Below are profiles featuring the top 18 high schools in the Miami Metropolitan Area. In order to be featured as a Top High School, the school must have a 2010 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.


Alexander W Dreyfoos Junior School of the Arts

Palm Beach School District


Students with a potential successful career in the arts have an opportunity to pursue specialty arts programs while earning a high school diploma at the Alexander W Dreyfoos Junior School of the Arts. Admission to the magnet school is through an application process and based on an audition or portfolio review. The school has a very low absentee rate, and the school’s location in downtown Palm Beach allows students to take advantage of community resources, such as the performing art center across the street.


Specialty arts programs include communications arts, dance, band, piano, strings, vocal, theater, visual arts, and digital media. While performance and fine arts are the focus of the school, students also complete an academically challenging curriculum, including honors and AP courses. In addition to nine different sports, the kids can participate in many traditional high school clubs and art honor societies.


“Our kids love to go to school and Dreyfoos School of the Arts is a very happy place to attend school,” said Nell Sapp, Principal at Alexander W Dreyfoos Junior School of the Arts.



Atlantic Technical Center

Broward School District

At Atlantic Technical Center, a magnet high school, students can earn professional certifications while also earning a high school diploma. The school has 600 students and is located on the campus of Atlantic Technical Center, a technical community college. Students meeting admission criteria to the magnet high school can enter into the admissions lottery.

 In addition to being able to take one of the 13 AP classes, students can dual-enroll in college courses or enroll in a technical program. Students can graduate from high school with professional certification, such as licensed practical nurse, pharmacy technician and networking professional. The school helps students study and find financing for licensing exams for these certifications. Over 95 percent of the students go on to attend post-secondary education and use the skills learned in high school to earn higher wages while attending college.

 While the magnet school does not offer sports programs, students can play on athletic teams at their base high school. Atlantic Technical Center High School offers extracurricular activities for the high school students, including an award-winning Robotics Team and National Honor Society.

 “Our staff is very dedicated to our students and student learning. We make sure learning takes place in the best way for each student,” said Neddie Lynn, Assistant Director, High School Administrator of Atlantic Technical Center High School.


Boca Raton Community High School

Palm Beach School District


While Boca Raton Community High School has a student body close to 3,000, the school is a close community and students often comment that it has a “small school feel.” Over 73 countries are represented in the diverse student body and 80 percent of the students come to the magnet school from outside the attendance zone.


The school has state-of-the-art facilities including an Olympic sized swimming pool, astro turf football field and science center. Because the school accepts a diverse range of students, mainstream students are paired with special education students as buddies. In addition to a full range of AP and honors courses, students can apply to the specialized STEM and ACE programs.


The school is also known for fostering student leadership and the student government has received top honors. The drama program, ROTC, and band all have exceptional reputations and often take home top honors at competitions. Athletics are important to school culture and the school has one of the top sports programs in Palm Beach County.


"We want our students to be involved in many things, explore their passions and develop their talent. Our job is to make sure that they do it with the greatest degree of excellence," said Principal Geoffrey McKee.





City/Pembroke Pines Charter High School

Broward School District


The City of Pembroke Pines Charter High School provides an “academic village” atmosphere for students heading to college after graduation. The school benefits from having a regional public library and a satellite campus on the Florida International University campus. The school does not select a valedictorian or salutatorian, but recognizes 20 students as Summa Cum Laud to encourage the kids to be both well-rounded and academically successful.


The school benefits from high parent participation and each parent is required to volunteer at the school for at least 30 hours each year. With a focus on college preparation, the school does not offer vocational courses, but students can select from many unique electives including debate, sign language and forensic science.


In addition to the traditional high school sports of football, basketball and baseball, students can play lacrosse and water polo. One of the strengths of the school is the performing arts program, especially the drama department and the band.


“At Pembroke Pines Charter School we educate our students and prepare them for their future while trying to make them global citizens,” said Peter Bayer, Principal.



College Academy

Broward School District


Students at the College Academy, which is located on the college campus of Broward Community College, can earn an Associates of Arts degree while being a part of an accepting and supportive community. Eleventh and twelve graders are accepted to the dual-enrollment magnet high school based on test scores, and start at the school at the beginning of their junior year.


The students take college courses and sit alongside college students in the classroom. Students work with a high school guidance counselor to ensure they are on track for graduation requirements and a Broward Community College counselor helps navigate through the college registration and classes. Instead of having to figure out the college environment after graduation, the students learn to be proactive in their education, working with professors, attending office hours, and registering for classes with the support of the College Academy staff.


While the school does have some traditional high school activities, such as the National Honor Society and a prom, the school is primarily focused on academics. Students focused on extracurricular activities and sports teams might be better served at a traditional high school over College Academy.


“I often get thank you notes from students after they have left the academy letting me know how prepared they were for college and how fortunate they feel to have been able to attend College Academy,” said Principal Nell Sapp.



Coral Reef Senior High School

Dade School District


Since students come to Coral Reef Senior High School from 20 different middle schools, the school focuses on helping students build relationships. During lunch, all 3,000 students eat at the same time and students can also meet with clubs or get extra help. The school reports having few discipline problems, and the hallways are almost always calm and quiet, even during transition periods.


The administration makes an effort to help freshmen successfully transition to the school through the week long Ready for the Reef program. During the orientation, students learn their way around the school, work on study skills, and build relationships with each other.


To pursue interests and prepare for a career, students attend one of six academics during their four years at the school: International Studies/International Baccalaureate; Business/Finance; Agriscience/Engineering Technology; Leisure Medicine/Health Sciences; Visual/Performing Arts; and Legal/Public Affairs.


“There is a culture of learning at our school and it’s cool to be smart at Coral Reef,” said Cynthia O’Hair, Science Department Chair. “Kids don’t try to hide the fact that they are successful at school because the people around them are also successful.”



Cypress Bay High School

Broward School District


Visitors to the Cypress Bay High School often notice that trophies for academic championships sit alongside the many athletic trophies in the school trophy case. The wide variety of awards illustrates how the culture of the school focuses on success and competition in all areas. The school is focused on college preparation and 98 percent of the students head to a two or four-year college after high school.


The students rise to the high expectations of the staff and are eager to sign up for challenging courses. Recently, the school administered over 2600 AP tests in the spring and over 86 percent of the students passed the exam. The foreign language program offers a wide range of languages and has received many honors. The math department at the school also has an excellent reputation and has a100 percent pass rate on the AP exams.


In addition to ITS reputation for academic success, the school has a competitive athletics program and has taken home many championships, especially in soccer and football.


“This is a place of extreme academic rigor and a spirit of competitiveness. The school is successful in all areas. We have a tradition of excellence that the students want to uphold,” said Marianelle Estripeaut, assistant principal at Cypress Bay High School.



Design & Architectural Senior High School

Dade School District


In addition to a standard high school education, Students at the Design & Architectural Senior High School (DASH) get intensive, hands-on experience in a design field. Students apply to the magnet school and must audition or have a portfolio review before being accepted. The school's diverse population represents over 32 countries and 100% of their graduates head to college, often with sizeable scholarships.


Because of the school's location in the heart of the design district, the school partners with the local arts community and many seniors are able to intern at local businesses.


At the beginning of the tenth grade, students select a specialty in Architecture/Interior Design, Industrial Design, Visual Communications/Web Design, Entertainment Technology (Film), or Fashion Design. In addition, students take specialty fine arts courses each year and several AP classes.


Students in class from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and the school offers dual enrollment options with nearby colleges. While DASH does not have sports teams, students can participate in clubs and attend prom at the school.


“We nurture each student and really care about what happens to them when they leave the school, “said Dr. Stacey Mancuso. “DASH is truly a school like no other.”


Florida Atlantic University Schools

Florida Atlantic University Lab School District


Florida Atlantic University Schools partners with Florida Atlantic University to provide an aggressive dual enrollment school for top students. During their freshmen year, students take college-level Spanish and in their last three years enroll in only university courses at no charge.


While most students finish their bachelor’s degree after graduation, some students are able to graduate high school with both a high school diploma and a bachelor’s degree. Students can enroll in 12-21 hours of courses and have the option of taking classes during the college summer session. While online courses are available, students must come to the campus to do their coursework, which ensures that the staff can provide any needed support.


Students can participate in college activities, but also have an array of activities specifically for the high school, including Honor Society and Model UN. After their freshman year, students can participate in club-level university sports, but not NCAA level teams. The school also offers some competitive sports team, such as volleyball and track.


“Our students are motivated kids who do some really great things,” said Terry Watson, Dean of Students.



Jupiter High School

Palm Beach School District


Students at Jupiter High School receive a education balanced with an academically challenging curriculum, competitive sports teams, and many activities to choose from. The school offers specialty academies for Criminal Justice, Culinary Arts, Engineering Technology, JROTC, Environmental, Information Technology, and Medical Academy.


Through the academies, students learn how to use specialized technology, specific career skills and have unique internship opportunities. In addition, many AP and honors courses are taught and the school has a high AP pass rate.


The school, which was renovated in 2003, has over 60 classrooms with fully equipped laboratories. Technology is integrated throughout the school and the media center has a video production studio. Many students participate in the varied selection of activities and the school has received state recognition for its student government program. The band also receives rave reviews from students and has won many awards.



Maritime & Science Technology Academy

Dade School District


From marine-based courses to water-based athletic teams, the themes of maritime and water are part of every aspect of the Maritime & Science Technology Academy (MAST). The school is located within a facility with an open atrium area on the waterfront, which encourages collaboration and hands-on activities.


During the 100 minute class periods, many classes venture on the water via boat or take a nature walk to observe the wildlife near the ocean. Students select a major from three options: Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences, Maritime Studies and Culture, and Marine Related Industries.


Since students come to the school from as far as 50 miles away, the school offers many social activities and has a weekly activity period during the school day. The Coast Guard JROTC unit at MAST is the only program of its kind in the nation. MAST offers traditional high school sports teams, including swimming and water polo.


During recent budget cuts, teachers taught extra courses and the PSTA paid for summer school transportation, purchased technology for the school and paid for staff professional development.


“We have amazing parental involvement that has enabled us to maintain our unique program concept,” said Margaret Haun, Lead Teacher at MAST.



McFatter Technical Center

Broward School District


McFatter Technical Center prepares students for future careers and secondary education by allowing them them to earn technical certifications. The high school is located on the McFatter Technical Center campus and all classes are taught at an AP or honors-level.


Most students attend college after graduating, which enables the school to combat the stereotype of vocational high schools. McFatter graduates leave campus with a technical certification, such as pharmaceutical tech, automotive, or culinary, that allows them to hold a higher paying job during college.  

While McFatter Technical Center does not have athletic teams, the students benefit from an award winning PE program and access to college-level facilities, such as a swimming pool and tennis courts. While McFatter students can technically participate in athletic teams at their base school, the school day schedule makes it difficult for students to attend practices after school. To make sure that the students don’t miss out on many of the traditional high school experiences, the school has dances, a prom, and regular spirit days.  

“Kids from all backgrounds find that they can be themselves at McFatter,” said Lynn Goldman, Business and Community Partnerships Coordinator for Broward County School System.



New World School of the Arts

Dade School District


At the New World School of the Arts, students focus on artistic endeavors and simultaneously earn college credit at Miami-Dade Community College. Admission to the magnet school is based on a performance audition or a portfolio review.


In addition to high-level academic classes, the students study dance, music, theater, and the visual arts. During the school day, students study academic subjects for five hours and focus on specialty arts course for the remaining three hours. The school also offers a comprehensive AP program in both academic and art subjects.


The students are exposed to other cultures through their arts study and the school works to foster a global awareness. Parental involvement is high and the school partners with the local community for many events and performances.


“The pursuit of continued excellence through live performances, exhibitions and concerts presented with ethnic and cultural diversity showcase global artistic trends,” said Principal Lisa Noffo. “The inspiration and passion our students have for their art serves as a testament of the continued strength and excellence of this school’s curriculum.”



Pompano Beach High School

Broward School District


As an International Affairs and Information Technology magnet, Pompano Beach High School exposes students to different cultures and ideas while integrating the latest technology into instruction. The school boasts a 100 percent graduation rate and students are admitted to the school through a lottery.


In addition to being required to take four years of both math and science, students also complete three years of foreign language and three international business or technology courses. A daily online newspaper keeps students and staff updated on school news and events. Instead of traditional pen pals, the students learn about other cultures by Skyping with students in other countries.


While typical clubs and sports are offered, students can also participate in unique educational opportunities such as partnering with survivors from the WWII era to write their story or participating in the annual Fallen Heroes Ceremony put on by the Army JROTC to honor servicemen and women who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan. The National Honor Society is very active on campus and complete projects such as tutoring other students, volunteering at the polls during elections and organizing a Harvest Food Drive.


“Our international theme attracts a diverse group of students and staff to PBHS with twenty-two different languages and 27 different countries are represented,” said Principal Hudson Thomas.



School for Advanced Studies

Dade School District


Located on Miami-Dade Community College campuses, the School for Advanced Studies offers juniors and seniors the opportunity to graduate high school with both a high school diploma and an Associate of Arts degree. Three of the five campuses – North, South and Wolfson – are on’s list of highly rated schools. During the morning, students attend college-level courses alongside college students and take high school AP courses in the afternoon. The school is academically intensive and all students graduate with at least 45 college credits.


While students can take part in college clubs and activities, the School for Advanced Studies also offers activities just for the high school students, such as Dance Team, Key Club, Model UN and Science Club. Students also have traditional high school experiences, such as dances, prom and a Grad Night.


Each student receives individual attention from the staff through weekly meetings with their advisor and independent study time with teachers during the school day. The school also instructs students on real world skills such as resume and stress-reduction, and skills needed to transition to college, such as finding financial aid.


“Our school offers a nurturing learning environment that is all centered on academic excellence,” said Dr. Omar Monteagudo, Principal of the School for Advanced Studies.



Spanish River Community High School

Palm Beach School District


Visitors walking the halls at Spanish River Community High School often comment how friendly the students are with each other and how few students are sitting alone during the school day. Students turn out in droves for school events and give back to the community through a variety of service projects.


The administration is very open to suggestions from the students and works with the student body to create a better school. There are many clubs available, but students can also start their own. The school also offers many athletic teams for kids to play on.


The magnet school offers four different academies within the school to help students focus their interests. Students in the Biotech Academy attend class in the multi-million dollar complex and use state of the art technology to study medicine. The Business academy focuses on entrepreneurship and most students participate in an internship. Students interested in history and law can attend the Gilder Lehrman American History and Law Academy, while future teachers can enroll in the Early Childhood Academy. Regular education classes are also available for students not interested in an academy.


“Our kids are serious about doing the best every day in school and that makes us a great school,” said Ira Sollod, Assistant Principal at Spanish River Community High School.



Suncoast Community High School

Palm Beach School District


Suncoast Community High School stresses relationship building to help prepare students to become global citizens. The magnet school currently has four different magnets within Computer Science, Interdisciplinary, International Baccalaureate, and Math, Science and Engineering. The school will also be offering the IB Middle Years program (an IB continuum for K-12) as an umbrella program in the near future.


The school works to form relationships through a mentoring program in which tenth graders meet with freshmen weekly to help them transition to high school. The students form relationships with the community through volunteering and mentoring elementary students at the neighboring school. Each year, the school hosts a career showcase for students to meet 150 professionals and explore various career possibilities.


As a reflection of the diversity at Suncoast Community High School, there are over 40 cultural and language clubs, and 140 overall clubs on campus.


“Our overreaching framework is to develop them so that they can serve in leadership in a global society,” said Dr. Linda Cartlidge, Principal of Suncoast High.



West Boca Raton High School

Palm Beach School District


Students at West Boca Raton High School can enroll in one of the four academies to help further their future career interest. Students interested in pursuing a future in food preparation can enter the Culinary Arts academy, while The Information Technology academy provides a business foundation, in addition to computer science courses. The Drafting and Design academy receives high marks in critical thinking and technical skills, and student considering a profession in health care can prepare for future schooling in the Medical Sciences academy.


The school opened in 2006 and has technology integrated throughout the campus. After the final bell, students have many chances to become well-rounded and pursue other interests. Students can play on one of the many athletic teams and choose from a wide variety of clubs. The performing arts programs, especially the band, are top-notch and have an excellent reputation.


The mission statement of West Boca Raton High School sums up the school -- “With the support and active participation of our parents and community, West Boca High students will be prepared for their future endeavors in college, continuing education and the career world.”



Please note that only schools in the following Florida counties were considered for this article: Broward, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and Essex.