Mr. Flemma is the only school board member who is not afraid to say that “the emperor has no clothes”.
Let me explain…
According to archived New Hartford School District homepages found on the internet, in 2011 New Hartford ranked 171 of 500 best high schools as reported by Newsweek Magazine. It was well-publicized on the school’s homepage.
In 2013, New Hartford Central School ranked 250 of 500 according to Newsweek Magazine. A drop to be sure, but they still were on the top 500 list.
According to Newsweek Magazine:
"The question “What are the best schools?” has two different answers, depending on whether or not you take student poverty into account. In 2014, we decided to address this disparity by publishing two lists: “America’s Top High Schools 2014,” which ranks schools based solely on performance (our “absolute” list), and "Beating the Odds: America’s Top High Schools for Low-Income Students,” which ranks schools with poverty levels taken into account (our “relative” list)".In 2014, New Hartford Central School was 286 on on Newsweek Magazine’s Best High Schools list solely on performance (the "absolute" list); they did not appear on the "Beating the Odds" list.
For 2015, I didn't see New Hartford Central School listed on either of Newsweek's lists and currently the last "recognition" on the school website was for 2014.
Did New Hartford opt to not take part in this new methodology for 2015 or did the school no longer qualify for either of the Best High Schools list in 2015 because of the change in methodology which also took into account disadvantaged student proficiency?
2016 U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
At the Apil 19th school board meeting, School Superintendent Robert Nole announced that New Hartford again made the Top 500 school list for U.S. World & News Report. However, U.S. World & News Report's methodology is quite different than the one used by Newsweek.
Even though New Hartford made U.S World & News Top 500 Schools list, in examining the stats for New Hartford Central School provided by U.S. World & News Report, they would seem to prove Mr. Flemma's talking points:
2015 (Last Year) Rankings:As you can see, New Hartford is not only losing ground on the percentage of disadvantaged students who are proficient, but we are also losing ground on the non-disadvantaged students who are proficient. Why isn't our school board addressing these issues?
% of Disadvantaged Students Who Are Proficient 92.9%
% of Non-Disadvantaged Students Who Are Proficient 97.5%
2016 (Current) rankings:
% of Disadvantaged Students Who Are Proficient 90%
% of Non-Disadvantaged Students Who Are Proficient 95.7%
I need to point out that according to U.S. World & News Report, "Data are based on the 2013-2014 school year."
Two year old data! At that rate, we won’t know where New Hartford stands in the 2015-16 school year until two (2) years from now! Are you willing to wait to see before asking questions of our school administrators and board?