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Leadership Best Practices

Top 10 School Districts in America: What Do They Have in Common?

November 9th, 2017

Picture the perfect school district. What does it look like? In which areas does it consistently rank the highest? While academics, administration, and teachers may come to mind, other factors deserve consideration as well. Diversity, sports, and food, for example, also affect a school district’s perceived success. To determine which characteristics are most common among successful schools, let’s take a look at the top 10* school districts in the United States.

According to, a website that “combines rigorous analysis with authentic reviews to highlight the best places to live and go to school,” the 2018 Best School Districts in America are:

To calculate its rankings, Niche assigned each school district a letter-grade (A+, A, A-, etc.) based on dozens of public data sets and millions of reviews. Each overall letter-grade represents an average of individual grades in 10 specific areas:

  1. Academics
  2. Administration
  3. Clubs & Activities
  4. College Prep
  5. Diversity
  6. Food
  7. Health & Safety
  8. Resources & Facilities
  9. Sports
  10. Teachers

All 10 school districts earned an overall grade of A+, but let’s look deeper into the individual categories. Which categories hold the most weight? Which are the most important for schools to look at?

For example, if all 10 of the top school districts earned an A+ in academics, we could infer that academics are a critical component in ranking a school district. And if we see that diversity earned only C grades, then we could infer that diversity does not necessarily impact a school’s overall ranking.

If you look at Figure 1. You’ll notice that all 10 schools were given A+ grades in academics, administration, and college prep. Conversely, diversity grades ranged from A- to C. We know that every school earned an overall grade of A+, so we can use the chart to determine which areas are more “valuable” than others.

[Figure 1]

What do the 10 best school districts in America have in common?

Based on the grades and rankings from, successful school districts scored the best grades in academics, administration, and college prep. The next best grades were given to food, followed by clubs & activities, health & safety, resources & facilities, and teachers. Sports and diversity rounded out the lowest-graded areas. For a quick look at how we might prioritize each area, look at Figure 2.

[Figure 2]

Where does your district rank in these areas?

If you’re interested in improving your school district’s ranking, consider analyzing your school district in the above areas and then comparing your results to the the grades and rankings of the 10 best schools in America.

*Disclaimer: Please note that this article is intended for educational purposes only. The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the text belong solely to information provided by, and are not necessarily to the opinions of PLS 3rd Learning or SuperEval.

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