BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Rebecca Reeder admits to "a certain amount" of pressure atBuffalo's Nardin Academy High School, which has occupied firstplace ever since Business First merged its rankings of public andprivate high schools in 2007.
"There's always the question of what people would think if wedid drop down," says Reeder, who is Nardin's principal. "But that'snot our main focus. It can't be. We go beyond looking at testresults. We want to make certain our students receive awell-rounded education."
That strategy has paid off again this year, as Nardin once againranks No. 1 among Western New York's high schools. The all-girlsCatholic school has finished first for eight consecutive years --among private schools from
2002 to 2006, and on the combined list ever since.
Full details will be available in Business First's 2009-10 Guideto Western New York Schools, which hits newsstands tomorrow(Friday). Highlights are also available at the newspaper's website:buffalo.bizjournals.com.
Williamsville East High School is No. 2 in the 2009 rankings,just as it was a year ago. Neighboring Williamsville North HighSchool holds third place this time, up from fifth in 2008.
Business First analyzed 131 high schools in the eight-countyregion, using four years of data from the New York State EducationDepartment. The formula weighed each school's Regents diploma rate,as well as its scores on a wide array of Regents exams.
Nardin emerged as the clear leader. Ninety-nine percent of its2008 graduates earned Regents diplomas with advanced designations,which are awarded to seniors who pass eight Regents exams. No otherhigh school in the region did better than 85 percent.
Reeder says her goal is to push Nardin's advanced diploma rateone point higher to 100 percent.
"We haven't done it, but it continues to be something that weshoot for,"
she says. "We always try to challenge our students, and thisis definitely one way to do it."
Williamsville East climbed to second place in 2008 -- its bestfinish ever
-- and remains there this year. It's one of three Western NewYork high schools where more than two-thirds of students postedsuperior scores (85 or
better) on Regents exams in English, math, global history andU.S. history.
(Nardin and Buffalo Academy of the Sacred Heart are theothers.)
"When you've done as well as we have, some people might thinkthere's no more room for improvement," says Neal Miller,Williamsville East's principal. "But we've never thought that.Every year, we talk about ways that we can get better."
The leader outside of Erie County is Notre Dame High School,which ranks seventh overall. The Batavia school, which has anenrollment of 172, draws students from six counties. Some live asfar away as Brockport and Warsaw.
"There's no secret," says Joseph Scanlan, Notre Dame'sprincipal. "We're basically old school. We expect all of our kidsto do well. Does that always happen? No, but it doesn't mean thatwe let up."
Twenty-eight high schools are winners of subject awards, puttingthem among the top 10 percent in English/foreign languages, math,science or social studies.
Nardin, Williamsville East and Williamsville North are the onlyschools to sweep all four subject awards, while 12 institutions arehonored in a single field. Principal Kevin Ryan credits longerclass periods with helping Alden Senior High School win its solesubject award in science.
"In both biology and earth science, we have an 80-minute classevery day along with an 80-minute lab every other day," he says."That gives us some really solid, concentrated time on science,which has had positive results."
Private schools are not required to administer Regents exams,and Buffalo Seminary, Canisius High School, Nichols School and ParkSchool of Buffalo are among those that don't. They have beenexcluded from the academic rankings, since Business First lacks thenecessary data to generate objective ratings.
The Erie County Sheriff's Bomb Squad, ATF, and the Buffalo Police Department were called to Tioga Street near Fairchild Place in North Buffalo just before midnight Thursday.
Eighty-two-year-old Edward Spencer was making a left hand turn while exiting the Budwey's parking lot when he struck 52-year-old Sandra Garner and 55-year-old Kevin Nowak, according to authorities.
An angry mother who claims her daughter was dropped-off miles away from home wants answers.
Deputies say a teen driver fell asleep at the wheel early Thursday morning before crashing head-on with another vehicle.
Police say a Jamestown man was selling crack cocaine out of his barber shop on East Second Street.
City Hall is considering turning to taxpayers to help keep the lights on at the only movie theatre in downtown Buffalo.