U.S. News and World Report Silver Award Saluted


At Tuesday night's BOE meeting, the adopted budget was given a public hearing. But before the numbers were rolled out, Dr. Dave Bennardo, schools superintendent, rolled out a big cake to celebrate the latest U.S. News and World Report's Best High School rankings, which place Walt Whitman High School in the top 4 in Suffolk County and 18 of 120 on Long Island.

In acknowledging and thanking the many stakeholders in the most recent annual ranking, Superintendent Bennardo presented engraved plaques and medals to the following: Representing the Board of Education, Mr. Jim Kaden; Student Government, Ms. Alexis Darrow; WWHS PTA, Ms. Laci Wright; South Huntington Council of PTAs, Mr. Dom Le Claire; South Huntington Administrators Association (SHAA), Walt Whitman Principal Ms. Kathy Acker; South Huntington Chairpersons Association (SHCA), Mr. Jay Corcoran; South Huntington Teachers Association (SHTA), Mr. Richard Schmidt; South Huntington Nurses, Ms. Debbie Kovary; Office Staff Association (OSA), Ms. Elaine Squillace; South Huntington Paraprofessionals, Ms. Anna Tonon; Security, Mr. William Walsh; Custodial Staff, Mr. Carlo Giordano, Chief Custodian; and from Maintenance and Grounds, Mr. Kevin Kennedy.

To recap, the following is Dr. Bennardo’s original message as it appeared in his weekly email newsletter on April 29, which can be accessed on the Friends of South Huntington website: http://www.friendsofshufsd.org/weekly-newsletter.html

Spring has certainly started off in grand fashion as we received news that Walt Whitman High School had been awarded a Silver Medal in U.S. News and World Report's Best High School rankings. This prestigious list, which is compiled annually by the publisher and the American Institute for Research (a prominent Washington, D.C. behavioral and social science research firm) evaluates nearly 20,000 high schools across the nation.  The criteria has grown over the years from a simple look at AP offerings and placements to a fuller analysis, which includes students’ performance on mandated state assessments, AP offerings, AP exam success rate, minority and economically disadvantaged subgroup performance, and teacher-to-student ratio. We were thrilled to learn of our district's Silver Medal, as well as the high school's ranking in the top four in Suffolk County and 18 of 120 on Long Island. 

This recent news is particularly sweet given the tough economic times and political rancor that have characterized education throughout New York State.  It is inspiring to note that our students, teachers, parents, administrators, and staff can tune out the negative publicity and work cooperatively in the best interest of our schools. There is a special spirit in the South Huntington community that keeps us moving forward despite the controversies swirling at the state and national levels.  South Huntington’s progress in educating all students and facilitating success throughout the spectrum is a genuine affirmation of the wonderful work, taking place in our schools.  We are blessed to have great teachers and staff, inquisitive students, and wonderfully supportive parents.  The sky is truly the limit for our district, and this recent award represents a bold first step in an exciting journey to come.

According to U.S. News and World Report, Long Island's top 20 high schools are as follows:

1. High School; Jericho

2. Manhasset Secondary School; Manhasset

3. William A. Shine Great Neck South High School; Great Neck

4. Garden City High School; Garden City

5. South Side High School; Rockville Centre

6. Cold Spring Harbor High School; Cold Spring Harbor

7. The Wheatley School; Old Westbury

8. Syosset Senior High School; Syosset

9. Herricks High School; New Hyde Park

10. Harborfields High School; Greenlawn

11. Paul D. Schreiber Senior High School; Port Washington

12. Roslyn High School; Roslyn Heights

13. Plainview-Old Bethpage John F. Kennedy High School; Plainview

14. Half Hollow Hills High School West; Dix Hills

15. Floral Park Memorial High School; Floral Park

16. Locust Valley High School; Locust Valley

17. Carle Place Middle/High School; Carle Place

18. Walt Whitman High School; Huntington Station

19. Babylon Junior Senior High School; Babylon

20. Greenport High School; Greenport

** Walt Whitman ranked 64/1,147 (+21 spots) in New York State and 663/19,411 (+87 spots) in the nation.