Great Neck tops state in school district rankings

Great Neck tops state in school district rankings
Great Neck South High School was ranked #29 on Niche's list of the top 100 K-12 schools in the state. (Photo from the Great Neck Public Schools)

A nationwide ranking released this month listed the Great Neck school district as the fifth best district in the country and the top district in New York State.’s annual list of the top school districts drew from local, state and federal data as well as student and parent surveys to rank 10,364 school districts across the United States.

Great Neck Superintendent of Schools Teresa Prendergast said the high ranking shows the community’s support for students in the district.

“Our public schools enjoy a national reputation of academic excellence, and we offer an excellent educational experience that prepares our students to lead, and make a difference in the world,” Prendergast said. “I am proud of our students, the high quality academic programs we offer, our dedicated faculty and, of course, our supportive Board of Education and school community.”

“These components are the ingredients needed to successfully educate all children, and the Niche report certainly confirms our commitment to offering our students a first-class education,” she added.

Great Neck is one of six North Shore school districts to rank in the top 100 in the nation.

Niche school rankingss

Niche’s academic “score,” derived from state test scores, Advanced Placement course data, graduation rate, students’ academic feedback and other factors, carries the most weight for the ranking. Other factors include health and safety, student culture and diversity, availability of extracurricular activities and overall parent and student experience.

The East Williston school district ranked as the 28th best in the country and the seventh best in the state. It also ranked as fourth best on Long Island.

“I think it’s always exciting to see positive ranking results for our school district, but rankings are only a small part of the great things that the East Williston school district does,” said Mark Kamberg, East Williston school board president.

Kamberg noted that the district has partnerships with various colleges, including St. John’s University, Stony Brook University, Syracuse University, Molloy College and Farmingdale State College.

These partnerships, he said, allow students to obtain college credits for courses taken while in high school.

Kamberg also said the district offers its Project Lead the Way program to give students the “opportunity to apply mathematics, engineering, science and technology to solve complex problems.”

The Roslyn school district was listed as the 42nd best school district in the country, while ranking number 12 in the state. It ranked as the sixth best on Long Island.

Efforts to reach Roslyn school district officials for comment were unavailing.

The Manhasset school district was listed as the 62nd best district in the country, 17th in the state and eighth on Long Island.

“Over my 11 plus years in Manhasset, many students, parents, community members and staff members have shared their tremendous pride in the high school and the entire school district due to all that the students have accomplished in the 4 A’s – academics, the arts, athletics and after school activities,” said Charles Cardillo, Manhasset school district’s superintendent.

Although he is proud of the ranking, Cardillo said people should be cautious of rankings such as Niche’s as the criteria used to list school districts vary depending on who publishes them.

“As for the credibility of the rankings, the public should be leery of the high school rankings published by Newsweek, U.S. News and World Report, The Washington Post and Niche as each of these rankings greatly vary in the criteria being used and likely do more to promote each of the organization’s own needs than it does to each of the schools being recognized,” he said.

The Herricks school district ranked 64th in the nation and 19th in the state. It ranked as the ninth best district on Long Island.

“We are very proud that Herricks is consistently ranked among the best school districts in New York State,” said Fino Celano, Herricks school district’s superintendent. “The factors that contribute to this are hard-working students who focus on academics, talented teachers and administrators who are devoted to the concept of continuous improvement, and a strong commitment to education on the part of our parents, community and Board of Education.”

Celano said recognition by an outside organization is reassuring.

“In addition, school rankings can add to the reputation of a school district in the eyes of college admissions counselors, which has a positive impact on our students,” he said.

The Port Washington school district ranked as the 70th best district in the country and the 21st best in the state. It was listed as the 10th best on Long Island.

Kathleen Mooney, the Port Washington superintendent of schools, said the Niche ranking is a good barometer of the district’s success as it analyzes “multiple facets of our district.”

“While a quality academic program is always high on the list, it’s nice to be recognized for educating the whole child through the many enrichment and extracurricular opportunities we provide,” Mooney said. “Every one of our schools received an ‘A’ or better rating and our district received high marks across the board.”

The Sewanhaka school district finished outside of the country’s top 100, ranking at 336. It ranked as the 71st best district in the state and 32nd best on Long Island.

The Mineola school district ranked 531st in the country and 102nd in the state. It ranked at number 46 on Long Island.

Efforts to reach Mineola school district officials for comment were unavailing.

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