The Best School Districts in America

In addition to unpacking and starting a new job, a new move means you have to find a school district that will provide your children with a positive education experience.

The good news is, there are many top-tier school districts scattered throughout the U.S., and we’ve identified the best in every region of the country. Whether you’re relocating to the Mid Atlantic or the West, here are five school districts worth the move.

North

Edgemont Union Free School District, New York

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The Edgemont Union Free School District is comprised of three schools that serve nearly 2,000 students, kindergarten through 12th grade. It’s centered in Greenburgh Town, Westchester County, an affluent community just outside of New York City.

High per-pupil spending, above average teacher salaries, and low student to teacher ratios could be why Edgemont Union Free School District is one of the best districts in the U.S. Edgemont spends an average of $24,435 per student per year, which is more than twice the national average. Teacher salaries in the Edgemont District are equally impressive. In fact, at $119,501, the typical district teacher makes 60 percent more than teachers across the nation. The district’s student to teacher ratio is 13 to 1, whereas the national average is 16 to 1.

When it comes to academic success, Edgemont Union Free School District has a lot to be proud of. According to state standards, students attending Edgemont Junior Senior High School tested 100 percent proficient in math and 99 percent proficient in English. The district’s graduation rate is 95 percent and the average SAT test score is 1990, a full 270 points higher than the U.S. average. We weren’t surprised to find Edgemont High School graduates are accepted at the some of the country’s most prestigious universities, including Cornell University, Columbia University and Georgetown University.

Mid Atlantic

Arlington County Public School District, Virginia

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Centered in Arlington, one of Virginia’s safest cities, the Arlington County Public School District includes 35 schools which accommodate approximately 22,000 students.

A student-to-teacher ratio of just 12 to 1, high per-pupil spending, and a diverse student body are just a few of the reasons parents and students speak positively about the district. What impressed us the most about Arlington County Public School District is the attention it gives its youngest students. The district’s Office of Early Childhood supports early childhood programs that help children get their academic careers off to the right start, including a full day pre-kindergarten program and a full day Montessori preschool program. We were also pleased to learn that the district was recently honored as the first place winner in the 2014 Magna Awards program, which recognizes school district programs that advance learning and encourage community involvement.

On average, Arlington County Public School District teacher salaries are about 40 percent higher than the national average ($79,877 versus $46,325) and nearly 40 percent of salary expenditure supports special education.

South

Eanes Independent School District, Texas

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Located in scenic Texas Hill Country, Eanes Independent School District serves 8,000 students who are enrolled in grades pre-kindergarten through 12. The district includes parts of Austin, as well as the communities of Rollingwood and West Lake Hills.

The Eanes Independent School District has achieved the highest rating by the Texas Education Agency, and seven of the district’s nine campuses have been honored as U.S. Blue Ribbon Schools. Additionally, the Eanes Independent School District spends 30 percent more per student than the typical U.S. school district, its teachers are experienced, and many hold advanced degrees. In fact, more than 50 percent of the district’s teachers have 11 years or more of teaching experience and almost 40 percent have earned a master’s degree or higher.

Approximately 98 percent of the district’s students are considered proficient in math and reading, and in recent years, 99 percent of Eanes Independent School District’s seniors have enroll directly into college upon graduation.

Midwest

Adlai E. Stevenson High School District No. 125, Illinois

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Located in Vernon Township, Illinois, Adlai E. Stevenson High School District No. 125 serves over 4,000 students in grades 9 through 12.

With the tag line “Success for Every Student,” you can expect a lot from this school district and not be disappointed. Annually, the district spends $22,354 per student, which is more than double the national average. Known for its strong focus on academic success, the average Adlai E. Stevenson High School student earns an SAT score of 2120. That’s 20 percent higher than the typical U.S. student’s score of 1720. But it’s not all work and no play. In fact, recently, the school’s Science Olympiad Team won the state championship, it boasts an award winning music department and offers a number of athletic team opportunities for students with disabilities. A diverse student body and strong fitness programming round out the reasons why Adlai E. Stevenson High School District is one of the best districts in The Prairie State, and worth making a move for.

West

San Marino Unified School District, California

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Situated in Los Angeles County, the San Marino Unified School District is comprised of four schools which serve over 3,000 students, kindergarten through 12th grade.

An early focus on technology and remarkable parent involvement are two likely reasons San Marino district students enjoy success. Another is the San Marino Schools Foundation. Founded in 1980, the foundation provides supplemental financial support to the school district to help it meet and exceed its educational goals. The district’s robust academic programming has paid off. According to state standards, more than 90 percent of the district’s students are proficient in math and reading. Moreover, the average dropout rate is zero percent, and the typical SAT score is 2010, which is 25 percent higher than the state average. District graduates attend some of California’s most respected universities, including the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) and Stanford University.

It’s no wonder the San Marino Unified School District has been honored as California’s top-ranked API unified district for the last nine years.

We hope our list of the nation’s top school districts gives you an idea of what to look for in your child’s next school. If you have experience with one of the districts we’ve highlighted, or know of another school district that deserves praise, let us know.

Featured image from Shinichi Sugiyama/Flickr

About the author

Jess once moved from Tennessee to Utah and about a dozen places in between. She loves reading, researching, and being outdoors with her husband and two silly puppies.

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