5 key takeaways from R.I.’s new school report cards

Roger Williams Middle School in Providence.
Roger Williams Middle School in Providence.Ryan T. Conaty for the Boston Globe

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Happy Thursday and welcome to Rhode Map, your daily guide to everything happening in the Ocean State. I’m Dan McGowan and I too am running for president. Follow me on Twitter @DanMcGowan or send tips to Dan.McGowan@globe.com.

Rhode Island just released its second round of report cards on every public school in the state, assigning ratings of between one and five stars to each school based on test scores and graduation rates as well as other key factors like student and teacher absenteeism.


You can view every school’s report card here.

So what are the key takeaways from the latest results? Here’s an overview.

Westerly has the best story

Teachers and administrators at State Street Elementary School were disappointed last year when the school was assigned two stars, so they put together a plan to address their challenges. By raising test scores and partially closing achievement gaps, the school jumped all the way to five stars. Clayville Elementary School in Scituate also saw a strong increase, from three to five stars.

Classical High School is wonderful, but other Providence schools got worse

Classical was one of 22 schools in the state to earn a five-star rating, but the vast majority of Providence high school students are attending schools with just one star. The only other high school in the district that earned more than one star was E-Cubed.

Chronic absenteeism numbers (for students and teachers) are striking

There are 23 schools in Rhode Island where at least 40 percent of students were considered chronically absent during the 2018-19 school year, meaning they missed at least 10 percent of the school year. Nearly all of those schools are in urban districts, like Providence, Pawtucket and Woonsocket. On the teacher side, there were 12 schools that saw at least 20 percent of teachers listed as chronically absent, including four in Johnston and three in Warwick.


Some suspension numbers are alarming

At Nathan Bishop Middle School on the East Side of Providence, the out-of-school suspension rate was 48 suspensions per 100 students. Only Samuel Slater Middle School in Pawtucket (48.9) and the Chariho Alternative Learning Academy (65.3) posted higher suspension rates. All told, 22 schools across the state had suspension rates of at least 20 per 100.

There are 22 schools in need of dramatic reform

The school report card system is part of Rhode Island accountability plan under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act. Each year, the state is required to identify its lowest-performing schools that are in need of comprehensive support and improvement. This year, 22 schools from seven local education agencies fell into that category, include 11 Providence schools.


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Each day, Rhode Map offers a cheat sheet breaking down what’s happening in Rhode Island. Have an idea? E-mail us at RInews@globe.com.

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