Niche ranks 3 North Shore districts among N.Y.’s top 10

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Great Neck North High School is seen in Great Neck. (Photo from gnnhshomepage.weebly.com)

Three North Shore school districts are among the top 10 in the state and the top 100 nationwide on Niche.com’s annual ranking.

The Great Neck, East Williston and Herricks school districts respectively ranked second, seventh and eighth in New York on the data analysis website’s annual Best School Districts list.

Nationwide, Great Neck placed 13th, East Williston placed 56th and Herricks placed 63rd.

Herricks’ statewide ranking improved nine places from 16th last year, while Great Neck fell one place, losing the top spot to Jericho. East Williston’s ranking did not change.

“The rise of Herricks on these national, state and local rankings reflect the strong commitment to learning and continuous improvement among our talented faculty, students and supportive community,” Herricks Superintendent Fino Celano said in a statement.

Four other North Shore districts placed in the state’s top 100: Manhasset was 21st, Port Washington was 25th, Roslyn was 29th and the Sewanhaka Central High School District was 61st. The Mineola school district ranked 152nd in the state.

Nationally, Manhasset ranked 133rd, Port Washington ranked 146th, Roslyn ranked 178th, Sewanhaka ranked 462nd and Mineola ranked 1,550th.

Niche ranked 11,848 school districts across the U.S. using state test scores, ACT and SAT scores, graduation rates and other data, as well as reviews from students, parents and residents.

Each district is assigned a letter grade in eight categories based on Niche’s methodology. Academic quality alone counts for half the overall rating.

Niche’s rankings are among several that aim to identify the nation’s best public schools. Newsweek Magazine and U.S. News & World Report publish two of the most prominent.

On Niche’s lists, affluent local districts like Great Neck and East Williston usually rank highest while less affluent ones like Sewanhaka and Mineola rank further down.

Celano and Kathleen Mooney, the Port Washington school superintendent, agreed that no ranking can perfectly capture a district’s success, but the recognition is rewarding for teachers, students and staff.

“While the district does not poll residents regarding these listings, any credible study that recognizes us for providing a quality educational experience should serve as a source of community pride among parents, students and staff,” Mooney said in a statement.

Officials for the Great Neck, East Williston, Mineola, Sewanhaka, Roslyn and Manhasset school districts did not return requests for comment.

Some education experts have criticized Niche’s methodology. A 2015 article from the Office for Education Policy at the University of Arkansas says the company sometimes uses incorrect data in its rankings, and that the self-reported reviews can further confound their validity.

“A brief read of their methodology makes you wonder how credible their subjective data is,” Robert Morse, the chief data strategist for U.S. News & World Report, told the New Orleans Times Picayune in 2014 in an article about Niche’s private school rankings.

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