Kansas is known for its contribution to agriculture as a mass producer of wheat. However, from farm ground to towering skyscrapers in Kansas City, there's a little something for everyone to enjoy in the Sunflower State. While Kansas is ranked #27 overall by U.S. News and World Report, its education is only ranked 26th nationally. This means that not every school in Kansas is successful.
From test scores to academic progress and college readiness, there are many things to consider when deciding which elementary, middle, and high school is best for your child. Additionally, when it comes to ranking colleges, the primary concern is the graduation rate. As we discuss the schools below, keep in mind that our primary information was drawn from GreatSchools.org.
Frances Willard Elementary School
201 North 4th Street, Arkansas City, KS, 67005
This public school that serves children in Pre-K through 5th grade is part of the Arkansas City Public School District. It receives a low score on GreatSchools.org due to test scores, academic progress, and equity all ranking well below average compared to other schools in the state. English proficiency test scores come in at 14% while the rest of the state is scoring in the 32nd percentile. Additionally, math test scores are only hitting 10% while the rest of the state is averaging 29%.
There's also a large achievement gap at Frances Willard. Low-income and underserved students are scoring 8% on their test scores while all other students are hitting 16%. This is a large problem because the majority of the school's enrolled students are classified as low-income (75%), and these numbers indicate that the school may struggle to properly serve those in need. This could be due to the fact that the student-to-teacher ratio is 19:1 which is higher than the state average of 14:1 as well.
However, this school does have a few positive aspects. Suspension rates and absenteeism are lower than the state average. Additionally, 93% of the teachers have more than 3 years of experience, and 100% are certified.
Quindaro Elementary School
2800 Farrow Avenue, Kansas City, KS, 66104
Quindaro Elementary School is part of the Kansas City School District. While this school has an average ranking for academic progress on GreatSchools, it only ranks 1/10 when it comes to test scores. In fact, all three major academic subjects that students are tested on have an even lower percentile than Frances Willard's testing results. For example, students at Quindaro are only reaching the 9th percentile in math and the 12th percentile in English.
This school also has a higher percentage of students who have been suspended. 6% of all students at Quindaro Elementary have experienced suspension at some point, which is higher than the state average of 4%. Additionally, absentee rates are much higher here with 16% of all students and 25% of students with disabilities marked as “chronically absent.” This is higher than state averages which are 15% and 20%, respectively.
Dwight D. Eisenhower Middle School
2901 North 72nd Street, Kansas City, KS, 66109
Serving nearly 700 students in grades 6-8 in the Kansas City School District is Dwight D. Eisenhower Middle School. GreatSchools.org gives this educational facility a ranking of 2/10. This is largely due to exceptionally low test scores. Students at Eisenhower Middle School are falling short in English, math, and science. English test scores are only reaching 7%, while math scores are hitting 3% and science scores are 4%. This signifies that the students are likely underperforming in their grade level compared to the rest of the state.
There's also a large achievement gap at the school with only 6% of low-income and underserved students reaching adequate test scores while the rest of the school is hitting 13%. Additionally, suspension rates are very high at Eisenhower. The state average is 4%, yet 20% of all students at this school have been suspended at some point. This also ties into the absentee rates which are higher than many other schools in the state as well. 28% of students are reportedly absent chronically.
In positive news, this school exceeds the state average in advanced courses. Every student participates in Algebra 1 and the school has a 93% passing rate, which nearly meets the state average of 94%.
Rosedale Middle School
3600 Springfield Street, Kansas City, KS, 66103
Rosedale Middle School is another educational facility in the Kansas City School District. Students in grades 6-8 seem to struggle with test scores here as well. English proficiency is in the 11th percentile, with math at 6%, and science at 4%. However, Rosedale does exceed state averages in Algebra 1 participation with 81% of students participating in the class. Only 86% pass, however.
Suspension rates and absentee rates are also higher at Rosedale. 12% have been suspended at some point and 22% of all students have been marked “chronically absent.” Even more alarming, is that 30% of students with disabilities have been reported absent often. This is much higher than the state average of 20% and could indicate that the school struggles to help students in need.
Even so, the student-to-teacher ratio is lower than other schools in the state and there appear to be ample counselors. Around 93% of teachers have more than 3 years experience as well.
Northeast High School
1003 East South Street, Arma, KS, 66712
Located in Rural Kansas, Northeast High School serves a small student population. GreatSchools gives it a low ranking, however, due to test scores, college readiness, and equity all falling below state averages. In fact, students testing in both English and math score less than 1% when the state averages are 32% and 29% respectively. Science is a bit higher at 13%, but this is still well below average.
College readiness is also an important factor to consider when choosing a school. At Northeast, the 4-year graduation rate is only 78% which is lower than the state average of 88%. The average ACT score and AP course participation are also low. Less than 1% of high school students are participating in an AP math or other course. Keep in mind that this could also be due to what's available to the school in terms of resources and college course availability.
Northeast High does appear to have a low student-to-teacher ratio of 9:1, however. The student-to-counselor ratio is also below the state average.
Liberal Senior High School
1611 West 2nd Street, Liberal, KS, 67901
According to GreatSchools, Liberal High School only has a 1-star average review rate from previous students and staff. It also ranks 1/10 for test scores as students are well below state averages in English, math, and science. However, these test scores are slightly higher than Northeast High, with the English and math percentiles reaching 7% and math coming in at 6%.
College readiness also scores higher than at Northeast High, but AP course participation and average ACT score still fall below average. The 4-year high school graduation rate meets the state average, however, at 88% of students receiving their degree. AP class participation is very low, though. Only about 1% of high school students participate in both math and science. As mentioned earlier, keep in mind that this could be due to what resources and courses the school has available.
608 N 18 St, Kansas City, KS 66102
When it comes to ranking colleges, one of the most important things to consider is the graduation rate. According to CollegeSimply.com, Donnelly College has the lowest rate in the state at only 12.6%. As a private, Catholic 4-year school, Donnelly College offers nursing programs as well as associate and bachelor's degrees. While tuition is relatively low here, so is the average salary after graduation. CollegeSimply reports that 10 years after graduating, previous students are only earning an average yearly salary of $25,800.
Choosing the Right School for Your Child in Kansas
While the schools discussed here are ranked lowest in the state according to GreatSchools.org, this doesn't mean everything about them is terrible. Many schools have pros and cons. And, when it comes to deciding what school is best for your student, you'll likely consider many factors such as location, extracurricular programs, class size, and cost. Also, be sure to review each school and consider test scores, academic progress, college preparedness, and graduation rates. Keep in mind that Kansas has some of the best schools to choose from as well.
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