More than 54 percent of Rockland’s public school graduates receive New York State Regents diplomas, again ranking Rockland County close to the top among all counties in the Empire State. Rockland graduates garner millions of dollars in scholarships each year – an astounding 5 percent of all grads receive National Merit recognition – and Rockland young people are accepted in significant numbers at the universities of their choice.
The County’s eight individual school districts offer high standards of excellence in both academic subjects and extracurricular activities. To cite just two examples – the Clarkstown Central School District, hailed by The New York Times for its “national reputation for excellence,” and the East Ramapo School District, cited as having one of the most extensive advanced placement programs in the nation, with more than 100 college-level credits available.
Rockland’s Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) offers comprehensive specialized programs, which are shared by the County’s school districts. Approximately 2,000 Rockland students attend classes on a 40-acre campus in West Nyack, where most BOCES facilities are located. BOCES operates six separate facilities, including a school for technical and occupational education, one for adult education and four for special education.
Private schools provide another educational choice in Rockland County. The Green Meadow Waldorf School in Spring Valley, for example, enrolls 325 and offers college prep and general education from nursery through twelfth grade. The Rockland Country Day School serves kindergarten through twelfth grade in a college preparatory environment with advanced placement and college-level courses offered in the Upper school. The Blue Rock School offers a hands-on learning environment where a challenging academic curriculum is presented in an innovative and creative way. Blue Rock is situated on a beautiful 3-acre wooded campus and enrolls students from Kindergarten through 8th grade.
Sectarian education is also an important aspect of Rockland schooling; and a major factor in the growth of non-public education is the growth of Rockland’s yeshivas. The County’s Orthodox Jewish community has always used the yeshiva as the way of passing on traditional customs and lifestyles to its youngsters. In a nation such as the United States, where church and state are separated, a network of private schools is essential to passing on those traditions. Similarly, the Roman Catholic Church operates its own schools in Rockland. Albertus Magnus High School in Bardonia is a college preparatory school for 600 students, grade 9 through 12, owned and operated by the Dominican Sisters. Recently, 99 percent of Albertus graduates were accepted to colleges, offered more than $2 million in academic scholarships, and awarded five national merit commendations.
A dynamic bond between the schools and community enhances every facet of Rockland education. Local businesses and service organizations are especially active, donating goods, services, scholarship monies and, frequently, expertise to classroom discussions. They open their doors to student interns, and are often involved in mentoring programs. The participation of the community is sought for task forces, planning committees, cultural activities, classroom events and school-based management teams. Parent/Teacher Associations also enrich the schools. And students reciprocate by entertaining at local functions, sponsoring events for seniors and performing services to the community
Rockland County School Statistics
Rockland NY State
Enrollment 35,925 2,698,954
SAT: Verbal (Aver.) 438 416
SAT: Math (Aver.) 498 472
Regents Diplomas 54.4% 40%
College Entrants 91.5% 80%
Attendance Rate 94.9% 91%
Dropout Rate 1.6% 4%
Pupil-Teacher Ratio 13-1 14.3-1
Aver. Expenditure/Pupil $12,420 $8,241
Aver. Median Teacher Salary $64,411 $45,772
Aver. Yrs. Teacher Experience 20.4 17
% of Teachers at MA or above 53.6 31
(Source: Rockland County BOCES, 1994)
Finally, Rockland’s academic excellence and accomplishment carry over to the County population at large. According to the most recent figures, there are 169,897 people in Rockland County age 25 and above. Of them, 39.7 have earned at least a baccalaureate degree; an additional 43.5 percent are high school graduates. Given this level of educational attainment (among the highest for any county in America), it’s really not surprising that Rockland schools are as good as they are. Educated, concerned parents make for educated, concerned children.
The County’s scholastic excellence doesn’t end in high school though. Rockland has numerous institutions of higher learning, each of which makes a significant contribution to the County’s quality of life (see “Rockland colleges” for more information). At any age, at any level of expertise, and in just about any field, the options for learning in Rockland County are unsurpassed. Rockland’s highly rated, quality educational systems will continue to make the county one of the most desirable locations in New York state.
At any age, at any level of expertise, and in just about any field, the options for learning in Rockland County are unsurpassed. Rockland’s highly rated, quality educational systems will continue to make the county one of the most desirable locations in the metropolitan New York area.