NARRAGANSETT – The Narragansett School System (NSS) recently placed among the top three school districts in the state, according to a recent ranking by a leading research website. Earlier this month, Niche.com ranked NSS at no. 3 on its annual list of the best school districts in the state, behind only Barrington and East Greenwich Public Schools.
“We are very pleased and excited to share this ranking with our supportive school community,” said Lauren Ruggiero, NSS communications advisor. “Our growth through program development, the individual student experience and the overall environment within each of our schools is a focus for our team and to have it recognized on this level is a terrific acknowledgement of the hard work of our faculty, staff and leadership team.”
According to the website, Niche.com grades and rankings are “calculated using dozens of public data sets and millions of reviews.” Data comes from sources such as the U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Census and FBI. The site also probes “millions of reviews” of school systems from parents and students. Once information is gathered, “Niche.com’s data team uses advanced algorithms and statistical techniques to compare, score and connect millions of data points to thoroughly analyze U.S. schools and neighborhoods.” The site also compiles best places to live and college rankings and lists.
According to the specific Niche.com NSS ranking, the district scored an “A” in the categories of academics, teachers, college prep and health and safety, an “A-“ in clubs and activities and a “C” in diversity.
“Narragansett School System is a highly rated public school district located in Narragansett, RI,” a small blurb attached to the district’s ranking reads. “It has 1,326 students in grades PK, K-12 with a student-teacher ratio of 15 to 1. According to state test scores, 50 percent of students are at least proficient in math and 61 percent in reading.”
NSS at the no. 3 position represents a move forward for the district, which placed at no. 4 on last year’s Niche.com list. Further, in a ranking of individual schools, Narragansett High School (NHS) placed at no. 17 last year, while this year, NHS jumped to the no. 4 spot.
“This is a proud achievement for our entire high school community,” said Ruggiero in response to the jump. “Our growth in college-level offerings, such as additional AP courses, college credit courses, and Career and Tech programs ,has helped our high school to excel.”
When asked what factors led to the recent, improved rankings, the district pointed to unifying its K-12 student experience, student-driven learning methods and new education options for students.
“Over the past year, we have focused heavily on the student experience from pre-K all the way through high school,” said Ruggiero. “The interactive programs and collaborations we have been developing with post-graduate institutions and the new curricula we have integrated into our lessons allows us to reach students in new ways and give each student a voice as to how they learn best.”
“At our high school, we have recently added a new CTE pathway in Educator Preparation to give students a path to become an educator in our community,” Ruggiero continued. “We want to keep students engaged in and excited about learning. We are proud to make advances that not only allow us to reach ratings such as these, but that also enable us to guide our students on the journey of becoming productive citizens and life-long learners.”
Reviews of the district from students and parents seem to agree. Attached to the Niche.com ranking are a number of favorable reviews speaking highly of NSS programs and faculty.
“The teachers are the highlight in my opinion of this amazing community,” reads one animus review from an NHS senior. “They try their best to personalize lessons and give their all to vie for more programs in their own subject that helps make it more fun and lifelong. They care about each student’s life and try to make them successful by going out of their way.”
“I spent four years at NHS, and I wouldn’t trade a single one for the world,” reads another attached review from an NSS alum. “The amount of school spirit and pride is more than you’d believe for such a small school. The athletic teams consistently perform well, it’s rare a year goes by where at least one team doesn’t win a championship. The clubs range from Future Farmers of America to Mock Trial, there’s so much to do. The teachers are absolutely amazing and will help a student with just about anything. I loved Narragansett High School.”
One other review touted the district’s quality but also pointed to its majority-white population.
“My four years at Narragansett High School have been nothing short of wonderful. I have experienced so much and have been grateful every step of the way,” said an NHS senior in March of last year. “However, my school is the second to last school on the chart of most diverse schools. I suppose you could say that most of my classmates are different from me. The majority of them are Caucasian, they all have two parents, and they are pretty well off in society. However, among these many individuals are a handful of people that are not as fortunate.”
Behind NSS, North Kingstown School District finished at no. 4 on the list, Portsmouth School District at no. 5 and Exeter-West Greenwich Regional School District at no. 6. South Kingstown Public Schools ranked at no. 9. To read the full list and rankings, please visit niche.com/k12/search/best-school-districts/s/rhode-island/.