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Cowles Elementary School

Public School | Grades PK-8 | Des Moines Independent
6401 College Ave
Des Moines, IA 50311
(515) 242-7818

About This School

Cowles Elementary School is located in Des Moines, IA and is one of 62 schools in Des Moines Independent School District. It is a public school that serves 345 students in grades PK-8. See Cowles Elementary School's test results to learn more about school performance.

In 2011, Cowles Elementary School had 20 students for every full-time equivalent teacher. The Iowa average is 14 students per full-time equivalent teacher.

Student Ethnicity (2011)

Students (2011)


Students Per Teacher (2011)

Female/Male (2011)

48% 52%

Subsidized Lunch (2011)


District Spending (2010)

per student
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Grade 3 Reading Performance

Iowa Test of Basic Skills Results
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Cowles Elementary School Reviews

By a Parent on

My daughter has just thrived at Cowles.  She has always been a very precocious child and they have fostered her independance in such an itnellectual caring way.  The parents are very involved in the school and it shows how dedicated they and the teachers are.  

By a Parent on

I'm not quite sure why the correct name of Cowles is not disclosed on this website.  But according to the Des Moines Indepent School District's website, the actual name is Cowles Montessori.  It is the only public Montessori school within the Des Moines District, and I believe that there is only one other public Montessori school in the entire state.

There are no bounderies, per se, as any student who lives within the district bounderies can apply.  (Transportation, however is the parents' responsibility.) Waiting lists fluctuate throughout the year, obviously.  The best bet seems to be enrolling your child as a pre-schooler to ensure a space will be available by kindergarten.  

Currently the school offers classes from the age of 3 through 8th grade.  There has been talk in the past about eventually adding 9th - 12th grades as well.  The 6th, 7th, and 8th grades were just added a few years ago.

We have been extremely happy with the education our children have received so far.  Our oldest is a 3rd grader, our middle is a 1st grader and they have attended since they were 3 year olds.  Our youngest is a first year preschooler.

The only problem that we have come across is that the Gifted and Talented Program does not receive the same support, (which is provided by the District), as the rest of the Des Moines Schools.  The GAT coordinator who is assigned to Cowles has actually been quoted as saying that she does not think the kids at Cowles need the extra stimulation since they are free to work at higher grade levels within the Montessori culture.  

There are several private Montessori schools in the area . . . but the tuition is unbelievably high.  I've heard that having your child enrolled in one of them is considered to be a "must" if your goal is to rise through the social echelon.  Some parents apparently feel it gives them some sort of "bragging rights".

One of the best qualities of Cowles Montessori is that nearly all of the students are enrolled there for the plain and simple reason that the parents take their kids' education very seriously.  Kids come from all around the district and there are quite a few who actually come from outside of the district and have had to apply for open enrollment, which in some cases is not easy to obtain.  However this makes for a unique "community" of students when nearly 100% of the kids are getting such family support.  

If you are at all interested in a Montessori education for your child, I would most definitly recommend Cowles Montessori.

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