Dr. Teresa Prendergast
Superintendent of Schools
Dr. Prendergast and the
Great Neck Board of Education
Superintendent Prendergast's Opening of School Message
2015-16 School Year
By Dr. Teresa Prendergast, Superintendent of Schools
September 1, 2015
As the new superintendent for the Great Neck Public Schools, I am thrilled to begin what I anticipate will be an exciting and productive school year. Since my official arrival in July, I have spent much of my time speaking with members of the Board of Education, our administrative team, faculty, parents, and students to learn about our community's values and expectations. Starting a new school year reaffirms my belief that we are given an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of our students, and reminds us that we are extremely fortunate to have the invaluable support of a community that highly values education. Without a doubt, the success of any school district takes the dedication of exceptional staff, informed parents, and involved community members to create the best possible environment for learning. Our students deserve nothing less.
The Great Neck Public School District continues to maintain its long-standing tradition of excellence, and in recent weeks I have seen evidence to that effect. Many of our schools have been recognized at the national, state, and local level, and while the criterion for each media source varies, we are very proud of the accomplishments of our students and faculty.
Last month, Newsweek magazine released its top 500 high schools in the country. North High School was ranked at 105 and South High School at 196. Criteria for consideration included standardized testing, graduation rate, college enrollment rate, Advanced Placement enrollment, SAT and ACT scores, student retention, and counselor-to-student ratio.
U.S. News and World Report released its 2015 rankings of the best high schools in the nation. South High School ranked 138 nationally, twenty-second in New York State, and third best high school on Long Island. Criteria incorporated proficiency on English and mathematics Regents exams for the total population (including low-income students), Advanced Placement participation, and passing rates.
Niche, a Web-based research site, released its 2015 rankings and Great Neck Public Schools was well represented. Of the top 100 elementary schools in New York State, Lakeville ranked sixth, E.M. Baker ninth, Saddle Rock fifteen, and J.F. Kennedy sixty-seventh. Niche used standardized test data, student-to-teacher ratio, and student and parent reviews to determine overall ranking.
Additionally, the school district's summer enrichment, academic, and recreation programs enjoyed outstanding participation rates, and students benefitted from an array of courses including musical theater, instrumental music, English as a new language (ENL), academic enrichment, and high school academic courses. I had the pleasure of attending many school-related and community events as part of my transition to the superintendency, and am truly inspired by the accomplishments of our students. That being said, I remain steadfast in my commitment to continuous improvements in every aspect of our district.
Our courses of study reflect our community's aspirations for its children, and our schools work diligently to ensure that classroom instruction reflects best practices. Our record of accomplishment is represented in the academic, performing and fine arts, and athletic achievements of our students, including sophisticated science research, wonderful theatrical productions, outstanding musical performances, and creative art displays. Our students also enthusiastically participate in a wide array of athletics, clubs, activities, and special events which are offered almost daily throughout the school year.
I am eager to begin our work together in building upon both the strong educational foundation and rich history and traditions that characterize our schools and community, and upon the sense of family and pride shared by the diverse individuals and groups within.
Good communication and community engagements are hallmarks of high quality schools, and I look forward to meeting you at various school and community events in the coming months.
I am honored to serve as your Superintendent of Schools and I enjoyed greeting our students when they arrived at school on opening day. I wish you all a healthy, productive, and rewarding school year.