U.S. News & World Report has announced the 2022 Best K-8 Schools rankings. For the first time, U.S. News has published rankings and data on more than 80,000 public elementary and middle schools across the country. Schools are ranked at the state and district level, with charter and magnet schools ranked as stand-alone categories.

Elk Point-Jefferson Middle School was ranked fifth-best in the state of South Dakota. Other rankings were Gettysburg, first, then Timber Lake, Southwest and Vermillion.

“This is awesome news,” Middle School/High School Principal Skyler Eriksen said. “We have a great staff that goes above and beyond daily. They truly care about our students and their success.”

The methodology for the rankings focuses on two areas: math and reading proficiency, or how well students perform on state assessments, and math and reading performance, or how well they perform compared to expectations. The state assessment data used in the rankings is from the 2018-19 school year and therefore pre-dates the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on test-taking.