Top-rated high schools in Phoenix (2024)

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Phoenix, the capital of Arizona, is known for its sunny weather and vibrant culture. With a strong local economy and robust job market, it’s no surprise for the growing population. But beyond its bustling city life lies a thriving education system that has produced some of the top-rated high schools in the country—including public schools, charter schools, and private schools.

With family-friendly neighborhoods like Ahwatukee Foothills, Camelback East, Deer Valley, Encanto, Paradise Valley, and Desert Ridge, Phoenix offers quality schools, parks, and community events.

If you’re a parent looking for the best education opportunities for your child beyond middle school in Phoenix, you’re in the right place. With a variety of options and programs available, there’s something for every student here.

What to look for in a Phoenix high school

With ​​​​Phoenix being home to 325 public schools in 30 school districts along with more than 200 charter and private schools, finding the best fit for your child can be a challenge and overwhelming to say the least.

When it comes to selecting the right high school for your child, there are a few key factors to consider. You’ll want to look for schools with high graduation rates, strong test scores, and rigorous curriculum offerings.

But academics isn’t everything. It’s equally important to assess extracurricular activities and opportunities that align with your child’s interests and passions. This can include sports teams, clubs, music or art programs, internships, early college options, and more.

Another important factor to consider in a high school is diversity. A diverse student body not only provides a well-rounded educational experience but also prepares students for the real world where they will interact with people from all backgrounds.

Students and teacher

The best local high schools in Phoenix, AZ

When we put together our list of Phoenix’s top high schools, we explored what makes a great educational experience. We examined academic programs, extracurricular activities, early college opportunities, personalized learning, student support, school rankings, and lots more.

Knowing how crucial high school is in a student’s education journey, we selected area schools with a track record of student success, personalized support, and a focus on preparing students to excel after graduation.

1. ASU Preparatory Academy Phoenix High School

ASU Preparatory Academy Phoenix High School is our top choice for high school education in Phoenix. Open since 2009, this tuition-free PreK–12 public charter school provides a personalized experience that sets students on the path to college and career success.

Personalized curriculum allows every student to work at their own pace, developing critical thinking and social-emotional skills through relevant projects and activities.

Chartered by Arizona State University, the school provides the unique opportunity for students to earn university credits from ASU while still in high school. This, coupled with a selection of internship opportunities in a diverse and supportive community of learners sets students on a path to achieve their future goals. Students are empowered to get ahead through a rigorous curriculum and encouraged to to set goals and become active participants in their own education.

ASU Prep Phoenix High School boasts a range of opportunities to get involved. From participating in student clubs such as Robotics, National Honor Society, or Student Government to attending ASU Prep community events, there’s plenty of ways students can pursue their passions, achieve their goals, and build a lifelong love of learning.

The school’s rigorous yet inclusive approach, combined with its focus on early college opportunities and personalized learning, positions it as the top choice for families seeking an exceptional high school education in the Phoenix area.

ASU Prep Phoenix provides continuity of exceptional education for students of all ages, with their elementary school, middle school, and high school housed all on one campus.

Name: ASU Prep Phoenix High School
Address: 735 E Fillmore St., Phoenix, AZ 85006
Contact Number: (602) 899-1180

To learn more about ASU Preparatory Academy Phoenix High School, please visit their Instagram.

2. ASU Preparatory Academy South Phoenix High School

ASU Prep South Phoenix High School is a tuition-free public charter school, located in the heart of Phoenix. Offering students personalized paths to college and career success in a diverse community, ASU Prep South Phoenix provides exceptional educational opportunities for students in Pre–K through grade 12.

A challenging curriculum empowers students to progress at their own speed, fostering critical thinking and social-emotional skills via engaging projects and activities grounded in real-world scenarios. In addition, students at ASU Prep South Phoenix have the unique opportunity to take Arizona State University courses for credit at no cost to them. This allows students to explore college majors and earn university credit, reducing both time and cost toward their future degrees.

ASU Prep South Phoenix High School features small class sizes, and a supportive environment with a community-focused approach to education. With opportunities to interact with a diverse range of learners on all levels, our students build lasting relationships with those who share similar interests and academic ambitions.

Students also have the opportunity to participate in student clubs, including: Student Government, Yearbook, Robotics, and Marketing as well as paid internship opportunities through Chicanos Por La Causa.

Family involvement is encouraged through ASU Prep community events and a special partnership with The Salvation Army Kroc Center Phoenix, with a focus on holistic student development.

Overall, ASU Prep South Phoenix’s mission to make academic dreams a reality, combined with its comprehensive educational approach and community-focused initiatives, makes it the ideal destination for students aspiring to achieve academic and career success.

Name: ASU Prep South Phoenix High School
Address: 4445 S 12th St, Phoenix, AZ 85040
Contact Number: 602-842-1722

To learn more about ASU Preparatory Academy South Phoenix High School, please visit their Instagram.

3. Basis Phoenix

With a commitment to inclusivity for over 25 years, BASIS Phoenix provides a tuition-free K–12 STEM-based curriculum.  BASIS Phoenix, established in 1998, is a part of the globally recognized BASIS Charter Schools network—consistently named among the top schools in the nation, with 10 of the top 20 charter high schools in the U.S according to U.S. News & World Report 2023 rankings.

BASIS Phoenix High School aims to empower students to achieve at globally competitive levels and foster a love of learning, natural curiosity, and a desire to excel. BASIS teachers’ are experts passionate about broad ideas and innovative thinking. They’ve tossed aside a one-size-fits-all approach in favor of tailored attention for each student.

The faculty at BASIS encourages a unique community within the school, promoting a sense of belonging not seen in other educational settings. They believe being creative and solving problems comes from openly sharing ideas—that’s why they got rid of school uniforms. Now, students can showcase their individual style.

Students are engaged in their education, spearheading discussions, collaborating on projects, and owning their successes and failures. They develop life-long skills to learn how to handle and manage disagreements.

This educational program demands effort. Students utilize communication journals that track their progress, these journals facilitate understanding across students, teachers, and families.

For parents looking for a learning curriculum that includes Mandarin, engineering, classic literature, linguistics, and economics, check out one of their six campuses across Arizona.

To learn more about Basis Phoenix, please visit their Facebook.

4. Great Hearts Academies – Veritas Preparatory

Veritas Preparatory Academy, a tuition-free school, strives to provide an outstanding education to all families in Phoenix. It’s founded on the belief that every child should have access to a top-quality education to prepare them for future challenges and opportunities. This commitment to accessibility and excellence means its doors are open to everyone.

Veritas Preparatory Academy prides themselves with their commitment to “cultivate the hearts and minds of students through the pursuit of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty.”

High school students focus on the exploration of classical liberal arts. Veritas Academy’s rigorous high school curriculum challenges and inspires them to prepare for college and the wider world. It improves their analytical and critical thinking, shaping them into thoughtful, well-rounded leaders.

The faculty are dedicated educators motivated by each student’s success and growth. More than just teachers, they act as mentors, helping students succeed in their studies and personal development.

They also have a commitment to those students who may need additional support and resources for their development. Veritas Prep provides a free and suitable education for students with disabilities. If a student already qualifies or is found to qualify for special help and extra services, they can receive this education which falls in line with their philosophy of enriching the lives of all children.

Veritas Preparatory Academy is more than a school—it’s a community celebrating intellectual curiosity, academic excellence, and moral virtue. The academy looks forward to developing scholars, virtuous citizens, and future leaders. For parents looking for a holistic educational experience, Veritas Prep may be a good fit.

Veritas also offers a wide range of extracurricular activities. From athletics including tennis, beach volleyball, golf, and more, to getting involved in clubs like newspaper and choir—the options are endless.

To learn more about Veritas Preparatory Academy, please visit their Facebook.

5. Phoenix Union Bioscience High School

If large class sizes and sprawling campuses aren’t the environment you’re looking for, Phoenix Union Bioscience High School might be a good one to take a closer look at. Their small school approach is unique to the area and core differentiator from other options.

Bioscience High School stands out as a distinctive, cooperative institution at the core of the downtown Phoenix Biomedical Campus, surrounded by leading entities in biomedicine and engineering.

All students undertake a “Better World Project” in addition to their standard classes each year. By their junior and senior years, students focus on a biomedical or engineering track. Senior year includes a rare opportunity for an off-campus internship with a partner or an organization, selected by the student.

PXU provides transportation, so wherever you live in the city your child can attend a magnet program. With lots of program options to choose from, students can learn to fly an airplane, earn a scuba certification, travel to other countries, or become a DJ at the school radio station.

Academic excellence is a top priority for all PXU students. However, equally important is their inclusive community where each student feels valued. The school utilizes a grade-level team model, ensuring students form close bonds with peers and teachers. Graduates of PXU are known to secure admissions in prestigious post-secondary programs, earn substantial scholarships, and are well-equipped to create positive change in the world.

If a robust list of athletics or extracurricular activities is a must-have on your list, this may be one to pass on. While they do offer numerous opportunities to get involved, their options aren’t as extensive as other schools on our list.

To learn more about Phoenix Union Bioscience High School, please visit their Facebook.

6. Horizon Honors Secondary School

Horizon Honors Secondary School, a public charter school in Phoenix, offers a traditional back-to-basics education for students in 7th grade and up. The school’s philosophy, safe environment, and commitment to academic excellence create a strong foundation for student success.

HHS provides students with a small learning environment and a rigorous college-ready curriculum. Students have the option of taking advanced placement courses or participating in dual enrollment. Parents can rest assured that students gain career advancement experience while focusing on communication and collaboration skills in the classroom.

In addition to their tailored approach to learning, Horizon offers extracurriculars and athletic programs that rival larger schools. You can expect to see Eagles shining both in the classroom and exploring their extracurricular interests.

An emphasis on integrating community service is an important part of Horizon Honors. They believe service to others and character-building lessons help students develop social excellence.

At HHS the Student Councils, National Honor Society, Key Club and athletics teams organize students in community outreach, charity drives and a variety of projects throughout the Valley. All high school students are required to complete 40 hours of community service each school year, in addition to their course curriculum.

To learn more about Horizon Honors Secondary School, please visit their Facebook.

7. Ridgeline Academy High School

Not to be confused with another Eagles schooling option, Ridgeline Academy is one of the best high schools in the Phoenix area. Ridgeline Academy embraces the changes in our rapidly advancing technological world, and strives to promote positive self-image and ambassadors of acceptance that uphold strong community values.

Eagles have access to a Pathway Program, designed to introduce students in high school to multiple career opportunities through their coursework. Students are allowed to explore their interests by taking courses at school and participating in internships with community partners to find their passion. Parents enjoy the opportunities their children get in interning early to explore career opportunities and eliminate some of the trials of career navigation in early-adulthood.

The Ridgeline Academy High School Leadership Team focuses on transforming students into eager learners prepared for further education. Diversity is celebrated and explored. Efforts are made to boost students’ confidence and ensure a positive school culture that values all individuals and promotes good character.

To learn more about Ridgeline Academy High School, please visit their Facebook.

8. Arizona Agribusiness & Equine Center College Prep High School

Changing the landscape of public schools since 1997, Arizona Agribusiness & Equine Center College Prep High School (AAEC) is a tuition-free accredited public charter high school, aimed to prepare young adults for excellence in academics, social responsibility, industry employability, and lifelong learning. With seven public charter school locations throughout Arizona, parents have several brick-and-mortar options to choose from.

The goal of AAEC is to move students ahead when it comes to post-secondary education with accessible and cost-effective options. A cornerstone of this program is the agricultural component for students looking to pursue pre-med, pre-vet, and animal science-based careers.

Its locations close to Maricopa Community Colleges and the Prescott Valley campus near Yavapai College have helped students earn college credits, Associate Degrees, and save families money over the last 24 years. Their challenging online course curriculum ensures students’ have the access to resources to ensure success.

Its online courses follow a rigorous curriculum that meets state standards and is straightforward. AAEC Online allows students to take college courses for free while still in high school. One potential downside to this option is the access to extracurricular clubs and athletics. These are held at the nearest physical campuses, but aren’t as robust or as accessible as some of the other options.

To learn more about AAEC, please visit their Facebook.

9. Desert Vista High School

Home of the Thunder, Desert Vista High School (DV) inspires students to strive in a variety of Advanced Placement and honors courses. This sprawling campus is a showstopper to say the least. If you’re looking for a traditional schooling environment with bells and whistles, this could be it.

DV believes in bridging the classroom curriculum with extracurricular activities to encourage community and prepare students for life after high school. One of the unique aspects of their vision is emphasizing time-management skills while incorporating project-based collaboration. This gives students the opportunity to bridge the gap between extracurricular activities such as athletics and academics.

Both students and parents rave about the opportunities given to students to branch out beyond the classroom, like their work-study program. This program allows them to get hands-on experience, before post-secondary education.

Invested in fostering an environment for students to explore any passion or interest is the heart of Desert Vista. Students are seen participating in extracurricular activities including athletics, HOSA-Future Health Professionals, National Honor Society, Speech & Debate, and the Thunder Theatre Company. Desert Vista is so heavily invested in their students’ interests, that if a student doesn’t see a club for their interest they are encouraged to create one.

To learn more about Desert Vista High School, please visit their Facebook.

10. Pinnacle High School

Pinnacle High School, a public high school located in North Phoenix, opened its doors in 2000. Now being recognized as having an award-winning fine arts program and offering innovative STEAM experiences, this school has quickly garnered attention from students and parents alike.

PVS focuses on students’ journey to excellence, whether that be through academics or the arts. Their curriculum has a focus on increasing student achievement through teaching standards and research-based educational programs to deliver effective and differentiated instruction.

They do this by partnering with schools, families, and the diverse PVS schools community. As part of the Paradise Valley Unified School District, students also have access to a college and career readiness portal making college and career decision-making easier.

Students have access to interest surveys, career exploration, and can even schedule college visits to take successful steps toward their future.

To learn more about Pinnacle High School, please visit their Facebook.

ASU Prep faculty and students

Comparing top-rated Phoenix high schools?

ASU Prep Phoenix High School and ASU Prep South Phoenix High School are tuition-free public high schools offering personalized paths to college and career success.

We’re making higher education a reality for our diverse and thriving student community. Our goal is that each ASU Prep student will graduate with a minimum of 12 ASU college credits at no cost to our families. We offer every student the chance to take university or concurrent courses while in high school, saving them time and money when they get to college. We believe all students can achieve success at the highest levels, and it’s why our education is personalized, project-based, and delivered at a pace that meets students where they are.

Chartered by Arizona State University, ASU Prep Academy students are Sun Devils from day one, receiving regular opportunities for mentorship by ASU students and faculty. It’s how we’re helping students discover and pursue their passions, achieve their goals, and build a lifelong love of learning on their journey to success.

To learn more about ASU Prep Academy, please visit our website.

Summer Tips: Get Kids Out of the House

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Learning should be – and can be – fun. Summer is the perfect time to engage young learners in meaningful opportunities to be curious, to explore, and to discover new interests. Check out this list of fun yet educational (and often free) activities to get your kids out of the house and learning this summer.

Try Geocaching: A combination of technology and active outdoor time, “The world’s largest treasure hunt” involves searching for hidden items in a specific geographical area using GPS coordinates on your smart device. Create a free account on and download the app. Choose a cache to find based on area and level of difficulty and head out for adventure.

Go on a Scavenger Hunt: Apps like Monkey Spot or Goosechase include scavenger hunts kids can do outdoors or in everyday places like the grocery store, finding assigned objects. You can also search online for free printable scavenger hunts by topic — seasonal, outdoor or color/alphabet-themed. 

Explore Outdoors: Discover history and culture and connect with nature at a state or national park. The National Park Service offers a Junior Ranger program with interactive activities that give kids a chance to earn a badge and certificate. Bonus: Fourth graders can visit America’s National Parks for free with an Every Kid Outdoors pass. 

Roam a Local Garden: Let kids explore exhibits, feed fish, and identify types of flowers. The Japanese Friendship Garden in Phoenix offers free admission 5:00-7:30 p.m. on the first Friday of every month, and The Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix hosts Community Day with free admission on the second Tuesday of the month. Search online to find more beautiful gardens and special deals to explore. 

Tour a Museum or Science Center: Check online for nearby museums of art or history as well as science centers for hours, special activities, and free admission opportunities. Some options near our ASU Prep campuses include Heard Museum, Phoenix Art Museum, Children’s Museum of Phoenix, and Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. 

Through Museums for All, families presenting their SNAP EBT card can gain free or reduced admission to participating venues, and some banks offer their cardholders free or discounted museum passes. Check out an Act One Culture Pass from a public library to gain free access to Arizona’s arts and cultural treasures. 

Visit a Zoo or Aquarium. Check out animal encounters, tour habitats, learn about endangered species, get involved in conservation efforts, and take advantage of play areas.

Try Something New: Research local kid-oriented classes and workshops like pottery, painting, cooking, bird-watching, coding, or photography. Consider looking into Lowe’s or Home Depot’s building workshops or events held at nearby craft stores. Perhaps a new physical activity like gymnastics, martial arts, indoor rock climbing, dance, or ninja warrior training would be a good fit.

Stop in the Local Library: Local public libraries don’t only offer books for free check-out, but also host story time and hands-on activities like crafts, as well as interactive demonstrations like a magic show or science experiment.

Can’t Get Out of the House? Take your kids on a virtual field trip from the comfort of home to places like the Louvre in France or the famous Monterey Bay Aquarium. Tune in to one of the many educational programs offered on YouTube or keep kids busy with an at-home scavenger hunt. 

No matter where this summer takes you and your family, try to include fun learning opportunities for the kids. When planning outdoor activities, be sure to consider the weather. Wear sun protection, hydrate, and have fun!