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