By ASHLEIGH LIVINGSTON
---- — CHAZY — Chazy Central Rural School has once again topped the academic charts.
For the second year in a row, the district has been ranked No. 1 in academic performance out of 20 schools in Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties by Buffalo Business First, a regional business journal.
“I’m very pleased that our school continues to do well on academic performances,” said CCRS Superintendent John Fairchild.
“Ranking No. 1 is always a nice recognition."
The publication limited its 2012 study to school districts with enrollments of 260 students or greater and based its rankings on standardized test results and graduation rates achieved from 2008 through 2011, with the greatest emphasis placed on data from the most recent year.
Fifty percent of districts' rankings were based on high-school students' scores on Regents exams in 13 different subjects, 40 percent on scores from standardized tests administered to elementary and middle-school students and 10 percent on the percentage of high-school graduates who received Regents diplomas.
According to district report cards issued by the New York State Education Department, CCRS boasted a 100 percent pass rate on comprehensive English and U.S.-history-and-government Regents exams for all four years of the study.
Each of those years, the district also achieved a pass rate of 93 percent or higher on the physical setting/earth science Regents, 95 or higher on the integrated algebra Regents and 97 or better on the living-environment exam.
In addition, the state-issued report cards indicate that all graduates of CCRS between 2008 and 2011 obtained a Regents diploma, and half of the school's 2011 graduates earned Regents diplomas with advanced designation.
FOCUS ON READING
Fairchild credited the school's test successes, in part, to the level of importance the district places on reading comprehension at both the elementary and high-school levels.
"All the tests have turned into reading tests now," he said.
The dedication of CCRS teachers, as well as the support of the community, Fairchild added, also contribute to the school's academic success.
“So much of this hinges on the community support for the school and the longstanding traditions at Chazy, where we focus on student growth," he said.
On Buffalo Business First's academic rankings of 430 schools in New York's 48 upstate counties, CCRS placed 43, moving up a position from its 2011 spot.
Of the districts evaluated in Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties, Saranac Lake Central School comes next with a ranking of 97 on the upstate list, followed by Lake Placid at 104.
Chazy Central's top ranking among area schools is one of multiple honors bestowed on the district in recent months.
This past summer, State Commissioner of Education John King named Chazy High School one of the state's 87 Highest Performing Schools, a title given to schools with exemplary standardized test scores and graduation rates. And this fall, Chazy Elementary became one of 269 public and private schools across the country to be recognized as a 2012 National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education.
“I know that a lot of people here (at CCRS) take great pride in the academic performance,” Fairchild said.
To view district report cards for any of the state's public school districts, go to nysed.gov.
Email Ashleigh Livingston: firstname.lastname@example.org
Here's how Buffalo Business First ranked North Country school districts among 431 upstate districts (listed as district name, then ranking):
1. Chazy, 43.
2. Saranac Lake, 97.
3. Lake Placid, 104.
4. Saranac, 185.
5. Plattsburgh, 190.
6. Ticonderoga, 196.
7. Chateaugay, 204.
8. Elizabethtown-Lewis, 252.
9. Beekmantown, 273.
10. Peru, 307.
11. Tupper Lake, 319.
12. Northeastern Clinton, 327.
13. Saint Regis Falls, 347.
14. Malone, 373.
15. AuSable Valley, 376.
16. Willsboro, 377.
17. Northern Adirondack, 386.
18. Brushton-Moira, 394.
19. Moriah, 404.
20. Salmon River, 410.