For the third time in its history, Malverne High School was placed on the College Board’s annual Advanced Placement District Honor Roll for significant gains in student access and success in A.P. courses. Malverne is one of 373 school districts in the United States and Canada — and one of two on Long Island — to earn this distinction.
“This is a huge honor,” said Malverne High Principal Dr. Vincent Romano. “It’s our mission to increase exposure to A.P. courses and to increase enrollment while increasing passing percentage, and it’s something we’re all very proud of.”
Schools that achieved this status boosted the number of students who took part in A.P. classes while also adding to or maintaining the percentage of students earning A.P. exam scores of 3 or higher. Scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest mark. Malverne, which previously achieved this honor in 2012 and 2015, saw a 23 percent increase in enrollment while boosting the number of students scoring a 3 or higher by 15 percent.
“We’ve done a tremendous amount of research supporting why that’s important for students to be successful in college,” Romano said. “Quite frankly, all the data and all the research will tell you that when you increase enrollment in A.P. courses, you’d expect the numbers to go down. Dr. [James] Hunderfund was very open-minded, and this achievement defies the research.”
Hunderfund, the district’s superintendent, said that the school’s culture of celebrating its success is what motivates students to strive for better scores. He said that staff members speak about the school’s achievements with their students.
“When you have that kind of word of mouth in a relatively small school, it’s very motivational,” Hunderfund said. “People really jump on board based on what they hear. They want to get involved, they want to do well, and they want to be successful.”
"Malverne High School provides a first-rate education to the children of our community," said State Sen. Todd Kaminsky in a statement. "Being named to the College Board’s A.P. District Honor Roll is a well-deserved feat for the school’s dedicated administrators, faculty and students. I look forward to continuing to watch the students of Malverne High School excel in and out of the classroom under the tutelage of their devoted educators.”
Romano said that much of the preparation for A.P. exams takes place outside the classroom, and that students use homework centers, A.P. review programs, and ACT and SAT programs.
“We can’t just rely on those 43 minutes of class time,” Romano said. “Our teachers are committed to our students, and the continuity of the mission, the goals, and the focus from kindergarten right up to ninth grade is completely in line.”
Encouraging students to participate in numerous activities, Hunderfund added, also helps them in college and beyond. “We don’t [want] to overload them to where it becomes a burden,” he said, “but we do want them to stretch their capacity so that when they do get out there, and they have managed many things, they’ll know that they can do it.”
Romano said that since this is the third time that the high school has achieved this honor, the level of expectation has increased each year.
“We were all a little bit nervous about how this was going to go when we first started to increase enrollment,” he said. “There were some concerns from parents, but it’s become a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you’ve got great teachers, you’ve got it made.”