Best Elementary Schools in Boston - 10 of SchoolSparrow’s Out-Performers - SchoolSparrow - Fair School Ratings - Shifting Focus Away From Parent Income (2023)

Previously we published the 5 best elementary schools in Boston, and then the top 5 elementary schools in the Boston Suburbs. Today we have released this updated list of the top 10 best elementary schools in Boston. This list is based on an update to our ratings methodology. Visit our website to see our rankings table for all Boston area schools.

Previously Highlighted Boston Public Schools

The 5 Boston schools previously published as out-performers are still doing incredible! If you are looking for a home in Boston, don’t overlook these previously published out-performers:

  • Joseph Hurley Elementary
  • Manassah E Bradley Elementary
  • Warren Prescott Elementary
  • Eliot Elementary
  • Joseph P Manning Elementary
  • Grew Elementary (honorable mention)
  • Perkins Elementary (honorable mention)
  • Holmes Elementary (honorable mention)

A SchoolSparrow Out-Performer is a public school that has a low rating (6 and below) on all the real estate search portals, but the same school has a high rating on our system. Our system is different in that we factor in the socioeconomic status of students who take the standardized test at each school. This is a very important distinction from other sites who do not take this into consideration, because it turns out that parent income is, by far, the largest influencer of test scores at any one school.

Bias towards schools where parents have high incomes is the hallmark of school ratings that don’t take into account socioeconomic demographics. The school ratings that parents see for schools on all the major real estate search portals are discriminatory, and they steer parents towards privileged areas and away from urban areas with higher levels of diversity. They also give poor marks to just about every school in poor neighborhoods, when in reality, some of these schools are doing an incredible job at educating kids.

SchoolSparrow recognizes these underrated schools, and aims to bring equitable school rankings to all US parents.

The 10 Boston Elementary schools in this list have low ratings on all the real estate search portals, but these are some of the best schools in the entire Boston Metro area.

Parents, don’t make the mistake of assuming you have to move to the Boston Suburbs to get a good educational experience for your kids. Possibly the biggest influence you can have on their education is to ensure they are part of a diverse environment at school, with kids from other cultures, races and socioeconomic backgrounds. A diverse environment has several positive impacts on children. For example, research has shown these kids have higher IQ’s, better decision making skills, better teamwork and social-emotional skills, and of course more tolerance for people of different races and backgrounds. These are the kids that we want leading the next generation.

Not all of these schools are diverse environments, but they all share one thing in common: they are underrated due to the biases of today’s ranking systems.

YOU CAN TAKE ACTION, RIGHT NOW

Please help bring light to unfairly underrated schools nationwide by sharing or retweeting:

Retweet if you support fair school ratings, instead of ratings that favor wealthy schools and underrate high quality lower income schools. Parents need a more balanced view on school quality when making a housing decision. @zillow @Redfin @realtordotcom https://t.co/VtWJbSWzjV

— SchoolSparrow (@SchoolSparrow) March 29, 2021
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Finally, we envision a rating system that is customized by parents according to the specific needs of their kids. We actually don’t think a rating schools based on test scores is a good practice. However, compared to the ubiquitous biased system that is out there today, our rankings are a step in the right direction.

When referring to school scores, we are referring to the % of children that meet or exceed state standards on the Reading/Language Arts portion of the 2018-19 standardized test.

So, without further ado, below are Boston’s Top 10 Elementary Schools that are Out-Performers.

1. Harvard-Kent Elementary School

Harvard-Kent Elementary School is an underrated gem in the Boston area, and is definitely one of the best elementary schools in Boston. Greatschools fell short and gave them a 4/10, but we at SchoolSparrow recognize their efforts with a 10/10! Harvard-Kent is a Tier 2 school under Boston Public School’s School Quality Framework.

TAKE ACTION, RIGHT NOW, AND HELP FIX UNFAIR RATING PRACTICES

Schools with similar socioeconomic profiles score 29 points on average. But students at Harvard Kent are killing it with 49 points, fully 70% above average! This level of outperformance is due to the school community, and without a doubt, something very positive is happening at Harvard-Kent Elementary. This school deserves to be on every parent’s shortlist when considering where to live and which school to send their kids.

Parents, don’t believe the 4/10 you see on all the real estate search portals. This school should be on your list of schools to tour as a potential match for your child.

The median home price for this district is $815,145, but we’ve found this two bedroom condo that is only a five minute drive from the school for $585,000. Check this great school out today!

Address: 50 Bunker Hill St, Charlestown, MA 02129

Website: https://www.harvard-kent.org/

2. Ellis Mendell Elementary School

Ellis Mendell Elementary School ranks high in diversity with a striking 40 out of 40, making this school a great place for your child to learn about inclusivity and diversity. In addition, Mendell will teach your child a thing or two about empathy due to their higher than average population of kids with disabilities.

Mendell has a full inclusion model for children with disabilities, making this a popular school for parents who have a child with special needs or parents who value the interaction their child will have with special needs kids.

We’ve included in our algorithm an adjustment accounting for children with disabilities, and this adjustment increases the percent proficiency of Mendell students from the reported 57% to over 65%, well over the state average!

This makes Mendell one of the best elementary schools in the entire Boston Metro Area. Parents, run, don’t walk, to the next Mendell open house if you are looking for an incredible elementary experience for your children.

Greatschools missed the mark with this school, giving it a 4/10 on their ranking scale, and as a result, all the real estate search portals are steering families away from this school. However, SchoolSparrow’s more equitable algorithm calculates a 9/10 rating for this high quality learning institution. Mendell is a Tier 1 school under Boston Public School’s School Quality Framework.

TAKE ACTION, RIGHT NOW, AND HELP FIX UNFAIR RATING PRACTICES

Consider this quote from Mendell’s principal:

“At the Mendell [School], inclusion means so much more than how we teach a wide range of learners. We are about fostering a sense of belonging through relationships. It means respecting and celebrating the unique racial, ethnic and linguistic identities of our students and families. It is about creating a safe place for diverse viewpoints and empowering students to develop the critical consciousness necessary to “stand tall” for justice in their own neighborhoods.”

Interested in sending your kids here? The median home price in the Roxbury neighborhood is $534,145. Check out this single family home with 5BD/4BAcurrenlty listed for $515,000 nearby in the Roxbury neighborhood of Boston.

Address: 164 School St, Roxbury, MA 02119

Website: https://www.bostonpublicschools.org/mendell

3. John F. Kennedy Elementary School

John F Kennedy Elementary School is another great school in the Boston area. Greatschools only gives them a measly 5/10, but we recognize the fabulous education that is going on at Kennedy Elementary, and our algorithm scores this awesome school at 8/10. Kennedy Elementary has a diversity score of 15 out of 40, making it a fairly diverse school. Kennedy Elementary is a Tier 1 school under Boston Public School’s School Quality Framework.

TAKE ACTION, RIGHT NOW, AND HELP FIX UNFAIR RATING PRACTICES

With regards to state standardized testing, students at Kennedy Elementary score on average 31% higher than students at similar schools. While the expected or average score for schools with a similar socioeconomic profile is 32.1% proficient, students at Kennedy score 47.6% proficient when adjusted for CWD students.

Kennedy Elementary has deep partnerships with community agencies to ensure students have all the academic and social-emotional support needed to achieve proficiency. As we learned in our report on out-performing schools in Chicago, one common theme among these schools is they utilize community partners to enhance learning. We are glad to hear Kennedy Elementary is nurturing these relationships.

If you’re interested in moving to this district, the median home price is $660,790. We’ve found a priced two bedroom one bathroom condo that is a five minute drive from the school at $484,000!

Address: 7 Bolster St, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130

Website: https://www.bostonpublicschools.org/school/kennedy-jf-elementary-school

4. Richard J Murphy K-8 School

Richard J Murphy K-8 School is an incredible school that is deserving of a great rating. They exceed expectations with a high diversity score of 30 out of 40! Their commitment to inclusion is one of the reasons we consider them an out-performer, and one of the best elementary schools in Boston.

Other than diversity, their standardized testing is very impressive, scoring nearly 20% higher than Massachusetts schools with similar socioeconomic profiles. Our algorithm, which accounts for CWD test takers, indicates that 62% of students at the Murphy School meet or exceed state testing requirements, compared to the state average of 52%. Murphy Elementary is a Tier 2 school under Boston Public School’s School Quality Framework.

We gave this amazing school a 8/10, but parents will see only a 5/10 on all the real estate search platforms. How is this impacting the community around this awesome school? Here at SchoolSparrow, we are committed to recognizing underrated schools and giving them the spotlight they deserve. Parents, don’t let yourself be steered away from Murphy K-8 School by all the real estate search platforms out there! This school should be on your shortlist of potential schools to tour.

TAKE ACTION, RIGHT NOW, AND HELP FIX UNFAIR RATING PRACTICES

Looking to move to this area? The median home price is $538,436. We found this great listing that is reasonably priced – a two bedroom condo close to the school currently listed at $399,000. Hurry because every other property in this area that is similarly priced is under contract right now!

Address: 1 Worrell St, Dorchester, MA 02122

Website: https://www.bostonpublicschools.org/murphy

5. Charles Sumner Elementary School.

15 Basile St, Roslindale, MA 02131

GreatSchools biased rating system assigns this high performing school a lowly 4/10 rating. SchoolSparrow’s algorithm assigns an 8/10 rating. Sumner Elementary has a 30/40 diversity rating, so students will benefit from the well established benefits that come with a diverse environment. Sumner Elementary is a Tier 2 school under Boston Public School’s School Quality Framework.

Schools with similar demographics average a 33.7 score on standardized tests, but Sumner students blow this away with a 42, which is 25% above expectations!

Sumner is one of the best elementary schools in Boston. Parents, don’t believe the biased ratings you see on all the real estate search portals! This one should be on your shortlist.

Sumner is in the Roslindale neighborhood. According to Realtor.com, Roslindale has a median home sale price of $550,000. We found this listing, a condo currently listed for $359,000 in the attendance boundaries of Sumner Elementary.

6. Mary Lyon K-8 School

50 Beechcroft Street, Brighton, MA 02135

GreatSchools misses the mark with 5/10, while SchoolSparrow’s more equitable algorithm assigns this school a more appropriate 8/10 rating. Boston Public Schools has this high quality school listed as a Tier 4 school.

Lyon is one of the best elementary schools in Boston, and they have our highest diversity rating with a 40/40! No doubt students at Lyon Elementary are benefitting from all the well documented benefits of a diverse environment, including better teamwork and decision making skills, and more acceptance of people from different economic, racial and ethnic backgrounds. We want kids from Lyon Elementary leading the next generation.

Lyon has an expected score of 38.6, but they outperform this average benchmark with a 47! That’s over 20% above expectations.

This school is doing something right, and any parent moving to Boston should consider a tour of Lyon Elementary.

This school is in the Brighton neighborhood of Boston with a median home sale price of $500,000 according to realtor.com. We found this listing in the attendance boundaries of Lyon Elementary, a condo currently on the market for $365,000.

7. Bridge Boston Charter School

435 Warren St, Roxbury, MA 02119

We recognize this school’s high quality teaching with an 8/10 rating, while GreatSchools underrates this school with a 5/10 rating.

Bridge Boston has a mission to recruit students who experience great barriers to learning. They conduct outreach in homeless shelters and several additional places/organizations to find at risk children. 20% of the children at Bridge Boston receive special education services. If families are looking for a place where kids learn about empathy, consider Bridge Boston Charter School!

Bridge Boston has a respectable 20/40 diversity rating, so students are exposed to other cultures. 24% of Bridge Boston’s students are english language learners.

Despite these challenges, students at this school are outperforming expectations. Schools with similar demography average a score of 34.6, but Bridge Boston students score a 42, which is over 20% above expectations.

Our hats are off to the parents, students, administration, support staff and especially the hard working and dedicated teachers at Bridge Boston Charter School. We see you and are so pleased to be able to recognize your stellar educational support of at-risk youth.

This school is in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston. According to Realtor.com, Dorchester has a median home sale price of $597,500. We found this 2BD condo currently listed at $329,900 in Dorchester.

Visit their website to learn more.

8. The Mather School

1 Parish Street, Dorchester, MA 02122

Mather was the first free public school in North America and was established in 1639!

GreatSchools biased rating system misrepresents this awesome school with a 4/10 rating, but SchoolSparrow recognizes this school’s efforts with an 8/10 rating. Mather Elementary is a Tier 2 school under Boston Public School’s School Quality Framework.

School’s with similar demographic profiles score 33 points on average, but students at Mather Elementary exceed expectations with 41 points. That’s nearly 25% above average, and shows that educators are making the difference at this high quality school. Mather Elementary is one of the best elementary schools in Boston.

Parents, don’t overlook this school because of its unfair low rating on all the real estate search portals. Mather Elementary could be the perfect place for your kids, especially considering it scores a 30/40 diversity rating. Children at Mather Elementary are the beneficiaries of all the well documented advantages that come with a diverse environment that focuses on inclusion. One of the tenements at Mather Elementary is to RESPECT and celebrate everyone’s differences.

Mather is built on a philosophy that college begins in kindergarten. Classrooms are named after the college of the teacher, and Mather has a free after-school tutoring program. Students have nightly homework assignments starting in Kindergarten, and the expectation of 20 minutes of daily reading at home.

If parents are looking for a school that will prepare a child for college, then Mather Elementary could be the perfect place.

Mather Elementary is located in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston. That median home sale price in Dorchester is $597,500 according to realtor.com. We found this listing, a 3BD/2BA condo located in Mather’s attendance boundaries.

Visit their website to learn more.

9. The Patrick Lyndon School

20 Mount Vernon St, West Roxbury, MA 02132

The Patrick Lyndon School was unfairly given a 4/10 Greatschools rating. We gave them an 8/10! Interested in learning more? We’ve found great diversity and testing statistics for this underrated elementary school. Lyndon K-8 is a Tier 1 school under Boston Public School’s School Quality Framework.

TAKE ACTION, RIGHT NOW, AND HELP FIX UNFAIR RATING PRACTICES

Our algorithm calculates an expected average score for schools with similar demographics at 46.3% proficient. Lyndon’s actual score is 15-20% above expectations at 54%, which is above the state average. Educators at Lyndon are making a difference and positively impacting student performance. Lyndon Elementary is one of the best elementary schools in Boston.

Parents, don’t overlook this great school in the West Roxbury neighborhood of Boston, where the median home sale price for condos is $425,000 according to Redfin. We’ve found this two bedroom condo located in Lyndon’s attendance boundaries currently listed at $450,000.

Website: https://www.patricklyndonschool.org/

10. Josiah Quincy Elementary School

885 Washington St, Boston, MA 02111

Located in Downtown Boston close to Chinatown, Josiah Quincy Elementary School is an out-performer that we think everyone should know about! With a diversity score of 20 out of 40, this school has a good amount of diversity with students from different cultures.

It is interesting to note that all students at Quincy Elementary are given Mandarin Language instruction. The school has partnerships with many local community partners, and an excellent music program with an orchestra for grades K-6.

Greatschools only gives this amazing school a 4/10, but our more equitable algorithm indicates Quincy Elementary is operating at more like a 8/10! Quincy Elementary is a Tier 1 school under Boston Public School’s School Quality Framework. We believe it is important to recognize such a school and bring attention to their achievements, so that parents won’t be steered away from Quincy based on the unfair scores that are displayed on all the real estate search engines.

TAKE ACTION, RIGHT NOW, AND HELP FIX UNFAIR RATING PRACTICES

On average, students at Josiah Quincy score an 20% above students at schools with similar socioeconomic profiles. While students at other schools with similar income profiles average 41% proficient, students at Josiah Quincy score 49% proficient.

Impressed by this school? The median home price around this school is high at $1.4M, but luckily in Boston, you can live in a more affordable area and still send your kids to Josiah Quincy. Boston has a lottery system. But if want to live close to the school, we found this listing for a 4BD/2BA condo currently listed at $950,000 and located in Quincy’s attendance boundaries.

Website: https://www.jqes.org/

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