Does Our Academic Rank Matter?

It matters to me. Always has, especially when I hear colleagues discuss why it shouldn’t. I don’t know why I wouldn’t want our school district to be as good as or better than similar schools around us? As a community Randolph is clear that we want to be the best in athletics and to celebrate our students’ success. Why wouldn’t we want that same excellence ¬†academically that we enjoy athletically?

I’ve written about academic school improvement here many times before and as the superintendent, it’s my number one mission—to provide the very best education we can to each and every student while being fair to our taxpayers. We do so many things well here, with outstanding teachers, administrators and students, why did we sit in the bottom third of all 97 WNY school districts for so long?

As the superintendent, I research what our colleagues are doing who are more successful than we are just like a good coach studies game film. I also research what’s expected from NYSED and what’s working in the field. While I’ve made some mistakes in my career—I never fully believed in curriculum mapping as a real change measure and yet implemented it in Gowanda—I do believe our efforts at Randolph are paying off in terms of higher expectations for ourselves and for learning for our students. Our teachers have always worked incredibly hard ¬†and this year they’ve been focused on data team meetings to further individualize their instruction for all children during intervention and classroom instruction. We’re also working together on our curriculum and raising our expectations at every grade level so that our students may achieve more as they move through our system. I’m so proud of our team and of our students for meeting the challenge!

Business First ranks all of the elementary, middle and high schools, and districts based on the past four years of NYS test results and Regents exams. Here’s a link to how the ranks are determined. No mystery, no magic. Just the facts on how our students fare on tests over the past four years. And I believe we’re good enough to get from the bottom third of the 97 school districts to the top third. So does our School Board and Administrative Team. And here’s the proof that we’re getting there after a decade of little to no movement in these rankings.

Our elementary school ranked 174 out of 281 which is up 28 spots from last year’s rank of 202. Our middle school results rank us 123 out of 208, up 22 spots from last year’s rank of 145. Our high school rank is 68 of 135, up 14 spots from last year’s 82. And even though we saw improvements from 2011-2012 in middle and high school, our district rank was stuck at 74 of 97. This year I’m delighted to say that we are ranked 59 of 97 WNY Districts, up 15 spots from 74 the last two years.

We are focused on the right things, we are taking what State Ed mandates and making it reasonable where we can and making it work for us. Our students will graduate having the same excellent education they’ve always gotten, but with even higher expectations and achievement. Thanks to everyone for getting us here!

As our BOE President, Dave Adams, said, “congratulations to you all as you all had an impact on this achievement. Continue the hard work and support all of your fellow teachers and administrators to make this a total team effort and we are confident that you can move RCS to even higher rankings in the years to come!”


  1. Congratulations because I don’t think we ranked as high as you did. People care about rankings but since they have no control over the process they say that they don’t. That’s a defense mechanism that we all employ to deflect criticism. More important than the rankings which will change net year or when the parameters change what did you do to change the worlld for people like Larry? That’s what really matters. Who was the student or teacher whom you connected with whose career you saved by showing that you care. That’s a metric than never changes and that’s gift we all can give and receive. You touch lives and that’s what’s more important than the common core or any learning standards. Forty years from now most people won’t remember what they got on the exam but they will remember how you made them feel.They’ll remember what the superintendent, principal or teacher said to them. They’ll remember their classmates and they’ll do the same for their colleagues. It’s the intrinsic values that make a difference over the long term and that’s why we teach. That’s why we connect each day. Great reading here! God bless!

  2. Congratulations to everyone that has been working hard to improve RCS. It is truly a team effort and all should be proud of these results. And the best part is at we aren’t finished. I believe that we will continue to grow, learn, teach and equip.
    I love Randolph, it is truly a community where Character Counts and now finally we can see the same dedication and commitment to excellence in all areas of our children’s development as opposed to just the athletics. Cardinal Pride takes on a whole new meaning.

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