The 10 Best High Schools in Florida

Florida is home to an impressive mix of public and private high schools. 

Exciting curriculum features from some of the best high schools in Florida include international student exchange programs, internships with community partners, and cutting-edge facilities for STEM and performing arts programs.

The list of Florida’s best high schools includes varied school schedules, ranging from 41 to 90 minutes per block. 

Some offer semester-long, year-long, or a combination of semester- and year-long courses, in addition to mini-courses, capstone experiences, and breaks in the calendar reserved for exploring personal passions.

Students attending the best high schools in Florida can anticipate richly diverse populations, where students engage in Socratic discussions, project-based learning, and interdisciplinary approaches to their education.

All the schools in this list were chosen from high school rankings posted by major publications like U.S. News and Niche. 

Here are ten of the best high schools in Florida.

Alexander W. Dreyfoos Jr. School of the Arts (West Palm Beach, FL)

Dreyfoos School of the Arts
Public domain photo via Wikimedia Commons

Enrolling 1,385 public magnet school students in grades 9-12, Dreyfoos is dedicated to providing exceptional arts-centric education in dance, fine art, music, theatre, and digital media. 

The school is named for inventor Alexander W. Dreyfoos, whose $1 million donation to support Palm Beach County’s public magnet school was the largest private donation ever given to a Florida public school.

In addition to an immersive arts education, Dreyfoos scholars receive top-notch instruction in STEM and AP courses. 

In fact, the school offers more AP and AICE courses than any other school in its district. Students also have the opportunity to earn dual credit at Florida Atlantic University, UF Online, or Palm Beach State College. 

Exciting STEM opportunities exist at places like the Scripps Research Institute of Florida and the Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience.

Admission is highly competitive, and auditions are held every winter. Only 37% of over 1,300 applicants are accepted annually, and if the number of eligible candidates exceeds the number of open spots, the school district will base admission on a random lottery system.

Berkeley Preparatory School (Tampa, FL)

Berkeley Prep is an independent school with an Episcopal affiliation serving 1,409 students in grades PreK through 12. Nearly half of the population makes up the Upper Division (grades 9-12), and it costs $29,390 per year to attend.

One of the school’s recent innovations is its Berkeley Academy, a free program targeting motivated scholars from economically disadvantaged households in the Tampa Bay area. 

Students in grades 7-12 receive mentorship and career guidance services with the goal of preparing them to apply to college. 9th graders receive assistance from a transition counselor and a weekly support program where students discuss soft skills like organization, time management, and asking for help.

The Global Scholars Program is the flagship initiative of Berkeley High School – it includes a three-year elective sequence in which students learn Spanish, French, Chinese, or Latin. 

All students will participate in a school-sponsored exchange program, an international service-learning excursion, or an approved international travel experience.

Jose Marti MAST 6-12 Academy (Hialeah, FL)

Fondly referred to as JM-MAST, this public magnet school serves students in grades 6-12 and is rated in the top 1% of magnet schools, according to Magnet Schools of America.

The JM-MAST curriculum is defined by its attention to scientific and mathematical research methodologies and applications. 

Students design their own research projects and conduct experiments in on-campus laboratories in one of three areas: natural science, life science, or mathematical/computer science. 

The school is also home to an arboretum with more than 40 trees and plant life species.

All scholars can expect to complete the AP Capstone program by their senior year. 

To get into MAST, students must be able to handle a rigorous course load at the Advanced/Honors level and may not have any Cs or Ds on their existing transcripts. The lottery determines acceptance, and only a limited number of admission notifications are sent.

Pine Crest School (Fort Lauderdale, FL)

Set upon a 65-acre campus, Pine Crest School is one of the largest independent schools in the United States. 

The school serves 2,688 students aged 4-18 across 50+ buildings, theaters, gyms, and faculty homes. Other campus assets include four swimming pools, facilities for 99 Middle and Upper School athletic teams, and a 9:1 student-to-faculty ratio. 

Tuition ranges from $26,785 to $39,290, depending on the grade level. 

Upper School students attend nine 45-minute periods daily and may enroll in classes like the Social Entrepreneurship Course, a three-year program in which they pursue impactful research projects. 9th-grade students have access to 30+ AP courses, typically reserved for juniors and seniors at other schools.

Pine Crest boasts an in-house broadcasting and print student media outlet where scholars gain experience identifying sources, interviewing subjects, editing stories, and working on self-promotion via personal portfolios.

Stanton College Preparatory School (Jacksonville, FL)

Despite being destroyed, rebuilt, moved, and “curricularly reimagined,” Stanton is the oldest continually-running magnet high school in Florida! 

It also served as the first school for Black youth living in Florida. Today, Stanton enrolls 330 students and offers only honors-level courses, 25 AP courses, 25 IB courses, and eight dual enrollment courses in math, English, social studies, and science.

The Stanton Summer Bridge program is one of the school’s best and newest assets. More than 75% of incoming 9th graders attend this interactive transitional experience, where students meet their teachers and engage in sessions to help prepare them for a successful move to Stanton Prep.

Scholars can participate in a selection of 80+ clubs and organizations, and most students belong to 1-3 groups. 

Students are required to maintain a 2.0 GPA in order to remain eligible for club membership. Other opportunities, like the band, give students ample exposure to learn how to play instruments as well as participate in marching band performances and concert recitals.

West Shore Junior/Senior High School (Melbourne, FL)

West Shore is a public middle/high school serving 950 students in grades 7-12. 

The school runs on a Power Hour Schedule, entailing seven 49-minute periods and a “Power Hour/Lunch” period. During this time, students eat and continue their involvement in various clubs or wellness activities. 

All West Shore students are pursuing a Diploma of Distinction, which stipulates 28 college preparatory credits, three credits in the same world language, completion of a senior project, and three areas of acceleration, including Algebra I. 

Unique to its set of graduation requirements is a student service learning component of 25 hours per year and a family commitment for school volunteerism of 20 hours per year per child enrolled. 

All students pursuing the Diploma of Distinction additionally upkeep a post-secondary admissions portfolio and qualify for at least one collegiate scholarship. West Shore is genuinely a school of distinction in that it is the only U.S. secondary school to earn the National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence Award on three separate occasions!

American Heritage School (Plantation, FL)

Recognized throughout the nation as an exceptional college preparatory school, American Heritage boasts the highest number of National Merit Scholars in Florida. 

100% of its graduating cohorts are accepted to post-secondary institutions, some of which are extremely prestigious universities. Tuition begins at $36,900 for high school scholars, and up to $2,000 in fees are added based on the grade level.

AHS students excel in many extracurricular activities. Students from AHS represent the #1 Math Competition Team out of all American private schools and regularly win state competitions in mock trial, moot court, and Model UN.

The school has created six pre-professional programs over the last two decades, focusing on concentrations like business and entrepreneurship, and engineering. 

The business and entrepreneurship pathway culminates in a 12th-grade internship where students go off-campus weekly to engage in marketing, accounting, leadership, and other relevant functions. Often, they’re working alongside CFOs and leaders of large corporations.

Ransom Everglades School (Coconut Grove, FL)

Ransom Everglades is a private school providing a rare learning context adjacent to Biscayne Bay. The campus houses state-of-the-art laboratories, makerspaces, and performing arts facilities for multi-passionate students. 

The freshman advisory program provides 9th graders with connections to two class deans, and the physical education requirement involves learning how to canoe, sail, paddleboard, and navigate using a compass! 

One of the most exciting events at Ransom is the winter 9th-grade trip to the Everglades – students camp for five days and four nights while engaging in character-building exercises. Juniors and seniors with proper training meet monthly with 9th graders to promote health and well-being.

Ransom Everglades’ tuition is $45,810 annually, which includes daily lunch. 

The extensive application process entails an interview, recommendations, standardized test scores, and character skills snapshot, an online assessment designed to convey a more holistic picture of an applicant, their character, and overall growth journey.

Pine View School (Osprey, FL)

Intellectually gifted students in grades 2-12 attend Pine View, and high school students have the option to start as early as 7:21 AM and conclude as early as 1:05 PM. 

The school also distinguishes itself from peer institutions through its array of ungraded classes, “mini-courses,” independent study options, and flexibility in class enrollment. 

For example, many scholars are enrolled in courses that cross grade levels.

Many Pine View students will participate in the Student Spaceflight Experiment Program this year (SSEP), meaning that an experiment they create in a campus lab might find its way to the International Space Station! 

Such experiential learning opportunities are a regular feature of Pine View’s curriculum.

The school is supported by the Pine View Association, an organization that operates a school store, publishes a monthly newsletter, and engages sponsors to fund activities like the Pine View School Read-a-Thon, the annual Pine View Fair, and Pine View Pride, a recognition program for students meeting academic milestones.

School for Advanced Studies (Miami, FL)

The 778 students attending SAS, a public high school, belong to a different echelon of achievers

Not only does the school maintain a 100% graduation rate, but 100% of graduates are accepted to a post-secondary institution, and the juniors and seniors attain the highest SAT and ACT composites in Miami-Dade County. 

In fact, members of the most recent graduating class were admitted to all eight Ivy League colleges.

SAS gives scholars a head start on a college degree. 

Most students enroll in at least three dual enrollment courses each semester, earning a minimum of 36 college credits within their first two years! What’s even better? Students receive free tuition, fees, textbooks, and other materials. 

Each year, the SAS application opens up for all current sophomores. Student admission is based on a ranking from a set of requirements, including GPA, attendance, citizenship, and standardized test scores.

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