Every year, more than half of all parents in the U.S. have school-age children. For us, whether it is helping parents find the perfect school for their child or supporting the children’s learning, or helping advocate for better schools, we always work to provide parents with the information they need to ensure their children receive a great education.
Des Moines schools are home to hundreds of private and public schools, and these provide more educational options than anywhere else in Iowa. Some of these options are Turnaround Art schools, International Baccalaureate schools, top-ranked Advanced Placement high schools, Iowa’s only public Montessori school, and a lot more.
In this post, we’ll share a list of the best private and public schools in Des Moines, IA. We used a variety of aspects and considerations to arrive at the list, including academic performance and equity. Read on to learn more.
Related article: How to Sell Your House Fast In Des Moines IA
Public Des Moines Schools (K through 12)
For the 2022 academic year, there are a total of 63 Des Moines public schools serving 34,585 students. This makes Des Moines a key area with the highest concentrations of the top-ranked public schools in the state of Iowa.
From preschool through graduation, these schools have an average math proficiency score of 49%, compared to the Iowa public school average of 69%. The reading proficiency score stands at 47%, compared to a statewide average of 68%. Minority enrollment is 60% of the total student body, which is higher than the IA public school average of 24%.
1. Valley High School
Address: 3650 Woodland Ave, West Des Moines, Iowa
Total enrollment: Total Enrollment 2,032
Valley High School ranks fourth in Iowa state, and 1,193 in National rankings. The ranking is based on the school’s performance on graduation, state-required tests, and how well they prepared students for college.
2. Delaware Elementary School
Address: 4401 E 46th St. Des Moines, IA 50317
Enrollment: 418 for Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 5
The Delaware Elementary school is ranked among the top 20% of all the 1227 schools in Iowa for the overall test scores in combined reading proficiency and math testing data. The diversity score stands at 0.35, which is less than the state average of 0.41. The student-to-teacher ratio is 13.1, which is lower than the state average of 14:1.
3. Downtown School
Address: 1800 Grand Avenue Des Moines, IA 50309
Enrollment: 271 for Kindergarten to Grade 6
The Downtown School ranks among the top 50% of schools in Iowa for math proficiency (top 50%) and reading proficiency (top 30%). The student/teacher ratio is 14:1, which equals the state average of 14:1. The minority enrollment stands at 23% of the students, which is lower than the state average of 24%.
4. Roosevelt High School
Address: 4419 Center St. Des Moines, IA 50312
Enrollment: 1943 for grades 9 to 12
Roosevelt High School ranks in the lower 50% of all the schools in Iowa based on their combined math proficiency and reading proficiency data that was tested in the 2018 to 2019 school year. However, the diversity score is 0.67, which is considerably more than the state average of 0.41. The school’s diversity score has stayed relatively flat over the last 5 years.
5. Merrill Middle School
Address: 5301 Grand Ave Des Moines, IA 50312
Enrollment: 743 students in Grades 6 to 8
Merrill Middle School is ranked in the bottom 50% of schools in Iowa for the overall test scores in math proficiency (bottom 50%) and reading proficiency (bottom 50%). The student-to-teacher ratio stands at 19:1, which is higher than the state’s 14:1. The minority enrollment stands at 36%, above the state average of 24%.
Private Des Moines Schools (K through 12)
There are a total of 11 private schools in Des Moines, IA., serving over 2,568 students for the 2022 school year. The following is a list of the top-ranked private schools in the area. It’s worth noting that the average acceptance rate for these schools stands at 99%, which is considerably higher than the 94% average acceptance rate in the rest of Iowa private schools.
Moreover, 91% of the Des Moines private schools are religiously affiliated, and the most common of them are Roman Catholic and Christian private schools.
1. Holy Trinity
Address: 2922 Beaver Ave. Des Moines, IA 50310
Enrollment: 463 for Pre-kindergarten to Grade 8
Holy Trinity is a private school in Des Moines with a population of about 465 students. It has a minority enrollment of 23%, with a student-to-teacher ratio of 13:1. The school is part of the Diocese of Des Moines’ Catholic Schools, whose mission is providing kids with meaningful educational experiences in a setting that is well integrated with values of the Gospel .
2. St. Anthony Elementary School
Address: 16 Columbus Ave. Des Moines, IA 50315
Enrollment: 381 students from pre-kindergarten to Grade 8
St. Anthony Elementary School is a private school in Des Moines, IA with a mission to provide children in the St. Anthony Parish Community with a quality education. The school has an emphasis on Special Programs, and it ranks among the top 20% of the private schools in Iowa for affordability. The school minority enrollment for students stands at 54.8% and has a student-teacher ratio of 15:1.
3. Joshua Christian Academy
Address: 1552 Maple St. Des Moines, IA 50316
Enrollment: 112 students in Kindergarten to Grade 10
Joshua Christian Academy is a private school in Des Moines that serves 112 students and is a member of the association of Christian Schools International (ACSI). The student-to-teacher ratio is 7:1, and the school’s main religious affiliation is Christian. The school ranks among the top 20% of private schools in Iowa for the highest percentage of students of color.
4. St. Augustin Catholic School
Address: 4320 Grand Ave. Des Moines, IA 50312
Enrollment: 300 for Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 8
This is a nationally recognized Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Dept. of Education. It strives to provide a program of Catholic religious studies along with a second-to-none academic program that challenges students of all levels to excel and nurture a life-long love of learning. The minority student enrollment at the school is 13.7% and the student-to-teacher ratio is 13:1.
5. St. Theresa Catholic School
Address: 5810 Carpenter Ave. Des Moines, IA 50311
Enrollment: 309 from Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 8
This is a school that believes in educating the whole kid by challenging their mind and nurturing their soul. It’s also a school that embraces diversity, with a minority enrollment of 28%. The student-to-teacher ratio stands at 11:1.
Des Moines Community Colleges
Community colleges are meant to train students for entry-level jobs while keeping their options open for full four-year programs. This way, they offer a great entry-point into bachelor’s programs at colleges and universities.
Des Moines is home to the Des Moines Area Community College which offers numerous vocational and technical courses to prepare graduates to gain immediate employment in Iowa’s different industries.
Des Moines Area Community College
Address: 2006 Ankeny Blvd, Ankeny, IA 50023-3993
Enrollment: 23,000+ students per year
This is one of the largest community colleges in Iowa, where prospective students can pick from 200 different certificate, diploma, and associate programs in 12 areas of interest. Some of the common options include civil engineering, watershed technology, hospitality, and crime scene investigation.
The highest degree is an Associate degree, and the student-faculty ratio is 19:1. At DMACC, Iowa residents, as well as online students, typically benefit from low tuition rates. There are options for state grants, over 350 institutional scholarships, and work-study positions. 24% of undergraduates receive a scholarship or grant.
Iowa State Colleges
The Corn State has quite a number of top colleges and universities, most of which offer many innovative agricultural degree programs. Only a handful of the many universities and degree-granting institutions in Iowa are publicly funded. Here are some of the top state colleges in Iowa:
1. University of Iowa
Address: Iowa City, IA 52242, USA
This is a public institution that was founded in 1847. It is ranked #83 nationally in the 2022 edition of the Best Colleges. It offers top-notch academic programs in over 100 different areas. The acceptance rate is 84%, and it has a student-to-faculty ratio of 16:1.
2. Iowa State University of Science and Technology
Address: Ames, IA 50011, USA
This is a public institution that was founded in 1858. It ranks #122 in the 2022 edition of National Universities, which ranks schools based on their performance across a set of accepted indicators of excellence. The acceptance rate stands at 88% and the student to faculty ratio is 18:1.
3. Drake University
Address: 2507 University Ave, Des Moines, IA 50311, USA
Drake University is a private institution founded in 1881. It is located in Des Moines, and it ranks #136 in the 2022 edition of National Universities. The acceptance rate is 68%, while the student-to-faculty ratio stands at 10:1.
4. Grinnell College
Address: 1115 8th Ave, Grinnell, IA 50112, USA
Founded in 1846, Grinnell College is a private institution with a rural setting and a size of 120 acres. It ranks #13 in the 2022 edition of Best National Liberal Art Colleges. The acceptance rate is 19% and the student to faculty ratio is 8:1.
5. Cornell College
Address: 600 1st St, Mt Vernon, IA 52314, USA
Founded in 1853, Cornell College ranks #89 in the 2022 Edition of the Best National Liberal Arts Colleges. The acceptance rate is 82% (early acceptance rate is 90.6%) while the student to faculty ratio is 12:1.