5 Best Denver Schools that Most School Ranking Sites Overlook

Let’s face it: it’s all too easy to get lost in school rankings. After all, there are so many of them! 

Whether you’re using SchoolSparrow, GreatSchools, or any other school ranking platform, there are countless schools to consider, not to mention all the variables that make your family’s home and school search unique. 

Plus, if you’re anything like me, you start scrolling school rankings and emerge hours later, only to realize you didn’t actually find what you were looking for!

That’s why we’ve compiled a list of hidden gems in the Denver area: the best Denver schools that get overlooked too often in searches. These schools boast high test scores when normalized for parent income— which illuminates schools that have socioeconomic diversity and uncovers hidden gems that offer a higher quality education for your child.

1. College View Elementary School – Denver, CO

This K-8 school scores fantastically on SchoolSparrow rankings because its 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders all score significantly higher than expected, when adjusted for parent income. Even better, this school has shown improvement over a two-year period!

Don’t write off College View just because GreatSchools rated it 2 out of 10. A closer look at its students’ performance suggests that the quality of education your child would receive should rate closer to 7/10!

Address: 2675 South Decatur Street, Denver, CO 80219

Website: http://collegeview.dpsk12.org/ 

The main entrance of College View Elementary, one of Denver's top schools.
College View Elementary, one of Denver’s top schools, is often overlooked by other school rankings. Image: https://dps.schoolmint.net/school-finder/schools/26/college-view-elementary

2. Lowry Elementary School – Denver, CO

Though GreatSchools gives Lowry a 5/10, the school’s 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders all score well above average when normalized for parent income, making it one of the best schools in Denver!

With just over 500 elementary school students each year and a 20.0 diversity rating (out of 40 possible points), this public school promises a tight-knit, close community for your K-5th grade student!  

Address: 8001 East Cedar Avenue, Denver, CO 80230

Website: http://lowry.dpsk12.org/ 

Looking for a tight-knit community for your school-aged kids? Take a second look at Lowry.

3. Stott Elementary School – Arvada, CO

Located in the suburb of Arvada, this K-5th school is still only a thirty-minute drive from Denver’s city center. Shoutout to the Stott 3rd graders, who score at A level according to SchoolSparrow rankings, with 4th graders coming in right behind with a solid B+!

When you look at the raw data, Stott’s test scores seem average, but when normalized for parent income, this school ranks as one of the best schools in Denver! GreatSchools awards this school a 5/10, so this one is easy to overlook.

Address: 6600 Yank Way, Arvada, CO 80004

Website: https://stott.jeffcopublicschools.org/ 

More and more families are recognizing the importance of a diverse learning environment for their children.

4. Cowell Elementary School – Denver, CO

Despite the 5/10 that GreatSchools gives Cowell Elementary, this K-5 school has scored well above expected in the past two years, with their 3rd and 4th graders earning solid A rankings from the latest SchoolSparrow data! It’s clear that this school is doing an A+ job educating kids!

If a supportive educational environment in the Villa Park neighborhood appeals to you and your family, be sure to take a second look at Cowell Elementary! 

Address: 4540 West 10th Avenue, Denver, CO 80204

Website: https://cowell.dpsk12.org/ 

Don’t overlook hidden gems like Cowell Elementary School, one of the top elementary schools in Chicago!

5. Richard T. Castro Elementary School – Denver, CO

Named for a Colorado education and civil rights activist, Richard T. Castro Elementary School deserves more than the meager 3/10 GreatSchools awards it. With its impressive 13.6 student-to-teacher ratio, it’s no wonder its third and fourth graders are performing better than expected, earning B+ and B- levels respectively!

Address: 845 South Lowell Boulevard, Denver, CO 80219

Website: https://castro.dpsk12.org/

The main yard and front entrance of Richard T. Castro Elementary School, one of Denver's best schools, according to SchoolSparrow rankings.
Castro Elementary is named for Richard T. Castro, a famous Coloradan civil rights activist! Image: https://www.facebook.com/pg/Richard-T-Castro-Elementary-School-172716226501951/about/

6. Oakland Elementary School – Denver, CO

Oakland’s 3rd graders are doing great, earning an A- according to SchoolSparrow metrics, and the school’s high diversity score means a uniquely vibrant learning environment! 

Don’t overlook Oakland just because of its low score on GreatSchools (4/10). This K-5 school brought its School Performance Framework score up from red to green over the past five years, and it’s still taking strides forward in academic excellence!

Address: 4580 Dearborn Street, Denver, CO 80239

Website: https://oaklandelementary.dpsk12.org/ 

The front doors of Oakland Elementary School, a top Denver school, according to SchoolSparrow rankings. A banner above the doors reads "It takes a village to fly!"
Oakland Elementary serves a vibrant bilingual community in the heart of Denver. Image: https://oaklandelementary.dpsk12.org/

BONUS:  McKinley-Thatcher Elementary School – Denver, CO

Are you looking for a dynamic urban environment paired with outstanding academic performance for your child? Don’t miss McKinley-Thatcher!

Though this K-5 school remains unrated by GreatSchools, McKinley-Thatcher’s students perform extremely well on standardized tests, according to SchoolSparrow metrics, making them one of the best schools in Denver. Plus, it’s located right in the heart of the city!

Address: 1230 S. Grant Street, Denver, CO 80210

Website: https://mckinleythatcher.dpsk12.org/

When normalized for parent income, test scores can be a powerful indicator of school performance.

Want to learn more? Read all about how parents are being misled by traditional school ranking websites, and so much more on our blog!

Plus, register on our website to stay up-to-date with all the latest SchoolSparrow news and rankings for your area!

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