The characteristics of the top elementary schools in the United States include high academic performance, low achievement gaps and high graduation rates. The top schools usually rank in the top 15 percent of all elementary schools in the same state and demonstrate regular progress toward academic goals. Most of the schools are AdvancED certified, offer foreign language instruction and comply with all local, state and national regulations.
Excellent academic performance is one of the most important common characteristics of the top elementary schools. Students in all demographics rank high in state testing results, and student subgroups usually rank in the top 40 percent in the state, resulting in a low achievement gap. Many of the country's best elementary institutions have been recognized as a U.S. Department of Education National Blue Ribbon School in the past five years.
Many of the top elementary schools offer opportunities beyond the standard curriculum. Teachers offer special courses and clubs for foreign languages, art, reading and music. Some schools support advanced learning by hosting book clubs, while others focus on intercultural education.
Top elementary schools use a variety of teaching methods and tools to cater to different learning styles. Many schools use cutting-edge technology in regular classroom instruction, while others teach hands-on skills through gardening clubs and environmental volunteering programs.