Increasing number of Wareham students leaving town schools

By Matthew Bernat | Mar 01, 2017

The number students living in Wareham, but who attend school elsewhere, is on the rise School Committee members learned Wednesday night.

Superintendent Dr. Kimberly Shaver-Hood shared a “School Attending Report,” which is compiled annually, with members. The results highlighted the uphill battle administrators and committee members face in attracting and retaining students.

According to the report, 699 students who live in Wareham will not attend its public schools this year. Of those, 237 cross the bridge into Bourne to attend Upper Cape Cod Regional Technical High School, 197 opt for School Choice, 61 chose charter schools and the remainder are either home schooled or attend private schools, such as Tabor Academy or Bishop Stang High School.

The data shows over the past nine years the number of students attending Upper Cape has steadily increased over the past 10 years, up from 181 in 2007. Students opting for School Choice has jumped dramatically over the same time frame, up to 197 from 12 in 2007.

Chair Mel Lazarus said he was disappointed by the numbers and the overall reputation that Wareham Schools unfairly saddled with.

“It bothers me when I see numbers of students who go to other school districts and those districts are going to provide a better education than what students will get here in Wareham,” he said. “That perception is incorrect.”

Lazarus said the school’s upcoming implementation of a new, rigorous education curriculum, known as the International Baccalaureate program, will hopefully change that.

“It’s not going to happen overnight,” said Lazarus. “It will take two, maybe three years.”

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