Written by Rich Forestano Thursday, 07 November 2013 00:00
The Wheatley School is a considered a top school in the country after making the recent Newsweek/Daily Beast Top 1,000 in the United States. It was ranked 92nd (62nd in 2012) 25th in New York State and fourth on Long Island.
According to the Daily Beast, the list is based on six components: graduation rate (25 percent), college acceptance rate (25 percent), AP/IB/AICE tests taken per student (25 percent), average SAT/ACT scores (10 percent), average AP/IB/AICE scores (10 percent), and percent of students enrolled in at least one AP/IB/AICE course (5 percent).
Wheatley sports graduation rates and SAT scores of 100 percent and 1,739, respectively, with all of its students being college bound.
Wheatley principal Sean Feeney feels institutions like charter schools and magnets (public schools with specialized curriculum) keep true public schools from moving up on the list. Furthermore, the rankings are more of a testament to the districts dedication to educating its students toward college-ready levels. Wheatley students averaged a 3.2 out of 5 on AP exams, according to Newsweek.
For the last few years, Feeney has presented the rankings to the East Williston Board of Education to “put them in context.” He noted in a recent presentation that Newsweek’s list tends to have magnets, selective and charter schools at the top of the list.
Newsweek ranked The Carol Martin Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Kentucky, a public academy and early college entrance program as the top high school in the country. Only three of the top 50 schools have open enrollment and the average special education enrollment is about 3.6 percent.
“Once you take away the charter schools, there’s a huge movement [in the list],” Feeney said. “It’s important for our parents and community members to understand the nature of the rankings.”
The rankings don’t factor heavily into the school’s thinking, according to Feeney.
“The Newsweek list tends to be more interesting because it has a couple different layers and factors,” he said. “What I like about [the list] is you include things like the graduation rate and college acceptance rate. Those are important factors for schools.”
While the list may rank the top schools, Feeney sees companies that put out these rankings benefit from website clicks.
“The rankings are a fact of life,” he said. “Quite frankly, those organizations that put out rankings...[the lists] inevitably produce a lot of revenue for those organizations,” he said.