William E. Tolman Senior Highschool
150 Exchange St., Pawtucket, Rhode Island 02860
(401) 729-6400
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Introduction

mascot.jpg
external image Tolman%20logo.jpg?dummy=421William E. Tolman Senior High school has been educating the Pawtucket area since 1926. The school is located on Exchange St right in Pawtucket and serves 1,050 students in grades 9-12 with 103 full time teachers. The Pawtucket school district is made up of 17 schools, 10 elementary schools, 3 middle schools, and 4 high schools. Tolman High school is run by Superintendent Patti DiCenso and Principal C. Christopher Savastano. Tolman’s pride is shown through their red, white, and black color scheme and their mascot, the Tolman Tiger. As seen on the school website, Tolman Senior High School has a mission statement which is “to provide a learning environment grounded in truth and knowledge that develops academic competency, social awareness and civic responsibility.” The high school’s site goes on to state that “we will achieve these goals by maintaining a dignified and respectful learning environment, implementing 21st century learning expectations, teaching methods and technology into our classrooms and using data to drive instruction.If you are a parent of a high school student looking for more information on the community, district, and high school and think Tolman could be the perfect fit for your child- please continue reading below!



Community Background

When it comes to the community background of Tolman High School, there are many different aspects to consider. We are going to be looking at the income and poverty levels of Pawtucket in comparison to Rhode Island and the United States. After these points, we will be looking at racial demographics in the Pawtucket community compared to the state and the country. Lastly, we will be looking at the overall education performance of Tolman in relation to the state of Rhode Island.

Income/Poverty
Pawtucket
Rhode Island
United States
Median Household Income
$40,379
$56,361
$53,046
Median Family Income
$49,597
$72,717
$64,719
Per Capita Income
$21,637
$30,469
$28,155
All Families Below Poverty Level
15.8%
9.6%
11.3%
All People Below Poverty Level
19.3%
13.6%
15.4%
Unemployment
13.6%
9.9%
9.9%
(US Census, 2013)

The Pawtucket community proves to be slightly less wealthy than the state, however the state compared to the US seems to be more at an advantage.

In addition to income and poverty, we are going to take a look at the numbers based on racial and ethnic demographics in the community as well as compared to the state and country.

Race/Ethnicity
Pawtucket
Rhode Island
United States
White
66.5%
81.4%
74%
Black/African Americans
13.4%
6.3%
12.6%
Asian
1.5%
3.1%
4.9%
Hispanic or Latino
19.7%
12.9%
16.6%
American Indian/Alaska native
0.4%
0.4%
0.8%
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(US Census, 2013)

Rhode Island as a state has the highest percentage of Caucasians (81.4%), while the US ranks second with 74%, and the Pawtucket community at 66.5%. The percentage of African Americans in the Pawtucket community is 13.4%, while the state is 6.3%, and the US is 12.6%. Pawtucket’s Asian population is only 1.5%, which is about half the percentage of the state (3.1%), and roughly three times less than the US which has a 4.9% Asian population. The Hispanic and Latino percentage ranks at about 16.6% in the US, Rhode Island's population is 12.9%, and the Pawtucket community has the greatest percentage at 19.7%. Lastly, the American Indian and Alaska native percentages rank the same for Pawtucket and Rhode Island at 0.4%
while the US is 0.8%.

Next, we are going to be taking a look at some of the census factors at the Tolman community.
Economic Well Being/Census Based Factors
Pawtucket
Barrington
Central Falls
Rhode Island
Child Population
16,575
4,597
5,644
223,956
Child in Single Parent Families
43%
13%
49%
31%
Children Living in Families Below Federal Poverty Threshold
28.9%
1.2%
41.1%
19.5%
Children in Families Receiving Cash Resistance
6%
Less than 1%
9%
4%
School Breakfast Program Participation
29%
3%
61%
39%
Births to Mothers with less than High School Diploma
18%
1%
36%
14%
Teen Birth Rate (15-19) per 1000 girls
37.5
2.7
73.4
21
(RIkidscount, 2015)

Central Falls, being the least affluent community in Rhode Island, has the highest percentage of single parent families at 49%, while our community, Pawtucket, is at 43%. The state as a whole is at 31% for having children in single parent families. Along with single parent families, another factor that also makes an interesting point is families living below the federal poverty threshold level. Central Falls, which we know is the least affluent, has a percentage of 41.1% children who are living below the federal poverty threshold level. In comparison, Pawtucket only has 28.9%. The numbers show us that the Pawtucket community would rank above Central Falls, however still fall below the average of Rhode Island (19.5%).

Next, we will be looking at some education factors about the community compared to the state.

Education factors
Pawtucket
Rhode Island
Children enrolled in State Pre-k
18
306
Suspension Rate per 100 students
10
22
High School Graduation Rate
80%
81%
11th Graders at or above Math Proficiency Level
18%
36%
Students enrolled in Special Education
15%
15%
English Language Learners
12%
7%
(Rikidscount, 2015)

Although only 18% of 11th graders in this community are proficient in math, the community's graduation rate is 80%, only one percent less than the state's average graduation rate. In addition, Pawtucket has a higher percentage of English language learners, at 12%, while Rhode Island's as a whole is only 7%.


District
Now, we are going to be taking a closer look at Tolman High School's school district. We will be considering NECAP test scores, as well as other student characteristics. We will compare the findings from Tolman School District, with the findings from Barrington and Central Falls districts, as well as Rhode Island as a whole.

NECAP Assessments
Rhode Island
Pawtucket
Barrington
Central Falls
11th grade math
35%
18%
79%
12%
11th grade reading
81%
70%
97%
53%
11th grade writing
66%
59%
81%
35%
11th grade science
30%
15%
68%
14%
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In the bar graph to the right, the dark blue represents Tolman HS, the light blue represents Pawtucket public schools, and the grey represents the state of Rhode Island.

NECAP Assessments
Rhode Island
Pawtucket
Barrington
Central Falls
8th grade math
57%
36%
90%
15%
8th grade reading
74%
62%
94%
39%
8th grade writing
56%
40%
79%
13%
8th grade science
23%
5%
55%
1%
(Infoworks!, 2015)
NECAP Assessments
Rhode Island
Pawtucket
Barrington
Central Falls
4th grade math
63%
50%
78%
42%
4th grade reading
70%
62%
88%
44%
4th grade science
41%
21%
66%
13%
(Infoworks!, 2015)
Pawtucket repeatedly displayed scores higher than Central Falls, but lower than the state average and Barrington. For example, the 4th grade reading level for the state of Rhode Island was 70%, Barrington's reading score was 88%, while Pawtucket's was just 62%, but above that of Central Falls' which was 44%. In the 8th grade level, Rhode Island had a score of 74%, Barrington with a score of 94%, Pawtucket with a score of 62%, and Central Falls scored 39%. At the high school level, the 11th graders of Rhode Island averaged out at a score of 81%, Barrington scored 97%, Pawtucket was 70%, and Central Falls had a score of 53%. It is interesting to see how most all of those reading scores improved as the students got older, minus Central Falls' score from 4th grade to 8th grade. Pawtucket students stayed consistent in their reading scores, but improved once they reached the 11th grade. As you can see, Pawtucket continued to follow the same trend in all the subjects continuing through eleventh grade. They never exceeded the state average scores, however, the scores continually remained above those of Central Falls.

We are now going to look at some interesting statistics of our district relative to other districts and to Rhode Island as a whole.

Student Characteristics
Rhode Island
Pawtucket
Barrington
Central Falls
Student eligibility for subsidized lunch
47%
73%
4%
79%
Students receiving ESL/Bilingual Education Services
7%
10%
1%
24%
Attendance Rate (High Schools)
92%
90%
95%
88%
Number of Incidents of Suspension (High School)
15,876
274
56
126
Per Pupil Spending
$15,740
$13,478
$14,217
$17,982
Chronic Absenteeism (High Schools)
24%
35%
7%
40%
(Infoworks!, 2015)

The attendance rates for the Pawtucket district are again lower than those of the state as a whole and Barrington, but higher than Central Falls. As a result, the numbers for chronic absenteeism in the different districts follow the same pattern. Interestingly enough, we can see in the table that 73% of the students are eligible for subsidized lunch, which is drastically higher than the state average of only 46%. In regards to per pupil spending of the districts, the amounts were a bit shocking. Central Falls had the highest per pupil spending amount at $17,982 whereas Pawtucket had the lowest amount at $13,478. Another interesting statistic was the number of suspension incidents, Pawtucket's suspension rate was 274, much higher than Barrington's which was only 56 and even higher than Central Falls which was 126. This table portrayed statistics that did not necessarily follow the same trends as we have been seeing in the previous data.

School Analysis

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Finally it's time we look at Tolman High School individually in comparison to the state of Rhode Island, a Barrington public high school, and a Central Falls public high school. We will be able to see how Tolman measures up against the state and other public schools in the area without the community or district influences. In the tables below, we'll take a look at SAT and AP exam scores and other teacher and student characteristics.

SAT Exams
Rhode Island
Tolman HS
Barrington HS
Central Falls HS
Mathematics Average
484
424
588
425
Reading Average
483
426
578
394
Writing Average
471
409
566
404
(Infoworks!, 2015)
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AP Exams
Rhode Island
Tolman HS
Barrington Hs
Central Falls Hs
Number of Exams Taken
7,237
187
544
134
Number of Students to take exams
4,390
95
294
94
Exams Scored at College Level Mastery
4,143
45
492
20
Percent Scored at College Level Mastery
57%
24%
90%
15%
(Infoworks!, 2015)
We can conclude that Tolman High School is still scoring lower than the state average and a Barrington High School, but higher than a Central Falls High School. If you can remember from the earlier tables in which the NECAP scores were displayed, the 11th grade reading level of the Pawtucket district was 75%, while the math level was only 17%. The reading levels of the district were profoundly greater than the math levels. But, as you can see above, the mathematics average is 424 and the reading average is 426, very similar. We can conclude that Tolman High School specifically may have an especially strong math department.
Looking at the AP exam data, we can conclude that a considerably less amount of students (95) are taking AP exams when compared to the Barrington High School where 294 students take AP exams. It is interesting to see that 544 exams in total were taken at the Barrington High School and only a total of 187 exams were taking at Tolman High School. As for the percent scored at college level mastery goes, Tolman's percentage (24%) is considerably lower than Barrington High School's percentage (90%) and even less than half of the state's average (57%). With that being said, Tolman has stuck with the trend we have been seeing and does once again have a percentage higher than Central Fall's High School which is only at 15%.
Lastly, we will be taking a look at teacher characteristics as well as graduation rates.
Teacher Characterisitcs/Graduation Rates
Rhode Island
Tolman HS
Barrington HS
Central Falls HS
Teacher Student Ratio (classroom teachers)
1:14
1:10
1:13
1:14
Percent Graduated within four yrs
80.7%
78.8%
94%
72%
Percent Dropped out
8%
11.3%
1.1%
12.6%
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(Infoworks!, 2015)

Tolman High School has the smallest teacher to student ratio, one teacher for every ten students, as compared to Central Falls, Barrington, and Rhode Island as a whole. Having smaller class sizes is more effective for the student and teacher as it maximizes learning opportunities for every student. When it comes to graduation rates, Barrington has the highest with 94%, Rhode Island as a whole is 80.7%, Tolman is close behind the state average with 78.8%, and Central Falls has a graduation rate of 72%.

Conclusion

As shown in the data above, Tolman High School has many different strengths and weaknesses. When compared to other districts, we are able to highlight between the differences. As you have seen from the data above, in comparison to the other districts, Tolman High School shows patterns that would rank in the bottom half of the middle tier. Academics are certainly not Tolman's strong suit, however Tolman repeatedly showed to be higher academically than Central Falls. Pawtucket is certainly more diverse than Rhode Island statewide and even the nation as a whole. 19.7% of Pawtucket's population is Hispanic or Latino whereas only 12.9% of Rhode Island's population and 16.6% of the nation's population report to be that race/ethnicity. Also, Pawtucket has the lowest percentage population of whites living in the community relative to the state and the nation as a whole. Although most of the data showed Tolman High School to be below average, there was no data that was overwhelmingly low. The NECAP assessment scores of the district and Tolman specifically showed to be not far behind the scores of the state of Rhode Island. We hope that these statistics and data points will assist you as parents when considering Tolman High School as one of the options for your child's high school education.

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References

United States Census Buraeu: American Fact Finder. (2013). Retrieved from http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/nav/jsf/pages/index.xhtml

Rhode Island KIDS COUNT. (2015). Retrieved from http://www.rikidscount.org/AboutUs/AboutRhodeIslandbrKIDSCOUNT.aspx

InfoWorks! Rhode Island Education Data Reporting. (2015). Retrieved from http://infoworks.ride.ri.gov

Kiersten Gardella & Alexa Mattiello

jess and lauren