Below are profiles featuring the top five high schools in the Tampa 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.


East Lake High School

Pinellas School District


If you visit East Lake High School, you will notice a culture of respect between teachers and students throughout the school. The school works individually with students to ensure that all can graduate and succeed. Students lead the Principal’s Multicultural Committee, which brings students together and address a wide array of issues affecting the school.


Academics are stressed for all kids - both the football and soccer teams were recently recognized for having the highest GPA in their sport in the district. Students wanting to get a jump start on college can take one of the many AP courses or dual enroll at nearby St. Petersburg College. The school is also home to the Engineering Academy that uses the project “Lead The Way,” which provides hands-on experience with technology.


The visual arts and music programs are top–notch and many students participate in the award winning bands and choral programs. Sports teams are active and the school has won many state championships.


“Our teachers have a passion for their students and that reflects in a culture that is positive and embracing for all kids,” said Dr. Osvaldo Piedra, Assistant Principal.



Newsome High School

Hillsborough School District


Newsome High School has experienced tremendous growth since its opening in 2003. The school, named for Joseph Newsome, a member of the School Board of Hillsborough County, has gone from 1000 to 2300 students in just eight years.


The school offers students a chance to get a jump start on their career by obtaining certifications in areas such as business technology, Microsoft, and Interior Design. Students can also select from extensive AP and honors courses. A wide variety of electives are available, including History of Vietnam, Middle East, Psychology, Marine Science, and Vet Assisting.


The music program has reputation for excellent, including band, jazz band, chorus, show choir and orchestra, and consistently earns high marks. Students can participate in over 40 different clubs on campus, some of which are honor societies. Sports teams have a winning record and hold many titles both at the district and state level.


"The wolves take pride in our school from online communications to well cared for facilities,” said Rebecca Fitzgerald, Principal. “Newsome has a very high academic standing and is very proud of a well rounded school.”



Palm Harbor University High School

Pinellas School District


Palm Harbor University High School provides a focus on academics in a positive and supportive environment. The school offers two magnet programs for students in addition to a comprehensive high school experience. Over 92 percent of the students head to a post-secondary school after graduation.

Students can earn college credit by enrolling in the International Baccalaureate program, while those interested in a career in the medical field can apply to the Center for Wellness and Medical Professions Program. Students in the program participate in clinical and volunteer a large number of hours to the community in addition to completing a challenging curriculum.


Students are very involved in after school activities, including a number of interest, social, honor societies, and medically focused clubs. Athletic teams are competitive and the school holds 35 state championship titles, including recent titles in soccer and swimming.


"Visitor comments usually consist of how beautiful the school looks, how polite and well mannered the students are, how the students are very focused on academic success," said Christen Tonry. "PHUHS is an amazing school and the students, faculty and staff are proud to be Hurricanes."



Plant High School

Hillsborough School District


Plant High School provides students with many opportunities both in and out of the classroom. The school offers a number of AP courses to challenge and help students prepare for college.


To help ease the transition to high school, the school provides a freshmen orientation before the start of the year. The school has an active student government that gives students a voice on campus and student leadership is promoted throughout the school.


Students can apply to be a part of the AVID program, in which students from low-income families are supported by a dedicated coordinator in taking IB and AP courses. The goal of the program is to increase the number of students attending four year colleges after graduation.


Performing arts programs have a top reputation and are popular amongst students. Students can play an instrument in the many bands and ensembles, including the marching band, wind ensemble, symphonic band, and jazz band. Students can also take the stage in the many theater programs or sing in the chorus. Students can also play on a number of varsity athletic teams and several club sports, including lacrosse, crew, and hockey. Clubs are active on campus and students can choose from service, interest, and honors/leadership clubs.



St. Petersburg Collegiate High School

Pinellas School District


Over 97 percent of St. Petersburg Collegiate High School seniors are handed their high school diplomas one day and then an Associate in Arts degree from St. Petersburg College the next.


The school provides a family-like feel while allowing students to dually enroll during their junior and senior years. The school gives students the opportunity for “traditional high school experiences,” including dances, prom, and social nights.


During the Pre-Collegiate program, which can be taken during the ninth and tenth grades, students take a few college courses to acclimate to the rigor of those higher-level classes. The school helps students learn the skills they need for college and help plan future education through the Student Leadership program.


While the school does not offer sports, students can play on their base school athletic teams and some even try out for the cheerleading squad at St. Petersburg College. Students can participate in either high school specific clubs or join college clubs.


"Our students and visitors often remark that we have a 'family' feel to our school. Many of our students have commented that they have formed relationships that will last a lifetime," said Principal Starla Metz.



Please note that only the following Florida counties were considered for this article: Hernando, Hillsborough, Pasco, and Pinellas.