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Top High Schools: Top Stories in RI in 2012

Monday, December 31, 2012


What is Rhode Island's Top High School?

East Greenwich High School continued its dynasty of dominating the rankings in 2012's Top High Schools in Rhode Island.

This question gets Rhode Islanders going more than any other, and GoLocalProv's Third Annual Top High Schools 2012 ranking was again one of the year's biggest stories, as everyone tuned in to see how their high school did.

With school quality a cornerstone of real estate values and a crucial element of civic pride, GoLocal's quantitative analysis of each school provides the only comprehensive view of the public secondary school educational landscape in Rhode Island that's broadly data-driven. For more on how GoLocal assesses and ranks Rhode Island's public high schools, go here.

The results for 2012

Rhode Island’s suburban high schools continued to outperform the urban schools in GoLocalProv’s annual rankings, with East Greenwich, Narragansett, Exeter-West Greenwich, South Kingstown and Barrington again finishing in the top five.

But that didn’t mean the list remained entirely the same.

Chariho Regional (#6), Westerly (#7) and Portsmouth (#8) were among the top schools that saw improvements while Pawtucket’s Jacqueline M. Walsh School for the Performing and Visual Arts jumped from #31 on the 2011 list to #20 this year.

At the same time, Toll Gate, a top ten finisher in 2011, dropped ten spots to #18 and Davies Career & Technical fell to #27, down from #14 a year ago.

Chariho’s Huge Jump

The story of the year in 2012 has to be that of Chariho Regional. In 2011, the South County high school ranked #17 in the state, thanks to impressive reading proficiency numbers but underwhelming performances in both math and writing. This year, math and writing improved significantly and SAT scores went up in all three sections, helping the school improve all the way to #6 on the list.

Beacon Charter Moves Up

Also of note for 2012 was the continued upward mobility of Beacon Charter. Just 2 years after ranking in the bottom 10 in GoLocalProv’s first annual rankings, found itself just outside of the top 30, thanks to another increase in math proficiency. As it stood in 2012, 58 percent of students were proficient in math, a nine percent increase from 2011. By comparison, 54 percent of students at Narragansett and Exeter-West Greenwich (which rank #2 and #3, respectively) were proficient in math.

Walsh a Winner

While Pawtucket had the unfortunate distinction of having both of its traditional high schools being labeled among the state’s persistently lowest-achieving schools, the Walsh School for the Arts has been quickly gaining notoriety for its improvements.

Walsh, which sent students to RISD, Brandeis and Fordham this fall, is the only school in the state have 100 percent proficiency in reading and it ranks in the top five in the state for writing proficiency. Math proficiency remained a serious problem, though, as the school’s proficiency numbers dropped by 12 points down to 25 percent.

To see a chart with the performance of all of RI's public high schools, go here.


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