South Side High School named challenging school

Seventh time on national list


For the seventh consecutive year, South Side High School was named to the Washington Post’s list of the America’s Most Challenging High Schools.

The list is compiled every year by Post writer Jay Matthews, who takes the number of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and Advanced International Certificate of Education tests given each year and divides it by the number of graduating seniors.

South Side High School was ranked 137 out of the 2,055 high schools on the list (out of approximately 22,000 high schools in the country). The school had an index rating of 4.9 — meaning that for every graduating senior, there were nearly five advanced tests given.

“It’s always a nice honor,” said SSHS principal Dr. Carol Burris. “It’s certainly not the motivation, but it’s nice to be recognized as a school that does a very good job challenging all of its students. It’s really what South Side High School is all about: being a place where all kids have opportunities to take the very best courses that we have.”

South Side’s rank has fluctuated over the years. In 2007, it was ranked 38. But the 2014 score is up from last year, when it was ranked 142.

“We have always felt that the best preparation for continuing a student’s education is to provide them with challenging opportunities here in Rockville Centre with appropriate support,” said Superintendent Dr. William Johnson. “We are very proud of our staff and our students and the accomplishments of both. It is very gratifying to see that their hard work is recognized by placing our high school among the best.”

Burris attributed the school’s ranking to the teachers, as well as the district’s administration and the Board of Education. But most of all, she said, credit lies with the students.

“I adore our students. I really do,” she said. “They never cease to amaze me by their willingness to try new challenges and to work hard. And yet, at the same time, to keep it all in good perspective. I don’t walk around the school and see kids that are overly anxious or overly concerned about grades. They’re well-rounded students. They enjoy the arts. They enjoy sports. And they enjoy each other. So it’s a very healthy atmosphere in the school. And that’s not always true in other places.”