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Monday, September 22, 2014
North High School teacher Dan Ryan meets with students in his Advanced Placement psychology class, who recently took the AP test. For some in the class, it was just one of five of the college-level exams they are taking this year.
School News
Valley Stream’s high schools earn recognition

Valley Stream’s three high schools are rarely thought of among Long Island’s elite. District administrators would like to know, “Why not?”

Rankings recently released by the Washington Post and Newsweek have put Valley Stream’s high schools among the best in the state and the nation. The Post ranked all three schools in its list of America’s Most Challenging High Schools, while Central, North and South also placed on Newsweek’s America’s Best High School list.

For the Post rankings, 2,053 high schools of more than 22,000 in the United States made the list. South clocked in at 424th in the nation and 35th in the state. North ranked at 532nd nationally and 49th in New York, with Central following at 746th and 64th, respectively.

The Post’s ranking formula was simple. It took the number of Advanced Placement and other college-level tests given at a school in a year divided by the number of graduates. Dr. Thomas Troisi, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, said it was an honest ranking with the same standard being applied to every school.

“I like what it’s measuring,” said North High School Principal Cliff Odell. “What it’s saying is we are challenging as many students as possible.”

Newsweek ranked the 2,000 best high schools in the United States. Its criteria included a school’s four-year on-time graduation rate, percent of graduates accepted to college, Advanced Placement and other college-level tests taken per student, and SAT and AP scores. South ranked 440th in the country, Central 734th and North 985th.

Odell said that the district gives students numerous opportunities to take college level classes. There are a total of 21 Advanced Placement courses offered. Some students have taken as many as 15 AP classes during their high school careers in Valley Stream.

Troisi said students are encouraged to take these challenging courses whenever possible and a liberal policy supports that. He explained that while some districts have minimum requirements for students to be able to take an AP course, Valley Stream doesn’t. “That has always been the philosophy,” he said. “If a kid wants to challenge himself or herself, we let them.”

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