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30 Of The Smartest Public High Schools In The US

SimiOctober 4, 2018
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6. Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science

This school in Columbus, Mississippi, has an average SAT score of 1360 and an average ACT score of 30. It has a student enrollment of 245 and a student-teacher ratio of 11:1. Proficiency in mathematics and reading is 100%. MSMS was established in 1987 and is the only public residential high school for academically gifted students in Mississippi. Students come from all over Mississippi to live on campus, choosing to spend their last two years living away from home. MSMS is located on the campus of the Mississippi University for Women, but students are kept separate from the university students, with the exception of a few shared facilities.

Friends of MSMS

All faculty members hold master’s degrees, and several have their Ph.D. All have extensive teaching experience. The main focus is on mathematics and science, but the humanities are also emphasized. The students also impact other students across Mississippi with outreach programs, and quality educational leadership is provided for other educators.


5. Staten Island Technical High School

This school in Staten Island, New York, has an average SAT score of 1400 and an average ACT score of 32. It has a student enrollment of 1,278 and a student-teacher ratio of 22:1. Proficiency in mathematics and reading is 99%. This New York City public high school was established in 1988. In 2005, it was granted the status as New York City’s seventh specialized high school and combines academic rigor with the friendly atmosphere of a neighborhood school. Students begin to tackle college-level work in 9th grade. The school offers an extensive range of AP classes and has partnerships with universities.

Staten Island Advance

All students take introductory courses in electronics, robotics, research and technical writing, and TV/movie production. Computer-aided design (CAD) is another course, and students can earn industry certification in AutoCAD software. Yet another course is career and financial management. Students not only engage in academics but participate in athletics, cultural immersion, community service, and many student activities.

New York Post

4. Stuyvesant High School

Stuyvesant High School in New York, New York, has an average SAT score of 1470 and an average ACT score of 33. It has a student enrollment of 3,328 and a student-teacher ratio of 22:1. Proficiency in  mathematics and reading is 99%. Stuyvesant is a specialized high school founded in 1904 that has been a symbol of excellence in education. Many students vie for a place in the freshman class. It has a talented student body and an array of course offerings. The cornerstone of the educational program is a focus on science, mathematics, and technology. Other courses include Western political thought, micro-and macroeconomics, organic chemistry, multivariate and differential calculus, and vertebrate zoology.

NBC News

The special talents of the students are nurtured and enhanced. Students conduct research, take part in national math competitions and/or study music at a higher level. Moral, intellectual and humanistic values are also instilled, enabling them to achieve their maximum potential and become caring citizens of the world.

Public Building Commission

3. Walter Payton College Prep

Walter Payton College Prep in Chicago, Illinois, has an average SAT score of 1390 and an average ACT score of 31. It has a student enrollment of 887 and a student-teacher ratio of 16:1. Proficiency in mathematics and reading is 99%. Located on Chicago’s north side, this high school is an internationally recognized science, math, and world language academy founded in 2000. It is a selective-enrollment public high school that fosters student discovery, intellectual curiosity and international exploration. The four Cs embraced at this school are character, courage, curiosity and compassion.


Students at Payton eagerly embrace the rigors of an all honors and advanced placement curriculum. They work with their teachers, peers, and national authorities to solve real-world problems. Students video conference with sister schools around the world. This school is an international model for global learning and teaching. In 2017, Walter Payton College Prep was ranked as the best public high school in the U.S. by Niche.


2. Thomas Jefferson High School for Science & Technology

This school in Alexandria, Virginia, has an average SAT score of 1510 and an AP test pass rate of 34. It has an enrollment of 1,820 and a student-teacher ratio of 17:1. Proficiency in mathematics and reading is 100%. Established in 1985, this regional STEM magnet school has more than ten specialized research labs, ranging from oceanography to astrophysics. In a challenging environment, students can pursue their passions in a comprehensive program that goes beyond STEM courses. With a large enrollment, it’s impressive that the student-teacher ratio is 17:1, meaning students have the benefit of attending a large school without losing the advantage of individual attention.

Fort Hunt Herald

Problem-solving and critical thinking skills are regarded as crucial in order to address the complex ethical and societal issues of the times. Students are also believed to learn best when academic disciplines are integrated, allowing for an understanding of how they interact. These students also regularly give back to the community through humanitarian programs.


1. Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA)

This school in Aurora, Illinois, has an average SAT score of 1450 and an average ACT score of 33. It has an enrollment of 649 students in grades 10-12. The student-teacher ratio is 12:1. The mission of the academy is to develop creative, ethical leaders in mathematics, science, technology, and engineering. It enrolls academically talented Illinois students in an advanced residential academic program. By design, the school is not part of the K-12 education system but acts as an independent state agency governed by a Board of Trustees.

Bailey Edward

Students are challenged to explore, discover, and apply their knowledge to solve real-world problems. They learn to take risks and innovate to arrive at solutions. Ethical, creative, scientific minds are nurtured and ignited to advance the human condition through problem-solving. IMSA is also a laboratory for the advancement of STEM teaching statewide, with a responsibility to stimulate excellence for all Illinois schools. It advances education through strategic partnerships, groundbreaking ventures, and research.