BUFFALO, NY (WIVB) - Nardin once again occupies first place in Business First's rankings of Western New York's high schools. It has been No. 1 every year since the separate ratings of public and private schools were combined in 2007. It previously headed the list of private schools between 2002 and 2006.
"We certainly don't think about it every day, but yes, there is some pressure," says Rebecca Reeder, principal of the all-girls Catholic school in Buffalo. "It's wonderful to be in first place, but you always wonder if it's going to come to an end. You just never know."
Full details will be available in Business First's 2012-2013 Guide to Western New York Schools, which hits newsstands on Friday. Highlights are also available at the newspaper's website .
A key factor in Nardin's dominance is its Regents diploma rate. Fully 96.5 percent of last year's graduates earned Regents diplomas with advanced designations, which are awarded to students who pass at least eight Regents exams.
No other Western New York high school posted a rate better than 90 percent.
The regional average for advanced diplomas in all public and private schools was 44.5 percent.
Nardin continues to pursue the elusive 100 percent rate for advanced diplomas, says Reeder, and it also seeks to boost the percentage of students attaining superior scores on Regents tests. (A superior score, also known as a mastery score, is defined as 85 or better on any Regents exam.)
"We're looking more and more to the mastery level," she says. "There are always some kids who find it difficult to take tests, and we want to help them feel more comfortable and move up to that level if they can."
Buffalo's City Honors School has made its own move this year, edging up from third place in 2011 to second on the current list. City Honors, which annually topped the public school rankings between 2002 and 2006, now holds its highest position on the combined list since 2007, when it also finished second.
"We're supplied with a very talented bunch of students, of course, but we make sure to challenge them every day," says William Kresse, principal of the public school that attracts topflight students from throughout the city. "We engage them at a high level. Maximizing their potential is our goal. It's the reason we're here."
Nine of every 10 City Honors graduates -- 89.3 percent -- received advanced diplomas last June, the best figure for any high school besides Nardin. Only two others were above 75 percent.
Business First analyzed the academic records of 135 high schools in the eight-county region, using four years of test results collected by the New York State Education Department.
Buffalo Academy of the Sacred Heart, an all-girls school in Amherst, is third in the current standings, slipping from second place a year ago. It's followed by four public schools: No. 4 Williamsville East, No. 5 East Aurora, No. 6 Williamsville North and No. 7 Clarence.
Regents exams are not compulsory for private schools. Among those that do not participate in the statewide testing program are Buffalo Seminary, Canisius High School, Nichols School and Park School of Buffalo.
Business First does not rate schools that aren't on the Regents track, since it lacks the objective data to assess their academic records.
TOP 100 HIGH SCHOOLS IN BUSINESS FIRST'S RANKINGS (EACH SCHOOL IS FOLLOWED BY THE DISTRICT IN WHICH IT'S LOCATED; SEE BOTTOM OF PAGE FOR ABBREVIATIONS)
1. Nardin Academy HS (Buffalo)
2. City Honors School (Buffalo)
3. Buffalo Academy of the Sacred Heart (Amherst)
4. Williamsville East HS (Williamsville)
5. East Aurora HS (East Aurora)
6. Williamsville North HS (Williamsville)
7. Clarence SHS (Clarence)
8. Christian Central Academy (Williamsville)
9. St. Joseph's Collegiate Institute (Kenmore-Tonawanda)
10. Mount St. Mary Academy (Kenmore-Tonawanda)
11. Maple Grove JSHS (Bemus Point)
12. Lewiston-Porter SHS (Lewiston-Porter)
13. Williamsville South HS (Williamsville)
14. Orchard Park HS (Orchard Park)
15. Holy Angels Academy (Buffalo)
16. St. Francis HS (Frontier)
17. Notre Dame HS (Batavia)
18. St. Mary's HS (Lancaster)
19. Iroquois SHS (Iroquois)
20. Akron HS (Akron)
21. Immaculata Academy (Frontier)
22. Alden SHS (Alden)
23. West Seneca East SHS (West Seneca)
24. Lancaster HS (Lancaster)
25. Hamburg HS (Hamburg)
26. Alfred-Almond JSHS (Alfred-Almond)
27. Mount Mercy Academy (Buffalo)
28. Holland HS (Holland)
29. Amherst Central HS (Amherst)
30. Eden JSHS (Eden)
31. P.S. 156 Frederick Law Olmsted (Buffalo)
32. Grand Island SHS (Grand Island)
33. Southwestern SHS (Southwestern)
34. Barker MHS (Barker)
35. Chautauqua Lake Secondary School (Chautauqua Lake)
36. West Seneca West SHS (West Seneca)
37. Wilson MHS (Wilson)
38. Fredonia HS (Fredonia)
39. Starpoint HS (Starpoint)
40. North Collins JSHS (North Collins)
41. Frontier SHS (Frontier)
42. Pembroke JSHS (Pembroke)
43. LeRoy JSHS (LeRoy)
44. Allegany-Limestone HS (Allegany-Limestone)
45. Elba JSHS (Elba)
46. Niagara-Wheatfield SHS (Niagara-Wheatfield)
47. Niagara Catholic HS (Niagara Falls)
Bishop Timon-St. Jude HS (Buffalo)
49. Griffith Institute HS (Springville-Griffith Institute)
50. Kendall JSHS (Kendall)
51. Westfield HS (Westfield)
52. Pine Valley Central JSHS (Pine Valley)
53. West Valley Central School (West Valley)
54. Cardinal O'Hara HS (Kenmore-Tonawanda)
55. Sweet Home SHS (Sweet Home)
56. Ellicottville MHS (Ellicottville)
57. Oakfield-Alabama MHS (Oakfield-Alabama)
58. Pavilion JSHS (Pavilion)
59. Falconer MHS (Falconer)
60. Portville JSHS (Portville)
61. Genesee Valley School (Genesee Valley)
62. Clymer Central School (Clymer)
63. Sherman MHS (Sherman)
64. Panama MHS (Panama)
65. Fillmore Central School (Fillmore)
66. Cuba-Rushford HS (Cuba-Rushford)
67. Kenmore East SHS (Kenmore-Tonawanda)
68. Depew HS (Depew)
69. Silver Creek HS (Silver Creek)
70. Tonawanda MHS (Tonawanda)
71. Kenmore West SHS (Kenmore-Tonawanda)
72. Frewsburg JSHS (Frewsburg)
73. L.A. Webber MHS (Lyndonville)
74. Batavia HS (Batavia)
75. Newfane SHS (Newfane)
76. Maryvale HS (Cheektowaga-Maryvale)
77. Letchworth SHS (Letchworth)
78. Warsaw MHS (Warsaw)
79. Alexander MHS (Alexander)
80. Wellsville SHS (Wellsville)
81. Cleveland Hill HS (Cleveland Hill)
82. Randolph JSHS (Randolph)
83. Archbishop Walsh Academy (Olean)
84. Attica HS (Attica)
85. Lockport HS (Lockport)
86. Cassadaga Valley MHS (Cassadaga Valley)
87. Byron-Bergen HS (Byron-Bergen)
88. North Tonawanda HS (North Tonawanda)
89. Olean SHS (Olean)
90. John F. Kennedy SHS (Cheektowaga-Sloan)
91. Cattaraugus-Little Valley HS (Cattaraugus-Little Valley)
92. Gowanda HS (Gowanda)
93. Belfast School (Belfast)
94. Leonardo Da Vinci HS (Buffalo)
95. Bolivar-Richburg JSHS (Bolivar-Richburg)
96. Perry HS (Perry)
97. Pioneer SHS (Yorkshire-Pioneer)
98. CS for Applied Technologies (Kenmore-Tonawanda)
99. Hutchinson Central Technical HS (Buffalo)
100. Charles D'Amico HS (Albion)
ABBREVIATIONS: CS-Charter School, EMS-Elementary-Middle School, ES-Elementary School, HS-High School, IS-Intermediate School, JHS-Junior High School, JSHS-Junior-Senior High School, MHS-Middle-High School, MS-Middle School, PS-Primary School, SHS-Senior High School, VHS-Vocational High School.
A man who was wrongly convicted of second degree murder in 2009 has been set free after spending four years in prison.
Investigators have pieced together who is responsible for dumping a dog on the side of the road inside a zipped up Coors Light thermal bag.
State Police need your help finding the pickup truck driver who pinned a mother against her vehicle as she was loading her baby and young son into it and then fled the scene.
Though less than an inch of lake effect snow appears to have fallen in Orchard Park, in southern Erie County and further south it's a much different story.
The district received more than $5.5 million on Tuesday, which covers its share of revenues from the Seneca Allegany Casino.
Buffalo's running community has lost an icon. John Beishline has died.