You might expect the state’s best school systems to dominate the list of the fastest-growing schools. And indeed, a number of the school districts ranked by The Boston Globe as among the best in the state last year have grown at a decent clip, according to data compiled by The Boston Business Journal.
But many of the systems that have experienced the most growth—those in the top 10—over the past decade also boast another attribute, the BBJ notes: They’re in towns where real estate is affordable. The BBJ points to systems like Freetown-Lakeville and West Bridgewater, the second and fourth fastest-growing in Massachusetts, as evidence.
The BBJ’s data is searchable at its website so you can see how your town has grown over the past decade. You can check it out here. The following are the top 10 fastest-growing schools on their list.
Total students: 976
10-year change: +19%
Total students: 6,831
10-year change: +20%
Total students: 7,288
10-year change: +21%
Note: The Globe ranked Brookline as a top 10 school in the state in 2013.
Total students: 4,440
10-year change: +24%
Total students: 3,067
10-year change: +25%
Total students: 1,481
10-year change: +27%
4. West Bridgewater
Total students: 1,324
10-year change: +30%
Total students: 6,906
10-year change: +30%
Total students: 2,971
10-year change: +57%
Total students: 3,372
10-year change: +72%
Note: If that seems like massive growth, it is. But that can be largely attributed to Pembroke pulling out of the Silver Lake Regional School District about 10 years ago and bolstering its own system. In fact, the town has actually seen a 5 percent decline in the past five years. And the Silver Lake system has in the past 10 years seen a 36 percent drop that can likely be attribued some to the separation, since it has seen a 1 percent increase in the past five years.
A few other interesting notes:
*Boston has seen a 10 percent decline in the past 10 years.
*Several schools in Western Mass. and Cape Cod are also in the red. Provincetown leads the pack with a 58 percent decrease, followed by the Mohawk Trail system out west at 37 percent. In Provincetown’s case, the town closed its high school last year and began sending students to the Nauset Regional High School. Other Cape Cod towns like Falmouth (-20%), Bourne (-19%), Barnstable (-12%), and Sandwich (-27%) have also experienced drops. Both the Cape and Western Massachusetts have experienced notable population shifts in recent years; the Cape has been losing many of its younger people who would be most likely to have school-aged children, while Western Mass. has been losing much of its population in general.
*The Somerset system, in the southeastern part of the state, has lost 36 percent of its students. That can likely be attributed in part to the formation of a regional high school with the Town of Berkley.
*Of the schools on this list, only Brookline was rated as a top school by the Globe last year. Three districts that ranked in the top 10 have shrunk in the past 10 years: Sharon (-4%), Wayland (-10%), and Weston (-2%).
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