Editor's note: Statistics from the Office of Public Instruction have been corrected since the original publication of this article.
In January, FamilyMinded announced a list of the “Best Public Elementary Schools in the United States,” picking one winner from each state. Cardwell School took the prize in the Treasure State.
According to FamilyMinded, a digital news site, Cardwell Elementary was picked based on state test scores, student-to-teacher ratio, quality of the school district and other factors.
Research conducted by FamilyMinded indicates that schools with a low student-to-teacher ratio helps students get more hands-on education. This ratio also allows for teachers to be more involved in students being proficient in all areas. With its six-to-one student to teacher ratio, Cardwell took top honors.
“That is a massive upside about Montana schools,” wrote Will Gordon of FamilyMinded. “The smaller class sizes help your children get a quality education.”
In addition to being the top elementary school, Cardwell was also ranked as the best middle school in the state. Teachers in all grades at Cardwell School were ranked number one in the state.
Data used to determine the best schools in each state was produced by www.niche.com, an independent research company, not the Montana Office of Public Instruction.
Jessie Fetterling, Director of Editorial Operations for FamilyMinded, told the Whitehall Ledger that niche.com uses U.S. Department of Education data. The statistics for Cardwell school (65% proficiency in math and 85% proficiency in reading) came from a 2020 report due to the pandemic affecting school ratings. OPI numbers differ: For proficiency in math, Cardwell School scored 22.2%, with 11% of students scoring in the advanced range. In English, Cardwell scored 27.8%, with 33.3% of students scoring in the advanced range. The Monitor regrets the error.
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