10 Best Public High Schools in Missouri

Moving to the Show Me State and wondering which high schools made the honor roll? We’ve gathered a list of 10 of the best public high schools in Missouri, whether you’re seeking academic rigor, athletic prowess, or first-rate extracurriculars.

1. Metro Academic and Classical High School

The staff at Metro Academic and Classical High School are dedicated to creating an environment that prepares their students for future success. Located in St. Louis, Metro Academic, and Classical High School attracts a wide range of multi-talented students. More than 30 different languages are spoken by its students and extracurricular offerings include yoga, robotics, Model UN, and even ping-pong if that’s your thing.

More than 90% of the students attending Metro Academic and Classical High School enroll in an advanced placement course, and based on the AP exam pass rate, the institution ranks second in the state for college readiness. Metro Academic and Classical High School has a 96% graduation rate, and the majority of its faculty members hold an advanced degree (and those that don’t are pretty smart, too!).

2. Lincoln College Preparatory Academy

Founded in 1865, Lincoln College Preparatory Academy is a magnet school that’s part of the Kansas City Public School District. Recognized for its academic rigor and the diversity of its student body, Lincoln College Prep attendees receive top-notch instruction and social-emotional support (which, let’s face it, we all need post-pandemic).

Every student and his or her family participates in a whole child wellness check-in facilitated by the school’s counselor. If you require additional support, each school has a dedicated Trauma-Sensitive School Clinician, and any students or families in crisis can call a Student Support Team Member. Seriously, Lincoln College Prep has got your back.

This school ranks first in Missouri for college readiness, and students have the opportunity to engage in international baccalaureate coursework. Moreover, the school has a 97% graduation rate!

3. Ladue Horton Watkins High School

Ladue Horton Watkins High School ranks first in Missouri on the U.S. News & World Report’s College Curriculum Breadth Index. This metric demonstrates the proportion of a school’s seniors who passed AP exams in multiple areas. Basically, the seniors at Ladue Horton Watkins are crushing those AP tests.

Located in western St. Louis, Ladue Horton Watkins High School caters to a largely suburban student body. With a little more than 1,300 students, the school has an impressively low student-teacher ratio of 14:1, and students frequently test in the top 5% in the state for reading and math proficiency.

There are more than 75 clubs available in which students can participate, featuring a range of interests from Bollywood dance to chemistry. There are also varsity-level teams for fall, winter, and spring athletics, so you’ll have plenty to keep you busy at Ladue Horton Watkins.

4. Ewing Marion Kauffman High School

Located in south Kansas City, Ewing Marion Kauffman High School (or the Kauffman School) values leadership and college readiness. The school has a dedicated College Access Team to help coach students through the college application process and even invites recruiters from top U.S. colleges to support.

All of the seniors who attend the Kauffman School take at least one advanced placement exam. Starting their junior year, students receive intensive one-on-one assistance creating a college plan; this initiative helps remove barriers to college attendance that often impact low-income or minority students.

Ewing Marion Kauffman High School has a diverse student body, with more than 90% of students identifying as a minority. With just over 400 total students enrolled, the school provides a 12:1 student-teacher ratio, allowing students a personalized approach to academic learning and even more face time to drive their teachers crazy. The Kauffman School also offers a small selection of seasonal and year-round athletic programs.

5. Collegiate School of Medicine and Bioscience

The Collegiate School Of Medicine and Bioscience in St. Louis is a four-year magnet school designed for aspiring medical professionals. With just over 250 students and a 14:1 student-teacher ratio, this institution serves a diverse, economically disadvantaged student body. Attendees have access to a prestigious network of internship and capstone opportunities, and because this school is a member of the St. Louis Public School district, students can take advantage of the city’s extensive academic support and mental health resources as well.

The Collegiate School Of Medicine and Bioscience has a 90% graduation rate, and student science proficiency is more than double the state’s average. Students receive a holistic education augmented by graduation requirements that include more than 100 hours of community service and completion of First Aid certification.

6. Clayton High School

It’s pretty great when your high school is located in a big city, and Clayton High School is just a few miles from the heart of downtown St. Louis. From campus, you can easily walk to a Starbucks or Chipotle (priorities!) or head to Forest Park after school to check out the STL Zoo or art museum.

Clayton also has some pretty impressive academic stats, boasting a 98% graduation rate. The students at Clayton High School score super well in math and science, with proficiency rates doubling the state average.

You’ll want to stock up on your Clayton High Greyhound spirit wear! This school has fall, winter, and spring sports (including an eSports league). So if you’ve got your sights on college athletics, Clayton High School would be a great choice.

7. Lafayette High School

Located in Wildwood, Lafayette High School covers all the basics: high test scores, solid AP offerings, and a formidable graduation rate (98%). But what really makes Lafayette stand out is its commitment to student life and well-being. Imagine what the classic midwestern high school experience is like, and Lafayette will deliver.

Homecoming parades, marching band practice, and yearbook committee meetings can fill your teenage afternoons (plus, color guard is a real thing at Lafayette). This is a school that believes in well-rounded graduates, not just a bunch of robotic smarties.

8. Kirkwood High School

If Lafayette High didn’t pique your interest, you can travel just a few miles east on MO-100 to Kirkwood High School—another high school in the St. Louis suburbs that made this top 10 list for good reason. In 2022, Kirkwood High was one of just 297 schools around the United States selected as the National Blue Ribbon school. This award recognizes student academic performance as well as the school’s efforts to help close the achievement gap for certain subgroups.

The Kirkwood mascot is the pioneer, and (feel free to roll your eyes here) the school’s curriculum certainly tries to pioneer important initiatives. Kirkwood high schoolers engage in specialized lessons in digital literacy, and many students participate in the school’s annual STEAMfest science fair.

9. Parkway West High School

The Parkway West Longhorns are stampeding into this top 10 list. Located about 20 miles west of St. Louis, Parkway West High School is a public school with pizzazz, boasting an impressive performing arts and music program. Students have dozens of activities to join, including a Rubik’s Cube Club and a Yarniacs Club (the latter is for those particularly curious about fiber arts and crafts).

This is a school that inspires creativity as much as it pushes for academic excellence. Students have the opportunity to pursue independent study, dual-enrollment opportunities with local colleges, and participate in a collection of summer institutes and camps, including the Parkway Summer College Admissions Program.

10. Marquette High School

Last but certainly not least is Marquette High School in Chesterfield, which is also near St. Louis. Marquette High has around 2,500 students but manages to maintain a 16:1 student-to-teacher ratio. The Marquette Mustangs have a number of athletic opportunities all year-round, not to mention a stellar list of traditional and not-so-traditional activities (Magic: The Gathering club, anyone?).

This school scores high in academic proficiencies and its graduation rate, but its students are encouraged to pursue other passions, too. Recent alums have been successful in professional athletics, politics, and even beauty pageants. No matter your goals, Marquette High can get you started on the right path.



  • Chris Kane

    Chris Kane is a military veteran and former business owner currently living in the Des Moines, Iowa, metro. Chris is an inveterate entrepreneur and avid web developer who is not shy about sharing his opinions.

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