The Best Elementary Schools in Raleigh, NC – SchoolSparrow’s Out-Performers

Raleigh is the capital of North Carolina and the county seat of Wake County, and home to approximately 500,000 Raleighites. If you are moving to Raleigh and the elementary school is important in your home search, then pay close attention to this post. It could very well change your life.

Raleigh’s Public Schools are Severely Underrated

7/10 is the threshold that many parents have for their child’s public school. The mass elimination of schools scoring below 7/10 is an easy way for parents to narrow down the options, particularly for parents moving to a new city.

This is especially true in Raleigh where only 8 public elementary schools meet the 7/10 threshold. That’s 8 out of 70 schools. Just over 10% of public elementary schools in Raleigh are perceived as acceptable for many new families moving to Raleigh.

But that’s not actually the real story for Raleigh. The reality is there are an additional 42 elementary schools, well over half of Raleigh’s public elementary schools, that are underrated and deserve a 7/10 rating or better.

This deserves reiterating: all the real estate search engines will display ratings where only 8 out of 70 public elementary schools in Raleigh hit the 7/10 threshold. But the truth is there are at least 50 out of 70 schools that are deserving of at least a 7/10 rating.

That’s a massive difference, and one thing is certain: the biased ratings on all the real estate search platforms are influencing the home purchase decisions of some parents moving to Raleigh, and steering them to communities outside of Raleigh.

“How did you come to this conclusion that there are actually 50 elementary schools in Raleigh that should be rated a 7/10 or better?” you might be asking. The short answer is this: our ratings algorithm holds more truth and provides a more fair and equitable comparison of public school quality.

But the long answer starts with the solution we developed to counter the problems with the current more well-known (and biased) ratings which you can read about on this post.

Are you a City administrator or someone who is interested in the economic development of Raleigh? You might be interested in this link.

Data Visualization – Raleigh Schools

If you didn’t click the link above, our algorithm makes 3 important adjustments that other ratings sites are not considering.

  1. We account for children that have limited english proficiency (LEP) and children with disabilities (CWD). Schools with higher populations of these students will have artificially lower scores. To have a substantive comparison between schools, an adjustment to each school’s overall score has to be made to account for these test takers.
  2. We normalize straight test scores for parent income. Test scores are 70-80% attributed to parent income, not school quality. Other ratings sites don’t do this, and as a result, they publish biased ratings that favor schools where parents have high incomes, and they unfairly underrate schools where parents have diverse or lower incomes.
  3. We give a slight boost to the ratings of schools that have racial diversity. Research has shown significant cognitive benefits for children that are part of a diverse environment (provided it’s done right). Some of these benefits include better teamwork and decision making skills, more empathy, more acceptance of others, and possibly even higher IQ’s. These benefits cannot be replicated at a homogenous school.

The graph below shows the relationship between parent income and test scores for the state of North Carolina. On the x-axis, we use the % of kids deemed economically disadvantaged at each school as a proxy for parent income.

On the y-axis, test scores are represented by each school’s overall performance on the Reading/Language Arts section of the test (adjusted for LEP/CWD students as described above). The numbers on the y-axis represent the % of non-LEP/CWD test takers that were deemed proficient on the RLA section of the test.

One thing is clear in this graph: as parent income falls, so do test scores. But this has more to do with the educational experience of the child in the home from ages 0-5, in addition to access to resources during school age (tutors, test prep, etc), rather than the quality of the school.

This graph shows Raleigh’s schools in the context of all schools in North Carolina. The trendline for North Carolina can be thought of as the average test score for schools at every parent income level. We call this the expected score.

The trendline is the expected score, and schools are rated by the extent to which they have a departure from the trendline. All the schools above the trendline are exceeding expectations. In this way we normalize for parent income, and we get closer to evaluating the extent to which the school is making the difference.

Clearly there are more than 8 schools in Raleigh that are significantly exceeding expectations. And when we boost some of these schools for their incredible diversity, even more end up north of the trendline.

Picking through the data, we found 42 elementary schools that are severely under-rated in Raleigh. We call these schools Out-Perfomers.

Raleighs Out-Performers

In this post we want to recognize the incredible job these schools are doing at educating kids. They are under-appreciated and under-rated, but our algorithm identifies these schools as high quality institutions that any parent moving to Raleigh should consider as possibly the perfect place for their kids.

These Out-Performers tend to have a strong safe culture of inclusion, high morale, low teacher turnover, and kids that are shining. Our hats are off to the students, parents, administration and especially the hard working and dedicated teachers at these awesome schools.

All of these schools deserve a 7/10 rating or higher, but all the real estate search portals show scores lower than 7/10. What impact is this having on communities within Raleigh?

Are you a City administrator or someone who is interested in the economic development of Raleigh? You might be interested in this link.

Parents, please don’t overlook these high quality schools!

Baileywick Road Elementary
Banks Road Elementary
Beaverdam Elementary
Brassfield Elementary
Brentwood Elementary
Brooks Elementary
Conn Elementary
Dillard Drive Elementary
Douglas Elementary
Durant Road Elementary
Forest Pines Drive Elementary
Fox Road Elementary
Fuller Elementary
Green Elementary
Harris Creek Elementary
Hilburn Drive Academy
Hunter Elementary
Joyner Elementary
Lacy Elementary
Lead Mine Elementary
Leesville Road Elementary
Millbrook Elementary
North Forest Pines Elementary
North Ridge Elementary
Oak Grove Elementary
Olds Elementary
Poe Elementary
River Bend Elementary
Rogers Lane Elementary
Root Elementary
Smith Elementary
Stough Elementary
Swift Creek Elementary
Sycamore Creek Elementary
Underwood Elementary
Vance Elementary
Wakefield Elementary
Washington Elementary
Wilburn Elementary
Wildwood Forest Elementary
Yates Mill Elementary
York Elementary
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Our mission is to bring equitable school rankings to all families in the US, so that a home purchase decision can be made with a more balanced view of school quality. Today school rankings are biased towards privileged neighborhoods, and they unfairly discount schools with the socio-economic diversity. We aim to bring equity to school rankings.

You can take action right now to help put an end to discriminatory school rankings. Share this post!

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