The Top 5 Elementary Schools in Columbus, OH- SchoolSparrow’s OutPerformers

This post identifies 5 high-quality Columbus City Elementary Schools that parents might overlook due to unfair low school ratings. Click here to see our ratings for all public schools in Ohio, or across the country. 

Columbus, Ohio has a diverse economy based on education, government, insurance, banking, aviation, food, clothes, logistics, steel, energy, medical research, health care, hospitality, retail and technology. The Greater Columbus area is home to the headquarters of six corporations in the US Fortune 500. These include Cardinal Health, American Electric Power, L Brands, Nationwide, Alliance Data and Huntington Bancshares.

And when a parent at one of these companies is asked to move to Columbus, the quality of the public schools will certainly be a consideration.

Columbus Public Schools

The Columbus City School District has approximately 70 public elementary schools. Every home in Columbus is assigned to one public elementary school. However, parents can enter a lottery system to get placement in magnet schools all over the city.

According to GreatSchools, about six public elementary schools rate at or above 7/10 in Columbus City Schools. Our experience has been that parents want a 7/10 or better, particularly if they are moving to a new city, or they will pass over the school and the homes and neighborhoods the school serves. 

But those ratings are biased. The truth is there are dozens of high quality public elementary schools throughout Columbus that should rate 7 or higher.

Parents, this is a high quality school district! Don’t let the biased ratings found on all the real estate search engines steer you away from Columbus City Schools.

Today’s School Ratings

The ratings you see on Zillow/Redfin/ do not communicate what parents think they are communicating. See this post for more detail on what they are really communicating. The short explanation is that the ratings rely heavily on both test scores and the achievement gap. Schools with high test scores and a low achievement gap get high ratings. The achievement gap measures the difference in test scores between students that are considered economically disadvantaged and those that are not.  

But test scores are about 80% attributed to the socioeconomic status of a child’s parents, not school quality. And measuring the achievement gap tends to give low ratings to schools with socioeconomic (and racial) diversity. Many societal factors contribute to the achievement gap, the least of which is the school itself.

As a result, these ratings communicate more about affluence, and they steer families away from schools with racial diversity. Notice that school quality isn’t even part of the equation.

One unfortunate consequence is the underrating of thousands of schools across the nation. These underrated schools are robbed of being widely recognized as high quality schools. In addition, today’s ratings unfairly portray entire cities and neighborhoods as undesirable locations for home buyers who care about school quality. 

SchoolSparrow Ratings

That’s why we decided to create a school rating system that takes into account each school’s socioeconomic profile. Our rating system strips out each school’s socioeconomic factors, and compares schools based on how educators are making an impact. You can read more about our rating system here.

Our rating system elevates thousands of unfairly underrated schools by shifting focus away from parent income, and more truthfully evaluating how a school community is influencing student performance.

Some education pundits will tell you that you can’t tell anything about a school by looking at test scores. And that point is true. However, test scores analyzed in the context of each school’s economic profile can uncover more nuanced information.

We’ve interviewed school leaders at Out-Performing schools. Out-Performing schools are schools with a low rating (below a 7) on GreatSchools, and a high rating on SchoolSparrow. We found that Out-Performing schools have common themes. Usually there is a strong principal in place who has helped create a culture of excellence and inclusion. In addition these schools tend to have high teacher morale and low teacher turnover. And finally, there tend to be at least 3 partnerships with local philanthropic organizations that provide free services to the school. Children thrive in these environments.

SchoolSparrow is pleased to recognize these 5 high quality Columbus elementary schools. These 5 schools are all Out-Performers, and they are only the tip of the iceberg in terms of high quality elementary schools that should be seriously considered by any parent moving to Columbus. Columbus has many more Out-Performing schools to consider!

SchoolSparrow’s Top 5 Elementary Schools in Columbus, OH

Note: the scores mentioned in each description refer to the % of kids that met or exceeded state standards on the Reading/Language Arts portion of the standardized test for the 2018-2019 school year (the latest data available).

Note 2: You can help urge all the real estate search portals to display more fair and equitable school ratings. Scroll down to see our call to action.

1. Indian Springs Elementary School

50 East Henderson Road

Columbus, OH 43214

Photo Courtesy of Clintonville Go Public

Located on the northside of Columbus, Indian Springs Elementary is home to 414 students and 21 teachers. 

The parent involvement at Indian Springs is apparent based on the PTA facebook page, where their mission is clear: to build relationships throughout the school and create a healthy, safe and welcoming learning environment for our community.

The PTA holds fundraisers year round, including an upcoming Roller Skate Fundraiser and Plant Sale. Every year they coordinate an Apple Week where they celebrate their teachers and staff and show educators how appreciative Indian Ridge parents are of their efforts.

They coordinate spaghetti dinners, coffee meet-ups, and other events to bring the community together, including two Spring Events: Field Day and Falcon Fest.

It’s a shame that this awesome school community is underrated with a 5/10 rating on all the real estate search portals.

SchoolSparrow’s algorithm calculates a 10/10 rating for this awesome elementary school. They have an expected score of 36, but they blow this score out of the water with a 78 which is over 100% over expectations! 

But do they teach the test? This is doubtful considering the breadth of curriculum and activities available at Indian Springs, including 2 full time gifted intervention specialists, a unified arts curriculum, orchestra, choir, yoga through a partnership with Youth Yoga Project, chess club, and mileage club to name a few. According to Emily Whittaker, a teacher at Dominion MS, Indian Springs students are engaging and seem very well prepared for middle school.

Way to go Falcons! We see you.

Indian Springs Elementary is one of the best schools in Columbus.

The average for-sale single family home listing price in Indian Springs is currently $389,900. But as of March 30, 2022, every single home in Indian Springs is under contract, except for this luxury hillside near-mansion on nearly ½ an acre of land currently for sale at $899,000. 

For more information, visit their Website or the PTA Facebook Page.

Congrats to these 5 Out-Performing Pubic Schools in Columbus, OH! @zillow @redfin @realtordotcom @homesnap, please start displaying more truthful school ratings so parents can make a purchase decision with a more balanced view of school quality.

2. Colerain Elementary

499 Weisheimer Rd

Columbus, OH 43214

We imagine the Colerain auditorium has heard its fair share of Smash Mouth over the years!

But great music aside, Colerain Elementary caters to diverse learners with well over 50% of the student body classified as having a disability. At Colerain, these students integrate with their general ed peers. This integration provides not only important peer modeling for special needs kids, but also instills empathetic values for the general ed kids.

We couldn’t find the Colerain Elementary rating on Greatschools, so consulting other websites, we found a C+ rating on Niche and a 5/10 rating on Public School Review. These rating systems also measure test scores without the context of each school’s demographic profile, and as a result, they also underrate schools nationwide.

SchoolSparrow’s algorithm considers, in addition to other factors, the number of test takers that are classified as having a disability.  The expected score for schools’ with similar demographic profiles as Colerain is a 23, but Colerain destroys with a 67, nearly 200% above expectations!

We don’t know exactly what it is, but this school is doing something right! 

Congratulations to the students, parents, administration, staff members and especially the hard working and dedicated teachers at Colerain Elementary. Colerain Elementary is an incredible asset for Columbus City parents.

SchoolSparrow’s algorithm assigns a 10/10 rating for this high quality elementary school.

Colerain Elementary is also in the Clintonville neighborhood of Columbus with an average list price of $349,900 as of 3/30/2022. We found this 3BD/2BA home for sale near the school currently listed at $350,000.

To learn more, visit their Website. 

Congrats to these 5 Out-Performing Pubic Schools in Columbus, OH! @zillow @redfin @realtordotcom @homesnap, please start displaying more truthful school ratings so parents can make a purchase decision with a more balanced view of school quality.

3. Indianola Informal K-8 School

251 East Weber Road

Columbus, OH 43202

Photo courtesy of Lower Olentangy Urban Arboretum

As its name suggests, Indianola Informal K-8 School is not your typical public elementary school. And there is no question they are doing something right considering they have earned SchoolSparrow’s highest score: a 10/10 for their exemplary student performance stats. 

Schools with similar demographic profiles in the State of Ohio score approximately 36 (on average) on the RLA portion of the standardized tests. But Indianola students are in the top 2% of schools statewide with a 71, almost double expectations!

Indianola Informal offers a unique informal program where teachers plan integrated teaching units using Columbus City School’s curriculum and children’s interests to build authentic learning experiences. They have an extremely active PTO that supports the school through fundraising, providing additional resources for the school.

Check out the PTO website here.

This school is underrated with a 5/10 rating on all the real estate search portals. But when analyzed more fairly in the context of this school’s demographic profile, this is one of the best schools in Columbus, and in the State of Ohio for that matter.

Congrats Indianola Informal! 

The median sale price for single family homes in South Clintonville is $342,300 according to Redfin. We found this 3BD home located a short walk from Indianola Informal currently marketed at $324,900. 

Congrats to these 5 Out-Performing Pubic Schools in Columbus, OH! @zillow @redfin @realtordotcom @homesnap, please start displaying more truthful school ratings so parents can make a purchase decision with a more balanced view of school quality.

4. Winterset Elementary School

4776 Winterset Drive

Columbus, OH 43220

We love Winterset Elementary’s mission statement:

“Each student is highly educated, prepared for leadership and service, and empowered for success as a citizen in a global community.”

And it seems they are doing a great job considering SchoolSparrow’s algorithm has assigned a 10/10 rating for this high quality elementary school. Their actual score of 72 shatters the expected score of 36! This puts Winterset in the top 2% of public schools in the State of Ohio.

It’s too bad that parents moving to Columbus might get steered away from this awesome school because all the real estate search portals show a 5/10 rating for Winterset.

Consider the activities offered at Winterset including Spirit Days, Zoo Visits, Artist in Schools Presentations, Pennies for Patients (Leukemia Fundraiser), Walk-A-Thon, Educational Field Trips, Field Day, School Dances, Family Fun Fair, Vocabulary Parade, Student Council, Drama Club, Camera Club, Safety Patrol, Orchestra and Choir, along with a variety of other student council and PTA sponsored activities. 

Winterset Elementary also has a Family Ambassador who works as a liaison between school and home to help support communication and family engagement.

Parents, Winterset is a high quality elementary school and children from all walks of life will get a world class education at this fine insitution. Don’t believe the ratings you see everywhere!

For more information, visit their Website.

There is only one home for sale in the attendance boundaries of Winterset Elementary, This 2BD/2BA townhome listed at $169,900. This one should go fast!

Congrats to these 5 Out-Performing Pubic Schools in Columbus, OH! @zillow @redfin @realtordotcom @homesnap, please start displaying more truthful school ratings so parents can make a purchase decision with a more balanced view of school quality.

5. Ecole Kenwood French Immersion

3770 Shattuck Avenue

Columbus, OH 43220

Photo Courtesy of Education Snapshots

It’s pretty amazing that a free public school offers a French immersion program. In Chicago, you’ll pay a pretty penny for a private school with French immersion. 

This school has an integrated arts curriculum and a wide range of extracurricular activities including Chess Club, Debate Team, Girls Who Code, Girls on the Run, Let Me Run, Fuel Up to Play 60, Camp Willson Grades 4-6, Zoo Overnight 1st and 2nd Grade, Gardening, and more!

It’s a shame that parents moving to Columbus might overlook this school due to a 4/10 rating by a biased school rating system. 

Our more fair and equitable algorithm assigns a 10/10 rating due to students destroying expectations on the standardized tests. The expected score was a 40, but their actual score was 67, putting this phenomenal school in the top 3% of public schools in the State of Ohio.

Parents, run, don’t walk, to the next opportunity to explore this school. Kids that learn a 2nd language receive well documented benefits!

Visit their website to learn more.

This 4BD/2BA home is coming soon and it won’t last long! Walking distance from the school.

Congrats to these 5 Out-Performing Pubic Schools in Columbus, OH! @zillow @redfin @realtordotcom @homesnap, please start displaying more truthful school ratings so parents can make a purchase decision with a more balanced view of school quality.

Please help us urge all the real estate search portals to display more equitable school ratings! Share our tweet or facebook post, or sign-up on our mailing list below.


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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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