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15 Best Chattanooga Schools | Public, Magnet, Charter & Private Schools in Chattanooga, TN

Last Updated on: 21st July 2023, 01:18 am

If you’re moving to Chattanooga or relocating within the area with kids, the quality of the schools is probably a big concern. Tennessee is not known for its great education – it has one of the lowest rates of public school spending per student, just 38% of 3- and 4-year-olds enrolled in preschool (one of the lowest shares in the country), and fairly low math and reading proficiency rates.

Choosing the right school makes a huge difference though. There are many Chattanooga schools that not only far outperform the state average but are ranked among the best in the country for STEM education, athletics, fine arts, and more.

Hamilton County Schools (HCS) is the public school district for Chattanooga. It consistently outperforms surrounding Chattanooga TN school districts and even many private schools in the area. Along with traditional public schools, families can pursue advanced or specialized education at high-performing magnet and charter HCS schools with award-winning programs in athletics and STEAM plus dual enrollment and AP participation.

This guide to the best schools in Chattanooga, TN covers highly rated public schools for K-12 students plus the top private schools in Chattanooga.

Table of Contents

Best High Schools in Chattanooga, TN

Chattanooga high schools are among the best in the state with many charter and magnet schools ranked among the best in the country! Here are the best public, magnet, and charter schools in Chattanooga, TN. Note you’ll need to check each school’s admissions requirements and application process as many have unique student criteria.

Chattanooga High School Center for Creative Arts – Fine Arts Magnet School in Tennessee

The Chattanooga High School Center for Creative Arts (CCA) is an award-winning fine arts magnet school and frequently ranked as one of the best schools in Chattanooga. It’s a Magnet Schools of America School of Distinction, Kennedy Center National School of Distinction, and STAR School by the International Network of Performing and Visual Arts Schools.

Students can major in one of five major disciplines: visual arts, theatre, music, dance, and communications.

Signal Mountain Middle/High School – Top-Rated Chattanooga Public School with IB Diploma, Fine Arts & Successful Athletics Programs

Signal Mountain Middle/High is one of the top 3 high schools in Chattanooga, TN and serves the Signal Mountain, TN community. Students matriculate to Signal Mountain Middle/High from Nolan and Thrasher elementary schools, both among the best elementary schools in the region. Ranked among the top 20 high schools in Tennessee, Signal Mountain High/Middle has test scores well above the state and district average and nearly 25% of a recent graduating class scored 30 or better on the ACT.

Students can participate in a huge array of programs including fine arts, band, theatre, strings, extra-curricular activities, athletics (with a combined 15 state championship wins), and the International Baccalaureate Programme. There are dozens of special interest clubs like robotics, math league, photography, drama, climbing, and bowling.

Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy – STEAM-Based College Prep Curriculum for Girls

CGLA is the first single-gender public school in Tennessee. This all-girls Chattanooga charter offers a STEAM-based, college preparatory curriculum with accelerated and integrated remediation programs. This award-winning Title I school provides an extended school day to help girls reach their potential. The academy is one of the best charter schools in Chattanooga, TN for girls who will benefit from a rigorous academic program and want to pursue education in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, or the arts.

Chattanooga School for Arts and Sciences – Chattanooga TN High School with the Highest Graduation Rate & College Attendance

One of the most desirable Chattanooga, TN public schools, CSAS handles admissions through a lottery system. It’s the only Hamilton County Schools magnet school with a K-12 education and it has more students going to college than any other private or public school in the county.

CSAS is one of just two K-12 schools in the United States founded as a Paideia School with a purpose of preparing students to participate meaningfully in a democratic society, live responsibly and intelligently, and support social, physical, mental, and moral improvement.

Hamilton County Collegiate High at Chattanooga State – Partnership to Earn an Associate’s Before Graduation

Through a partnership with Hamilton County Schools and Chattanooga State Community College, students can attend Collegiate High and earn college credits and an associate’s degree as well as a high school diploma. 90% of Collegiate High graduates transfer to a 4-year university or college with an ACT composite well above the national and state average.

Students have access to the full Chattanooga State campus including organizations, clubs, student government, and participation in music and sports.

Ivy Academy – One of the Highest Performing Chattanooga Schools & the First in State to Partner with TN State Parks

Ivy Academy Chattanooga in Soddy Daisy is one of the most unique schools in Chattanooga, TN. It boasts an excellent academic growth rate, high test scores, and early post-secondary opportunities in Industry Certifications, Advanced Placement, and Dual Enrollment. It has a 95% AP participation rate! It’s also the only Tennessee public school to partner with Tennessee State Parks for majors in environmental fields.

The Ivy Academy has been named a National Beta School of Merit, a School of Distinction, and a National Beta Club State Convention School.

Best Elementary Schools in Chattanooga

With many of the best elementary schools in Tennessee found in Chattanooga, younger students can receive an excellent education with diverse opportunities that support STEAM interests.

Chattanooga Charter School of Excellence – Chattanooga Elementary School with Single Gender Classrooms

Chattanooga Charter School of Excellence (CCSE), starting fall 2022, is a full K-12 charter school established in 2011. CCSE Elementary is one of the best elementary schools in Chattanooga, TN and handles admissions based on a lottery system when applications exceed available space.

This unique elementary school uses the Core Knowledge curriculum with single gender classrooms shown through research to level achievement gaps between females and males.

Thrasher Elementary School – One of the Top 10 Best Elementary Schools in Tennessee

One of two highly rated Signal Mountain elementary schools, Thrasher Elementary is ranked in the top 10 elementary schools in Tennessee and #1 among HCS schools. The award-winning Chattanooga elementary school is a National School of Excellence, Tennessee Reward School, and Blue Ribbon School.

Chattanooga School for the Liberal Arts – Chattanooga Magnet School with STEM Labs, Paideia Spaces & More

CSLA is an award-winning Chattanooga elementary school that provides a full K-12 education starting in 2022 from its new campus. The Chattanooga School for the Liberal Arts boasts state-of-the-art STEM labs, science labs, Paideia spaces, maker spaces, and athletic facilities. The school offers field studies for elementary, middle, and high school students as well as foreign language education and clubs like robotics, archery, and gardening.

Montessori Elementary at Highland Park – Tuition-Free Montessori Education

Montessori Elementary is the only Chattanooga elementary school offering tuition-free Montessori education which focuses on promoting independence and curiosity. This child-centered education allows children to drive lessons through hands-on learning.

Chattanooga Preparatory School – All-Boys Chattanooga Charter School

Chattanooga Preparatory is an all-boys public charter school established in 2018. Close to downtown, the school was founded to offer innovative and transformative educational opportunities to youth in urban communities often impacted by inequity and poverty. The school focuses on STEM- and project-based education with rigorous academic programs and extended days.

Chattanooga Private Schools

There are many private schools in Chattanooga that offer robust academic programs as well as STEM programs, arts, athletics, extra-curriculars, and more. Most private schools are Christian. Note that financial aid is available at all of these Chattanooga private schools – check the admissions pages to learn more.

Baylor School – Prestigious Co-Ed Chattanooga Boarding School & Day School

The Baylor Chattanooga school is a co-ed college preparatory school with day school for grades 6 to 8 and boarding school for grades 9 to 12. One of the most prestigious boarding schools in Tennessee, Baylor was founded in 1893 and sits on a gorgeous 690-acre campus. It has one of the top 25 athletics programs in the country and the best in Tennessee with a robust academic program, a fine arts center, a music studio, a performing arts center, and residential facilities.

Belvoir Christian Academy – One of the Top Christian Private Schools in Chattanooga with Variable Tuition Options

Belvoir Christian Academy was founded in 1887 with a mission to make disciples for Jesus, encourage lifelong learners, and provide a nurturing environment for students. All faiths and denominations are welcome in this Lutheran Church-affiliated private school. One of the few private schools in Chattanooga, TN to offer affordable variable tuition, the school provides a range of extracurricular activities for all ages.

Chattanooga Christian School – Interdenominational Private School with Biblically Integrated Academics, Arts & Athletics Programs

Chattanooga Christian School is one of the best private schools in Chattanooga for a well-rounded, biblically integrated education. The school is located on a beautiful 55-acre at the foot of Lookout Mountain with facilities that include a state-of-the-art Power House Gym, Lower School STEM room for elementary students, Fine Arts Center, Upper School Science Lab, and learning commons.

McCallie School – Christian All-Boys Private Boarding School in Chattanooga

McCallie Chattanooga is a private, all-boys Christian facility and one of the most well-respected private elementary schools in Chattanooga TN. The school serves 250 boarding students in high school and almost 700 day students in grades 6 through 12 with a college preparatory curriculum. The McCallie boarding school is consistently ranked as one of the top three private high schools in Tennessee.

Have you found the right Chattanooga schools to help your kids thrive? Many of these schools have waitlists, so be prepared to have a backup plan and a list of schools to apply to. If you’re planning to relocate within the city to make sure your child gets the quality education they deserve, All Out Moving & Storage is here to help. Give us a call for a free consultation with 5-star Chattanooga movers ready to go above and beyond for you.


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