5 Best (but underrated) Schools in the Boston Suburbs

Finding the right public school can be daunting for parents who are moving to or within the Boston Metro Area. After all, there are so many schools, and it’s just not possible to visit all the ones that seem like good matches for your family– much less visit all the best Boston suburb schools! If you’re like most people, you develop a list of possible schools through word of mouth, and you might add some highly rated schools to your list based on school ranking websites.

Photo Courtesy: Todd Kent / Unsplash

But watch out. 

Those school ranking websites are not factoring in parent income, which has the largest impact on student test performance at a school. So, a school that is scored a 9 or 10 on most school ranking sites actually doesn’t actually tell you a lot about the quality of education at the school. 

What it does tell you is that the school is most likely located in a privileged area, often in the suburbs. These areas tend to have long commutes, the most expensive real estate in the metropolitan area, and very little diversity. 

But schools in affluent, mostly white suburbs aren’t your only options. 

First, there are definitely schools in affordable suburban areas. Since the median price per square foot of a home listing in Boston is $758, many suburbs offer affordable living options compared to the city. 

Second, many of these suburbs are racially and socioeconomically diverse– meaning the schools within them will most likely be, too. 

Please help us bring equitable school rankings to all the major real estate search portals, so parents can make a home purchase decision based on a balanced view of school quality. We will send you exactly one email when its time to share/retweet our message: it is time to bring equity to school rankings.

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How can you find those schools? We’re here to help! 

SchoolSparrow has uncovered 5 of the best schools in Boston Suburbs that are often overlooked by traditional school ranking systems and most importantly, are diverse and in affordable areas.

(Not from Boston? Don’t worry— we have content for you, too. Check out our lists of Top 5 schools in New York City, Seattle, Los Angeles, Nashville, and more on our blog!)

Just for Reference: 

The scores below for each school refer to the percentage of students who meet or exceed state standards on the Reading/Language Arts (RLA) section of the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) standardized test.

So, without further ado, we present SchoolSparrow’s list of the Top 5 Elementary Schools in the Boston suburbs that other ranking sites overlook.

Congrats to the students, parents and especially the hard working educators at these suburban Boston schools that are underrated by the popular school ranking systems. #schoolequity @schoolsparrow

1. Washington Elementary School – Lowell, MA

The first school on our list is Washington Elementary School in Lowell, MA. With an estimated population of 110,997 in 2019, Lowell is the fourth-largest city in Massachusetts. 

The city became known as the cradle of the American Industrial Revolution, due to a large series of textile mills and factories. Many of Lowell’s historic manufacturing sites were later preserved by the National Park Service to create Lowell National Historical Park.

Photo Courtesy:Lowell Public Schools

Lowell is also home to Washington Elementary earns a incredible diversity score of 40 out of a possible 40, making it one of the most diverse schools on our best Boston suburb schools list.

And Washington Elementary smashes expectations when it comes to test scores, too! 

MA schools with comparable parent income profiles score an average of 44 points, meaning 44% of their students meet or exceed expectations on standardized tests. Compare that to Washington Elementary’s students, who score 53% higher than expected! 

Though GreatSchools underscores this school with a 5/10 rating, Washington Elementary scores 67 points overall and a A- (9/10) on SchoolSparrow!

Looking for a home near Washington Elementary? The median home value in this area is $313,351. The median list price per square foot in Lowell is $210, which is lower than the Boston-Cambridge-Newton Metro average of $307. 

Check out this home currently listed at $309,000 near Washington Elementary!

Address: 795 Wilder St, Lowell, MA 01851

Website: https://www.lowell.k12.ma.us/Domain/29 

2. William Seach Primary School – Weymouth, MA

William Seach Elementary makes its home in Weymouth, a suburb named after a coastal town in England. Weymouth is actually the second oldest settlement in Massachusetts (the first is Plymouth, of course) and it’s one of the South Shore’s more affordable towns. 

Living in Weymouth means a relatively short commute into Boston, excellent access to the MBTA bus and rail service, and the benefits of nearby beach! Weymouth has a total population around 56,000.

And if that’s not enough, Weymouth has wonderful public schools! When you look at the data, it’s not hard to see why William Seach Primary deserves a 9/10 score!

To begin, William Seach Primary earns a diversity score of 30 out of 40, ensuring a welcoming and vibrant community to foster learning of all kinds. 

And when it comes to test scores, William Seach students perform excellently! 

MA schools with comparable parent income profiles score an average of 38 points, while William Seach Primary scores 50% higher, achieving 57 points overall! That’s why it deserves a place among the best Boston suburb schools.

SchoolSparrow awards William Seach Primary a B+ (9/10) for the hard work teachers put in for their students. (Compare that to the underrating you’ll find on Greatschools: 4/10, a score much lower than this school deserves.)

Interested in living near William Seach? The median list price for homes in Weymouth is $383,250, about $299 per square foot. This is still slightly lower than the Boston-Cambridge-Newton Metro average of $307. 

When you’re on the home search, you won’t want to miss this 3-bedroom apartment  currently listed at $399,000. 

Address: 770 Middle St, Weymouth, MA 02188

Website: https://www.weymouthschools.org/william-seach-primary-school 

3. Paul Revere Elementary – Revere, MA (16 minute drive from Boston City Hall)

The next school on the list is Paul Revere Innovation School, located in Revere, Massachusetts. This school has a B+ overall grade on SchoolSparrow, and an A at the 4th and 5th grade level.

Paul Revere Innovation. Image: http://www.reverek12.org/3/home

This school is underrated, as GreatSchools only gives it a 6/10. In reality, the school should be rated as a 9/10. The data shows that this is far above an average school. Paul Revere Elementary is one of the best schools in the Boston suburbs.

It is a pretty diverse school as well, with a SchoolSparrow diversity score of 20 out of a possible 40.

They also well exceed standardized test score expectations, based on their family income profile. The expected score from Revere students is an average of 42.82. They exceed these expectations by an outstanding 31%, with an average score of 61.

Revere Elementary is also located in a neighborhood that is much more affordable than downtown Boston. The average price per square foot of a home is $314, which is far lower than the average of $758 in Boston. The average price of homes currently listed in this zip code is $427,450. This listing is an example of a 3 bedroom home you can get in close proximity to Revere School for below this average price.

Any parent looking to move to or within Boston needs to give this school a serious look for their children, as it is one of the best schools in the Boston suburbs. Congratulations to the faculty and staff for making this such a great school!

Address: 395 Revere Street, Revere, MA 02151

Website:http://www.reverek12.org/3/home

4. Pawtucketville Memorial Elementary School – Lowell, MA

Like Washington Elementary, Pawtucketville Memorial Elementary makes its home in Lowell. 

With an estimated population of 110,997 in 2019, Lowell is the fourth-largest city in Massachusetts. 

The city became known as the cradle of the American Industrial Revolution, due to a large series of textile mills and factories. Many of Lowell’s historic manufacturing sites were later preserved by the National Park Service to create Lowell National Historical Park.

Photo Courtesy: Lowell Public Schools

Pawtucketville Elementary earns the highest possible diversity score: 40/40. What’s more, Pawtucketville Elementary scores 38% higher on standardized tests than the average for schools with similar parent income profiles. This school achieves an actual score of 62 and ranks as one of the best Boston suburb schools!

Although GreatSchools rates Pawtucketville Elementary a 4/10, this school deserves far better. SchoolSparrow recognizes that Pawtucketville teachers go above and beyond for their students. This school achieves a B+ rating on SchoolSparrow, equal to a 9/10 score.

The median home value in Lowell is $313,351. The median list price per square foot in Lowell is $210. (Compare that to the Boston-Cambridge-Newton Metro average of $307.) The median price of homes currently listed in Lowell is $299,900. 

Interested in homes near Pawtucketville Elementary? You won’t want to miss this 3-bed, 1.5 bath option currently listed at $309,000.

Address: 425 W Meadow Rd, Lowell, MA 01854

Website: https://www.lowell.k12.ma.us/Domain/25 

5. Sgt James Hill Elementary School – Revere, MA (14 minute drive from Boston City Hall)

The final school on the list is Sgt. James Hill Elementary School in Revere, Massachusetts. This school has a B+ overall score on SchoolSparrow, with an incredible A+ at the 5th grade level. Shoutout to all of the educators at James Hill Elem who are obviously working hard and doing a great job at educating kids.

Sgt. James Hill Elementary. Image: https://www.draws.com/portfolio/staff-sargent-james-j-hill-elementary-school/

This school is underrated though, as it has a 6/10 on GreatSchools. The data and the B+ SchoolSparrow score suggests that this school should have a 9/10.

One of the reasons for this is the test scores. They greatly exceed expectations. In fact, they exceed expectations based on parent income by a fantastic 39%. The expected score from Hill Elementary students was 41.59, but they achieved an average score of 58.

This is also a pretty diverse school, with a diversity score of 20 out of a possible 40.

Much like the other school in Revere, James Hill Elementary is in an affordable zip code. Revere Elementary is also located in a neighborhood that is much more affordable than downtown Boston. The average price per square foot of a home is $314, which is far lower than the average of $758 in Boston. The average price of homes currently listed in this zip code is $427,450. This listing is an example of a 2 bedroom home you can get for below that average price in close proximity to the school.

Congratulations to the staff, families, administration, and students at Sgt James Hill Elementary! It is one of the best schools in the Boston suburbs, and should start being recognized as such.

Address: 51 Park Ave, Revere, MA 02151Website: http://www.reverek12.org/9/home

Please help us bring equitable school rankings to all the major real estate search portals, so parents can make a home purchase decision based on a balanced view of school quality. We will send you exactly one email when its time to share/retweet our message: it is time to bring equity to school rankings.

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