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The top cities to live and learn in the Midwest 2011

Looking for the most family-friendly metropolis in the Midwest? From pastoral prairie towns to patriotic 'burbs, we found the 10 best cities for housing and public schools.

By GreatSchools Staff

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Pella, IA

Education quality score: 98.25
Median home value: $148.200
Population: 10,475

Hello Holland! Back in 1847, 800 Dutch immigrants established this town, bringing with them a distinctly Netherlandish flair that has been joyously maintained. A canal winds through Molengracht Plaza, a flotilla of tulips burst into bloom during the May Tulip Festival, the Historical Village features a drawbridge and waterwheel, their beloved Tulip Time Festival  showcases Dutch costumes and Dutch dancing (fun fact: the town just made the Guinness Book of World Records for the most people – 2605! — dancing in wooden clogs at one time); and the 124-foot tall Vermeer Windmill (from the 1850's) still grinds wheat into flour that's sold to Pella's bakeries and restaurants.

Students here also have their nose to the grindstone. The school district — three elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school — is rated #5 academically by the Iowa IP Index. Pella High  in the highly-competitive Midwest is a Blue Ribbon school with college credit classes, an articulate speech team, a harmonious music program, a yearly mathematics competition, and solid sports contenders in football, basketball, swimming, and especially cross-county. The "Runnin' Dutch" are ranked in the state's Top Six teams. Pella Christian School (PreK-8) has also been named a "School of Excellence" by the U.S. Department of Education.

Learn more about schools in Pella, IA.

Photo credit: Travelin' Librarian
 

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