These towns in Arkansas have what it takes to make it to the head of the class! Not only do these listed locations have high schools that rank the highest based on a study by U.S. News & World Report, but they also have a wealth of learning opportunities available to Arkansans. Higher learning institutions are also found in a lot of these towns. We’re proud of these A-listers and their great achievements in education!
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
15. Pleasant Plains
With a population of 353 (as of 2013), Pleasant Plains is located in northeast Arkansas in Independence County. The Midland School District serves the area, and Midland High School is ranked 17th out of the top 24 high schools in Arkansas based on a 2015 US News & World Report study that focused on student/teacher ratio, college readiness, mathematics, and literacy.
The northeast Arkansas town of Maynard is in Randolph County with a population of 422 as of 2013. The former Ouachita-Maynard Academy was once located here. US News & World Report ranked Maynard High School 16th out of 24 top performing high schools in the state.
13. Green Forest
Located in Carroll County, Green Forest is approximately 20 minutes away from the Missouri state line. Green Forest's population was 2,785 as of 2013, and Green Forest High School ranked 15th out of 24 top performing Arkansas high schools based on the recent 2015 US News report.
The largest city in northeast Arkansas, Jonesboro is home to the main campus of Arkansas State University. In addition to higher education, students at the secondary level in Jonesboro also have access to quality learning too. US News & World Report ranked Valley View High School 14th of 24 of the best Arkansas high schools in 2015.
Carroll County has two towns to be proud of when it comes to high achievers. Berryville, the county's largest city, shares the county seat with Eureka Springs. Berryville High School is ranked 13th out of 24 of Arkansas's top performing high schools based on the recent 2015 US News report.
Searcy is served by two school districts and is home to Harding University as well as Searcy's Arkansas State University campus. US News ranked Searcy High School 12th out of 24 of the state's best high schools in 2015.
It's a pleasure to see Sheridan on this list! Having graduated from Sheridan High School in 1997, I can happily say that this district makes sure students have a memorable experience while sticking to high educational standards. Sheridan High School (go Yellowjackets!) ranked 11th out of 24 high performing Arkansas schools based on the recently released US News & Report information.
Helena's a town big on culture and education. KIPP: Delta Collegiate High School came in 10th out of 24 of Arkansas's best high schools in a recent study conducted by US News & World Report. In addition to the school's good standing, the town is also home to the Delta Cultural Center. Opportunities for learning about east Arkansas history are abundant in Helena.
7. Prairie Grove
A great place to study up on history, Prairie Grove is located in Washington County. The town is home to the Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park and Prairie Grove High School is ranked 9th out of the 24 top performing high schools in Arkansas according to the studies released in 2015 by US News & World Report.
Located in northwestern Clark County and childhood home to actor/director/entertainer Billy Bob Thornton, the town of Amity is also well known for its high educational standards. Amity's Centerpoint High School came in 8th out of 24 high schools ranked by US News & World Report based on literacy, mathematics, and other factors such as college readiness.
5. El Dorado
El Dorado is known to many as the cultural heartbeat of south Arkansas. The county seat of Union County, the town is home to South Arkansas Community College. The El Dorado community of Parkers Chapel gets the biggest bragging rights as Parkers Chapel High School is ranked 7th out of 24 of Arkansas's best high schools based on the 2015 US News & World Report's criteria.
4. Hot Springs
The Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences, and the Arts, Champion Baptist College, National Park Community College, and Hot Springs Christian School are all located in the Spa City, making it not only a beautiful location but an excellent town for education. Based on the 2015 US News & World Report's study, Lakeside High School makes Hot Springs look great, too - the school came in 4th out of the 24 best high schools in the state.
Rogers has a lot to be proud of when it comes to quality education in Arkansas. The Benton City School Of Arts ranked 6th out of 24 of the best Arkansas high schools while Rogers Heritage High School came in 5th on the study taken by US News & World Report. Rogers High School came in 3rd on the list, making it the best of the best in town when it comes to math and literacy.
One of Arkansas's wealthiest towns is also one of the smartest. Bentonville High School ranked 2nd out of 24 of Arkansas's top performing high schools, and the town is also home to the Northwest Arkansas Community College.
Fayetteville is the flagship campus of the University of Arkansas and home of the mighty Razorbacks, but hosting the largest college system in the state is only a part of what makes the town so smart. The Fayetteville School District (established since 1871, making it the state's oldest school district) remains one of Arkansas's highest performing districts. Haas Hall Academy, located near the U of A campus, was ranked by US News & World Report as the state's highest performing high school in 2015.
Fayetteville takes home the gold when it comes to the top ranking schools, but credit is due to the 23 other ‘silver medal’ schools listed in the study released by U.S. News & World Report. Honorable mentions for smartest cities in Arkansas with high performing high schools go to Omaha, Concord, Siloam Springs, Benton, Gravette, Eureka Springs and Branch.