5 of the Best Schools in Miami: SchoolSparrow’s Hidden Gems

The Miami Metropolitan Area is the most populous metropolitan area in Florida, and the 2nd most populous in the southeastern United States. It is home to around 6,200,000 people, and this beautiful city is well known for its beaches and year-round sun. What most people don’t know about Miami, however, is that it’s also home to some of the best schools in the state of Florida.

Are there good public school options in Miami?

There absolutely are. Miami has a strong school system with many great public schools, but can you find something affordable? Sites like GreatSchools will lead you to the most expensive areas because test scores are the largest factor in their ranking system, often rank suburban schools higher than urban ones because average parent income is, by far, the most influential factor that predicts student performance on standardized tests, not school quality, thus pushing families towards the suburbs. Living in the suburbs can lead to longer commutes, more expensive real estate, and less diverse neighborhoods.

But there are great schools right in the city of Miami. At SchoolSparrow, we gathered the raw data for public schools across the city, and here’s what we found: many Miami public schools that aren’t ranked highly on GreatSchools are actually greatly exceeding expectations, especially when it comes to standardized test scores.

Our Equitable School Rankings

SchoolSparrow 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.

Our system identifies schools that are located in less expensive areas, often closer to the urban core with lower commute times (more time for you to spend with your family!) and more diversity. The average list price for homes in Miami is $421 per square foot.

SchoolSparrow’s 5 of the Best Public Schools in Miami

We’ve compiled a list of “hidden gems”– schools that score high on SchoolSparrow but have low scores on other school ranking websites due to their biases. These schools are all located in the Miami city limits and within affordable zip codes. Our hidden gems offer diverse learning environments and are located close to the central business district, leading to shorter commute times for families. These are truly some of the best schools in Miami.

1. Lorah Park Elementary – Miami, FL (11 minute drive from Miami Tower)

Lorah Park Elementary, located in northwest Miami, is our top hidden gem in Miami. This school has an A grade on SchoolSparrow, for a number of reasons. Grade 4 is exceptionally impressive, with an A+ grade.

Lorah Park Elementary. Image: http://www.dadeschools.net/schools/schoolinformation/school_details.asp?id=3041

The main reason for these high marks is test scores. When adjusted based on parent income, the expected score on the reading/language arts portion of standardized testing is 45. What makes Lorah Park Elementary so impressive is the fact that students actually score 36% better than expectations, with an average score of 62.

Lorah Park is a diverse school, with a SchoolSparrow diversity score of 15 out of a possible 40.

What makes this school a hidden gem is the fact that it is overlooked by many people. The reason it is overlooked is because it has a 6/10 rating on GreatSchools, when it really should have closer to a 9, based on the data.

The average list price per square foot of a home in the 33142 zip code is $211, which is much lower than the Miami average of $421. The average sale price of a home is $214,600. These numbers mean that Lorah Park Elementary is in an affordable zip code, another pro to the school. This listing is an example of a 3 bedroom home you can buy for good value in close proximity to Lorah Park Elementary.

All of the data suggests that Lorah Park Elementary is one of the very best schools in Miami. Parents looking to move to or within Miami, give a home in the Lorah Park district a very serious look for your children.

Address: 5160 NW 31st Ave, Miami, FL 33142

Website: http://lpe.dadeschools.net/

2. Norwood Elementary – Miami Gardens, FL (17 minute drive from Miami Tower)

Another hidden gem is Norwood Elementary, located in Miami Gardens. This is a school that has an A grade overall, with an A+ for 3rd grade students!

Norwood Elementary. Image: https://norwood.publishpath.com/

Another thing that makes this school standout is the zip code that it’s in. 33169 has the most affordable real estate on the whole list. The average list price per square foot of a home is $156, with an average sale price of $213,800. These are both far below the average in Miami, and the lowest on this list. This listing is an example of a home you can buy near Norwood Elementary.

Although Norwood is one of the best schools in all of Miami, you would never know by looking at GreatSchools, as it has a 6/10 score. In reality, Norwood Elementary should have a rating of 9/10.

The data that really backs this up are the test scores, especially when compared to standardized test score expectations adjusted for parent income. Based on parent income alone, Norwood students average a score of 48.5, but they actually achieve 30% better than this. The average actual reading/language arts score from Norwood Elementary students is 63.

With their amazing test scores, affordable real estate prices, and high SchoolSparrow rankings, Norwood Elementary is truly a hidden gem in Miami. Hopefully, Norwood will no longer be overlooked, because it absolutely should not be.

Address:19810 NW 14th Court, Miami, FL 33169

Website: https://norwood.publishpath.com/default.aspx

3. Miami Heights Elementary – Miami, FL (27 minute drive from Miami Tower)

Located in South Miami Heights, Miami Heights Elementary is SchoolSparrow’s third hidden gem. Miami Heights is a school with an A- grade on SchoolSparrow, which is a big difference from its 5/10 score on GreatSchools.

Miami Heights Elementary. Image: http://www.dadeschools.net/schools/schoolinformation/school_details.asp?id=3261

This 5/10 score is not accurate because when you look at the data, Miami Heights Elementary is achieving far above expectations.

This is especially true when it comes to standardized tests, as Miami Heights students outperform expectations by 21%. When adjusted for parent income, the expected test score is 48.91. In reality, the actual average score from Miami Heights students is 59.

This makes Miami Heights Elementary one of the best schools in Miami. It is also in an affordable zip code, with an average list price per square foot of $215, and an average home sale price of $296,800. These are both below average for Miami, making this an affordable school district. This listing is an example of a 3 bedroom home for below average sale price. It is located in close proximity to Miami Heights Elementary.

If you live in Miami, Miami Heights Elementary should be on your shortlist of schools to send your children to!

Address: 17661 SW 117th Avenue, Miami, FL 33177

Website: https://api.dadeschools.net/schoolwebsite/#!/?schoolId=3261

4. Frederick R Douglass Elementary – Miami, FL (8 minute drive from Miami Tower)

This hidden gem, located in Overtown is the closest to the Miami central business district on the list. 

Frederick R. Douglass Elementary is also the most diverse school on the list, with a SchoolSparrow diversity score of 20 out of a possible 40.

Douglass Elementary. Image: http://www.dadeschools.net/schools/schoolinformation/school_details.asp?id=1361

Although the average list price per square foot of a home is the highest on the list at $302, this is still far below the Miami average of $421. The average sale price of a home in 33136 is $265,000. This listing is an example of a townhome you can buy near the school.

Frederick R. Douglass has a B+ overall grade on SchoolSparrow, with an A+ at the 4th grade level.

This is a big step up from the 4/10 score it has on GreatSchools, and deservedly so! The 4/10 score is not an accurate representation of Douglass Elementary. According to SchoolSparrow metrics, this score should be closer to a 7 or an 8.

Douglass is yet another school that achieves above expectations on the reading/language arts section of standardized tests. With a parent income adjusted expected score of 46, Douglass Elementary students actually score an average of 52, 13% better than expectations.

Parents who are looking to move as close as possible to the Miami central business district, don’t overlook Douglass Elementary. This could be exactly the right school for your child!

Address: 314 NW 12th Street, Miami, FL 33136

Website: https://api.dadeschools.net/schoolwebsite/#!/?schoolId=1361

5. Hibiscus Elementary – Miami, FL (17 minute drive from Miami Tower)

Another hidden gem in Miami Gardens is Hibiscus Elementary. 

Hibiscus Elementary. Image: https://hibiscuselementaryschool.net/

Much like another school in Miami Gardens, Norwood Elementary, Hibiscus Elementary is located in the most affordable zip code on the list. The average list price per square foot of a home in this zip code is $156, with an average sale price of $213,800. These are both far below the average in Miami. This listing is an example of a 2 bedroom condo you can buy near the school for good value.

Hibiscus Elementary has a B grade on SchoolSparrow. It finds itself on this list because it is severely underrated on GreatSchools, with a 3/10 score. This score is simply too low, as students are actually achieving above expectations.

The expected standardized test score from Hibiscus students is 48.28, based on parent income. They actually achieve 8% better than this, with an average score of 52.

Hibiscus Elementary is another great educational option in this part of Miami that is too often overlooked.

Address: 18701 NW 1st Ave, Miami, FL 33169

Website: http://hibiscus.dadeschools.net/

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