Charlotte school is #1 in NC in new ranking of elementary, middle schools

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Some Charlotte elementary and middle schools landed among the state’s best in the first U.S. News & World Report rankings of K-8 schools, announced Tuesday.

The rankings evaluate 80,000 public schools at the state and district level — there is no national ranking — and use the same methodology for all grade levels. Schools were assessed on their share of students who were proficient or above proficient in mathematics and reading/language arts state assessments. Half the formula was the test results themselves; the other half was the results in the context of socioeconomic demographics.

Charter schools and magnet schools were ranked in stand-alone categories.

Metrolina Regional Scholars Academy, a K-8 public charter school established in 2000 in Charlotte, ranked as the No. 1 elementary school and No. 2 middle school in North Carolina. Scholars Academy took the No. 1 statewide spot in the charter schools category for both elementary and middle school categories.

According to its website, Scholars Academy serves the “unique social, emotional, and intellectual needs of one of the most underserved children in the school system — the highly gifted.”

“Representing only 2% of the population, these children come from all socio-economic groups, backgrounds and cultures,” the purpose statement reads.

Providence Springs Elementary, in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, ranked ninth of the best elementary schools in the state.

Other area schools in the top 10 elementary schools in North Carolina are: Union County Public School’s Rea View in Waxhaw (ranked fourth); UCPS’ Weddington Elementary in Matthews (tied for fifth); and, UCPS’ Marvin Elementary (ranked tenth).

Of more than 1,400 schools listed in the elementary rankings, 14 within CMS were in the top 100 in the state.

Other school rankings

Irwin Academic Center, a magnet school, was the only other CMS elementary school to rank in the statewide top 20. Polo Ridge (27th), McKee Road (39th), Hawk Ridge (42nd) and Bain (44th) elementary schools ranked among the top 50 in the state.

Jay M. Robinson Middle in CMS ranked the highest in the district for the state’s middle schools at No. 12. Piedmont Open IB ranked 21st overall, while Community House (26th), E.E. Waddell Language Academy (now the South Academy of International Languages, 27th), South Charlotte Middle (28th) and Randolph Middle (33rd) ranked in the top 50.

Outside Charlotte, middle schools that landed high on the list include: Iredell-Statesville’s Mount Mourne School (ranked fourth in the state); UCPS’ Weddington Middle (ranked sixth); UCPS’s Marvin Ridge Middle (ranked ninth).

Among middle school magnet schools in statewide rankings, five from Charlotte-Mecklenburg made the top 10: Piedmont Open IB (ranked second); E.E. Waddell Language Academy (ranked third); Randolph Middle (ranked fourth); the Northwest School of the Arts (ranked 10th).

Among elementary school magnet schools in statewide rankings, five from CMS and one from Cabarrus County Schools made the top 10: Irwin Academic Center (ranked second); Grand Oak Elementary (ranked fourth); Highland Mill Montessori (ranked sixth); Chantilly Montessori (ranked eighth); Waddell Language Academy (ranked ninth). Cox Mill Elementary in Cabarrus County ranked third.

Among elementary charter schools, Lake Norman Charter in Huntersville ranked fourth statewide.

Focus areas: math and reading

The new rankings focus on two areas: math and reading proficiency. The rankings data looks at how well students perform on state assessments or how well they perform compared to expectations.

The state assessment data used in the rankings is from the 2018-2019 school year, predating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. California has 5,534 ranked elementary schools — the most of any state followed by Texas (4,446), New York (2,211), Florida (2,128) and Illinois (2,038). California also has the most ranked middle schools with 2,319, followed by Texas (1,942), Illinois (1,243), New York (1,219) and Florida (997).

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