top school districts, 2019 - arizona

Arizona has impressive graduation rates in certain districts and it’s possible to find schools with above average test scores.

Chandler Unified District 80 is the top Arizona school district centered on Chandler, a suburb of Phoenix, serving around 42,000 students through thirty elementary schools, six middle schools, and seven high schools.

Although the teacher-student ratio of 20:1 is slightly below the national average of 17:1, the district performs well academically with 56% proficiency for reading, 57% for math, and an impressive graduation rate of 94%.

Deer Valley Unified School District in Phoenix is Arizona’s second highest performing district. It’s large, with thirty elementary, eighteen middle, and seven high schools with 34,153 students total.

Despite its size the district provides a good environment for students, with college prep considered its strongest feature, closely followed by the sports scene. Academics here are acceptable, with reading proficiency at 54% and math slightly trailing at 51%.

Further out from Phoenix, the suburban Gilbert Unified School District ranks third in Arizona. Another large district, Gilbert contains twenty-seven elementary, eight middle, and seven high schools.

Nationally, the district is considered above average, with proficiency for reading and math both at 53%, but a graduation rate of 93%. The district is also recognized for its excellent college prep, health and safety, teachers, administration, and sports.

Top School Districts in Arizona, 2019

RankSchool DistrictCountyCityState
1Chandler Unified District #80Maricopa CountyChandlerArizona
2Deer Valley Unified DistrictMaricopa CountyPhoenixArizona
3Gilbert Unified DistrictMaricopa CountyGilbertArizona
4Scottsdale Unified DistrictMaricopa CountyScottsdaleArizona
5Catalina Foothills Unified DistrictPima CountyTucsonArizona
6Mesa Unified DistrictMaricopa CountyMesaArizona
7Vail Unified School DistrictPima CountyVailArizona
8Peoria Unified School DistrictMaricopa CountyPeoriaArizona
9Higley Unified School DistrictMaricopa CountyGilbertArizona
10Paradise Valley Unified DistrictMaricopa CountyPhoenixArizona
11Cave Creek Unified DistrictMaricopa CountyCave CreekArizona
12Queen Creek Unified DistrictMaricopa CountyQueen CreekArizona
13Tucson Unified DistrictPima CountyTucsonArizona
14Dysart Unified DistrictMaricopa CountySurpriseArizona
15Tanque Verde Unified DistrictPima CountyTucsonArizona
16Tempe Union High School DistrictMaricopa CountyTempeArizona
17Glendale Union High School DistrictMaricopa CountyGlendaleArizona
18Peach Springs Unified DistrictMohave CountyPeach SpringsArizona
19Palominas Elementary DistrictCochise CountyHerefordArizona
20St Johns Unified DistrictApache CountySt. JohnsArizona
21Fountain Hills Unified DistrictMaricopa CountyFountain HillsArizona
22Snowflake Unified DistrictNavajo CountySnowflakeArizona
23Sierra Vista Unified DistrictCochise CountySierra VistaArizona
24Thatcher Unified DistrictGraham CountyThatcherArizona
25Amphitheater Unified DistrictPima CountyTucsonArizona

Methodology

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.

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