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Hingham public schools rank 39th out of 135
in Boston Magazine's list

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  August 30, 2011 01:52 PM

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Boston Magazine has rated Hingham 39th in a list of 135 school districts in the greater Boston area, a spot five notches down from last year’s listing.

Unlike last year, however, when Boston Magazine reviewed only public high schools, this year took into account all schools in the district.

It was a move that made more sense for editors, Boston Magazine senior editor Janelle Nanos said, as parents send their children to complete school in a district, and usually don’t focus on the qualities of specific buildings from year to year.

“You’re not just sending your kid to just high school, you’ll be sending them to more than one school, working way through the system. For us it made more sense, and [we thought] it would be interesting to see how the districts ranked overall,” Nanos said.

The rating is compiled from numerous scores, including test scores from elementary, middle and high schools, per pupil spending, student to teacher ratio, number of AP classes, graduation rate, percent of students who continue to college, and the number of sports teams and clubs.

Some aspects were weighted more heavily than others, then the numbers were crunched by George Recck, director of the Math Resource Center at Babson College.

Schools were then ranked based on the weighted average of each school’s difference from the mean scores for each category.

Dover-Sherborn Public School District came in first out of 135 districts, with Concord-Carlisle Public Schools coming in a close second.

According to Nanos, usually scores within the top 10 are closely tied. After that, the scores become more varied.

“It’s not an overall difference between Hingham and the other schools, because there are so many factors that came into play,” Nanos said.

All data were gathered from school offices and websites, as well as from the Massachusetts Department of Education.

It’s an important find, Nanos said, especially as school district rankings correlate so closely with housing values.

“It ties in closely with real estate, and [this list] gave us a lot more data to work with to see how the schools changed in the ranking,” Nanos said.

In the South Shore, Cohasset ranked 13th overall, followed by Duxbury at 27, followed by Norwell at 44, Hanover at 49, Scituate at 60, Marshfield at 65, Braintree at 74, Weymouth at 106, and Quincy at 108.

To view the entire list, click here.

Officials from Hingham Public Schools were not available for comment, but the news comes shortly before Hingham officials will present the final figures for a new middle school at tonight’s Board of Selectmen meeting.

School administrators hope to have selectmen put the $50 million $57 million new model middle school, which is expected to receive a 40-44 percent MSBA reimbursement, on the warrant for a Special Town Meeting this October.

The new school would address overcrowding at the current middle school as well as mitigate existing problems with the roof, which cracked under the weight of excessive snow in February.

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