9 of the best Elementary Schools in the Twin Cities Area: SchoolSparrow’s Hidden Gems

Minnesota is known as “the land of 10,000 lakes”, in reality, there are closer to 11,500. The beautiful landscape, quality of life, and education, rank Minnesota as the 3rd best State to live in according to U.S. News. Making the Twin Cities a popular area to settle down.

The Twin Cities in Minnesota, Minneapolis and St. Paul, sit on either side of the Mississippi River. Sister cities so close together they touch for a 2 mile stretch. Both cities are also growing. From 2010 to 2018, the Twin Cities gained 70,000 residents.

The seven counties that make up the Twin Cities area house around 3.3 million people, over half the state population. No wonder the most expensive housing in the state can be found here.

When you’re looking for schools in the Twin Cities, it can be hard to know where to begin. After all, there are so many school rankings out there! 

Here at SchoolSparrow, we’ve ranked the top Twin Cities  schools by normalizing test scores for parent income. This means schools are ranked based on how they perform compared to their expected scores (which are a factor of family income) rather than raw standardized test scores.

Our mission at SchoolSparrow is to empower families with an equitable school ranking system that meets your family’s priorities, instead of pushing you towards privileged schools in unaffordable areas.

School Selection

An easy tool to learn more about each school in the Twin Cities is the Minnesota Report Card. The Minnesota Report Card gives you easy access to understandable data regarding districts and schools.

To find out more information regarding school districts, go to the MPLS website student placement section to see what schools are in your zone and which ones are possibilities for your child based on your address. For St. Paul check out the SPPS website school finder tool. 

This tool is designed to provide easy access to important information about schools for parents, educators, schools, districts and citizens,in order to help them make decisions and be engaged in the education of Minnesota students. Users can choose from several reports to learn more about the state of education within local districts, a specific school, or the state as a whole.

Here are 9 Twin Cities hidden gems: the top elementary schools in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area with diversity scores and affordable neighborhoods to match!

1. Oakdale Elementary School – Oakdale, MN

Oakdale is a suburb of Saint Paul and is on the eastern side of the Twin Cities Metropolitan area. The population was 27,378 at the 2010 census. Oakdale Recreation holds annual summer events that are fun for the whole family.

ISD 622

Oakdale Elementary scores a 15 out of a possible 40 for diversity. On the rla section of standardized testing, after being adjusted for parent income, Oakdale students are expected to score a 45. Instead they are scoring 27% higher, with an average score of 57.

Greatschool grossly underscores Oakdale Elementary with a score of 5/10. SchoolSparrow on the other hand awards Oakdale an A (10/10) for their hard work. Oakdale is one of the best elementary schools in the Twin Cities.

Oakdale Elementary is even continually improving year to year. With scores trending by 20%. SchoolSparrow would also like to shout out the 5th graders who received an A+ for their hard work.

Sadly, SchoolSparrow has learned that, as part of the district’s restructuring, Oakdale Elementary will soon be closed permanently.

The median price of homes currently listed in Oakdale is $220,000 while the median price of homes that sold is $241,300. Making Oakdale an affordable neighborhood with a terrific elementary school.

This listing is an example of a home you can buy in this school district.

Address: 821 Glenbrook Ave N, Oakdale, MN 55128

Website: https://www.isd622.org/Domain/406

2. Monroe Elementary School – Brooklyn Park, MN

Brooklyn Park is a northwest suburb of the Twin Cities metropolitan area. The city is on the west bank of the Mississippi River, upstream from downtown Minneapolis in northern Hennepin County. Brooklyn Park is the sixth largest city in the U.S. state of Minnesota, with a population of 80,000. 

AHSchools

Monroe Elementary is one of the most diverse schools on the hidden gems list for the Twin Cities, scoring a 40 out of 40 for diversity.

Students at Monroe Elementary also exceed standards when it comes to standardized testing, scoring 25% higher than their expected score of 50, to earn an average score of 62. 

While Greatschools scores Monroe Elementary School as a 6/10, SchoolSparrow scores Monroe an A (10/10) for going above and beyond for their students. Monroe Elementary is one of the best elementary schools in the Twin Cities.

The median home value in Brooklyn Park is $266,347, according to Zillow. The median list price per square foot in Brooklyn Park is $182, which is lower than the Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington Metro average of $202.

This listing is an example of a home you can buy in this school district.

Address: 901 Brookdale Dr, Brooklyn Park, MN 55444

Website: https://www.ahschools.us/monroe

3. Dowling Elementary School – Minneapolis, MN

Dowling Elementary is in the Howe neighborhood of Minneapolis. It is bordered by the Mississippi River to the east. The School features a community garden and a new pool. The Dowling school itself also sits on the edge of the Mississippi.

Kodet Architectural Group

Dowling Elementary scores a 20 out of 40 for Diversity, and students also outperform their peers on standardized tests. With an expected score of 52, Dowling students score 22% higher with an actual score of 63.

SchoolSparrow rates Dowling Elementary an A (10/10) for their hard work and dedication to their students’ success. While Greatschools only scores Dowling 5/10. Make no mistake, Dowling Elementary is one of the best elementary schools in the Twin Cities.

In the Howe neighborhood of Minneapolis, The median home value is $284,00. Making this an incredibly affordable neighborhood for the Minneapolis Metropolitan area, as well as for Mississippi river property.

This listing is an example of a home you can buy in this school district.

Address: 3900 W River Pkwy, Minneapolis, MN 5540

Website: https://dowling.mpls.k12.mn.us/

4. Weaver Elementary School – Mapplewood, MN

Weaver Elementary is located in the Maplewood suburb of St. Paul. It is a ten minute drive from downtown St. Paul. The population was 38,018 at the 2010 census. Maplewood stretches along the northern and eastern borders of Saint Paul.

ZPuppets

Weaver Elementary scores a 20 out of 40 for Diversity. On standardized testing, after being adjusted for parent income, students at Weaver were expected to score a 44, but exceeded expectations with an average score of 54, 23% better than forecasted.

While Greatschools scores Weaver with the low ranking of 3/10, SchoolSparrow’s unique ranking system highlights the success they are creating for their students. Therefore, SchoolSparrow ranks Weaver Elementary an A (10/10).

The median home value in Maplewood is $267,000. The median list price per square foot in Maplewood is $173, which is lower than the Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington Metro average of $202.

This listing is an example of a home you can buy in this school district.

Address: 2135 Birmingham St, Maplewood, MN 55109

Website: https://www.isd622.org/weaver

5. Hennepin Elementary School – Minneapolis, MN

Hennepin Elementary is in the Whittier neighborhood of Minneapolis. Whittier is known for its many diverse restaurants, coffee shops and Asian markets. The neighborhood is home to the Minneapolis Institute of Art and the Children’s Theatre Company.

Minneapolis School Finder

Hennepin Elementary scores a 15 out of 40 for diversity. On the rla section of standardized testing, students go above and beyond their expected average score of 31 to earn an actual score of 47. Leading to a score 50% above expectations!

While Greatschools only scores Hennepin 5/10, SchoolSparrow sees how hard they are working to exceed expectations and awards them an A (10/10) for their amazing work.

The Whittier neighborhood is also affordable with a median home value of $207,000. An added bonus is this neighborhood is less than 2 miles from downtown Minneapolis!

This listing is an example of a home you can buy in this school district.

Address: 2123 Clinton Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55404

Website: http://www.hennepinschools.org/

6. Waite Park Elementary School – Minneapolis, MN

Waite Park Elementary is named for its neighborhood, Waite Park. It is the furthest northeast neighborhood within Minneapolis. The Waite Park neighborhood features Waite Park, Cavell Park, and Deming Heights Park. This was the last neighborhood to be developed in Minneapolis.

Waite Park Elementary School

Waite Park Elementary is an increasingly diverse school, scoring a 30 out of a possible 40 for diversity according to SchoolSparrow.

Students at Waite Park, after being adjusted for parent income, are expected to score a 54 on the rla section of their standardized tests. Yet, students are scoring 18% higher to receive an actual average score of 62.

Greatschools underranks Waite Park Elementary with a score of 5/10. But, SchoolSparrow’s unique system uncovers Waite Park as a hidden gem for their ability to go above and beyond. Therefore, SchoolSparrow ranks them an A-, equivalent to a 9 on greatschools..

The median home value in Waite Park is $280,000. The neighborhood to the north though, Columbia Heights, has a median home value of $237,000.

This listing is an example of a home you can buy in this school district.

Address: 1800 34th Ave NE, Minneapolis, MN 55418

Website: https://waitepark.mpls.k12.mn.us/

7. Webster Elementary School – North St. Paul, MN

North St. Paul is located northeast of the city of Saint Paul. The population was 11,460 at the 2010 census. North Saint Paul is a distinct city, and not a neighborhood of nearby Saint Paul. Rather than being composed of new developments  many of the structures in North St. Paul are older, including a downtown area of brick storefronts.

ISD 622

Webster Elementary is one of the most diverse schools on the hidden gems list for the Twin Cities, scoring a 40 out of 40 for diversity. Greatschools only scored Webster a 4/10. SchoolSparrow on the other hand awards them an A (10/10). 

Students at Webster were expected to score, after being adjusted for parents income, 36. In actuality, students scored an average of 45, 25% higher than expected! Webster Elementary is also trending, they increased their average test scores by 25% from year to year as well.

But, just like Oakdale Elementary, Webster Elementary is scheduled to be closed permanently as part of the district’s restructuring.

The median price of homes sold in North Saint Paul is $236,00. The median list price per square foot in North Saint Paul is $155, which is lower than the Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington Metro average of $202.

This listing is an example of a home you can buy in this school district.

Address: 2170 7th Ave E, North St Paul, MN 55109

Website: https://www.isd622.org/webster

8. New Century Elementary School – St. Paul, MN

New Century Elementary is in the Como neighborhood in northwestern St. Paul. Residential Como draws families to Como Regional Park, home of the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory. Como Park also features a small amusement park. The neighborhood has a population of 15,300.

New Century Elementary Students are expected to have an average score of 29 on the rla section of their standardized testing. Instead, students are scoring 26% higher for an actual score of 37.

Greatschools only score New Century a 4/10. SchoolSparrow’s unique ranking system on the other hand awards New Century an A (10/10).

The median home value in Como is $281,000. For a short commute and more affordable housing though consider looking in downtown St. Paul. In the downtown area, the median home value is $210,000.

This listing is an example of a home you can buy in this school district.

Address: 1380 Energy Ln #108, St Paul, MN 55108

Website: https://newcenturyschool.net/

9. Edgerton Elementary School – Maplewood, MN

Edgerton Elementary is another school located in the St. Paul suburb of Maplewood. Maplewood borders Downtown St. Paul on its northern and eastern sides. It is a short ten minute drive from downtown St. Paul and has a population of 38,000. 

Edgerton Elementary School

Edgerton Elementary scores a 20 out of 40 for diversity. On standardized testing, they are expected to score a 43, after being adjusted for parent income, but actually score an average of 16% higher to receive a score of 50.

Greatschools underscores Edgerton with a score of 3/10. SchoolSparrow scores Edgerton Elementary an A (10/10). Shoutout 3rd and 6th grade who scored an A individually!

The median price of homes currently listed in Maplewood is $258,000, while the median price of homes that sold is $245,000.

This listing is an example of a home you can buy in this school district.

Address: 1929 Edgerton St, Maplewood, MN 55117

Website: https://www.isd623.org/school/edgerton-elementary

Leave a Reply