Northborough-Southborough ranks among top ten districts in the state

Above: Boston Magazine says Northborough-Southborough is the eighth best district in the state

As your kids head back to school, here’s something that may make you feel even more upbeat about the school year to come. In a recent ranking by Boston Magazine of the best schools in Massachusetts, the Northborough-Southborough district came in eighth.

In compiling its rankings, the magazine said it looked at things like MCAS and SAT scores, the number of AP classes, how many sports are offered, student/teacher ratios, whether the district has pre-K programs, and more.

With its 8th-place ranking, Northborough-Southborough stood out as having a particularly high graduation rate (98.1%) and a high number of AP class offerings. (Algonquin was recognized by the College Board last year for its AP program.)

In a separate ranking of the best public high schools, Algonquin came in 28th.

Districts coming in ahead of Northborough-Southborough included Dover-Sherborn, Concord-Carlisle, Weston, Lincoln-Sudbury, Lexington, Manchester Essex, and Wayland.

You can see the full list here.

What do you think? Do accolades like this make you feel good when you send your kids off on the bus each morning? What criteria would you use if you were ranking our schools? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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Judy Boyle
12 years ago

Great news once again! This is very important to note as it directly impacts our property values too!

12 years ago

These lists always interest me, particularly the criteria used to make the determinations about rating. I’d love it if the Superintendent would give some more info on this – for example, the purported 98.1 graduating rate. Let’s hear more about the low-income students, the students in the therapeutic classrooms, the substantially separate CASTLE (students with autism), those students with severe disabilities & cognitive delays, medically-fragile students – how are they all doing are they all graduating on time? What are the stats on the numbers of students who have to take the 10th grade MCAS over and over in order to pass a test which can end up being adusted to ensure only “essentials” are tested after a certain number of attempts (At least, this is how it’s been explained to me). An Educational Proficency Plan is proposed by the hs for students who simply cannot test proficient in MCAS.

As to SAT & MCAS scores, those have been shown to be most tied to zipcode (income, really) as well-to-do parents spend a whole heck of a lot of money to make sure their kids do as well as possible.While there may be a lot of AP offerings, do we have numbers on the students who actually go on and take the tests at the end of the classes? I agree a lot of sports are offered, but students know it can be very difficult to make a team. Student/teacher ratio – do we have details? My sophmore son suggests he has about 22-25 in most classes. And things will shift around for the next week or two. Small sampling, I know! Is that a good ratio? What does the hs consider an optimal ratio?

I’ll have to read the article & see how the same school came 8 in one list and 28 in another. Different criteria, I guess. My bigger point is that (as the Superintendent often says), these rankings should be taken with a grain of salt.

12 years ago

I have to wonder what the deciding criteria is that makes a school #1 vs #8? For instance, since the graduation rate is exactly the same for #1 and Algonquin #8, is it the MCAS scores, class size or what? .It’s not the number of AP classes or the Pre-K program obviously.

Which brings me to class size: the numbers are off in the chart for the school system size – there’s no way Hopkinton’s school system is more than 3K students, and Northborough-Southborough’s, which is listed as 1,438 students. It looks like they used only the high school numbers in some cases, and the entire school system in others.

Like all charts of this type, there really isn’t a completely accurate way of comparing apples to apples –SPED, low-income, and immigrant kids skew the results for many school systems – but that doesn’t mean their school systems aren’t good, and they may even be better. After all, how many of these kids are in Cambridge Rindge and Latin? Or Dover, which doesn’t even offer a Pre-K program of any kind?

12 years ago

I should amend my last sentence I think… according to the chart Dover doesn’t offer a Pre-K program of any kind, but I think they would legally have to.

12 years ago

Congratulations to the administration, teachers, and students of the district for their hard work and to the parents of Northborough and Southborough for their support! This recognition is well deserved. The Boston Magazine ranking is based on an overarching analysis of all the districts in the Boston area. It is interesting to note that many higher and lower ranking towns pay far more per student. Well done!

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