Plainview-Old Bethpage John F. Kennedy High School joined the upper echelon of 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, 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.
Additionally, Reward Schools must maintain at least an 80 percent graduation rate—Plainview-Old Bethpage boasts a 98 percent graduation rate.
Superintendent Dr. Lorna Lewis from the Plainview-Old Bethpage School District said that this honor was made possible by the hard work of students, teachers and the entire school at large.
“Plainview-Old Bethpage Central School District is honored to have been recognized by New York State,” said Lewis. “This would not have been possible without the leadership from our Board of Education, dedication from our administrators and faculty and the diligence and passion from each member of our student body. This continued commitment to excellence in education, which is the hallmark of our school district, is what makes recognition of this magnitude possible.”
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.”
Besides Plainview-Old Bethpage, 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, Jericho Senior High School, Locust Valley High School, Lynbrook High School, Manhasset High School, North Shore High School in Glen Head, South Side High School in Rockville Centre, Roslyn High School, Syosset High School and Wantagh High School.
“The Plainview-Old Bethpage Central School District is committed to continuing to push our students to grow intellectually, professionally and personally,” continued Lewis. “Whether it is through our STEAM programs or our entrepreneurial DECA and Business clubs, we pride ourselves in helping students find what they are passionate about and providing them with the tools necessary to pursue those passions after graduation.”