Our last on-site external accreditation review was in February, 2015. The process always includes analyzing the results of stakeholder surveys as well as of statistics such as ISAT and SAT scores to show improvement. As parents think about whether to enroll in NFS classes in the coming year, there are some really amazing trends that everyone should know.
First, although North Fork School students usually already score in the higher percentiles of ISAT scores, AND even though it is difficult to show very much improvement in those upper ranges, our students showed an overall improvement (by class) from Spring 2010 to Spring 2011 of:
+15 to +32 points in Reading;
+9 to +26 points in Language
+16 to +21 points in Math
While is usual to see these kinds of improvements from lower-level students who are just beginning to work with us, having overall class scores come up that much in one year reveals a LOT of learning in the first few months of North Fork classes.
Second, I had a call in 2013 from a Boise parent who had a senior who, as a strong student athlete, was just beginning to receive offers of athletic scholarships from colleges. Unfortunately, her SAT scores were low, and her essay received a “7” (out of 12 possible points). This parent wanted to know if I knew of some way to help her child improve those scores, because the low scores were determining a lower financial aid award, per NCAA rules. I had to tell her that there is no “quick fix” for SAT writing scores. There is really no “quick fix” or “trick” for any SAT or ACT test score – such scores are the result of consistent, long-term effort and practice. That is what we do every day at North Fork. To have scores affect a college financial aid award – even when that award is predicated on athletic achievement – comes as a shock to many students.
Third, a former North Fork parent loves to relate how her son, a 2009 graduate of MDHS and NFS, received a year’s worth of college credit (at $40,000+/year) for AP scores he received as a result of his North Fork School work. Some of the scores translated into credit for more than one entry-level course, allowing him to skip almost all of his freshman requirements, and to begin college as a sophomore. This parent was not only thrilled at the savings NFS allowed her son in his pursuit of a college education, but claims that the North Fork School was the “best money [she] had ever spent” as far as his gaining confidence and ability to work at the college level. He graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 2014 with a job at Apple, taking his success to the next level.
This kind of accomplishment is common among our graduates; when parents wonder whether they can “afford” North Fork, I would like them to wonder instead, “how can we not afford it now?” Later, as I must tell many parents who come to me in their students’ junior or senior years, when it is finally obvious to them that their children are not going to be ready for college-level work, is often too late.
Too often, parents mull over these issues alone, without facts or statistics or open conversation to guide them or to help them decide what is best for their families. There are many ways to educate a child; we offer one option. We love what we do, and we hope that you choose to be part of the love this year.
Marie Furnary, Head of School