New Missouri School Ratings ~ Find the Best Schools in St. Louis

School classroom - photo credit Flirckr member

If you ask St. Louis residents which are the best public schools, you will probably be told Clayton and Ladue are the best schools. You will also hear that there are many other excellent school districts including Parkway, Rockwood, Kirkwood and Lindbergh.

But do the schools that rate the best on the Missouri Department of Education’s standards match up with local impressions?

Not necessarily.

New Rating System for Missouri Schools:

In the past, Missouri public schools were rated on a 14 point school. Under the old rating system, 31 St. Louis districts earned perfect scores.

The new school rating system rolled out in 2013 has just one local K-12 school district earning a perfect score – Brentwood. 

Franklin County and Strain-Japan, both K-8 districts in counties on the outskirts of St. Louis, also earned 100% ratings.

Under the new system, districts serving students in grades K-12 can earn up to 140 points. Districts with fewer grades have a lower maximum points. The ratings for all districts are quoted as a percentage of possible points so parents can easily compare districts that span different grade ranges.

The new rating system will allow districts to pinpoint areas where they need to improve. It also means there are some districts that won’t be fully accredited if they don’t improve dramatically.

Most districts will not see a change in their accreditation status until 2015, when the state has three years of data under the new standards. A district’s accreditation standing also can’t be changed without a vote by the state Board of Education. 

In the future, districts will also be able to earn “accredited with distinction” if they have a rating of 90% or more and satisfy other criteria that has not yet been set.

Charter schools will be rated on the same scale as other public school districts for the first time under the new rating system. While the state does not accredit charter schools, St. Louis City parents will finally have the information they need to decide if a specific charter school is performing at standards which makes it the right choice for their family.

New Factors Affecting Rating Results:

Some of the new factors that Missouri schools will be judged on include:

  • Standardized test scores – Under the previous 14-point scale system, more than 80% of the Missouri K-12 districts met at least 13 of the 14 standards. At the same time, over half of Missouri students were not passing the state’s tests in communication arts and math. The new system will factor MAP test score results into the district’s rating.
  • Educating all children successfully – The new rating system will make it much more clear which districts are successfully educating all of their students, including minority students and those eligible for free or reduced price lunches.
  • Attendance rate – The new system will look at % of students in school at least 90% of the time, rather than looking at the percentage of students in school each day.
  • Preparing students for the future – Districts will need to track down recent graduates to determine if they are attending college or post-secondary schools, serving in the military or working in a field related to a high school career-education program.

Best and Worst Schools in St. Louis:

Best and Worst St. Louis Schools - MSIP 2013 rankings

While the number of school districts in the St. Louis area that earned a perfect score from the state has gone down, we still have a lot of excellent school districts.

Best School Districts – Schools Earnings 90% or More:

St. Louis City:

  1. City Garden Montessori (charter school) – 100%
  2. North Side Community School (charter school) – 100%
  3. Grand Center Arts Academy (charter school) – 98.0%

St. Louis County:

  1. Brentwood – 100%
  2. Parkway – 99.6%
  3. Lindbergh – 99.3%
  4. Clayton – 98.9%
  5. Ladue – 98.9%
  6. Kirkwood – 98.2%
  7. Webster Groves – 97.5%
  8. Affton – 94.3%
  9. Rockwood – 92.9%
  10. Mehlville – 92.5%

St. Charles County:

  1. Francis Howell – 96.4%
  2. Wentzville – 96.4%
  3. Fort Zumwalt – 92.9%
  4. Orchard Farms – 91.8%

Jefferson County:

  1. Festus – 96.4%
  2. Fox – 92.1%

Franklin County:

  1. Franklin County – 100%
  2. Strain – Japan – 100%
  3. Spring Bluff – 96.3%
  4. Londell – 95.6%
  5. New Haven – 95%
  6. Washington – 91.1%

Lincoln County:

  1. Silex – 95.4%

Warren County:

  1. Wright City – 91.1%

Worst School Districts – Schools Earning Below 70%:

Beginning in 2015, schools with scores below 70% will be classified as provisionally accredited. Schools with scores below 50% will be unaccredited. Charter schools are not accredited by the state of Missouri…their ratings are provided for informational purposes only.

St. Louis City:

  1. Construction Careers Center (charter school) – 16.1%
  2. St. Louis City Public Schools – 24.6%
  3. Confluence Academies (charter school) – 28.3%
  4. Carondelet Leadership Academies (charter school) – 58.6%
  5. Lift for Life Academy (charter school) – 68.2%

St. Louis County:

  1. Normandy – 11.1%
  2. Riverview Gardens – 28.6%
  3. Jennings – 65.7%
  4. University City – 66.8%
  5. Ferguson Florissant – 69.3%

See a complete list of all of the school districts and charter schools in the St. Louis metro area…

Data provided by Missouri Department of Secondary and Elementary Education – see detailed information by school district

Photo Credit – Flickr




What are the Best Public Schools in St. Louis?

Young woman getting MO real estate license

If you are trying to decide where to buy your next home, one of the questions you are probably asking is how good are the public schools. While there are plenty of websites which rank schools, determining which is the best St. Louis school isn’t as simple as going to a school ranking website.

Don’t you wonder how these websites decide what are the best schools?

And do you agree that these are the most important factors in picking a school?

Many school ranking sites will look at college attendance rates and ACT scores. But what about class size? Percentage of kids expelled for disciplinary actions? Teacher years of experience?

Most of these factors are simply not included in the ranking formula used by national school ranking websites.

Rather than just looking for the best school, you need to look for the best school for your family.

St. Louis Home Search

Maybe you have children who plan to attend competitive colleges and need to be in a school that offers extensive advanced placement courses. Maybe you have children who are likely to attend vocational programs after high school and you want a school that has a high placement rate of success. Maybe you want your child in a diverse school environment, or a school with a low percentage of low-income children.

For families on a tight budget, finding the best schools in areas they can afford to live is important. Looking at the number of children receiving free or reduced rate lunches can help families needing affordable homes compare schools that will have housing in their price range.

St. Louis High School Performance Statistics & Demographic Data:

The Missouri Department of Education provides a school report card for each public school which includes extensive information about the children attending the school and how they are performing. It includes information on teachers experience and compensation, and how much money is spent on each child.

School report cards include:

  • Number of students
  • Racial demographics
  • Attendance rate
  • Number of children receiving free or reduced price school lunches
  • Graduation rate, including the number of kids that graduate in 4 years
  • Dropout rate
  • College and post-secondary education rates
  • Placement rates for technical education students
  • Staffing ratios
  • Years of experience for professional staff
  • Professional staff with advanced degrees
  • Teacher salaries
  • Administrator salaries
  • MO Assessment Program (MAP) results
  • ACT results
  • Disciplinary actions – suspensions over 10 days and expulsions

In order to get you started, I have put together a summary of some key factors to give you a snapshot of each St. Louis public high school and how they are performing.

Are your kids elementary or middle school age? 

With so many elementary and middle schools, the best way to pick a district is to look at the high school results since every child eventually moves on to high school. If the school does a good job with the younger kids, it will reflect well in the high school stats. Once you identify the districts you are interested in, you can then learn more about the elementary or middle schools by looking up their report cards.

Comparison Charts for St. Louis Public High Schools:

If you are trying to find the best schools in the St. Louis area for your family and are new to the area, or maybe you just don’t know how the local schools perform, then start with the summary sheets below to identify which schools you want to investigate further.

Long-time residents who are familiar with the local school districts should also take a look at the summary sheets.  Often our perceptions of a school district doesn’t match the current reality, and you might be overlooking a school that opens up your options for where you can live.

St. Louis County High Schools:

St. Louis School statistics - St. Louis County Schools

St. Louis City, St. Charles County, Jefferson County & Franklin County High Schools:St. Louis School statistics - City and surrounding counties

NOTE: These charts are copyrighted. You are welcome to download the charts for your own personal use, but you are NOT allowed to republish the charts or the data. You may publish the screenshots above and link to this website. 

St. Louis High School Report Cards:

Once you’ve narrowed down the schools you want to consider, take a look at the high school report cards below for each of the schools. These reports provide information for the last 4 years so you can see if a school is improving, remaining stable or developing problems.

The best way to find the best school for your family is to review this information for yourself and find a school that matches your needs!

Once you have it narrowed down your school selection to a few areas, you can search homes for sale by high school to help you decide if you will be satisfied with housing in the areas. And if you need an agent to help you find the right home for your family, we can help you with that!

St. Louis City:

Many of the St. Louis City Public Schools are magnet or choice schools, and enrollment is determined by a lottery. If you are considering the city schools, take a look at the Magnet School Guide.

Beaumont CTE
Carnahan School of the Future
Central Visual – Performing Arts
Cleveland NJROTC Academy
McKinley Classical Leadership Academy
Miller Career Academy
Soldan International Studies
Transportation and Law

St. Louis County:

Fergonson-Florissan McCluer
Ferguson-Florissant McCluer North
Ferguson-Florissant McCluer South Berkeley
Hancock Place
Hazelwood Central
Hazelwood East
Hazelwood West
Maplewood-Richmond Heights
Mehlville High
Mehlville Oakville Sr
Parkway Central
Parkway North
Parkway South
Parkway West
Riverview Gardens
Rockwood Eureka
Rockwood Lafayette
Rockwood Marquette
Rockwood Summit
University City
Valley Park
Webster Groves

St. Charles County:

Francis Howell Central
Francis Howell High
Francis Howell North
Ft. Zumwalt East
Ft. Zumwalt North
Ft. Zumwalt South
Ft. Zumwalt West
Orchard Farm
St. Charles High
St. Charles West
Wentzville Holt
Wentzville Timberland

Jefferson County:

Fox Seckman Sr
Fox Sr High

Franklin County:

Meramec Valley

More St. Louis school information including maps, links to district websites, private school and special education information…

New Missouri Rating Standards: What are the Best St. Louis Schools?

St. Louis School Kids

The Missouri Department of Education is rolling out a new system to rate Missouri school districts and determine accreditation status.

The new system will be rolled out in the summer of 2013, but the schools were provided a sneak peak at how they would score if they were rated today on the new system.

Read more about the new rating system at STL Today…


St. Louis School District Preliminary Ratings:

The new rating system is not yet implemented. The scores below provide a sneak peak to help the schools see how they will do once the new rating system is in place this summer.

Accredited Schools – 70% or higher
Provisional Accreditation – between 50% and 70%
Unaccredited Schools – 50% or below

St. Louis County:

Affton – 96.8%

Bayless – 89.3%

Brentwood – 97.9%

Clayton – 100%

Ferguson-Florissant – 60.4%

Hancock Place – 91.8%

Hazelwood – 80%

Jennings – 57.1%

Kirkwood  – 100%

Ladue  – 99.6%

Lindbergh – 100%

Maplewood-Richmond Heights – 81.8%

Mehlville – 97.9%

Normandy  – 21.8%

Parkway  – 98.2%

Pattonville – 87.5%

Ritenour  – 54.3%

Riverview Gardens – 27.1%

Rockwood – 96.8%

Special School District – 51.4%

University City – 68.9%

Valley Park – 95.7%

Webster Groves – 94.3%

St. Louis City:

St. Louis Public Schools – 22.5%

Charter Schools with 3 years of data prior to this year

Charter schools are not subject to accreditation through the MO Dept of Eduction. The scores for charter schools are simply designed to assist schools and parents in understanding how the schools are doing. 

City Garden Montessori – 100%

Confluence Academies – 25.4%

Construction Careers Center – 31.4%

KIPP St. Louis – 72.9%

Lift For Life Academy – 55%

St. Louis Charter School – 80%

St. Charles County:

Fort Zumwalt – 95.4%

Francis Howell – 98.2%

Orchard Farm – 89.3%

St. Charles – 90%

Wentzville – 89.3%

SOURCE: Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

America’s Best High Schools ~ 13 St. Louis High Schools Make the List

Young woman getting MO real estate license

When our clients are looking for a new home, one of the first things we discuss is which school districts will be best for their families.

Unfortunately, answering the question “What is the best high school in St. Louis?”  isn’t simple.

Different things are important to different people, and every ranking site bases their decision on different metrics.

We’ve put together a list of all of the area public high schools with detailed information so you can decide for yourself which high school meets your needs.

My recommendation is to narrow the list to a few schools that seem the best to you. Then take a look at the type of home you can afford in each school’s boundaries. Don’t forget to factor in your work commute too. Once you’ve narrowed the list to a couple of schools, call the school office and ask to set up a time to take a tour of the school. My experience is that schools with similar ranking can have a very different feel to them.

Taking a personal tour allows you to factor in other things that may be important to you such as:

  • What is the music program like?
  • Which foreign languages are taught?
  • Do the sports teams attract the attention of college scouts?
  • Do the demographics of the school match what you are looking for?
  • Do they have programs appropriate for your gifted or academically challenged child?

If you are relocating to St. Louis, contact us so we can arrange a tour of homes and schools on your house hunting trip.

Newsweek Magazine: America’s Best High Schools

To get you started, take a look at the 13 St. Louis region public high schools that made Newsweek’s list of top 1000 high schools.

Newsweek identified the top schools in the country based on their success in preparing students for college.

The rankings factored in 6 components provided by school administrators: graduation rate (25%), college matriculation rate (25%), AP/IB/AICE tests taken per student (25%), average SAT/ACT scores (10%), average AP/IB/AICE scores (10%) and AP courses offered  per student (5%).

St. Louis High Schools on Newsweek’s List:

  • St. Louis City’s Metro Academic & Classical (ranked 125)
  • Clayton (ranked 129)
  • Ladue (ranked 188)
  • Rockwood Summit (ranked 497)
  • Rockwood Lafayette (ranked 508)
  • Rockwood Marquette (ranked 585)
  • Lindbergh (ranked 663)
  • Rockwood Eureka (ranked 676)
  • Parkway West (ranked 801)
  • Parkway Central (ranked 871)
  • Kirkwood (ranked 906)
  • Parkway South (ranked 934)
  • Parkway North (ranked 947)

See all 1000 top schools on Newsweek’s list

Find links to all local school districts

Search for St. Louis homes by high school

Parkway School District Boundaries Change

Parkway North High School sign

Home buyers looking for a home in some parts of the Parkway School District need to pay close attention to the boundaries when they are picking a new home.

Last fall, the Parkway School District announced changes to the school boundaries beginning with the 2012-2013 school year to reduce overcrowding at two elementary schools, Craig Elementary and McKelvey Elementary.

In addition, some subdivisions which have been located in the Parkway Northeast Middle School and Parkway North High School will be reassigned to Parkway Central Middle & High.

Parkway School District NEW School Boundaries:

Moving from Craig Elementary to Ross Elementary:
(no change to middle or high schools)

  • Driftwood Place
  • Pavilion (only the area west of Bennington)
  • West Pointe (only the area west of Bennington)

Moving from McKelvey Elementary to River Bend Elementary:
(and Northeast Middle/North High to Central Middle/Central High)

  • Pheasant Run Apartment Complex
  • Royal Pines Condominiums

Moving from Ross Elementary to River Bend Elementary:
(and Northeast Middle/North High to Central Middle/Central High)

  • Old Farm Estates (and the adjacent homes on the northwest side of Amiot)
  • Woodland Pointe

For more information, visit the Parkway School District website.