4 ‘Reward Schools’ named on North Shore

Noah Manskar
South High School
Great Neck South High School was ranked #29 on Niche's list of the top 100 K-12 schools in the state. (Photo from the Great Neck Public Schools)

The state Education Department on Friday identified four North Shore high schools as “Reward Schools” that do well academically without leaving achievement gaps between groups of students.

Great Neck South High School, Herricks High School, Manhasset Secondary School and Roslyn High School are among 185 schools across the state to earn the distinction, given to schools that the state says are either “high performing” or “high progress.”

All four North Shore schools are identified as “high performing.” Great Neck South is among 99 schools to have made the list three years in a row.

“These schools serve as models to other schools in the state to inspire them to achieve a high level of accomplishment and improvement,” Mary Ellen Elia, the state education commissioner, said in a statement. “Schools that excel should be recognized, and I am thrilled that many of these schools continue to demonstrate high achievement year after year.”

Absent from the list this year after appearing last year are Paul D. Schreiber High School in Port Washington and three elementary schools from other districts: Munsey Park Elementary School in Manhasset and the Saddle Rock School and Lakeville Elementary School in Great Neck.

Manhasset and Herricks made the list in 2015 but did not appear last year.

The methodology for naming Reward Schools for this year uses data from the 2014-15 and 2015-16 school years.

To make the list, according to an Education Department news release, schools must have scores in the top 20 percent statewide on the state’s math and English exams; not have “unacceptably large gaps” between disadvantaged students and others; and have made adequate progress on various accountability measures, including the requirement that at least 95 percent of students participate in the state tests.

High schools seeking the “high performing” designation must have more than 80 percent of their students graduate, and have a proportion of students graduating with Regents diplomas or technical certificates that’s above the state average.

The graduation rate for students who did not show proficiency in English when they first entered high school must also be above the state average.

It really means that they have a lot of faith in the broad scope of things that you do and address students of all ability levels,” James Ruck, the Herricks High School principal, said of the Reward School honor.

A total of 28 Long Island schools made the list — 18 in Nassau County and 10 in Suffolk County. All of them are high schools.

Long Island elementary and middle schools have seen an increasingly prevalent “opt out” movement, in which students sit out the state tests for third- through eighth-graders to protest the tests’ links to teacher evaluations and the national Common Core education standards.

The four North Shore schools that were dropped from the list this year did not meet the requirement that 95 percent of students in all subgroups take the state tests, the Education Department said.

Students and parents generally do not protest the Regents exams for high schoolers because they are required for graduation.

The principals for Great Neck South High School, Manhasset Secondary School and Roslyn High School could not be reached for comment.

About the author

Noah Manskar

Noah Manskar is the assistant managing editor for Blank Slate Media and a reporter covering the Willistons, New Hyde Park and Nassau County government.
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