Maryland is a state of numerous firsts, from the first railroad in the U.S. to the first American naval academy. The state is also a trailblazer in the education sector, having the nation’s first dental school and the first public medical school. The University of Maryland, School of Medicine, was the first public medical school established in 1807, while the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery, established in 1840, was the nation’s first.
The state currently has a robust public education system managed by the Maryland Department of Education. Maryland is divided into 25 school districts that run 1,417 public schools, with 881,461 kids in K-12. Choosing the right school for your children can be challenging with such large numbers of top institutions available.
We’ve researched and worked on a comprehensive guide on the ten best schools in Maryland today to help families make the right choice. The ideal school should match a kid’s unique learning abilities and needs. Our ranking took into account faculty experience, academic performance, graduation rates, GreatSchools.org ranking, and parent and student reviews, among many other factors.
The schools are in three main categories, ranked in ascending order within each batch. Here are the ten best schools in Maryland today.
Best Elementary Schools
Mount Harmony Elementary School
900 W Mount Harmony Rd, Owings, MD 20736
Mount Harmony Elementary is a top-rated public elementary school serving approximately 608 kindergarten through fifth-grade students. It is part of the Calvert County Public Schools District. The school’s mission is to provide a child-centered environment that nurtures each child’s self-concept and prepares them to be functional members of society.
Mount Harmony Elementary received the National Blue Ribbon School designation in 2019 for its academic exploits. Most students perform at or above grade level in state assessment tests for common core subjects. 79% attain proficiency in English and 78% in math.
The school also runs a gifted kids program, where academically talented kids receive the necessary support and challenge that meets their unique learning needs. Mount Harmony received an overall 10/10 rating from GreatSchools.org.
The school has one teacher for every sixteen kids. While the student-teacher ratio is slightly higher than the state’s, the faculty at Mount Harmony is fully qualified. 87% of the teachers have over three years of experience. Additionally, all full-time teachers are certified.
One parent commended the school on GreatSchools.org for its timely updates. They also appreciated the teachers, terming them as dedicated. Mount Harmony would be an excellent pick for families in Owings, MD.
Ocean City Elementary School
12828 Center Dr, Ocean City, MD 21842
Ocean City Elementary is a public elementary school in Worcester County Public Schools District. The school has a population of roughly 545 prekindergarten through fourth-grade students. The school was named among the 2019 National Blue Ribbon Schools by the U.S. Department of Education.
Most of the students exceed proficiency expectations set by the state. According to the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) data by the Maryland Department of Education, 76% of the students gain proficiency in English and 74% in math.
The school also offers enrichment programs that foster students’ creativity and exploratory skills. Some special programs offered include art, music, technology, media, and star strategies. Ocean City Elementary also has a special education department.
The school has relatively small class sizes, with one teacher for every thirteen kids. The low student-teacher ratio allows the kids to receive personalized instruction and feedback on their educational journey. Ocean City Elementary employs a nurse, psychologist, social worker, and law enforcement officer.
A parent at Ocean City had this to say about the school in a review left on GreatSchools.org, ”Great school, principal, and teachers are great. No issues would highly recommend.” The school is a top pick for families in Ocean City, MD.
Heather Hills Elementary School
12605 Heming Lane, Bowie, MD 20716
Heather Hills Elementary is an award-winning public school in the Prince George’s County Public Schools District. It serves kids in second through fifth grade, with a population of roughly 314 students. The school has received numerous national, state, and independent organization awards, including the National Blue Ribbon in 1990, Maryland Green School in 2016 and 2020, and an EGATE School in 2012.
GreatSchool.org gave the school a 9/10 on student academic progress and an overall 10/10 rating. State proficiency assessments reveal that 76% of the kids perform at or above their grade level in English and math. The school also runs a robust, talented, and gifted program to support intellectually-gifted kids.
All full-time teachers at Heather Hills are certified. Additionally, 96% have over three years of experience. The faculty team is qualified to provide top-notch education to students, which reflects in the school’s performance. The Heather Hills also has a full-time nurse and psychologist on staff.
Parents at the school express satisfaction with their experiences there, with one noting that the curriculum is rigorous and parent participation is typically high. The parent also loved the easy access to the school administration whenever necessary.
Glenarden Woods Elementary School
7801 Glenarden Pkwy, Glenarden, MD 20706
Glenarden Woods Elementary is a high-performing public school under the Prince George’s County Public Schools District. The school has roughly 388 students in second grade through fifth grade. The U.S. Department of Education has identified Glenarden Woods as a National Blue Ribbon School on two different occasions, in 2006 and, more recently, in 2019.
The school offers an academically rigorous environment for kids, making it better suited for the academically gifted. Most students perform at or above their grade proficiency levels in state assessments. 89% attain proficiency in English and 84% in math.
Glenarden Woods runs also runs an intensive gifted and talented program. The school received the state’s EGATE (Excellence in Gifted and Talented Education) award. GreatSchools.org gave the school a 10/10 overall rating.
Students at the school can also participate in various after-school programs that help develop their interests and curiosity. Some popular activities include Kinetic Lego Club, yearbook club, STEM Club, drama club, chorus, and sports club.
Parent and former student reviews are overwhelmingly positive, with the school receiving a 4.7/5 stars rating on GreatSchool.org. One alum appreciated the fantastic teachers and the classroom atmosphere. They end the review by recommending the school.
Best Middle Schools
Herbert Hoover Middle School
8810 Postoak Rd, Potomac, MD 20854
Herbert Hoover Middle School is a top-performing middle school in the Montgomery County Public Schools District. It serves approximately 1,002 students in sixth through eighth grade. The school received the National Blue Ribbon School designation in 1996.
Herbert Hoover offers a rigorous and enriched curriculum that maxes out on the kids’ learning abilities and potential. 84% of students perform at or above the proficiency level for their grade in English. 65% attain proficiency in math.
Students can enroll in enrichment courses, such as instrumental music, physical education, and world language programs. The school offers Spanish, Chinese, and French classes. They can also participate in one of the 25 clubs and organizations for their extracurricular program.
Despite its large student population, Herbert Hoover Middle has one teacher for every fifteen kids. The teachers are also highly qualified, with 91% having over three years of teaching experience. Moreover, 98% of full-time faculty members are certified.
A current student at the school left a positive review on GreatSchools.org, indicating that Herbert Hoover Middle has a great learning environment. The student also mentions the Chinese program, terming it fantastic. The review ends with the student appreciating the supportive teachers and recommending the school.
Thomas W. Pyle Middle School
6311 Wilson Ln, Bethesda, MD 20817
Thomas W. Pyle Middle is one of the largest public middle schools within the Montgomery County Public Schools District. The school serves sixth to eighth-grade students and has an enrollment of approximately 1,312 kids. The school has received numerous awards for its academic performance, including the 2006 National Blue Ribbon School designation.
Students at the school undertake a traditional curriculum enriched with multiple special programs for a holistic educational experience. 73% of the kids attain proficiency in math and 82% in math.
Some enrichment programs at Pyle Middle include art, computer science, music, physical education, and world languages. The school also has a unique STEM program from Project Lead The Way: the Gateway curriculum, tailored for middle school students.
The school also fields several athletic teams in the local district league, allowing kids to participate in extracurricular activities. The sports teams include soccer, volleyball, cross-country, softball, and basketball.
The school has a student-teacher ratio of 15:1. All full-time teachers are certified, and 87% of the instructors have at least three years of experience. The school also has a full-time security guard.
One parent on a Niche.com review described Pyle Middle as a fantastic school with many high-achieving students and teachers who match and meet their needs.
Folly Quarter Middle School
13500 Triadelphia Rd, Ellicott City, MD 21042
Folly Quarter Middle is a top-rated public middle school serving around 664 sixth through eighth-grade students. The school falls under the Howard County Public Schools District. GreatSchools.org gave it a 10/10 overall rating.
Folly Quarter Middle has received numerous accolades for its academic exploits. It was designated a National Blue Ribbon School in 2013. In 2012, it was named a Maryland Blue Ribbon School. 72% of students attain proficiency in English and 68% in math.
The school runs a gifted and talented program that seeks to identify intellectually-gifted kids and provide them with adequate challenge and support. Students can also enroll in related arts programs such as fine art, health, physical education, music, band, and orchestra.
Folly Quarter has over 29 clubs and organizations that your child can join. The school enjoys a relatively low student-teacher ratio, with one teacher for every 14 kids. Additionally, 98% of the teachers have over three years of experience and are certified.
Folly Quarter Middle School is an excellent option for parents that wish to raise their kids in a healthy, rural environment.
Best High Schools
Westminster High School
1225 Washington Rd, Westminster, MD 21157
Westminster High is a top-rated public high school within the Carroll County Public Schools District. The school serves roughly 1,448 students in ninth through twelfth grade. The school received a 10/10 overall rating from GreatSchools.org.
Westminster High offers a rigorous college preparatory curriculum with students experiencing an intro-level college environment while in high school. The school has a graduation rate of 95%, with 23% of the students sitting for ACT or SAT exams.
The school offers 28 advanced placement courses, in which 41% of the students enroll. The AP courses allow students to challenge themselves academically and potentially earn college credits. The students can also earn college credits through dual enrollment classes, in which 5% participate.
The school offers numerous extracurricular opportunities, divided into athletics, performing arts, and clubs and organizations. The school has ten sports teams in junior varsity and varsity athletics leagues. Westminster also has 46 clubs and organizations, as well as four performance art programs.
Former students at the school are full of praise for the school. Here’s what one alum had to say about their experience at Westminster, ”WHS was a great school that prepared me for college and taught many life lessons. I met some of the greatest people and learned so much while I was enrolled.”
Jon Leiberman – Former reporter for The Howard Stern Show and America's Most Wanted; currently hosts his own radio news show on Howard 101
John A. Giannetti, Jr. – Former Maryland State Senator from 1999 – 2006; well-known for saving his political rival from choking
Theodore E. Woodward – Researcher and Nobel Prize nominee known for his role in the discovery of cures for typhus and typhoid fever
Matthew A. Snyder – Killed in the Iraq War and subject of the court case Snyder v. Phelps, which determined that someone cannot blame public discourse on a public concern for emotional distress
Urbana High School
3471 Campus Dr, Ijamsville, MD 21754
Founded in 1995, Urbana High School is a top-performing high school in Ijamsville under the Frederick County Public Schools. The school is home to roughly 1,929 students in grades 9-12. The U.S. Department of Education designated the school as a National Blue Ribbon School in 2019.
The school also received the Maryland Blue Ribbon School award in 2018 for consistently high student achievement. 95% of the students that enroll at Urbana graduate, with 75% proceeding to 4-year college programs and another 20% to 2-year college programs.
Urbana High offers a broad array of courses in humanities, arts, and science. The school has a robust advanced placement program, with 27 AP courses available. Approximately 47% of the students participate in the AP program, with 70% acquiring scores that earn them college credits.
The students can also earn college credits through dual enrollment classes and the International Baccalaureate Degree Program. 6% of the students participate in the IB program, providing an intellectually rigorous environment for them to challenge themselves.
One parent with a positive experience at the school highlights the high parent involvement, noting that the engagement reflects in the PTA, during sports days, and the Safe & Sane Program. Urbana is an excellent pick for families searching for an academically rigorous environment for their kids.
Eastern Technical High School
1100 Mace Ave, Essex, MD 21221
Eastern Technical High is a public magnet school in Baltimore County Public Schools. It offers ten career majors programs for approximately 1,215 students in grades 9-12. The school received the National Blue Ribbon award in 2010.
95% of the students enrolled graduate after four years. For the 2022-2023 school year, 60% plan to join 4-year colleges and 34% plan to join 2-year colleges. 46% of the seniors participated in the early college access program, with 40% sitting for the SAT.
Eastern Technical offers 26 advanced placement courses, which provide students with an opportunity to earn college credits. For the 2022-2023 school year, 76% of the students participated, with 80.2% scoring 3 points and above. 1% of the students participate in dual enrollment classes.
The school has over 52 clubs and organizations that allow students to explore their interests and honor their social and leadership skills. Eastern Technical also fields 47 athletic teams in junior varsity, varsity, and allied leagues.
One parent highlights the academically challenging environment as one of the positives she likes about the school. Eastern Technical is a top pick for parents with academically gifted kids in Essex.
Scott Seiss – Actor, comedian, and social media personality known for his comedic representations of retail workers
Timothy R. Ferguson – Former Maryland State Senator
Ego Nwodim – Actress and comedian; current Saturday Night Live member
Rudy Gay – Professional basketball player who plays as a forward for the Utah Jazz
Finding The Right School For Your Child
Maryland is a frontrunner in education within the U.S., with numerous top-rated schools. Nine of the ten schools on this list have been recognized nationally for their academic excellence. From top magnet schools to high-performing traditional schools, you can find a fit for every student profile.
This guide can become an excellent starting point for families searching for an ideal learning environment for their kids. Remember, the right school should meet your family’s unique learning needs and abilities.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©LightField Studios/Shutterstock.com.