Jacksonville, FL, is a powerhouse of opportunity. It's the largest city by land area in the contiguous United States. As for education, its 190 public schools make education attainable for everyone. In 2018-2019 an impressive 127,000 students were enrolled across all levels from K-12, including private and charter schools. It's clear that this vibrant city has something unique to offer each student within its boundaries.
But what makes a school good? Is it the academic rigor, the extracurricular activities, the facilities, or the teachers? Ultimately, the answer to that question is subjective and varies from person to person. Nevertheless, certain metrics, such as student-teacher ratio, graduation rates, and test scores, can be evaluated.
This blog post will highlight the ten top-rated schools in Jacksonville based on these metrics and others. We also considered parent reviews, student input, faculty experience, and the academic programs offered. Now, let's take a closer look at some of the best schools in this sprawling city.
Best Elementary Schools
Hendricks Avenue Elementary School
3400 Hendricks Avenue, Jacksonville, FL 32207
Hendricks Avenue Elementary School is a public school in the Duval County School District and serves students in grades K-5. With a student body comprising 649 students, this school boasts impressive standardized test scores. In fact, most students perform at or above grade level.
The school received a 9/10 overall rating from GreatSchools.org, and students did well in English, math, and science. Specifically, 80% of students attained proficiency in English, 81% in math, and 76% in science.
Hendricks Avenue Elementary has a student-teacher ratio of 17:1, the same as the state average. Additionally, the school has a highly experienced and certified teaching staff. 95% of teachers have at least three years of experience and 100% of full-time teachers being certified.
Parents of students at Hendricks Avenue Elementary School are overwhelmingly positive about the school. One parent lauded the high level of parent and PTA involvement, in particular. They also cited the teachers who go above and beyond to provide student enrichment activities.
With strong academic performance, experienced and certified teachers, and a supportive and engaged community, Hendricks Avenue Elementary is a top-rated school in Jacksonville that families moving into the city should consider.
River City Science Academy Mandarin
10911 Old Saint Augustine Road, Jacksonville, FL 32257
River City Science Academy Mandarin is a public charter school providing a robust academic program for kindergarten through eighth-grade students. The school has an enrollment of 846 students.
According to GreatSchools.org, River City Science Academy Mandarin gets a 9/10 overall rating. The students at this school outperformed their peers in English, math, and science. Specifically, they attained a proficiency level of 76%, 74%, and 72%, respectively.
With a student-teacher ratio of 21:1, River City Science Academy Mandarin falls below the state average of 17:1. Nevertheless, 78% of its full-time teachers are certified, and 63% have at least three years of experience.
River City Science Academy Mandarin is a relatively diverse school. The student population is 59% white, 17% Hispanic, 13% Black, 5% Asian, and 5% two or more races. Parents have praised the school for its fantastic learning environment and staff members' involvement in all aspects of students' lives.
River City Science Academy Mandarin provides a solid foundation for its students. In fact, it has earned recognition as a high-performing charter school by the Florida Department of Education (FLDOE).
John Stockton Elementary School
4827 Carlisle Road, Jacksonville, FL 32210
John Stockton Elementary School is a public school in the heart of Jacksonville, FL. It offers exceptional educational opportunities for kindergarten through fifth-grade students. With a current enrollment of 463 students, the school boasts an impressive student-teacher ratio of 15:1. Importantly, that is well below the state average of 17:1.
The school is part of the Duval County School District. It has received excellent ratings from GreatSchools.org, earning a perfect score of 10/10. The standardized test scores at John Stockton Elementary School are impressive, with most students performing at or above grade level. In particular, the school's math scores are outstanding, with 93% of students attaining proficiency in this subject.
John Stockton Elementary School is known for its commitment to diversity and inclusivity. Its student body comprises 63% white students, 13% Black students, 8% Hispanic students, 6% students of two or more races, and 5% Asian students. The school's faculty is equally diverse. Additionally, 100% of full-time teachers are certified, and 84% have at least three years of experience.
John Stockton Elementary’s commitment to diversity, incredible academic performance, and positive school culture make it an excellent choice for families looking for a quality public school in Jacksonville.
J. Allen Axson Elementary School
4763 Sutton Park Court, Jacksonville, FL 32224
J. Allen Axson Elementary School is a public magnet school in the Duval County School District that offers classes for students from Pre-Kindergarten through 5th grade. The school follows an internationally recognized Montessori educational program, where each teacher is specially trained in the Montessori method to assist children in their development.
Based on standardized test scores, this school ranks above average, suggesting that most students at this school perform at or above grade level. GreatSchools.org gave the school a 10/10 rating. Students at this school performed better in English, math, and science than students across the state, with 86% of students attaining proficiency in English, 74% in math, and 77% in science.
With a student-teacher ratio of 16:1, J. Allen Axson Elementary School has a lower ratio than the state average of 17:1. Additionally, 86% of the teachers have at least three years of experience, and all full-time teachers are certified.
Parent reviews on GreatSchools.org speak highly of the school's teachers, who are masters at not just teaching a grade-level curriculum but also differentiating lessons to meet the needs of each child individually. Parents have also praised the school for providing a safe and caring environment that helps children succeed and excel in all that they do.
The school is an excellent choice for parents interested in Montessori instruction for their kids in Jacksonville.
Best Middle Schools
Lavilla School Of The Arts
501 North Davis Street, Jacksonville, FL 32202
Lavilla School of the Arts is a public magnet school in Duval County, FL, serving students in grades 6-8. The school has an enrollment of 1,028 students and a student-teacher ratio of 17:1, which is the same as the state average. The school has a 7/10 rating from GreatSchools.org and has standardized test scores far above the state average.
Lavilla School of the Arts offers a comprehensive arts program, including dance, visual arts, music, and theater courses. Its mission and program offerings reflect the school's emphasis on the arts. The faculty is highly experienced, 83% have at least three years of experience, and 100% of full-time teachers are certified. The school also has a full-time security guard.
The school allows students to explore and expand their artistic endeavors after hours. Its highly acclaimed band program draws rave reviews from parents, who appreciate that they're invited to form a meaningful partnership in their children's education.
Lavilla School of the Arts is a unique school offering a high-quality arts program and an excellent academic program. The experienced faculty and a safe learning environment make Lavilla School of the Arts a perfect choice for parents seeking a well-rounded education for their children.
Julia Landon College Preparatory And Leadership Development School
1819 Thacker Avenue, Jacksonville, FL 32207
Julia Landon College Preparatory & Leadership Development School is a public school in the Duval County School District serving grades 6-8 with 762 students. The school has a GreatSchools.org rating of 8/10.
The school offers various courses and programs to prepare students for college and life beyond, including art, music, performance arts, and world language courses. Additionally, there are various extracurricular activities for students, including the National Junior Honor Society, Math Field Day Team, Robotics Club, and Student Government.
The student-teacher ratio at Julia Landon is 21:1, slightly higher than the state average of 17:1. However, 92% of teachers have at least three years of experience, and 100% of full-time teachers are certified. The school also has a full-time security guard.
Parents have left positive reviews about the school, commending the friendly and supportive teachers, excellent academics, and overall lovely environment. With a strong emphasis on college preparation and leadership development, Julia Landon College Preparatory is a perfect pick for families within Jacksonville.
River City Science Academy
7565 Beach Boulevard, Jacksonville, FL 32216
River City Science Academy is a premier public charter school in Jacksonville, FL. It caters to the educational needs of academically-inclined and creative students from grades 6 through 12th grade – with an enrollment of 920. GreatSchools.org gave it 8 out of 10 stars for its exceptional curriculum that encourages intellectual and social development among learners at every level.
Students at this school scored far above the state average in English, Math, and Science, with 76% of students attaining proficiency in English, 81% in Math, and 59% in Science. The school offers courses in several areas, including art, music, performance arts, and world languages, such as Spanish. Additionally, the school has various student clubs and sports teams, including volleyball and basketball.
The student-teacher ratio at River City Science Academy is 24:1, slightly higher than the state average of 17:1. However, 78% of the teachers have at least three years of experience, and 60% of the full-time teachers are certified.
According to a parent review, River City Science Academy is a fantastic school with caring teachers who prioritize their students' education. The school is an excellent fit for students who want to be challenged intellectually and seek opportunities for personal and academic growth.
Best High Schools
Paxon School For Advanced Studies
3239 Norman E Thagard Boulevard, Jacksonville, FL 32254
Paxon School for Advanced Studies is a public high school in the Duval County School District and is one of the district's four International Baccalaureate senior high schools. Located, Paxon School caters to students in grades 9-12, with an enrollment of 1,474 students. The school has received an 8/10 rating from GreatSchools.org.
Paxon School is renowned for its exceptional academic programs, with an extensive offering of AP courses available to its students and a 97% AP course participation rate. Moreover, 13% of the students in grades 9-12 are enrolled in Dual Enrollment classes. The average SAT score is 1147, and the average ACT score is 24. Paxon also offers music courses in band and Spanish as a world language.
Apart from academics, Paxon School has a robust extracurricular program that includes a variety of student clubs, such as Key Club, National Honor Society, and Model United Nations. The school also has a range of sports teams, including bowling, football, golf, swimming, volleyball, basketball, and soccer.
Paxon has a student-teacher ratio of 19:1, with 83% of teachers having at least three years of experience and 99% of full-time teachers being certified. According to a parent review on the school's website, Paxon School provides a well-rounded education that caters to the whole child, with teachers and counselors who are responsive and caring, creating a supportive environment for students to thrive in.
Douglas Anderson School Of The Arts
2445 San Diego Road, Jacksonville, FL 32207
The Douglas Anderson School of the Arts is a public magnet school in Jacksonville, FL. Founded in 1922, it has a rich history of providing intensive study in the arts to students in grades 9-12. The school offers a broad arts curriculum that attracts talented students in dance, instrumental or vocal music, performance or technical theatre, film and video production, creative writing, and visual arts.
The school offers 25 AP courses, with a participation rate of 56%. The student-teacher ratio is 18:1, just slightly above the state average of 17:1. The school also has a full-time security guard.
The school's 4-year high school graduation rate is an impressive 99%. The school's parent reviews are overwhelmingly positive, with many praising the school's strong music program and academic standards.
The Douglas Anderson School of the Arts is an excellent choice for students who are passionate about the arts and want to pursue intensive study in their chosen discipline while receiving a high-quality education.
Stanton College Preparatory
1149 West 13th Street, Jacksonville, FL 32209
Stanton College Preparatory, Florida's oldest continually operating high school, has seen its fair share of history. Founded in the 1860s and reconstructed after falling prey to destruction multiple times over several decades, this public magnet school located within Duval County School District now serves 1,598 students from grades 9-12.
The school has received high ratings from GreatSchools.org, with a perfect 10/10 rating. The 4-year high school graduation rate is 100%, the school's average SAT score is 1285, and the average ACT score is 28.
Stanton College Preparatory offers a comprehensive range of courses and programs, including 30 AP courses, and boasts a 100% AP course participation rate. The school also offers 30 IB courses, and 30% of students are enrolled in IB grades 9-12. Stanton College Preparatory also has many extracurricular activities, with over 80 clubs and organizations.
Stanton College Preparatory has an excellent student-teacher ratio of 20:1, with 90% of teachers having at least three years of experience and 99% of full-time teachers being certified. The school also has a full-time security guard.
The school's commitment to academic excellence and its emphasis on student involvement and engagement make it an outstanding choice for Duval County School District students.
Finding the Right School for Your Child
Jacksonville, FL, is a hotbed of educational excellence. Whether you're looking for a public school, magnet program, or charter option- the city has plenty to offer when it comes to top-quality education. As well as academic rigor and extracurriculars, ensure your child's choice aligns with their needs and interests to find their ideal fit.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Oksana Kuzmina/Shutterstock.com.