Herricks continues to rise in ranks in nation, state and county

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Herricks Middle School choir performs “True Colors” in honor of School Board Recognition Week. (Photo by Rebecca Klar)

Herricks students are outperforming their peers in the state and county according to a Student Achievement Report presented at Thursday’s Board of Education meeting.

K. Elizabeth Guercin, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, presents the 2017 Student Achievement Report. (Photo by Rebecca Klar)

K. Elizabeth Guercin, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, said the district places in the top 1 percent of schools in the nation.

On Long Island, the district was ranked ninth by U.S. News & World Report and sixth by Newsweek.

“While we’re excited, we want to take all of [this data] and not get too big for our britches,” Guercin said. “[We want to] look at where we’re going to grow and how we’re going to use this information to move us forward.”

The comprehensive report showed improved test scores on assessments ranging from standardized national and state tests, to AP exams and SAT’s.

But Guercin said the data is just “one window of information about our students.” The data helps shape the course department heads and teachers take in changing curriculum to improve future outcomes.

One area that showed great improvement this past year was the results of the Algebra 1 Regents; 74 percent of Herricks students achieved mastery rate on the test in 2017 compared to the 45 percent in 2016.

Guercin attributed the “astounding jump” to changes in how algebra was taught, including scheduling differences and some co-teachers in classes.

“What we gain from that kind of information is how we can replicate some of those models for some of our other subject areas so we can replicate those results,” Guercin said.

Other district achievements were a 32 student increase in total AP scholars from 2016 to 2017, and an average SAT score of 1722. There was also a 100 percent graduation rate for the class of 2017, with 99 percent planning to attend college.

Board of Education President Brian Hassan said the numbers reflect the hard work of district officials over the last two years.

Through “small tweaks” and new initiatives, Hassan said, the district has gradually been improving. Hassan said it’s been a community effort, but is largely a testament to the teachers and administration.

Superintendent Fino Celano agreed with Hassan, but also said the board must accept credit because of their continued focus on making Herricks a better place.

Celano wasn’t the only one thanking the board on Thursday. In honor of School Board recognition Week, the Herricks Middle School honored the board with an arts presentation. Following a performance of the “National Anthem,” the middle school choir sang “True Colors. “

Board of Education Vice-President Juleigh Chen receiving the shield as a gift from the middle school Art Honor Society. (Photo by Rebecca Klar)

“[‘True Colors’] is so representative of our feelings in the middle school,” said Gina Horton, assistant principal. “It represents this week when we celebrated Unity Day, and certainly as a middle school we feel united with you as a board.”

Additionally, the Art Honor Society presented the board with a framed mosaic of the Herricks shield. Principal Joan Kegan said the choice of what to create was up to the students.

Kegan said their decision to recreate the “strong symbol” as a mosaic is a beautiful representation of Herricks’ identity.

“We are not a community, we are a collection of communities,” Kegan said. “As we are a collection of nationalities, as we are a collection of beliefs and value systems that all come together to make this wonderful fabric of Herricks.”

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