Two San Mateo County elementary schools have been ranked among the top five institutions in the state, Redwood City School District’s North Star Academy and San Carlos School District’s White Oaks Elementary.

“Every day, I have the joy of witnessing our scholars, as they explore their love of learning, and our teachers and staff, as they work tirelessly to create an educational setting that fosters excellence in our students. We are honored to be recognized for something that we love doing every day — being a part of our North Star Family,” North Star Academy Principal Sara Shackel said in an email statement.

For the first time, U.S. News and World Report released a ranking list of California elementary schools, assessing 5,534 institutions on student performance on state-required tests, graduation rates and how well students were prepared for high school.

Also ranked highly by the outlet was Burlingame School District’s Hoover Elementary School at 18th and San Mateo-Foster City School District’s College Park Elementary School at 89th. Among the top high school ranking list was Summit Shasta in Daly City at 74th and Carlmont High School in the Sequoia Union High School District at 75th.

The organization used data from the U.S. Department of Education and state assessment data from the 2018-19 school year before the pandemic had any effect on test-taking.

Based on those data points, North Star Academy, a magnet school with 535 students from third to eighth grade, was named the top elementary school in the state. Test data show that 96% of North Star students scored at or above proficient math and reading levels.

Appreciative of the recognition, district Superintendent Dr. John Baker offered his praise for North Star students, parents and staff. Board of Trustees President Alisa MacAvoy also congratulated North Star for earning the honor while noting each of the district’s 12 schools has been recognized over the years for various awards.

“While California does not have an official ranking system of schools, it is always nice to hear when others notice both the hard work and joy that happens in each and every classroom throughout our school district,” Baker said.

Ranked fifth out of thousands of California elementary schools is White Oaks Elementary, a charter school in San Carlos that serves roughly 300 students from kindergarten to third grade. The analysis found that 98% of students scored at or above proficient math levels and 92% scored at or above proficient reading levels.

Neil Layton, president of the district’s Board of Trustees, said in a press release that the honor reflects the hard work of students and faculty, noting the district’s focus on a “whole child education” for all students.

“I am beyond proud of all our students’ achievements! This award is a real testimony to the tremendous efforts and dedication of our teachers, staff and parents to support and enrich the lives of our students and to provide each child with a solid educational foundation,” Kim Norgaard, interim principal of White Oaks, said in the press release.

SCSD Superintendent Jennifer Frentress also shared her praise for school administrators, staff and students and their parents on the accomplishment.

“This award is a wonderful validation of the excellent work of teachers, administrators, employees and families in inspiring and challenging our students to reach new levels of achievement,” Frentress said. “I’m thrilled that our schools are being recognized for innovative academic programs that ignite curiosity for learning and prepare students to be the leaders of tomorrow.”

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