One of the many challenges to relocating anywhere, including Ocala, is finding the right school for your children. At Showcase Properties, our experienced Marion County real estate agents understand that school choice isn’t just a matter of location. Magnet and honors programs must also be considered along with any special arts and sciences programs that different schools may offer. That’s why we’ve created this guide to the top-rated local public and private schools in Ocala. If there’s any other information we can provide to make your relocation as stress-free as possible, let us know.
Public Magnet and Charter Schools in Marion County
The Marion County Public School system is comprised of a total of 56 schools with nearly 43,000 students enrolled. In addition to neighborhood public schools, parents can apply to send their children to a charter or magnet school. Parents can also apply for a seat in Marion County’s Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (VPK) program. Pre-K seats are awarded by lottery. Looking to educate your child at home? Check out Marion eLearning’s online curriculum.
Here is a list of the county’s top-performing public schools by age group and category:
Neighborhood and Magnet Elementary Schools
Dr. N.H. Jones Elementary School
This STEAM Magnet school is located in Southwest Ocala. Rated 10/10 by Great!Schools.org and regularly recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School, Dr. N.H. Jones offers “an innovative learning environment where all students are enriched through Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics.” The school also has many enrichment programs and clubs for students to choose from.
Madison Street Academy of Visual and Performing Arts
This Ocala K-5 school offers a core curriculum as well as Magnet Programs in Art, Dance, Drama, Music, Physical Education, and Technology. Madison’s Great!Schools.org rating is 10/10.
Oakcrest Elementary School of International Studies
Founded in 2011, Oakcrest is an International Baccalaureate (I.B.) World School located in Northeast Ocala. The I.B. Primary Years Programme promotes international mindedness and prepares students to become global citizens. The hands-on approach to learning includes ongoing instruction in Spanish.
South Ocala Elementary School
This school features the Center for Advanced Studies, a gifted program offering full-time, self-contained gifted classes in grades K-5. Students in the gifted program receive individualized instruction in both the Florida Standards and Gifted Standards. There are also many extracurriculars to choose from, including Robotics and Odyssey of the Mind.
Sunrise Elementary School
Located in Ocala, Sunrise is a STEAM Magnet program for PreK to Fourth grade. Their staff of education professionals works to integrate STEAM lessons into every aspect of the school to help students achieve and exceed their goals. Neighborhood children can automatically register; other students can apply through the school choice application.
Charter Elementary Schools
Marion Charter School
Established in 2000 as the county’s first charter school, MCS is located in Ocala. Established in 2000, Marion Charter School celebrates diversity and provides unique support and encouragement to every student, with a curriculum focusing on a wide variety of practical and artistic skills.
McIntosh Area School
Located in McIntosh, FL, this K-5 charter school takes a “whole-child” approach to education to ensure that each student’s intellectual, social, behavioral, and emotional needs are met. They partner with a number of community groups and individuals to provide classroom support and hands-on learning experiences.
Public and Magnet Schools for Grades 6-12
Belleview Middle School
Located in Belleview, FL, this public middle school has a staff of compassionate teachers who are dedicated to providing a safe learning environment to foster essential life skills and artistic talents in each of their students. Visit them online to enroll your child, review their curriculum, and more.
Dunnellon Middle School
Since 1937, Dunnellon Middle School has focused on helping students develop their minds for success in Dunnellon Florida. Enroll your child today using their online portal, view their curriculum, meet their teachers and more on their official website.
Forest High School
Located in southeast Ocala, Forest High School offers a wealth of enrichment programs. The school’s most attractive feature is its unique engineering Magnet program called EMIT, focused on science, mathematics, and technology. Dual enrollment opportunities and Air Force JROTC are also offered.
Horizon Academy at Marion Oaks
Located in Marion Oaks, FL, this STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) magnet middle school provides technology that allows our students to receive an advanced learning experience. Horizon Academy has a number of unique offerings, including 5th grade classes to help acclimate younger students to a middle school learning environment.
Howard Middle School
HMS is an authorized International Baccalaureate Middle Years school, ensuring that every student enrolled at this institution is a part of this program, which focuses on maximizing their potential for academic achievement to turn students into thoughtful and caring lifelong learners. They are also part of the STEAM Magnet Program amongst other special programs, a robust academic curriculum and a number of extracurricular activities.
Liberty Middle School
LMS is one of the newest public schools in the Marion County system. It’s located on Southwest 95th Avenue near Ocala. As one of the newest schools in the county, it is outfitted with an up-to-date media center, music suite, and classrooms designed to provide an exceptional learning experience. Visit them online to learn more about their academic programs, extracurriculars, clubs, and more!
Osceola Middle School
Osceola is centrally located in Ocala and has a Great!Schools rating of 7/10. Osceola offers several advanced academic classes and a gifted students program. They have made it their mission to provide a safe and supportive environment for education to help students become well-rounded professionals.
Vanguard High School
This public high school in Northwest Ocala is the only high school in Marion County that offers the prestigious International Baccalaureate Diploma Program, a pre-university course of study that helps prepare students for higher education through comprehensive curriculum. This school remains on the cutting-edge curriculum offerings and is a leader in state-wide technology. Visit them online to learn more!
West Port High School
This school in the western part of Ocala offers an impressive total of three Magnet programs: a BioMedical program, Early College program, and the Marion County Center For the Arts. It offers several enrichment programs and hosts Army JROTC.
Charter Schools for Grades 6-12
Ocali Charter Middle School
The public charter middle school of Marion County, FL, OCMS is a tuition-free middle school that seeks to provide a safe and stimulating learning environment for all of their students. The school’s curriculum spans all disciplines of learning and are enriched by the latest technology and a highly trained staff of professional educators who work towards the academic excellence of every child.
Marion Military Academy
The public charter high school of Marion County, FL, MMA Charter School is unique in that it utilizes the Army’s Military Leadership Principles in a 4-year JROTC leadership course. These leadership qualities are integrated into daily learning in every class to help students become motivated and thoughtful learners equipped with knowledge to serve them in their personal and professional lives.
Private Schools in Marion County, FL
Christian schools are the predominant type of private school in Marion County. We’ve included a selection of them here, along with Ocala’s two Montessori options.
Trinity Catholic High School
Located in Central Ocala, Trinity is a Catholic school affiliated with Blessed Trinity Catholic Church. Trinity offers advanced placement and dual enrollment opportunities, as well as a fine arts program and four foreign languages. Blessed Trinity also has a sister K-8 school.
St. John Lutheran School
This central Ocala Christian school teaches grades K-12 and is affiliated with St. John Lutheran Church. It offers a rigorous academic program for all grades, a full roster of athletics, and several summer camps. They have served the Marion County community for over 50 years and was chosen as the Best of the Best by the Ocala Star Banner. Visit their website to explore their academic programs, athletics and more.
Ocala Christian Academy
Located in East-Central Ocala, Ocala Christian Academy is a PreK-12 school with a focus on academic excellence, fine arts, and Biblical values. They hold each of their students to high academic and spiritual standards, and their staff of education professionals help foster positive learning habits and academic skills that will serve them throughout their lives and continued education. In addition to academic pursuits, students are encouraged to take part in art and athletic programs. Visit their website to learn more about educating your child at OCA.
Montessori Preparatory School of Ocala
Established in 1996 in east-central Ocala, Montessori Preparatory School utilizes both traditional and Montessori curricula to help children in grades Pre-k to 5 learn at their own pace. Their students have tested in the top ten percent nationally. Montessori House of Ocala is another option for families interested in this educational philosophy.
Ambleside School of Ocala
A K-9th grade Christian school with a curriculum based on British educator Charlotte Mason. This methodology empowers students to become scholars – reading primary sources and interacting with various disciplines to explore a variety of subjects in a pure manner to draw conclusions. This school offers small classrooms and focuses on growing each student on an individual level. Visit their website to learn more about their curriculum, teaching methodology, staff and more.
Your Local Source of Ocala Real Estate Info
If you’re relocating to Marion County and need assistance finding a home that’s right for your family, contact Showcase Properties of Central Florida. We are an Ocala-based, full-service real estate agency serving buyers and sellers in Marion County and surrounding areas. We specialize in luxury properties, equestrian farms, and vacant land lots, though we have a number of properties that are ideal for families of all sizes. Have questions about schools and other factors in your move to Marion County? Visit our Schools and Neighborhoods Page or contact our friendly and experienced REALTORS® today.