Commack High School was named a 2021 National Blue Ribbon School in the Exemplary High Performing category by U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona on September 21, 2021. Commack is among 325 public and private schools nationwide to receive this honor.
“This year’s cohort of honorees demonstrates what is possible when committed educators and school leaders create vibrant, welcoming, and affirming school cultures where rich teaching and learning can flourish,” said Secretary Cardona. “I commend this school and all our Blue Ribbon honorees for working to keep students healthy and safe while meeting their academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs. In the face of unprecedented circumstances, you found creative ways to engage, care for, protect, and teach our children. Blue Ribbon Schools have so much to offer and can serve as a model for other schools and communities so that we can truly build back better.”
The Education Department recognizes all schools in one of two performance categories, based on all student scores, subgroup student scores and graduation rates:
Superintendent Dr. Donald James stated, “A National Blue Ribbon. Wow, and during a pandemic no less. This is a testament to the staff and students in Commack High School." He continued, "What you might not know is the reasons we won the Blue Ribbon. First, it’s the people in the High School under the amazing leadership of Mrs. Boritz, who was recently promoted, and her team. We must also credit our incredible students and their participation in our Access and Opportunity program which was designed to support the success of all students. This capstone, K to 12 reform initiative, offers all students the opportunity to participate in enrichment and higher-level learning classes. It should also be mentioned that the Blue Ribbon application asked us to describe our program last year, 2020-2021, the pandemic year. So the award also recognizes the Commack Model, and everyone who worked to design and implement that model - it both kept our students safe and helped them reach new heights!”
Principal Lipenholtz, Mrs. Boritz and Dr. James will represent Commack High School at a two-day National Blue Ribbon Schools awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. in November. Our administrators will meet with Secretary Cardona and highly-regarded educational leaders from across the nation to exchange and discuss instructional best practices. "We are honored to bring home a plaque and flag to signify Commack High School's exemplary status," Dr. James said. "This prestigious honor confirms that our school is an example for other schools to follow."
Nominations for the National Blue Ribbon Schools competition come from the top education official in all states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Department of Defense Education Activity, and the Bureau of Indian Education. Private schools are nominated by the Council for American Private Education. Commack was one of only 19 schools nominated in all of New York in one of two performance categories recognized by the Department of Education, based on all student scores, subgroup student scores and graduation rates: “Exemplary High Performing” schools have their state’s highest high school graduation rates and the highest achieving students (the top 15%) in English and mathematics, measured by state assessments. Commack is recognized in this category. "Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing” schools are those that made the greatest advances (top 15%) in closing subgroup achievement gaps in English and mathematics over the past five years, measured by state assessments.