5 of The Best Schools in Austin: SchoolSparrow’s Hidden Gems

The Austin ISD is a school district full of fantastic schools. With over 130 campuses, The Austin ISD is home for over 80,000 students. You don’t have to live in the suburbs, with long commute times and exorbitant real estate prices. There are great options right in Austin, leading to more family time and exposure to diversity.

Deciding on a school can be tough. There are the schools that are highly regarded across the board, and then there are others that might not be.

To go along with that, the average list price per square foot of a home in Austin is $232.

SchoolSparrow wants to shine a spotlight on those schools that may be overlooked because of their subpar scores on websites such as GreatSchools. 

At SchoolSparrow, our school rankings are normalized for parent income, so schools are ranked based on how they perform against their expected test scores. This eliminates the inherent bias towards schools in affluent areas that plagues other ranking systems.

These schools are some of the top schools in the Austin ISD.  “Hidden Gems” is what we like to call them. Families looking for homes in Austin should consider taking a look at these underrated schools for their children.

1. Pecan Springs ElementaryAustin, TX (14 minutes from the Capitol Building)

Pecan Springs Elementary is a top 10 elementary school in Austin on SchoolSparrow. This is enough to land it the top spot on this list of hidden gems in Austin.

Pecan Springs Elementary School. Image: https://www.austinisd.org/schools/pecansprings

Pecan Springs is an often overlooked school, due to its 3/10 score on GreatSchools. On SchoolSparrow, Pecan Springs Elementary scores an A grade.

Pecan Springs is a diverse school, scoring a 20/40 in diversity score. To go along with that, students achieve well above expectations on standardized tests. Based on parent income, students at this school are expected to score a 29.5 average on tests. What makes this school so great is the fact that despite those expectations, students average a score of 42.0 on standardized tests.

Students in 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade all score above expectations on test scores, making Pecan Springs one of the best schools in Austin, and a school that should not be overlooked by parents as a possible contender for their children

The median home sale price in zip code 78723 is $416,000 and $258 price per square foot. This listing is an example of a 2 bedroom apartment you can buy in these school boundaries.

Address: 3100 Rogge Lane, Austin, TX 78723

Website: https://www.austinisd.org/schools/pecansprings

2. Cook ElementaryAustin, TX (20 minutes from the Capitol Building)

This elementary school is another school, located in North Austin, that achieves an A grade on SchoolSparrow.

Cook Elementary. Image: https://www.austinisd.org/schools/cook

Cook Elementary is a school with a diversity score of 10, which is up from 0 in 2016.

What really makes Cook Elementary stand out is its test scores. When adjusted for parent income, Cook students are expected to score a 31.16. In actuality, Cook Elementary students score much higher than that, with an average of 44.0. Cook is a school that gets an A grade for both 3rd and 5th grade, and scores above expectations in every grade.

All of that lands Cook Elementary as a top 10 elementary school on SchoolSparrow, and at number 2 on this list of hidden gems in Austin. Do not look past this school just because of its 4/10 score on GreatSchools.

The median home sale price in zip code 78758 is $336,000 and $204 price per square foot. This school is also located in one of the more affordable neighborhoods in Austin. This listing is an example you can find within the school boundaries for Cook Elementary.

Address: 1511 Cripple Creek Drive, Austin, TX 78758

Website: https://www.austinisd.org/schools/cook

3. Hart ElementaryAustin, TX (20 minutes from the Capitol Building)

The third straight A score on this list is Hart Elementary, located in Heritage Hills. Hart is another school with a pedestrian score on GreatSchools, with a 5/10.

Hart Elementary. Image: https://www.austinisd.org/schools/hart

Hart Elementary should realistically score closer to a 9/10. There are a few reasons for this, but the main one is its test scores.

The expected standardized test score from Hart Elementary students is a 29.28. Despite this, Hart students average a 41.0 score. Students at every level score above expectations at this school

Hart Elementary is a great school, which you would never know from looking at GreatSchools. This is a school that is only trending up. For all of these reasons, parents looking for a school in Austin should take a serious look at Hart Elementary.

The median home value in zip code 78753 is $287,000 and the median list price is $191 price per square foot, making this area the least expensive of our 5 hidden gems. This listing is an example of a 3 bedroom home you can buy in this school district.

Address: 8301 Furness St., Austin, TX 78753

Website: https://www.austinisd.org/schools/hart

4. Sims ElementaryAustin, TX (17 minutes from the Capitol Building)

Sims Elementary is a diverse school in the city of Austin, scoring a 20/40 for diversity.

Beyond the diversity though, students at Sims Elementary exceed expectations on their standardized test scores.

Sims Elementary. Image: https://www.kxan.com/news/austin-isd-trustees-approve-25m-in-upgrades-to-norman-elementary/amp/

Adjusted for parent income, the expected test score from Sims students is a 29.69. The average test score at Sims Elementary is actually a 34.5. 

Grades 3 and 4 at Sims Elementary score an A+ on SchoolSparrow.

Sims Elementary has it all when it comes to both test scores and diversity, yet it only scores a 5/10 on GreatSchools.

This makes Sims Elementary a hidden gem, and a school that all parents looking for a home in Austin should look into for their child.

The median home value in zip code 78721 is $363,784 and the median list price is $302 price per square foot. This listing is an example of a 3 bedroom home you can buy in Sims Elementary school boundaries.

Address: 1203 Springdale Road, Austin, TX 78721

Website: https://www.austinisd.org/schools/sims

5. Blanton ElementaryAustin, TX (15 minutes from the Capitol Building)

Blanton Elementary, located in Windsor Park, comes in at number 5 on this list. This is a school that is rated a B+ on SchoolSparrow, but only a 5/10 on GreatSchools. Blanton should be ranked at a 7/10 at the least, according to the data.

Blanton Elementary: Image: https://www.austinisd.org/schools/blanton

Students at this school are expected to achieve at a standardized test score of 38.86. Of all of the schools on this list, this is the highest expected test score. Despite this, Blanton students still achieve above expectations. The actual average test score of students at Blanton Elementary is a 42.0.

Blanton Elementary also has some diversity, and has a diversity score of 10/40.

Blanton Elementary is one of the top schools in Austin, but it’s underrated by traditional school rankings websites. Don’t look past Blanton Elementary as a contender for schools to send your child to.

The median home value in zip code 78723 is $416,107 and the median list price is $258 price per square foot. This is a very hot area in Austin. This listing is an example of a 3 bedroom you can buy in Blanton Elementary boundaries.

Address: 5408 Westminster Drive, Austin, TX 78723

Website: https://www.austinisd.org/schools/blanton

BONUS. Zavala ElementaryAustin, TX (8 minutes from the Capitol Building)

Another school that was too impressive to leave off the list is Zavala Elementary in Holly. Zavala is yet another school that only ranks a 5/10 on GreatSchools.

Zavala Elementary. Image: https://www.austinisd.org/schools/zavala

Zavala saw a rank in diversity score from 2017 to 2018, rising from a score of 10 to a score of 15 out of a possible 40.

What makes Zavala Elementary great is how their test scores exceed expectations when adjusted for parent income. Zavala is a school in which 95% of students receive free lunch. Their expected standardized test score is a 29.5, but their students actually achieve at an average score of 32.

This performance scores Zavala a B+ rating on SchoolSparrow, with 3rd-5th grade all exceeding standardized test expectations. 

To go along with all of this, Zavala is the closest school on this list to the Austin central business district. Don’t overlook Zavala Elementary as a hidden gem in Austin.

The median home value in zip code 78702 is $470,112 and the median list price is $424 price per square foot. This listing is an example of a 3 bedroom home you can buy in Zavala boundaries.

Address: 310 Robert T. Martinez Jr. St., Austin, TX 78702

Website: https://www.austinisd.org/schools/zavala

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