Credit: Credit: Albemarle County Public Schools

(ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Virginia) –All three of Albemarle County’s public comprehensive high schools are in the top five percent of public high schools in the country according to Niche, a national organization that annually analyzes and ranks the top performing schools in the nation.

In its ranking of “America’s Smartest Public High Schools,” Niche used a combination of school climate measures, student test scores and input from parents to determine its rankings. Among the data points the survey incorporated were academic performance, health & safety data, student culture and diversity, sports, fitness and extracurricular programs, resources and facilities and teaching excellence.

Western Albemarle and Monticello each earned five “As” among the seven data point categories that were evaluated, while Albemarle earned four “As.” Both Western Albemarle and Albemarle received an A+ for academic achievement and an A for teaching. Monticello also had the highest score among the schools for overall high school experience as reported by students and parents.

“These are first-class results and a tribute to teamwork among staff, teachers and parents at all three of our comprehensive high schools,” said Dr. Matthew Haas, the school division’s deputy superintendent.

“They certainly track with our on-time graduation rate of 95 percent, our very low drop-out rate of 2.2 percent and the consistent outperformance of our students against their peers on the SATs both within the state and across the nation,” Dr. Haas said.

The school division strategic goal states that “all students will graduate having actively mastered the lifelong-learning skills they need to succeed as 21st century learners, workers and citizens.” Among the five objectives in achieving this goal are to engage every student, to improve opportunity and achievement, to create and expand partnerships, to optimize resources and to implement balanced assessments of student learning.

“As we work towards this goal for every student, it is helpful to benchmark our methods and progress against other school divisions in Virginia and across the nation,” Dr. Haas pointed out. “That’s the value of analyses such as this one by Niche. Our students are going to be competing for admission to colleges of their choice and to career paths that appeal to them once they graduate from our schools. The Niche survey is useful in that it suggests how competitive we are as a school division and points to areas where we need to continue to improve,” he added.

Western Albemarle, Albemarle and Monticello highs schools all were among the top 1,000 of the nation’s 23,861 public high schools. Among Virginia’s 327 public high schools, Western Albemarle was ranked 22nd; Albemarle was ranked 27th and Monticello was 36th. The complete survey is accessible at