Of the hundreds of decisions you make for your child — from what they’re going to eat tonight to what they’re going to wear tomorrow — where to send them to school may be the most important.
This is the moment when you acknowledge that you can’t do everything yourself. It takes a village. And you need to make sure the other villagers (i.e., teachers, principals, and school nurses) are going to bring out the best in your kid. By sending your child to one of the best schools in Austin, you can do just that.
From elementary to high school, here are the places that will do the best job of fostering your child’s intellectual and emotional development — so that someday, far, far away, you can send them out into the world and watch them succeed.
The Best Elementary Schools in Austin
Pre-school and elementary school are arguably the most important years in your child’s education. This period lays the foundation for your child’s literacy, mathematical, and critical thinking skills. Good teachers at this age can inspire a lifelong love of learning, but bad teachers can leave your child behind grade level.
Luckily, Austin has no shortage of excellent elementary schools, which means you can be extremely picky. The public, private, and charter schools listed here have A+ ratings. All the public schools scored a 10 out of 10 on greatschools.org. And the public schools are listed alongside their independent school district (ISD).
- Austin Waldorf School: a secular, K-12 private school with a foundation in Waldorf educational principles, offering need-based financial aid
- Barton Creek Elementary School: a public school in the Eanes ISD
- Canyon Creek Elementary School: a public school in the Round Rock ISD
- Cedar Creek Elementary School: a public school in the Eanes ISD
- Chaparral Star Academy: a K-12 charter school with open enrollment
- Headwaters School: a secular, PreK-12 private school with a foundation in Montessori educational principles, offering need-based financial aid
- Hyde Park Schools: a religious-affiliated, PreK-12 private school, offering need-based financial aid
- Laura Welch Bush Elementary School: a public school in the Leander ISD
- Meridian School: a K-12 charter school with admissions based on a lottery system
- NYOS Charter School: a K-12 charter school with admissions based on a lottery system
- River Ridge Elementary School: a public school in the Leander ISD
- Rutledge Elementary School: a public school in the Leander ISD
- Steiner Ranch Elementary School: a public school in the Leander ISD
With a good elementary foundation from one of these top-rated schools, your child will be prepared to take on harder coursework and more academic challenges as they grow.
The Best Middle Schools in Austin
These A-rated Austin area middle schools will allow your child to continue their education with great teachers, get ready for their next steps with high-school credit courses, and find new hobbies (that could turn into lifelong passions) with a wide array of electives and extracurriculars.
- Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders: a grade 6-12 charter school with admission based on a lottery system
- Canyon Ridge Middle School: a public school in the Leander ISD
- Canyon Vista Middle School: a public school in the Round Rock ISD
- Cedar Valley Middle School: a public school in the Round Rock ISD
- Gorzycki Middle School: a public school in the Austin ISD
- Harmony Science Academy North Austin: a grade 6-12 charter school with admissions based on a lottery system
- Hill Country Middle School: a public school in the Eanes ISD
- St. Stephen’s Episcopal School: a religious-affiliated private school for grades 6-12, offering need-based and merit-based financial aid
- West Ridge Middle School: a public school in the Eanes ISD
If you’re looking for more options, keep in mind that many of the charter and private schools listed in the elementary section continue through middle and high school.
The Best High Schools in Austin
High School is when things get real. From this point on, your child’s academic performance becomes part of their permanent record. So, your high schooler needs a place where they can thrive.
Ideally, the right school should expose your child to lots of extracurriculars, allow them to explore different fields, and help them find the path they want to travel after they graduate — whether that’s attending their dream college (University of Texas, anyone?) or starting their career.
The following A-rated schools are topped ranked by U.S. News & World Report. The best-ranked high school overall is LASA High School, and the best-ranked public high school is Westlake High School.
Still, every school listed here has strong graduation rates, and gives your child access to advanced coursework, engaging extracurriculars, and college readiness programs. And again, many of the top-rated private and charter schools mentioned in the elementary and middle school sections go up through 12th grade.
- Cedar Park High School: a public school in the Leander ISD
- Dripping Springs High School: a public school in the Dripping Springs ISD
- James Bowie High School: a public school in the Austin ISD
- KIPP Austin Collegiate: a charter high school with admissions based on a lottery system
- Lake Travis High School: a public school in the Lake Travis ISD
- L.C. Anderson High School: a public school in the Austin ISD
- Liberal Arts and Sciences Academy (LASA) High School: a charter high school with a competitive, merit-based application process
- McCallum High School: a public school in the Austin ISD
- McNeil High School: a public school in the Round Rock ISD
- Round Rock High School: a public school in the Round Rock ISD
- St. Michael’s Catholic Academy: a religious-affiliated private high school, offering need-based financial aid
- Vandegrift High School: a public school in the Leander ISD
- Vista Ridge High School: a public school in the Leander ISD
- Westlake High School: a public school in the Eanes ISD
- Westwood High School: a public school in the Round Rock ISD
Of course, many of these are public schools, which requires you to plan your housing around your child’s schooling. So, let’s take a look at the best neighborhoods to live in if you want to give your child access to the best education.
Where to Live to Get Access to the Top Schools in Austin
The best investment you can make in your child’s education is buying or renting real estate in the right school district. Many of Austin’s best school districts are actually in the Austin suburbs rather than the city limits. But even if you want to be in the city, some neighborhoods are better than others.
The best Austin area schools can be found in the Eanes Independent School District, the Leander Independent School District, and the Round Rock Independent School District.
The entire Eanes ISD is assigned to Westlake High School, the best public high school in the Austin area. Both Eanes middle schools are also listed among the best, and all of the Eanes ISD elementary schools are at least A-rated. To live in this district, look for real estate in the Rollingwood or Westlake Hills neighborhoods, but be warned, these are among the most expensive neighborhoods in Austin.
Leander could be a more affordable option for young families. To make sure your home is in the district attendance zone for the best Leander high school, Vandegrift, the best Middle School, Canyon Ridge, and one of the best Elementary schools, Rutledge, Steiner Ranch, or Laura Welch Bush, look for real estate in the Steiner Ranch neighborhood.
Round Rock ISD will be the most affordable option. For access to the best schools in the district’s boundaries, look for real estate in the Spicewood neighborhood.
And if you’re a dedicated Austinite determined never to quit the city for the suburbs, there are parts of the Austin Independent School District where you will have access to much better schools. Look for real estate in the Circle C Ranch neighborhood in the south of Austin or in the Northwest Hills neighborhood in the north of Austin.
If your favorite Austin neighborhood wasn’t listed as a place to find great schools, there’s still hope. Some of the best schools in Austin (including its top three high schools: LASA, the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders, and KIPP Austin Collegiate) are actually charter schools that your child could attend regardless of your neighborhood, but you will have to go through a lottery process.
Get on a Roll by Registering at the Top Schools in Austin
Just imagine the bumper sticker: My child is an honor roll student at …
Only you can complete that sentence. But this list of the best schools in Austin will help guide you to a first-rate education for your first born (and second, third, and so on).
Your family deserves the best. With lots of great schools in the Austin metro area, you’re sure to find a neighborhood, school district, and favorite teacher that can help you build a bright future for your child.