More details about the top 20 ‘best’ public high schools

Explore the Top-Ranked High Schools

A great school can help students build the foundation for a bright future.

U.S. News evaluated more than 28,000 schools in all 50 states and the District of Columbia for the 2018 Best High Schools rankings. These 20 schools scored the highest among the 500 top-ranked national gold medal schools.

20. Gilbert Classical Academy

The Gilbert Classical Academy High School uses the Socratic teaching method to encourage critical thinking and prepare students for college-level courses. Located in Arizona, the school currently serves students in grades seven through 12.

Learn more about Gilbert Classical Academy.

19. Pine View School

Pine View School is a Florida public school for gifted students in grades two through 12. Students are admitted based on a series of tests, recommendations and other data required by the Florida Department of Education, according to the school’s website. Students can be referred to the school by parents, teachers and administrators.

Learn more about Pine View School.

18. International School

The International School in Washington serves grades six through 12. Every spring students spend one week outside of the formal classroom structure to focus on career exploration. Students take an average of seven AP courses and can earn college credit in math, computer science and technology.

Learn more about the International School.

17. Signature School

Signature School is a globally focused International Baccalaureate school with an open campus in Indiana. The school provides open admission for in-state students from diverse educational, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. There are 17 languages and dialects represented by the student body.

Learn more about Signature School.

16. Liberal Arts and Science Academy (LASA)

Liberal Arts and Science Academy is a magnet school that provides a quality education through rigorous courses and access to athletic and fine arts experiences and community building traditions — such as cultural day, a student and staff diversity conference.

Learn more about LASA.

15. Carnegie Vanguard High School

Carnegie Vanguard High School is a Texas school for talented and gifted teens. Students can take either pre-Advanced Placement or AP courses. Juniors are required to take the Texas Performance Standards Project, a yearlong nontraditional course that helps students explore their talents.

Learn more about Carnegie Vanguard High School.

14. BASIS Phoenix

BASIS Phoenix is one of the 11 BASIS charter schools in Arizona. The school serves students from grades five through 12.

Learn more about BASIS Phoenix.

13. Science and Engineering Magnet School (SEM)

This Texas school focuses on preparing its students to compete globally in science and engineering. Students can take accelerated classes in science, English, math and computer science.

Learn more about the Science and Engineering Magnet School.

12. The Early College at Guilford

In North Carolina, students at the Early College at Guilford take honors and AP courses in the ninth and 10th grades and college courses with undergraduate students taught by college professors as upperclassmen. Students graduate with a high school diploma and up to two years of credit from Guilford College in Greensboro, according to the school’s website.

Learn more about The Early College at Guilford.

11. The School for the Talented and Gifted (TAG)

Most of the academic courses at the Texas-based magnet school are Advanced Placement, including electives. Students also get the opportunity to participate in school traditions like TAG TREK, a three-day off-campus interdisciplinary seminar.

Learn more about the School for the Talented and Gifted.

10. Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology

In Virginia, TJHSST offers a comprehensive curriculum with an emphasis on science, technology, engineering and math. Seniors are required to complete a technology laboratory project in one of the school’s15 specialized research labs — including ones dedicated to astrophysics, microelectronics and oceanography — or through its mentorship program.

Learn more about Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology.

9. Baccalaureate School for Global Education

The Baccalaureate School for Global Education is an IB World School in New York. The school teaches students from neighborhoods in Queens, New York, in grades seven through 12.

Learn more about the Baccalaureate School for Global Education.

*Note: Photo not of Baccalaureate School for Global Education

8. BASIS Peoria

BASIS Peoria opened in 2011 and serves more than 750 students in grades five through 12 in Peoria, Arizona.

Learn more about BASIS Peoria.

7. International Academy of Macomb

The International Academy of Macomb is a countywide IB World School in Michigan. More than half of IAM students play multiple sports and participate in marching band and other extracurricular activities at their home schools. Many have gone on to compete at the college level, according to the school’s website.

Learn more about the International Academy of Macomb.

6. Meridian School

Meridian School is a tuition-free public charter school in Texas. Meridian is committed to the International Baccalaureate program and is authorized to offer the full IB continuum from kindergarten through 12th grade.

Learn more about the Meridian School.

5. BASIS Flagstaff

Founded in 2011, BASIS Flagstaff has an average of 636 students and serves grades three through 12. The school is located in Arizona.

Learn more about BASIS Flagstaff.

4. BASIS Tucson North

Founded in 1998, BASIS Tucson North is the first and largest campus of the Arizona-based BASIS charter schools. The school serves more than 1,000 students in grades five through 12.

Learn more about BASIS Tucson North.

3. BASIS Oro Valley

Every student in the class of 2017 at BASIS Oro Valley, founded in 2010, was accepted to a four-year institution. The school is located in Oro Valley, Arizona.

Learn more about BASIS Oro Valley.

2. BASIS Chandler

Located in Chandler, Arizona, BASIS Chandler serves students in grades five through 12. Students at BASIS schools are required to take a minimum of six AP exams.

Learn more about BASIS Chandler.

1. BASIS Scottsdale

Opened in 2003, BASIS Scottsdale serves more 1,000 students in grades four through 12. All of the 2017 graduates earned an AP Scholar award, according to the school’s website. The school is located in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Learn more about BASIS Scottsdale.

Learn More About the Top High Schools

For more Best High Schools rankings and data, check out the top STEM schools.

Connect with U.S. News Education on Facebook, or tweet @USNewsEducation using the hashtag #BestHighSchools to share your thoughts on the rankings.

More from U.S. News

See the Full 2018 Best High Schools Rankings

Explore the Best Charter Schools

View the Best Magnet Schools

See the 2018 Best Public High Schools originally appeared on

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