PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. – Pleasantville High School has been recognized as one of the highest achieving New York schools by the state education department.
The state identified 250 "reward schools" statewide on Thursday, identifying them as achieving either high performance or high progress. Pleasantville District Superintendent Mary Fox-Alter said the achievement couldn't have been possible without the community's efforts.
"I am very proud of our high school, the staff, its students and the parents," Fox-Alter said. "We are a high-achieving college preparatory high school and we are proud when others recognize that, as did the state of New York this year."
High performance recognition like Pleasantville's is given to schools that show adequate yearly progress, no gaps in performance from previous years and a graduation rate that exceeds 80 percent. In addition, the school's performance index must be in the state's top 20 percent, according to the New York State Education Department's (NYSED) guidelines.
With the recognition as a high performance school, Pleasantville High School will be eligible to compete for a Commissioner's Schools Dissemination Grant of up to $300,000.
The goal of the grant, according to NYSED, is to enable the high performing or high progress schools to provide assistance to low performing schools to improve their practices. These schools, named "priority schools" by the report, numbered to 123 within the state this year.
According to the report, if these struggling schools don't show dramatic improvements by 2015, they could face closures by state education officials.
Pleasantville High boasted a 99 percent graduation rate in 2012, with a college matriculation rate of 92 percent.
The recognition immediately follows the school's national ranking in May, when it earned a No. 173 nationally and a No. 28 spot state-wide by Newsweek Magazine. Fox-Alter said that the Advanced Placement program and its full compendium of classes are what gave the school its strong performance assessments.
"It recognizes the academic rigor of our curricular program and the inclusiveness, and breadth, of our Advanced Placement program," Principle Dawn Bartz said about the Newsweek ranking to The Daily Voice earlier this year.
Fox-Alter added that she expects the district's enrollment numbers to remain steady as they have in the past few years, which parallels the school board's projections.
"We had a sense that (enrollment) would level off to where it is right now," Fox-Alter said. "We do not foresee an enrollment increase or decrease given the numbers that we have, but you never know."