The Huntington School District is striding into 2018 more confident and stronger than ever while continuing to be one of the crown jewels of the community.
Huntington UFSD’s eight buildings are filled with more than 4,500 students from diverse backgrounds. It’s within this melting pot of races, nationalities and creeds that those on every grade level continue to reach new heights, individually and collectively.
The district has arguably never been more secure financially, with very little long term debt and well-funded and regularly utilized reserve accounts. Huntington UFSD has used these reserve funds to control tax increases and to maintain and modernize its facilities.
District executives and building administrators have been working closely with more than 400 faculty members to maximize the instructional and learning experience of every student. Huntington’s individual schools are well equipped, fully staffed and ready to provide a top notch education for everyone, regardless of their current ability level.
Huntington Superintendent James W. Polansky.
“There remain many challenges associated with education in New York State and nationally,” Huntington Superintendent James W. Polansky said. “We will continue to meet those challenges head on by revamping our curricula and instructional practices in a manner that best promotes student success in a rapidly changing global and technologically driven society. With that said, we will not lose sight of the importance of helping students to build on a strong social-emotional foundation and to recognize the continued importance of citizenship and strong interpersonal relationships.”
The district has several items on its agenda as it moves into 2018, including a “modification to and/or rewriting of core discipline curricula at multiple levels in alignment with new standards and with what makes sense for our kids,” Mr. Polansky said. “This will include a redesign of the accelerated program at the middle level.”
The district remains the envy of many school systems with highly talented students and an exceptionally supportive community. Huntington High School graduates continue to gain admittance to top tier colleges and universities, including the military academies, Ivy League schools and the finest public and private institutions.
In recent years, Huntington students have captured a long list of awards in every academic discipline as well in art, music, athletics, theatre and every other possible area. The district’s student council organizations, student newspapers, clubs and intramural sports programs are thriving and boast high rates of participation.
Long history of public education
Huntington’s long history of providing young people in the community with the best education possible began when residents hired Jonas Holdsworth to work as a teacher. The first day of public education was February 11, 1657. The first school building was erected in 1660 in the Village Green area.
Public education took another step forward when 48 leading citizens came together in 1793 and pledged the funds needed to erect a school building devoted to providing the town’s teenagers with a classical high school education. The Huntington Academy was a two-story structure built on a hill across the street from the Old First Church. The site is now occupied by Town Hall.
A private institution, the Huntington Academy charged nominal tuition on a quarterly basis. It was outside the common-school system and was not under Regents supervision. “It was intended to, and generally did, furnish the means for a more liberal education than was provided by the surrounding common schools,” wrote town historian Charles R. Street more than a century ago. “Many of the best educators of the period taught generation after generation of Huntington youths within its walls. It prepared for college the sons of those who were ambitious to give their sons a liberal education.”
The New York State Legislature passed a law on April 13, 1857 authorizing creation of the Union School District of Huntington. The community gathered at a “special meeting” on September 7, 1857 and approved formation of the Union School District. It is said to have been the first district organized in the state for providing public education beyond eighth grade.
Huntington Academy was demolished in April 1858 and the Union School was erected over that same summer. It offered the young people of the community an educational program through twelfth grade. The building opened in November 1858 with Algernon S. Higgins as its first principal. He also taught most subjects. Enrollment totaled 220. The first class numbering six seniors was graduated in 1862.
With the near unanimous support of the Board of Education, the Union School began offering free education in 1864. The Union School formally changed its name to Huntington High School in 1897.
Over the past 160 years, Huntington UFSD has become well known across Long Island and the state and even garnered a national reputation for its outstanding students, faculty and programs. As it strides into 2018, the district is stronger than ever before and excited to meet its current challenges and exceed the high standards set for it by the community.