Tewksbury High Doesn't Crack Top 50 Boston Magazine Schools

The magazine used a variety of statistics to compile its list. See how Tewksbury fared in a variety of categories.

Boston Magazine recently compiled its list of 222 Boston-area public and charter high schools and also narrowed down the top 50 schools in the area based on a variety of statistics, and Tewksbury High School found itself in the middle of the pack in a variety of categories.

The school didn't find its way onto the Top 50 list in the magazine. Weston High School took top honors followed by Lexington High, Dover-Sherborn Regional High, Concord-Carlisle High and Wellesley Senior High.

Schools nearby Tewksbury that made the list include Andover High (27), North Reading (32) and Burlington (43).

According to the sortable list in the article, Tewksbury was in the middle of the pack in categories such as percent of graduation and percent of students going on to college. The school features a 88.4 percent graduation rate and an 87 percent rate of students going on to college.

Tewksbury's 10th grade English, math and science MCAS scores were 87, 83, and 70, respectively, which was slightly below average in the group of 222 schools.

So what's your take on the numbers? Do you think they accurately portray Tewksbury's educational efforts, or are they misleading? Let us know in the comments section below.

bk September 19, 2012 at 04:51 PM
We have to ask ourselves. Do we, as a community, value education? I am sure majority does but my perception is that percentage of people who may not value education does count and thus affect these ranking. e.g. even small number of failing or need_improvement could damage our ranking. --B
Jon Pratt September 19, 2012 at 05:05 PM
This was predicted back in 2006 that this would happen that alternative schools would cherry pick the solid B students in the middle that weren't a state mandated population. Hence the administration didn't see this group as a priority hence easy pickings for other schools. Dulilution of students translate into lower scores.
bk September 19, 2012 at 05:44 PM
Its interesting, our District Per-Pupil Expenditures is more than Westford/Reading/Chelmsford but our results are not even close to them. --B
Melissa Gleaton September 19, 2012 at 07:55 PM
Just shows you that shiny new buildings and electronics don't teach kids... it's the quality of teachers and parental involvement that are key - not new ipads.
Joe Bill September 19, 2012 at 08:12 PM
Mediocre teachers translate into mediocre tests scores. Unfortunately with the union, we're powerless to bring about any significant change. Sad times.
Bob September 19, 2012 at 08:16 PM
Joe Bill - I would add mediocre administration and parents to your post. Teachers can't work with a kid who doesn't want to be there and his parents don't care either way. We can't throw the baby out with the bath water though! There are some great teachers in town and they need to stay.
Kelly Joyce September 19, 2012 at 09:21 PM
It seems that everyone is so excited about the pretty new High School in Tewksbury, that they have forgotten that it is the teachers that make the student, not the building.
Paul September 19, 2012 at 09:28 PM
But what about the parents who go to the meetings and ask the teachers for any tips to motivate their lazy child, only to be told "If I knew the answer to that question, I would be teaching in private school". Don't get me wrong, there are some quality teachers (Dr. Saad pops immediately to mind). But can we get rid of the ones who are less motivated than their students?
Jamie Lightfoot September 19, 2012 at 09:28 PM
I am sad to learn that Tewksbury is cutting library in its elementary schools. It has been proven that schools with a certified library media specialist score higher in English Language Arts on state standardized tests. If better test results don't grab your attention, choosing library books at the elementary level also develops independence, responsibility and builds self esteem in children. I am fortunate enough to work as a library media specialist in one of the top performing districts in Massachusetts. Our libraries are staffed with a certified library media specialist. We do not hire aides but instead ask parent volunteers to help with checking in and out books to children as well as re-shelving. Our highly qualified library teachers deliver instruction in the skills students need to be prepared for employment in the 21st century. We teach them how to find, evaluate and synthesize information in print, databases and on the Internet. We teach about other cultures and prepare students to work in a global economy through multi cultural literature. We teach our students how to be good digital citizens through cyber-safety lessons. We teach about emerging technologies. My nephew started kindergarten and was excited to show me the book he chose from "his" library. Luckily he has parents who value reading and education and can afford to purchase books for him and take him to the public library. Other children are not so lucky. Books are windows and mirrors for our children.
Jenn R September 19, 2012 at 09:29 PM
Sad, but not suprising considering they recently announced our schools dropped from a level 2 to a level 3. Hopefully the school committee makes some changes.
Ronald September 20, 2012 at 11:04 AM
Yup, and the school committee keeps giving the teachers everything they want! Way to go Tewksbury! What a disgrace!
beatrice September 20, 2012 at 12:04 PM
Sorry, but don't get the comments about "The Shiny New School" or the ipads. The school has only been open a few weeks so the jury is still out. As for i-pads, Tewksbury doesn't have any, but Burlington does. (They are in the top 50.....)
Jon Pratt September 20, 2012 at 12:16 PM
Adding up all the funding sources Tewksbury schools burns thru 71M and we are bouncing around a level 3/2 . MCAS test are a basic understanding of what is being taught. With all the rhetoric and fist pumping that goes on at the SC mtgs this issue should be in the rear view mirror. We've spent the money - Where are the results?? The answer is in the classrooms. The kids ,teachers and administrators just cant connect and play the blame game .
Joe Bill September 20, 2012 at 12:19 PM
Agreed....and being at some of these school events many of the parents that do show up looked like they just fell off a barstool stool at Maverick's.
Comment September 20, 2012 at 12:55 PM
We do have an Ipad program at the "shiny new high school", however, I don't believe the building and it's new technology were included, as it's been open for less than a month. I believe the techology and it being readily available in every classroom, will get even reluctant teachers to get on board and use it. I don't believe our schools issue is the fault of the teachers. if a child is from a less than stellar home, they are not going to do well and there's not a damn thing the teachers can do. Ask a teacher that you feel is a 'good teacher' how many kids are failing their class and out of those, how many of the parents have bothered to call them back. The problem is in public school, several of the low achieving kids are problem kids who don't care, nor do their parents. These kids are going to be part of our assessment and I don't know that anyone knows how to fix it. My child was in level 2 classes in the high school years ago and even with a great teacher who strived to connect with these problem kids, they did no work, distracted the class and unfairly took away from the (not sure how to word it but..) top half of this lower level class of kids who are there because they struggle to learn and can't get it done in a level 1 class. A teacher can't force a kid to learn and participate and they can't force parents to get on board. In a public school, you can't kick them out either so they are part of your evaluation and it is what it is.
Rusty September 20, 2012 at 12:59 PM
Fish rots from the head.
Jake Craken September 20, 2012 at 01:55 PM
Ronald, we are still recovering from RIck O'Neill's disgraceful plot that laid off all the teachers. The teachers sued the Town and the SC had to use stimulus money to settle the lawsuit. There is still bad blood between the SC and teachers and a feeling that the SC does not support the teachers. I'd like to see a reporter do some real investigative journalism on this bad blood and the settlement of the lawsuit. School Committee reduces teacher salaries by 10% http://homenewshere.com/tewksbury_town_crier/article_acd2fdaf-c010-56d9-9c87-7465c482623d.html
Scott Wilson September 20, 2012 at 02:40 PM
Jake, Very confused by your post. The SC & teachers agreed on a three year extension. This is old news and we need to move forward. There are many factors which go in to every decision and to simply suggest there is one reason for the challenges we face is off base (IMO). http://tewksbury.patch.com/articles/tewksbury-teachers-school-district-agree-on-3-year-contract Now that this story was wrong.......do people want to take back all the nasty comments made on this site?
Jake Craken September 20, 2012 at 03:29 PM
Scott, this story isn't wrong, you are referring to the downgrade article. However, NOW that Ms. Polimeno and Ms. Miller have negotiated fairly with the TTA we should be able to put this all behind us. Ms. Polimeno is a vastly superior School Committee Chair than O'Neill. And Jayne Miller will be missed.
bk September 20, 2012 at 04:39 PM
Totally agree to this. If there is no consequence for a teacher for not performing, kids and town is doomed to get a mediocre results. --B
bk September 20, 2012 at 04:40 PM
Not so. It was a false alarm. We are still at level 2. --B
bk September 20, 2012 at 04:41 PM
Agree 100%. More technology extends students horizons. --B
Janellen27 September 20, 2012 at 06:56 PM
Did I miss it, or exactly where on the numeric list did Tewksbury land?
Janellen27 September 20, 2012 at 06:58 PM
Melissa, if "shiny new buildings" were all it took, then Newton South(?) would be Number 1 and Lawrence would be #2! (Tewksbury's shiny new building wasn't around when this survey was done, and it is not a very technical or scientific study, anyway.)
Melissa Gleaton September 20, 2012 at 07:02 PM
Well said.
TomH September 20, 2012 at 09:29 PM
Some 0ne made a reference to 'lazy students'. I think a lot of people would be quite surprized if the entire student body was tested for marijuana. I have an idea where at least part of this 'laziness' comes from.
Avax September 21, 2012 at 05:20 AM
I'm am relatively optimistic. I like Superintendent O'Connor's energy and passion for the job. I believe if I were a teacher in this town, I would be motivated by him. I certainly am motivated by him as a parent of school age children. I was fairly impressed by the new high school, it looks like a wonderful environment to teach and learn. I hope the high school teachers have both learned and healed from the past and can be enthusiastic to work every day in our new 87 million dollar facility. I really think that Tewksbury is heading in the right direction. However, I must say, last year we had one teacher who offered a 15 minute window for extra help. This was for the whole class. How many struggling kids can be helped in 15 minutes I ask? Such time clock mentality is not going to get us where we aspire to be. Thus there is still much work to be done. Ultimately it is not our school department or our teacher's responsibility to ensure our kids to learn. It is their responsibility to implement the best learning framework possible within the budget constraints. This equates to maximum learning potential. The onus to actually take advantage of this framework and learn falls squarely on the parents and the students.
Comment September 21, 2012 at 12:02 PM
Avax - they are required by their contract to offer at least one hour of extra help per week. That teacher probably just broke it up into 15 minute segments so he/she would be available more days to help with parent scheduling. One of my child's teachers explained their contractual extra help requirement during open house. During the discussion he said he had to report his extra help hours and show they were at least one hour a week, but he always stays with the child longer if it's needed. My child's teachers this year all said they will never walk out on a kid who makes the effort to go to extra help just because the "official" time is up. They want to help the students who make the effort. I know there are teachers who are not great - I've dealt with some of them. Try not to let the questionable one you get taint your view of all of them.
Jon Pratt September 21, 2012 at 01:08 PM
Hey become a substitue teacher see how it is a culture of dysfunctionality . I felt like I was in a sea of lost childern . Teacher so distracted from teaching due to all the mandated stuff that takes priority,.contractual disruptions and administrative ineffectiveness causes them to shut down. Most dread the profession but you can't beat the perks if you are raising a family.
Jane Dough September 25, 2012 at 01:31 PM
"if a child is from a less than stellar home, they are not going to do well and there's not a damn thing the teachers can do. " Historically there have been PLENTY of successful people coming from 'less than stellar homes'. It DOES take a village. IMHO, root of the problem is a result of what MANY have difficulties with...the 'R" word. It is the RESPONSIBILITY of the teachers to teach to ALL children. It is the RESPONSIBILITY of the parents to parent/teach responsibility. It is the RESPONSIBILITY of the students to learn & seek help when they need it. And the horrible cycle begins. Some will 'blame' the students for their own learning difficulties; even more cowardly, blame it on 'laziness' , 'non-stellar parents' or 'MCAS' & needing certifications;an issue for another day. It's difficult raising kids in the MCAS generation. But it has brought things into perspective. I WAS anti MCAS in the beginning as it heightened stress and anxiety levels of our youth, trying to pass the tests - increase in behavioral health needs at earlier ages supports this. But when viewing it as a tool to monitor teachers capabilities of teaching our youth, it brings new light & holds them responsible for their teaching, or lack there of.. If we all do not put on our big-boy/girl pants and take responsibility for these issues, the blame game will continue to generate lame educations & a lame future for all. This is our future/next generation. No building & technology will ever change that.


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