Local Spotlight Fleur Howgill September 15, 2023
The DMV metro area—Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia—is one of the most educated regions in the country, with high education attainment and a large population holding advanced degrees.
So it should come as no surprise that school systems in the DMV area consistently achieve high ratings – an important consideration for anyone buying a home in the Washington, D.C. metro area.
A state-by-state performance comparison by U.S. News and World Report ranks Virginia’s school systems at #11 in the nation, Maryland at #23, and D.C. at #31. These rankings are calculated based on the proportion of each state’s schools in the top 25% of the news outlet’s annual Best High Schools” rankings.
When ranking the best high schools, U.S. News and World Report relies on a comprehensive formula with six ranking factors including graduation rate, college readiness, state assessment proficiency, state assessment performance, college curriculum breadth, and underserved student performance.
For homebuyers with families who are searching for their next home in the DMV area, a good school district is a major part of their homebuying criteria. With that in mind, we turned to U.S. News and World Report to analyze the data and come up with the top high schools in each region.
In addition to how they rank in their region, we’re also listing each school’s graduation rate and college readiness index (based on Advanced Placement and/or International Baccalaureate participation).
The D.C. portion of the DMV region has three out of the top 10 highest-ranked high schools (out of 220), according to U.S. News and World Report’s 2023 Best High Schools ranking. The District of Columbia Public School district includes 21 public high schools.
To receive a diploma, students in D.C. must earn a total of 24 credits in specific courses and complete 100 hours of community service. Many high school students in the District take the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness of College and Career – which covers English language arts and math – as well as the D.C. Science Assessment. For more information, visit the District of Columbia Public Schools website.
Here are the top five public high schools, in order of ranking:
#1 - School Without Walls High School in Foggy Bottom neighborhood
#2 - Benjamin Banneker Academy High School in Shaw neighborhood
#3 - BASIS DC in Penn Quarter neighborhood
#4 - McKinley Technology High School in the Eckington neighborhood
#5 - Jackson-Reed High School (formerly Woodrow Wilson High School) in the Tenleytown neighborhood
The Virginia portion of the DMV region has three out of the top 10 highest-ranked high schools (out of 220) in the metro area. Fairfax County, Virginia is the top school district in the metro area. Out of the 336 public high schools ranked in Virginia, six of the top 10 in the state are located in the Fairfax County Public Schools district.
A standard Virginia diploma requires the completion of 22 credits. “Standards of Learning” or “SOLs” in Virginia’s public school systems are the minimum expectations for what students should know at the end of each grade or course for subjects including English, math, science, and history/social science. Virginia public schools also ensure that students develop competencies in the “five c’s” which include critical thinking, creative thinking, communication, collaboration, and citizenship. For more information on Virginia’s graduation requirements and SOL testing, visit the Virginia Department of Education website.
Here are the top five public high schools, in order of ranking:
#1 - Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria (Fairfax County Public Schools - also ranks #5 in the nation.)
#2 - McLean High School in McLean (FCPS)
#3 - Langley High School in McLean (FCPS)
#4 - Oakton High School in Vienna (FCPS)
#5 – George Mason High School in Falls Church (Falls Church City Public Schools)
Of the 220 high schools ranked for the DMV region, five out of the 10 highest ranked are in Maryland. Montgomery County, Maryland is the top school district in the metro area. Out of the 263 public high schools ranked in Maryland, five of the top 10 in the state are located in the Montgomery County Public Schools district.
A standard Maryland diploma requires 21 credits. Students must also complete an Environmental Literacy Program. They also require students to complete 75 hours of student service or a locally designed program approved by the state Superintendent. Students take Maryland High School Assessments (MHSAs). The Maryland Comprehensive Assessment Program tests high school students in English language arts and math, the Maryland Integrated Science Assessments tests high school students in science. Learn more from the Maryland State Department of Education.
Here are the top five, in order of ranking:
#1 – Poolesville High School in Poolesville (Montgomery County Public Schools -- - also ranks #5 in the state.)
#2 – Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda (MCPS)
#3 – Thomas S. Wootton High School in Rockville (MCPS)
#4 – Winston Churchill High School in Potomac (MCPS)
#5 – Walter Johnson High School in Bethesda (MCPS)
In addition to the DMV region’s public schools, there are hundreds of private school options, including Georgetown Day School, St. Albans, Holton-Arms, and National Cathedral School. The most well-known private school in the D.C. area is Sidwell Friends, whose graduates include children of politicians and celebrities. Of course, that kind of access costs money. The average tuition for private schools in D.C. is approximately $30,000 a year.
Whether you’re looking for a home in Washington, D.C., Maryland, or Northern Virginia, we can help you and your family find the perfect home in your desired school district. Just Contact Fleur or Veronique to get started.
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