2017 Best Public High Schools in California

The 2017 Best Public High Schools ranking is based on rigorous analysis of key statistics and millions of reviews from students and parents using data from the U.S. Department of Education. Ranking factors include state test scores, college readiness, graduation rates, SAT/ACT scores, teacher quality, and high school ratings.
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Viewing 1-25 of 100
  1. 1

    Henry M. Gunn High School

    • Palo Alto, CA
    • 226 reviews
  2. 2

    Troy High School

    • Fullerton, CA
    • 669 reviews
    High School Senior:This school is very inclusive and is comprised of many socially active people who make high school much easier for those who are just beginning. Despite it being an academically driven school it still provides students with school events to get to know one another and let their true colors show. From my experience it is a very safe and secure environment and never have I seen a fight break out through my four years of attending Troy. If the school is still around in the future I plan to send my children to Troy.
    More about Troy High School
  3. 3

    Miramonte High School

    • Orinda, CA
    • 163 reviews
    Niche User:Miramonte is an incredible place, but it's often under appreciated by many of the students who attend. You get out of the school what you put in, so if you take the amazing, challenging classes offered, and join clubs and organizations on campus, you're going to have an experience that is as good as high school gets while preparing you for the future. Only real problem is intense academic competition, but as long as you don't let it get to you too bad, you're fine.
    More about Miramonte High School
  4. 4

    Saratoga High School

    • Saratoga, CA
    • 122 reviews
    Niche User:Saratoga High School has unparalled academics. My freshman year of college I was surprised, my classes were so much easier than what Saratoga prepared me for. While not very good at sports, Saratoga has great high school spirit, and homecoming each year is always a blast. The school is unique because it offers a variety of courses, all of which actually are applicable in the real world. If I had the chance, I would go back to this high school, or send my kids to this high school.
    More about Saratoga High School
  5. 5

    Palo Alto High School

    • Palo Alto, CA
    • 255 reviews
    High School Junior:Overall, it is a great school with many great opportunities due to the competitive and high achieving environment at the school. If you are the best at Paly, you will be one of the best at any college you will attend. The opportunities vary from sports to journalism to just academics in general. The school is cliquey, but this also means there is always a place where anyone can fit in. And being part of multiple cliques is acceptable. You could be the studying with a group of very intelligent students in BC Calc during school, then a swimmer after school, and then be with the party crowd on the weekends. The only issue is the academic stress and the cheating which results from it.
    More about Palo Alto High School
  6. 6

    Palos Verdes Peninsula High School

    • Rolling Hills Estates, CA
    • 532 reviews
    Niche User:This school was a great experience for me because the pressures of academic rigor allowed me to discover my own potential which ultimately got me into Emory University.
    More about Palos Verdes Peninsula High School
  7. 7

    Canyon Crest Academy

    • San Diego, CA
    • 419 reviews
    High School Junior:CCA is a high school unlike anything I have ever seen of heard of anywhere, the combination of the creative and unique atmosphere and the huge number of academic opportunities available create a very diverse community.

    I'll begin my review by talking academics, while they are very rigorous and fast-paced, once you get the hang of setting up your schedule, this really is not much of an issue. Really what sets this school apart is the sheer number of classes available and the free-choice of schedule allow you to really explore your passions, as well as provide good balance against difficult classes. As well as a huge number of available courses, many of them are very unique to the school, such as the QUEST science program that allows students to high level research by undergraduate college standards with professional-level supplies and teaching under Mr.Haas, while allowing students to undertake full research projects independently in its second term, and being recruited for professional internships in the third term of the class. There are a wide range of high-level and AP classes available to the students, and with the small number of classes per term, one can easily manage notoriously difficult classes.

    Next I will say a bit about the staff: in my experience, essentially all of them that I have been assigned to have been fantastic, they are all very intelligent and knowledgable in the subjects they teach, and are very personable and really help contribute to the school's culture.

    Now on to the school's arts and culture, arguably the most famous aspect of the school, the Envision program is second to none. With some of the best teachers, top-flight facilities and resources, and huge variety of classes available. This in really creates the school's culture as a creative and unique, but still very academic school. The number of events to attend, clubs to join, and programs such as the Envision conservatory to apply to, the campus is always busy.
    More about Canyon Crest Academy
  8. 8

    Los Altos High School

    • Los Altos, CA
    • 224 reviews
    High School Junior:Los altos high school is the best. At first I thought that there was going to be mean people since that school have many rich kids. It was definitely the opposite, everyone was so friendly. The staff is very supportive, they check up on your grades every few weeks. In my perspective, this school is unique because everyone is friendly and also in other schools can teachers will not care if you're passing or not. In Los altos, teachers will check up on you. I would go to this high school over and over again.
    More about Los Altos High School
  9. 9

    Redwood High School

    • Larkspur, CA
    • 168 reviews
    High School Sophomore:Redwood High School is large: about 1,700 students. It has an incredible performing and studio art program. I love the variety of people who attend. I also love the amount of opportunities Redwood provides. There are clubs, sports, and countless programs to get involved in. I am excited for my next three years there.
    More about Redwood High School
  10. 10

    Westview High School

    • San Diego, CA
    • 509 reviews
    Niche User:I wouldn't want to go to any other high school. The diversity, quality of education, and social aspects are all amazing. The academics can be super competitive (I struggled to keep up at times) because most of the school seems to be taking multiple APs and have over 4.0 GPAs, but I have learned how to manage the academics. The social life is pretty decent. By senior year i've become close with most of my class. My biggest regret is not doing AVID. It prepares you so much for college and it helps a lot with organization. I'm in plenty of clubs that I enjoy, the sports are great, and the school events are pretty fun. The food is awful. Overall, there is not a school in the world I would rather attend. Thank you Westview for 4 amazing years.
    More about Westview High School
  11. 11

    Carmel High School

    • Carmel, CA
    • 183 reviews
    High School Senior:Carmel High School has allowed me to receive a wonderful and incredibly well-rounded education as well as prepare me for public speaking and leadership through the extracurriculars it provides, specifically for me, choir/the music department and mock trial.
    More about Carmel High School
  12. 12

    Mountain View High School

    • Mountain View, CA
    • 238 reviews
    High School Senior:MVHS is welcoming and the students and teachers are very open minded to new ideas. The classes present a variety of difficulties, both both regular and Ap/Honors classes are taught by dedicated, caring and passionate teachers. All of my teachers have responded with enthusiasm should I ask for help, and most present an energy within the classroom that actually makes me look forward to the class each day. The students here are driven, sometimes slightly intense within AP/ Honors courses, yet are always ready to help others out. Overally, I think Mountain View is a great school, and can make room for anyone who wants to come.
    More about Mountain View High School
  13. 13

    Lowell High School

    • San Francisco, CA
    • 793 reviews
    High School Senior:I love Lowell. The environment here is the best that I can imagine for a student because although it is very challenging and stressful, the stress is a product of the student's desire to excel in academics. The school provides many services to deal with stress, and overall everyone is very friendly and welcoming. Lowell has prepared me really well for the future, nurturing my intelligence and pointing out my faults and what I can improve on. I'd stay here forever if I could
    More about Lowell High School
  14. 14

    Northwood High School

    • Irvine, CA
    • 395 reviews
    High School Junior:Northwood High School is a school that lets you do what you want, and helps you along the way greatly. There are tons of academic clubs and events, as well as a wide variety of electives in the VAPA categories. Even sports, which we aren't necessarily known for, has it's great moments with certain sports. Coupled with a beautiful campus and an overall friendly environment with both the students and the faculty, Northwood High is definitely a top school.
    More about Northwood High School
  15. 15

    Granada Hills Charter High School

    • Granada Hills, CA
    • 1,058 reviews
    Niche User:I loved this school so much. I spent my entire freshman and junior years, and spring semester of my sophomore year. I was sorry to leave and I would have loved to have graduated from it. I really liked the structure of the school, the people I met and the environment in general. It felt very welcoming. Most people would say high school was hell, but for me it was a wonderful experience. My teachers were all very helpful and I liked that their classes challenged me without being overwhelming, something I found myself missing when comparing Granada to the school I transferred to. If I could have stayed for my senior year, I would have. But I think everything turned out for the best. I did get into UCLA, after all.
    More about Granada Hills Charter High School
  16. 16

    Aragon High School

    • San Mateo, CA
    • 198 reviews
    Parent:This is a great school! They have really good communication, great programs and classes, school spirit, etc. My son has thrived here. He's also very dedicated and aware of what he needs to do to get into a good college, so I'm lucky there.

    There were a couple teachers that didn't work for him, but the majority have totally inspired him to go into areas I would have never thought he'd love.

    There are many resources for kids if they're having social issues, academic issues, etc. He's involved in sports (water polo, swimming) so that has created an incredible set of (I think) lifetime friends and love of the sports. I can't even think of negative things to say about it.
    More about Aragon High School
  17. 17
    High School Sophomore:Sure, the workload is extremely heavy, but you are not alone. You become a family within your grade as bonds begin to form. It is truly an amazing school
    More about California Academy of Mathematics & Science
  18. 18

    Torrey Pines High School

    • San Diego, CA
    • 346 reviews
    High School Senior:The school has plenty of options for any student both curriculum and extracurricular wise. There are academic teams, clubs, community service opportunities, sports teams, dance teams, theater, etc. Torrey Pines is outstanding in every area, atmosphere, sports, theater, clubs, and more.
    More about Torrey Pines High School
  19. 19

    Orange County School of the Arts

    • Santa Ana, CA
    • 372 reviews
    Parent:Overall, I love this school. It was the perfect place for my daughter. Although it was a sacrifice to get her there each day, it was well worth it. She received a great academic education and also found her passion in film/tv production. She is a senior now and has many excellent film school university acceptances to chose from. My concern for the school is that it has gotten very popular and the conservatory directors seem to only accept students that are already well accomplished in their art from, and no longer accept those having raw talent or just good potential like when my daughter started in 7th grade. Many of the conservatories have no time for individual interviews but make their decisions based on videotaped auditions - which is difficult for novices. The school is full of superstars which gives it a very different vibe than when my daughter started there. Maybe this is not a bad thing? However, I am thankful my daughter was fortunate to get in when it was a safe place to learn and experiment and find her place in the arts.
    More about Orange County School of the Arts
  20. 20

    Burlingame High School

    • Burlingame, CA
    • 178 reviews
    Niche User:This school was the best 4 years of my life so far. I was able to meet new people and experience lots of new activities. I would of course choose this activity all over again, because they were able to offer all types of activities
    More about Burlingame High School
  21. 21

    Del Norte High School

    • San Diego, CA
    • 281 reviews
    Niche User:Del Norte has the unique environment of being competitive, yet supportive. I always felt like my fellow students and my teachers had my back, but they all pushed me to do my best and to expand my knowledge. If I had to choose any high school to attend I would definitely attend Del Norte again. The staff and the students there are truly incredible.
    More about Del Norte High School
  22. 22

    Los Gatos High School

    • Los Gatos, CA
    • 200 reviews
    Parent:The school staff is very supportive of the students. The school spirit is over the top. I teach at a different high school in the area, and the Los Gatos H.S. during spirit week and athletic events is amazing. There is a lot of academic pressure at the school from parents and students, as well as athletic pressure to do well and get a scholarship. There are many clubs raging from foreign language to rock climbing to various community service and leadership clubs. It is also a school of cliques, wealth and parents who get a little to wrapped up in it all.
    More about Los Gatos High School
  23. 23

    San Mateo High School

    • San Mateo, CA
    • 168 reviews
    High School Senior:The environment at this school is very friendly and welcoming. We are known to have the most spirit in our school district and I believe it is true. One of my favorite experiences is the rivalry football game against our school rival. We may not be as athletic as them but we support our sports teams no matter what and will show up decked out in our school colors ready to cheer and chant for our football players. This school also has a great music, dance, theatre, art, and language program so there are a handful of activities a creative student can get started on
    More about San Mateo High School
  24. 24

    Amador Valley High School

    • Pleasanton, CA
    • 384 reviews
    Niche User:Amador is a community rather than a school. The administrators try to involve every one by having hundreds of clubs, teams and classes that interest all.
    More about Amador Valley High School
  25. 25

    Campolindo High School

    • Moraga, CA
    • 212 reviews
    Niche User:It's the best school because it easily prepares you for college courses and teaches you how to keep up in college. In some classes we had a test Amish every week, similar to universities. I think for anyone you goes to campolindo, it will help make transferring to a college a lot easier than other schools.
    More about Campolindo High School