The best schools often hold an immense allure as a powerful force that shapes your child’s future and well-being. Research indicates that educational attainment is a significant determinant in a range of measures of well-being, including an individual’s likelihood of marrying, living a long life, or owning a home. In particular, the level of income.
According to the Census Bureau’s 2022 data, education attainment is directly correlated to higher median incomes. Full-time, year-round workers without high school diplomas earn 22% less income than high school graduates. Bachelor’s degree graduates earn 37% higher than associate degree graduates yet fall short of the median income for Master’s or higher degree graduates with 21% higher earnings.
As a parent, you need to find the best schools to provide a solid educational foundation for your child on their path to success. This post explores the ten best schools in the state of Washington. Our comprehensive review captures academic achievements, extracurricular opportunities, class sizes, and student and parent reviews.
Best Elementary Schools
Cherry Crest Elementary School
12400 NE 32nd St, Bellevue, WA 98005
Families within the Bellevue School District will find Cherry Crest Elementary an ideal fit for their educational needs. The school’s mission is to affirm and inspire each child to learn and thrive as a creator of their own world. Students can become lifelong learners through collaboration, inquiry, and discovery.
Cherry Crest Elementary has a great sense of community, as reflected by its diverse student body and extremely active PTO. The school serves roughly 544 students in kindergarten through fifth grade. 76% of these students are minorities, with 4% qualifying for free or reduced-price lunch programs.
The PTO is highly active, organizing multiple events and field trips to enrich the kids’ educational experience. In particular, children can enjoy author visits, field trips, specialist visits, 5th-grade leadership events, festivals, and evening community events.
Students at the school excel in state standardized tests designed to assess proficiency levels. For the 2022 spring assessment, 94% of the kids at Cherry Crest Elementary met or exceeded expectations for English Language Arts and math. 93% attained proficiency in science.
U.S. News ranked Cherry Crest Elementary as the fourth-best elementary school in the state. Public School Review ranked it tenth across all K-12 schools in the state, while GreatSchools.org gave it a 9/10 overall rating.
Stephen Decatur Elementary School
7711 43rd Ave NE, Seattle, WA 98115
Stephen Decatur Elementary is a top-rated public elementary school within the Seattle School District. It is an excellent fit for families searching for holistic education, especially with the school’s focus on mental health through the RULER program. Decatur Elementary serves roughly 200 students in kindergarten through fifth grade.
Students undertake a rigorous traditional curriculum focused on common core subjects. The teaching methods are effective, with the school ranking in the top 1% of all schools in Washington for overall test scores. 98% of the students met or surpassed the proficiency grade in English Language Arts and Maths.
The RULER program at Decatur Elementary is a research-based teaching methodology that assesses the influence of emotions in driving creativity, learning, and decision-making. According to an article published in Seattle Times, students in Ruler Schools are typically less anxious, more attentive, better behaved, and more independent than their peers.
The school has roughly twelve equivalent full-time teachers, with one teacher for every eighteen students. All teachers at Decatur Elementary are certified. The school also has a part-time nurse and social worker on staff.
The school received a 9/10 overall rating from GreatSchools.org, with U.S News ranking it third in the state in the 2020 Best Schools Ranking for elementary schools.
5409 228Th St Sw, MTLK Terrace, WA 98043
Parents with academically-gifted kids within the Edmonds School District should consider enrolling them at Challenge Elementary. Challenge Elementary is a nationally-acclaimed alternative school that offers a rigorous academic environment for gifted kids. The school is a recipient of the 2018 National Blue Ribbon Award from the U.S. Department of Education.
U.S. News ranked the school second on its list of the best elementary schools. Challenge Elementary indicates that students participate in a learning environment with a higher pace, complexity, and deeper level of instruction than in a regular school. As such, learners have more time to focus on interactive projects and in-depth assignments.
Challenge Elementary ranks among the top 1% for academic achievements, with all students performing at or above proficiency level in math. Additionally, 97% of the students attain proficiency in English Language Arts.
The school serves roughly 600 students in K-6, with a minority student enrollment of 55%. The school has 11 full-time teachers, meaning one teacher for every thirty-five kids. While the student-teacher ratio is worse than the state’s, all faculty members are certified and have taught for over three years.
1700 N 90th St, Seattle, WA 98103
Cascadia Elementary, a top-performing magnet elementary within the Seattle School District, carries the crown in our ranking for the best schools in the elementary section. The school is located within the Licton Springs neighborhood and is identified as a Highly Capable Cohort (HCC) school. It serves roughly 503 students in kindergarten through fifth grade.
All students at the school exceed the state’s proficiency requirements in math and English Language Arts. Cascadia Elementary implements social-emotional learning in its pedagogy approach through the RULER program, developing well-rounded learners.
Students at the school can also participate in several after-school activities that nurture their interests and talents. The Green Team gives third-, fourth-, and fifth-grade students to give back to the environment through clean-up and composting projects.
All third-grade students are part of the Learning Garden, where they can test their skills as green thumbs while studying plant growth, composting, and food chains. All fifth-graders participate in the Shakespeare Club to perform a Shakespeare play.
Cascadia Elementary has a minority enrollment of 46%. 6% of the student body comes from economically challenged backgrounds and is eligible for free or reduced-price lunch. All twenty-seven full-time teachers are certified, while 92% have taught for over three years.
Best Middle Schools
Evergreen Middle School
6900 208th Ave NE, Redmond, WA 98053
Evergreen Middle School, located in Union Hill-Novelty Hill, is one of the best schools within the Lake Washington School District. The school has a long-standing tradition of providing students with a quality, well-rounded education. Evergreen Middle aims to grow a community of learners through meaningful interactions and innovative instruction to meet the needs of each student.
Students at the school perform better in state assessment tests than their peers across the district and state. 89% of the students attained or surpassed the proficiency requirements for math. Additionally, 88% exceed similar requirements for English Language Arts.
Students at the school can also participate in various enrichment programs, such as digital design, engineering and design, ceramics, pottery, band, and physical education. Moreover, learners can explore their talents in extracurricular activities and clubs.
Popular clubs at Evergreen Middle include robotics, chess, engineering and design, math, multicultural, and the National Junior Honor Society. Students within the official school band, choir, or orchestra can fight for a position in the All-state band, Seattle Youth Symphony, Bellevue Youth Symphony, or the Columbia Boys and Girls Choirs.
Evergreen Middle has roughly 46 full-time teachers serving 745 students, with one teacher for every eighteen learners. The student-teacher ratio matches that of the state. Besides, 63% of the teachers have a master’s degree or equivalent.
13505 NE 75th St, Redmond, WA 98052
Parents in Redmond should consider enrolling their children at Stella Schola. It is one of the best schools in the Lake Washington School District, ranking among the top 1% of all schools in terms of academic performance. Stella Schola is a small, tight-knit school community with only 90 students in sixth, seventh, and eighth grades.
The school combines a mix of contemporary and traditional curricula with a unique learning approach. Students thoroughly study ancient and modern cultures, with instruction in English, science, social studies, speech, and art integrated with the historical theme at each grade level.
The unique pedagogy works, evidenced by the students’ performance in state assessment tests. 98% of the learners perform at or above the proficiency requirements set by the state in math and English.
The students learn in 30 student cohorts per grade, forming lasting friendships with their peers and great relationships with their teachers. The school has three full-time teachers, with two holding a master’s degree.
Learners at Stella School can participate in after-school extracurricular activities such as the Ski Club, National Junior Honor Society, and Battle of the Books. 64% of the students come from minority backgrounds, with 6% of the student body eligible for free or reduced-price lunches.
Northstar Middle School
10903 NE 53rd St, Kirkland, WA 98033
Northstar Middle is an excellent option for families searching for a small, inclusive school community in Kirkland. It is one of the eleven choice schools in the Lake Washington School District, neighboring Emerson High School. Choice schools are often hosted within an existing school or on the same campus as another school.
The school maintains a small student population with a maximum of 30 students per grade in sixth, seventh, and eighth grades. Currently, the school serves 90 students and has nine teachers. The low student-teacher ratio allows the faculty to offer personalized instruction and feedback.
Northstar utilizes a mixed-age class approach for seventh- and eighth-graders, supporting peer learning and collaboration. Moreover, the multi-grade classes allow the teachers to adjust the curriculum to fit the different needs of each child.
The approach is highly effective, with Northstar topping the charts in state assessment tests. Roughly 98% of the students at the school attain proficiency in math and English Language Arts. Students can also participate in extracurricular activities such as robotics and Ski club.
Here’s what one parent had to say about their experience with Northstar Middle in a GreatSchools.org review, “I had 2 children at this school, and we were extremely happy. The small environment is great, and each child gets attention. Teachers are supportive, and my kids always felt excited about what they’re learning. I found the teachers at this school are knowledgeable, supportive, and pay attention to individual students. I would recommend this school anytime.”
Best High Schools
Raisbeck Aviation High School
9229 E Marginal Way S, Tukwila, WA 98108
Students interested in a career in aviation or aerospace engineering should consider enrolling in the Raisbeck Aviation High School. Founded in 2003, the school is an aerospace-themed high school within the Highline Public School District. It serves roughly 450 students pulled from over 25 school districts who wish to pursue a career in aviation.
All students must attain at least 24 credits to graduate and take the Aviation Careers and Aerospace Engineering program along with their common cores. In addition, they must complete at least one advanced placement course, with the school offering nine AP classes.
Raisbeck Aviation has a high school graduation rate of 100%, with 93% meeting college readiness standards. The SAT Mean Score at the school is 1,136, and the average composite ACT score is 28. Students can also enroll in a dual enrollment program through UW in the High School.
Learning occurs in and outside the school, with the school having multiple partnerships with major aviation brands. Some of the partners that work with the school include the Museum of Flight, Alaska Air Group, Raisbeck Engineering, The Boeing Company, The Port of Seattle, and Blue Origin.
International Community School
445 128th Ave Se, Bellevue, Washington
International Community School is a highly-rated magnet alternate public school within the Lake Washington School District. The school serves roughly 440 students in grades 6-12. The comprehensive academic program offered at the school focuses on humanities, visual and performing arts, and international studies. Students must also complete “focus week,” a week-long academic session outside the classroom.
The school’s curriculum begins in sixth grade, with students undertaking seven years of core subjects such as international studies, French, science, math, and physical education. All students take at least one AP program, with 11 courses offered. International Community School, WA, has an average SAT score of 1,322.
The U.S. News ranked the school second out of 347 high schools in the state, making it one of the best schools to enroll in. The school was also ranked 59th out of 17,843 schools nationally.
Tesla STEM High School
4301 228th Ave NE, Redmond, WA 98053
Founded in 2012, Nikola Tesla STEM High School is a top-rated magnet choice school in the Lake Washington School District. The school admits students on a lottery basis, with roughly 150 enrolling every year in 9th grade. Tesla STEM High serves approximately 612 students in ninth through twelfth grade.
The school uses a problem-based learning approach to offer a college preparatory program for students interested in STEM. Engineering and Technology are infused in all grade-level classes. 99% of the students attain proficiency in English, and 98% are proficient in math.
Students at the school can sit for Advanced Placement coursework and exams. 92% of the students participate in the 13 AP courses offered at Tesla STEM. 85% are also enrolled in dual enrollment programs, allowing them to earn college credits.
Tesla STEM takes the top stop in our ranking for the best schools to enroll your child. The school also ranked first in U.S News ranking for top high schools out of 347 in the state. Nationally, Tesla STEM was ranked twelfth in the 2022 U.S. News ranking.
Washington’s Best Schools Revealed
Selecting the right learning environment for your child will greatly impact multiple facets of their life, including their future earning potential. You need to find the best schools in the state to offer a nurturing environment for personal and intellectual growth. We have explored the ten best schools, looked at their unique academic offerings, and dug deeper into their outstanding achievements.
It’s essential to involve your child in the school selection process to ensure the institution matches their needs and learning style. Visiting the schools and seeking reviews from other parents can help you make an informed decision.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Drazen Zigic/Shutterstock.com.