One of the biggest factors for families moving to a new city is finding an area where there are high-quality education opportunities. A move to Austin is no different. If you’re making the move with children, finding the best school districts in Austin is probably a priority on your to-do list. Here, we’ll break down the best options based on data from the Texas Education Agency (TEA).
To make this list, we evaluated two main data sets: the performance of students on STAAR tests and college readiness indicators — including SAT and ACT scores as well as the number of students in Advanced Placement (AP) classes and their test results on year-end AP tests.
The Best School Districts in Austin
1. Eanes Independent School District
Eanes ISD earns the coveted top spot when it comes to the best school districts in Austin. Not only is it the best district in Austin, it consistently ranks as one of the best districts in the state of Texas. The district is made up of six different elementary schools, two middle schools, and one high school. It serves students located mainly in the Austin and West Lake Hills areas. Each and every school within the district has a scaled STAAR score of 92 or higher. Schools that belong to this district include Hill Country Middle School, Cedar Park Elementary School, and Westlake High School.
Academic programs in the district include a Spanish immersion program, thoughtful use of technology and gifted and talented programs. Students can also join a wide range of athletics from football to softball and tennis.
2. Lake Travis Independent School District
Lake Travis ISD scores similarly to Eanes ISD and consists of the same number and breakdown of schools. The district serves the greater Austin area, Bee Cave, Spicewood, Lakeway, and Dripping Springs. Within the district, one of the standout schools is Lake Travis High School. The school has a teacher ratio of 17.2 students for every teacher, ensuring your children get individualized attention in the classroom. The average teacher at LTHS has 11.8 years of teaching experience and 64 percent of students taking the SAT are considered college-ready.
The school also offers a variety of after school and summer programs including enrichment classes and summer camps. Activities include things like games, fine arts, sports, cooking, and dance.
3. Round Rock Independent School District
Round Rock ISD is much larger than Lake Travis ISD and Eanes ISD. This school district consists of 34 elementary schools, 11 middle schools, and six high schools. In total, the school district is home to about 51,000 students and boasts a graduation rate of 96 percent. Within the district, Westwood High School and McNeil High School are noteworthy.
Westwood High School ranks high when it comes to testing metrics. Eighty-two percent of students taking the SAT and 68 percent of those taking AP tests were considered college-ready. At McNeil High School, students perform particularly well when it comes to reading, science, and social studies testing.
4. Leander Independent School District
Leander ISD serves the Leander, Cedar Park, Georgetown, Volente, Round Rock, and Austin areas. There are a total of 48 schools within the district including six high schools and 28 elementary schools. Vandegrift High School is home to 2,464 students and has consistently high test scores. In fact, the school boasts a scaled STAAR score of 94 in all subjects.
The school district offers a range of academic programs including gifted/QUEST programs, AVID, and AP courses. The school also offers student services and support programs including counseling, bullying prevention, and library services.
5. Dripping Springs Independent School District
Dripping Springs ISD caters to the Dripping Springs and Driftwood areas of the city. For people who love small school districts where you can get to know the principals, staff, and aides, this is a great choice. The district consists of three elementary schools, two middle schools, and one high school teaching just over 6,000 students. The average classroom in the district has 16 pupils for every teacher and students perform well on all scaled STAAR test subjects — all categories ranked 91 or above.
The school focuses on building a community and guiding students as they prepare for college and the workforce. Sports include volleyball and football and students are offered a range of academic programs to fit their needs.
6. Wimberley Independent School District
Wimberley ISD is one of the smallest school districts in Austin and serves more than 2,000 students in the Driftwood and Wimberley areas. With just one elementary, middle, and high school the district is a great choice for people looking for smaller districts and a more community-oriented feel. Students at Wimberley high school consistently score well or college-readiness tests including AP exams and SAT tests.
In addition to standard academic programs, students are able to take courses that help them develop skills when it comes to gardening and obtaining career guidance.
7. Liberty Hill Independent School District
Liberty Hill ISD is ranked as the seventh-best school district in Austin according to TEA. Another small school district, it consists of four elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school. To be a part of this school district, you’ll want to look at homes for sale in the Liberty Hill, Georgetown, or Leander areas. Liberty Hill High School offers a small-town feel for students as it’s home to just over 1,000 pupils.
The district strives to offer every child a high-quality education and the small district size enables staff to work closely with each pupil. In addition to academics, students can participate in sports and after school programs to develop new skills.
8. Austin Independent School District
Austin ISD is another huge district serving more than 80,000 students across 130 campuses including Austin High School. The high school is home to 2,000 students and one previous student was a semifinalist for the 2019 National Merit Scholarship. The school district also offers 67 full-day pre-K programs to kick start learning and has received 152 designations for outstanding learning from TEA.
9. Lago Vista Independent School District
Lago Vista ISD consists of four campuses serving students in the Lago Vista, Jonestown, and Pointe Venture areas. Calling themselves a “district of innovation”, this Travis County school can be found in Hill Country on the northern end of Lake Travis and just 15 minutes from the heart of downtown Austin. The district focuses heavily on technology and a 21st-century approach to education. For home buyers looking for tax deductions, this school district offers a 20 percent homestead exemption.
10. Pflugerville Independent School District
Pflugerville has been growing exponentially and is actually the third fastest growing city in the United States, Just north of Austin, the Pflugerville ISD serves 25,000 students and offers impressive diversity for attendees. The student body is 48 percent Hispanic, 23 percent white, and 15 percent African American with the remainder consisting of Asian American, Native American, and Pacific Islander students.
The school averages 14 students for every teacher and students consistently score high marks on college-level testing. Best of all, the area is just 15 minutes from downtown Austin and rates positively when it comes to the cost of living, housing availability, and family-area rankings.
Tips For Finding the Best School District in Austin For Your Child
Austin is home to many great schools and finding the best school district involves numerous factors. It’s not just about having the best teachers and the best tools in the classroom.
To find the best school districts in Austin for your children, it’s a good idea to talk with a real estate agent. They can help you understand the best neighborhoods to buy homes in and any schooling requirements or benefits. They can also help you understand your options when it comes to public schools or charter schools.
It’s also a great idea to visit the schools in your top-choice districts. Stop by the local elementary school, middle school, and high school to get a complete view of the type of education your children will receive long term. Connect with other parents in the community to get their feedback and first-hand knowledge of the districts you are interested in.
From Del Valle to Manor, Hays, and Williamson County there is a school that will fit your needs. Whether you’re looking for a new home in the best suburbs, close to the University of Texas, or the inner city, these Austin-area schools are a great choice for parents who are looking to help their children succeed academically.