THHS recognized as #1 public high school in New York

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Townsend Harris High School swept the US News and World Report 2021 high school rankings, placing  1st in New York State, the NY Metro Area, and New York City, as well as 12th in the nation.

Many Harrisites reacted to the news positively, crediting the school’s success to the students and staff. “Ranking #1 consecutively in NY is definitely an amazing feat that I am very proud of,” said junior Jennifer Quisi. “It really shows how hardworking and dedicated our faculty is and how high-achieving Towsend Harris students are. I hope that in the coming years, the school continues to garner these recognitions and more.”

“Our core mission for us is to provide an accelerated learning experience for students that forces them to think critically and to develop content knowledge,” said Principal Brian Condon. “There’s really not a day when the adults don’t come into the school focused on how to make it better for the kids, from the administrators to the teachers to the school aides to the secretaries and the custodians.”

The ranking was created by US News and World Report in association with RTI International, a nonprofit research institute that partners with government agencies, commercial clients, and academic institutions. They considered 24,000 high schools across the nation and ultimately ranked THHS among a total of 17,860 schools. 

To create the ranking, the group used a combination of six criteria to select and rank schools, including the proportion of seniors who took AP exams, the range of exams taken, results from state exams in the context of student demographics, underserved student performance, and graduation rate. The evaluations were based on school performances from the 2018-2019 academic year.

With a composite score of 99.93 out of 100, THHS took home a number of other top rankings, including 2nd in New York State for Math and Reading Proficiency. Harrisites achieved 99% and 100% proficiency in math and reading, respectively, compared to district averages of 54% and 76%.

The school also received high marks for its 100% graduation rate and 100% AP participation rate, which factor into the final composite score. 

After more than a year of remote learning, Harrisites saw the ranking as a testament to the THHS community’s resilience. “I feel that our school deserves to be ranked this high, especially with the students’ and staff’s persistent hard work and effort, which can be hard to maintain during a pandemic,” said junior Alyanah Piedal. 

“I’m proud to be part of a community of students that are this hardworking and diligent, and to be part of a school recognized in the top 12 in the entire nation. I also feel like it’s important to remember that rankings aren’t everything,” said junior Rakin Haq. 

“Although this distinction is certainly meaningful, I know that with the guidance of a supportive faculty, the students will continue to pursue and exceed their own unique set of standards for culture and learning, regardless of others perceptions,” added social studies teacher Ian Morzan. 

“[The ranking] means [we need to] keep on working … it reassures us that what we are doing is being noticed,” concluded Spanish teacher Christian Castillo.

Looking forward, the Townsend Harris faculty and staff are seeking to continue to build a strong community and learning environment for Harrisites. “This honor is reflective of our school community’s commitment to the Ephebic Oath and the vision set forth by Townsend Harris himself,” concluded social studies teacher Aliza Sherman. “I believe that traditions like these not only make us proud of our past, but should also serve as guiding principles for the future.”