Students across the country are back to sleeping through chemistry in-person. Something else that's back: school rankings. Niche, a Pittsburgh-based ranking and review company, recently released its 2022 list of Best Schools and Districts for the country. And while the top of the national leaderboard didn’t see many Washington schools, several Seattle-area names littered the state ranks.
One of the most surprising? North Creek High School in Bothell jumped 10 spots from its 2021 placement, landing in ninth among Washington public high schools. Meanwhile, Tesla STEM High School in Redmond, lauded for its pre-professional approach to learning, took the honor of top public high school in the state, finishing at No. 51 across the nation. Within Seattle city limits, Garfield High School earned the number one spot, good for No. 17 in the state. And Niche crowned Seattle’s Lakeside School—some guy named Bill Gates went there—as king of private high schools Washington, with the Lions finding themselves at No. 34 in the country.
As for school districts, Niche gave Mercer Island School District—comprised of six schools, four of which are at the elementary level—the nod for top K–12 district in the state. Bellevue School District placed second, with 31 schools and over 21,000 students, while, Seattle Public Schools found itself at No. 24.
While Niche continues to use reviews from parents and students, as well as more traditional, quantitative data (using statistics from the U.S. Department of Education, for instance), there was one notable change in this year’s methodology. The 2022 rankings de-emphasized the value of standardized testing scores, reducing any factor for such scores by one-third, in line with the 73% of U.S. universities and colleges not requiring testing scores from fall 2022 applicants.
Of course, the right school is about what fits your kid best. And while Niche’s rankings do provide parents with some information—and plenty of bragging points—no institution can be wholly defined by a digit or two next to its name.