12 Best Elementary Schools in the St Louis Area, SchoolSparrow’s OutPerformers

Image by Alexander Schettino from Pixabay

In this article, we identify 12 of the best elementary schools in the St Louis area that parents might overlook if they rely on the ratings displayed on the major real estate search engines.

Our ratings for all schools in the St Louis area can be found here.

And our ratings for all schools in Missouri can be found here.

But first, some background about St Louis.

St Louis is located on the border of Missouri and Illinois, and the Greater St Louis Area includes several counties in both Missouri and Illinois. This city has a long history, starting with the Native American mound builders of the Mississippian culture that lived near present-day St Louis from the 9th century to the 15th century. St Louis became part of the US through the Louisiana Purchase in 1803.

St Louis has 2 professional sports teams, the St Louis Blues (hockey) and the St Louis Cardinals (baseball). But we’ll try not to hold that against St Louis, Go Cubbies!

St Louis has a diverse economy led by wholesaling, manufacturing, retail trade, and healthcare, and there are dozens and dozens of companies headquartered in St Louis, including 11 Fortune 500 companies.

No doubt there are parents moving to St Louis every year, and these parents are certainly looking up information about public K-12 schools for their children.

In this article, we intend to set the record straight about one indicator of school quality: student performance on standardized tests. Unfortunately, this one data point is what makes up most of the school ratings you see everywhere. But the way test scores are evaluated doesn’t tell the truth about which schools are positively impacting student performance.

The school ratings you see on all the real estate search portals such as Zillow, Redfin, and Realtor.com don’t measure what most people assume they are measuring.

Most people believe the ratings are an indicator of school quality. But that’s just not true.

The ratings are heavily influenced by student performance on standardized tests, and because standardized test scores are 70-80% attributed to PARENT INCOME, the ratings actually give you more information about the average parent income at each school. That’s right, the ratings are not a good indicator of school quality, they are a better measure of the size of parents’ wallets.

The higher the parent income, the higher the scores. And schools where parents have diverse ranges of incomes, or low to moderate incomes, get lower scores. 

We don’t believe that socioeconomic diversity is a good reason to downgrade a school, but that is exactly what the ratings on all the real estate search portals are doing.

We want to shine a light on this awful practice and recognize unfairly underrated schools nationwide. This system is steering parents away from high-quality urban schools nationwide, harming neighborhoods, and exacerbating segregation. This is a problem for virtually every city in the US.

The Greater Saint Louis area is no exception.

Our ratings algorithm accounts for parent income and provides more truth about how each school is impacting test scores.

Professional data scientists have validated our model as 84% predictive of the average expected test scores for schools that have similar demographics. Click here to read more about our rating system.

To be clear, we don’t think test scores are the best measure of school quality. Schools are complex ecosystems and test scores are one tiny data point. But IF you are going to consider test scores, then our method is the fairest way to make comparisons between schools.

Below are the Top 12 Out-Performing Elementary Schools in the Saint Louis Area. Parents moving to the area will easily overlook these unfairly underrated elementary schools. Although the Greater St Louis Area does include many schools in Illinois, in this article we are focusing on schools in Missouri only.

Parents, these are some of the best elementary schools in the Saint Louis Area! Don’t believe the scores you see on all the real estate search portals. 

And if you want to ask the search portals to please display less biased school ratings, then tweet our message below, or click on the Facebook link and share our recent Facebook post.

Retweet if you agree @zillow @redfin @realtordotcom @homesnap should start displaying more truthful student performance ratings, so parents can make a home purchase decision with a more balanced view of school quality.

Finally, when we refer to the points scored on the standardized test, we are referring to the percentage of kids at the school who are deemed proficient on the Reading/Language Arts section of the standardized test for the 2018-19 school year.

These schools are in alphabetical order.

1. Bayless Elementary, 4531 Weber Rd, St. Louis, MO 63123

Photo courtesy: Bayless Elementary

Earning a 9/10 SchoolSparrow rating and operating in the top 8% of public schools in the entire State of Missouri, Bayless Elementary is one of the best elementary schools in the St Louis Area.

Unfortunately, the major real estate search portals display an unfair 6/10 rating for this exemplary school.

Our algorithm predicts an average test score of 38.8 for schools with similar demographics, and by demographics, we are referring to parent income among other variables. 

But Bayless Elementary destroys this benchmark with an actual score of 54, which is 39% over expectations. Incredible.

Not only does Bayless Elementary soar when it comes to student performance, but also when it comes to character development. In 2016, Bayless Elementary was recognized as a Missouri State School of Character and a National School of Character. NCOS recognizes schools and districts that demonstrate an excellent level of application of the required principles of character education. Also, students of Bayless follow the Portrait of Graduate Core Values, which has them learning to be problem solvers, critical thinkers, collaborative communicators, and global citizens. For more information, visit their website here.

Community involvement is another big part of what makes Bayless Elementary great. Parents and community members collaborate to support students to excel towards their educational goals. 

Here’s their mission statement:

“Bayless Elementary School provides a caring, safe and welcoming environment that inspires our diverse community to be lifelong learners who strive for excellence in academics and character.”

Interested in sending your children here? The median home price within this area is $211,000. We’ve found a great listing for a three-bedroom and two-bathroom family home for $198,000 located only three minutes from Bayless Elementary.

2. Craig Elementary, 1492 Craig Rd, St.Louis, MO 63146, Parkway C-2 SD

Photo courtesy: Craig Elementary School

Scoring a 30/40 on our diversity scale, Craig Elementary is one of the most culturally diverse schools in the St Louis Metropolitan Area. Not only that, but Craig Elementary scores an 8/10 SchoolSparrow rating when it comes to student performance on standardized tests.

Craig Elementary is one of the best elementary schools in the St Louis Area, yet all the real estate search portals are steering parents away from this high-quality school by displaying a 5/10 rating.

Our algorithm predicts an average score of 47.4 for schools with similar demographics, but due to the impact of the educators at this awesome elementary school, Craig Elementary students scored a 57.0!  Craig Elementary is operating in the top 18% of schools in the entire State of Missouri. 

Based on our interview with educators at out-performing schools like Craig Elementary, we’ve discovered some common themes. Namely, there is often a strong leader at the helm, a safe inclusive culture, high morale, and low teacher turnover. Children thrive in these environments.

From their website:

“Our Craig Core Values are: Respect, Responsibility, Integrity, Caring, and Empathy”

Based on how Craig students are performing, we think Craig Elementary is doing a great job teaching these core values.

Parents, if you are moving to the area, don’t overlook Craig Elementary!

We found this 3BD/2BA home currently listed at $269,900 near Craig Elementary. 

3. Dardenne Elementary School, 2621 State Highway K, O’Fallon, MO 63368

Photo courtesy: Picasa

The major real estate search portals display an unfair score of 6/10 for Dardenne Elementary. But Dardenne is one of the best elementary schools in the St Louis area and SchoolSparrow’s more truthful algorithm assigns an 8/10 rating. 

Students of Dardenne Elementary have an expected average score of 43.8, but they went above and beyond with an actual score of 53. Dardenne Elementary is in the top 20% of elementary schools in Missouri.

Students of Dardenne Elementary are exposed to course work in the visual arts, performing arts, sciences, technology, and much more. Parents, students are provided with a positive educational environment to help them achieve their full potential. Also, at Dardenne Elementary, they hold Positive Peer Influence (PPI) as a high priority. This mindset ultimately influences the growth of positive self-esteem. 

Here is Dardenne Elementary’s mission statement:

“As a school community, our mission is to accept ownership for all students’ learning by challenging our students to reach their academic potential in a climate that fosters cooperation, emotional support, and personal growth.” 

Impressed by this school? The median home price for this area is $337,000. We found a listing for a two-bedroom two-bathroom home for $189,000. Also, the residence is a five-minute drive from the school.

For more information surrounding Dardenne Elementary, visit their website here.

4. Flynn Park Elementary, 7220 Waterman Ave, University City, MO 63130

Photo courtesy: Flynn Park Elementary

Flynn Park Elementary deserves to be on every parent’s shortlist of high-quality schools with amazing teachers. SchoolSparrow’s algorithm assigns this out-performing school a 10/10, while the other guys assign a 6/10 with their biased rating system.

Let’s break down the numbers. Our algorithm predicts an average score of 27.9 for schools with similar demographics.

Flynn Park annihilates the expected score with a score of 62! That’s not a typo folks, every school superintendent in the US should understand what this school is doing right. Flynn Park scores 122% above expectations!

Add to that a respectable 20/40 diversity score, and it’s plain as day: this is one of the best elementary schools in the entire St Louis Area. Flynn Park operates in the top 1% of schools in the State of Missouri. 

But is this school simply teaching the test?

We don’t think so. Consider this list of clubs/extracurricular activities: 

Gardening, Chess Club, Lego League, Baseball, Soccer, Softball, and they coordinate a rummage sale, chili cook-off, book fair, passport night, trivia night, and the list goes on. The PTO is active and the list of parent volunteers is huge.

So why does GreatSchools give this school such a low score? In the case of Flynn Park, it comes down to GreatSchools so-called “Equity Score”. We think it should be called an “Inequity Score”. This score measures the difference between the test scores for students considered economically disadvantaged and those that are not.

Flynn Park’s student population is 99% economically disadvantaged. Out of 314 total students at Flynn Park, only 138 took the test. The school reported that all 138 test takers were considered economically disadvantaged. If all test takers were considered economically disadvantaged, then there is no way for greatschools to make their calculations. Is something broken?

But never mind that. Let’s make up a story that every student NOT considered economically disadvantaged actually did take the test…all 3 of them. If that were the case, then the greatschools methodology compares the test scores of these 3 students to the test scores of the rest of the school.  Then they determine that the entire school should be downgraded because those 3 students did really well in comparison to all the other students.

So if these 3 students actually weren’t at the school, then all of a sudden Flynn Park is a better school? 

Something is seriously wrong with this methodology.

If we were part of the Flynn Park community, we’d be pretty upset about how inaccurately our school is being portrayed on all the real estate search portals.

As a side note, University City has one high school that scores a 2/10 as displayed on all the real estate search portals. We think this school is a 9/10. 

How many parents have been deterred from University City as a result of these unfair ratings? What economic impact has that had on University City? This is why we say the current rating system harms communities nationwide.

You can help do something about it by respectfully asking all the real estate search portals to display more fair and equitable school ratings. You can tweet the below message, or share our Facebook post.

Retweet if you agree @zillow @redfin @realtordotcom @homesnap should start displaying more truthful student performance ratings, so parents can make a home purchase decision with a more balanced view of school quality.

Parents, don’t overlook this high-quality learning institution!

We found this 3BD/2BA home currently listed for $183,000 in the attendance boundaries of Flynn Park Elementary.

5. Lonedell Elementary School, 7466 Hwy FF, Lonedell, MO 63060

Photo courtesy: Lonedell Elementary School

Lonedell Elementary is another outperformer on our list that everyone needs to know about. Real estate portals display an unfair 6/10 rating for this high-quality elementary school. But we see you Lonedell! Our more truthful algorithm assigns an 8/10 rating.

Standardized testing at Lonedell Elementary has been very impressive. According to our algorithm, students have an expected average score of 47.4, but their actual score turned out to be a 57. Lonedell Elementary is currently sitting in the top 18% of elementary schools in Missouri.

Also, parents, there are a variety of enrichment opportunities at Lonedell Elementary. For example, NJHS (National Junior Honor Society), STUCO (Student Council), choir, band, and much more. For more information about these enrichment opportunities, visit their website here.

Lonedell Elementary Mission Statement:

“Success, Nothing Less!”

Wondering what it would be like to live within the area? The median home price for this area is $181,000. We found a listing for a comfortable three-bedroom two-bathroom home for $159,000.

For more information about Lonedell Elementary, visit their website here.

6. Marion Elementary, 2634 Sims Ave, St. Louis, MO 63114

Photo courtesy: Marion Elementary

Marion Elementary has a 40/40 diversity score, the highest on this list. Research has shown that students in diverse environments (if it’s done right, an important caveat) develop better teamwork and decision-making skills, have higher social-emotional functioning, are more accepting of others, and possibly have higher IQs. These are the kids we want leading the next generation.

And in addition to this vibrant diversity, Marion Elementary scores a 9/10 SchoolSparrow rating as a result of its great student performance.

Schools with similar economic profiles are expected to score 27.8, but students at Marion exceed this benchmark by over 50% scoring a 42.0!

Marion has a great mission statement. From their website:

We will guide each child to reach his/her full potential by encouraging students to:

Be Engaged

Be Accountable

Show Good Sportsmanship

Be Leaders

Embrace Diversity

Show that you are Success Oriented

Collectively, we will provide a safe and supportive environment with high expectations that fosters a lifelong passion for learning.

Parents, Marion Elementary is one of the best elementary schools in the St Louis area! Don’t believe the 6/10 rating that you see on all the real estate search portals. 

Thinking about moving to the area? We found this 3BD home in the attendance boundaries and walking distance to the school currently listed for only $85,000!

7. Mason Elementary, 6031 Southwest Ave, St. Louis, MO 63139

Photo courtesy: Mason Elementary

Mason Elementary is one of a few schools in the Saint Louis Public School District to be autonomous. This designation is a result of continually exceeding the test score threshold set by the school district.

We are happy to see that the Saint Louis School District recognizes that Mason Elementary is a high-quality learning institution! 

But our nation’s de facto rating system has severely underrated this school due to their biased rating system. Mason has a 5/10 rating on all the real estate search portals, and as a result, parents are being steered away from one of the best schools in the St Louis area.

Our algorithm predicts an average score of 27 for schools with similar demographic profiles. Mason students blow this score out of the water, exceeding the expected score by over 50% with a 41! This is why SchoolSparrow assigns this school a well-earned 9/10 rating. They are in the top 10% of schools in the entire State of Missouri.

We’ve learned some things about schools that make our Out-Performer lists. In our report on 13 Out-Performing schools in Chicago, we found one surprising theme. In addition to strong leaders, an inclusive culture, high morale, low teacher turnover, we also discovered that Out-Performing schools tend to have 3 or more strong relationships with outside entities that provide services to the school. 

So it’s not surprising to us that Mason Elementary has partnerships with the below organizations. From their website:

Mason continues to go beyond expectations by partnering with:
  • Saint Louis University-Professional Development School Partnership
  • St. Louis Art Museum
  • Springboard
  • COCA
  • Wise Write
  • Ready to Learn

Our students participate in multiple hands-on activities and have exposure to many opportunities not offered in other schools.

Parents, Mason Elementary will provide a world class education for kids from all walks of life, so don’t overlook this awesome school!

Thinking about moving to the area? We found this 3BD home in the attendance boundaries currently listed for $149,000.

8. North Side Community School, 3033 N Euclid St, St. Louis, MO 63115

Photo courtesy: North Side Community School

North Side Community School is a free public charter school that serves children from preK to 8th grade. Their mission is to serve low-income under-served neighborhoods in St. Louis, and they are doing a fantastic job. North Side Community School earns a well deserved 10/10 SchoolSparrow rating.

The other guys underrate this incredible school with a 6/10 due to their biased rating system.

North Side is in the top 6% of public schools in the State of Missouri, and is absolutely one of the best elementary/middle schools in the St Louis area.

Our algorithm predicts an average score of 31 on the standardized test, but the students at North Side destroy this score with a 47, which is over 50% above expectations! 

Our hats are off to the students, parents, administrators and most of all the hard working and talented educators at North Side Community School. We see you.

Thinking about moving to the area? Here’s a 3BD/2BA home located walking distance from the school, and it is currently listed for $50,000!

9. Parkwood Elementary, 3199 Parkwood Lane, Maryland Heights, MO 63043

Photo courtesy: Parkwood Elementary

Next on our list is Parkwood Elementary. They are one of the more impressive schools we’ve found within the St. Louis metro area. Consider this: Parkwood Elementary has a diversity score of 30/40! A remarkable fact is that their district was nationally recognized as being one of the most diverse school districts in the state of Missouri.

Not only is Parkwood Elementary diverse, but they also stand out when it comes to standardized testing. According to our algorithm, students of Parkwood Elementary had an expected average score of 43.9, but they significantly exceeded this score with a 53. Parkwood Elementary is currently sitting within the top 19% of elementary schools in Missouri. 

Another highlight of Parkwood Elementary is its staff. Staff at Parkwood Elementary are committed to providing students with the necessary tools to be successful in the future. Look no further when it comes to the support and guidance that its staff has to offer.

With that being said, Parkwood Elementary is underrated on the major real-estate portals, and parents are being steered away from this high-quality school. GreatSchools has given them a score of 5/10. But, here at SchoolSparrow, we recognize their greatness with a score of 8/10.  

Here is a quote from their brochure:

“We get to know our students as individuals to better understand their strengths and challenges, we give students voice and choice to make their learning more meaningful and we use data to help us make smart decisions that will have the greatest impact on their academic growth. What’s more, our students benefit from learning in a high-achieving, diverse school environment that enjoys the support of a connected and caring community.”

If you’re thinking about moving to the area, the median home price is $220,000. We found a listing for a three-bedroom two-bathroom home for $199,500. Also, the residence is four minutes away from the school. 

To learn more about Parkwood Elementary School, visit their website here.

10. Sherwood Elementary School, 1769 Missouri State Road, Arnold, MO 63010

Photo courtesy: Sherwood Elementary School

Sherwood Elementary is another great school within the St. Louis metro area. But, parents moving to the area might overlook this school due to their 6/10 rating as displayed on the major real estate search portals. SchoolSparrow’s more equitable rating algorithm assigns Sherwood Elementary an 8/10 rating.

Students of Sherwood Elementary impress when it comes to their standardized testing scores. According to our algorithm, their expected average score is 45, but their actual score was 56. Sherwood Elementary is currently in the top 15% of elementary schools in the state of Missouri. 

Students of Sherwood Elementary are not only being taught academics but also values that they will take with them throughout their life. These values include: being proactive, synergizing, seeking first to understand, and much more.

Parents, at Sherwood Elementary, there are a variety of programs that your child might take an interest in. One program we thought stood out was their Girls on the Run program. It is a physical-based program that is designed to promote the development of girls’ “social, psychological, and physical competencies” to successfully handle life experiences. For more information, visit their website here.

Mission Statement: 

“Success for Every Student”

Vision Statement:

“Every Student Counts, Every Moment Matters”

Looking to move to this area? The median home price for this area is $207,000. We found a listing for a two-bedroom one-bathroom home for $179,900 located on three-minutes from the school.

To get to know more about Sherwood Elementary, visit their website here.

11. Washington West Elementary, 840 W Pride Drive, Washington, MO 63090

Photo courtesy: School District of Washington

Washington West Elementary is an outperforming school that deserves more recognition. Sadly, many real estate search portals display a 6/10 rating, which is not telling the truth about this school. Washington West Elementary is one of the best elementary schools in the State of Missouri, and SchoolSparrow awards this school a well-deserved 8/10 rating.

At Washington West Elementary, their main focus is to promote student achievement, staff development, and the well-being of their students as they continue to learn to grow. Parents, it’s a good thing to know that your child’s best interests are looked out for. 

Another intriguing fact is that students of Washington West Elementary go above and beyond on standardized testing. According to our algorithm, the expected average score of schools with similar demographics is 46.8, but students at Washington West Elementary actually scored 58 points, almost 25% above expectations! Impressive.

Here is their District Vision:

“The School District of Washington will provide an inspiring educational environment by means of challenging, relevant, and purposeful learning experiences designed to prepare students for their future. We are committed to an engaged and customized approach to education. We encourage innovation and creativity developed to help our students explore their purpose and passion as they acquire the skills and attributes necessary to be college and career ready.”

The median home price for this area is $233,000. We found a listing for a newly built three-bedroom two-bathroom home for $224,900. Also, the residence is a five-minute drive from the school.

For more information on Washington West Elementary, visit their website here.

12. Wyland Elementary, 2200 Brown Rd, St. Louis, MO 63114

Photo courtesy: Google Maps

We love Wyland’s mission statement:

To inspire creative, kind, and collaborative leaders and learners who think critically and problem-solve in a nurturing, inclusive and safe environment.

One reason that we love it so much is they are well-positioned to deliver on this mission with a 40/40 diversity rating!

It is well documented that students in a diverse environment (if it’s done right) get many cognitive benefits that cannot be replicated at homogenous schools. Some of those benefits include better social-emotional skills, better teamwork and decision-making skills, more acceptance of other cultures, and possibly even higher IQs. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: these are the kids we want leading the next generation.

So is Wyland Elementary doing it right? Absolutely. Wyland Elementary is an outperforming elementary school, and one thing we’ve learned about these schools is there is often a strong leader, with a safe inclusive culture where teachers have high morale. Children thrive in this environment.

The evidence is in Wyland’s student performance. Schools with similar demographics are predicted by our algorithm to score 27.8 points on average. Wyland Elementary is in the top 28% of schools in the State of Missouri because they exceed expectations by over 20% with 34 points on the standardized test.

Parents, do not believe the unfair and biased 4/10 rating you see on the major real estate search portals. This school earns a well-deserved 8/10 rating on SchoolSparrow because the educators at this school are having such a strong positive influence on student performance.

We recognize Wyland Elementary as one of the best elementary schools in the St Louis area, and children from all walks of life will get a world-class education at this fine institution.

You can learn more about Wyland Elementary on their website.

Considering moving to the area? We found this 3BD/2BA home located in the attendance boundaries and currently listed for $132,000.

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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.

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