Garden City High School joined the upper echelon of state schools recently when it was 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 home of the Trojans has been nationally recognized as being part of high-performing school districts that have accrued myriad awards and accolades over the years including finalists recognized in the recently discontinued Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology.
Garden City High School was ranked 157th nationally and 20th in New York State on Newsweek Magazine’s 2017 list of the Top 500 American High Schools. Its students are annually recognized for their academic achievements with myriad honors including National Merit Scholarships. In addition, Garden City High School was one of 342 schools recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School for 2017. The recognition is based on a school’s overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. For Garden City High School Principal Nanine McLaughlin, determination and a drive to succeed from the students and parents to faculty and staff are at the root of her district’s accomplishments.
“We were very pleased to learn that Garden City High School was again designated as a ‘Reward School’ for high academic achievement by the New York State Education Department,” she said. “Our students are dedicated, hard-working individuals. Our parents are very supportive of their children and the school district, and our board of education and administration work tirelessly to maintain the high school’s outstanding academic program.”
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, Great Neck South High School, Herricks High School in New Hyde Park, Jericho Senior High School, 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, Syosset High School and Wantagh High School.
—Additional reporting by