3 States Offering Award Winning Public Schools

families want good schoolsWith summer coming to an end (sorry, kids!), we thought now would be a good time to check in with the nation’s best schools, and how property values fare near those schools. We know parents have to balance both economy and the strong desire to give their children the best education possible. With that in mind, today we focus on public high schools. Partnering with the American Institutes for Research, U.S. News and World Report surveyed American high schools, looking for those that best educate students and prepare them for college success.

In scoring the Best High Schools national rankings,” researchers started by analyzing state exam results,  (allowing a curve for areas dealing with second-language/disadvantaged populations that typically do not score as highly on standardized exams).  From higher performing schools, researchers then began national ranking for “college readiness,” using data from AP and IP programs, which include advanced, college level coursework. These data joined more familiar assessments, such as student-to-teacher ratio, number of students enrolled at each grade level and average GPAs. Using all this information--in true Olympic style-- U.S. News awarded more than 4,850 gold, silver, and bronze medals to the top-performing schools.

3 Places to Find the Award Winning Schools

  • California:

In terms of most gold medals awarded, The Golden State took the prize, winning top honors for 97 of its public high schools, as well as collecting the most medals overall (a total of 577 gold, silver and bronze combined).

To get a more localized picture, however, we need smaller scale information, such as the one prepared by Newsweek,  listing the nation’s top 1000 high schools. Using similar data as the U.S. News study, Newsweek’s Daily Beast adds in SAT scores and percentage of students graduating. 139 California Schools made that list. The highest ranked of those is Oxford Academy in Cypress, CA (#19). The median sold price for homes in Cypress is a little over $400K (up over 9% in June of 2012—perhaps because summer brings parent homebuyers into the mix.  (Search for homes for sale in Cypress, CA here.) This median price lands the area in the upper-middle range of prices for Southern California’s Orange County area, where several more of the top schools are found. But top schools also appear in Oakland, Fresno, Palo Alto, Saratoga, Carmel, Cupertino… in short, all over the state, and within a very wide range of median home prices.

  • New York:

U.S. News awarded 68 gold medals here.  According to the Newsweek, 119 New York public high schools are among the nation’s top 1000. Among them is Bronxville’s Bronxville High (#40). The median sold price in this city was around $810K in June of this year, quite bit higher than other areas within Westchester County. (Search for homes for sale in Bronxville, NY here.). Other NY areas to consider: Buffalo, the Bronx, Great Neck, Manhattan and more. Again, cities and towns all over New York State, with varying prices to match, made the top 1000.

  • Texas:

U.S. News gave 46 gold medals to Texas high schools, including one to “the School for the Talented and Gifted (ranked No. 1 nationally by U.S. Weekly and #2 by Newsweek) and the School of Science and Engineering Magnet (ranked No. 3 nationally by the U.S. Weekly study and #4 on the Newsweek version), both located in the Dallas Independent School District.” Dallas had a median sold price approximately $197K in June of this year, making it one of the most affordable areas on this list. (Search for homes for sale in Dallas, TX here.) Other areas among the 68 Texas high schools that made the Newsweek top 1000 include Houston, Arlington, Mercedes, and many others, again with a wide spectrum of property values.

Other Schools Winning Special Honors:  

  • Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJ), in Alexandria, VA
  • Connecticut’s International Baccalaureate Academy (CIBA) in East Hartford, CN
  • BASIS Tucson in AZ

If schools are important to you, talk to your Realtor® about where the best ones are, and whether they are public, magnet, charter, or private institutions. You might find the place you want to live also offers excellent schools—at a price you can afford. 

Anna Marie Erwert writes from both the renter and new buyer perspective, having (finally) achieved both statuses. She focuses on national real estate trends, specializing in the San Francisco Bay Area and Pacific Northwest. Follow Anna on Twitter: @AnnaMarieErwert.