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Website ranks Hampton among nation's top schools

| Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014, 6:43 p.m.

Hampton Township School District was ranked on a list of the best school districts in the nation, to the delight of district officials.

The district was ranked 86 out of 100 of 2015 Best School Districts in the nation according to Niche.com. Hampton High School was also ranked 11th in the state for Best Public High Schools.

Administrators are pleased with the rankings as it adds to their reputation of quality.

“What we feel is best is when there's a variety of sources that recognize you as high quality,” said Jeff Finch, the district's assistant superintendent. “I would not put all the stock into any one ranking, but from a variety of perspectives, we're viewed as doing well.”

Niche is a website founded by Carnegie Mellon University graduates that offers rankings and statistics on neighborhoods, K-12 schools and colleges across the county. Erin Kelly, director of marketing with Niche, said the high rank in the Best School Districts list indicates that:

• Students are happy with their experience in all aspects

• The schools are exceptional in terms of teachers, students, learning resources and student outcomes

• The schools have a diverse population and foster an accepting positive school culture

• Students are actively involved in a variety of extracurriculars and sports

“Hampton's students, residents and parents should be proud of their high rank,” Kelly said.

The Niche database has records for 13,402 school districts and gave 8,738 a numerical ranking. A district must have at least 100 students enrolled to be considered for ranking.

Academics receives half the weight for the ranking, which includes results of state tests, AP course enrollment, AP exam results, composite SAT/ACT score and graduation rate.

Health and safety, student culture and diversity, survey responses and teachers each receive 10 percent weight in the scoring. Resources and facilities is weighted 5 percent, while extracurriculars and activities, as well as sports and fitness round out the score with 2.5 percent weight each.

Each category also includes survey results from parents and students about the quality of the category. The district also received an overall Niche grade of A+.

Finch said he especially liked the survey aspect of the rankings since many compiled lists, profiles and rankings only look at quantitative data like test scores and graduation rates.

“While those are more tangible and they're quality, the survey implies in part that impression or perspective people have,” he said. “Proud people work harder. Realizing that people expressed their impression of quality or sense of pride in this organization, it's a good indication that they feel good where they are and they work hard while they're here.”

The full Niche report can be viewed here: k12.niche.com/d/hampton-township-school-district-pa.

Rachel Farkas is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6364 or rfarkas@tribweb.com.

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