| by Zoe Kaplan |
Sleepy Hollow High School has been recognized as a “School of Opportunity” by the National Education Policy Center (NEPC) for the 2014-15 school year.
The NEPC is a new project that works to rework ranking systems of schools. Usually, top-ranked schools are ones that are selective, or with the most affluent communities. While many of these schools are top-notch, the NEPC seeks to recognize schools for the opportunities they provide, no matter what the composition of the school body.
“This recognition highlights schools who put students’ strengths first – ensuring that every child has a chance to succeed-rather than focusing on test scores as the sole evaluator for success,” said Board of Education President Mimi Godwin.
The 2014-15 school year was a pilot year for this project. It looked at high schools in both New York and Colorado, with many different categories for selection. The overarching theme was one of opportunity; however, the areas ranged from maintaining a healthy school culture to promoting access of the library and technology.
Sleepy Hollow High School was specifically noted for its strength in “Ending Disparities in Learning Opportunities Created by Tracking and Ability Grouping.” This category focuses on universal access to higher-level courses, such as honors, advanced placement, and IB.
When Sleepy Hollow High Principal Carol Conklin-Spillane said the school works for “success for everybody,” she means it. For the past 15 years, Sleepy Hollow has eliminated any barriers for access into these accelerated classes. This year, students took a total of 17 different advanced placement exams. By taking these exams, many of these courses can directly transfer into college credit. Sleepy Hollow also offers many programs through the New York State university system. Mercy College, Syracuse University, and Westchester Community College all offer courses with college credit, at a very reduced cost.
Enrollment in these higher-level courses has steadily increased since 2000, when the school began to offer open participation in these programs. In May of last year, 238 students took a total of 481 examinations. Not only have more students taken advantage of these programs, but the performance results have increased as well. In 2014, 29% of the advanced placement students in Sleepy Hollow were recognized by The College Board for exceptional achievement.
Sleepy Hollow High School is proud to be recognized for its open doors into accelerated courses, according to Superintendent of Schools Dr. Christopher Clouet.
“This recognition fits perfectly into the mission of our district. We strive to truly serve all students,” he said.