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Best Schools in Tacoma WA 🎒 | Guide to Tacoma Public Schools + Private Schools

Last Updated on: 8th February 2024, 10:10 am

Tacoma, Washington, is part of the dynamic Seattle metro and offers superior education in one of the largest and best school systems in Washington State, servicing a massive 28,000 students under the Tacoma School District.

With over 60 Tacoma public schools (ranging from early learning centers to high schools) to choose from within this area, understanding which Tacoma schools are best is a challenging task.

If you’re planning on moving to Tacoma, this guide will help you land in the ideal neighborhood near your ideal TPS schools by breaking down the best Tacoma elementary schools, high schools, and private schools using a comprehensive ranking methodology that entails:

  • Student improvement
  • Test scores
  • Classroom size
  • College readiness measures
  • AP participation rate
  • Programs for gifted students
  • Extracurricular programs
  • Noteworthy programs such as athletics, art, music, or STEM
  • Awards
  • School report card

Welcome to your class on the leading schools in Tacoma WA!

Best High Schools in Tacoma

Table of Contents

Tacoma Washington high schools are recognized for their quality education and diverse programs offered through public, magnet, and charter school options. The following list includes four of the highest ranked high schools in Tacoma, two ranked within the top 100 schools in Washington!

We’ll break down Tacoma private high schools, which are the even more revered schools in Tacoma, in a section of their own.

Science and Math Institute (SAMI)- Top Rated Magnet High School in Tacoma WA

Ranked #54 of all Washington high schools and #34 in the Seattle metro, The Science and Math Institute (SAMI) in Tacoma Washington stands out as an innovative public magnet high school and is the highest-ranked, best high school in Tacoma.


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Located in the highly sought-after neighborhood of Point Defiance Park, SAMI blends environmental and project-based learning with a strong focus on science and mathematics. SAMI encourages students to actively engage in their learning process by providing hands-on, real-world experiences and project-based learning. The Tacoma Science and Math Institute maintains a strong focus on science and mathematics, including a plethora of AP courses and an AP participation rate of 46%. The graduation rate is an inspiring 98%, one of the best of all high schools in Tacoma Washington!

Stadium High School – Public High School in Tacoma with High AP Enrollment

  • Neighborhood: Historic Stadium District near Downtown Tacoma
  • Type: Public High School
  • Grades: 9-12
  • Enrollment: 1,593 students (2022-2023)
  • Teacher-to-student ratio: 21.78
  • Address: 111 North E Street, Tacoma, WA 98403
  • School Report Card: Visit Stadium High School’s Report Card

Stadium High School Tacoma, located in the historic Stadium District of Tacoma, is known for its iconic architecture, rich history, and comprehensive education, featuring a variety of advanced placement courses with an impressive AP enrollment rate of 52%. Stadium High School is one of two Tacoma High Schools offering the four-year, esteemed Healthcare Careers Academy.

The 2nd best high school in Tacoma is known for its strong emphasis on college readiness, with 92% of students taking a class of rigor met by a wide array of extracurricular activities and 28 sports teams! Not to mention the 92% graduation rate and high diversity at 50% minority enrollment, this is truly an excellent high school.

Industrial Design Engineering and Art (IDEA) – Tacoma High School with Leading Art & Technical Programs

IDEA, located in South Tacoma, is one of the best Tacoma Washington schools specializing in industrial design, engineering, and art. This school is known for its unique course pathways that merge creative arts with technical education, providing a holistic and hands-on learning experience that’s truly engaging. IDEA prepares students for both college and career paths, emphasizing real-world skills in design and engineering while boasting an impressive graduation rate of 96%!

Lincoln High School – Diverse Public High School in Tacoma WA

Lincoln High School Tacoma, situated in the vibrant South Tacoma neighborhood and recently renovated in 2007, is known for its diverse and inclusive environment and excellent education. This top Tacoma high school features a minority enrollment rate of 84% and a growing list of student-centric clubs and activities that contribute to the lively nature of the inclusive learning environment, all while boasting a high graduation rate of 85%.

The school offers a comprehensive educational experience focusing on college and career readiness, and Lincoln High School Tacoma is celebrated for a 66% AP participation rate, a well-known athletic department, and a range of academic programs that make for a well-rounded, prepared future generation.

Best Elementary Schools in Tacoma

The 30 Elementary schools in Tacoma Washington are recognized for their nurturing environments and highly-ranked academic programs led by a dedicated staff. The following public elementary schools in Tacoma WA offer a solid foundation in various subjects, preparing students for long-term academic success while backed by a strong, supportive community.

Stay tuned as we delve into the details of the top Tacoma WA elementary schools, including Lowell Elementary, the #23 ranked elementary school in Washington, and others that fall within Washington’s top 100 schools. We’ll break down private elementary schools in Tacoma WA in a separate section.

Lowell Elementary School – Top 25 Washington Elementary School in Tacoma 

Lowell Elementary is ranked #23 among Washington elementary schools and praised for its high standards in education. Located in Central Tacoma, a beautiful suburban Tacoma neighborhood, this school boasts impressive math and reading proficiency rates of 84% and 85%, respectively. Known for its inclusive environment, Lowell has a diverse student body with a minority enrollment of 32%. The school emphasizes a strong academic foundation for young learners, fostering excellence and preparing students for future challenges.

Stanley Elementary School – Elementary School in Tacoma WA with High ELA Growth

Stanley Elementary School in Tacoma’s Central Tacoma neighborhood is known for its commitment to cultivating a supportive and inclusive learning environment. This diverse student body features a 75.2% minority enrollment rate and an impressive 64.5% ELA growth rate in the 2018-2019 school year. Hailed as one of the best elementary schools in Tacoma, Stanley Elementary offers a comprehensive curriculum that integrates academic learning with essential life skills with a personal 15:1 student-teacher ratio.

Browns Point Elementary School – Elementary School in Tacoma WA with Highly Experienced Staff

Browns Point Elementary School in Northeast Tacoma serves 436 students and is recognized for its high academic standards and nurturing learning environment. The school, part of the Tacoma School District, curates a balanced education with strong student proficiency in core academic subjects, with 75% of students scoring above-average reading levels. Browns Point Elementary has a team of highly experienced teachers who, on average, have 19+ years of experience.

Jefferson Elementary School – Tacoma Elementary School with Diverse Program Offerings

Jefferson Elementary School in Central Tacoma promises holistic student development via a community-centric, stimulating environment led by teachers with an average of 18+ years of experience. As one of the best Tacoma elementary schools with higher-than-average reading and math proficiency (72% and 67%, respectively), Jefferson Elementary offers a range of programs that cater to various learning styles and interests, ensuring a well-rounded educational experience for each student.

Best Private Schools Tacoma

Tacoma WA is home to many distinguished private schools, some of the best in Washington! The following private schools in Tacoma each offer high-quality learning environments across elementary, middle, and high school settings. These Tacoma schools are known for their specialized curriculums, dedicated faculty, and diverse extracurricular activities that make living in Tacoma extra enticing when raising a family.

Annie Wright Schools – Tacoma’s Leading Private Boarding School 

  • Grades: Preschool to High School
  • Address: 827 N Tacoma Ave, Tacoma, WA 98403
  • Phone: (253-272-2216)
  • Enrollment: 693 (2021-2022)
  • Tuition: $34,000/year ($72,000 with boarding)

Founded in 1884, Annie Wright Schools Tacoma offers an enriching boarding school environment in the North End neighborhood of Tacoma. Known for their historic campus, 100% college acceptance rate, and a wide range of facilities, including an indoor pool, science labs, and art studios, they cater to students from preschool through 12th grade. Students are co-ed until 8th grade with separate boys’ and girls’ programs beyond.

Life Christian Academy: Leading Private Christian School in Tacoma WA

  • Grades: Preschool to High School
  • Address: 1717 S Union Ave, Tacoma, WA 98405
  • Phone: (253-756-2190)
  • Enrollment: 698 students
  • Tuition: Tuition rates range from $10,541-$16,059

Serving preschool through 12th grade, Life Christian Academy Tacoma is an Assembly of God school and home to the Eagles, combining rigorous academics with Christian teachings. One of the best Christian schools in Tacoma WA, Life Christian Academy is known for its passionate school community and a wide array of top-tier programs, from fine arts to athletics and so much more.

Saint Patrick Catholic School- Top Tacoma Catholic School for PreK-8th Grade

Catholic schools in Tacoma are some of the best in Washington, and this is no exception. Saint Patrick Catholic School serves 442 students and is known for its commitment to faith-based education and academic excellence, fostering a joyful, respectful environment for young learners to excel.

Tacoma Schools FAQ

  • Where Is the Tacoma School Calendar for 23-24?
    You can find the Tacoma public schools calendar for the 2023-2024 school year by following the link to the Tacoma school district website.

  • What School District Is Tacoma In?
    Tacoma schools are run by the Tacoma School District No.10, also called Tacoma Public Schools.

  • How Many Schools Are In Tacoma Public Schools?
    There are 60 schools in the Tacoma School District, and around 28,000 enrolled students

  • What Is the Tacoma Public School Address?
    The Tacoma Public Schools district office is located at Central Administration Building 601 South 8th Street, Tacoma, WA 98405

As you explore Tacoma WA schools, finding the right one is a big step in your journey. When it’s time to make your move, whether across town or the country, you can rely on All Ready Moving, the best Tacoma movers, for a smooth and stress-free transition home. Trust us to handle your move with the same care and dedication as you would in choosing the best schools in Tacoma for your family, and call us today at 360-507-2447 for your free, no-obligation estimate!

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