The Northstars have reached a new pinnacle.
Last week, Newsweek magazine released its annual list of the top high schools in the country, and Cicero-North Syracuse High School joined the ranks at No. 1,352.
“It’s an honor,” C-NS Executive Principal Jim Froio said. “We were very pleased to make the list. It’s something we’re very excited about.”
The 1,358 schools on the list represent the top 5 percent of schools in the country. The rankings are based on the number of Advanced Placement (AP) tests taken by all students in the school divided by the number of graduating seniors.
“That basically means that you have to have more people taking the AP exams than you have graduates,” Froio said. “We had a record number of students in AP classes last year, so we think that’s what pushed us over the top.”
Froio said C-NS offers 14 AP classes. New additions last year were psychology and English 11. He indicated that the new offerings helped C-NS’ ratio in the Newsweek rankings.
“It’s very difficult for large schools to make the list,” he said. “When you have 650 kids in each graduating class, that means you have to have at least that many taking AP exams. By adding those classes, we upped our totals and got ourselves onto the list.”
Froio said Newsweek’s method of ranking schools is a good indication of the rigors of a school’s advanced programming.
“It measures how many students are challenging themselves in their curriculum,” he said. “It gives an indication of how good your AP program is.”
Students with passing scores on AP exams receive college credit for the course. But at C-NS, they get an extra perk.
“We’re one of the few schools with a concurrent agreement with OCC,” Froio said. “In U.S. history and government and English, our kids can earn OCC credits.”
This is the third year of the program, which Froio said has been “pretty successful.”
The principal added that the school is always looking to improve its curriculum.
“We’re hoping to do even better next year,” he said.
Sarah Hall is the editor of the Eagle Star-Review and the Baldwinsville Messenger. The 2012 winner of the Syracuse Press Club's Selwyn Kershaw Professional Standards Award, she has been with Eagle Newspapers since 2006. She is a Liverpool native.