Best Elementary Schools in Boston – 10 of SchoolSparrow’s Out-Performers

Previously we published the 5 best elementary schools in Boston, and then the top 5 elementary schools in the Boston Suburbs. Today we have released this updated list of the top 10 best elementary schools in Boston. This list is based on new data released from the Dept. of Education for the 2018-19 school year. Visit our website to see our rankings table for all Boston area schools.

The 5 schools previously published as out-performers are still doing incredible! In this post we want to recognize schools that have not been previously mentioned, but if you are looking for a home in Boston, don’t overlook these previously published out-performers:

  • Jospeh Hurley Elementary
  • Manassah E Bradley Elementary
  • Warren Prescott Elementary
  • Eliot Elementary
  • Joseph P Manning Elementary
  • Grew Elementary (honorable mention)
  • Perkins Elementary (honorable mention)
  • Trotter Elementary (honorable mention)
  • Holmes Elementary (honorable mention)

A SchoolSparrow Out-Performer is a public school that has a low rating (6 and below) on all the real estate search portals, but the same school has a high rating on our system. Our system is different in that we factor in the socioeconomic status of students who take the standardized test at each school. This is a very important distinction from other sites who do not take this into consideration, because it turns out that parent income is, by far, the largest influencer of test scores at any one school.

Bias towards privileged areas is the hallmark of school ratings that don’t take into account parent income. The scores that parents see for schools on all the major real estate search portals are discriminatory, and they steer parents towards privileged areas and away from urban areas with higher levels of diversity. They also give poor marks to just about every school in poor neighborhoods, when in reality, some of these schools are doing an incredible job at educating kids.

SchoolSparrow recognizes these underrated schools, and aims to bring equitable school rankings to all US parents.

These 10 Boston schools have low ratings on all the real estate search portals, but in reality these are some of the best schools in the entire Boston Metro area.

Photo Courtesy: Sean Sweeney

Parents, don’t make the mistake of assuming you have to move to the Boston Suburbs to get a good educational experience for your kids. Possibly the biggest influence you can have on their education is to ensure they are part of a diverse environment at school, with kids from other cultures, races and socioeconomic backgrounds. A diverse environment has several positive impacts on children. For example, research has shown these kids have higher IQ’s, better decision making skills, better teamwork, and of course more tolerance for people of different races and backgrounds. These are the kids that we want leading the next generation.

Not all of these schools are diverse environments, but they all share one thing in common: they are underrated due to the biases of today’s ranking systems.


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Finally, we envision a rating system that is customized by parents according to the specific needs of their kids. We actually don’t think a rating schools based on test scores is a good practice. However, compared to the ubiquitous biased system that is out there today, our rankings are a step in the right direction.

So, without further ado, below are Boston’s Top 10 Elementary Schools that are Out-Performers.

1. Ellis Mendell Elementary School

Photo Courtesy: Boston Public Schools

To start out our list, Ellis Mendell Elementary School ranks high in diversity with a striking 40 out of 40, making this school a great place for your child to learn about inclusivity and diversity. In addition, Mendell will teach your child a thing or two about empathy due to their higher than average population of kids with disabilities.

Mendell has a full inclusion model for children with disabilities, making this a popular school for parents who have a child with special needs or parents who value the interaction their child will have with special needs kids.

We’ve included in our algorithm an adjustment accounting for children with disabilities and limited english proficiency, and this adjustment increases the percent proficiency of Mendell students from the reported 57% to 83.6%!

This makes Mendell one of the best elementary schools in the entire Boston Metro Area. Parents, run, don’t walk, to the next Mendell open house if you are looking for an incredible elementary experience for your children.

When adjusted for children with disabilities and limited english proficiency, 83.6% of students at Ellis Mendell score above the state requirements on standardized testing. Compared to the surrounding area of students who belong to the same income range, students at Mendell score 47% above average!

Greatschools missed the mark with this school, giving it a 4/10 on their ranking scale, and as a result, all the real estate search portals are steering families away from this school. However, SchoolSparrow has awarded them with an A (10/10) for their excellence in testing, diversity and the overall school environment.


Consider this quote from Mendell’s principal:

“At the Mendell [School], inclusion means so much more than how we teach a wide range of learners. It is about fostering a sense of belonging through relationships. It means respecting and celebrating the unique racial, ethnic and linguistic identities of our students and families. It is about creating a safe place for diverse viewpoints and empowering students to develop the critical consciousness necessary to “stand tall” for  justice in their own neighborhoods.”

Interested in sending your kids here? The median home price in the Roxbury neighborhood  is $534,145. Check out this single family home with 5BD/4BAcurrenlty listed for $515,000 nearby in the Roxbury neighborhood of Boston. 

Address: 164 School St, Roxbury, MA 02119


2. Gardner Pilot Academy

Photo Courtesy: Boston Public Schools

All the real estate search engines miss the mark on Gardner Pilot Academy (GPA), reporting only a 4/10 from Greatschools. SchoolSparrow’s algorithm awards Gardner Pilot Academy a 9/10 because of their amazing achievements. GPA is one the best elementary schools in Boston.


How can the ranking systems be so different?  2 reasons. 1. We account for the largest influencer of test scores: parent income. Other sites do not do this. 2. We factor out CWD and LEP test takers, which can have a big impact on test scores for schools with higher than average populations of these students. 

GPA has a higher than average population of students that are English language learners, and 76 out of 236 students that took the test are reported as children with disabilities. When accounting for these students, GPA’s test scores soar to 80%+ proficient. However, there is potentially some double counting of students who are both LEP and CWD, so while this score might be an overestimation, GPA is clearly doing something right. GPA does not limit its curriculum to “teach the test”, they have a robust curriculum with a strong focus on the arts, science and social justice. 

The administration and especially the teachers at GPA should be commended for their hard work and dedication to Boston students.

Their efforts to strengthen their student body through diversity and inclusion has prevailed, as we gave them a 20 out of 40 on our diversity scale. GPA is truly a great place for your children to develop into productive citizens with strong values focus on kindness, respect, inclusion and empathy.

In addition, Gardner is a designated Title I school, and the Human Rights Campaign has designated Gardner as a Safe and Welcoming School for All with the Seal of Excellence Award. GPA has established a nurturing culture for both students and educators with high staff retention rates and top notch professional development.

If you’re interested in exploring this great area and school, the median home price is $587,111. We found a great listing that is only six minutes away from GPA – a three bedroom condo currently listed for $485,000.

Address: 30 Athol Street, Allston, MA 02134


3. Harvard-Kent Elementary School

Photo Courtesy: Harvard-Kent Elementary School

Harvard-Kent Elementary School is an underrated gem in the Boston area, and is definitely one of the best elementary schools in Boston. Greatschools fell short and gave them a 4/10, but we at SchoolSparrow recognize their efforts with a 10/10!


To start, Harvard-Kent scores a 40 out of 40 in the diversity category. Their impressive environment is a great place for students to find their interests and support system in a welcoming and inclusive way.

When looking at the raw data for Harvard-Kent, we can see that out of the 215 students who took the test, 172 of those students were classified as either limited english proficiency (LEP) or a child with disabilities (CWD). The LEP students still exceed the expected 37.7% score, and the CWD students aren’t far off the mark at 30-34% proficient. 

These facts highlight two things to us: Harvard-Kent does an incredible job at educating LEP and CWD students, and the students who are not in one of these two categories are absolutely killing it on the Reading/Language Arts section of the test at 82.5% proficiency.

Parents, don’t believe the 4/10 you see on all the real estate search portals. This school should be on your list of schools to tour as a potential match for your child.

The median home price for this district is $815,145, but we’ve found this two bedroom condo that is only a five minute drive from the school for $585,000. Check this great school out today!

Address: 50 Bunker Hill St, Charlestown, MA 02129


4. Hennigan Elementary School

Photo Courtesy: Google Maps

Hennigan Elementary is one of the 10 Best Elementary Schools in Boston, a true Out-Performer. GreatSchools has unfairly assigned a low score of 4/10, while SchoolSparrow awards this school our highest score: 10/10.


When it comes to diversity, Hennigan does not disappoint. Hennigan earns an impressive diversity score of 20 out of 40, so rest assured your child will receive the cognitive and social-emotional benefits that come with diversity. It’s clear that Hennigan values their diversity and focuses on creating a culturally sensitive environment for all students.

Standardized testing scores at Hennigan have been superb, in spite of what might look like low marks on the surface. When adjusted for parent income, and accounting for english language learners and children with disabilities, Hennigan students are in the top tier of test performance in the entire Boston Metro area.  Students of Hennigan have scored 73% above the average or expected scores for schools with a similar parent income profile. 

Hennigan has many community partnerships that help to heighten the quality of education. Furthermore, Hennigan has a rich curriculum supporting the Arts, Science and specials like Latin Dance, Spanish culture, Japanese Culture, Swimming, and high intensity language training and after school support for english language learners.

The median home price for this district is $678,054.. We found this 3BD/2BA condo currently listed at $440,000 just a short drive from the school.

Address: 200 Heath Street, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130


5. James Otis Elementary School

Photo Courtesy: Dominic

James Otis Elementary School is another overlooked school within the Boston area. GreatSchools has given this school an unjust score of 6/10 while, SchoolSparrow has awarded this incredible school with a perfect score of 10/10 (A+). 


James Otis also shines when it comes to diversity. James Otis has a remarkable diversity score of 20/40. Even within their website, they explain that their diverse teacher population reflects their diverse student population.

Standardized testing scores at James Otis have been outstanding. Students of James Otis have scored 54% above average than other students who share similar parent income. Their expected test scores were 54.7 points, but they have gone above and beyond by earning 84 points. This score is modified to include LEP and CWD test takers.

At James Otis Elementary School, they have earned recognition for many of their esteemed school programs. Some of their programs include art, music, theater, Spanish, and computers. For more information on these programs, visit their school website.     

The median home price within this area is $659,826. We found a comfortable move-in ready two bedroom two bathroom condo for $489,900. Also, the residence is a two-minute drive from the school.

Address: 218 Marion St, Boston, MA 02128

6. John F. Kennedy Elementary School

Photo Courtesy: John F. Kennedy Elementary School

John F Kennedy Elementary School is another great school in the Boston area. Greatschools only gives them a measly 5/10, but we recognize the fabulous education that is going on at Kennedy Elementary, and our algorithm scores this awesome school at 9/10. Kennedy Elementary has a diversity score of 15 out of 40, making it a fairly diverse school.


With regards to state standardized testing, students at Kennedy Elementary score on average 25% higher than students at similar schools. While the expected or average score for schools with a similar income profile is 47.3% proficient, students at Kennedy score 72.2% proficient when adjusted for LEP and CWD students!

Kennedy Elementary has deep partnerships with community agencies to ensure students have all the academic and social-emotional support needed to achieve proficiency. As we learned in our report on out-performing schools in Chicago, one common theme among these schools is they utilize community partners to enhance learning. We are glad to hear Kennedy Elementary is nurturing these relationships.

If you’re interested in moving to this district, the median home price is $660,790. We’ve found a priced two bedroom one bathroom condo that is a five minute drive from the school at $484,000!

Address: 7 Bolster St, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130


7. Josiah Quincy Elementary School

Photo Courtesy: Josiah Quincy Elementary School

Josiah Quincy Elementary School is an out-performer that we think everyone should know about! With a diversity score of 20 out of 40, this school has a good amount of diversity with students from different cultures. 

It is interesting to note that all students at Quincy Elementary are given Mandarain Language instruction! The school has partnerships with many local community partners, and an excellent music program with an orchestra for grades K-6.

Greatschools only gives this amazing school a 4/10, but our more equitable algorithm indicates Quincy Elementary is operating at more like  a 10/10! We believe it is important to recognize such a school and bring attention to their achievements, so that parents won’t be steered away from Quincy based on the unfair scores that are displayed on all the real estate search engines.


On average, students at Josiah Quincy score an incredible 57% above students at schools with similar socioeconomic profiles when the data is adjusted for LEP/CWD students. While students at other schools with similar income profiles average 56% proficient, students at Josiah Quincy score a whopping 87.8% proficient. This is adjusted for 262 LEP and CWD students who took the test out of a total 368 students.

Impressed by this school? The median home price around this school is high at $977,065, but luckily in Boston, you can live in a more affordable area and still send your kids to Josiah Quincy. Boston has a lottery system, but if Josiah Quincy is your top pick, you are very likely to be selected because of its artificially low rating. We found a listing for a two bedroom condo for $679,000.

Address: 885 Washington St, Boston, MA 02111


8. The Patrick Lyndon School

Photo Courtesy: Patrick Lyndon School

The Patrick Lyndon School was unfairly given a 4/10 Greatschools rating. We gave them an A-! Interested in learning more? We’ve found great diversity and testing statistics for this underrated elementary school.


Lyndon scores a 20 out of 40 on diversity, which is impressive and showcases their efforts to provide an enriching learning experience well. Your children would greatly benefit from this experience.

Lyndon knocks standardized testing scores out of the park! They scored at 77.8 points for their parent income bracket, which is 17% above the average. Students at schools with similar parent income profiles score 66.4 points on average, when the scores are adjusted for CWD and LEP students. 

Parents, don’t overlook this great school in the Roxbury neighborhood of Boston, where the median home price is $664,505. We’ve found this listing of a two bedroom one bathroom condo close the school at $312,900!

Address: 20 Mount Vernon St, West Roxbury, MA 02132


9. Richard J Murphy K-8 School

Photo Courtesy:  Richard J. Murphy School

Richard J Murphy K-8 School is an incredible school that is deserving of a great rating. They exceed expectations with a high diversity score of 30 out of 40! Their commitment to inclusion is one of the reasons we consider them an out-performer, and one of the best elementary schools in Boston.

Other than diversity, their standardized testing is very impressive, scoring 28% higher than average students in the same bracket. Our algorithm, which accounts for LEP and CWD test takers, indicates that 76.2% of students at the Murphy School meet or exceed state testing requirements, compared to the average of 59.5%.

We gave this amazing school a 10/10, but parents will see only a 5/10 on all the real estate search platforms. How is this impacting the community around this awesome school? Here at SchoolSparrow, we are committed to recognizing underrated schools and giving them the spotlight they deserve. Parents, don’t let yourself be steered away from Murphy K-8 School by all the real estate search platforms out there! This school should be on your shortlist of potential schools to tour.


Looking to move to this area? The median home price is $538,436. We found this great listing that is reasonably priced – a two bedroom condo close to the school currently listed at $399,000. Hurry because every other property in this area that is similarly priced is under contract right now!

Address: 1 Worrell St, Dorchester, MA 02122


10. Russell Elementary School

Photo Courtesy: Russel Elementary School

Russell Elementary School is one of the more impressive schools we’ve found in the Boston Area, giving them a solid 9/10 for their efforts! Greatschool only gave them a 6/10 – a rating they don’t deserve. Russell is one of the best elementary schools in Boston.


For starters, their diversity is one of their strong points, scoring a 20 out of 40 on our ranking scale. We believe that a diverse environment is essential for a well rounded and inclusive education for all students. 

While the expected score for their parent income bracket is 51.1 points, Russell Elementary School scores 61.3 points when adjusted for LEP and CWD test takers, approximately 20% higher than average. 

Congratulations to the students, parents and especially the strong educators at Russell Elementary! Parents, don’t let all the real estate search portals steer you away from this amazing school. This school should be on your shortlist of potential schools; take a tour and see if its the perfect school for your family.

Thinking of sending your children here? The median home price for this district is $565,554. We found this property close to the school, a 3BD/2BA home currently price at $474,900.

Address: 750 Columbia Rd, Dorchester, MA 02125


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