Ohio’s public school system has been in existence since 1825 and has mostly remained a property tax and state funded system providing free pre-Kindergarten to Grade 12 education throughout the state. In 2013 Ohio’s public school system had some 1.8 million students enrolled in about 3,700 schools in 1,093 school districts.
The state has spent upwards of $11,000 per pupil over the past years, a indication of its strong emphasis on public education despite a myriad of challenges such as underfunding. In 2013, that spending was the 19th highest in the United States.
The payback can be seen in Ohio’s graduation rate that stood at 82% in 2013. This rate declined slightly in succeeding years before recovering to 83.5 percent for the Class of 2016, placing Ohio 29th among all the states in the Union. The National Center for Education Statistics said the country’s four-year graduation rate for public high school students rose by one percent for the fifth straight year in 2016 to an all-time high of 84.1 percent.
Out of Ohio’s entire public school system, Cincinnati accounted for 190 K-12 public schools with an enrollment of 104,630 students. Cincinnati is especially notable for schools that bring out the best in children in the early stages of their academic journey, especially those from pre-Kindergarten to Grade 4. It is, therefore, not surprising that the three best public elementary schools in Cincinnati are those that cater to children in these education levels.
These top three schools were determined based on scores and analyses from three independent sources: Niche, SchoolDigger and GreatSchools.org.
Niche describes itself as a platform “that helps you discover the schools and neighborhoods that are right for you. It says it rigorously analyzes “dozens of public data sets and millions of reviews to produce comprehensive rankings, report cards, and profiles for every K-12 school, college, and neighborhood in the U.S.”
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SchoolDigger says its database contains “detailed profiles for over 136,000 schools in every state in the US, including 20 years of enrollment data, several years of test scores, crime data, real estate data, and everything our team hopes is useful in helping you make better school choices.” It was founded in 2006 to serve one purpose — empowering “parents like you to make informed choices about choosing a school for your child.”
GreatSchools bills itself as “the leading national nonprofit empowering parents to unlock educational opportunities for their child.” It contends that its “trusted ratings and school information help parents find the right school for their family and improve schools in their communities.
Based on analyses by these three organizations, the three best public elementary schools in Cincinnati by consensus are: (1) Indian Hill Elementary School (2) Elm Avenue Elementary School and (3) Montgomery Elementary School.
Number 1: Indian Hill Elementary School
Located along Drake Road, Indian Hill Elementary School caters to Grade 3-5 pupils. It has some 420 students and a 14:1 teacher-to-pupil ratio.
The school describes itself in these terms: “Independent, inquisitive, insatiable — these are typical traits of students in the elementary grades of 3-5. Many believe it’s in these years that a love of knowledge, an attitude of lifelong learning, is instilled.
“At Indian Hill Elementary School, we focus on nurturing and encouraging these natural traits and creating an individualized learning experience to support whole child development. Students have the chance to explore concepts in more depth. Instructional practices supported by data meet the diverse needs of our learners, and our SEEDS program (Safe Environment for Educating Diverse Students) is incorporated into daily work.
“When students leave Indian Hill Elementary after finishing fifth grade, they are on their way to becoming successful, respectful young people, ready to take on greater challenges, academically and personally.”
Niche called Indian Hill Elementary School an “elite public school,” and gave it a rating of “A+”. It cited statistics showing that 95% of the school’s students are at least proficient in both math and reading. Niche also ranked the school as No. 85 on the top 100 list of elementary schools across the USA. The school belongs to the Indian Hill Exempted Village School District
SchoolDigger ranked the school 16th out of 1,653 Ohio elementary schools. It noted that some 78% of the students are white; 9% Asian and 5% Hispanic. It said Indian Hill Elementary School ranked better than 99% of elementary schools in Ohio in 2017.
GreatSchools gave Indian Hill Elementary School an overall 8/10 rating (10/10 being perfect). It gave the school a 10/10 for test scores, noting that “Test scores at this school are far above the state average, suggesting that most students at this school are performing at or above grade level.” The test scores were in Science, Social Studies and Math.
GreatSchools said Indian Hill Elementary School is worth a deeper look since “Average progress with high test scores means students have strong academic skills and students in this school are learning at the same rate as similar students in other schools.”
Six percent of the school’s students are from low-income families. All of the school’s teachers have three or more years of teaching experience.
Number 2: Elm Avenue Elementary School
This notable school is located along Elm Avenue in Wyoming, a city in Hamilton County with a distinguished history in education. The Wyoming City School District was ranked first in Ohio during the 2004-2005 school year. There are three elementary schools (including Elm Avenue Elementary School) in the district; one high school (Wyoming High School, a top-ranked public high school) and one middle school.
Elm Avenue Elementary School has some 210 students from Kindergarten to Grade 4 (K-4) and a 16:1 pupil-to-teacher ratio. Minority enrollment is 24% of the student body (mostly African-American), which below the state average of 29%. Whites constitute 73% of the student body; African Americans, 15%; two or more races, 9% and Hispanic, 2%. Nine percent of students are from low-income families.
GreatSchools gave Elm Avenue Elementary School a 9/10 rating. It said the school “is rated above average in school quality compared to other schools in the state. Students here perform above average on state tests, are making about average year-over-year academic improvement.”
The school received a perfect 10/10 in Adacemics from GreatSchools. Math was the school’s best subject with 95% of students rated as proficient compared to the state average of 68%. In addition, 93% of students were rated proficient in Social Studies (State average: 76%) while 88% were rated proficient in Reading (State average: 56%).
SchoolDigger ranks Elm Avenue Elementary School 109th out of 1,653 Ohio elementary schools. It noted that in 2017, the school ranked better than 93.4% of elementary schools in Ohio. It also ranked last among three ranked elementary schools in the Wyoming City School District. The school’s extracurricular activities include Arts, a Band and a Chorus.
Number 3: Montgomery Elementary School
Montgomery Elementary School, which is part of the Sycamore Community School District, is a K-4 school located along Montgomery Road. With over 440 students, this elite school was given a Grade A+ ranking by Niche. According to state test scores, 92% of its students are at least proficient in math and 92% in reading.
The Sycamore Community School District in southwestern Ohio is often referred to as the “Sycamore Community Schools.” It has a history of excellence in education and was rated “Excellent” (the highest rating, by the Ohio Department of Education) from 2001 to 2007.
GreatSchools gave Montgomery Elementary School a 9/10 rating, saying the school is rated above average in school quality compared to other schools in Ohio. It said students perform above average on state tests, and are making above average year-over-year academic improvement.
The school received a perfect 10/10 in test scores suggesting that most students at this school are performing at or above grade level. Students are more proficient in Math and Social Studies (97% versus the state average of 66% and 76%, respectively) and in Reading, 89% versus 56%.
In 2017, the school ranked better than 99.5% of elementary schools in Ohio. It also ranked first among four ranked elementary schools in the Sycamore Community City School District.
Whites comprise 66% of the school’s population. Asians account for 18%; African-Americans, 6% and Hispanics, 5%.
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