Full guide to the best High schools in Lakeland, FL

Full guide to the best High schools in Lakeland, FL​

Are you looking for the right high school for your teenager in the Lakeland area? Lakeland is home to several excellent public and private high school options to meet your academic needs and preferences. This guide will take an in-depth look at some of the top high schools in Lakeland based on factors like test scores, programs offered, student-teacher ratios, and more.

Harrison School for the Arts


Harrison is a public magnet high school emphasizing visual and performing arts for students from grades 9 to 12. With roughly 800 students enrolled, it boasts a student-teacher ratio of 17:1. Great Schools rates Harrison an 8 out of 10 due to its high test scores and college-level curriculum. It is recognized as one of the top high schools in Florida for its integration of the arts.

Among Harrison’s standout features are its programs in dance, music, theatre, visual arts, and digital media/film. The school hosts numerous performances and showcases annually. Students can take Advanced Placement (AP) and Dual Enrollment courses, and 91% of them demonstrate proficiency in reading and math.

George Jenkins High School

George Jenkins is another standout option among Lakeland’s public high schools. With an enrollment around 2,700 students, it has a 22:1 student-teacher ratio. It scores a 7/10 rating from Great Schools based on strong test scores and college readiness measures.

Some highlights of George Jenkins include its Cambridge Program and varied AP and honors course offerings. The school has strong athletics as well as visual and performing arts programs. There are also career academies in areas like culinary arts, engineering, robotics, and more. 83% of students are proficient in reading and math.

Victory Christian Academy

Victory Christian stands out as a premier private Christian high school in Lakeland. With approximately 440 students, the institution boasts a favorable 12:1 student-to-teacher ratio. Impressively, the school maintains a 100% graduation rate, and 83% of its students achieve proficiency in both reading and math.

Victory Christian melds traditional education with biblical principles. Its curriculum features honors classes and select AP courses. Emphasis is placed on STEM subjects, alongside robust programs in athletics, the arts, and leadership development. Spiritual growth is fostered through Bible studies, chapel services, and community service initiatives.

McKeel Academy of Technology

McKeel Academy is a unique public charter high school option in Lakeland, Florida. With an enrollment around 350, it has a low 16:1 student-teacher ratio. The school receives a 10/10 rating from Great Schools for its exceptional test scores.

McKeel Academy has a concentrated technology focus that prepares students for STEM fields. The curriculum incorporates engineering design starting in elementary grades leading to industry certifications and college pathways in high school. Coding, robotics, 3D design, and other applied tech subjects are prioritized. Over 95% of students test proficient in core subjects.

Santa Fe Catholic High School

As the area’s leading Catholic high school option, Santa Fe has an enrollment around 530 students with a 15:1 student-teacher ratio. It boasts a 100% graduation rate and over 80% of students testing proficient across subjects.

Santa Fe provides a faith-based college preparatory education rooted in Catholic values. AP, honors, and Dual Enrollment courses available. The school has strong arts, athletics, service learning programs. An innovative STEM building provides cutting-edge technology and lab facilities. 97% of graduates continue to post-secondary education.

No matter which high school you choose in Lakeland, your student is sure to find excellent academic options, creative programs, and opportunities for enrichment. Consider factors like school culture, size, faith affiliation, special programs of interest, and more to decide which is the best high school fit. Learn more about The History of Lakeland FL 

Commonly Asked Questions

A magnet school like Harrison School for the Arts is a public school that offers specialized courses or curricula, such as an arts focus. Charter schools like McKeel Academy are also public schools, but they have more flexibility over areas like curriculum, budgets, and staffing compared to traditional public schools.

Public high schools like George Jenkins, Harrison, and McKeel Academy use an application and lottery system for admission since they draw students from across the district or county. You'll need to submit an application during the enrollment period, provide records, test scores, etc. and then await the lottery results.

Yes, many private high schools like Victory Christian Academy and Santa Fe Catholic provide need-based financial aid as well as academic and athletic scholarships. Be sure to inquire about aid opportunities and requirements when applying.

All of the public high schools must provide special education services and accommodations under federal laws. The private schools also have resources and programs for students with learning differences or other special needs, but availability can vary.

Public high schools like George Jenkins and charter schools tend to have the most comprehensive athletics programs with multiple sports teams. Private schools often have strong athletics as well, especially in popular sports. Magnet schools may have fewer sports due to their specialized focus.

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