New York is constantly raising their academic targets each and every year and Long Island schools are meeting these expectations.
The state "report cards" that were released recently showed that 33 local school districts had fallen short in terms of test results and graduation rates, which were down from 46 that were cited last year.
Over 30 schools did not meet standards last year from East Hampton and Ronkonkoma to Mineola and Valley Stream; however, they all succeeded this year. These schools accomplished this goal by strengthening their educational instruction for their students with learning and educational disabilities.
The middle school that has 1,850 student enrolled which is one of the regions largest, met all educational requirements this year. The prior year they missed passing requirements for special education students. This year however, the school hired more teachers and instructional aides, which was a district wide plan that was created by Superintendent Neil Lederer.
Since there were more teachers on staff, students with disabilities could be placed in "inclusionary" educational classes. These classes are similar to regular classes, but are a bit smaller. Each class has two teachers for every classroom.
The driving force behind these changes is a combination of state and federal regulations. The federal "No Child Left Behind" law, in effect for four years, requires districts and schools to boost math and reading scores among students as a whole and also among specific student groups including whites, blacks, Hispanics, the poor and the disabled.
It is expected that a higher percentage of students from each of these groups is expected to achieve academic proficiency each year. The performance level varies according to the performance level of every school. The proficiency definition is defined by each state. The goal however, is to achieve 100% proficiency by the year 2014.
During a news conference in Albany, state education officials announced that 83.1 percent of schools statewide met academic requirements this year, compared to 75 percent last year. However, they did explain that the statewide graduation rates still remain low at only 64.1% after four years of high school and that classroom attendance needs improvement.
One school district, even though two of the high schools were ranked in the top 50 public school in the nation did not show any improvement was the Great Neck District. Ronald Friedman, Great Neck's superintendent explained that the problem centered around a few students with severe academic disabilities which had been placed in specialized schools and did not take the exam. These students need to take test that are more geared to their own abilities that is allowed by federal rules.
The following list of Long Island schools now meet the state's academic targets which they failed to meet in the 2003-04 school year.
Comsewogue High School, Center Moriches High School, Ronkonkoma Junior High School (Connetquot), Walter G. O'Connell Copiague High School, East Hampton High School, Eastport-South Manor High School, Harborfields High School, Hauppauge High School, G.W. Hewlett High School (Hewlett- Woodmere), Hicksville High School, Huntington High School, Island Trees High School, RJO Intermediate School (Kings Park), Lindenhurst Middle School, Long Beach Middle School, Newfield High School (Middle Country), Mineola Middle School, Oceanside High School, Saxton Middle School (Patchogue-Medford), South Side Middle School (Rockville Centre), Joseph A. Edgar, Intermediate (Rocky Point), Roslyn High School, Sachem High School North, Pierson High School, Floral Park High School (Sewanhaka), New Hyde Park High School (Sewanhaka), Sewanhaka High School, Walt Whitman High School (South Huntington), Southold High School, Ward Melville High School (Three Village), Valley Stream Central High School, and Westbury High School.