Jericho Senior High School and Syosset High School joined the upper echelon of state schools recently when they 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. Both schools have been nationally recognized as being part of high-performing school districts that have accrued myriad awards and accolades over the years including having finalists get recognized in the recently discontinued Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology.
Jericho High School was ranked 67th nationally and 11th in New York State on Newsweek magazine’s 2017 list of the Top 500 American High Schools. Syosset came in 173rd nationally and 24th in New York State. Both high schools have placed finalists in the recently discontinued Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology. In addition, Jericho High School had 11 students (the most on Long Island) end up as scholars in this year’s Regeneron Science Talent Search; Syosset Senior High School had two. For Denise Nash, Jericho’s director of public information and community relations, academic possibilities are at the root of her district’s accomplishments.
“Jericho’s motto is success for every student and the high school is no different—offering all students many opportunities, including a large selection of electives and AP classes,” Nash said. “This allows students to find their passion and take classes that interest them, creating a great culture for learning. The board of education, staff, students, parents, and community all value the education that Jericho High School provides and all contribute to the educational experience.”
Neighboring Syosset High School was named a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence in 1992–1993, while the school district as a whole was the 2002 winner of the Kennedy Center Alliance for Arts Education Network and National School Boards Association Award, which honors school districts for excellence in arts education. For Dr. Thomas Rogers, the Syosset Central School District’s superintendent of schools, this statewide recognition is affirmation of the hard work put in by his staff and faculty during students’ early developmental stages.
“We are grateful for the state’s recognition of the academic success of Syosset High School,” he said. “It is the winning leg of a relay race that begins with the strong foundations built in each of Syosset’s middle and elementary schools.”
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.
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 in Bellmore, Bethpage High School, W. Tresper Clarke High School in Westbury, Garden City High School, Great Neck South High School, Herricks High School in New Hyde Park, Locust Valley High School, Lynbrook High School, Manhasset High School, North Shore High School in Glen Head, Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK High School, South Side High School in Rockville Centre, Roslyn High School and Wantagh High School.
—Additional reporting by Steve Mosco