Special Report

The School District Where Students Are Most Likely to Succeed in Every State

Source: Joel Bradshaw / Wikimedia Commons

11. Hawaii: Hawaii Public Schools
> Location: Honolulu County
> Annual per student spending: $14,322
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 32.5%

Hawaii is the only state to have a single school district manage every public school. Therefore, the district’s ranking on this list is by default only. Still, by several measures, public school students in Hawaii have some advantages over students nationwide. For example, per student spending in the state is $14,322 compared to the national average of $12,201. Higher-spending districts often have smaller class sizes, and in Hawaii, the average student-teacher ratio of 15 to 1 is slightly lower than the 16.1 to 1 national average.

Source: Architect21c / Wikimedia Commons

12. Idaho: Moscow School District 281
> Location: Latah County
> Annual per student spending: $9,970
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 55.3%

Idaho’s Moscow School District 281 enrolls about 2,400 students in part of the northwestern section of the state. High school students in the district are more likely to be enrolled in an AP course than the typical high schooler in Idaho. Some 24.0% of high schoolers are taking an AP class compared to 17.4% of high school students across the state.

Children of college-educated parents are more likely to be academically successful than children of parents who never went to college. Across the Moscow School District, 55.3% of adults have a bachelor’s degree, well above the 26.9% share of adults across the state as a whole.

Source: Pieman71 / Wikimedia Commons

13. Illinois: Indian Prairie School District 204
> Location: DuPage County
> Annual per student spending: $15,738
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 63.4%

Compared to most of the districts on this list, Indian Prairie Community Unit School District in Illinois is relatively large, with over 28,000 students and 33 operational schools in total. The district serves wealthy Chicago suburbs such as Naperville.

Student achievement is quite high in the large district, with Niche reporting an average SAT score across district students of 1300 and an average ACT score of 29, both well above the national averages. An estimated 37.1% of high school students in the district take at least one AP course, well above the 21.5% of high school students nationwide. Teachers are also well compensated, with the average teacher earning over $70,000.

Source: Isaac Spillman / Wikimedia Commons

14. Indiana: Zionsville Community Schools
> Location: Boone County
> Annual per student spending: $9,073
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 70.6%

Children of parents with a college education are more likely to have higher academic achievement than the typical student. In Indiana’s Zionsville school district, located just north of Indianapolis, 70.6% of adults have a bachelor’s degree or higher, well above the 25.9% of adults across the state as a whole. Zionsville also boasts a near perfect high school graduation rate.

Source: Courtesy of Gilbert High School

15. Iowa: Gilbert Community School District
> Location: Story County
> Annual per student spending: $9,733
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 63.5%

While per pupil spending isn’t as high as many of the other districts in the district, Iowa’s Gilbert Community School District, north of the city of Ames, has some of the best student outcomes in the country.

Like a number of the best school districts in each state, Gilbert Community School District has a near-perfect graduation rate. Additionally, according to Niche, 95% of students in the district test as proficient in reading, and 97% test as proficient in math. The average SAT scores among students in the district is 1420, far higher than the national average SAT scores.