Alabama isn’t known for fantastic schools, but state districts have improved dramatically in recent years as funding has increased. While Alabama’s still a long way from the top state school systems, its best districts outperform even average ones in most states.
Alabama offers a mix of urban, suburban, and rural school districts. Districts close to metropolitan areas, like Birmingham, tend to benefit from higher funding. However, for those avoiding city life there are still high performing districts in suburban and rural areas.
Mountain Brook City is first among Alabama’s 129 school districts and located in an affluent suburb of Birmingham, with four elementary schools, one high school, and one alternative school. Test scores are high, with the average standard test score across grades, subjects, and schools well into the eighties. Mountain Brook High School performs particularly well, with an average standard score of 99.9 in 2018.
Also a Birmingham suburb, Vestavia Hills City is rated third in the state and serves 7,015 students across five elementary, two middle schools, and a single high school (the highly regarded Vestavia Hills High School). The district has the third safest schools in Alabama. Vestavia Hills schools currently achieves averages of 73% reading proficiency, 78% math proficiency, SAT scores of nearly 1,400/1,600, and average ACT scores close to 30/36
The number two district in Alabama and roughly 100 miles north of Birmingham, the suburban Madison City serves around 10,000 students divided between seven high performing elementary schools, two middle schools, and two high schools. Madison City performs well. 67% of students are considered proficient readers and 72% at math. The graduation rate is high at 97%. The district is rated highly for both teachers and athletes (third in both within Alabama). Advanced Placement (AP) courses and Gifted Programs are available.
Top School Districts in Alabama, 2019
|1||Mountain Brook City||Jefferson County||Mountain Brk||Alabama|
|2||Madison City||Madison County||Madison||Alabama|
|3||Vestavia Hills City||Jefferson County||Vestavia Hills||Alabama|
|4||Hoover City||Jefferson County||Birmingham||Alabama|
|5||Homewood City||Jefferson County||Homewood||Alabama|
|6||Auburn City||Lee County||Auburn||Alabama|
|7||Trussville City||Jefferson County||Trussville||Alabama|
|8||Shelby County||Shelby County||Columbiana||Alabama|
|9||Mobile County||Mobile County||Mobile||Alabama|
|10||Muscle Shoals City||Colbert County||Muscle Shoals||Alabama|
|11||Baldwin County||Baldwin County||Bay Minette||Alabama|
|12||Arab City||Marshall County||Arab||Alabama|
|13||Cullman City||Cullman County||Cullman||Alabama|
|14||Madison County||Madison County||Huntsville||Alabama|
|15||Hartselle City||Morgan County||Hartselle||Alabama|
|16||Florence City||Lauderdale County||Florence||Alabama|
|17||Winfield City||Marion County||Winfield||Alabama|
|18||Huntsville City||Madison County||Huntsville||Alabama|
|19||Jefferson County||Jefferson County||Birmingham||Alabama|
|20||Saraland City||Mobile County||Saraland||Alabama|
|21||Alabaster City||Shelby County||Alabaster||Alabama|
|22||Brewton City||Escambia County||Brewton||Alabama|
|23||Enterprise City||Coffee County||Enterprise||Alabama|
|24||Oxford City||Calhoun County||Oxford||Alabama|
|25||Oneonta City||Blount County||Oneonta||Alabama|
The following contributed to the ranking: number of students (K-12), graduation rate, teacher quality, school funding, student to teacher ratio, standardized test results (reading and math; the percentage of students scoring at or above state proficiency level). Data from a total of 10,728 school districts had sufficient values for the variables above.