Albemarle County Public Schools (ACPS) ranks among the top two percent of all public school divisions in the nation, according to the 2019 Best School Districts in America ranking by Niche, the national educational assessment organization. In Virginia, ACPS was ranked third out of 131 school divisions.
Niche bases it rankings on an in-depth analysis of key statistics and millions of reviews from students and parents using data from such sources as the U.S. Department of Education, the National Center for Education Statistics, and the Civil Rights Data Collection. Factors that determine national and state rankings include test scores, college readiness, graduation rates, SAT/ACT scores, and teacher quality.
The division received Niche’s highest grade, A-plus, and also received an A-plus for the quality of its academics and of its college preparation and athletics programming. Nationally, both ACPS teachers and the division’s status as the best place to teach in America were within the top 12 percent of school divisions across the country.
“Our ultimate goal is to prepare students for lifelong success, and the exceptional college readiness findings from Niche confirm what we are seeing in our on-time graduation rate of 95 percent,” said Superintendent Dr. Matthew Haas. “The highly competitive academic performance of our students reflects the exceptional work being done by our teachers and the progress we are making in putting students at the center of the learning process,” he said.
The school division is continuing to move its instructional model towards a greater emphasis on skills-based knowledge acquisition and expanded student choice in course selections.
Individually, 11 of the division’s 25 schools received A ratings, including all three comprehensive high schools, Albemarle, Western Albemarle, and Monticello. Two middle schools, Henley and Sutherland, also earned A ratings, as did six elementary schools, Baker-Butler, Brownsville, Hollymead, Meriwether-Lewis, Murray, and Scottsville. Three other schools, Burley Middle School and Broadus Wood and Woodbrook elementary schools, received ratings of B-plus.
Western Albemarle High School’s athletics program was ranked the best in Virginia, and nationally, the school was in the top one percent for the quality of its sports programs. Western also was ranked among the top four percent of all high schools in the country, and the school’s college preparation program ranked among the top three percent.
Albemarle High School was ranked in the top 5.4 percent of all high schools in the nation, and its college preparation program was among the best 2.6 percent.
Monticello High School was ranked among the top eight percent of all high schools in the nation for its college preparation and athletics programming and in the top 12.7 percent of all high schools in the nation overall.
This is the fifth year Niche has conducted its annual survey of the best schools and school divisions in each state and the nation. For the 2019 report, Niche said they analyzed 83,542 public schools and 10,758 school districts. In a news release earlier this month, Niche said that Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy in Aurora, Illinois, was the best public high school in America, and Jericho Union Free School District in Brookville, New York, was the best school division. Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, maintained its ranking as the best private high school in America.
The 2019 rankings added more than 5,000 public schools. “Our aim is to provide families with the most important information to help guide their school search,” said Luke Skurman, Niche’s CEO. “Adding even more schools to our rankings is just another way that we’re building out our nationwide coverage.”
The 2019 Best Schools ranking can be accessed at https://www.niche.com/k12/rankings/.