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Wor. comes in at third for 2020 best school districts

(Aug. 16, 2019) The Worcester County public school system has moved up in the standings to the third best district in the state, according to Niche.com, an education and workplace assessment website.

The website analyzed data from the U.S. Department of Education, graduation rates and teacher quality to arrive at its rankings of school districts in Maryland for 2020. Worcester County was ranked fourth last year. 

The Pittsburgh-based company offers ratings, reviews and profiles to connect people with information about neighborhoods, schools, colleges, and jobs.

Denise Shorts

Denise Shorts, Worcester County Public Schools' chief academic officer for prekindergarten through eighth grades.

Denise Shorts, chief academic officer for prekindergarten through eighth grade, said she was excited for the county’s school district to receive the recognition.

“We are incredibly proud of earning this distinction,” Shorts said. “We work diligently to ensure our students have authentic learning experiences, access to rigorous curricula, and have highly qualified educators delivering instruction.”

There are roughly 6,800 students who attend 14 educational instructions within Worcester County public schools. According to Niche.com, 43.2 percent of students are eligible for free and reduced meals. 

Fifty-six percent of students are at least proficient in math while 58 percent of students are proficient in reading, according to state test scores. 

Shorts added that being ranked third helps legitimize the work being done to mold the young minds.

“Being recognized as one of the educational leaders in our state validates the hard work of our teachers and our staff in supporting an equitable, high quality education for each child in Worcester County,” Shorts said. 

There is an 11:1 teacher to student ratio in the classroom, according to Niche.com.

“Research shows the number one determining factor for a student’s success is the educator,” Shorts said. 

Lou Taylor

Superintendent Lou Taylor

Superintendent Lou Taylor agreed that teachers are the cornerstones of a successful school system.

“We understand that high quality education begins first and foremost with our teachers,” Taylor said. “This is why we strive to attract and retain top talent through competitive salary and benefits packages, providing an educational setting that encourages innovation and creativity for both our students and staff, and maintaining small class sizes, which is critical for personalized learning.”

On average, 92 percent of Worcester County public schools seniors graduate high school, according to Niche.com. Alumni often attend a variety of schools including University of Delaware, University of Maryland College Park, Salisbury University, and Wor-Wic Community College. 

“While we aren’t familiar with the specific components that Niche uses to calculate its rankings, we continue to strive for sustained academic growth for each student as well as providing opportunities for students to receive college credit prior to graduation and providing access to a well-rounded educational experience for each child in our school system,” Shorts said. 

Howard County public schools was ranked first in the state followed by Montgomery County public school. The Dorchester County public school system was ranked last out of the state’s 24 districts in Niche.com’s  2020 best school districts in the state.

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