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Middle Schools

Thomas Johnson Elementary's transformation

Thomas Johnson Elementary's transformation

Thomas Johnson Elementary's declining enrollment once made it a target for school closure. But the Baltimore City Public School district chose to add middle school grades to boost enrollment — and it's a good thing they did. Today, Thomas Johnson Elementary/Middle, in the Federal Hill region of the city, has blossomed into one of the strongest public schools in all of Maryland.

I came across "TJ" through SchoolGrades.org, a site designed by my colleagues at the Manhattan Institute to grade America's schools by a consistent, meaningful standard. Using this tool, I've gone on a quest to identify and visit America's best schools.

I searched America's 20 largest...

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