7 of the Best Schools in Milwaukee: SchoolSparrow’s Hidden Gems

Milwaukee Public School District

In 2018, Milwaukee was called out as “The Coolest City in the Midwest” by Vogue magazine, and for good reason. There are many great attractions in Milwaukee. Whether it’s taking in a midnight stroll along the Milwaukee Riverwalk, catching a ball game at Miller Park, riding the rails on the The Hop, visiting the Milwaukee Art Museum, taking in a play at the Milwaukee Repertory Theater, or jamming out at Summerfest (the largest music festival in the world), there is always something to do in Milwaukee. But what about the best Public Schools in Milwaukee? 

Milwaukee has many different types of schools including neighborhood schools, neighborhood specialty schools, citywide specialty schools, and charter schools. In this blog, we focus on shining a spotlight on some of the great neighborhood schools in Milwaukee. Milwaukee Public Schools states “MPS is dedicated to improving outcomes for our students and making sure every student is college and career ready”. These goals align with our beliefs at SchoolSparrow.

The Problem with School Ranking Sites

If you are like most parents, you find the right school for your kids through word of mouth and research on school ranking websites such as GreatSchools. Imagine you are moving to Milwaukee, and when doing some research, you find this map on GreatSchools.org:

Image: https://www.greatschools.org/

In all of Milwaukee, there are only 4 schools that score a 7 or above. More research brings you to this map showing schools in the suburbs:

Image: https://www.greatschools.org/

So would you move into the City of Milwaukee or the burbs if schools were important in your search? Unfortunately, many parents would focus on the suburbs with more expensive real estate, longer commutes, and very little diversity.

You see, these scores assigned by GreatSchools are heavily influenced by test scores, but research has shown that test scores are a function of parent income, not the quality of education at the school. These greatschools scores do a better job of ranking parent income then they do the quality of a school.

Read more about how school ranking sites are misleading parents.

SchoolSparrow’s Equitable School Rankings

SchoolSparrow is passionate about helping you along your journey in finding the perfect school and home for your child in Milwaukee. Our school ranking system is built to give high-quality public schools the recognition they deserve.

SchoolSparrow’s ranking algorithm controls for parent income by calculating the expected score at each school given the parent income profile of each school. Schools are then ranked by the extent to which they meet or exceed the expected score. Our ranking system dethrones some schools that rank highly on other systems, and it elevates some schools located closer to the urban core with socio-economic diversity. 

Other school ranking systems overlook many quality schools because they do not control for the effect of parent income on test scores, and the unfortunate result is that schools in wealthy areas are favored, and schools in socio-economically diverse areas are discounted, because parent income has the greatest influence on test scores.

SchoolSparrow is here for you in your journey to find a high-quality school for your child in an affordable neighborhood. For reference, the average price per square foot of a home in Milwaukee is $104. Below you’ll find five high-quality (but often overlooked) Milwaukee schools. We like to call them Milwaukee’s Hidden Gem Schools. 

1. Garland School – Milwaukee, WI (17 minute drive from Milwaukee City Hall)

SchoolSparrow’s first Milwaukee “hidden gem” is Garland Elementary School. Garland has an A grade on SchoolSparrow, with an A grade at the 6th through 8th grade levels.

Garland School. Image: http://www5.milwaukee.k12.wi.us/school/garland/about/

Garland School is located in the Gra-ram neighborhood in Milwaukee, which is south of the central business district. The price per square foot of a home is $132 and the average sale price of a home is $181,600. This listing is an example of a home you can find in close proximity to Garland School.

This is one of the most diverse schools on this list, with a SchoolSparrow diversity score of 30 out of a possible 40. 

They also stand out because their students greatly exceed test score expectations. SchoolSparrow normalizes test score expectations based on the parent income profile of the school. The expected score from Garland students is 23.64, that’s 23.64% of students should meet or exceed state standards on the Reading Language Arts portion of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) standardized test, but students at Garland exceed this score by 40%! The average score on the reading/language arts portion of standardized NAEP test at Garland School is 33.

Garland School can be overlooked because it only has a 4/10 score on GreatSchools. In reality, they should have a 10/10, and they are one of the very best schools in Milwaukee. Any parent looking for a school to send their child to in Milwaukee should have Garland School on their shortlist.

Address: 3120 W Green Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53221

Website: http://www5.milwaukee.k12.wi.us/school/garland/

2. Humboldt Park Elementary – Milwaukee, WI (11 minute drive from Milwaukee City Hall) 

Humboldt Park Elementary is a school located in Bay View, south of the central business district. It has an A grade on SchoolSparrow and A for grades 5-7.

Humboldt Park Elementary. Image: https://www5.milwaukee.k12.wi.us/school/humboldtpark/about/

This is a diverse school, as it has a SchoolSparrow diversity score of 30 out of a possible 40.

This school really stands out because of its test scores. When adjusted for parent income, the expected score on standardized tests is 25.77. Humboldt students actually achieve 41 on these standardized tests, which is an impressive 59% better than expectations, and a major reason that Humboldt Park Elementary finds itself on this list.

The average price per square foot of a home in this zip code is $148, with an average sale price of $175,400. This listing is an example of a 3 bedroom home you can find in close proximity to Humboldt Park Elementary.

This school might get overlooked because of its 5/10 score on GreatSchools. This score is not accurate, as both the data and the A grade on SchoolSparrow show that Humboldt Park Elementary should actually score a 10/10. Parents can confidently consider Humboldt Park Elementary as an option for their children.

Address: 3230 S Adams Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53207

Website: http://www5.milwaukee.k12.wi.us/school/humboldtpark/

3. Academy of Accelerated Learning – Milwaukee, WI (18 minute drive from Milwaukee City Hall)

Academy of Accelerated Learning, located southwest of the Milwaukee central business district, is another fantastic school in Milwaukee. It has an A grade overall, with an A+ grade at the 4th grade level.

Academy of Accelerated Learning. Image: http://www5.milwaukee.k12.wi.us/school/aal/

Academy of Accelerated Learning is also the most diverse school on the list, with a maximum SchoolSparrow diversity score of 40.

This is also another school that shatters test score expectations based on parent income. The expected standardized test score is 27.85, but students actually achieve a score of 42. This is the highest score on this entire list, and 51% better than expectations! This really sets the Academy of Accelerated Learning apart.

The average price per square foot of a home in this zip code is $139, with an average sale price of $168,300. This listing is an example of a 3 bedroom home you can get in close proximity to school.

Much like Humboldt Park Elementary, the Academy of Accelerated Learning is greatly underrated on GreatSchools with a 5/10. In reality, this score should be 10/10. The Academy of Accelerated Learning is one of the best schools in the entire Milwaukee area, and should be recognized as such.

Address: 3727 S 78th St, Milwaukee, WI 53220

Website: http://www5.milwaukee.k12.wi.us/school/aal/

4. Greenfield Bilingual – Milwaukee, WI (11 minute drive from Milwaukee City Hall)

Located in Burnham Park, west of the Milwaukee Central Business District, Greenfield Bilingual is one of the best schools in Milwaukee.

Greenfield Bilingual. Image: https://www.greenfield-bilingual.com/

This school has been recognized by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction for 5 straight years as a Title 1 School. It also has an A grade on SchoolSparrow, with an A+ for Grade 5.

Standardized test scores might contribute to that, as students are greatly exceeding expectations. Based on the family income profile of the school, students are expected to get a standardized test score of 17.8. With a score of 29, they achieve an incredible 63% better than expectations, the largest percentage above expectations on the entire list.

Another great thing about Greenfield is that it is the closest school to the central business district of Milwaukee, with only an 11 minute drive. This is convenient for families who work downtown but still want to have time to spend with their families.

The zip code the school is in is also very affordable. The price per square foot of a home in 53215 is $86, which is below the Milwaukee average of $104. This listing is an example of a 3 bedroom home you can find in close proximity to Greenfield.

It is clear that Principal Adalberto Salas cares about the students at his school. The 4/10 score on GreatSchools is simply not indicative of all of the great things that Greenfield Bilingual has to offer. This score should be a 10/10, as Greenfield is one of the best schools in Milwaukee.

Address: 1711 S 35th St, Milwaukee, WI 53215

Website: http://www5.milwaukee.k12.wi.us/school/greenfield/

5. Clement Avenue School – Milwaukee, WI (12 minute drive from Milwaukee City Hall)

Clement Avenue School is another school that should be considered one of the best schools in Milwaukee. It has an A grade on SchoolSparrow, with an A+ grade for 4th grade!

Clement Avenue School. Image: https://bayviewcompass.com/proposed-plan-for-clement-avenue-playground-embraces-green-infrastructure/

What makes Clement stand out is the test scores. The expected test score, based on parent income, is 31.41. The actual average test score that Clement Avenue students achieve is 41, which is 31% better than expectations. 

Clement Avenue School is located in the Morgandale neighborhood, south of the central business district of Milwaukee. Clement is a diverse school, with a diversity score of 20 out of a possible 40.

The price per square foot of a home in this zip code is $148, and the average sale price of a home is $175,400. This listing is an example of a home you can buy in close proximity to Clement Avenue School.

Clement Avenue is considered a hidden gem, because it only has a 4/10 on GreatSchools. In reality, the school should have a 10/10. It’s one of the best schools in Milwaukee, and that is why it finds itself on this list.

Address:  3666 S Clement Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53207

Website: http://www5.milwaukee.k12.wi.us/school/clement/

6. Alcott School – Milwaukee, WI (16 minute drive from Milwaukee City Hall)

Alcott School is another school with a SchoolSparrow diversity score of 30 out of a possible 40. To go along with that, it has an A- SchoolSparrow grade with an A at the 8th grade level.

Alcott Elementary. Image: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Alcott%20Elementary/377238812437784/

This school is located in Alcott Park, southwest of the central business district of Milwaukee. This listing is an example of a home you can buy in close proximity to Alcott School.

Alcott School is a school that is severely underrated on GreatSchools, with a 3/10. With an A- SchoolSparrow grade, this score should be a 9/10.

Alcott School wouldn’t find itself on this list if students did not exceed test score expectations. They absolutely do, as the parent income adjusted standardized test score expectation is an average score of 31.29. The actual test score that Alcott students achieve is an average of 37; 18% better than expected.

Any parent moving to or within Milwaukee should take a look at Alcott School, another one of the best schools in Milwaukee.

Address: 3563 S 97th St, Milwaukee, WI 53228

Website: http://www5.milwaukee.k12.wi.us/school/alcott/

7. U.S. Grant School – Milwaukee, WI (13 minute drive from Milwaukee City Hall)

Our final school on this list is U.S. Grant School. It is another great school in Atlanta, located close to the central business district. It is located southwest of the central business district in Layton Park.

U.S. Grant School. Image: http://www5.milwaukee.k12.wi.us/school/grant/

One thing that makes this school stand out from the rest of the schools on the list is that it is the most affordable. The price per square foot of a home in this zip code is $86, which is significantly less than the Milwaukee average of $104. This listing is an example of a home with great value, and it is in close proximity to Grant School.

This isn’t the only reason that U.S. Grant School is on this list though, as the school has an A- overall grade on SchoolSparrow. Grades 7 and 8 also have an A- grade.

GreatSchools gives U.S. Grant School a 3/10, when all of the data suggest that it should really have a 9/10.

This is yet another school in Milwaukee in which the students exceed test score expectations. When normalized for parent income, the expected reading/language arts score is 17.8. Grant students perform 24% better than this, with an average score of 22.

For all of these reasons, it is clear that this is one of the best schools in Milwaukee.

Address: 2920 W Grant St, Milwaukee, WI 53215

Website: http://www5.milwaukee.k12.wi.us/school/grant/

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