The Lake Placid and Tupper Lake central school districts improved their standing in a Buffalo-based news journal's ranking of 430 upstate New York schools.
Business First released its list of the top schools in 48 upstate counties earlier this fall. This is the second year in a row the journal has compiled such a list.
Lake Placid was ranked third out of 20 school districts in Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties. Last year it was fourth. In the upstate region, Lake Placid was listed 104th, up from 113th last year.
Saranac Lake schools remained number two in those three counties and dropped from 90th to 97th for all of upstate. Tupper Lake also moved up: to 11th from 12th in Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties and to 319th from 327th upstate.
Chazy was ranked first among the Plattsburgh area school districts for the second year in a row, and 43rd upstate.
To create the list, Business First analyzed state test data and graduation rates from 2008 to 2011. To qualify, a district must have a current enrollment of at least 260 students, which is why it left out Keene Central School and all of those in Hamilton County.
At a school board meeting last week, Lake Placid Central School District Superintendent Randy Richards said he had mixed feelings about the ranking, especially since his district is currently working to make improvements after being labeled a "focus district" by the state Department of Education because of low test scores among one group of special education students.
"It's always nice to be among the top," Richards told the school board. "It's whoever you want to ask, I guess. ... I would caution that it's one piece of data out of much that's available."
Business First Projects Editor G. Scott Thomas explained in a news story accompanying the rankings that 48 "statistical indicators are analyzed to determine each district's annual score.
"The score for each indicator is determined by comparing the results for a given district against the average for all districts," he wrote. "A given district's percentage of superior results on the Regents geometry exam, for example, is compared to the average percentage of superior marks for all Upstate districts on the same test."
Last year, the Business First rankings caused a stir among Tupper Lake school officials. Superintendent Seth McGowan said the rankings misrepresented his district's performance by taking "an extraordinarily complex data set" and trying to "oversimplify it in a way that reflects it incorrectly."
McGowan crunched his own numbers and found that each Tri-Lakes school district excelled in certain areas, and had areas where they could improve when compared with school districts with similar enrollment, wealth, pupil-teacher ratio, general fund expenditure and percentage of students with disabilities.
Contact Chris Morris at 518-891-2600 ext. 25 or firstname.lastname@example.org.