Below are profiles featuring the top six high schools in the Columbus Metropolitan Area. In order to be featured as a Top High School, the school must have a 2010 Education.com TestRating of 10 out of 10. The TestRating compares a school's standardized test scores for a given year with scores from other schools in the same state. Find your school and see how it compares.
Bexley City School District
Bexley High School is the center of the community, and people often move to Bexley solely for the high quality schools. Many of the students are the third or fourth generation in their family to walk the school halls, and the tight-knit community means that the staff knows most of the students' families well. Bexley benefits from having such strong community ties - the nonprofit Bexley Education Foundation raises money for major school projects, including recently investing $100,000 to equip each classroom with a smart board.
The school is college preparatory, and 98% of the students go on to college, but it also focuses on developing the whole child. The staff works together in many ways, and describes themselves as learners as much teachers. The Special Education program on campus gets high praise from parents and the school tries to ensure that each student is given the support they need.
Students have many opportunities to pursue their interest outside of the classroom through excellent programs in drama, journalism, chess and voice ensemble. The school also offers a large number of sports teams.
“I moved to this area before I had a job at the school because I wanted my own kids to go to Bexley High School. The community and school is a very special place,” said Harley Williams, principal.
Dublin City School District
Dublin Jerome High School provides an academically rigorous education for students in a caring environment. The school, which just opened in 2004, and enjoys top notch facilities and employs a highly-qualified staff (almost 70% hold master's degrees!). The AP program is extensive and has administers over 745 tests in a recent school year. Students can also participate in the Inter Baccalaureate (IB) program to earn an IB diploma or take IB level courses. Around 85% of all seniors have taken at least 1 AP or IB program on campus.
Dublin Jerome students don't just excel in the classroom; they win big on the field, too. Many teams take home awards, and most recently, the school's lacrosse team won the State Championship. Additionally, the golf team has a reputation for excellence throughout Ohio.
If sports aren't your thing, Dublin Jerome offers a wide array of clubs and activities. The music programs, particularly the marching band and orchestra, are known throughout the region. Several choral groups sang at Carnegie Hall in recent school years. A host of interest clubs are available, including Computer Science Club, Table Tennis, and the Ski Club. Academic teams are also available including Debate Quiz Team, Robotics Club, and Science Olympiad.
“The school is especially proud of the IB program at the school and the high focus on academic achievement,” said Doug Baker, Communications Director of Dublin City School District.
Grandview Heights City School District
If you stroll through the halls of Grandview Heights High School, you may notice that the majority of the lockers on campus do not have locks on them. Students trust each other and feel safe on campus. The school has a tradition of providing educational excellence since the 1930’s and and students attend class in the historic school building. With the small school, around 330 students, kids often form close relationships with each other and their teachers.
The school provides academically challenging courses and is currently increasing the number of AP courses available. Students wanting an extra challenge can simultaneously enroll in classes like calculus and physics to receive college credit.
Students can find plenty of activities to participate in after the final bell rings, especially for a school of its size. Music is very popular on campus -- the Grandview Singers have a top reputation and over 1/3 of the student body plays in the band.
“The first thing people mention is the friendliness and manners of our students,” said Ed O'Reilly, Superintendent of Grandview Heights City Schools. “About 80 percent of our seniors have been together since 1st grade, yet they are eager to accept newcomers into the building.”
Granville Exempted Village School District
With a typical class size of less than 200, Granville High provides a comfortable family feel. Many students have gone to school together for 13 years, and the administration credits its success to community and parental support.
Academics are top priority on campus and there is a large array of AP courses to choose from. The school enjoys partnerships with local universities that allow students to earn college credit in high school. Students can also take advantage of the Credit Flex program, which enables them to to earn credits through nontraditional venues, such as taking courses at a local art studio.
Parental involvement is not hard to come by at Granville High! Many parents help run the numerous club sports offered through the Granville Recreation District. Lacrosse is exceptionally popular on campus with over 500 of the 2500 students playing on either a club Lacrosse team or the varsity team. The school has recently added a Girl’s Varsity Lacrosse Team. Artistic students can participate in the school's top-notch fine arts programs, and the choir consistently does well in state competitions.
“This is a community that really believes it takes a village to raise children and work together to raise successful kids. The parents and community are really focused on education,” said Beth Milligan, Communications Director for Granville Exempted Village School District.
Olentangy Local School District
Visitors to Olentangy Liberty High School often comment on how clean the campus is and how courteous the students are. The school provides a college prep foundation, where over 91% of the students head to a post-secondary school. The staff is highly qualified with over 81% percent holding advanced degrees. The highly qualified staff (over 81% hold advanced degrees!) help make Olentangy such a high-performing school.
Students can choose from numerous AP courses offered at the school. To prepare sophomores for the rigors AP curriculum, the school offers Interdisciplinary Studies. This course is team-taught by English and Social Studies teachers and has shown to increase success in AP courses.
Many Olentangy students are members of clubs and sports teams. The school has a number of teams, including swimming, football, soccer, volleyball, tennis and baseball, that are competitive in their conference. The marching band is competitive on the state level and other music programs, including orchestra and choir, are also offered. A wide variety of unique extracurricular clubs are also available, including the Harry Potter Club, Cricket Club and several service organizations.
“Our building philosophy is that we strive daily to demonstrate academic, artistic, and athletic excellence; and quality conduct in a positive environment. Our students live up to this commitment daily,” said Principal Randy Wright.
Upper Arlington City School District
(What happens when you give Upper Arlington High School students a little room? They fly! At Upper Arlington, students have more freedom and flexibility than at your average high school -- but with it, they display responsibility and academic excellence.)
Upper Arlington High School gives students a lot of freedom and in turn they demonstrate responsibility in their decisions. Students get to select music to play over the loudspeaker on Fridays, relax on couches on the hallway during free periods and seniors enjoy an open campus privileges. Instead of prohibiting cell phones like many high school, the administration encourages them on campus and in turn expects students to follow proper etiquette. To make sure that the students have a voice in the school, the school survey’s students each year and makes improvements to the school based on their input.
As part of the graduation project, students must produce a project of interest related to a potential future career, such as designing a golf course or producing a video for a local business. To encourage balance, when students feel overwhelmed they can ask for a reprieve pass to get an extra day to complete their work.
But it’s not all academics at Upper Arlington. The school has won more state championships than any school in the state of Ohio. The orchestra is also nationally recognized, and many students win individual awards in the fine arts arena.
“I believe high school is more than just teaching the content and we work hard to teach kids to be self-directed,” said Kip Greenhill, principal.
Please note that only schools in the following Ohio counties were considered for this article: Delaware, Fairfield, Franklin, Licking, Madison, Morrow, Pickaway, and Union