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Longmeadow, East Longmeadow high schools ranked among tops in the country

Date: 10/23/2014

GREATER SPRINGFIELD –  Anyone can say that their local high school is one of the best in the country. According to an article by the Daily Beast, there are 760 high schools that actually qualify for the title, including East Longmeadow High School (ELHS) and Longmeadow High School (LHS).

High schools were ranked across the nation based on percentages of graduating students, SAT and ACT scores, college-bound students, the number of students in advanced placement (AP) classes or international baccalaureate programs (IB) the number of students requiring free or reduced lunch, and AP or IB exam pass rates.

LHS ranked 308th out of the top high schools across the nation with a graduation rate of 94.5 percent and 99 percent of students planning to continue their academic studies in college.

Thomas Landers, principal of LHS, said 89.4 percent of students received at least a 3, 4 or 5 on AP exams last year. At least 201 took the exams.

“Our honors courses are not included this and we’re really proud of those,” he added. “There are rigorous and a challenging curriculum.”

Landers said LHS prides itself on its educationally rewarding extra circular activities, clubs, and programs such as “Interact,” a service oriented club assisting the community.

Another program at LHS is “Best Buddies,” a program that pairs LHS students to create friendships with peers who have intellectual or developmental disabilities, which is run in conjunction with the Jewish Community Center.

“We have good students; we have good teachers and they work hard,” Landers said. “The curriculum is strong and the Massachusetts framework is strong.”

ELHS ranked 459th with graduation rate of 93 percent, and a total of 92 percent of graduating students heading to college. Twenty percent of students enroll in AP courses or IB programs.

Gina Flanagan, principal of ELHS, said the ranking does not take special programs or extracurricular activities into account.

Programs include a multicultural club and senior projects, which are important in educating youth to become responsible citizens, she explained.

“Since its inception, the [multicultural club] has hosted numerous events to bring awareness to cultures and cultural issues from around the world,” Flanagan stated. “They kicked off the year with a symposium and art gallery starring prominent local African American artists. They have also hosted movie nights that promote cultural understanding.”

ELHS students must also complete at least 40 hours of community service as a graduation requirement, she said.

The senior projects focus on post secondary education by having students find trades that they are passionate about, Flanagan added.

Students actively engage in specific trades and must complete a research paper and a presentation.