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The 10 Top-Rated Schools in Pennsylvania Today

A group of small school children with teacher on field trip in nature, learning science.

The 10 Top-Rated Schools in Pennsylvania Today

Pennsylvania, colloquially identified as the ‘Keystone State,’ is a state of many firsts—from the first public hospital, zoo, theatre, and daily newspaper to the first U.S Marines recruited, stock exchange, and U.S toll road. Home to the nation’s first teaching hospital, pharmacy school, and art school, the state is also a trailblazer in the education sphere. 

With the sheer variety of educational opportunities available in Pennsylvania, parents have been presented with a grand challenge: to choose from among 12,923 schools spread across 500 school districts and provide their children with an optimal learning environment. The state contains over 1.7 million K-12 students – so your choices are virtually limitless.

Luckily, we’ve researched and prepared a list of the ten top-rated schools within the state. Our ranking factors included academic achievements, overall student experience, faculty experience, GreatSchools.org test scores, class sizes, and extracurricular opportunities, among many others. 

The list is in ascending order, with the least ranked in each category first. Without much ado, here are the ten best schools in Pennsylvania today. 

Best Elementary Schools

Whitehall Elementary School

4900 Curry Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15236

Whitehall Elementary School is a high-achieving public elementary school in Pittsburg within the  Baldwin-Whitehall School District. The school serves students in grades two through five with a population of roughly 800. 

The school boasts of having 32 homerooms, an emotional support room, three learning support classrooms, and a gifted support room. The students undertake a six-day rotational schedule that includes special programs such as physical education, music, art, computer, and STEAM. 

Kids at Whitehall Elementary excel in standardized test scores, as verified by GreatSchools.org. 93% of students attain the proficiency mark in science, 79% in English, and 71% in math. Overall, GreatSchools.org gave the school an impressive 10/10 ranking. 

Classroom teachers utilize various teaching approaches, including differentiated learning, small-group instruction, and whole-group instruction. The classes are fairly small, with one teacher for every fifteen kids. 

Parents at the school speak highly of its teachers, administration, and overall school environment. One parent says that the teachers are highly qualified and care about the students’ achievements and personal growth. Overall, Whitehall Elementary is an excellent choice for families living in Pittsburgh. 

Hosack Elementary School

9275 Peebles Rd, Allison Park, PA 15101

Hosack Elementary School is one of the smaller elementary schools in Alison Park and is part of the North Allegheny School District. The school takes pride in creating a motivating, inclusive, and positive learning environment for its approximately 383 students in grades K-5. GreatSchools.org gave Hosack Elementary a perfect 10/10 rating. 

Students at the school excel in their standardized tests, far outperforming other schools throughout the state. 97% of them attain a grade above proficiency level for science, 91% in English, and 81% for math, according to Greatschools.org. The school runs a gifted education program where academically-gifted kids receive accelerated and enriched programs that fit their talents. 

The school district employs highly qualified teachers, with all teachers at Hosack Elementary having over three years of teaching experience and being certified. Additionally, the school enjoys smaller classrooms with one teacher for every fifteen students. With a part-time nurse and social worker on staff, the kids’ health and social needs are often met. 

A parent at the school had this to say about it: “Love school and special ed. Great teachers, nurse, art teacher, and music. All around great school. 6 kids through and in schools.”. Hosack Elementary is an excellent choice for families living in McCandless and surrounding neighborhoods. 

Happy children looking at a jar on a sunny day
The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and these elementary school friends are having an unforgettable time together.


Peebles Elementary School

8625 Peebles School Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15237

Peebles Elementary School is a top-rated school, ranking an impressive 10/10 on GreatSchools.org. Located in the North Allegheny District of Pittsburgh and offering grades K-5 for 383 students, this student-centered elementary provides excellent education through its innovative curriculum.

Students at the school perform at or above grade level on state standardized tests. 98% attain the proficiency score in social studies, 84% in math, and 89% in English. Besides the common core subjects, kids participate in various enrichment programs such as band, orchestra, and art classes. 

Peebles Elementary has an active PTA that supports and runs numerous after-school programs to enrich the kids' learning experience. The programs include rollerblading, spring shindig, KidzKlub, and many more. 

With a cozy student-teacher ratio of 13:1, the school offers smaller and more intimate classes. Moreover, it employs only certified full-time instructors with plenteous teaching experience—91% have over three years.

Parents at the school speak highly of the staff, terming them as skilled and caring. Peebles Elementary is an excellent pick for families in McCandless, Pittsburg. 

Franklin Elementary School

2401 Rochester Road, Sewickley, PA 15143

Franklin Elementary School is a respected public elementary school in Sewickley that’s part of the North Allegheny School District. Established in 1936, this school has earned a stellar reputation over the years and recently underwent an impressive renovation project. Today it proudly serves around 700 students across kindergarten to fifth grade.

Franklin Elementary was named a National Blue Ribbon School in 2017, a testament to its academic achievements. The school’s performance on standardized tests is nothing short of amazing, with 98% of students attaining proficiency in science, 94% in English, and 87% in math. 

The school employs a part-time nurse that caters to the kids’ health needs. The team also features a highly qualified faculty, with all full-time teachers certified and 97% of instructors having three or more years of teaching experience. 

Franklin Elementary recognizes parents' immense role in their students' education journey and runs a strong parent and faculty association (PFA.) The PFA supports over 25 after-school programs to enrich their kids’ education. 

Parents and former students rate the school highly, with Franklin Elementary receiving 4.7/5 stars on GreatSchools.org. One parent cites the positive school community and great administrative and support staff as reasons they highly recommend the school. 

Best Middle Schools

Fairview Middle School

4967 Avonia Road, Fairview, PA 16415

Fairview Middle School is a top-performing middle school in the Fairview School District. The school serves roughly 568 students in fifth to eighth grade. The school’s mission is to build upon the students' academic, emotional, social, and developmental strengths, inspiring them to be lifelong learners. GreatSchools.org gave the school a 10/10 rating. 

Each student participates in academic classes, including reading, writing, science, mathematics, social studies, and wellness. The scholars perform exceptionally well in standardized tests for these common core subjects, with 80% attaining the proficiency mark in English and 78% in science. 

Additionally, the kids are scheduled for six-predetermined enrichment courses, offered in rotation every six weeks. The programs include art, technology education, music, library, and business classes.

Fairview Middle offers several athletic opportunities for its students, including basketball, basketball, volleyball, cross-country, cheerleading, track, and marching band. Your child may also enroll in the dozens of clubs and organizations available at school, such as the student council, martial arts, Glee, and fitness club, among many others. 

The school has a full-time nurse and a part-time psychologist that attend to the kids’ health and emotional needs. It also has a part-time law enforcement officer to keep the staff and children safe.

Students eagerly raising their hands in class, eager to participate and show their enthusiasm for learning.

©ESB Professional/Shutterstock.com

Fort Couch Middle School

515 Fort Couch Rd, Pittsburgh, PA 15241

Fort Couch Middle School is an award-winning public middle school in Pittsburgh under the Upper Saint Clair School District. It serves approximately 641 students attending grades 5-8. The school has racked up numerous national and state awards for its academic accomplishments, earning a perfect 10/10 rating from GreatSchools.org. 

The U.S. Department of Education acknowledged Fort Couch Middle as a National Blue Ribbon School of excellence in five different years, the most recent in 2013. The school’s academic performance is reflected in its students’ performance on standardized tests, where 86% attain the proficiency score in science and 85% in English. 

The school also runs the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program for interested students in grades 7 and 8. Students at the school have numerous opportunities to participate in this program before, during, and after school. 

Some of the sports teams your child may be interested in include football, soccer, basketball, gymnastics, volleyball, track, softball, and swimming. They may also participate in the school band, orchestra, Kids About Reaching Each Other (KARE), tech crew, and the student newspaper, among other organizations. 

The school has small classes, with one teacher for every fifteen students. Parents at the school report positive experiences with the school, with most appreciating the faculty’s commitment to the children’s education. 

Peters Township Middle School

625 East McMurray Road, McMurray, PA 15317

Peter Township Middle School is a public school in McMurray, Pittsburgh. It is part of the Peters Township School District and houses students in grades 6-8. The school has a student population of approximately 1,000 students.

Students at the school ace their standardized tests, highlighting the quality of education provided at Peter Township Middle. 90% attain proficiency in science, 91% in English, and 74% in math.  The scholars also rotate through a variety of optional enrichment programs. 

The school has marginally smaller class sizes compared to others in the state, having an average student-teacher ratio of 13:1. Additionally, the district employs highly qualified teachers, with all instructors having over three years of experience. All full-time faculty are certified. 

Peter Township Middle also has a part-time nurse, law enforcement officer, and psychologist among its support staff. Parent reviews on GreatSchools.org are majorly positive, with one parent pleased with the assistance and communication received from teachers, counselors, and the administration. 

Best High Schools

Central Bucks High School-East

2804 Holicong Road, Doylestown, PA 18902

Central Bucks High School-East is one of the three public high schools under the Central Bucks School District. It is located in Buckingham Township, Bucks County, and serves roughly 588 students in grades 10-12. Central Bucks High School enjoys a reputation of academic excellence, once named a National Blue Ribbon School in 2002. GreatSchool.org gave the school a 10/10 overall rating. 

The school encourages its students to use their time and talents in a vast array of academic, athletic, and co-curricular pursuits. Central Bucks High School-East boasts a 98% graduation rate. The faculty does an excellent job of preparing students for college, with the school recording an average SAT score of 1210 and an average ACT score of 26. 

Central Bucks High School-East also provides an opportunity for students to earn college credits while in high school through advanced placement programs. The school offers 24 AP courses, which see a 51% participation rate. 

Your child may also participate in various sports and co-curricular activities to develop their talent and interests. The school has 136 registered clubs and 23 athletic programs. Parents at the school appreciated that their kids were ready for college by the time they graduated, making Central Bucks High School-East a top choice for families in Buckingham. 

Notable Alumni

Sean Conley – Former Physician to the President

Justin Guarini – Runner-up in the first season of American Idol

Chuck Wendig – Comic book writer and author

Molly Ephraim – Actress

Bryan Scott – Former professional linebacker and safety in the NFL

Stephen Susco – Screenwriter

Nick Bitsko – Pitcher for the Tampa Bay Rays

Samantha Hoopes – Model

Upper Saint Clair High School

1825 McLaughlin Run Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15241

Upper Saint Clair High School is a comprehensive, four-year public high school within the Upper Saint Clair School District. The school has a current student population of 1,451 across grades 9-12. It has earned numerous accolades, including three-time National Blue Ribbon School and the 2000 New American High School awards. 

Upper Saint places a strong emphasis on college preparation for all its students. It boasts of a 99% graduation rate, with 95% of them going ahead to pursue a college or vocational program. The average SAT score at the school is 1239, while the average ACT score is 26. 

Students also have the opportunity to join the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program, with 2% participating. Your child may also earn college credits through dual enrollment classes and advanced placement programs. 

1% of the students enroll in dual enrollment programs, and 34% sign up for AP courses. The school offers 25 AP courses. Upper Saint Clair High School also runs a gifted enrichment program tailored to meet the needs of academically gifted kids. 

The school employs a highly experienced faculty, with 65 of the 101 instructors holding master's degrees or equivalent and six having doctorate degrees. The school is an excellent choice for parents searching for an academically rigorous environment in Pittsburgh.

Notable Alumni

Kim Director – Actress

Sean Lee – Former linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys

Sean Casey – Hitting coach for the New York Yankees and former first baseman

Kirk Ferentz – Head football coach at the University of Iowa

Stephen Chbosky – Bestselling author

Kevin Orie – Former third baseman

Grant Lewis – Former professional defenseman in hockey

Tim Federle – Author and screenwriter

Ryan Malone – Former professional hockey forward and Olympic silver medalist

North Allegheny Senior High School

10375 Perry Highway, Wexford, PA 15090

North Allegheny Senior High School is a top-rated high school in Wexford. It is part of the North Allegheny School District. It serves roughly 2,724 students in grades 9-12. The school has received national and state recognition for its academic feats. GreatSchools.org gives the school an overall 10/10 rating. 

North Allegheny Senior High School boasts a 4-year high school graduation rate of 97%. 76% of graduates proceed to college or vocational training. The students excel in college entrance exams, with the school recording an average SAT score of 1236 and 27 on the ACT. 

32% of the students participate in dual enrollment programs, which give them a chance to earn college credits. The school also offers 30 advanced placement courses, in which 65% of the students enroll. 

Despite the large school setting, the school has impressively small classes. It has a student-teacher ratio of 14:1, which mirrors the state’s average. The school believes its 86 student clubs and organizations provide an excellent opportunity to nurture leadership skills, grow communication skills, and build a large social network. 

Former students at the school are full of praise for it, with one pointing out: “ The most amazing school with the best teachers and administrators possible!”

Notable Alumni

Don Lancaster – Author and microcomputers pioneer

Cory Sullivan – Former MLB outfielder

Warren Hoburg – NASA astronaut

Brian Baschnagel – Former wide receiver for the Chicago Bears

Melissa Hart – Former U.S. Representative

Thomas Keiser – Professional football player who is currently a free agent.

Frank Nicotero – Comedian

Tim Manoa – Former fullback for the Cleveland Browns and Indianapolis Colts

Richard Rossi – Writer and director

Christina Aguilera – Highly influential pop singer

Joey Porter Jr. – Cornerback for the Pittsburgh Steelers

high school students graduates tossing up hats over blue sky.
The future is full of possibilities. Celebrating a job well done!


Finding the Right School for Your School

Pennsylvania is a state of firsts, not just for the nation but in education too. With over 12,000 K-12 schools across its landscape, it's no wonder some truly outstanding institutions have emerged. These ten universities stand as shining beacons – providing students with incredible pedagogical experiences and varied opportunities to nurture their overall growth.

We hope these ten schools provide an excellent starting point in your search for the ideal fit for your child. Keep in mind that the right institution should match your kid’s unique needs and interests. 

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