A Hofstra School of Education alumnus and a first-year doctoral candidate have caught the attention of the New York State Education Department and the National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform. Dr. Mark Ferris (EdD ’11) and Rachel Green, principal and assistant principal of the North Shore Middle School, have led the charge toward having their school designated as a 2016 Essential Elements School to Watch (EE:STW).
The North Shore Middle School was one of only seven schools across the nation – and the only school in New York – to earn the prestigious designation this year. The EE:STW program recognizes schools that demonstrate continuous improvement and excel in the following four domains: academic excellence, developmental responsiveness, social equity and organizational structure. The program is noncompetitive and is designed to promote and guide the school improvement process as well as highlight characteristics of high-performing middle schools. The North Shore Middle School will serve as a model for other middle schools across the United States.
For their part, Dr. Ferris and Ms. Green underwent a rigorous application process that culminated in a two-day site visit to their school by five EE:STW educators, who visited classrooms; observed students and faculty; viewed team staff meetings; talked to students, secretarial units, custodians, principals and administrators; observed the daily operations of the school; and conducted focus groups with parents as well as students.
Dr. Ferris credits his school’s success to its approach of looking at the whole child, as opposed to focusing exclusively on rigorously preparing for tests. The North Shore Middle School supports the social and emotional needs of adolescents in addition to fine-tuning its academic program.
Dr. Ferris and Ms. Green will be formally recognized and honored at the upcoming National Schools to Watch Conference this June in Washington D.C.
Separately, the Council of Administrators and Supervisors — the largest professional organization of school administrators and supervisors on Long Island – recently honored Dr. Ferris with the 2016 CAS Administrator of the Year Award. One of seven honorees across Long Islands middle and high schools, Dr. Ferris was nominated by a peer and selected by the award committee for exemplifying the highest qualities of school administrative leadership, including achievement, vision, innovation, and collaboration with parents, students, staff and administrators.
Dr. Ferris has been the principal of the North Shore Middle School since 2004. Prior to that, he was the assistant principal at North Shore for two years, and he taught Social Studies at H. Frank Carey High school.
Ms. Green is currently a doctoral candidate in Hofstra’s Educational and Policy Leadership program. She has been the assistant principal at the North Shore Middle School since 2012. Prior that, she served as an assistant principal in the Locust Valley school district, and she taught French and Spanish at Jericho High School.