BY TRONE DOWD
Southeast and Eastern Queens officials kicked off the new year with some positive news Tuesday morning, announcing that Martin Van Buren High School in Queens Village is just the latest success story to come out of the borough’s endeavors for an improved education system.
Van Buren High School is just one of the many schools across the five boroughs categorized as a Renewal School, which it was named during the 2015 school year. The title is given to institutions that were once identified as low-performing. As a result, the school is closely monitored by the city for a total of two school years. Over those two years, attendance, Regents completion and graduation rates are all assessed and compared to previous years.
According to the New York City Department of Education’s Renewal High School Report, Van Buren High has seen improvements in most of those categories. During the 2015-2016 school year, the number of students on track to graduate on time during their sophomore and junior years rose to 52.1 percent, compared to 49.6 percent in the 2014-2015 school year. School attendance rates rose to 86.7 percent in the most recent school year, compared to 84.4 percent in 2014-2015. Regents completion, despite missing the target improvement of 44.6 percent, currently sits at 43.7 percent, up 0.1 percent from the previous year. College readiness upon graduation also improved to 17.8 percent, surpassing the goal of 16.9 percent. In the 2014-2015 school year, college readiness was sitting at 13.5 percent.
Sam Sochet, principal of Van Buren High, has been a big part of this process of trying to improve students’ academic performance.
“We want our children to succeed not only at Martin Van Buren High School but everywhere,” Sochet said.
Sochet was not the only one elated by the news. Elected officials all stopped by Martin Van Buren to express their thoughts on the school’s progress.
“We get enough news about the school system that we would rather not hear,” Councilman Barry Grodenchik (D-Oakland Gardens) said. “But there are a lot of really good things that are happening, and one of those things is happening right here in Eastern Queens. The remarkable improvements shown at Martin Van Buren High School reflect the dedication of Principal Sam Sochet and his staff to providing a world-class education to their students. Their hard work has not gone unnoticed.”
State Sen. Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans) called the high school “a success story in the making.”
State Sen. David Weprin (D-Fresh Meadows) also commended the school on its “tremendous progress.”
Sochet noted that the work to improve the school is still continuing. In fact, benchmarks for the next year have already been set.
For the 2016-2017 school year, Van Buren High is targeting 49.1 percent in Regents completion, 18.8 percent in college readiness and 54.6 percent for students on track to graduate on time.
Reach Trone Dowd at (718) 357-7400 x123 firstname.lastname@example.org or @theloniusly