Magazine: Lynnfield Schools 34th In Region
A recent analysis by Boston Magazine looks at districts in areas like academic performance, graduation rates, per-pupil expenditure, and more.
The Lynnfield School District ranks #34 overall in the Boston area, according to a Boston Magazine report that examined criteria ranging from MCAS scores to graduation rates and per-pupil spending.
The report provides two indexes to compare school districts. One of these provides a breakdown of average MCAS and SAT scores for 135 school districts in the Boston area. Back in September, Lynnfield Patch ran a look at the district's performance on MCAS testing, noting that its students were far above state average in most categories.
A look at the Boston Magazine report finds that for being ranked #34, Lynnfield holds its own against other area schools, some of which have noticeably lower scores – with one particularly strong example being Cambridge Rindge and Latin, which was deemed worthy of spot number 25 despite appearing to have some of the lowest (by far) scores among any school in the top 30-40.
This index compares the various schools and their test scores, by category.
Of course, as any educator knows, test scores are just one part of the overall equation. With that in mind, this chart from Boston Magazine compares a number of other factors that can help make a district more effective – including student/teacher ratio, per-pupil spending, graduation rate, and the number of AP classes.
Of the top ten ranked school districts, six of them had student enrollment below 2,000. Lynnfield's enrollment was listed as 2,308, with a 15.7:1 student/teacher ratio. This ratio is higher than all of the districts ranked in the top 14, but it's also higher than dozens of districts ranked lower. For example, Salem has an 11:1 student/teacher ratio but it ranks 115 on the list out of 135, while Woburn, with a 12.9:1 ratio, is ranked at 107.
When it comes to a chart such as this, one valid question would be whether its creators tended to favor districts that spend the highest per-pupil. Lynnfield has long prided itself on delivering students a solid educational experience at little cost. However, a look at the region's per-pupil spending finds that the town is not particularly far from other districts in this area. Granted, Concord-Carlisle and Weston, ranked a respective 2 and 3 in this report, both spend more than $18,500 per student. However, the next biggest spender, Brookline, is down at #23 with $17,090. Lynnfield is listed as spending $11,033 per student, and a large number of districts in the area are in this neighborhood as well. In fact, Medfield scored a #17 ranking with a $10,741 per-pupil expenditure while at #20, Winchester spends $11,363 per student.
Among towns spending less than $10,000 per pupil, the highest ranked in the Boston area is Georgetown at #48. Still, spending only goes so far, as evidenced by Boston's #116 rank out of 135 despite a $16,666 average expenditure. At #118, Somerville also spends $15,937 per student. The biggest spender out of the 135 districts is the previously mentioned Cambridge Rindge and Latin, with an average per-pupil cost of $25,737. The only other schools to even crack the $18,000 mark are Concord-Carlisle and Weston, also previously mentioned.
Regarding graduation rates, Lynnfield's is at 97.1 percent. This is on the higher end of the average, with only 3 of the 135 districts exceeding 98%. Dover-Sherborn (#1) and Northborough-Southborough (#8) both had 98.1% graduation rates, while Duxbury's actually stands at 98.9% - although for some reason that district is ranked 27.
On the other end of the spectrum, Cambridge Rindge and Latin (#25) once again stands out, this time for having the lowest graduation rate (85.2%) of the top 50 schools. One needs to scroll down to Watertown at #53 before coming to a lower graduation rate, which in this case is 82%. Predictably, the graduation rate falls fairly steadily from there, with only 53.5% of students graduating in New Bedford and only 46.7% in Lawrence. Interestingly, the Bridgewater-Raynham district boasts a 92.5% graduation rate and finds itself ranked #124, although it does seem to lag noticeably in the other categories.
Another measure of success for any school district is the opportunities that its most gifted students receive. In Lynnfield, 10 AP classes are offered – which is very much on the lower end of the average (although the district is also relatively small). Concord Carlisle, Wayland and Hamilton-Wenham did manage to make the top 10 although all of them offer fewer than 10 AP classes. Another two schools in the top 10, Lexington and Northborough-Southborough, offer 20 AP classes, while at #12, Newton reportedly offers 39 – the most of any regional district. At the bottom of the rankings, this number varies considerably.
For what's worth, Lynnfield is also listed as having 43 sports teams, a figure that seems to vary wildly by district. For example, Newton (#12) supposedly has 139 sports teams. The average number of sports teams appears to be in the 30s and 40s range.