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Santa Monica Schools Earn High Grades from Niche

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By Jorge Casuso

August 7, 2019 -- The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District was one of the top-ranked school systems in the Los Angeles area, with two of its schools earning the top A+ grade, according to nationwide rankings released by Niche this week.

The local district -- which has 11,005 students in grades K-12 -- ranked number 12 among the "Best School Districts in Los Angeles Area," from of a total of 105 districts, according to the rankings.

SMMUSD had a student-teacher ratio of 22 to 1, according to Niche. Based on State test scores, 61 percent of students are at least proficient in math and 74 percent in reading.

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Nationwide, SMMUSD ranked 255 among the 10,782 districts and 17 among the 723 districts in California.

The district earned A+ grades for academics, teachers and college prep and an A grade for diversity.

It earned A- grades for administration, health and safety and sports, a B+ grade for clubs and activities and B grades for food and resources and facilities.

Both Franklin Elementary and Santa Monica High School earned A+ grades. Eight other schools earned A grades -- Grand, Roosevelt, Juan Cabrillo and Edison elementary schools.

Also earning A grades were Lincoln and John Adams middle schools, SMASH and Malibu High School. Olympic High School did not receive a ranking.

"Unlike traditional school rankings, which rely almost exclusively on test scores and academic performance, Niche's rankings provide a real-life view of what it's like to attend a given school," company officials said.

For iits rankings, Niche looked at more than 94,000 public schools, 4,100 private schools and nearly 11,000 school districts nationwide.

Its analysis included comments from current students, alumni and parents, as well as observations about campus life, extracurricular activities, sports options, diversity and programs for gifted and special needs students.

"Parents and students need more than test-score data," said Luke Skurman, CEO at Niche. "They need to understand what it's really like to attend a school before they start the application or registration process."

The San Marino Unified School District was the top-ranked school in the Los Angeles area, followed by the Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District.

Aside from Santa Monica, two other Westside schools ranked in the top 20 schools in the area.

The Culver City Unified School District ranked 15 and the Beverly Hills Unified School District ranked 17.

The top-ranked districts in the country were both in Illinois -- the Glenbrook High School District and the Community High School District in Vernon Hills.

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