Business Journal ranks Shawnee Mission 19th, Blue Valley first among metro school districts

The Kansas City Business Journal on Friday unveiled its annual list of the “Top Area School Districts” (subscription required) — and the new formula the paper is employing in its rankings puts the Shawnee Mission District in a spot that might surprise area parents.

In the past, the paper had ranked the districts based solely on their enrollment. But this year, the Business Journal used a nine-factor rating system to try to gauge the “quality” of the districts throughout the metro. Using that system, Shawnee Mission came in 19th out of 36 metro-area districts.

Blue Valley was the top rated district in the rankings with a composite score of 9.74. Kansas City, Kan., was the lowest rated district with a composite of 5.72. Shawnee Mission’s composite score was 9.09. The top 20 districts all had composite scores above 9.

The Shawnee Mission district's Administration Center.
The Shawnee Mission district’s Administration Center.

The nine equally-weighted components used to calculate the rankings were:

  • Student-teacher ratio
  • Fourth-grade English, language arts/reading proficiency
  • Fourth-grade math proficiency
  • Fourth- and fifth-grade science proficiency
  • Eighth-grade English, language arts/reading proficiency
  • Eighth-grade math proficiency
  • Seventh- and eighth-grade science
  • Four-year graduation rate
  • ACT scores

“To be sure, there are limitations to what the index scores can reveal,” reads the intro to the list. “Socioeconomic and demographic differences among the districts in the area are important considerations, but are not accounted for in the index.”

By enrollment, Shawnee Mission is the second largest district in the metro area with 27,450 students. Olathe is the largest district with 29,171 students. Blue Valley has 21,768 students enrolled.