By ASHLEIGH LIVINGSTON
---- — CHAZY — Chazy Central Rural School continues to garner recognition for the academic achievements of its students.
For the third consecutive year, Buffalo Business First, a regional business journal, has ranked the district No. 1 in academic performance out of 20 public schools in Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties.
“I am very proud of the efforts of the faculty, staff and students of Chazy,” CCRS Superintendent John Fairchild told the Press-Republican in an email. “In addition, I know our success is also created through the efforts of parents and other community members.
“The culture of Chazy has expected strong results for many years. High expectations, combined with hard work, bring outstanding results.”
To generate the 2013 rankings, Buffalo Business First considered data from the State Education Department, including districts’ standardized-test results and graduation rates from 2009 through 2012, the four most recent years available at the time.
Fifty percent of each school’s rating was based on how well its high-school students scored on Regents exams in 10 subjects: English, integrated algebra, geometry, algebra 2/trigonometry, Earth science, living environment, chemistry, physics, global history and U.S. history.
For all four years of the study, 100 percent of CCRS students who took the English Regents passed with a score of 65 or better; 98 percent or more passed the living-environment exam with a 65 or better; 95 percent or more achieved a 65 or better on the integrated algebra and geometry exams; and 93 percent or more passed the U.S. history and Earth science exams with a 65 or higher, according to the district’s report cards issued by the State Education Department.
In addition, the publication based 40 percent of districts’ rankings on third-, fourth-, seventh- and eighth-graders’ scores on state English and math assessments, as well as fourth- and eighth-graders’ performance on science exams.
On average during the four-year period, 78 percent of Chazy Central third-graders, 73 percent of fourth-graders, 69 percent of seventh-graders and 73 percent of eighth-graders met or exceeded the English proficiency standard.
In math, an average of 88 percent of the district’s third-graders, 87 percent of fourth-graders, 85 percent of seventh-graders and 72 percent of eighth-graders met or exceeded the proficiency standard between 2009 and 2012.
And the average percentage of CCRS fourth- and eighth-graders who met or exceeded the science proficiency standard over those four years was 99 and 93, respectively, according to the state-issued report cards.
“Credit must be given first to students and teachers for the efforts they put in on a daily basis,” Fairchild said. “Teachers must be encouraging and supportive to students, and students must be willing to respond to that encouragement and support.
“After that, having an entire community behind you makes all the difference.”
TYPE OF DEGREE
The remaining 10 percent of districts’ ratings considered the percentage of all graduates who received Regents diplomas, with extra weight given to those who received Regents diplomas with advanced designations.
At Chazy Central, 100 percent of graduates between 2009 and 2012 received Regents diplomas, while 68 percent received Regents diplomas with advanced designation in 2009, 43 percent in 2010, 50 percent in 2011 and 32 percent in 2012.
While CCRS saw its lowest percentage of graduates with advanced-designation diplomas in the most recent year of the study, Fairchild noted he did not see that as the start of a trend but rather a normal variation.
“The Advanced Regents is earned by passing additional Regents exams that are more challenging,” he explained. “Students must also complete three years of a foreign language.
“I think there were several students in last year’s graduating class who chose to take other courses.”
Though 2013 marked a shift in the content of state assessments to that of the new Common Core State Standards, Fairchild said he does not anticipate the change will have a significant negative impact on his district’s future academic rankings.
Chazy Central, like other area schools, he noted, will work hard to implement the new curriculum standards, as well as prepare students for the new exams.
“The teachers in Chazy have a long history of being successful with changes in state curriculum, and I believe we will continue to have a similar level of success,” Fairchild said.
Email Ashleigh Livingston:firstname.lastname@example.org
Here's how Buffalo Business First ranked North Country school districts:
2. Lake Placid
3. Saranac Lake
9. Northeastern Clinton
11. Tupper Lake
13. St. Regis Falls
14. Northern Adirondack15. Beekmantown
16. AuSable Valley
20. Salmon River