GoLocalProv Ranks NKHS 15th in Top High Schools List

North Kingstown's school superintendent believes NKHS was "penalized" in GoLocalProv's rankings for practicing fiscal responsibility.


Rankings of Rhode Island’s high schools by online news site GoLocalProv has East Greenwich High School topping the list for the third year in a row, with neighbor to the south ranked at 15th. But, North Kingstown Superintendent Phil Auger says that the rankings are a bit misleading.

According to Auger, GoLocalProv’s methodology for determining the rankings “penalizes North Kingstown for exercising fiscal responsibility.” Fifteen percent of the ranking scores are determined by each schools student-to-teacher ration with another 15 percent going to per pupil spending. NKHS spends $13,700 per student on average with a student-to-teacher ration of 12. Only four schools (Portsmouth, Scituate, Barrington and North Smithfield high schools) with higher rankings than NKHS had lower per pupil spending while only Classical High School had a higher student-to-teacher ratio.

“These are things we’re getting penalized for here that we view as good things and show that we’re exercising fiscal responsibility,” said Auger. “We take pride that our pupil spending is lower than average.”

According to Auger, NKHS has comparable SAT and NECAP scores to many of the top 10 schools on the list and that the biggest difference between the schools is budgetary. Though top-ranked EGHS boasts $14,086 per pupil, second-place Narragansett’s average is a whopping $17,982 followed by third-placed Exeter-West Greenwich Senior High School with $16,778.

“If we spent that in North Kingstown, I probably wouldn’t have a job right now,” said Auger. “We graduate more kids, we do it less expensively and our test scores are about the same.”

With roughly 1,600 students (one of the largest student populations among suburban high schools), 88 percent of NKHS’ students will graduate in four years. EGHS’ graduation rate is 95 percent while Narragansett’s is 86.6 percent.

NKHS’ student population also allows the school to offer a breadth of programs and extracurricular activities to its students, according to Auger. Last year, NKHS was the only for its range of AP classes available to students. The school’s music program recently .

“Those kinds of opportunities and the breadth of music and sports that NKHS has, a place like Narragansett doesn’t have. They have 500 kids in their school and we have 1,600,” said Auger.

Despite the 15th-place ranking, Auger believes that NKHS is “as good of a high school as you can get in the state because of the spending and the range of extracurricular activities.”

“I think we’re in a good place in NK,” said Auger, whose two children attend the high school. “There’s really no chart that’s going to give the whole story.”

Chris Demers May 16, 2012 at 11:37 AM
NK has a wonderful school system. I was lucky enough to attend them, and so will my two kids. In my mind NK ranks #1 in the state. Keep up the good work NK school dept. So much negatiive remarks from trolls these days that it can be easy to forget what a great place we live, that we all take for granted.
Dave May 16, 2012 at 12:16 PM
So true Chris! NK has a great school system. I would agree with Auger that there is no way there are 14 other high schools in RI that are superior to NKHS. It isn't a matter of opinion that the lower per pupil spending has affected this rating, it's a part of the calculation as the article states. Kind of interesting that they use spending as a benchmark, that needs to be changed. Also will note that the fact that the schools have cut spending is undeniable, given the drop in per pupil spending.
Common Sense May 16, 2012 at 02:07 PM
Demographics of a community play an important part in the progress a district can make from one year to another. They are also important when trying to make a comparison between districts. Add to this that several charter schools (which are not districts but single schools) do not serve K-12 but portions of the range are listed above NK. This is not a list of comp's and the NECAPs are but one reference. Give value to all of the factors and we have a great district (ask the students and the colleges that accept our grads) in a great community that is working overtime to do more with less each and every year, just check the budget. Pretty soon the S/C will have to be running Pasta & Meatball dinners to suppor the district program, shame.
NK_Voter May 16, 2012 at 02:28 PM
While I enjoy reading the fact-free posts on this site, I find that responsibility and accountability are better served by the informed. Please see the attached link to compare our schools. Please note, however, that this is an in-state ranking. To really evaluate our schools, we must compare them to our neighboring states...MA and CT. After all, our grads will not be competing for jobs against only RI grads. http://infoworks.ride.ri.gov/state/ri Finally, is one desires to be viewed as credible, it is better to present the whole story rather than cherry-pick facts that place you in the most favorable light. Dr Auger, for example, infers that NK is being punished for fiscal responsibility and then lists two school districts that spend more per student. A more balanced presentation would have included the districts that were rated better than NK yet spent much less per student. Portsmouth at 12,800, Barrington at 12,400, and Scituate at 12,700 (see website). Perhaps we should investigate how these school districts avoided being penalized for their fiscal responsibility?
Common Sense May 16, 2012 at 03:16 PM
NK_voter when you are comparing districts don't you feel that you should compare apples to apples according to the communities make up? How does NK compare to Barrington, Portsmounth and Scituate demographically? number of homeless? free and reduced lunch program? special ed. students, avg house hold income? parent education completed? Many factors go into the success of a program of a public school system. I think that you have pssibly done what you said the Dr. Auger did by cherry picking districts that are not comp's to NK. Please consider praising our districts successes and working to improve where we can. Be part of the solutions, not just part of recognizing a problem. Anyone can point to a problem, it takes a thinker to come up with workable solutions, help out join LINKS.
Concerned Resident May 16, 2012 at 04:20 PM
......comments as such never cease to amaze me, unbelievable!
NK_Voter May 16, 2012 at 07:06 PM
CS: Please do some research and get back to us with some facts. Blogs, done well, foster a free exchange of ideas; ideas based on fact. Most of the comments on this site are baseless opinion--not worth the time to read or respond. If you want anyone to take you seriously, please back up your statements. I agree that demographics factor into the equation, but I'd actually want to know the differences and evaluate them before just saying "apples to oranges" and go with the status-quo. Please let us know what you find. BTW, Barrington, for example, is very similar demographically to NK. Big differences--per capita income (75K NK, 105K Barr). The education level of the parents is greater in Barr than NK. I couldn't find data on special needs, but am sure it's available somewhere given enough time to look. But what's your point? That we should accept lesser educational outcomes in NK because we are, on average, less affluent? Are you inferring our kids are less intelligent and we should expect less from them? If so, I disagree!
COL May 16, 2012 at 07:39 PM
(1) Student/teacher ratios seem great if they are a good measure of classroom experience; however, a teacher with class of 28 and another with a class of 2 will produce the same ratio as two teachers with classes of 15. I would prefer to see a statistic of average class size in required classes for example if that is a type of measure GLP wants to use (and even that measure by many studies is not an effective indicator either). (2) The per pupil spending can be problematic as well. I wish the Supt would bring up actual research methodological issues instead of complaining about being punished for "fiscal responsibility" - which may or not be the case. The true measure is not *how* much you are spending, but whether *what* you are spending on promotes educationally effective practices and subsequent outcomes. Why not make that this case, which you can show with simple example, in order to make GLP justify their rankings? (3) SAT scores without the context of what percent took the test are also problematic. For example, the NECAP scores at least include almost every student, but the SAT takers are self-selected. Even the organization (Collegeboard) that runs the SAT states aggregate SAT data should *not* be used to compare schools in general, especially without contextual data. Why not point that out to GLP instead of griping about being penalized? Finally, in looking at EG, NK and Narr per pupil spending, Jamestown is getting a good deal on tuition at NK.
Common Sense May 17, 2012 at 02:53 PM
NK_voter ask your question to the teachers in elementary schools, who comes prepared to enter school; children from college educated parents, two parent households, single parent households, are they all the same or is there a difference, not in intelligence but in being ready for school. What students continue to be ready to learn as well as they move from one grade to the next? It is not just about what happens in the classroom, it also is about what happens in the home. Too many people expect that teachers have the sole responsibilty to educate our students when it is a partnership between teachers and parents. Conclusion if you have a different population make up you are going to get different results and if you keep reducing the funding, those students that need extra help to achieve their potential are going to be lost as a result. Check with the professionals at RIDE and ask if demographics have any effect on the results. As for classroom size it appears from what I have heard K-2 should be around 20-22 and 3-12 could be 25-28 without any problem but this assumes that the child is ready once leaving grade 2. As with anything you need a good foundation to build on and education needs a good foundation.
Concerned Resident May 17, 2012 at 03:34 PM
I am correct in that the average student / teacher ratio is 11:1 - different from your post? As far as funding is concerned, just as with any there are inefficiencies that require attention ultimately allowing for appropriate budgets. For those that feel there is no waste, inefficiencies and or saving to be had are living with blinders on. I also feel there will be justification(s) for change to be determined after implementation of teacher evaluation programs. Like any other SD, NKSD has above average, average and below average teachers. Continued goal are to work towards bringing below average and average up to par with above average teachers moving in a different direction with teachers that cannot make the improved grades. The day of status quo have past as all will be accountable for their work and end results.
NK_Voter May 17, 2012 at 05:35 PM
CS: Well, you can't say I didn't try. You evidently can't be bothered to do the smallest bit of research to educate yourself and others--to back up your opinion with research/facts. Instead we get the same, tired, overgeneralizations based on heresay to defend the status quo. Sad. Our children deserve better.
Concerned Resident May 17, 2012 at 06:14 PM
NK_Voter: Trying was acceptable in the 80's - not so much in 2012, you failed. On top of everything else your still at it thinking about yourself and the chosen few.....you should be ashamed of yourself. It’s obvious that you’ve been brain washed such that you can neither seen or understand the truth, perhaps an intervention is in order. Individuals such as yourself are not going to be happy until NK is the Cranston or even worse, the Woonsocket of South County! Perhaps it best you strike up a dialog with Mr Prada as both you and he seem to go around in circles in directions unknow.
NKGOP Watch May 18, 2012 at 12:27 AM
Constipated Resident has lots of negative hyperbole and scant few facts. For example, he/she/it cannot seem to name all these "inefficiencies" he keep harping about.


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