2014-04-17 / Front Page

Narragansett High wants Jamestown enrollment

Kids already committed to NKHS for next school year
By Tim Riel

Narragansett town officials are once again wooing the Jamestown School Committee in an attempt to enroll Lawn School graduates into their high school.

Jamestown received a letter last month from Narragansett School Committee Chairwoman Tammy McNeiece highlighting the academic and extracurricular accomplishments achieved by students at Narragansett High. School officials in both towns last met with each other three years ago to discuss a possible arrangement. The two parties met again on Tuesday.

“We continue to feel that Jamestown students would be a wonderful addition to Narragansett High School,” McNeiece wrote, “and would fit in well with our student body. Jamestown students could reap many benefits of attending a small, comprehensive high school with outstanding teachers who are part of a professional learning community focused on meeting the needs of individual students.”

Jamestown committee members briefly discussed the letter at their March 20 meeting, and agreed that it would be beneficial to discuss the opportunity with Narragansett’s administration.

“The School Committee needs to do its due diligence to discuss what they have to offer Jamestown students,” said Chairwoman Cathy Kaiser.

Along with Kaiser, Committee woman Julia Held met with Narragansett’s Superintendent of
Schools Katherine Sipala and Finance Director Karen Hagan. (Kaiser will brief the Jamestown school board at tonight’s meeting about Tuesday night’s conversation, but
said Tuesday morning that she didn’t anticipate having “anything substantive to report.”)

Finance zeroKatherineplan.Sipala and

Director Karen Hagan. (Kaiser briefmeetsthe Jamestown school tonight’s meeting about night’s conversation, but Tuesday morning that she anticipate having “anything substantive to report.”) is the liaison to the North Kingstown school board, and also the negotiating subcommittee between the two districts.

Currently, North Kingstown high school of record for Jamestown students. According to Littlefield, business manager Jamestown school district, town pays a per-pupil annual $10,400. About 160 Jamestown kids are expected to attend Kingstown in the fall.

In the letter, McNeiece says that Narragansett High has had five National Merit semifinalists and a finalist in the last three years, and alumni have continued their education at “prestigious colleges” such as Harvard, Yale, Brown, Stanford and Dartmouth.

“In Narragansett, we truly value the importance of educating the whole child,” she wrote.

McNeiece also mentioned the district’s arts and athletics departments, which she said continue to grow.

“While other school districts have recently made cuts to their athletic programs due to challenging fiscal times, the number of sports teams and athletic opportunities have increased over the past three years in Narragansett,” she wrote.

The Mariners, according to McNeiece, have won seven state championships since 2011, including girls’ basketball and boys’ baseball.

McNeiece said the gymnasium at Narragansett High was recently renovated for $600,000, including new hardwood floors, bleachers, basketball hoops and scoreboards. A $3.2 million state-of-the-art athletic complex, she added, is also underway, pending voter approval of a 2015 bond referendum.

Held attended a work session with the North Kingstown school board last week and was met with overwhelming support to keep Jamestown kids at Fairway Drive.

“We want Jamestown,” said N.K. Committeewoman Lynda Avanzato. “I think it’s going to be very hard for Narragansett to put on any kind of comparable offer given what this high school has to offer.”

Held assured the North Kingstown committee that Jamestown officials weren’t conducting the talks, but rather responding to a letter.

Jamestown and North Kingstown previously had a 10-year contract. After the agreement expired in 2011, the districts have opted to renew their contract on a year-toyear basis. If either school board chooses to end the relationship, it must notify the other side by Nov. 1 for the following school year. Jamestown students are already committed to attend North Kingstown High in the fall.

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