North Shore High School joined the upper echelon of state schools recently, and Locust Valley High School retained its status, when each were identified as one of 16 Reward Schools in Nassau County by the State Education Department. The honor, which recognizes schools with a high academic achievement or those with the most progress in the state, was announced by state education commissioner MaryEllen Elia.
The 16 Nassau schools are part of 155 statewide to claim the achievement. In order to nab Reward School recognition, schools must be in the top 20 percent of schools in the state for English Language Arts (ELA) and math performance for both the 2015-16 and 2016-17 school years; have made Adequate Yearly Progress for those two school years for all groups of students on an array of measures, including the requirement that 95 percent of all groups participate in the ELA and math assessments; and not have unacceptably large gaps in performance between students who are considered low-income students.
Albert Cousins, principal of North Shore High School, said that this honor was made possible by the hard work of students, teachers and the entire school at large.
“I am very proud of our students’ excellent performance. Without question this is tied to the quality of instruction and our faculty’s thoughtful use of assessment data,” said Cousins. “We have the good fortune to have a faculty who is reflective, insightful, and focused on our students as individuals. Even further, our counseling department and social workers ensure that students are well, motivated and engaged. Every teacher in our school takes their work seriously, approaches innovation with open-mindedness, and the students know that ‘what we’re doing here is important.’ That matters, and that makes a difference. It takes an entire school community to have this sort of positive momentum and this acknowledgement is a testament to the value our families place on their school system.”
Locust Valley High School has earned Reward School status for the sixth consecutive year.
“Our high school continues to achieve excellence through the dedication of our staff and students, and through the support of the community,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Anna F. Hunderfund. “I am extremely proud that we have maintained exceptionally high standards year after year.”
In addition, elementary and middle schools must demonstrate that more than 50 percent of students are making annual growth in ELA and math; and that more than 50 percent of the school’s lowest achieving students are also making gains. High schools must have graduation rates above 80 percent to be a high-achieving school and more than 60 percent to be a high-progress school and the percentage of students in the school who graduate with a Regents diploma with advanced designation or a Career and Technical Endorsement must exceed the state average. Additionally, high schools must demonstrate that their graduation rate for students who entered the school performing below proficient in ELA or math exceeds the state average.
“The teachers and administrators at these Reward Schools work hard each day to raise the bar and give their students opportunities to achieve their dreams,” said Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa. “The proof is in the results these schools have obtained and I am thrilled to celebrate their success.”
Of the awarded schools, 64 are located in New York City, 73 are located in the rest of the state and 18 are public charter schools. In addition, 107 of these schools were identified as Reward Schools last year and 81 have been identified as Reward Schools for three consecutive years.
“It’s truly impressive that so many of this year’s Reward Schools were able to maintain the designation for three years in a row,” said Elia. “All of these schools serve as models to others in the state to inspire them to achieve a high level of accomplishment and improvement.”
The Nassau schools honored include John F. Kennedy High School, Bethpage High School, W. Tresper Clarke High School in Westbury, Garden City High School, Great Neck South High School, Herricks High School, Jericho Senior High School, Lynbrook High School, Manhasset High School, Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK High School, South Side High School in Rockville Centre, Roslyn High School, Syosset High School and Wantagh High School.
—Additional reporting by Jill Nossa