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The 10 Worst Schools In Columbus Today

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The 10 Worst Schools In Columbus Today

While choosing the right school for your child can be a challenge, there are some factors to consider that may help you determine the best fit. In Ohio, the state has given each public school a score out of 5 based on graduation rates, test scores, and college or career readiness. Some of the worst schools in Columbus, Ohio have scored less than 2 out of 5.

Many of these schools have students who struggle to excel academically. Even though the staff may do their best to remediate any issues, students are falling behind significantly. Your child’s education contributes significantly to their future success. That’s why it’s so important to find a school with quality education and support for students.

The list of the worst schools in Columbus below is based on test scores, academic progress, and graduation rates. Keep reading to find out more about these Ohio schools and how they compare to other schools in the district.

sweet little female latin child studying on desk asking for help in stress with a tired face expression in children education and back to school concept isolated on white background
Even at the elementary school level, it's easy for students to fall behind when they don't receive the support they need.

©Marcos Mesa Sam Wordley/Shutterstock.com

Avondale Elementary School

141 Hawkes Ave, Columbus, OH 43222

Avondale Elementary School is a public elementary school in Columbus, Ohio. They serve a student population of 219 and they have been recognized for their implementation of school-wide positive behavioral interventions and support.

Avondale Elementary School is listed as one of the worst schools due to its Ohio Report Card score and overall test scores. For the 2021-22 school year, Avondale Elementary scored 1.8 out of 5. Their test scores also show that students at Avondale are falling far below the state average. While the state average for English proficiency is 59% and the state average for math proficiency is 58%, the students at Avondale don’t meet these requirements. English proficiency is 36% and math proficiency is 30%.

Livingston Elementary School

825 E. Livingston Avenue, Columbus, OH 43205

Livingston Elementary School in Columbus is a public elementary school with 312 students. The minority enrollment at Livingston Elementary is 93% and there are 21 full-time teachers at this school.

According to the Ohio Report Card, Livingston Elementary scored 1.8 out of 5. The majority of students at Livingston Elementary are not performing at grade level based on their test scores. As far as proficiency, only 13% of students are proficient in English, 9% are proficient in math, and 6% are proficient in science. However, students are making average academic progress to catch up with their peers.

Ohio Avenue Elementary School

505 S. Ohio Avenue, Columbus, OH 43205

Ohio Avenue Elementary School is a public elementary school in Columbus with 313 students. At Ohio Avenue Elementary, the student:teacher ratio is 17:1. On the Ohio Report Card, this elementary school scored 1.8 out of 5.

According to student test scores, the students at Ohio Avenue Elementary School are significantly below other students in the state. Only 3% of students are proficient in math, which is the lowest subject at this school. The other subjects are higher but still below the state average with 16% of students proficient in English and 20% of students proficient in science. They have scored 7 out of 10 for academic progress so even though students are starting low, the staff is supporting their academic progress better than other schools.

Arts Impact Middle School

680 Jack Gibbs Blvd, Columbus, OH 43215

Arts Impact Middle School in Columbus, Ohio is a public school for students in grades 6-8. Out of all the middle schools in Ohio, this school ranked number 631 based on test scores and how well they prepare students for high school.

Part of the mission of Arts Impact Middle School is to help students reach their full potential as artists, creative thinkers, and lifelong learners. On the Ohio Report Card, Arts Impact Middle School scored 1.7 out of 5. Based on their academic progress, students at Arts Impact Middle School are making less progress from year to year than other students in the state. They also have low overall test scores, with the lowest subject being math. Only 14% of students at Arts Impact Middle School are proficient in this subject.

Johnson Park Middle School

1130 S Waverly St, Columbus, OH 43227

Johnson Park Middle School is a public, middle school in Columbus with 368 students. They have a student:teacher ratio of 12:1 and a diverse community of students. Compared to other middle schools in the state, students at Johnson Park are falling significantly behind in their academic progress.

Based on the Ohio School Report Card, Johnson Park Middle School received a score of 1.7 out of 5. Students are not performing at grade level and only 3% of students are proficient in math according to their test scores. Additionally, 6% of students are proficient in science and 15% are proficient in English.

high school students graduates tossing up hats over blue sky.
At the high school level, graduation rates say a lot about the quality of education and support available to students.


South High School

1160 Ann Street, Columbus, OH 43206

South High School in Columbus is a public high school with 1,086 students. This high school has a diverse community and athletics program. When it comes to academic progress, test scores, and college readiness, many students at South High School are falling behind. On the Ohio Schools Report Card, this school scored 1.5 out of 5.

The graduation rate at South High School is 80%, which is still below the state average of 87%. Out of the students who graduate, few are prepared to go on to college or start a career. Only 9% of students participate in the SAT and out of that group of students, only 2% score high enough to be prepared for college. The math scores for students are particularly low with only 10% of students proficient in math overall and 12% of students proficient in Algebra 1.

Notable Alumni

Among the students who graduated from this public high school were several noteworthy names. From former professional athletes to public employees, many famous names have attended this school.

  • Elbert Dubenion, Former Buffalo Bills Wide Receiver
  • Greg Bell, Former NFL Running Back
  • Tom Moody, Former Columbus Mayor
  • General Curtis Lemay, Former Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force

Central High School

840 W State St, Columbus, OH 43222

Central High School is a public, charter high school in Columbus, Ohio. The aim of this school is to provide students with an alternative path to getting a high school diploma. They accomplish this through online courses that are aligned with the standards of the Department of Education.

At Central High School, students can participate in online courses in an environment that’s meant to address the individual needs of each student. Part of their mission is to provide students with the necessary education leading to a high school diploma, higher education, and a job. Despite this method of education, Central High School has an incredibly low graduation rate of 28%. When it comes to subjects like math and English, only 9% of students are proficient in English and 8% of students are proficient in Algebra.

Notable Alumni

Central High School is known to be one of the oldets high schools in Columbus. And with that many names have roamed its halls. Here are a few noteworthy names that attended this school:

  • Howard Cassidy, Heisman Trophy Winner
  • George Bellows, Artist
  • Bob Kline, Former MBL Player
  • Ernie Wheelwright, Former NFL Running Back

Linden-McKinley STEM Academy

1320 Duxberry Avenue, Columbus, OH 43211

Linden-McKinley STEM Academy is a public, magnet school in Columbus that serves 828 students. They offer educational programs for students in grades 7-12. They also have a diverse community compared to many other schools.

When it comes to college readiness, the students at Linden-McKinley STEM Academy fall below the state average. While they have a graduation rate of 76%, only 2% of students participate in the SAT to prepare for college. Overall test scores are also low with 3% of students proficient in math, 18% proficient in science, and 15% proficient in English. On the Ohio Report Card, they scored a 1 out of 5.

Notable Alumni

While Linden-McKinley has a fairly small student population, it's still been the alma mater of some relatively famous alumni. Here are a few names you may recognize:

  • William “Butch” Thomas Jr., Actor 
  • James “Buster” Douglas, Heavyweight Boxing Champion
  • Cedric Brown, Former NFL Player
  • Jim Cleamons, Former NBA Player

Franklin University

201 S Grant Ave, Columbus, OH 43215

Franklin University is a private university in Columbus, Ohio. This university offers 100% online degrees, but it falls on the list of worst schools due to its low graduation rate. Out of the students enrolled at Franklin University, only 9% graduate.

Franklin University offers affordable education for busy students and they offer numerous Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral degrees. Their programs are geared toward working adults who are also trying to pursue a degree, which likely adds to the low graduation rate of this university. 

Columbus State Community College

550 E Spring St, Columbus, OH 43215

Columbus State Community College is a public community college in Columbus. There are about 25,000 students enrolled at Columbus State Community College and like most community colleges, they have open admission for any student with a high school diploma or GED. For Ohio residents, tuition is $5,038 and tuition is $10,304 for out-of-state students.

At Columbus State Community College, the graduation rate is 12.3%. Although measuring graduation rates at community colleges can be tricky, there has actually been a positive trend in the rates of completion at community colleges nationwide. While the graduation rate at Columbus State Community College is low, it’s difficult to say how many of those students may have gone on to other institutions without first completing their 2-year degree.

Comparing the Worst Schools in Columbus, Ohio

Most teachers do everything they can to help their students, but many still fall behind academically. This list of worst schools in Columbus is based on academic progress, test scores, and overall graduation rates.

Even though these factors put students significantly behind their peers, there are still many opportunities for them to catch up with the right level of support and interventions. When you’re looking for a school for your child, test scores are something to consider to help you determine how much support is available for students.

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