FCPS dominates ranking of top high schools in Northern Virginia

Northern Virginia Magazine has ranked TJ as the region’s top public high school (courtesy Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology)

Six of the 10 best high schools in Northern Virginia belong to Fairfax County Public Schools, as newly declared by Northern Virginia Magazine.

For its recently published October issue, the magazine’s editorial staff ranked the top 25 top public high schools in the region based on graduation and chronic absenteeism rates, Standards of Learning test pass rates, and other data from the 2021-2022 school year.

Unsurprisingly leading the way is Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJ), the competitive magnet school near Lincolnia that has mostly made headlines in recent years for the political and legal battles over changes to its admissions policies.

Despite the ongoing debate over admissions and the diversity of its student body, TJ “remains the leading high school both in our region, and in the Commonwealth of Virginia,” FCPS Superintendent Michelle Reid said in a statement to FFXnow.

In addition to topping Northern Virginia Magazine’s list, TJ was named the fifth best high school, the number-one magnet school and the fourth best science, technology, engineer and math-focused high school in the country by U.S. News and World Report, which released its annual, nationwide public high school rankings in August.

In an interview with Northern Virginia Magazine, TJ principal Ann Bonitatibus said the school has focused increasingly on student wellness since she arrived six years ago. Three-quarters of students reported experiencing a stress-related health issue in a survey conducted in 2018.

“Being mindful of overall wellness has become a natural part of the fabric of TJHSST, so we are now turning our attention to innovative practices,” Bonitatibus said. “TJHSST has been known as a leader in academic and extracurricular arenas, so it’s important we remain contemporary as we equip our students with skills that will be transferable in their future.”

TJ wasn’t the only Fairfax County school to make a splash in the magazine’s rankings.

FCPS swept the top three spots, with Langley High School and McLean High School coming in at no. 2 and 3, respectively. Oakton High School followed close behind at no. 5, though Loudoun County’s Freedom High School prevented FCPS from fully taking over the top five.

Other Fairfax County schools to make the list include:

  • Vienna’s Madison High School (no. 6)
  • Robinson Secondary School (no. 10)
  • Woodson High School (no. 17)
  • West Springfield High School (no. 20)
  • Chantilly High School (no. 22)
  • Lake Braddock Secondary School (no. 23)
  • Marshall High School in Idylwood (no. 24)

TJ, Langley, McLean, Oakton, Marshall and Woodson were also ranked among the top 10 public high schools in Virginia for 2023 by the U.S. News and World Report.

Reid said she was “honored to learn that Northern Virginia Magazine ranks our high schools as among the best in Northern Virginia.”

“Overall, the rankings reflect FCPS’ commitment to excellence, equity, and opportunity as we launch our seven-year Strategic Plan, which will ensure every student has the chance to meet their greatest potential from now through 2030,” Reid said. “With this plan, I am confident FCPS will remain Virginia’s education leader for years to come.”