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Compared to other states, Missouri is in the middle of the pack in terms of public education quality, earning a “C” grade in the 2019 Quality Counts report card. However, you wouldn’t know it by looking at the state’s five best school districts, all of which maintain a consistently high level of performance.

Missouri’s best school system is Kirkwood School District, which comprises five elementary schools, two middle schools, and a high school serving an enrollment of 5,700 students. Students of the district regularly earn test scores that are among the highest in the state while graduating at a rate of 99%. 

Lindbergh Schools earns the #2 spot in the ranking of Missouri’s best school districts. Lindbergh is a large district, with over 7,100 students attending one of eleven different campuses. The district’s schools have received a generous number of awards and achievements, including six National Ribbon School honors.

Placing 3rd in the ranking is Ladue School District, comprising seven schools and an early childhood center in the city of St. Louis. The ethnically diverse district regularly manages a graduation rate of over 90%

The School District of Clayton places 4th in the list of Missouri’s best school districts. Headquartered in Clayton, the district comprises six schools with an enrollment of around 2,800. A remarkable 21 Clayton High School students were named National Merit Scholars in 2020. 

Rounding out the list is Ozark School District, comprising seven schools in the city of Ozark. Students of the district consistently perform at a high academic level, which is seen in the 97.2% graduation rate, 22.6 average ACT score, and 53% of students that qualified for an A+ scholarship.  

Top School Districts in Missouri, 2020

RankSchool DistrictCity
1Kirkwood R-ViiKirkwood
2Lindbergh SchoolsSt Louis
3LadueSt Louis
4ClaytonClayton
5Ozark R-ViOzark
6Nixa Public SchoolsNixa
7Webster GrovesWebster Groves
8Troy R-IiiTroy
10Kearney R-IKearney
11Northwest R-IHouse Springs
12Raymore-Peculiar R-IiPeculiar
13Jackson R-IiJackson
14Pattonville R-IiiSt Ann
15Festus R-ViFestus
16Waynesville R-ViWaynesville
17Branson R-IvBranson
18Webb City R-ViiWebb City
19Willard R-IiWillard
20Republic R-IiiRepublic
21Grain Valley R-VGrain Valley
22Farmington R-ViiFarmington
23Sedalia 200Sedalia
24BrentwoodBrentwood
25Poplar Bluff R-IPoplar Bluff
26Fort Osage R-IIndependence
27Blair Oaks R-IiJefferson City
28Richland R-IEssex
29St. Charles R-ViSt Charles
30Hancock PlaceSt Louis
31Rolla 31Rolla
32Smithville R-IiSmithville
33WashingtonWashington
34Lebanon R-IiiLebanon
35Windsor C-1Imperial
36Maplewood-Richmond HeightsMaplewood
37Warrensburg R-ViWarrensburg
38Hillsboro R-IiiHillsboro
39Affton 101St Louis
40Pleasant Hill R-IiiPleasant Hill
41Orchard Farm R-VSaint Charles
42Camdenton R-IiiCamdenton
43Belton 124Belton
44Carthage R-IxCarthage
45Ste. Genevieve Co. R-IiSte Genevieve
46Mcdonald Co. R-IAnderson
47Hannibal 60Hannibal
48Warren Co. R-IiiWarrenton
49Carl Junction R-ICarl Junction
50Lawson R-XivLawson
51Marceline R-VMarceline
52Bolivar R-IBolivar
53Hickory Co. R-IUrbana
54Valley ParkValley Park
55West Platte Co. R-IiWeston
56School Of The OsageLake Ozark
57Meramec Valley R-IiiPacific
58Jefferson Co. R-ViiJefferson City
59Oak Grove R-ViOak Grove
60BaylessSt Louis
61Cole Camp R-ICole Camp
62West Plains R-ViiWest Plains
63RitenourSt Louis
64Desoto 73Desoto
65Carrollton R-ViiCarrollton
66Savannah R-IiiSavannah
67Central R-IiiPark Hills
68Neosho School DistrictNeosho
69Fair Grove R-XFair Grove
70Odessa R-ViiOdessa
71Hallsville R-IvHallsville
72Knob Noster R-ViiiKnob Noster
73Gasconade Co. R-IiOwensville
74Forsyth R-IiiForsyth
75Potosi R-IiiPotosi
76Arcadia Valley R-IiIronton
77Reeds Spring R-IvReeds Spring
78Strafford R-ViStrafford
79SullivanSullivan
80Maryville R-IiMaryville
81Cameron R-ICameron
82Marshfield R-IMarshfield
83Cape Girardeau 63Cape Girardeau
84East Buchanan Co. C-1Gower
85Mountain Grove R-IiiMountain Grove
86Kennett 39Kennett
87Harrisonville R-IxHarrisonville
88Chillicothe R-IiChillicothe
89Lathrop R-IiLathrop
90Palmyra R-IPalmyra
91Grandview C-4Grandview
92Osage Co. R-IiiWestphalia
93Kingston K-14Cadet
94Monett R-IMonett
95Hollister R-VHollister
96Clever R-VClever
97North St. Francois Co. R-IBonne Terre
98North Platte Co. R-IDearborn
99Kirksville R-IiiKirksville
100Aurora R-ViiiAurora

Methodology

The following variables contributed to the ranking: number of students (K-12), graduation rate, school funding per student, student to teacher ratio, percent of students scoring above proficient in standardized state Math test, percent of students scoring above proficient in standardized state Reading and Language test. Data from a total of 10,247 public school districts were used to compute a score for each school district. The following states were omitted due to lack of sufficient data: Hawaii, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Utah, and Virginia. Note that high schools in some states have their own independent districts.

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