By SHAUN KIRBY
NARRAGANSETT—The Narragansett School Committee met with the town council on Monday evening, updating council members on projects and developments within the school system over the past several months. One program that the School Committee hoped to initiate was the acceptance of Jamestown high school students at Narragansett High School, a prospect which has recently stalled.
Superintendent of Schools Katherine Sipala brought the potential of an enrollment program at NHS for Jamestown students in June, highlighting the quality of education and athletics that the school system could offer them.
“Jamestown put together a high school review committee and did a comprehensive study of Narragansett High School,” said Sipala in June. “During part of that process, our school committee went to Jamestown and met with their committee. Our sales pitch of what we have to offer versus North Kingstown very well received.”
The Jamestown school department currently holds a one-way contract with North Kingstown High School, preventing Jamestown students from enrolling in any other high school program in the area. The contract, however, is only valid on an annual basis and must be renewed with North Kingstown at the end of every school year.
The Narragansett School Committee hoped to take advantage of this window for the upcoming school year to offer a choice of school enrollment to the parents of Jamestown students, but discussions between Jamestown, North Kingstown, and Narragansett have fizzled as of late.
“We tried really hard, even this fall when the Jamestown School Committee met with us again,” said School Committee Chair Tammy McNeiece. “We gave our pleas, as we have for the last two years, but ultimately they didn’t want to make a rush decision.”
“People were up for re-election, so they didn’t want to rock the boat in Jamestown,” said Sipala.
Sipala, who had previously been superintendent of the Jamestown school system, feels that NHS is fully capable of sustaining the enrollment of Jamestown students and can offer them a high quality education, a point which had further disappointed the School Committee when Jamestown made the decision to hold off on coming to a final conclusion.
“We have a number of sports teams and such a high percentage of students competing actively, it is a huge advantage,” said Sipala in June. “Our individuality and small class size are huge benefits. Our tests scores rank us among the top schools in the state, and we have an incredible music program.”
Jamestown currently has to pay tuition for their children to attend North Kingstown High School because the island itself lacks a high school.
“We know that once we get some of the kids to come over, they would be satisfied with the product,” said McNeiece. “It is a win-win, and would have been a good situation for Narragansett and Jamestown.”