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As one of the fastest-growing states in the nation, Arizona is constantly adding new school districts while adjusting existing ones. The constant change and upheaval mean that public school districts in the state do not perform as well as they could. However, a number of Arizona school districts truly excel in academics and other areas.

The best in the state is Catalina Foothills School District, made up of four elementary schools, two middle schools, a high school, and two specialty learning centers in the city of Tucson. CFSD’s students excel both academically and in extracurricular activities, each year earning a long list of achievements in just about every category.

Queen Creek Unified School District is the 2nd best in Arizona. Students of the large district of over 9,000 enrollment regularly earn scores significantly above state averages in the areas of language arts and math on state assessment tests. 

Ranking 3rd in Arizona is Sierra Vista Unified School District #68. Another large district with over 6,000 students, all eight of SVUSD schools hold a rating of “Highly Performing” or “Performing Plus” with the Arizona Learns system, and the district’s graduation rate is above the state average. 

Lake Havasu USD No. 1 earns the 4th spot in the ranking of Arizona’s public school districts. Encompassing eight schools in the Lake Havasu City area, the district boasts an above-average graduation rate and its students regularly outperform state and national averages in assessment tests such as the Iowa Test of Basic Skills and the SAT9.

Filling out Arizona’s top five is Sahuarita Unified Schools serving over 5,800 students of the towns of Sahuarita and Green Valley. The district’s high quality is reflected in its above-average graduation rate of 88%.

Top School Districts in Arizona, 2020

RankSchool DistrictCity
1Catalina Foothills Unified District (4410)Tucson
2Queen Creek Unified District (4245)Queen Creek
3Sierra Vista Unified District (4175)Sierra Vista
4Lake Havasu Unified District (4368)Lake Havasu City
5Sahuarita Unified District (4411)Sahuarita
6Snowflake Unified District (4391)Snowflake
7Humboldt Unified District (4469)Prescott Valley
8Buckeye Union High School District (4284)Buckeye
9Flowing Wells Unified District (4405)Tucson
10Prescott Unified District (4466)Prescott
11Avondale Elementary District (4272)Avondale
12Palominas Elementary District (4180)Hereford
13Thatcher Unified District (4219)Thatcher
14Fountain Hills Unified District (4247)Fountain Hills
15Saddle Mountain Unified School District (4254)Tonopah
16Joseph City Unified District (4388)Joseph City
17Maricopa Unified School District (4441)Maricopa
18Douglas Unified District (4174)Douglas
19Tanque Verde Unified District (4408)Tucson
20Valley Union High School District (4190)Elfrida
21St Johns Unified District (4153)Saint Johns
22Kingman Unified School District (79598)Kingman
23Santa Cruz Valley Unified District (4458)Rio Rico
24Morenci Unified District (4230)Morenci
25Safford Unified District (4218)Safford
26Yucca Elementary District (4377)Yucca
27St David Unified District (4173)Saint David
28Chino Valley Unified District (4474)Chino Valley
29Alpine Elementary District (4161)Alpine
30Kirkland Elementary District (4480)Kirkland
31Benson Unified School District (79226)Benson
32Colorado City Unified District (4370)Colorado City
33Patagonia Union High School District (4462)Patagonia
34Round Valley Unified District (4155)Springerville
35Aguila Elementary District (4249)Aguila
36Apache Junction Unified District (4443)Apache Junction
37Colorado River Union High School District (4381)Bullhead City
38Ajo Unified District (4409)Ajo
39Nadaburg Unified School District (4252)Wittmann
40Owens School District No.6 (4373)Wikieup
41Show Low Unified District (4393)Show Low
42Solomon Elementary District (4222)Solomon
43Continental Elementary District (4416)Green Valley
44Santa Cruz Elementary District (4459)Nogales
45Payson Unified District (4209)Payson
46Winslow Unified District (4387)Winslow
47Sedona-Oak Creek Jusd #9 (4467)Sedona
48Grand Canyon Unified District (4194)Grand Canyon Village
49Tombstone Unified District (4168)Tombstone
50Blue Ridge Unified School District No. 32 (4397)Lakeside
51Wickenburg Unified District (4236)Wickenburg
52Duncan Unified District (4228)Duncan
53Page Unified District (4196)Page
54Ganado Unified School District (4157)Ganado
55Tonto Basin Elementary District (4215)Tonto Basin
56Altar Valley Elementary District (4418)Tucson
57Miami Unified District (4211)Miami
58Mingus Union High School District (4488)Cottonwood
59Kayenta Unified School District #27 (4396)Kayenta
60Parker Unified School District (4510)Parker
61Pima Unified District (4220)Pima
62Globe Unified District (4208)Globe
63Bisbee Unified District (4169)Bisbee
64Mcneal Elementary District (4181)Mcneal
65Holbrook Unified District (4389)Holbrook
66Beaver Creek Elementary District (4481)Rimrock
67Mammoth-San Manuel Unified District (4439)San Manuel
68Camp Verde Unified District (4470)Camp Verde
69Maine Consolidated School District (4199)Parks
70Willcox Unified District (4170)Willcox
71Bagdad Unified District (4468)Bagdad
72Fredonia-Moccasin Unified District (4195)Fredonia
73Hayden-Winkelman Unified District (4212)Winkelman
74Williams Unified District (4193)Williams
75Double Adobe Elementary District (4179)Mcneal
76Tuba City Unified School District #15 (4197)Tuba City
77Oracle Elementary District (4444)Oracle
78Pinon Unified District (4390)Pinon
79Pima Accommodation District (4401)Tucson
80Naco Elementary District (4176)Naco
81Red Mesa Unified District (4159)Teec Nos Pos
82Coolidge Unified District (4442)Coolidge
83Gila Bend Unified District (4238)Gila Bend
84Antelope Union High School District (4506)Wellton
85Window Rock Unified District (4154)Fort Defiance
86Fort Thomas Unified District (4221)Fort Thomas
87Sanders Unified District (4156)Sanders

Methodology

The following variables contributed to the ranking: number of students (K-12), graduation rate, school funding per student, student to teacher ratio, percent of students scoring above proficient in standardized state Math test, percent of students scoring above proficient in standardized state Reading and Language test. Data from a total of 10,247 public school districts were used to compute a score for each school district. The following states were omitted due to lack of sufficient data: Hawaii, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Utah, and Virginia. Note that high schools in some states have their own independent districts.

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