Four large Northwest Arkansas school districts are among the Top 25 in the state, according to a new ranking shared by Niche.com.
The top-ranked Bentonville School District led the way in Arkansas, sitting atop the 2020 Best School Districts rankings. The rankings are based on data from the U.S. Department of Education, paired with reviews from students and parents, as well as test scores and graduation rates.
The Fayetteville School District earned the No. 3 spot, and Springdale was 19th statewide. The Rogers School District came in at No. 22.
All four Northwest Arkansas districts received an “A” rating, while Bentonville was given the highest mark with an “A+.”
"We often say this is where excellence lives and we mean that,” Bentonville Schools Superintendent Debbie Jones said. “Our teachers enjoy the freedom to introduce the latest innovative thoughts into their lesson plans so students can learn in an environment which surpasses the traditional classroom. That academic experience, combined with the endless opportunity, is something few others can match. We're proud of the world-class education we offer."
Nelson Peacock, the Northwest Arkansas Council’s president and CEO, said the rankings represent another reason the region is a magnet for top talent.
“Northwest Arkansas ranks as a Top 5 Best Place to Live in the nation because of the great economy and high quality of life,” Peacock said. “The plentiful, high quality education options available here contribute to both and is a key driver in attracting and retaining a quality workforce. Bentonville – and other regional schools – presence on the Niche list is further confirmation of the quality of our local schools.”
Small Northwest Arkansas schools made the Top 25, too. The Northwest Arkansas Classical Academy family of schools ranked fourth overall. Prairie Grove was No. 13, and the Farmington schools were No. 24 on the list.
According to Niche.com, the rankings are determined by weighing several categories to form an overall ranking. The greatest weight is assigned to academic performance, which is based on state assessment proficiency, standardized test scores and surveys filled out by students and parents regarding academics.
Other factors include teacher performance, culture and diversity, and parent/student surveys about the overall experience.