When parents move to a new city, often the public schools are a primary consideration when deciding which home to purchase or rent. Parents want to know: what are the best elementary schools in Tucson?
Many parents will reference the school rating as displayed by all the real estate search portals when considering schools. And parents often want a 7 rating or better or they will pass over the school and the homes and neighborhoods the school serves.
But parents, WATCH OUT!
Those ratings are biased and they will absolutely steer you away from Tucson’s best elementary schools.
The reason is that test scores are a major factor in those ratings. But research has proven that test scores are 70-80% attributed to PARENT INCOME, not school quality.
The end result? Homogenous schools, where the vast majority of parents have high incomes, get the highest scores. And schools where parents on average have moderate to low incomes get lower scores.
But often, those schools where parents have moderate to low incomes are the most diverse schools with families from all walks of life. And it’s a shame that this very diversity, part of what makes these schools vibrant and exceptional learning institutions, is counted against the school resulting in a low rating.
These unfairly underrated schools have an impact on parent’s purchase decisions. Subsequently, these ratings are negatively impacting the economic development of urban areas across the country. You can read more about these unfair ratings in this blog post.
That’s why SchoolSparrow developed a rating system, validated by professional data scientists, that more fairly compares student performance by accounting for demographics. You can read more about our system here.
Our ratings provide more truth about school quality than the ratings you see on all the real estate search engines.
Based on the results of our analysis for schools in Arizona, we’ve created this list of Tucson’s Top 10 Out-Performers. These schools rank below a 7 on all the real estate search portals. But in reality, these are some of the best schools in the State of Arizona. Click here to see our ratings for the entire state of Arizona.
And if you want to help set the record straight about these high quality schools in Tucson then Click Here!
1. CARRILLO INTERMEDIATE MAGNET SCHOOL, 440 S MAIN AVE, TUCSON, AZ 85701
Carrillo K-5 Magnet School is one of the best elementary schools in Tucson, and they deserve more recognition. SchoolSparrow’s rating for Carrillo is a well-deserved 10/10.
Carrillo K-5 Magnet School has a diversity score of 20/40. Students at this school will get exposure to diversity and gain the proven cognitive benefits that come with diversity.
Our algorithm predicted 34.1% proficiency on the Reading/Language Arts portion of the standard test. In reality, Carillo students killed the test with a 57%, which is 67% above expectations!
This school operates in the top 3% of elementary schools in the entire State of Arizona. The other guys somehow assign this amazing school a 6/10 rating due to their biased rating system. Parents, please don’t believe this score! This is one of the best elementary schools in Tucson.
So what makes this school so great? You’ll have to schedule a tour to really get a feel, but from their website:
“Carrillo’s Communication and Creative Arts theme is based upon the Arizona Career and College Ready Standards. Each grade level plans integrated thematic units with an emphasis on reading, writing, speaking and listening, and incorporating visual and performing arts. Most units include a summative assessment that requires students to use technology to show what they have learned during the unit. Teachers use Project Based Learning as an instructional delivery method, and the 4 “C’s” of 21st Century Skills are built into every unit: Critical Thinking, Creativity, Collaboration and Communication.”
Considering moving in the area? The median home price within this area is $347,066. We found this 3 bedroom home currently on the market for $299,999 near Carrillo Elementary School.
2. COYOTE TRAIL ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, 8000 N SILVERBELL RD, TUCSON, AZ 85743
Next on our list is Coyote Trail Elementary School. GreatSchools has given this school a score of 6/10. But Coyote Trail Elementary is one of the best elementary schools in Tucson. Our more fair and truthful algorithm assigns an 8/10.
Coyote Trail Elementary has a diversity score of 20/40. This means that at least two races are represented by at least 20% of the student body, or three races are represented by at least 10%. Students at this school will get exposure to diversity and gain the proven cognitive benefits that come with diversity.
When it comes to student performance, the high-quality education at Coyote Trail Elementary really shines through. Their expected score was 44.6 % proficient on the RLA section of the standardized test, but their actual score was 58% proficient, 30% better than expectations.
Coyote Trail Elementary offers a curriculum that’s meant to inspire children for the future. A quote from their website: “Students are challenged, relationships are built, and teaching is focused on individual student achievement.”
Here’s a message from Coyote Trail Elementary’s Principal – Mr. Johnson:
“Welcome to a warm, supportive and involved community that believes a strong nation is dependent on capable and contributing community members that come from our local school system…We believe our parents and community are members of our school family and we welcome your involvement as we prepare our future leaders.” For more information, take a visit to their website.
Thinking about the homes within this area? The median home price within this area is $329,246. Check out this one-story, three-bedroom, two-bathroom house for $325,000. Also, this residence is a four-minute drive to the school.
3. DEGRAZIA ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, 5051 W OVERTON RD, TUCSON, AZ 85742
The 5/10 rating on all the real estate search portals can steer parents away from Degrazia Elementary School. But when student performance is appropriately evaluated in the context school demographics, this high-quality school earns a deserving 9/10 rating.
This school is doing something right, and we are proud to be able to recognize the administration, staff, students, parents and of course the incredible teachers at this amazing school.
Degrazia Elementary has a diversity score of 20/40, so students here get the cognitive benefits that come with diversity.
For schools with similar demographics, our algorithm predicts an average test score of 35.4% proficient on the RLA section of the test. Degrazia Elementary seriously out-performs with a score of 50% proficient. That’s 41% better than the average score, putting Degrazia in the top 13% of schools in the State of Arizona.
Parents, don’t believe the unfair and biased ratings you see online. This school is a high-quality learning institution with great leadership, high morale, and a place where students are thriving. Degrazia Elementary is one of the best elementary schools in Tucson.
Consider Degrazia Elementary’s program called Sanford Harmoney, which is intended to inspire students to learn important social skills in which they collaborate with other students.
Principal Tawnya Caldwell’s message:
“Welcome to DeGrazia Elementary, home of the Dust Devils! DeGrazia has a rich history of providing the highest quality education possible for our children. We partner with our families and community to develop the ‘whole child.’ We want our students to think critically, problem solve, work collaboratively, and be able to persevere in a globally competitive world.” For more information, visit their website.
The median home price within this area is $301,354. Here’s a one-story, three-bedroom, two-bathroom house for $270,000 close to the school.
4. LINEWEAVER ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, 461 S BRYANT AVE, TUCSON, AZ 85711
Photo Courtesy: Lineweaver Elementary School
The next Out-Performer on our list is Lineweaver Elementary School. GreatSchools has given this outstanding school an unjust score of 5/10. While we at SchoolSparrow recognize their high achievements with a score of 9/10.
Lineweaver Elementary earns a diversity score of 20/40, so students at Lineweaver are the beneficiaries of the cognitive and social-emotional advantages that come with diversity.
When it comes to student performance, Lineweaver Elementary is to be commended for out-performing expectations by 48%!. Their expected score is 36.8% proficient, but they went above and beyond with an actual score of 54% proficient. This is partly why Lineweaver Elementary is one of the best elementary schools in Tucson.
Another great attribute of Lineweaver is that they promote the collaboration of their community. For example, OMA (Opening Minds through the Arts) is a program intended to combine a standardized curriculum with the art-infused curriculum. This involves the collaboration of community artists (musicians/opera/dance) and Lineweaver teachers to give students the opportunity to expand their creativity. For more information on their other programs, take a look at their website.
Lineweaver Elementary’s vision:
“Lineweaver Elementary School is a community dedicated to ensuring excellence in all areas for its students; inspiring them through a culture of compassion and diversity to be self-motivated, lifelong learners and contributing members in a multi-cultural society.”
Thinking about moving within the area? The median home price within this area is $233,600. Take a look at this four-bedroom two-bathroom house for $239,500. Also, the residence is a seven-minute drive to the school.
5. GALE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, 678 GOLLOB RD, TUCSON, AZ 85710
Another Out-Performer on our list is Gale Elementary School, which gets an unfair 5/10 rating. But, we at SchoolSparrow recognize their accomplishments with a score of 9/10.
Gale Elementary has a diversity score of 20/40, so students at Gale benefit from the cognitive advantages that come with diversity. Their expected score is 44.6% proficient, but their actual score is 62% proficient!. That means students of Gale Elementary beat expectations by nearly 40% compared to other schools with similar demographics.
Gale Elementary’s student performance is in the top 8% of schools statewide. This school is one of the best elementary schools in Tucson.
Parents, your child will get a well-rounded education at Gale Elementary. “Students are involved in an education process that is meant to unfold their creativity, sense of responsibility, and much more”. For more information on their curriculum, take a visit to their website.
Here’s Gale Elementary’s Mission/Vision:
“Our mission is to inspire as a team by building upon positive principles and learning as a family to prepare students for life.”
Interested in buying a home near this school? The median home price within this area is $255,498. Check out this comfortable three-bedroom two-bathroom house for $280,000. Also, the residence is a six-minute drive to the school.
6. DAVIS BILINGUAL MAGNET ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, 500 W SAINT MARYS RD, TUCSON, AZ 85701
The other guys give Davis Bilingual Elementary a lowly 6/10. We recognize this high-quality school with a 10/10 rating based on exceeding expectations by nearly 40%! Davis Bilingual is one of the best elementary schools in Tucson.
Our algorithm predicts an average of 44.6% proficient on the RLA portion of the standardized test. Davis students blow this score out of the water with 62% proficiency!
But is it possible this school is sacrificing a broad curriculum to teach the test? We don’t think so. From their website:
“Music, Art, PE, and Library support language learning through a hands-on curriculum. Teachers enrich the curriculum by incorporating the school’s garden and aquaponics system into teaching units so that learning takes place inside and outside classrooms.”
And this probably doesn’t come as a surprise, but Davis teaches in two languages (Spanish and English) and kids come out of this school bilingual.
One thing we know about our Out-Perfoming schools is that usually there is a strong culture of inclusion and celebration of differences. This is what the leadership at Davis thinks is special about their school:
“Our bilingual curriculum emphasizes the beauty of diverse cultures as well as an awareness of social justice themes.”
No doubt there is strong leadership, high morale and an environment where kids thrive in this amazing elementary school. Our hats are off to Davis Bilingual.
Thinking about moving to the area? Check out this 4BD/2BA home located near Davis Bilingual which is currently on the market for $325,000.
7. ANNIE KELLOND ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, 6606 E LEHIGH DR, TUCSON, AZ 85710
Based on Kellond’s percentage of ECD and CWD students that took the test, our algorithm predicted a score of 40.3% on the RLA section of the standardized test. But in reality, students out-performed the average with at 56% proficient, which is nearly 40% above expectations.
This is a high quality school that has an amazing culture where students are thriving. It absolutely deserves to be on your shortlist of possible schools, so don’t believe the 6/10 rating on all the real estate search portals. This school is more like a 9/10 as assigned by SchoolSparrow.
This school is in the top 11% of schools in the State of Arizona. (BTW, that includes High Schools, so among elementary schools alone, this school is probably in the top 5% or better). Kellond Elementary is one of the best elementary schools in Tucson.
With a 20/40 diversity score, students at this Kellond Elementary will gain from the proven cognitive benefits that come with a diverse environment.
From Kellond’s website:
“Kellond is an Opening Minds through the Arts (OMA) Gold school that incorporates the arts into the curriculum and helps students organize their thinking and learn how to express themselves through art, music and dance.”
Thinking about moving to the area? Check out this 3BD/2BA home currently on the market for $273,000 in the Kellond Elementary attendance boundary.
8. W ARTHUR SEWELL ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, 425 N SAHUARA AVE, TUCSON, AZ 85711
Sewell Elementary is in the top 13% of schools in the State of Arizona, having scored 47% proficient when our algorithm predicted an average score of 32.2% proficient.
Parents, don’t believe the 5/10 as you see on all the real estate search portals. Our more fair and equitable algorithm recognizes Sewell as a high quality learning institution where kids from all walks of life will get an incredible education. Sewell is more like a 9/10 school, and one of the best elementary schools in Tucson
With a 20/40 diversity score, parents can rest assured that their children will be exposed to other kids from different backgrounds, and they will gain from the proven cognitive benefits of being part of a diverse environment.
But is Sewell limiting their curriculum to teach the test? We don’t think so! They have a rich curriculum that focuses on the arts.
From Sewell’s website:
”Sewell is an OMA (Opening Minds through the Arts) Gold School, which means that each grade level has a particular art form that is academically integrated into each grades curriculum. Kindergarten has an instrumental trio which provides an introduction to music, first grade creates an opera, second grade dance/movement, third grade recorders, fourth grade beginning orchestra, and fifth grade has a choice between advanced orchestra and beginning band. We also have an AIS (Arts Integration Specialist) who collaborates with the classroom teachers to integrate art forms into our standards-based curriculum.”
Thinking about moving to the area? Their doesn’t appear to be any listings for sale at the moment in the attendance boundaries, but this property is a foreclosure that will be auctioned off on September 1st, 2021.
9. QUAIL RUN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, 4600 W CORTARO FARMS RD, TUCSON, AZ 85742
Quail Run Elementary exceeds expectations by nearly 40%, scoring 50% proficient when our algorithm predicted an average of 36.4% proficient for similar schools.
Quail Run is in the top 15% of schools statewide, and earns an 8/10 rating on our more fair and equitable rating algorithm. The other guys assign a 6/10, and as a result, parents moving to Tucson might skip over this school.
But if they find this post: don’t believe that low score! This school deserves to be on your shortlist!
With a 20/40 diversity score, students are exposed to kids from different cultures and backgrounds, and they will gain from all the proven cognitive benefits that come with diversity.
And perhaps the best part about this awesome school is their focus on a topic near and dear to our hearts: Computer Science!
A message from Principal Singer the Quail Run Elementary website:
“Quail Run Elementary, within the Marana Unified School District, is a preK-6 school offering an inspiring and enriching Computer Science immersion academic experience, and an innovative state of the art learning environment. Teachers integrate coding, Lego robotics, and creating Minecraft computer science games with curriculum content in English language arts, math, science, and social studies to create an engaging, interactive and fun learning environment where students are provided skills for the high growth, high demand jobs of the future”
Thinking about moving to the area? Check out this awesome property located a short walk from the school! It has 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, and a pool.
10. BORTON PRIMARY MAGNET SCHOOL, 700 E 22ND ST, TUCSON, AZ 85713
In an alternate universe somewhere, perhaps The Borton School deserves a 4/10 as displayed on all the real estate search engines.
But in the universe that you are living in today, this school is operating at an 8/10 and is one of the highest quality schools in Tucson, and in the State of Arizona.
Based on the students who took the test that were identified as ECD or CWD, our algorithm predicted an average score of 37.9% on the RLA section of the standardized test. Students at Borton blew this score out of the water with a score of 48%, which is about 30% better than expected. 48% is better than the average score for the State, which is pretty amazing considering 56% of students at Borton are considered Economically Disadvantaged.
With a 20/40 diversity score, parents can rest assured that their kids will get exposure to people from different backgrounds, and gain from the proven cognitive benefits of diversity.
Congratulations to the students, parents, administrators and especially the hard working teachers at Borton Elementary! We see you.
From the Borton Elementary website:
“Our mission at Borton Magnet School is to provide an environment that promotes equity and access for all our students in order to maximize their academic and social development. Through the use of Project Based Learning and Systems Thinking, students learn to ask big questions and engage in authentic, real world learning to become change makers, creators of new knowledge and stewards of the earth.”
Thinking about moving to the area? This 3BD/2BA home is currently on the market for $370,000 and is walking distance from Borton Magnet School.
YOU CAN HELP SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT
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@zillow @redfin @realtordotcom, so many of our awesome public schools are underrated and parents are being steered away from some of the best schools in Tucson. Please consider displaying fair and more truthful ratings via @schoolsparrow.Tweet
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