Seattle, Washington is a thriving city known for its exciting culture, world-class entertainment and impressive schools. Considered one of the most educated big cities, Seattle has a high amount of successful graduates. As a result, more and more families are thinking about relocating there.

There are 190 public schools and 121 private schools that serve the city. Meanwhile, the major district of the area, Seattle Public Schools, has 109 schools. With so many options, it can be difficult to decide on the best school for your kids. Fortunately, our guide offers all the information you need to make an informed choice.

Finding the best schools in Seattle, WA

Whether you’re looking for public institutions or are leaning more towards private options, Seattle offers a healthy selection of schools. To narrow down your search, consider the following questions:

  • How does the school compare to other schools in the state?
  • What is the high school graduation rate?
  • What is the average math and English proficiency?

To discover the answers and learn more about schools in Seattle, keep reading our guide.

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How are public schools in Seattle, WA?

According to Public School Review, Seattle’s public schools score in the top 20% of public school districts in Washington. This is largely due to the high reading and math proficiency levels, which are in the top 10% for the state.

Compared to national scores, the reading and math scores are a bit above average. 61% of middle schoolers tested at or above the proficient level for reading, while 53% tested at or above the proficient level for math. Elementary school students fared slightly better, with 65% and 61% of students testing at or above proficient levels for reading and math, respectively. Finally, high school students excelled at reading but remained average at math. 80% tested at or above proficient levels for reading, and 52% tested at or above this level for math.

In terms of diversity, Seattle Public Schools earn an A rating on Niche. As a capital city, Seattle attracts people of different cultural and economic backgrounds. Once enrolled, students have access to several resources that enrich their educational experience, from athletics and clubs to AP classes and college prep courses.

How do schools in Seattle compare to other schools in Washington state?

Compared to other states, Washington’s public school system ranks slightly above average with a quality score of 51.31/80 (with 80 being the highest). Within Washington, the Seattle public school district has a fairly high ranking — it comes in at #14 out of 251 Washington school districts and has an A- grade on Niche. Seattle schools also offer a student-to-teacher ratio of 16:1, which is below average for the state.

Seattle, WA high school graduation rates

According to Public School Review, the high school graduation rate in Seattle is around 84%, which is similar to the national high school graduation rate. Overall, Seattle public school district graduation rates have seen a steady increase — in 2017, the rate was 77%. The Seattle graduation rate is also slightly above the average graduation rate for Washington in general, which is about 82%.

Top-rated public schools in Seattle, WA

According to U.S. News & World Report, there are over 50,000 students enrolled in Seattle Public Schools. A student’s educational experience can vary greatly depending on the school they attend. Let’s take a closer look at some of the top-rated schools in this district.

Best elementary schools in Seattle, WA

Cascadia Elementary School

Decatur Elementary School

Frantz Coe Elementary School

McDonald International Elementary School

Fairmount Park Elementary School

Best middle schools in Seattle, WA

Hamilton International Middle School

Catharine Blaine K-8 Middle School

Walt Whitman Middle School

Eckstein Middle School

Washington Middle School

Best high schools in Seattle, WA

Garfield High School

Roosevelt High School

Ballard High School

Franklin High School

Cleveland High School

Kids learning in School

What private schools are in Seattle, WA?

According to Private School Review, about 22% of students are enrolled in private school. There are 121 private institutions in the city, which collectively serve 24,814 students. Some schools (like Villa Academy) have fewer than 500 students, while others (like John F. Kennedy Catholic High School) have larger student bodies of over 800.

When it comes to private schools for pre-K students, families have 77 options to choose from. Top-ranking schools include Assumption – St. Bridget School and Seattle Hebrew Academy. For elementary school students, you’ll find 94 potential schools. Notable private elementary schools include Dartmoor School, Seattle Christian School and Epiphany School (which also accepts pre-K students).

High school students, meanwhile, have 32 private schools to choose from. These top-ranking institutions include the aforementioned Dartmoor School and Seattle Christian School. Other well-known institutions are Spring Academy and Lakeside School.

While browsing through private schools, you’ll discover that many are religious — over 40% of private schools in Seattle have some sort of religious affiliation. You may also notice that the majority of schools serve multiple age groups. For example, many schools are pre-K – 8th grade, K – 8th grade or 6th – 12th grade. Ultimately, when it comes to private schools in Seattle, there’s something for everyone.

What are suburban Seattle, WA schools like?

Like many cities, Seattle has both an urban and suburban area. Based on rankings by Niche, schools in the suburbs tend to rank higher than urban schools. For example, public schools in the city of Seattle have an A- rating, while public schools in Yarrow Point (a suburb of Seattle) have an A+ rating.

One reason why suburban schools may score higher is finances. Residents in Yarrow Point have a higher median household income than residents in Seattle and pay more in property taxes, part of which go towards school funding. In addition to wanting higher-ranking schools, many people are drawn to suburban areas due to their lower crime rates. On the downside, suburban areas typically have less diversity than urban regions.

What suburbs have particularly good school systems?

Now that you know the appeal of suburban schools, you might be thinking: which suburbs near Seattle have the best school systems? While there’s no shortage of good options, the most recommended areas include Yarrow Point, Mercer Island and Clyde Hill.

Let’s start with Yarrow Point. As mentioned above, it has an A+ rating for its public schools and is known for low crime rates. For overall living, Niche gives it an A+ rating and notes that the area is especially good for families. So, apart from its high-quality school system, what makes it such a great place to live? For starters, it offers a quiet, rural feel, which is a strong contrast to the busy vibe of urban cities. In total, the region has fewer than 1,500 residents. However, despite the rural location, there’s still plenty of entertainment (including restaurants and parks).

Next on our list is Clyde Hill. This quaint suburb, which is home to over 3,000 residents, gets an A+ for its public schools and another A+ for general living. Like many suburbs, it could have more diversity — it earns a B in this category. Overall, Clyde Hill shares many similarities with Yarrow Point, down to the quiet, rural atmosphere.

Finally, let’s wrap this list up with Mercer Island. As the name suggests, it’s an island and is connected to Seattle through a bridge. Like Yarrow Point and Clyde Hill, Mercer Island has an overall A+ rating, as well as an A+ rating for its public schools. However, with a population of over 25,000, it’s a much larger area than the other suburbs. It strikes a balance between rural and urban, offering the peace and quiet of a rural atmosphere along with the hustle and entertainment of urban regions. One resident says, “Mercer Island has amazing weather, small beaches, beautiful houses, pretty nice public schools, short commute times, and friendly people.”

What are the best school districts in Seattle, WA?

The most well-known school district in Seattle is Seattle Public Schools. Catering to the majority of public school students in the city of Seattle, it has a 16:1 student-to-teacher ratio, above-average math and reading proficiency levels and an overall A- public school rating. However, there are other school districts in the Seattle metropolitan area that rank higher.

One of the highest ranked districts in this area is the suburban Mercer Island School District. While it has a higher student-to-teacher ratio than Seattle at 18:1, it fares better when it comes to math and reading (with 83% and 87% of students scoring at or above the proficiency levels, respectively). It earns an A+ in academics, college prep and teachers, as well as an overall A+ for public schools.

Finally, we have Bellevue School District, a highly rated city district that has over 20,000 students. 73% of students are proficient in math, while 79% are proficient in reading. In addition to impressive test scores, the district earns an A- in clubs and activities, an A- in diversity and an A+ overall.

Closing Thoughts

From test scores to graduation rates, there are tons of factors to consider when choosing a school for your kids. Whether you’re considering public schools, private schools or have yet to decide, we hope this guide helps steer you in the right direction. And, if you’re looking for moving assistance, we can help with that too. We offer local movers in Seattle, as well as long-distance moving services to Seattle. We can even handle last-minute Seattle moves.

Other Seattle Guides

Moving to Seattle, WA: A Bellhop City Guide

The Best Neighborhoods in Seattle

The Best Suburbs in Seattle

Best Up-and-Coming Neighborhoods in Seattle

Best Neighborhoods for Families in Seattle

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Tyler Brown
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