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Cardozo best school in city: Newsweek

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Newsweek compiled its rankings solely based on a ratio calculated on the number of Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate tests taken by a school's students in 2004 divided by the number of graduating seniors. Cardozo students took 1,116 Advanced Placement tests last May, and there were approximately 700 graduating seniors, according to school officials. Long Island City students took 727 tests and the school had 455 graduating seniors in 2004. No New York City public schools offer the International Baccalaureate program.The city's so-called elite high schools, such as Stuyvesant High School, Bronx Science High School and Brooklyn Tech, were not included because of their admissions tests policy. Despite the official rankings placing them in the middle of the nationwide pack, administrators at both Cardozo and Long Island City said they were pleased that their schools' rigorous curricula were recognized."We're very pleased," said Rick Hallman, principal of Cardozo High School. "The Advanced Placement courses at our school are a very important part of our instructional program."William Bassell, principal of Long Island City High School, said he was "tremendously happy" with the ranking, particularly at a school where he said 85 percent of the student body qualified for free or reduced-price lunches."We work very hard to inspire kids and get kids to reach for higher goals," he said. "This stuff just breaks the stereotypes and shows that kids who want to learn and work hard will do wonderfully."Jefferson County High School in Irondale, Ala. ranked as the top school nationally. Statewide, the top New York school was Jericho High School in Jericho, which ranked 14th. Neighboring schools that ranked highly included 22nd-ranked Great Neck South and Manhasset High School at 30th, both in Long Island. Overall, 19 New York state schools placed in the top 100 high schools.The only other city schools to make Newsweek's list were Manhattan's High School for Environmental Studies at 575th as well as Brooklyn's Murrow High School at 912th and High School of Telecommunication Arts and Tech at 975th. Forest Hills High School came in at 1014th, and Port Richmond High School in Staten Island was 1021st.A Department of Education spokeswoman said that the rankings do not do justice to the quality of learning available at the city's schools."We have many superb high schools throughout our city and we are working to create many more for our children," said agency spokeswoman Kelly Devers.Reach reporter Sophia Chang by e-mail at news@timesledger.com, or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 146.

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