Learning & Activities


The 10 Best Schools in North Dakota Today

The 10 Best Schools in North Dakota Today

Key Points

  • The state has over 179 school districts with approximately 576 public district schools.
  • With 779,261 inhabitants overall, the state of North Dakota houses 118,334 K-12 learners.
  • North Dakota has a variety of elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools that have been noticed for their achievements in education.

Spanning a vast landmass, North Dakota is the 19th largest state but only has the 4th fewest residents. Data from the U.S. Census Bureau in 2022 found that with 779,261 inhabitants overall and 10.7 individuals per square mile, this beautiful state houses 118,334 K-12 learners for whom it provides an excellent education system.

The state has over 179 school districts with approximately 576 public district schools. You may have to consider many factors when picking the ideal learning environment for your child, including academic performance, faculty experience, extracurricular opportunities, and overall student experience. 

Fortunately, we’ve come up with a comprehensive list of the top ten schools in the state. Our ranking team considered the factors listed above and others, such as GreatSchools.org ranking, niche.com parent and student reviews, and graduation rates, among others. 

School classroom in blur background without young student; Blurry view of elementary class room no kid or teacher with chairs and tables in campus.


Best Elementary Schools

Sweetwater Elementary School 

1304 2nd Ave NE, Devils Lake, ND 58301

Sweetwater Elementary is a top-rated elementary school in Devils Lake under the Devils Lake Public School District 1. The school has a population of roughly 270 students in first through fourth grade. 

The school is a recipient of the National Blue Ribbon award in two different years, 2014 and 2020, a testament to the quality of instruction provided. Most of the students at Sweetwater perform at or above grade level. State standardized test scores show that 77% attain proficiency in math and 67% in reading. 

The institution also runs the 21st Century Student Morning and Afternoon Program authorized by the school district. The program provides additional support to kids struggling to meet academic expectations through numerous enrichment and instructional material. The school also enjoys relatively smaller class sizes, with one teacher for every fourteen kids. The faculty is also highly experienced and qualified, with certifications and over two years of experience. 

Sweetwater Elementary receives overwhelmingly positive reviews from parents. One parent on Niche.com described the school as wonderful, with great teachers who communicate well with parents and are very supportive. The reading program is described as awesome, with children who love reading and excel at it, reading above their grade level. The school is an excellent pick for parents in Sweetwater Elementary. 

Manvel Elementary School

801 Oldham Ave, Manvel, ND 58256

Manvel Elementary is an award-winning public elementary school in Manvel and is part of the Manvel 125 School District. It serves approximately 194 students in prekindergarten through eighth grade. The Marzano Network named the school a level 1 Certified High-Reliability School in 2020.

The school also received the National Blue Ribbon from the U.S. Department of Education for 2014. Data from the state's standardized English Language Arts(ELA) and mathematics tests show most students at Manvel School perform at or above grade level. 67% of students attain proficiency in reading and 72% in math. The school has fifteen faculty members, translating to a student-teacher ratio of approximately 12:1. The low student-teacher ratio and small class sizes allow the teachers to provide more individualized attention to each child. Besides, all teachers at the school are certified. 

According to a former student at Manvel Elementary, the teachers are heavily invested in the student's success and committed to helping them achieve their goals. The school is a perfect choice for families looking for an academically rigorous school for their kids. 

Group portrait of elementary school kids in school corridor

©Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock.com

Larimore Elementary School 

700 Clark Ave, Larimore, ND 58251

Larimore Elementary is a highly-rated elementary school under the Larimore Public School District. In 2022, the school received the National Blue Ribbon School designation, which serves as evidence of the exceptional education it offers. It serves roughly 213 students in prekindergarten through sixth grade. 

Most students at Larimore Elementary demonstrate academic performance that meets or exceeds their grade level expectations. In math, 77% of students achieve proficiency, while in reading, 57% of students reach this same benchmark.

The school has 19 full-time teachers. This translates to a student-teacher ratio of 13:1. Larimore Elementary also has a nurse and social worker who attend to the kids' medical and social welfare needs. A parent at the school reports that Larimore Elementary has been an excellent fit for their daughter. According to the review left on GreatSchools.org, the school has been welcoming for the child who enjoys their time there. The parent also appreciates the great teaching faculty at the school. 

Longfellow Elementary School 

20 29th Ave NE, Fargo, ND 58102

Longfellow Elementary is a top-rated elementary school within the Fargo 1 School District. Established in 1962, the institution currently serves roughly 380 students in kindergarten through fifth grade. The school earned the National Blue Ribbon School designation award in 2017. 

Students at Longfellow Elementary perform better than most of their peers across the state, with 87% attaining proficiency in math and 78% in English. Kids in grades four and five participate in before and after-school activities tailored to grow their interests and talents. Some of these activities include chimes and choir. 

The school has a talented pool of qualified teachers to provide top-notch education. 61% of the faculty members hold a graduate degree. Additionally, all teachers are certified. The school has one teacher for every fourteen kids. 

Parents and former students left glowing reviews about Longfellow Elementary on GreatSchools.org. One parent described it as a great institution the community is lucky to have. The parent also praises the school's teachers, describing them as caring, kind, helpful, professional, and knowledgeable in their practice. Longfellow is an excellent pick if you desire a small, inclusive school community focused on academic excellence in Fargo. 

Best Middle Schools

Discovery Middle School 

1717 40th Ave S, Fargo, ND 58104

Discovery Middle is a highly-rated public middle school within the Fargo Public Schools District. It served roughly 1,099 students in sixth to eighth grade. The school prides itself in offering a rigorous, enriched curriculum that prepares the kids for high school life and beyond.

Students at the school can enroll in various specialized enrichment programs such as theatre arts, music, visual arts, technology, and world languages. For common core subjects, the kids perform better than most of their peers in the school district and state, with 62% gaining proficiency in English and 54% in math. 

Discovery offers numerous extracurricular activities for the kids to grow their talents, social skills, and interests. The activities include student leadership, intramurals, drama, and athletics. Your child may join clubs such as art, chess, Be The Change, Lego Robotics, Math Counts, and Science Olympiad. 

Students may also build a foundation in athletics by joining one of the school's sports teams, which include swimming, wrestling, gymnastics, volleyball, golf, tennis, and cross country. The school has a student-teacher ratio of 14:1. Additionally, 78 teachers are full-time, and 4 full-time school counselors. 

smiling young middle school girl with friends in the background
A smile is always a sign of positivity, something that this middle schooler exemplifies even amidst the challenges of her daily life.


Nathan Twining Middle School

1422 Louisiana St, Grand Forks AFB, ND 58204

Nathan Twining Middle School is a unique, high-performing middle school in the Grand Forks Air Force Base. The school caters mostly to dependents of military families but is also open to Grand Forks residents. It’s under the Grand Forks Public Schools District and serves approximately 75 sixth through eighth-grade students. 

The U.S. Department of Education designated Nathan Twining as a National Blue Ribbon School for its academic accomplishments. Most students at the school perform at or above grade level, with 67% attaining proficiency in English and 62% in math. 

Kids at the school are exposed to numerous extracurricular opportunities that help build their leadership and social skills. Some popular clubs, organizations, and activities include the choir, musical, robotics, sources of strength, and student leadership. Students can also participate in various sports teams, which can develop their talents and interests. The athletic teams available at the school include basketball, soccer, and track. 

Due to the small school setting, the students receive individualized attention and feedback from their teachers. There's one teacher for every six students, allowing the school to maintain a small class size. Nathan Twining is an excellent pick for families moving into Grand Forks and wishing to have a holistic educational experience for their kids. 

Memorial Middle School

1 Rocket Rd, Minot AFB, ND 58704

Memorial Middle School is a top-rated middle school in Minot Air Force Base under the Minot Public Schools District. It serves approximately 176 students in sixth through eighth grade. The school received a National Blue Ribbon School designation in 2020.

The students at Memorial Middle record exemplary performances on standardized tests, with most performing at or above their grade level. 77% attain proficiency in reading and 62% in math. The school ranked first in the state for reading and tied sixth for math. 

The school has a student-teacher ratio of 12:1. The potentially small class sizes allow the teachers to provide personalized instruction to the kids. 86.3% of the faculty have over two years of experience, and all full-time teachers are certified. The school also has a full-time counselor on staff. 

A staff review of the Memorial Middle on GreatSchools.org praised the school, with the reviewer stating that they loved working there and that it was like a dream job. The teacher also notes that the students are exceptional, respectful, and engaged. The school is an excellent pick for parents in Minot. 

Best High Schools

Century High School

1000 E Century Ave, Bismarck, ND 58503

Century High School is a top-rated public school in Bismarck under the Bismarck Public School District 1. Founded in 1976, the school currently serves roughly 1,346 students in ninth to twelfth grade. Century High was a recipient of the National Blue Ribbon designation in 1993. 

Century High boasts a 97% high school graduation rate, with 77% of the graduates enrolling in a college or vocational training program. 85% of these return to college for a second year, speaking strongly of the school's commitment to providing college preparatory education.

Moreover, the school provides numerous opportunities for students to earn college credits. Century High offers over 16 advanced placement courses in which 29% of the students enroll. Additionally, 13% of the students enroll in dual enrollment classes. 

The school encourages its students to participate in numerous extracurricular activities to grow their leadership skills and nurture their talents. Central High has over 16 clubs and organizations, as well as 27 athletic teams. Niche.com ranked the school first for best high schools for athletes in North Dakota. 

North High School 

801 17th Ave N, Fargo, ND 58102

North High School is a high-performing public school in Fargo within the Fargo Public School District 1. It serves roughly 1000 students in ninth to twelfth grade. The school has a rigorous STEM program that Niche.com ranked second-best in the state. North High does an excellent job preparing its students for college, having an average graduation rate of 93%. Additionally, the average SAT score at the school is 1350, and 26 for the ACT. 

The school provides opportunities for students to earn college credits through advanced placement courses and dual enrollment programs. Approximately 31% of the students enroll in the seventeen AP courses available at the school, and 7% participate in dual enrollment classes. North High offers numerous extracurricular opportunities to its students who may opt to join one of the 43 clubs and organizations available. The school has a rigorous athletics program with over 27 sports teams. 

One parent review of North High School praised the school for providing their daughter with a high-quality education that has prepared her for college. The student has taken multiple AP classes, which the parent credits with helping their daughter achieve high scores on standardized and ACTs. 

Fargo Davies High School 

7150 25th St S, Fargo, ND 58104

Fargo Davis High School is a top-rated public school in Fargo Public School District 1. The school serves approximately 1,328 students in grades 9-12. The school offers a rigorous college preparatory education, ranking first on niche.com's list of the best high schools in North Dakota. 

Fargo Davis is proud of its 96% graduation rate, with 73% of the graduates proceeding to college or vocational training school. Additionally, 88% of enrolled return for their second year, speaking highly of Fargo Davis' college preparatory programs. The average SAT score at the school is 1320, and 26 for the ACT.

The school offers 17 advanced placement courses, which allow students to earn college credits while still in high school. It also has a specialized PLTW Engineering program that prepares students for STEM careers such as computer science and civil engineering. 

The school has numerous extracurricular activities, from the marching band to the orchestra, where your child may involve themselves. Fargo Davis has over 37 different clubs and organizations, as well as 27 athletic teams. 

Parents, alums, and current students agree that Davies High School is a top-notch educational institution. A former student praised the school for its strong sense of diversity and inclusion and passionate teachers who provide individual attention to their students. Moreover, extracurricular activities were also highly commended by this student.

Outdoor Portrait Of High School Students On Campus
Connection and joy! High school friends spend time together, enjoying each other's company with a smile on their faces.

©Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock.com

Finding the Right School for Your Child

North Dakota has a robust educational scene with numerous high-achieving and award-winning schools. You can find a fit for every student profile, from National Blue Ribbon elementary schools to STEM-focused high schools. 

Whether you're seeking to give your child the opportunity to expand their learning potential or prepare them for college and beyond, this list of schools offers a great starting point in finding the perfect educational fit. With their comprehensive approach, these institutions have what it takes to ensure your kid can reach their fullest academic potential.

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