Monday, October 12, 2020 - 1:53 pm

The Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District was ranked the No. 1 district in Dane County and second overall in Wisconsin, according to the 2021 rankings of the best public schools that were released earlier this month.

The rankings are usually released in August, but Niche pushed back the release date this year due to COVID-19, Director of Communications Perry Hibner said.

MCPASD has placed in the top 10 every year since started releasing the rankings in 2014. MCPASD received A+ marks for academics, teachers, clubs and activities, college prep, and sports. Visit the Niche website to learn more about MCPASD's ranking.

Elmbrook was ranked No. 1 in Wisconsin. The only other Dane County districts ranked in the top 25 in the state were Waunakee (fifth) and Monona Grove (22nd).

MHS was again ranked No. 1 out of all public high schools in the Madison area, while Kromrey (first) and Glacier Creek (fourth) were among the top public middle schools in the Madison area. All six MCPASD elementary schools -- Sunset Ridge (first), Northside (second), Elm Lawn (third), Sauk Trail (fifth), West Middleton (ninth) and Park (15th) finished among the top schools in the Madison area.

Pope Farm was not ranked as it had not opened yet, while Clark Street Community School received a B overall ranking.

"It's important that we celebrate our successes while also acknowledging there is more work to be done,'' Hibner said. "We know we must address the achievement and opportunity gap that exists for our marginalized students and families. We want to constantly get better and make sure every student in our District feels welcome, supported and inspired.''

MHS was ranked third out of more than 550 high schools considered in Wisconsin. The other Dane County high schools to be ranked in the top 20 were Madison West (sixth), Waunakee (12th), Madison Memorial (14th) and Verona (19th). Monona Grove was ranked 23rd.

Brookfield East was ranked the No. 1 high school in the state.

It was the fifth consecutive year MHS has been ranked sixth among all public high schools in Wisconsin. MHS has been ranked in the top 10 every since year 2014, including being named the top public high school in the state in 2014.

Kromrey was ranked the fifth-best public middle school in Wisconsin behind Pilgrim Park and Wisconsin Hills, which are each in the Elmbrook School District, and Lake County and Swallow in the Hartland Arrowhead School District. Glacier Creek was ranked 13th in the state. The only other Dane County middle schools ranked in the top 50 were Waunakee Intermediate School (sixth) and Waunakee Middle School (11th). There were nearly 600 Wisconsin middle schools considered in the rankings.

Sunset Ridge was also ranked the seventh-best public elementary school in Wisconsin. Northside was ranked 10th, Elm Lawn 12th, Sauk Trail 28th, West Middleton 64th and Park 112th in the state rankings. In all, more than 1,200 elementary schools in Wisconsin were ranked.

The only other Dane County elementary schools to rank in the top 100 were Arboretum (15th), Prairie (38th) and Heritage (44th) in Waunakee, Winnequah (63rd) in Monona Grove, Shorewood Hills (69th) and Van Hise (76th) in Madison Metropolitan, Royal Oaks (78th) in Sun Prairie, and International (96th) in Verona.

Niche was founded in 2002 and uses data to research U.S. colleges, schools, neighborhoods and companies. More than 100,000 reviews are also on the site. Visit the Niche website to learn more.