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Westport Public Schools ranked best in Connecticut

Staples High School

By Madison Sell ’18

Just recently, Niche, a website that reviews schools, ranked the Westport Public School district as #1 in Connecticut and #12 nationwide.

“I think that we offer an extremely diverse set of courses, and they are rare among other school districts. I also think we get an amazing education.” Abi Genser ’18 says, proud of the rating.

According to Niche, this ranking is based off of academics, culture and diversity, health and safety, state testing, sports, clubs, and resources. Westport Public Schools received an A+ rating in nearly every category, with the exception of a C+ in culture and diversity. Ways to solve the lack of diversity in Westport schools is a highly discussed topic, especially among students.

“I don’t think there is a simple way to fix the problem of our lack of diversity,” Kayla Bilotti ’18 said.  “It can only be solved with more integration programs from other schools. We already have some in place, but I believe there should be more.”

Xi Xi Jones ’17 felt differently, however. “Our school tries to incorporate diversity, but goes about it wrong,” Jones said. “I personally think that the [C+] rating was generous, but I have a slightly skewed view coming from school systems that were better populated with diversity. I think that if we had kids and teachers from our school go to towns like Bridgeport, where we transport kids from and advertise our programs, we would bring in more students.”

This ranking sends a vastly different message about the quality of Westport schools after the Staples was left off of the 2016 Blue Ribbon Schools list, along with every other school in Fairfield County. Students have attributed the climb up the charts to going from an interim principal to a new principal, James D’Amico.

Jones feels that D’Amico has had a positive effect on our overall rating, stating “[D’Amico’s] efforts on improving morale while allowing us to distress during midterms was a testament to his positive influence on our school.”

Bilotti, however, believes believes a higher ranking administrator is needed to really address the lack of diversity at Staples. “I do not think the principal can do anything about [the diversity] problem, Bilotti said. “Change can only come from public pressure on the board of education.”

Overall, students seem to be proud of the rating and continue to look at how the Westport Public School system can improve. Genser notes, “The education level Westport offers is great, and that’s a huge part as to why people move here in the first place, but we should definitely find a sustainable way to expand our diversity in Staples.”

Photo used under the Creative Commons License

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