Ranking of primary and secondary schools in Charlotte Mecklenburg

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A new ranking of public, charter, and magnetic schools in North Carolina by US News & World Report shows some of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg and Union County Public Schools to be among the best. Photo by CMS Greenway Park Primary School on August 25, 2021.

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Some Charlotte elementary and middle schools were among the best in the state in the first US News & World Report ranking of K-8 schools, announced Tuesday.

The rankings assess 80,000 state and district public schools – there is no national ranking – and use the same methodology for all grade levels. Schools were assessed on their share of students proficient or better in math and reading and language arts. Half the formula was the test results themselves; the other half was the results in the context of socio-economic demographics.

Charter schools and magnetic schools have been classified into stand-alone categories.

Metrolina Regional Scholars Academy, a K-8 charter public school established in 2000 in Charlotte, ranked # 1 for elementary schools and # 2 for college in North Carolina. Scholars Academy took the top spot statewide in the Charter Schools category for the Elementary and Middle School categories.

According to its website, Scholars Academy addresses 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, origins and cultures,” says the statement of the goal.

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

The other area schools in North Carolina’s Top 10 Elementary Schools are: Union County Public School Rea View in Waxhaw (ranked fourth); UCPS’s Weddington Elementary at Matthews (tied for fifth); and, UCPS’s Marvin Elementary (ranked tenth).

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

Other school rankings

Irwin Academic Center, a magnetic school, was the only other CMS elementary school to rank in the top 20 statewide. 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 highest in the district for middle schools in the state at No.12. Piedmont Open IB ranked 21st overall, while Community House (26th), EE Waddell Language Academy (now the South Academy of International Languages, 27th), South Charlotte Middle (28th) and Randolph Middle (33rd) placed in the top 50.

Colleges outside of Charlotte that have made the top of the list include: Mount Morne School in Iredell-Statesville (ranked fourth in the state); UCPS Weddington Middle (ranked sixth); UCPS Marvin Ridge Middle (ranked ninth).

Of the college magnetic schools in the state rankings, five from Charlotte-Mecklenburg made the top 10: Piedmont Open IB (ranked second); EE Waddell Language Academy (third ranked); Randolph Middle (ranked fourth); Northwest School of the Arts (ranked 10th).

Of the 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 placed third.

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

Areas of intervention: mathematics and reading

The new rankings focus on two areas: math and reading skills. Ranking data examines how students perform on state assessments or how they perform against expectations.

The state assessment data used in the ranking is from the 2018-19 school year, prior to 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 top ranked colleges with 2,319, followed by Texas (1,942), Illinois (1,243), New York (1,219) and Florida (997).

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