The Puget Sound Region's Top 100 Elementary Schools Ranked by Academics, Diversity
Maltby Elementary Ranked #36
By Melissa Crowe – Research Director, Puget Sound Business Journal
Stanley Elementary School, a single-story brick school in downtown Tacoma with 290 students, ranks No. 1 on this year's list of the best elementary schools in the Puget Sound region.
While the school may not have the highest test scores in the region, the Puget Sound Business Journal's annual elementary school ranking looks at a variety of factors to determine the top schools.
Schools that are able to achieve strong academic results when working with disadvantaged populations, like those who receive free and reduced lunch, are rewarded in the ranking. We also take into account the ethnic diversity of a school. At Stanley, three-quarters of students qualify for free or reduced lunch, and nearly 75 percent of the student body is non-white.
With this ranking, the Puget Sound Business Journal aims to identify schools like Stanley Elementary that have found success with students from a variety of backgrounds. Our ranking system also rewards schools where students score exceedingly high on tests regardless of their background.
To put together this list, we dug through data from the Washington state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction to consider how ethnic and economic diversity, teacher experience and classroom size factor into a school's success.
Math and English test scores were averaged out for third, fourth and fifth graders and had the highest weight in the rank, followed by the percentage of non-white students and the percentage of students who qualify for free and reduced lunch. We also factored in the average years educators have spent in front of a classroom and the number of students per classroom teacher.
Of the 273,366 students enrolled at the 552 schools considered for the rank, more than half – 139,527 to be exact – identify as non-white and 105,996 students, nearly 40 percent, qualify for free or reduced lunch.
In the top 10 percent of our rank, which considered 552 elementary schools across King, Kitsap, Pierce and Snohomish counties, seven have majority non-white student bodies and two have more than 66 percent students qualifying for free or reduced lunch.