PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Thirty-five of the state’s more than 300 public schools earned a one-out-of-five star rating in newly released report cards issued by the R.I. Department of Education on Thursday.
This is the second year the state released the so-called star rankings under the Obama-era Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA.
Each school in the state is ranked on a scale of 1 to 5 stars, using a combination of factors including test scores, student and teacher absenteeism, suspension rates and graduation rates.
(Click on the icons below to see how your school performed in some categories)
Providence had 17 one-star schools, 15 two-star schools, eight three-star schools and one just one five-star: Classical High School, one of the state’s top-performing schools that requires an admissions test.
Evolutions and 360 High Schools dropped from two stars last year to one, while Martin Luther King Elementary, Roger Williams Middle School and George J. West Elementary increased from one star to two.
Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green, who recently took control of Providence schools, said she wasn’t surprised by Providence’s performance.
“We’re concerned,” Infante-Green told reporters Thursday. “I think the key takeaway is how much work we still need to do.”
Providence Interim Superintendent Fan Gallo said in a statement she was pleased to see the numbers had improved for the city’s elementary schools, but that Providence still has “a long way to go before we can offer families the robust selection of high-achieving schools they deserve.”
“Additionally, we are concerned that the ratings of several of our high schools have fallen over the year,” Gallo said. “We know that change is needed, and we are excited about the momentum RIDE’s turnaround efforts are yielding.”
Statewide, 35 schools were given just one star, with 22 of those worst-performing schools labeled as needing Comprehensive Support and Improvement, known as CSI, a federal designation.
Eleven of the 22 are in Providence. Central Falls and Chariho have one school each on the CSI list, while Pawtucket has three and Woonsocket has two. Also on the list are the Rhode Island School for the Deaf, the Sheila Skip Nowell Leadership Academy, and the Urban Collaborative.
Johnston Senior High School had the highest percentage of teachers who were chronically absent last year, meaning they missed at least 10% of the school year, at 29%. Johnston’s Thornton School and Winsor Hill School were also in the top five for teacher absenteeism, along with Warwick’s Wyman School and E. G. Robertson School.
“Johnston teachers and staff work hard every day,” Superintendent Bernard DiLullo said in an email. “Unfortunately, we have had a high number of teachers who have been out with long-term injuries, surgeries and catastrophic illnesses. Also, we have had a high number of pregnancies last year. We will continue to work on this area as we understand the importance of the teacher being in the classroom.”
Student absentee numbers were alarming in some cases, with more than 60% of students marked as chronically absent at Hope and Central High Schools in Providence. There were 47 schools where more than 30% of students were chronically absent last year.
Out of more than 300 schools statewide, 22 of them scored five stars in the rankings. The State Street School in Westerly rose to five stars from two last year, and Clayville Elementary School increased from three stars last year to five stars this year.
Tim White and Eli Sherman contributed to this report.