From test scores to parent and student surveys, there are all sorts of ways to rate school systems, or even individual schools.
Yet the fairly comprehensive ratings system used by Boston magazine — which factors in test scores, student-teacher ratios, and everything up to and including the number of sports teams and other programs available to students — is as respected as any. And that adds clout to the ratings for both Manchester Essex Regional and Rockport High School, both of which were placed among the to 50 high schools in the Greater Boston area.
For Manchester Essex, those ratings are becoming old hat; in fact, its 25th place, while still obviously strong, is actually below the 13th-place grade it drew in the magazine’s last high school scores posted in 2010.
Rockport High School’s rise from 72nd to 36th, however, is an eye catcher, especially considering that the school includes just 293 students — among the smallest public high schools in the state – and thereby faces all sorts of inherent challenges in providing the kinds of Advanced Placement programs and other such projects that high schoolers expect and truly need.
In that vein, Rockport’s 36-place jump is a glowing testament both to the efforts of Principal Philip Conrad, and especially to former Superintendent of Schools Susan King, who retired at the end of the last school year, and clearly helped lead Rockport’s schools to new heights.
Indeed, King worked to preserve some of the high school’s key programs by helping to push through a Proposition 2 1/2 override supporting the schools’ arts programs. And it was she who, in each of the last two years, courageously budgeted based on drawing a growing number of “school-choice” students from other districts to keep the enrollment numbers at viable levels for AP programs and other projects.
All deserve congratulations for a job well done — with best wishes for new Superintendent Robert Liebow to keep the ball rolling.