Seattle, the largest city in the Pacific Northwest, is renowned for its breathtaking natural scenery, innovative technology, and thriving culture. Set against snow-capped mountains and sparkling waters, Seattle boasts an eclectic mix of urban and outdoor living, ranking it high among the best cities to live in the U.S.
But did you know that Seattle also has an exceptional education system? The booming technology industry and highly educated population fuel a deep interest in exceptional education. Further, the city has over 190 public schools serving nearly 90,000 students. Whether you're a resident or considering a move to Seattle, there are plenty of great options to enroll your child.
Add another 122 private institutions serving nearly 25,000 students, and you may have a headache figuring out the right school for your child. The ideal school should cater to your child’s unique abilities and talents while providing a solid foundation in core subjects. To make your search easier, we’ve compiled a list of 10 top-rated schools in Seattle.
The ranking metric incorporates many essential aspects, including greatschools.org ranking scores, graduation rates, student-teacher ratios, state assessment proficiency, college readiness, and parent reviews. Here are the ten top-rated schools in Seattle, in ascending order.
Best Elementary Schools
1700 North 90th Street, Seattle, WA 98103
Cascadia Elementary is a highly rated magnet school in Seattle that provides an exceptional learning environment for grades K-5. The school has a total enrollment of 511, with approximately 42% female and 58% male students. Cascadia earned an impressive 9/10 rating from GreatSchools, with the students’ excellent assessment proficiency results standing out.
What's more, the school's test score performance is far above the district’s and the state’s averages. 98% of the students at the school scored at or above the proficiency level in math, compared to a state average of 50%. Cascadia students attained a 98% proficiency in English and 97% in science, against a state average of 60% and 52%, respectively.
The school has a great learning atmosphere, with the student-teacher ratio at 20:1, slightly worse than the district’s average of 18:1. There are 27 full-time teachers, all of whom are certified. Additionally, 92.35% of the teachers have three or more years of experience.
The school promotes an inclusivity culture arising from the diverse student population. Further, minority enrollment stands at 46%, with 6% from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. Parents say they love the school for its supportive teachers, fantastic learning atmosphere, and practical approach to homework.
Wedgwood Elementary School
2720 Northeast 85th Street, Seattle, WA 98115
Wedgewood Elementary School is an exemplary public school providing quality education for pre-kindergarten to Grade 5. It has a rigorous academic curriculum, with students scoring above the state’s proficiency average. As such, the school earns a deserved 9/10 rating from GoodSchools, with above-average reporting in school progression and test scores.
81% of the students scored at or above the proficiency level for mathematics, and 85% tested at or above the proficiency level for English. The test scores are incredible compared to the district’s 60% and 65% averages.
The school has a total population of 476, with a minority enrollment of 40.7%, promoting excellent diversity. Additionally, the student-teacher ratio stands at 15:1, well below the district’s average. This allows the teachers to provide individual attention to students, keeping each child on track in their learning journey. All 27 full-time teachers have three years and above of teaching experience.
Parents at Wedgewood Elementary School hail the detailed curriculum that includes a competitive art program as one of the most significant advantages of enrolling their kids in the school. The solid academic record makes Wedgewood the perfect schooling environment for academically gifted kids.
Lawton Elementary School
4000 27th Avenue West, Seattle, WA 98199
Lawton Elementary School is one of the finest public schools within the Seattle School District. The school has a total population of approximately 468 students and accommodates kids from K-5. Furthermore, its students score high above the district’s and state’s averages. With that, Lawton Elementary has established itself as a leading learning institution in the city.
Test scores administered by GoodSchools revealed 83% of the students scored at or above the math proficiency level, compared to the state’s average of 50. 87% of the students were above the English proficiency level. Also, the school earned an average rating of 9/10 from GoodSchools.
The student-teacher ratio at Lawton is better than the district’s average, with one teacher for every fifteen students. 97.5% of the teachers have at least three years of experience, making them competent enough to deliver on their targets.
Minorities comprise 32% of the total enrollment — proof of student diversity within the academic programs. The school also supports 6% of students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.
Parents say they feel very welcome within the school community, with most volunteering to help, thus keeping the student-teacher/mentor ratio low. The rigorous STEM curriculum is another attractive factor that makes Lawton Elementary one of the best schools in Seattle.
Greenwood Elementary School
144 Northwest 80th Street, Seattle, WA 98117
The Greenwood Elementary School provides a safe and supportive environment for kids in pre-Kindergarten to grade 5. It has an enrollment of 341 students served by 21 full-time teachers, translating to a student-teacher ratio of approximately 16:1. Greenwood earns an impressive 10/10 rating from GreatSchools.
The student body has a minority population of approximately 29%, with 9% coming from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. 94.5% of the teachers have three years or more of experience, which may help explain the excellent score results for the students in standardized tests.
78% of the students score at or above the math proficiency level, compared to the 50% for the state. The English scores are also above the district and state averages, with 89% of the students performing at or above grade level.
Greenwood Elementary is perfect for a parent searching for a cohesive, friendly learning environment fostering individual growth and academic excellence. The school PTA funds a family support worker and buys holiday presents for kids in need. Your child may also benefit from the rigorous art program that nurtures creativity from a young age.
Best Middle Schools
McClure Middle School
1915 1st Avenue West, Seattle, WA 98119
Established in 1915, McClure Middle School has provided quality education to Seattle kids for over a century. The school’s curriculum features Advanced STEM coursework focusing on core subjects such as math, science, language arts, and physical education. Mcclure has a total population of 537 students in grades 6-8.
Test scores for the school are far above the state’s average. 71% of students scored at or above the grade’s math proficiency level, against a state average of 50%. Those with English and science proficiency are 80%, compared to a state average of 60% and 52%, respectively.
The student-teacher ratio at McClure Middle School is 19:1, allowing the teachers to provide individual and one-on-one student attention. This figure is slightly worse than the district’s average of 18:1. However, 82.6% of the teachers have taught for more than three years.
McClure Middle School also offers extensive enrichment classes such as music, foreign languages, and arts. Students also participate in extracurricular activities, including robotic competitions, sports, and drama productions.
The school’s diversity cuts across multiple races and ethnicities, with 34% of the students being minorities. Parents love the caring attitude of the school staff and the advanced curriculum with an extreme focus on individualized learning.
Mercer Middle School
1600 South Columbian Way, Seattle, WA 98108
Mercer Middle School is a prestigious public high school in the Beacon Hill community, Seattle, WA. It has a student body of approximately 1146 kids attending grades 6-8. GreatSchools.org awarded the school a score of 8/10, with the report noting that Mercer’s students were making far more significant academic progress than other students in the state.
This reputable school offers a rigorous academic curriculum tailored to holistic learning for all its students. With an internal goal for independent reading, the school encourages students to take charge of their learning journey, with the learners matched with books they can read and enjoy.
Unsurprisingly, 71% of their students attain their grades' English proficiency score while 60% attain the math proficiency score. The huge student body is highly diverse, with 84.6% minority enrollment.
The school is ideal for parents looking for helpful and caring teachers who inspire their children to follow their interests. The student-teacher ratio at Mercer Middle School is 17:1, better than the state’s average of 18:1. Students participate in various extracurricular activities, with over 12 clubs and six different types of sports.
10211 12th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98168
Rainier Prep is a highly-rated charter middle school that serves kids in grades 5-8. The school opened its doors in 2015 and has become one of the best-performing middle schools in Washington State. Modeled on some of the highest-performing charter schools, Rainer Prep has a student population of 341 students and a student-teacher ratio of 15:1.
The school uses the acronym GUIDE as a mantra for the values they expect from each student, with the letters representing Grit, Urgency, Integrity, Discovery, Excellence, and Society. The school earned an impressive 9/10 score from GreatSchools, with 61% of students attaining the math proficiency score.
Diversity is at the heart of the school, with multiple ethnicities and a 95.1% minority enrollment. The school is committed to preparing each student for college enrollment and bridging the gap in education for minorities.
Best High Schools
Roosevelt High School
1410 Northeast 66th Street, Seattle, WA 98115
Established in 1922, Roosevelt High School is a public high school in the Roosevelt neighborhood of Seatle, WA. With 1942 enrolled students, the school provides quality education for learners in grades 9-12. The school test scores are way above the average, with 56% participating in an AP course. Overall, the school earns a 9/10 rating from GreatSchools.org.
93% of Roosevelt’s students attain or exceed the proficiency grade for English, with the state’s average being 60%. Additionally, 68% of students gain math proficiency for their respective grades. These excellent scores make Roosevelt High School the perfect institution to prepare your child for college.
The school has a graduation rate of 94%, with an average SAT score of 1194. The vast student population translates to a high student-teacher ratio of 22:1, against the state’s average of 18:1. However, 96% of the teachers have three or more years of teaching experience.
With a commitment to helping students build a successful post-high school life, Roosevelt High School is perfect for parents with academically gifted children seeking college placements.
Garfield High School
400 23rd Avenue, Seattle, WA 98122
Garfield High School is a renowned public high school in Seattle, one of the two options available for the state’s Highly Capable Cohort for academically gifted students. The school has 1,778 students attending grades 9-12, where 57% are minorities.
The school has a 22:1 student-teacher ratio, slightly above the state’s average. However, Garfield students' scores in standardized tests are nothing short of remarkable. The school boasts a 92% graduation rate, with 69% and 86% of students proficient in English and math, respectively.
Moreover, the average SAT score for Garfield High School students is 1129, 62 points above the state’s average. The school also has an average AP participation rate of 46%. As such, the school earned a 9/10 score from GreatSchools.org.
Garfield High School’s music and drama programs make it an excellent choice for students interested in performing arts. The school’s curriculum and multiple extracurricular activities make it a well-rounded school with opportunities for virtually any student, from over 20 AP class selections to the famous Orchestra Club.
Ballard High School
1418 Northwest 65th Street, Seattle, WA 98117
Ballard High School is among the state's best-performing public high schools, with a graduation rate of approximately 92%. The institution hosts around 2015 students across grades 9-12. With over 21 AP classes available, Ballard High School is ideal for students preparing for college.
The student-teacher ratio in the school is approximately 22:1, which is slightly worse than the state’s average. However, 95% of the teachers have over three years of experience in the field and can guide the students to the correct career path.
Ballard’s average SAT score is 1165, nearly a hundred points above the state’s average. 70% of the students attain or exceed the proficiency score for math, while 91% meet or exceed the requirements for English proficiency. These scores are impressive compared to the state’s 50% average for math and 60% for English.
Ballard High School is an excellent choice for parents looking for an interactive and engaging learning environment for their children. The school hopes to inculcate inclusivity and tolerance as essential values in society and calls for students to create positive relationships with everyone in the school.
The Right Choice for Your Child
Seattle has much to offer regarding education, and we've highlighted the top 10 schools in the area. These schools have a proven track record of academic excellence, impressive extracurricular programs, and unique features that set them apart. However, it's essential to remember that every student has different needs, talents, and priorities, and what works for one may not work for another.
That's why we encourage you to do your own research, visit the schools, and speak with staff and students before making a decision. Doing so lets you find the best school for you and your family.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Ground Picture/Shutterstock.com.