Learning & Activities


The 10 Best Schools in Kentucky Today

The 10 Best Schools in Kentucky Today

Kentucky is known for its horse racing industry and is home to the world-renowned Kentucky Derby, held annually at Churchill Downs in Louisville. The Bluegrass State is also famous for its bourbon whisky, producing and aging over 95% of the world’s bourbon. 

Kentucky also has a robust public education system run and managed by the Kentucky Department of Education. The state is divided into 171 school districts, with 1,477 schools serving roughly 654,239 K-12 students. 

As parents, we often find it challenging to pick out the right learning environment for our kids, with the ideal institutions often depending on the child’s unique needs and abilities. We have come up with an exhaustive guide on the ten top-rated schools in Kentucky. 

We used metrics such as academic performance, faculty experience, graduation rates, college preparedness, inclusivity, state assessment test scores, and student and parent reviews, among many others. 

The schools are in three distinct categories and are ranked in ascending order within each group. Keep reading to learn the ten best schools in Kentucky today and why they stand out. 

Best Elementary Schools

Junction City Elementary School

250 School St, Junction City, KY 40440

Junction City Elementary is a top-rated elementary school in the Boyle County School District. It serves roughly 396 kids in prekindergarten through fifth grade. The school received numerous national and state accolades, including the National Blue Ribbon School designation in 2020. 

The state designated Junction City Elementary as a 5-Star School for its achievements on the 2019 KPREP assessment. Most students performed at or above their grade level in common core subjects. 79% attain proficiency in reading, 65% in math, 69% in writing, 55% in science, and 73% in social studies. 

The school also runs the Leader In MeⓇ Program, whose five paradigms pillars define the culture at the school. Outside the classroom, students can participate in extracurricular activities such as STLP, Girl Scouts, STEM, Robotics, and Archery Club. 

Junction City Elementary has relatively smaller classes, with one teacher for every twelve students. The low student-teacher ratio allows each kid to receive personalized instruction and feedback. 80% of the teachers have over three years of experience. Additionally, all full-time instructors are certified. 

The school received a positive review on Niche.com, with the parent appreciating the Leader In Me program. They also appreciated the school’s counselor for helping their granddaughter. Junction City Elementary is a top pick for families in Boyle County. 

Southern Elementary School

198 Enterprise Dr, Somerset, KY 42501

Southern Elementary is a high-performing public school under the Pulaski County School District. The school houses roughly 636 students in kindergarten through fifth grade. It provides a safe, dynamic environment where all students are challenged highly. The school received a 10/10 rating

The school uses the Project Lead The Way(PLTW) Gateway curriculum for elementary students to provide an excellent foundation for exploratory skills in common core disciplines. 70% of the students attain proficiency in reading, 72% in math, 57% in writing, and 72% in social studies. 

Your child may also participate in various extracurricular activities that can grow their interests and talents outside the classroom. Some popular clubs and organizations include archery, BETA, Braves Football, cheerleading, academic team, cross-country, and robotics.

The school has one teacher for every sixteen students, matching the state student-teacher average. All full-time instructors are certified, and 88% of the teachers have more than three years of experience. Southern Elementary employs a full-time nurse, a part-time psychologist, and a part-time law enforcement officer. 

All parents that reviewed the school on GreatSchools.org gave it a 5/5 stars rating, with one parent noting the excellent support the teachers and administration provided. Southern Elementary is a perfect choice for families in Somerset. 

Having a quality education opens up opportunities that can lead to a fulfilling and prosperous future.

©Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock.com

Reidland Elementary School

5741 Benton Rd, Paducah, KY 42003

Reidland Elementary is a top-performing public school under the Mccracken County School District. It serves roughly 565 kids in prekindergarten through third grade. The school is a recipient of the 2022 Family Friendly Certified School Award from The Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence for its intentional family engagement policy. 

The school offers a rigorous curriculum that ensures that most students attain proficiency in common core subjects. The 2019 K-PREP assessment data shows 77% of the kids attending Reidland Elementary achieving proficiency in reading and 65% in math. Reildland also runs a gifted and talented program that identifies academically-gifted kids and provides them with the necessary support. 

Besides the common core units, your child can participate in enrichment programs such as French, instrumental music, art, library media, and physical education. The school has one teacher for every fifteen kids. 

The school has a nurse, psychologist, social worker, and law enforcement officer on staff. The faculty is highly qualified, with all full-time teachers certified and 94% of the instructors having three years or more of teaching experience. 

The school received overwhelmingly positive reviews on GreatSchools.org. One parent praised the teachers, noting that they genuinely care for the welfare of the kids. The parent also pointed out that the Principal is personable and easy to talk to. They end the review by appreciating the active PTO that organizes fun events and field trips throughout the year. 

Lone Oak Elementary School

301 Cumberland Ave, Paducah, KY 42001

Lone Oak Elementary is a top-rated public school serving approximately 488 kids in prekindergarten through fifth grade. The school falls under the McCracken County School District. The Kentucky Department of Education identified Lone Oak as a High Achieving School. 

Kids at Lone Oak perform excellently in standard assessments compared to their peers across the state. 73% attain or exceed the proficiency score for English and 67% in math. The school also offers enrichment programs such as music, STEM, art, and physical education. 

Lone Oak has roughly 31 full-time teachers, translating to a student-teacher ratio of 16:1. All teachers at the school have over three years of teaching experience and hold professional certifications. Additionally, Lone Oak employs a part-time nurse, law-enforcement officer, psychologist, and social worker. 

Most parents at the school highlight positive experiences with the school and its administration. Here’s what one parent had to say about Lone Oak on GreatSChools.org: ” We are a Military family who moved here in 2017 and immediately felt welcome and loved by the community, especially Lone Oak Elementary. Every teacher and staff helped not just my children but myself and my husband feel loved and appreciated. We will truly miss LOES when we transfer!”

Best Middle Schools

Anchorage Independent Public School

11400 Ridge Road, Anchorage, KY 40223

Anchorage Independent Public School is a high-performing public school that’s one of the three schools under the Anchorage Independent Schools District. Established in 1911, the school serves approximately 400 students in prekindergarten through eighth grade. Niche.com ranks the school as the best middle school in the state. 

Students at Anchorage Independent excel in the K-PREP assessment tests, with 88% proving proficiency in reading and 84% in math. The school also runs a gifted and talented program that helps identify and support intellectually gifted kids. These students receive the necessary academic support and feedback to match their unique needs. 

The school has relatively small classes, with one teacher for every ten kids. The low student-teacher ratio allows the instructors to provide personalized attention and feedback to each child. The faculty is also highly qualified, with 97% having over three years of teaching experience and all full-time instructors holding professional certifications. 

Anchorage Independent also has a full-time nurse and part-time psychologist on staff. All reviews left on GreatSchools.org are 5/5 stars, with parents expressing their satisfaction with the school. One parent highlights the small class sizes, tight school community, great teachers, and caring administrators as reasons they love the school. 

Drakes Creek Middle School

704 Cypress Wood Ln, Bowling Green, KY 42104

Drakes Creek Middle is a top-performing public school in the Warren County School District. The school offers a rigorous academic curriculum to approximately 711 students in sixth through eighth grade. The school earns an 8/10 rating from GreatSchools.org

The Kentucky Department of Education designates Drakes Creek as a High Achieving School, with the school color-coded blue. The school’s performance on state test scores reveals 69% of the students gain proficiency in math and 81% in reading. 

The school has 43 classroom teachers with an average teaching experience of 11.4 years. 45.5% hold a master’s degree in education, while 4.5% are identified as specialists. All teachers hold certifications in specialized areas, making them qualified to educate your kids. Drakes Creek Middle also has a nurse and psychologist on staff. 

Students can also enroll in various athletic teams as part of their extracurricular activities. The sports teams include football, soccer, cheerleading, basketball, volleyball, and track and field. 

Here’s what one alum of the school had to say about their experience at the school, “The school is wonderful! And I enjoy going to it. The academics are wonderful and the teachers really push you.”

Traditional classroom setting with teacher at the front of the room, and students seated at desks with their hands raised.All of the children, who look about 8 years old, and the teacher are all light- skinned. Many of the dozen or so children visible in the frame are wearing plaid shirts, though one is wearing stripes. The room is bright with sunlight from the windows, frame left. A white dry erase board and a green chalkboard are visible in the fan of the classroom, upper right to center frame.
Education is key to unlocking our potential, and this inspiring image shows that nothing can stop us from achieving our goals.

©Ground Picture/Shutterstock.com

School for the Creative and Performing Arts at Bluegrass (SCAPA)

400 Lafayette Pkwy, Lexington, KY 40503

The School For The Creative and Performing Arts at Bluegrass(SCAPA) is a top-rated public magnet school under the Fayette County Schools District. The school serves roughly 277 talented and gifted fourth through eighth-grade students. SCAPA identifies gifted students in one of the nine areas: band, ballet, contemporary music, visual art, vocal music, strings, piano, drama, and literary arts. 

The school has received numerous national and state accolades for its focus on academics and its arts program. Some notable awards include being named a National Blue Ribbon School in 2015, the 2012 National Grand Prize Lexus Eco Challenge Winner, and the 2011 Governor’s Education Award in the Arts.

SCAPA integrates arts with academic instruction, nurturing successful student engagement and better classroom outcomes. This reflects in the students’ performance on state assessments, with 94% attaining proficiency in reading, 85% in math, and 90% in social studies. 

The school has one teacher for every ten kids, allowing the teachers to provide personalized instruction. The school also has a part-time psychologist and social worker on staff. Parents at the school laud its rigorous academic curriculum and arts magnet program, with some saying they are lucky to have their children attend the school. SCAPA is an excellent pick for families with kids gifted in arts. 

Best High Schools

North Oldham High School

1815 South, 1801 KY-1793, Goshen, KY 40026

Founded in 2003, North Oldham High School is a public school under the Oldham County School District. The school serves roughly 1039 students in grades 9-12. GreatSchools.org gave the school a 10/10 overall ranking. 

North Oldham has a four-year high school graduation rate of 99%. 88% of these graduates proceed to college or vocational training, with 95% returning for their second year. Additionally, the school records an average ACT score of 22. These excellent figures speak highly of the school’s college preparatory programs. 

The school offers 27 advanced placement courses, which may allow your child to earn college credits. 46% of the students enroll in AP courses. Your child may also earn college credits through dual enrollment classes with a 27% participation rate. 

North Oldham indicates that active participation in extracurricular activities is a key criterion for student success. The school offers over 47 clubs, organizations, and athletic teams that may interest your child.

North Oldham has 52 full-time instructors, translating to a student-teacher ratio of 17. The school also has a part-time nurse, social worker, psychologist, and law enforcement officer. The school is an excellent pick for families in Goshen. 

Murray High School

1800 Sycamore St, Murray, KY 42071

Murray High School is a top-rated high school within the Murray Independent School District. It serves approximately 474 students in ninth through twelfth-grade students. The school received the National Blue Ribbon award in 1984 and, more recently, in 2015. 

94% of the students enrolled graduate, with 85% proceeding to college or vocational training. 87% of those admitted to college or vocational training return for their second year, indicating that the school prepares its students well for the rigorous college environment. 

In addition to the common core subjects, students can undertake special programs such as the 17 AP courses, two business career pathways, three information technology career pathways, four marketing career pathways, and one agricultural career pathway. 35% of students participate in AP programs. 

Murray High has an average ACT score of 21. Additionally, 26% of the students participate in dual enrollment classes that allow them to earn college credits while in high school. The school has numerous extracurricular opportunities, with 15 athletics teams and 18 clubs and organizations. 

DuPont Manual High School

120 W Lee St, Louisville, KY 40208

DuPont Manual High is a highly-rated public magnet school under the Jefferson County Schools District. It serves roughly 1,910 students in ninth through twelfth grade. The school is a recipient of the National Blue Ribbon designation for 2020.

DuPont Manual offers five magnet programs in the following areas: Math, Science and Technology magnet, Visual Arts magnet, High School University magnet, Journalism & Communications magnet, and Youth Performing Arts School magnet. 

The school boasts a 100% graduation rate, with 90% proceeding to college or vocational training. 94% of these graduates return for their second year, a testament to DuPont’s high rank in college preparedness. DuPont records an average ACT score of 26. 

Students have numerous opportunities to earn college credits. The school offers 29 advanced placement courses, with 80% of students participating. 7% of the students also enroll in dual enrollment classes that give them a chance to earn college credits. 

DuPont Manual also encourages its students to participate in extracurricular activities. The school has over 28 teams and 44 clubs and organizations your child can choose from. DuPont Manual is an ideal pick for families searching for an academically rigorous environment for their kids. 

These graduates are ready to take on the world and make their mark.


Finding The Right School For Your Child

Kentucky is globally recognized for its bourbon industry and horse races. The state is also home to numerous top K-12 schools that provide a rigorous college preparatory education to over 600,000 kids. From traditional rural elementary schools to high-performing magnet schools with 100% graduation rates, you can find the ideal school for all student profiles. 

This list incorporates different types of schools, both locally and nationally recognized. It is an excellent place to begin your search for the ideal school for your child. 

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