as a school within a school where teachers use an interdisciplinary method to make learning more accessible. Students complete projects and perform research while blending the core curriculum with Career and Technical Education.

    Calabasas High School stats:

    • Total students: 1,800

    Most influential alumni:

  30. 30

    Mira Costa High School

    Mira Costa High School

    Manhattan Beach, California

    Mira Costa High School in Manhattan Beach, California, was founded in 1950. Mira Costa offers 24 AP classes and 12 honors classes. The AP pass rate for the school in 2020 was 81%.

    Mira Costa has a rigorous biotechnology program that prepares students for a career in biotechnology by giving them access to relevant coursework, state-of-the-art equipment, and industry internships and jobs.

    Students from the Class of 2020 at Mira Costa chose to matriculate to colleges including University of Oregon, University of Washington, and University of Arizona Ninety-six percent of the graduating class went on to attend a two or four-year university.

    Mira Costa High School stats:

    • Student/teacher ratio: 29:1
    • Total students: 2,513
    • Average SAT score: 1,275
    • Critical thinking: 629
    • Math: 632
    • Average ACT score: 27

    Most influential alumni:

  31. 31

    Midwood High School

    Midwood High School

    Brooklyn, New York

    Midwood High School in Brooklyn, New York, was founded in 1940. The school has specialized college prep programs, each with their own requirements for completion and graduation on top of traditional coursework. The humanities program requires one year of Latin and three years of foreign language, and the medical science program requires five courses in science and math as well as additional science research class.

    In addition to a student newspaper and yearbook, Midwood also produces a literary journal and an international magazine where students can publish their work or serve on the editorial staff.

    Ninety-four percent of students who graduated from Midwood in 2020 chose to continue on to higher education.

    Midwood High School stats:

    • Student/teacher ratio: 23:1
    • Total students: 4,200
    • Average SAT score: 1,152
    • Critical thinking: 563
    • Math: 589

    Most influential alumni:

  32. 32

    North Hollywood High School

    North Hollywood High School

    Los Angeles, California

    North Hollywood High School in Los Angeles, California, was founded in 1927. In 2020 the school had six National Merit semifinalists and 150 AP Scholars. North Hollywood has a freshman academy for incoming ninth graders to help them make the transition to high school academics and offer a smaller-scale school with dedicated academic support.

    North Hollywood has a Zoo Magnet Center program in collaboration with the Los Angeles Zoo (located 10 minutes away from campus). Students in the program study biological science and conduct research with the zoo animals and staff members.

    Students from the Class of 2020 chose to attend universities such as California Institute of Technology, Georgetown University, and Harvard.

    North Hollywood High School stats:

    • Student/teacher ratio: 25:1
    • Total students: 2,717
    • Average SAT score: 983
    • Critical thinking: 502
    • Math: 481

    Most influential alumni:

  33. 33

    Princeton High School

    Princeton High School

    Princeton, New Jersey

    Princeton High School, founded in 1898, is located in Princeton, New Jersey. The AP pass rate at Princeton is 91%. The school boasts a wide variety of clubs and organizations including Odyssey of the Mind, Autism Speaks, and Space Settlement clubs.

    The student body at Princeton is diverse and prepares students to enter real-world situations and be accepting of others. Eighty-six percent of Princeton graduates continue studying at an institute of higher education. Community service is forefront at Princeton, and there are over 40 community service opportunities available for students to choose from.

    In 2020, graduates from Princeton attended schools including Rutgers University, Princeton University, and NYU.

    Princeton High School stats:

    • Student/teacher ratio: 12:1
    • Total students: 1,590
    • Average SAT score: 1,250
    • Critical thinking: 613
    • Math: 637

    Most influential alumni:

  34. 34

    Plano Senior High School

    Plano Senior High School

    Plano, Texas

    Plano Senior High School in Plano, Texas, was founded in 1891 and serves students in 11th-12th grade. The school offers 27 AP classes, dual credit learning, and six foreign languages. The school enjoys partnerships with Green Mountain Energy, Jostens, Pike Powers Energy Lan, Solar Plano, and University of Texas Dana Center to help students see real world applications for learning and experience workplaces in their area.

    Plano is a two-time National Blue Ribbon School and a Texas Exemplary School. Seventy-seven percent of AP test-takers passed with a score of three or higher. Ninety-nine percent of graduates in the Class of 2020 went on to study at a college or university.

    Plano Senior High School stats:

    • Student/teacher ratio: 16:1
    • Total students: 2,741
    • Average SAT score: 1,195
    • Critical thinking: 590
    • Math: 605
    • Average ACT score: 24

    Most influential alumni:

  35. 35

    Montgomery Blair High School

    Montgomery Blair High School

    Silver Spring, Maryland

    Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, Maryland, was founded in 1925. Montgomery Blair has an academy program that allows students to begin pursuing career interests while still in high school. The five academies offered are a STEM program; Entrepreneurship program; Media, Music, and the Arts program, International Studies and Law program, and Human Services Professions programs.

    Students also have the opportunity to present a Capstone project. These projects can consist of anything relevant to a student’s career path and have included performances, work experience, internships, and research papers in the past.

    Montgomery Blair offers over 50 clubs for students to participate in including a physics club, a robotics club, and an engineering club.

    Montgomery Blair High School stats:

    • Total students: 3,083

    Most influential alumni:

  36. 36

    Van Nuys High School

    Van Nuys High School

    Los Angeles, California

    Van Nuys High School in Los Angeles, California, was founded in 1914. The school offers a variety of supplemental programs and academies to help students reach their potential inside the classroom and as part of the workforce.

    The TechArts Academies allow ninth graders to experiment with classes in robotics, automotive, and manufacturing before settling into a program in the tenth grade. Van Nuys offers a tailored automotive academy complete with a working shop and 45-seat computer lab where students can study and gain hands-on experience working with automobiles.

    Van Nuys offers three magnet schools for students interested in pursuing careers in science, medicine, and performing arts. The school offers over 30 AP classes.

    Van Nuys High School stats:

    • Total students: 2,634

    Most influential alumni:

  37. 37

    Brookline High School

    Brookline High School

    Brookline, Massachusetts

    Brookline High School in Brookline, Massachusetts, was founded in 1843. In the past 20 years, Brookline alumni have received one MacArthur Genius Grant and two Rhodes Scholarships. The school has the latest interscholastic athletics program in New England according to their website. Brookline fields 74 teams across 40 sports and over 1300 students participate in athletics each year.

    Students at Brookline come from 76 nations and speak over 40 languages. Brookline offers 18 AP classes and has a 92% AP pass rate.

    The class of 2019 matriculated to colleges including MIT, Dartmouth, and Oxford.

    Brookline High School stats:

    • Student/teacher ratio: 10:1
    • Total students: 2,085
    • Average SAT score: 1,286
    • Critical thinking: 638
    • Math: 648

    Most influential alumni:

  38. 38

    Poway High School

    Poway High School

    Poway, California

    Poway High School in Poway, California, was established in 1961. The school offers a variety of pathways for student success including AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination), Career and Technical Education, and English Language Learning Classes. Additionally the school has over 20 electives and over 35 AP classes with an AP pass rate of 83%.

    Students at Brookline can receive special training to be peer counselors to help those around them through the Student Services Office. Peer counselors volunteer in the community and raise awareness about issues that students are facing.

    The Class of 2020 is currently attending schools such as Auburn University, Stanford University, and USC.

    Poway High School stats:

    • Student/teacher ratio: 26:1
    • Total students: 2,268
    • Average SAT score: 1,226
    • Critical thinking: 601
    • Math: 625
    • Average ACT score: 23

    Most influential alumni:

  39. 39

    Westlake High School

    Westlake High School

    Austin, Texas

    Westlake High School in Austin, Texas, has been serving students since 1970. Westlake has been named a US Blue Ribbon School and received the Texas Successful Schools Award for Outstanding Performance.

    Nine Westlake students received perfect scores on the ACT last year, and the school offers both honors and AP classes to help prepare students for standardized tests and college classrooms. Westlake has an on-campus library with an open door policy in order to allow students to study, research, and grow accustomed to being in an independent academic setting.

    The Class of 2019 had a 99% acceptance rate to the colleges and universities of their choice and received over $23 million in scholarship money.

    Westlake High School stats:

    • Student/teacher ratio: 14:1
    • Total students: 2,772

    Most influential alumni:

  40. 40

    Baltimore School for the Arts

    Baltimore School for the Arts

    Baltimore, Maryland

    Baltimore School for the Arts in Baltimore, Maryland, was founded in 1979. Admission to Baltimore School for the Arts is based on an audition process. All students in 8th and 9th grade with an interest in the arts are invited to apply, and the admissions rate is roughly 11%.

    The school uses an extended day program to facilitate the college prep curriculum and extensive practice in the student’s discipline. Students choose to pursue their studies in dance, film, music, stage design, production, theatre, and visual arts.

    The graduation rate is almost 100% and students generally pursue a college degree upon graduation although some graduates join dance troupes or theater companies.

    Baltimore School for the Arts stats:

    • Total students: 440

    Most influential alumni:

  41. 41

    Lamar High School

    Lamar High School

    Houston, Texas

    Lamar High School in Houston, Texas, was founded in 1936. Lamar has an IB World School and a magnet program for students to participate in. Twenty-nine percent of the faculty have master’s degrees and 4% have PhDs. Lamar offers 39 IB Diploma classes and five AP classes to supplement the curriculum and enhance academic rigor.

    Lamar has over 45 clubs and organizations that students can join including the cycling club, friendship without borders, and ping pong for progress.

    Seventy-four percent of graduates at Lamar go on to attend a college or university. Recent graduates from Lamar have attended University of Texas, Texas Christian University, and University of Georgia.

    Lamar High School stats:

    • Student/teacher ratio: 22:1
    • Total students: 2,857
    • Average SAT score: 993
    • Critical thinking: 482
    • Math: 511
    • Average ACT score: 22

    Most influential alumni:

  42. 42

    Simeon Career Academy

    Simeon Career Academy

    Chicago, Illinois

    Simeon Career Academy is a vocational school located in Chicago, Illinois. Founded in 1949, the school offers more than 30 electives and has a special career and technical education division. All students in grades 11–12 must complete two service-learning projects. The projects must total at least forty hours, and students are responsible for completing them outside of school hours.

    Simeon offers multiple enrichment programs to help students excel academically and prepare for college-level work. Students can join After School Matters or Chicago State At-Large to earn college credit and experience job training programs.

    Graduates from Simeon attend college at a variety of school across the state of Illinois and the country.

    Simeon Career Academy stats:

    • Total students: 1,313

    Most influential alumni:

  43. 43

    San Marino High School

    San Marino High School

    San Marino, California

    San Marino High School in San Marino, California was founded in 1952. San Marino offers 14 AP classes, 13 honors classes, and a summer enrichment program that more 75% of students participate in. All classrooms are equipped with Apple TVs and necessary technology for twenty-first century learning.

    Career and Technical Education pathways at San Marino include business, media arts, computer science, and graphic design.

    Ninety-eight percent of San Marino graduates go on to attend either two or four-year colleges after graduation. Students in the Class of 2020 attended schools such as University of Michigan, Brown University, and Loyola University.

    San Marino High School stats:

    • Student/teacher ratio: 19:1
    • Total students: 1,101
    • Average SAT score: 1,336
    • Critical thinking: 649
    • Math: 687

    Most influential alumni:

  44. 44

    Torrance High School

    Torrance High School

    Torrance, California

    Torrance High School in Torrance, California, was founded in 1917. The school offers an English Language Program overseen by the English Language Multicultural Advisory Committee to assist international students and English as a second language students gain the language skills and confidence they need to succeed academically.

    Torrance offers 15 sports for students to participate in including a pep squad and a drill team.

    There are 35 AP classes to choose from, and students can select from language programs in Japanese, Korean, and Spanish. Tutoring is available before and after school in various subjects to help students reach their full potential.

    Torrance High School stats:

    • Total students: 1,959

    Most influential alumni:

  45. 45

    Montclair High School

    Montclair High School

    Montclair, New Jersey

    Montclair High School in Montclair, New Jersey, was established in 1928. Montclair is invested in increasing diversity and the ability of parents to have a choice in their child’s education. For this purpose, Montclair has set up a magnet system with options for science and technology, university studies, environmental studies, the arts, and global studies.

    Montclair has a scholarship fund available to assist college-bound students in offsetting the cost of higher education. Students can also join the National Honor Society or participate in a wide variety of sports including soccer, football, tennis, and cross country.

    Montclair regularly schedules trips to colleges and universities to help students choose what program is best for them. Seniors and juniors are also allowed to schedule three college visits of their own to explore their preferences.

    Montclair High School stats:

    • Student/teacher ratio: 13:1
    • Total students: 2,081

    Most influential alumni:

  46. 46

    Redondo Union High School

    Redondo Union High School

    Redondo Beach, California

    Redondo has a 90% AP pass rate and students in 2019 took a total of 1852 AP tests. Redondo is a Project Lead the Way School and offers for PLTW four classes in biomedical science, three in engineering, and two in computer science.

    Through the SoCal ROC program, Redondo offers career and technical courses in art, design, engineering, finance, and health science. The visual art department at Redondo is very strong, offering AP classes in studio art, ceramics, and art history. In addition to traditional clubs and organizations, students can join a teen court where they get to act as fact-finding jurors in actual trials.

    Redondo Union High School stats:

    • Total students: 3,012

    Most influential alumni:

  47. 47

    Laguna Beach High School

    Laguna Beach High School

    Laguna Beach, California

    Laguna Beach High School in Laguna Beach, California, was founded in 1934. The school was designated a No Place For Hate Model High School in 2019, and in the smallest public high school in Orange County. One hundred percent of students participate in arts or athletics, and in 2020 the school partnered with Stanford’s Challenge Success program. Ninety-two percent of graduates go on to attend two or four-year colleges and 46 of the 55 teachers hold advanced degrees.

    Laguna Beach played host (virtually or in person) to over 50 college representatives from all over the country last year to enhance student exposure to their college options.

    Laguna Beach High School stats:

    • Total students: 1,068

    Most influential alumni:

  48. 48

    Permian High School

    Permian High School

    Odessa, Texas

    Permian High School in Odessa, Texas, was founded in 1959. Permian offers honors and AP classes for students who are able to meet entry requirements into either program. Students can also enroll in career and technical education classes in fields as diverse as auto tech and biomedical science.

    Permian offers football baseball, and volleyball teams as well as a band, orchestra, and choir to meet extracurricular needs. The school also has virtual college tour options so that students can gain a feel of a college campus without having to leave home.

    Permian High School stats:

    • Total students: 3,621

    Most influential alumni:

  49. 49

    Grant High School

    Grant High School

    Los Angeles, California

    Grant High School in Los Angeles, California, was founded in 1959. The school offers over 15 AP classes and honors classes. On campus there is a School for Advanced Studies that offers a differentiated and advanced curriculum, a Humanities Magnet for Interdisciplinary Studies that offers a small learning community for interested students, and a digital arts magnet that focuses on web-based research. There is also a freshman academy for students to learn the ropes of a high school education and gain their footing within the larger school community.

    Ninety-six percent of graduates in 2020 continued their education at the college level, with 70% in two-year institutions and 26% in four-year institutions.

    Grant High School stats:

    • Total students: 1,990
    • Average SAT score: 1,001
    • Critical thinking: 506
    • Math: 495
    • Average ACT score: 19

    Most influential alumni:

  50. 50

    Proviso East High School

    Proviso East High School

    Maywood, Illinois

    Proviso East High School in Maywood, Illinois, was founded in 1911. The school has been awarded a State Seal of Biliteracy due to the number of seniors who have studied and attained a high level of fluency in two or more languages. This Seal is a signal of achievement for college admission and future employment.

    The school has four academies: the freshman academy, the arts and communication academy, the business and human services academy, and the STEM academy. The academy model focuses on creating small learning communities for students and allows students to choose a pathway toward the career of their choice.

    Proviso East High School stats:

    • Average Class Size: 22
    • Student: Teacher Ratio: 17:1
    • Total students: 1,664

    Most influential alumni:

    • Fred Hampton
    • Carol Lawrence
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