South Side High School was among 24 Long Island schools and 155 in New York to be named as a Reward School by the state Education Department earlier this month, marking the third time in as many years it has achieved
“All of these schools serve as models to others in the state to inspire them to achieve a high level of accomplishment and improvement,” MaryEllen Elia, commissioner of the state Education Department, said in a statement. “It’s truly impressive that so many of this year’s Reward Schools were able to maintain the designation for three years in
The list of schools is formulated based on several factors. Firstly, the school must be in the top 20 percent of schools in state for English language arts and mathematics performance for the past two school years, or among the top 10 percent in terms of progress in those subjects for the past school year.
Schools must also achieve “adequate yearly progress” for the past two school years for all groups of students, including the requirement that 95 percent of all groups participate in ELA and math testing.
The school must not have large gaps in student performance between students who are members of what the Education Department defines as an “accountability group,” like low-income students, and students who are not.
Additionally, high schools must have graduation rates above 80 percent to be a high-achieving school or above 60 percent to be a high-progress school. They must also exceed the state average in percentage of students graduating with a Regents diploma with advance designation or a Career and Technical Endorsement. High schools must also exceed the state average in graduation rate for students who enrolled with performance in ELA or math below proficiency.
South Side High School Principal John Murphy said that though he appreciates the acknowledgement, being named a Reward School is just one of many measures of success that South Side has achieved lately.
He added that he is especially proud of the science and physical education curriculum at South Side, as well as the vocational education they offer to students. Murphy stressed the importance to “go beyond the test scores” when it comes to education, and that being a Reward School “only tells part of the story of why South Side is a special place.”