Below are profiles featuring the top 20 high schools in the Boston 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.
Acton-Boxborough School District
During the school day, students at Acton-Boxborough Regional High School are given a significant amount of freedom and return the respect from the administration by using it wisely. Students can access the three student centers and cafeteria commons throughout the day and during the 47 minute lunch period. Juniors and seniors also have additional time during the day to get help from students, study with peers, or engage in extracurricular activities; you won't find an Acton-Boxborough student wasting their free time!
The Acton-Boxborough staff is highly experienced and qualified. 84% hold advanced degrees and the average amount of classroom experience among the faculty is 12 years. The curriculum focuses on college preparation, and 98% of the students head to a post-secondary school after graduation. The drama program at the school is popular and performs several productions during the school year. The marching band is also known as being one of the best in the state of Massachusetts, while academic teams, such as the Academic Decathlon, Science Team, and Speech and Debate Team, often take home awards.
“Our faculty is wonderfully dedicated,” said Principal Alixe Callen. “Despite somewhat larger student:teacher ratios than other area schools, our faculty spends extensive time with students, helping them with their coursework, advising them in extracurriculars, and getting to know the personally.”
Advanced Math and Science Academy Charter
Advanced Math and Science Academy Charter School provides a sequence of courses from sixth to twelfth grade that builds upon what the students learned the year before. True to its name, the school focuses on science and math, but works to provide a well-rounded education through a humanities program that intertwines world art, literature, and history. The school is a public charter school and admission is granted through a lottery system; however, residents of Clinton, Hudson, Marlborough, and Maynard counties are given preference.
In addition to high-level math and science courses, students must take three years of computer sciences. The school introduced an AP program in 2009 and already boasts a 92% pass rate for the exam. Several athletic teams and activity clubs are available to students, such as Chess, Arcade Gaming, and Scrabble. Through the Leaders for Tomorrow club, students can participate in both school and community service projects.
The mission statement of the Advanced Math and Science Academy Charter School is to “create an atmosphere of celebration of knowledge where children of all backgrounds and abilities excel in all subjects, especially in math, science and technology, empowering them to succeed in the workplace in our modern high-tech world.”
Belmont School District
Belmont High School focuses on academics while also exposing students to the arts, providing a well-rounded high school education. Community service is a priority and each student must volunteer for 10 hours per year to be promoted to the next grade. The school provides a unique and different schedule for its students, which is based on 15 different “modules” that are 25 minutes long, with some courses lasting two and three modules.
Over 1/3 of the student body enrolls in at least one AP class from the numerous courses available. The AP art program offers several unique courses and is a source of pride at the school. Students can elect to enroll in an independent study during their sophomore, junior, and senior year to study a topic of interest. The performing arts program (the music program in particular) earns rave reviews and has taken home many awards.
The high school website details, “Belmont High School, in partnership with our community, provides students with outstanding educational opportunities for them to reach their intellectual, creative, personal, civic, and social potentials.”
Boston School District
Boston Latin, the oldest school in America, has been providing students with a challenging, classic education since 1635. Admission to the public school, which serves grades 7 through 12, is through an application process based on test scores, and enrollment is open only to Boston city residents. The school benefits greatly from the donations of the Boston Latin School Association (BLSA), which is a private charity of alumnae that contribute to the school.
Four years of Latin, in addition to an array of challenging core classes, is required to graduate. The library provides an extensive number of books and technology is integrated throughout the school. Students can take interesting classes such as photography, music, and art in the school's new art wing, and according to the school website, the school offers more sports teams than other schools in Boston. The Step Squad, Gospel Choir, and Talented and Gifted Club are also among the popular activities available for students.
Boston Latin School's mission states that the school “seeks to ground its students in a contemporary, classical education as preparation for successful college studies, responsible and engaged citizenship, and a rewarding life.”
Cohasset School District
With around 100 students in each graduating class, the teachers and staff at Cohasset Middle/High School get to know each student well. This close-knit community helps each student succeed in the rigorous academic curriculum. Collaboration is stressed on the campus, both with teachers working together and students helping each other.
Since the school is unable to offer as many electives as larger high schools, the school partners with a virtual high school and students can select from a long list of electives to further individual interests. Cohasset High uses a block scheduling format with 85 minute classes on a rotating schedule, which allows for more in-depth studies and activities.
Athletic teams compete against other small schools and have taken home eight state championships over the past eight years in various sports including, tennis, wrestling, lacrosse, baseball, and basketball. The school is also proud of the drama program, which is competitive at the state level.
“One of the strengths of the school is that while our students are motivated and competitive, the environment is very collaborative and supportive of each other,” said Joel Antolini, Principal of Cohasset Middle/High School.
Concord-Carlisle School District
The principals of Commitment, Citizenship, Harmony, and Scholarship are instilled at Concord Carlisle High School from the time a student steps on campus as freshmen to when they leave with their diploma.
The school offers an extensive foreign language program, including courses in Latin and Chinese. Overseas educational trips or exchange opportunities are also available for students who wish to broaden their horizons and see other parts of the world. Seniors can elect to complete a senior project that is either individual or collaborative to present at the Senior Project Festival. The school offers an extensive number of AP courses and the program has a high student participation rate. Students also have the option of either transferring or taking courses at the Minuteman Science Technology High School that are not offered at Concord-Carlisle.
Athletics are competitive at the school and the football team, ski team, and boys soccer team have taken top honors in recent years. The school also offers many activities and clubs for students to choose from.
Dover-Sherborn School District
When seniors graduate from Dover-Sherborn High School, they often tell the headmaster that their favorite part of the school was the caring staff and the small class sizes that allowed for connections with other students and teachers.
These relationships are nurtured from the start; a freshmen transition program welcomes ninth graders to the school with tours of the school, orientation sessions, and homerooms throughout the year. The school also has a student ambassador program, which helps increase awareness and acceptance of each other and works to prevent social aggression issues on campus.
The school offers many athletic teams and is often competing for championships. Dover-Sherborn also offers several no-cut varsity teams each season, which ensures that every every can participate in a sport. Coaches also focus on making connections to the students to help nurture their abilities. There are many after school clubs to choose from, the drama department has a reputation for excellence. Academic teams, such as the Physics Olympics, Chess team and Math team, have taken top honors in competition.
“Our bright and talented faculty and students make this a great public high school,” said Denise Lonergan, Headmaster.
Groton-Dunstable School District
Visitors to Groton Dunstable Regional High School often comment about how calm and can-do attitude of the students they observe. The staff provides a lot of positive feedback to the students on an individual and student-body basis through assemblies and complimentary loudspeaker announcements. To help promote calmness and encourage students to slow down, students have a 12 minute break every day. The school operates on an 83 minute block schedule of four courses.
In order to graduate, each senior must undertake a senior project on a topic of interest that they apply to curriculum they have studied in class. Over 40% of the seniors also take advantage of a senior internship opportunity to explore career interests. The school encourages participation in athletic teams to promote confidence and releasing student energy through physical exercise. Other popular activities on campus are the band and a host of extracurricular clubs.
“The culture of the school is that student’s respect each other, respect themselves. That has translated into high achievement because they believe in themselves because we believe in them,” said Dr. Dr. Stephan Dlott, Interim Principal of Groton Dunstable Regional.
Hamilton-Wenham School District
When an accrediting board recently visited Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School, the members commented on the outstanding relationship between the teachers and their students. To encourage the teachers-student relationship, students meet with the same home room teacher each morning throughout the four years that the school.
Each student must create a portfolio illustrating through writing and projects what they have learned during high school, which is then presented to faculty members. The portfolio graduation requirement helps students look at high school as a journey and not just something to complete. Writing is a core focus of the curriculum, and teachers work together to include writing in all subjects, including social students, science, and even math. The school offers a host of AP courses and is one of the few schools in Massachusetts to offer AP Spanish Literature.
Don't be fooled, though - it’s not all work at Hamilton-Wenham! Students can explore their interests through many extracurricular clubs. The academic teams including the College Bowl and History Fair participants often take top honors and the sports program the highest winning percentage in the league.
“Our students find their niche on campus and do really well,” said Principal Matt Fox. “We are a high achieving school because our students want to do well.”
Hopkinton School District
Hopkinton High is known as being a friendly campus where the students are very supportive of each other. The staff and teachers have high expectations of the students, and the school offers a variety of challenging academic courses. The school is also home to many National Merit Scholars and Finalists every year.
Outside the classroom, students can participate in many fun teams and activities. The athletic teams, especially basketball, are competitive. The National High Society is very popular on campus and contributes many community service hours to the school and community. The fine arts program, including graphic arts, painting, drawing, digital art, and photography have won many individual and department-wide honors.
The school is well-known for its successful adviser program, in which each student meets weekly for an adviser for all four years of high school. In these meetings, students discuss issues and themes, such as bullying, respect, and academic integrity. The 11th and 12th graders at the school work with freshmen as mentors to help students adjust to high school.
“We have a caring staff in this building from the guidance counselors to the school resource officer to the teachers who really care about the kids and they help all levels of students to succeed,” said Alyson Geary, principal of Hopkinton High School.
Lexington School District
The community in Lexington is invested in the education of its children and partners with Lexington High School to give students an excellent education both inside and outside of the classroom. At school events, parking spots are hard to find because parents, students, and community members show up to support the school in huge numbers. The Lexington Education Foundation raises money for school programs, such as technology, group projects, and teacher education. Parental involvement in the school is high and the administration welcomes parents on campus. The gardens on campus are maintained by volunteer gardeners who raise money and work on the weekend to create a beautiful learning environment.
Inside the classroom many challenging academic programs are offered, including an award winning science program. The debate team has been ranked as one of the top teams in the nation for the past 30 years and the music program is often described as “extraordinary.” But it's not all academics at Lexington High School and students can choose from over 92 clubs, many of which are service clubs.
“We have a range of student ability level on campus and we work very hard to support students with different learning style,” said Principal Natalie Cohen. “We want to do everything we can to lower the stress level and increase the success for all students.”
Lynnfield School District
The staff at Lynnfield High works to create personal connections with the students and to help the students connect with the community.
A community service requirement of 35 hours is mandatory to graduate and the staff helps match students with community opportunities that meet their interests. As part of the Adviser program, students meet twice a month in a group of students with an adviser. This program works towards the goal of creating teacher -student relationships and a sense community among students. In addition to a comprehensive athletic program, students can join many clubs, including a book club and a cooking club.
The school boasts a 98 percent graduation rate and provides a challenging curriculum, including 10 AP courses. The foreign language department has comprehensive offerings, including Italian and Latin. Starting with the class of 2012, students are required to take four years of physical education to graduate. If a class a not offered, a student can attend it online through the Virtual High School Global Consortium (VHS).
The school website says, In partnership with our community, Lynnfield High School provides a learning environment that prepares all students to reach their full potential as lifelong learners and as contributing participants in a global community."
Manchester Essex Regional School District
Students at Manchester Essex Regional High School benefit from state-of-art facilities in a brand-new, 49 million dollar high and middle school. The neighboring communities strongly support education and worked together to fund the new building.
With a student body of only 450, students get to know each other and teachers are able to make sure students don’t fall through the cracks. Many students enroll in one of the 14 plus AP courses and 85% of students pass AP exams. The science program is exceptional and students can be involved in authentic science research through an intern program with Boston area businesses.
Technology is integrated throughout the building, and many classrooms include LED projectors. Each academic class is equipped with smart boards and teachers utilize the technology in instruction. Sports facilities are also high-grade with artificial turf football fields.
The student body is very involved with campus activities, and 75% of students participate in a club or sport. Both the debate team and DECA program have recently competed on a national level and the theater program rates high at local competitions.
“We are a small public school that has a private school feel and does a great job of supporting the education of the young people in both towns,” said Jim Lee, Principal.
Masconomet School District
Students at Masconomet Regional High School benefit from a variety of courses, athletic teams and community opportunities. Through a comprehensive AP program, students can earn college credit through AP courses and exams. The school has strong elective programs, with courses in EMT, forensics, and Life in the 1960’s. A variety of computer courses are offered as well, including instruction in computer gaming. The school’s athletic teams are successful on the playing field, especially in football and hockey.
Seniors can apply classroom knowledge to the real work through independent study, an internship, and/or a volunteer internship. During the independent study, students work with a mentor to learn more about a specific topic and can receive credit for the project. Through internships, students work at places such as the League of Women Voters' Legislative Internship at the State House, Beverly Hospital and local schools. While completing a volunteer internship, students can earn credit while volunteering in the local community.
The school website states, “The Masconomet Regional High School community believes that learning enables us all to achieve ambitious personal goals, develop fine minds, and build strong character. There, we foster the acquisition of attitudes, skills, and knowledge necessary for life-long learners to think critically in order to participate in an ever-changing world.”
Medfield School District
The student body at Medfield Senior High is very involved in campus life. Over 75% of the students at the school play on a sports team or are members of an after school club. There are over 27 sports teams with opportunities to play on freshmen, junior varsity, and varsity teams.
The school has 16 AP courses available to students. In addition, the school boasts a wide selection of electives, including video production and practical law. The school offers a comprehensive foreign language program with French, Spanish and Latin. As an elective, students can also take Mandarin.
The school's mission statement details, "Medfield High School, in partnership with family and community, promotes both integrity and excellence in scholarship and citizenship for all learners."
Students at Natick High School receive an education balanced with academic challenges and plenty of extracurricular opportunities. In August of 2012, students at Natick High school will attend class in a brand new building. The school also has a goal of each child having access to a laptop through a 1:1 ratio of laptops per child.
In addition to an extensive AP program, students can choose from a variety of honor courses. The school offers a wide assortment of unique classes including Web Site design, At the Movies, African American History Law, and Forensics. The school also offers a comprehensive foreign language program, which including courses in Greek.
After the final bell, students can participate in 18 different sports, including the title-winning wrestling team. Natick High offers over 40 clubs, including Model UN, Scrabble Club, and Robotics. The Student Government Association and Students Against Drunk Driving have a strong presence on campus, and the performing arts programs, including the drama program and various bands, perform throughout the year.
“We are an exceptional school that offers many support systems for students who are struggling and a rigorous academic institution for the upper level students. Our dropout rate is less than 1 percent, one of the lowest in the state,” said Rose Bertucci, Principal.
Sharon School District
While students at Sharon High School are offered many academic challenges in the classroom, they are also very involved in the local community and seek out opportunities to learn about the global community. While there is not a community service requirement for graduation, the student body shows a commitment to serving and logs many volunteer hours.
To encourage students to become global citizens, the school established the Global Competence Program, which allows students to earn Certificate of Global Competence through foreign travel or academic advanced study of a world language, global service, global research project, and a global portfolio review. To help promote balance on the campus, students have a daily break period called Eagle Block, where they can get extra help, meet with a counselor, or have some well-deserved downtime.
Students can also partake in the World Challenge Expedition where they participate in an exchange program or travel opportunities. Many students are also in the community based Interfaith Action program that addresses ethnic, social, cultural and religious barriers. On school grounds, students can also extend themselves through Math team, Mock Trial, and Theater. The sports teams rank well in their conference each year.
“Our students are motivated, diverse students who are involved in all kinds of things. They take learning seriously, enjoy life and respect their teachers,” said Jose Libano, Principal.
Wayland School District
At Wayland High School, the administration works to instill personal and civic responsibility, love of learning, and empathy for others in their students. The school is academically focused and many students go on to top level colleges. The school plans to move into a brand new facility in 2012, which will provide the latest in technology for its students. One of the unique features of the school is the block scheduling which works on an eight day, eight period cycle.
The school offers a compressive AP program and has AP foreign languages courses, including Latin. After satisfying their core requirements, students can pursue areas of interest through a wide variety of elective classes such as American Society, TV Production, Investing in the Creative Economy, Business Law, and Science Fiction and Fantasy. Students needing extra help can go to the Academic Center for either drop in assistance or to sign up for regular tutoring by community volunteers, National Honor Society students, or teachers.
Athletics play a large part in student life. The school's crew team is nationally ranked and other sports, such as lacrosse, swimming and wrestling, having a long tradition of wining. In addition to recognizing athletic accomplishments, students can earn a varsity jacket for their participation in the performing arts. The theater program has stellar reputation and the choir program has many singing groups to choose from.
Westford School District
Westford Academy has deep tradition and history as the fourth oldest high school in the country. Students benefit from well-funded endowment overseen by the Board of Trustees. The school receives gifts to the school through college scholarships from the high school, book purchases for students, and facility upgrades such as turf football field. *?
The school is a comprehensive high school with college prep, honors and AP courses. The teacher turnover rate is very low and many of the staff graduated from Westford Academy. The school works to provide personalized attention and a unique learning experience for each student based on their individual needs.
The drama program has a reputation for excellence and performs in an 850 seat renovated auditorium. The school offers a wide selection of music classes, including chorus and beginning guitar. Students can sign up for over 65 different activities, including Mock Trial and Speech and Debate. The fine arts programs have also brought home numerous individual awards and honors. Athletic teams are competitive and a large percentage of students play on a sports team.
“When you come to Westford Academy, you feel part of a family and school culture is warm and inviting,” said Principal James Antonelli.
Westwood School District
Students at Westwood High School attend classes in a new high school building with high quality athletic facilities, including an artificial turf field and a synthetic track. The curriculum is academically focused and offers a number of AP courses. Students also have access to an on campus writing center for additional help.
The many productions through the performing arts programs give students an outlet for creative expression. Students in the drama program perform in on-campus plays and have the opportunity to participate in the Emerson College High School Drama Festival.
As a part of the school's Wellness program, students must take a combined physical education and health education course throughout their four years on campus. The course program builds on the previous year and includes information on creating a physically fit lifestyle while making well-informed choices. Students also have the opportunity to take hybrid course (examples include Anatomy & Physiology, Perspectives on History, The Economics of Personal Finance: Management and Marketing, and Advanced Video Production). In hybrid courses, students have less face-to-face classroom - much of the learning is through off site meetings and virtual instruction.
The school administration encourages students to "Choose to learn, to care, to participate, to excel, to reflect, to be honest, to dream. Build the future now."
Winchester School District
While the school has an overall strong academic program, the extensive elective offerings are one of the points of pride for Winchester High School. Students can sign up for unique courses such as Developing Mobile Applications Using Flash, Introduction to Sports Marketing, and Songwriting and Arranging.
Advanced academic options are also provided to top performing students in area, such as a double-period art honors court for serious arts students and an online math program for mathematically gifted students. As a senior, each student takes a double-period interdisciplinary Humanities course that covers Western civilization literature, history, art, and music.
The athletic programs are also popular on campus. Over 700 of the 1100 students play for one of Winchester's teams and the school holds many state championship titles. Musically-inclined students perform for the community and school with one of the premier choirs. Students can serve the community through many service opportunities with Connect and Commit, an after school service learning program.
“Winchester High is very strong academically in the core areas, but our diverse and excellent elective program makes us unique, especially in the arts,” said Thomas Gwin, Principal. “For a school our size, we have an amazing elective program.”
Please note that only schools in the following Massachusetts counties were considered for this article: Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk, Plymouth, Rockingham, Suffolk, and Strafford