Some northern RI schools shine in U.S. News rankings

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Northern R.I. – Rankings released this week for the top elementary and middle schools in the state by U.S. News and World Report point to several above average educational facilities in northern Rhode Island, while others failed to make the list of best schools, due in large part to lagging test scores.

North Smithfield Elementary School was ranked 13th among elementary schools in the state in the first year the publication offered the K-8 assessment. Serving 586 students in grades PK-4 according to the data, NSES saw 57 percent of students score at or above the proficient level for math, and 72 percent score at or above that level for reading on the state testing used to calculate the rankings.

U.S. News has long published lists on the best high schools in the country – not yet released this year – and 81 percent of elementary and middle schools received a ranking in data released this week.

Rockwell School in Bristol was named #1 among elementary schools in Rhode Island. RISE Prep Mayoral Academy in Woonsocket, which also serves students from Burrillville and North Smithfield, ranked #8, and West Glocester Elementary School in Chepachet was ranked at 39th.

The rankings only reflect the top 123 elementary schools, and none from Burrillville made the list, with Austin T Levy unranked due to lack of data.

For middle schools, Barrington tops the list, with North Smithfield Middle School not far behind at #9. That North Smithfield school serves 556 students in grades 5-8 according to the data, and 45 percent of NSMS students scored at or above the proficient level for math, with 62 percent at or above that level for reading. The school’s minority student enrollment is listed at 17 percent and student-teacher ratio at 13:1.

Ponaganset Middle School, serving students in Foster and Glocester, comes in at #29 with a student population of 495 6-8 grade students. At PMS, 29 percent of students scored at or above the proficient level for math, and 53 percent scored at or above that level for reading. The school’s minority student enrollment is listed at 8 percent and the student-teacher ratio at 12:1.

Burrillville Middle School, meanwhile, is listed in the 45-60 ranking category with 535 6-8 grade students. The date notes that 12 percent of BMS students scored at or above the proficient level for math, and 27 percent scored at or above that level for reading. The minority student enrollment is listed at 12 percent and the student-teacher ratio at 13:1, which is better than that of the district as a whole.

According to an explanation on the rankings in U.S. News’ first-ever K-8 list, scoring was almost entirely rooted in students’ performance on mathematics and reading/language arts state assessments.

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