Does Name and Rank of School District matter?

My son is in 8th grade and due to job change we are moving from Tampa, Florida to Long Island, NY. School district of
one of the Town that we have shortlisted to rent is higher ranked than the other. I spoke with the school counsellors of both the districts and found out that both the school districts offer almost same advanced courses - AP Classes and extracurricular activities that my son is interested in. Does the name of the school district matter in college admissions? One of the school districts has much higher ranking in the national surveys. Please help me. I will appreciate your input.

I think the more important question is if he could get a better quality of education at the higher ranked school. I doubt the rankings of public schools on LI are going to matter that much. But if one will prepare him better for college work, that’s the one you should pick. What are the rankings based on?

The school district with higher rank is Jericho. It has a large Asian population. It offers the AP Classes as the lower ranked Half Hollow Hills school district. I asked the counsellor about the ranking and he responded its due to our higher average SAT and ACT scores and NYS standardized test scores. He also gave a lot of credit to the parents for focusing or pushing their kids.

OP - Colleges will look at your son’s transcript within the context of the school he attends.

I grew up on Long Island. Have friends who teach in both districts. My impression is that even though Jericho is higher rank (I think still best in the state??), Half Hollow Hills is still a great school and in the top 50. I wouldn’t have reservations about HHH.

A few things to consider beyond course offerings -

Are there big differences in the guidance counselor staffing, programs, and college admissions services between the two schools?

How is the safety at these schools? Are either of these schools having any issues with gang activity (it’s unfortunately a problem in some areas of LI)?

Are you planning on eventually buying a home? If so, you probably don’t want to have to move your child again so think about which school district you’d rather live.

Good luck with your move!

Thank you for your response. HHH is a larger school district. I am not sure about gang activity. I will definitely look
into it. I am not selling our home in Tampa and plan to rent on Long Island.

We preferred to avoid schools that were higher ranked and had a lot of homework and stress.This left our kids with more time to develop as people and engage in activities in and out of school that developed their talents and interests. I believe their college admissions results were better than if they had attended a high-achieving, high pressure high school. Just another way to think about things :slight_smile:

I am a native Long Islander with strong ties to the area. Both districts are excellent, but have differences.

Jericho is a wealthy community in Nassau County and unless things changed, the school district serves the towns of Jericho, Westbury, Old Westbury, Brookville and Muttontown. Many kids will come from very …very…significant wealth, particularly those living in Old Westbury, Brookville, and Muttontown ( of course there are always exceptions). This is a district where you may see kids driving to school in very expensive cars, BMWs etc. Not judging…just providing information.

HHH is in Suffolk County ( further from the city yet still commutable) and is located in Dix Hills, a wealthy area of Long Island. Besides Dix Hills …students come from Melville, parts of Farmingdale, Deer Park, West Hills, and Wheatley Heights. If you take Dix Hills and West Hills out of the mix, you will find that the remaining towns do not have the wealth that Jericho has…nowhere close. There is more of an economic mix with many kids coming from middle class families and not from significant wealth ( I do realize that the definition of middle class differs here ) and there are likely families who struggle financially. There is more economic diversity in this district despite the wealthy towns of Dix Hills and West Hills. I have not heard of any safety concerns ( noted above).

Both districts are excellent. I would probably choose HHH because I cant afford Jericho and I think my kids would feel intimidated by the wealth…and likely competition ( although HHH will also be competitive) …but that’s just me. I would choose the district where my kids would be comfortable…colleges will look at students within the context of their school.

As a side note, a family from Muttontown hosted a gathering for students (and parents) attending my daughter’s university. The area is probably one of the wealthiest in the country. You have to decide which environment your kids will be happier in…but like I said both districts are excellent.

Long Island is big…how did you narrow it down to these two districts in two different counties?

I live in a different district on LI.

About 10 years ago, one of my sons was excluded from 8th grade Regents Earth Science by the principal. The excuse I was given was that his grade in 7th grade honors math wasn’t high enough. I did a lot of research and learned that Jericho, which was and is ranked higher than my SD, allowed any student who wanted to enroll in an honors or AP class to do so without regard to their grades. I wrote a letter of appeal to the principal, which I knew would fail because she literally hated that child of mine. Once that failed, I wrote to the school board and the superintendent. Ultimately, I threatened to sue because of the rubric they were using (the honors math class was accorded a greater weight than regular math and the class was graded much more harshly). Two days before school started, I met with the superintendent and the district’s attorney. The first thing I did was hand them a copy of Jericho’s rule about taking advanced classes and a copy of the most recent school rankings. My son was admitted to the class, earned an A and got a 99 on the Regents.

That aside, Jericho seems like a much more intense district than HHH. One of my closest friend’s children attended HHH schools. Her younger D recently graduated from SUNY Bing and the older attended New Paltz and then Columbia for grad school.

Jericho is very wealthy, and with that wealth will come more SAT tutoring, heavy tutoring for kids to achieve A+’s in AP physics…who may not have gotten that A+ on their own, etc. It doesn’t surprise me that Jericho allows students to enroll in any class they wanted…parents will show up at BOE meetings and complain. There is likely fierce competition for top ranked schools with families able and willing to pay. This is the environment…some kids will thrive, others may crash and burn either in HS or college. A student who depends on heavy tutoring and hasn’t had the experience of doing it on their own etc…may struggle if they attend college with kids who were more academically independent in HS.

HHH is a less intense district, yet it is excellent and will still have some intense parents.

To answer your original question again…no, the ranking does not matter. Colleges look at students within the context of their high school. In this case both districts are excellent and I would choose the one where you think your kids would thrive.

Something else to think about… Jericho will likely not have many students attending SUNY schools. Families of academically “average” kids will pay full cost at schools such as Delaware, Penn State, etc. You will have more families at HHH who could only afford SUNY…or who need merit to send their kids to schools such as Delaware etc. Some of these families may even struggle to pay for SUNY.

You may want to think about college finances now and how this may play out with your kids …and the HS they attend.

We made a similar choice when looking at schools in Westchester County. We chose the district more like HHH. Very diverse both racially and economically. There were many kids who struggled, but also a big cohort of kids taking some of the 24 APs offered. Its SAT scores are very average. Top kids regularly get into highly selective schools and they do it without being hugely stressed. I have absolutely no regrets.

That is a red flag to me. Sounds like a school district that is sick of arguing with parents.

Also be aware that HHH is split into 2 high schools, East and West. East has more students than West. Both of those schools are bigger than Jericho. I would just choose whichever town you like better or which will have a shorter commute. Both districts are good and will give your child a good education. They will have similar EC’s and problems as well.

Another consideration is that plenty of exclusive schools consider a student’s class rank. If the school are generally the same quality, you might want to consider where your child would have a better change of having a higher class rank.

@eeyore123 -

I took it as recognition that students who chose to be in advanced classes were more likely to do the work required and I think this POV is borne out by Jericho’s consistently high rankings over the years. Many SD’s, my own included, try to bar any student they think might not do well from those classes and, IMHO, Jericho opts to give them a chance and a choice.

With my youngest son, who is dyslexic, I had to fight the school to get him into AP Psych. He got an A in the class, a 3 on the test (enough to get credit at his college) and is now minoring in the subject. The school didn’t want him in because they didn’t want to have to meet his accommodations.

My HS doens’t rank but there is rampant grade inflation. With a 3.4 weighted, my son was in the bottom quartile of his class!

I know this reply is late to the game, but I wanted to add an after thought. My son is graduating from a school district on LI that is NOT known for its academics. We are living in a diverse population of students and while the district works to promote a rigorous education, our numbers always lag behind. With that being said, my son is in the top 10% of his graduating class, is lined up to graduate with an IB Diploma, scored a 1470 on his SATs, participates in a plethora of EC’s in leadership positions, has been invited to perform in the All County Band and has captained both the Varsity Tennis and Soccer Teams. He has been waitlisted at Tufts, Bucknell and Wesleyan. His dream schools of Duke, Cornell and Dartmouth turned him down. (My list can extend on with the rejections)

My point? I have a dear friend in Roslyn SD, as well as another in Jericho who were sharing the suspense with me during “ivy day”. As most of our districts “elite” were being rejected one by one, they were sharing their success stories. My son is devastated and if I had the opportunity to do this again, I would pick the best school district possible. I strongly believe that although the schools claim to have an organic approach to admissions, you just can’t compete with an awesome guidance department, school district, networking and community support.

Lesson learned here.


And your son got accepted to Colgate! Congratulations!!

The schools that didn’t accept him are reaches. And really the schools that waitlisted him are competitive admits as well.

But he got accepted to Colgate which is a terrific college!! Celebrate that success!!

Thank you, yes he did get accepted to Colgate. We are celebrating, but my son is also a legacy…

I’m sorry if I come across as bitter. My heart hurts for him right now and with some better guidance, we would have done things differently.

Since the OP is no longer active, I am closing the thread.