South Side High School is an integrated suburban high school located in Rockville Centre, New York. About 24% of its 1100 students are black or Latino. The diversity of the student body is reflected in all extracurricular activities, from theatrical and musical productions to athletics and club events.
Most important of all, diversity is reflected in its classrooms--South Side is an “IB for all” public high school, where detracking and universal acceleration in grades 9-12 have opened the gates for all students to take the best curriculum the school has to offer. By doing so, the socioeconomic and racial stratification you find in so many integrated high-schools, disappeared, and learning gaps began to close.
In the mid 1990’s, all students at South Side Middle School began taking the same accelerated mathematics course sequence leading to algebra for all in Grade 8. At the same time, detracking began in the in the high school, with tracks being phased out over time.
South Side insured that it “leveled up” as it detracked, never lowering expectations for any students, while providing intense systems of support for students who struggled. All students now take the same enriched curriculum—the former honors program. This year, 51 % of South Side graduates completed the full requirements for the International Baccalaureate Diploma, and over 85 % took one or more IB or AP exams before graduating. All students, including special education students, take IB English and History of the Americas in 11th grade. The Rockville Centre community, students and faculty agree that the best curriculum that the school has to offer is the best curriculum for all. That alignment of belief and curriculum has made South Side a true School of Opportunity.