Students in Arizona not only get to enjoy year-round warm weather (making for great recess periods), but are also afforded an excellent education. You might imagine that the top school districts in the state would all be based within the Phoenix metropolitan area, however, among the top ten there is a balanced distribution representing several regions of the state.

Of the ten highest ranked school districts in Arizona, three are located in Pima County (whose county seat, Tucson, is the state’s second largest city), five are within the Greater Phoenix Area, and two are based in Apache County located in the northeastern portion of the state. Gilbert, a fast growing city of over 200,000 in the Phoenix area, owns the distinction of being home to two districts in the top ten.

Arizona’s best school district is Gilbert Unified Public School District, serving the aforementioned city of Gilbert in Maricopa County. 11 of GUSD’s 27 elementary schools, 6 junior highs, and five high schools have been named A+ Schools of Excellence by the Arizona Educational Foundation.

Second in the ranking is Dysart Unified School District, which serves parts of several cities in the Northwest Phoenix Metro area. The nationally recognized district regularly exceeds averages in graduation rate and standardized testing.

We move south to a suburban community of Tucson for third-ranked Tanque Verde Unified School District, whose sole high school--Tanque Verde High School--was featured in US News and World Report’s 2017 Best High Schools in America list.

#4 St. Johns Unified School District and #5 Round Valley Unified School District are two fine districts serving parts of Apache County, home to more Indian reservation land than any other U.S. county.

Top School Districts in Arizona, 2018

State RankSchool DistrictState
1Gilbert Unified DistrictArizona
2Dysart Unified DistrictArizona
3Tanque Verde Unified DistrictArizona
4St Johns Unified DistrictArizona
5Round Valley Unified DistrictArizona
6Catalina Foothills Unified DistrictArizona
7Cave Creek Unified DistrictArizona
8Vail Unified DistrictArizona
9Higley Unified School DistrictArizona
10Scottsdale Unified DistrictArizona
11Chandler Unified District #80Arizona
12Deer Valley Unified DistrictArizona
13Queen Creek Unified DistrictArizona
14Fountain Hills Unified DistrictArizona
15Prescott Unified DistrictArizona
16Thatcher Unified DistrictArizona
17Morenci Unified DistrictArizona
18Lake Havasu Unified DistrictArizona
19Paradise Valley Unified DistrictArizona
20Marana Unified DistrictArizona
21Sahuarita Unified DistrictArizona
22Amphitheater Unified DistrictArizona
23Peoria Unified School DistrictArizona
24Humboldt Unified DistrictArizona
25Florence Unified School DistrictArizona
26St David Unified DistrictArizona
27Chino Valley Unified DistrictArizona
28Colorado City Unified DistrictArizona
29Snowflake Unified DistrictArizona
30Maricopa Unified School DistrictArizona
31Mesa Unified DistrictArizona
32Window Rock Unified DistrictArizona
33Bagdad Unified DistrictArizona
34Payson Unified DistrictArizona
35Blue Ridge Unified DistrictArizona
36Safford Unified DistrictArizona
37Sedona-Oak Creek Jusd #9Arizona
38Wickenburg Unified DistrictArizona
39Flagstaff Unified DistrictArizona
40Grand Canyon Unified DistrictArizona
41Apache Junction Unified DistrictArizona
42Heber-Overgaard Unified DistrictArizona
43Coolidge Unified DistrictArizona
44Flowing Wells Unified DistrictArizona
45Pima Unified DistrictArizona
46Sierra Vista Unified DistrictArizona
47Saddle Mountain Unified School DistrictArizona
48Kingman Unified School DistrictArizona
49Benson Unified School DistrictArizona
50Camp Verde Unified DistrictArizona
51Santa Cruz Valley Unified DistrictArizona
52Show Low Unified DistrictArizona
53Mammoth-San Manuel Unified DistrictArizona
54Ash Fork Joint Unified DistrictArizona
55Joseph City Unified DistrictArizona
56Tucson Unified DistrictArizona
57Nogales Unified DistrictArizona
58Littlefield Unified DistrictArizona
59Ray Unified DistrictArizona
60Tombstone Unified DistrictArizona
61Holbrook Unified DistrictArizona
62Bisbee Unified DistrictArizona
63Page Unified DistrictArizona
64Winslow Unified DistrictArizona
65Globe Unified DistrictArizona
66Sunnyside Unified DistrictArizona
67Williams Unified DistrictArizona
68Parker Unified School DistrictArizona
69Willcox Unified DistrictArizona
70Ajo Unified DistrictArizona
71Pinon Unified DistrictArizona
72Mayer Unified School DistrictArizona
73Miami Unified DistrictArizona
74Hayden-Winkelman Unified DistrictArizona
75Superior Unified School DistrictArizona
76Tuba City Unified DistrictArizona
77Chinle Unified DistrictArizona
78Douglas Unified DistrictArizona
79Fort Thomas Unified DistrictArizona
80Ganado Unified School DistrictArizona
81Kayenta Unified DistrictArizona
82Fredonia-Moccasin Unified DistrictArizona
83Red Mesa Unified DistrictArizona
84Gila Bend Unified DistrictArizona
85Whiteriver Unified DistrictArizona
86Sanders Unified DistrictArizona
87Baboquivari Unified School District #40Arizona
88Cedar Unified DistrictArizona
89San Carlos Unified DistrictArizona

Methodology

The following contributed to the ranking: student performance (math and reading test scores), dropout rates, school funding, and area poverty rates. Data was collected from a total of 9,577 school districts.

Did your district make the list?

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Jason
 

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