15 Best Public High Schools in California


15 Best Public High Schools in California
Photo credit: Malcolm Slaney / Flickr

Priorities when selecting a high school often include the quality of academics and facilities, student to teacher ratios, and how well schools prepare students for life after high school.

Safety is also a concern at times as well as graduation rate and the percentage of students who continue on to college. Students may desire a magnet or charter school that specializes in an area they wish to study at the collegiate level.

The number and variety of classes offered, the athletics and clubs available, the food and school policies all contribute to the desirability of a high school.

The following are the top 15 public high schools in California that offer the best opportunities for students.

15. Los Altos High School

Los Altos High School can be found in Santa Clara County in the San Jose metropolitan area. Founded in 1954 on the site of an orchard, the school has recently undergone an extensive renovation, and now features a new science and art building as well as a new athletic field.

The school’s educational outcomes are also great: the average SAT score at Los Altos is 1970 (250 points above the national average) and the average ACT score is 30 (4 points above the national average).

The school has an extensive music and performing arts department that includes a competitive marching band, symphonic orchestra and world-traveling vocal ensemble, as well as a broad and diverse array of over 50 student groups and highly competitive athletics.

98% of Los Altos students graduate on average and go on to attend schools like the University of California, Stanford University, Santa Clara University, University of San Diego and California Polytechnic State University.

  • 20.2% of students are eligible for free or reduced price lunch, compared to the 46% national average.
  • Los Altos High was ranked as having the 27th Best Academics for a U.S. Public High School.
  • The school has been recognized for the quality of its teachers, with Niche.com ranked Los Altos as having the 14th Best High School Teachers in America.


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