Baker High School among ‘best high schools’

School also earns silver medal for its accomplishment


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TUXEDO — George F. Baker High School in Tuxedo has again been named to U.S. News and World Report’s list of the best high schools nationwide.

Baker ranked at 741st out of 21,776 high schools nationwide and 93rd out of 1,165 for all New York State high schools, which is also the highest of any high school in Orange County.

Ranking officials said a three-step process determined the best high schools. The first two steps ensured “that the schools serve their entire students well, using reading and math results from state proficiency tests as the benchmarks.”

The analysis also factored in the percentage of economically disadvantaged students (who tend to score lower) enrolled at the school to identify the schools that were performing better than statistical expectations, according to officials.

The second step determined whether the school’s least-advantaged students (black, Hispanic, and low-income) were performing better than average for similar students in the state. Officials compared each school’s math and reading proficiency rates for disadvantaged students with the statewide results for these student groups and then selected schools that were performing better than this state average.

Schools that made it through the first two steps became eligible to be judged nationally on the final step, college-readiness performance, using Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate test data as the benchmarks for success, depending on which program was largest at the school.

‘College readiness index’
Officials said this third step measured which schools produced the best college-level achievement for the highest percentages of their students. This was done by computing a “college readiness index” based on the school’s AP or IB participation rate (the number of 12th grade students in the 2009-2010 academic year who took at least one AP or IB test before or during their senior year, divided by the number of 12th graders) and how well the students did on those tests.

Only schools that had values at or above 16.3 in their college readiness index scored high enough to meet the criteria for gold and silver medal selection. That number was used because it’s the median (the statistical midpoint) of all the college readiness index values among all high schools with AP or IB test takers. Baker’s index was 37.8.

Context
The U.S. News ranking comes at a time when Tuxedo school officials are determined to keep the school viable as the Greenwood School District School Board contemplates where to send its students now that the last year of its contract begins in September.

Unlike other negotiation years where the two districts resolved the tuition rate per student Greenwood Lake would pay to send its students to Baker, this time around the Chester and Warwick school districts are in the mix for those students.

Eighty percent of Baker’s students come from Greenwood Lake. The tuition Greenwood Lake would pay would positively impact Chester’s and Warwick’s budgets. But the loss of those tuition dollars would be catastrophic to Tuxedo, which relies on Greenwood Lake tuition and Tuxedo school taxes as revenue. The amount of state aid Tuxedo receives is minimal.

The Greenwood Lake board is expected to make a decision on whether to have an all-Warwick option, all-Chester option, a choice option featuring only Warwick and Chester; or those two districts plus Tuxedo, at its Aug. 29 board meeting at 6 p.m. at the Greenwood Lake Elementary School.

Online
To read George F. Baker’s ranking narrative, visit:

http://www.usnews.com/education/best-high-schools/new-york/districts/tuxedo-union-free-school-district/george-f-baker-high-school-14126

- Nancy Kriz


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