A handful of Capital Region schools on Tuesday were included in the state’s list of “Recognition Schools,” buildings that registered the best academic performance and student growth in the state.
Schools in Niskayuna, Ballston Spa, Broadalbin-Perth, Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake, Shenendehowa, North Colonie and South Colonie school districts joined over 560 schools statewide on the state list of “high achieving and high progress” schools based on data from the 2017-2018 school year.
North Colonie, which with three recognition schools had the most buildings on the state list of any Capital Region district, was the only district in the area that got a school on the state’s “Reward” list, the highest-performing of the state’s high-performing schools. Shaker High School joined about 150 other Reward schools across the state.
The high schools in Burnt Hills, Niskayuna, Shenendehowa and Ballston Spa all made the recognition list, in part a result of the high graduation rates in those districts. Hillside Elementary School in Niskayuna and Francis Stevens Elementary School in Burnt Hills also made the list. Broadalbin-Perth’s The Learning Community, which serves the district’s pre-kindergarten through second grade students, was also recognized by the state for its strong performance and growth.
“To be recognized as one of many schools of recognition is really an honor, and I think a testament to the hard work our teachers and staff put in on a daily basis to make sure we are educating the whole child and making sure we are working with our families and getting our kids to school,” Broadalbin-Perth Superintendent Stephen Tomlinson said Tuesday.
Tomlinson said the early childhood school does a strong job of using data to evaluate what kind of progress students are making and to identify areas of weakness. He said improving the use of data in all of the district’s school buildings is a top priority.
District leaders in other recognition districts also cheered the distinction and applauded the work of the teachers and staff in those buildings.
“We are all a team here,” Niskayuna Superintendent Cosimo Tanogrra Jr. said in a written statement Tuesday. “We congratulate Hillside and the high school on this distinction and also recognize that this type of success is really the result of the tireless work of our faculty and staff across the district to help students learn and grow.”
Tangorra highlighted efforts to engage teachers, staff, students and community members in planning changes to the district academic program and facilities as ways the district hopes to improve outcomes across the district.
Shenendehowa Superintendent Oliver Robinson in a written statement said the distinction was a “recognition of a systematic commitment to excellence” and promised the district was “steadfast in providing a quality school experience for all students.”
To make the Recognition list, schools needed to demonstrate high academic performance, strong student growth or a combination of both; schools that serve third through eighth grade also had to register a 95 percent participation rate or higher on state tests, disqualifying many elementary and middle schools in the region.
The Recognition and Reward lists follow state officials’ release of a troubled schools list earlier this spring. That list included schools identified as in need of comprehensive or targeted support, which will be required to follow improvement plans with state oversight. A handful of Schenectady schools, as well as schools in other local districts, were included on those state lists of struggling schools.
The state lists – both for troubled and high-performing schools – are the first under the state’s new school accountability plan.
Capital Region "Recognition" Schools:
Ballston Spa High School
The Learning Community (Broadalbin-Perth)
Niskayuna High School
Hillside Elementary School (Niskayuna)
Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake High School
Francis Stevens Elementary School (Burnt Hills)
Shenendehowa High School
Shaker High School (North Colonie)
Loudonville School (North Colonie)
Southgate School (North Colonie)
Saddlewood Elementary School (South Colonie)
Bethlehem Central High School
Glenmont Elementary School (Bethlehem)
Clayton Bouton High School (Voorheesville)