Chazy Central Rural School teacher Justin Frechette works on an immigration project with students in his social studies class earlier this week. The school ranked first in academic rankings in the tri-county area by Business First.
Chazy Central Rural School has received the stamp of approval from Business First, a Buffalo-based business publication.
Superintendent John H. Fairchild said the grades K-12 school was ranked first among schools in Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties in an academic ranking recently performed by the publication. The evaluation — which was based on an analysis of four years of standardized test data — also placed CCRS 44th out of 431 school districts throughout Upstate New York.
“I know Chazy has always done well on standardized testing, compared to other schools,” said Fairchild, who assumed the role of superintendent last year. “But, I think we’re higher in the overall ranking than we thought we’d be.”
“It’s a nice pat on the back for the hard work of our students and faculty,” added Fairchild.
According to a breakdown of the school’s academic ranking among the 430 others, Chazy Central placed 52nd in English, 26th in math, 25th in science, and 23rd in social studies.
Justin B. Frechette, a teacher in the school’s social studies department, said learning of the recognition gave him a great sense of pride.
“We’re obviously very ecstatic, when you look at the size school that we are, that we were able to finish where we did,” said Frechette. “I think it’s because we have a dedicated faculty and staff, a community that supports our school budget, and a group of students that understands they’re part of the tradition that has built this school.”
Mathematics teacher Kelly Penfield said the results represent “a lot of hard work and dedication at all grade levels, from kindergarten through graduation.”
“We have teachers delivering top-notch instruction, hard-working students who are receptive to learning, and tremendous community support,” said Penfield. “It truly is a winning combination.”
“We have a staff that works very well together in planning things out and we have a relatively stable student population, meaning there isn’t as much student movement so we get to know the kids,” said Fairchild, adding a strong relationship between teachers and students equates to better understanding their academic needs.
Having smaller class sizes also doesn’t hurt, the superintendent added.
“I’m a firm believer in small K through 12 schools providing a better education for students,” said Fairchild. “It’s very hard for kids in smaller schools to fall through the cracks.”
The school’s recognition by Business First is something Fairchild believes will help gain more attention nationwide of an already sterling academic reputation at Chazy Central.
“I think our academic reputation is already out there, when kids are applying to colleges,” said Fairchild. “Plattsburgh State and Clinton Community College already know the quality of students who graduate from here. But, again, this is still a great pat on the back.”
Business First has utilized raw data from the New York State Education Department to issue annual performance ratings for Western New York schools since 1992. However, the publication’s analysis of school districts expanded to the Rochester area in 2010 and, this year, to include the greater Plattsburgh and North Country area.
“It’s an honor to be included,” said Fairchild. “Now, it’s back to the business of teaching our kids.”