Best Elementary Schools

Three R-I schools listed in top 15 of new statewide ranking ​
Posted on 11/09/2021
Oak Grove celebrates its first Gold Award of Excellence with Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports representatives in May.

Each of Poplar Bluff’s lower elementary buildings have been named ‘Best Elementary Schools’ by U.S. News & World Report, with three R-I campuses placing among the top 15 schools in Missouri.

Out of over 1,000 schools in the publication’s inaugural elementary rankings released on Wednesday, Oct. 20, Eugene Field was listed at No. 8, followed by Oak Grove at No. 9 and Lake Road Elementary at 14. The top 30 percent of schools statewide qualified for the award.

“As I look over the list in its entirety, I’m struck overall by the high-quality schools throughout Missouri and look to the presence of each of our schools as indicative of the successes they have realized and the hard work that has gone into all students: every hour, every day,” reacted Dr. Scott Dill, R-I superintendent. “That said, having three in the top 15? I’ll take that all day! It speaks volumes to the work that is being done throughout the district.”

According to the digital media company, all public schools were ranked based on proficiencies in math and reading on state assessments from 2019, with the other half of the methodology factoring in the scores in the context of socioeconomic demographics. “In other words, the top-ranked schools are high achieving ones that succeeded in educating all of their students,” the report states.

Eugene Field topped the list locally by scoring 87 percent proficient or advanced in reading and 77 percent in math on the Missouri Assessment Program test; while Oak Grove scored 82 percent proficient or advanced in both subject areas; and Lake Road, which serves up to grade six as opposed to 1-3 like the others, scored 82 percent in math and 77 in reading.

Eugene Field is a Lighthouse School under The Leader in Me initiative, and Lake Road and Oak Grove are National Blue Ribbon Schools. All three schools have been named National ESEA (Elementary and Secondary Education Act) Distinguished Schools, with both Oak Grove and Lake Road being honored by the federal program twice.

Lake Road has earned the Gold Award of Excellence five times in a row under Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports, while Oak Grove achieved gold-level implementation for the first time this past school year. Lake Road has also been named a National Showcase School under the Capturing Kids’ Hearts initiative for the past four consecutive years. Meanwhile O’Neal Elementary, which U.S. News additionally ranked in the top 10 percent of Missouri schools, has been named a showcase school three times.

“When evaluating the data upon which these rankings were based, it’s obvious they harken back pre-pandemic. But what I know about our school district since these data were tabulated is that we have advanced the collective work of the district in ways that were previously unimagined, persevering in the face of overwhelming adversity in the past year and a half,” Dill continued. “I don’t know what metrics they will use to measure success after these tumultuous years, but I know in each and every school throughout the district, our teachers have given to the fullest measure as we remained safely open for the educational benefit of each student entrusted to our care.”

This is the first year U.S. News & World Report has included the K-8 grade span in the franchise’s signature “best” series of consumer guides. The public school rankings are based on data collected by the U.S. Department of Education.


Cutline: Landing No. 9 in the recent state rankings release by U.S. News, Oak Grove celebrates its first Gold Award of Excellence with Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports representatives in May.

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