A new class of graduating middle school students from Island Park have chosen where they will attend high school, as the first group of students who chose Long Beach High School over West Hempstead four years ago get set to graduate come June.
Thirty-four freshmen will attend LBHS in September, while 35 will take busess to West Hempstead High School, and seven students will go to private school and two others are moving from Island Park, according to the Long Beach Herald. Island Park Superintendent Dr. Rosmarie Bovino said:
“The kids are more aware of the process, and the principals and guidance counselors have done a great job of communicating with the parents.”
The class in September represents the first decrease in size of the proportion of Island Park residents to overall incoming freshmen at LBHS, which otherwise increased after the first year. The 34 incoming Island Park students will join the current 122 students to bring the number to 155, which will be about even with that of West Hempstead. Of that total, 53 are currently in ninth grade, 31 in tenth, 27 in eleventh, and 11 in twelfth.
In December 2007, the Island Park Board of Education voted unanimously to become the only Nassau County school district to offer parents and students an option to choose between two high schools. The following March, Island Park residents — who since the late 1960s had sent their children seven miles away to West Hempstead — approved a resolution to enter into 5-year contract with Long Beach, instead of renewing the contract annually.
At the time, Long Beach toyed with the idea of staging a public vote on whether to accept Island Park students, but the district ultimately left the decision in the hands of its school board, which approved it.
Frank Alvarado, then president of the Long Beach Board of Education, said: “We thought that the two communities had a lot in common, and that there are a lot of people in Island Park that wanted to avail themselves to the educational system in Long Beach rather than send their kids to West Hempstead.”
Alvarado added that the additional enrollment at the high school would mean a financial gain for the district, with each new high school student bringing approximately $14,000 in annual tuition aid to Long Beach.