Montana is known for its stunning natural beauty, including Yellowstone National Park, Glacier National Park, and the Rocky Mountains. But beyond its scenic landscapes, Montana is also home to many excellent schools that offer high-quality education and opportunities for students to succeed.
The interpretation of a ‘great’ school varies widely. Most parents, though, focus on academic programs, extracurricular activities, location, and school culture during their search. The best school should match your child’s unique needs and interests.
To come up with this comprehensive list of the top 10 best schools in Montana, we considered a range of factors such as academic programs, extracurricular activities, graduation rates, college readiness, and student satisfaction. We also included parent reviews from GreatSchools.org, Google, and Nextdoor.
Here are the ten best schools in Montana today, ranked in ascending order.
Best Elementary Schools
4495 Montana Highway 35, Kalispell, MT 59901
Creston School is a public elementary school located in Kalispell, Montana. With a student population of just over 100, this small school can provide individualized attention and a close-knit community. According to GreatSchools.org, Creston School has above-average standardized test scores, earning a perfect 10 out of 10 rating. In math, 72% of students attain proficiency in math, compared to the state average of 53%.
One factor that sets Creston School apart is its low student-teacher ratio of 11:1. That's compared to the state average of 13:1. Additionally, all of Creston's full-time teachers are certified, and 100% of its teachers have at least three years of experience. These factors suggest that Creston School is committed to providing high-quality education to its students.
Parent reviews of Creston School are overwhelmingly positive. One parent described the school as a “tiny gem,” with “excellent” teachers, administrators, and staff. Another parent praised the school's focus on individualized instruction. According to the school's website, Creston School has a literacy-based curriculum that sets high standards for staff and students.
Creston School's small class sizes, individualized attention, high academic standards, and caring environment make it a top choice for families in the Kalispell area.
516 South Tracy Avenue, Bozeman, MT 59715
Longfellow School, a public elementary school in Bozeman, Montana, is known for its strong community feel and academic excellence. With an enrollment of 325 students in grades PK-5, Longfellow offers a supportive environment that values the diverse needs of all children. The school has received an above-average rating of 9/10 from GreatSchools.org, and its students perform better than the state average in math and reading.
Longfellow's math proficiency is impressive, with 71% of students attaining proficiency compared to the state average of 43%. In English, 74% of students attain proficiency compared to the state average of 53%. Longfellow's student-teacher ratio is 16:1, slightly higher than the state average. The school has a part-time psychologist to support students' mental health needs.
Longfellow's teaching staff comprises qualified professionals, with 100% of full-time teachers certified. Additionally, 86% of teachers have at least three years of experience.
The school indicates that it strives to create an inclusive, student-centered environment through the collaborative efforts of all members of the Longfellow community. As such, the school has an active parent community involved in various school activities and events.
With its caring, student-centered environment and commitment to educational excellence, Longfellow School is an excellent choice for families seeking a high-quality public education in Bozeman.
405 East Mendenhall Street, Bozeman, MT 59715
Hawthorne School is a public elementary school in Bozeman, Montana. Serving students in grades PK-5, the school has an enrollment of 349 students, with a student-teacher ratio of 17:1. The school has an above-average rating on GreatSchools.org, with a 9/10 rating. Students at Hawthorne School are making more academic progress from one grade to the next than students at other state schools, according to GreatSchools.org.
The standardized test scores at Hawthorne School are also above average, with 80% of students attaining proficiency in math. In English, 77% of students attain proficiency. These scores demonstrate the effectiveness of the school's academic programs and the commitment of its faculty.
Despite having a lower percentage of teachers with at least three years of experience compared to the other schools on this list, Hawthorne School still maintains a highly qualified teaching staff, with 100% of full-time teachers certified. The school employs a part-time psychologist and nurse to support the well-being of its students.
Parent reviews of the school are overwhelmingly positive, with one parent stating, “Hawthorne is such a great school! The art-based curriculum is so great!! The staff at Hawthorne is amazing! We are so lucky to be a part of this school!”
Hawthorne is an excellent choice for parents living in downtown Bozeman.
Morning Star School
830 West Arnold Street, Bozeman, MT 59715
Morning Star School is a public elementary school in Bozeman School District serving pre-kindergarten to fifth-grade students. It has a student population of 493, with a student-teacher ratio of 17:1.
Morning Star School has impressive test scores, with 84% of students attaining proficiency in math and 86% in English. The teachers at Morning Star School are experienced, with 85% of teachers having at least three years of experience and 100% of full-time teachers being certified. The school also has a full-time psychologist to support students' mental health needs.
Morning Star School offers its students a wide range of courses, including art, music, performance arts, and world language courses. Students can take part in courses such as ceramics, painting, band, choir, drama, and Russian or Spanish language courses.
Parents have given positive reviews of Morning Star School, with one parent praising their child's kindergarten teacher and the opportunities for participating in the classroom and parent committee. GreatSchool.org gives the school a 9/10 overall rating.
The school would be the perfect fit for parents looking for a school that strives to promote academic achievement while fostering creative problem-solving skills.
Best Middle Schools
Sacajawea Middle School
3525 South 3rd Avenue, Bozeman, MT 59715
Sacajawea Middle School is one of the best middle schools in Montana, located in Bozeman. The school offers classes for grades 6 to 8 and has an enrollment of 785 students. GreatSchools.org gives the institution a 7/10 rating noting that students are making more academic progress than others within the same grade across the state.
The school's standardized test scores are above the state average, with 54% of students achieving proficiency in math and 71% in English. The student-teacher ratio is 15:1, slightly worse than the state average. All full-time teachers are certified.
What sets Sacajawea Middle School apart from other middle schools in Montana is its commitment to providing a safe learning environment for students. The school has a full-time law enforcement officer and psychologist on staff.
Parents with children attending Sacajawea Middle School are overwhelmingly positive about their experiences. One parent described the school as “pretty wonderful” for all three children, with dedicated teachers and administration. This sentiment is echoed on the school's website, which notes that the school seeks to provide the best possible educational setting for all students.
101 School Drive, Chester, MT 59522
Chester-Joplin-Inverness 7-8 is a small public school in Chester, Montana, serving students in grades 7-8. With a student body of just 30 students, this school is known for its intimate classroom settings and individualized attention to each student.
Despite the school's small size, it boasts above-average standardized test scores, with 68% of students achieving proficiency in math and 76% in English, compared to the state average of 38% and 50%, respectively. The school receives an impressive 9/10 overall rating from GreatSchools.org.
One of the standout features of Chester-Joplin-Inverness 7-8 is its low student-teacher ratio of just 6:1, which is significantly lower than the state average of 13:1.The school has a highly experienced teaching staff, with 71% of teachers having three or more years of experience and 95% being certified full-time teachers.
Despite its small size, Chester-Joplin-Inverness 7-8 offers students a robust and comprehensive academic curriculum. Beyond the core academic subjects, students can participate in sports such as volleyball, basketball, and Jr. High wrestling.
With its highly personalized approach to education, experienced teaching staff, and above-average standardized test scores, this school is a top choice for parents seeking a high-quality education for their middle school-aged children in Chester.
18 Clancy Creek Road, Clancy, MT 59634
Nested in a small city in Montana is Clancy 7-8 Middle School, which serves students in grades 7-8. With an enrollment of just 71 students, the school prides itself on its small class sizes and personalized attention for each student. The student-teacher ratio stands at 11:1.
Test scores at this school are far above the state average, with 67% of students attaining proficiency in math and 76% in English. These results are a testament to the school's commitment to academic excellence. The school gets an overall *8/10 rating from GreatSchools.org.
84% of the school's teachers have at least three years of experience, and 100% of full-time teachers are certified. The school also has a part-time nurse on staff to attend to the health and wellness needs of students.
Parents have praised the school's rigorous curriculum and dedicated teachers. They are also proud of the school’s commitment to challenging and supporting their children. Clancy 7-8’s focus on academic excellence and personalized attention makes it an excellent choice for parents living in Clancy.
Best High Schools
Lone Peak High School
45465 Gallatin Rd-30, Gallatin Gateway, MT 59730
Lone Peak High School is the only high school within the Big Sky K-12 School District. With an enrollment of just 97 students, this school provides a more personalized learning experience, as the student-teacher ratio of 13:1 is lower than the state average. Additionally, the school boasts a highly qualified teaching staff, with 100% of teachers having at least 3 years of experience and 94% being certified.
The school's curriculum is centered around a standards-based, constructivist approach. The school offers a wide range of courses in various subjects, including math, science, language arts, and social studies, with an integrated approach to math and a discipline-focused curriculum in science.
Standardized test scores at Lone Peak High School are above average, and the school is far above the state average in key measures of college and career readiness. The school's 4-year graduation rate is an impressive 100%, and the average ACT score is higher than the state average. The school gets an impressive 10/10 rating from GreatSchools.org.
In addition to these traditional academic courses, Lone Peak High School offers courses in art, music, and performance arts, allowing students to explore their creative sides. Students can also participate in a wide range of extra-curricular activities such as Mock Trial, Thespian Society, and Chess club.
Fairfield High School
13 7th Street North, Fairfield, MT 59436
Fairfield High School is a top-rated public school in Montana offering education to approximately 112 students in grades 9-12. Students who attend Fairfield High School are well-prepared for college and future careers, with the school boasting of a 100% graduation rate. GreatSchools.org gives the school a 10/10 rating.
The school has a low student-teacher ratio of 4:1, which is significantly lower than the state average of 13:1.Students at Fairfield High School can receive individualized attention and support from their teachers, which can lead to better academic performance and a more personalized learning experience.
The school has a high percentage of experienced and certified teachers, with 89% of them having at least three years of experience and all of them being certified. The average ACT score at the school is 23, which is higher than the state average of 19.
Fairfield High School aspires to provide a safe and respectful learning environment where students can grow in wisdom, develop confidence, and value learning for life, as stated in the school's mission. The school is an excellent pick for families moving to Fairfield.
Gardiner High School
510 Stone Street, Gardiner, MT 59030
Gardiner High School is a highly-rated public school in Montana that offers education to grades 9-12. The school is known for its excellent academic programs, which are reflected in its above-average standardized test scores, far above the state average measures of college and career readiness.
The school has a population of 63 students, with a student-teacher ratio of 7:1. The ratio is significantly lower than the state’s average of 13:1, allowing instructors to provide a highly personalized learning experience.
The school offers three AP courses, including AP English Language and Composition, AP European History, and AP U.S. Government and Politics. The AP participation rate is 32%, which is significantly higher than the state average of 12%, indicating that students at Gardiner High School are encouraged to challenge themselves academically.
Additionally, 100% of full-time teachers at Gardiner High School are certified, and all have at least three years of experience, ensuring that students receive high-quality instruction. The school is proud of its 100% high school graduation rate and earns a deserved 10/10 rating from GreatSchools.org.
Gardiner High School is a perfect fit for families moving to Gardiner and wishing to enroll in a school with a rigorous academic program.
Find The Right School For Your Child
Montana has some of the best schools in the country that provide high-quality education, extracurricular activities, and supportive communities. Our research into the 10 top-rated schools in Montana has demonstrated that these institutions excel in many areas. Those include academic performance, standardized test scores, graduation rates, and student-teacher ratios.
Whether you prefer a small rural school or a larger urban one, Montana has a highly-rated school that fits your preference. Keep in mind that the ideal school is one which meets your child’s unique talents and learning needs.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©iStock.com/LightFieldStudios.