Not just a ‘general’ ranking

MacArthur named one of New York’s top high schools


In a listing of the state and nation’s best high schools last month, U.S. News & World Report ranked MacArthur High School one of New York’s top 100. The school was ranked 87th in the state and 896th nationally. 

U.S. News has published college and high school rankings since 1983. According to the report, the magazine determined whether students at a particular high school performed better than statistically expected in its state, factoring in the percentage of economically disadvantaged students. The survey also assessed whether disadvantaged students performed at or better than average. Graduation rates higher than 75 percent and a “college readiness” factor were also considered.

Dr. Tonie McDonald, the Levittown School District’s superintendent, said she was proud of the school’s faculty and students. 

“It is such an honor to have received the recognition of a world-class publication like U.S. News & World Report,” she said. 

Although no Long Island school made it into the top 10 in the state rankings this year, 22 high schools in the region were in the top 100. Lynbrook Senior High School and John F. Kennedy High School, in Bellmore, also earned that designation. 

Principal Joseph Sheehan said that MacArthur’s state ranking is a testament to the students’ and teachers’ pride and passion for education. He described the students and people who work at the school as a family. 

“I think it’s always, without a doubt, the team effort and commitment to education excellence that helped put us on the list,” Sheehan said. “It’s not just the staff or the students. It’s a complete team effort from top to bottom. We set our goals high.”

He added that there are many reasons why the school has been lauded, including the number of Advanced Placement courses and exams it offers; the quality of the professional development for teachers and staff; orientations that administrators say help students transition to MacArthur smoothly; and the fact that school officials host three college fairs, each featuring more than 35 universities. 

MacArthur offers 20 A.P. courses. Liz Hammer, guidance chairwoman, noted that administrators also recently introduced the A.P. Capstone, a research-based program designed to complement and enhance discipline-specific study in other A.P. courses. 

“It’s really just another opportunity for our students to get a head start,” Hammer said. “The Capstone is an innovative way for students to get ahead on the research aspect and learn the skills and really delve into specific areas, preparing them for college.”

MacArthur was also recognized for its 97 percent graduation rate and a 45.9 percent college-readiness ranking. Hammer said that many of the guidance counselors meet with students for a “career interest inventory,” which helps students focus on how their interests can relate to college majors and careers. 

“We try to work with the students as soon as they come to us in the ninth grade,” she explained. “We really encourage our students to try and turn their passions and interests into a career.”

Many MacArthur students also take part in sports, clubs and extracurricular activities. Sheehan said that educators encourage students to get involved so that they are well-rounded. 

Hammer said she hoped that MacArthur teachers and administrators helped prepare students for rigorous college programs. The members of the class of 2017 will showcase their colleges of choice on June 6 by sporting a university T-shirt or sweatshirt to MacArthur’s annual “Wear are you going?” event.