Fourth place Immaculate Conception, in East Aurora, is the top private elementary school in all of Western New York.
Principal Karen Adamski says she accepted many students from nearby Catholic schools that were recently shut down. She now leads 236 students who love to learn by doing.
Second graders can be found working in the science lab with hands on activities. That's how it is with each subject. Adamski says it stems from the support students get at home and extends right into the classroom with teachers.
"I think that's one of the products of our school too," she said. "Learning how to work with one another, enjoying working with one another, challenging one another to do their best and I think the teachers certainly work very, very hard at that."
This fall, Immaculate Conception will expand its art and music curriculum to tie into the Catholic Diocese's STREAM program. "We're really working on next year's art program," she said. "What more can we do in terms of art and music to enhance our children's learning?"
Adamski plans to add art and music history. But at that time the school will have a new leader. Adamski will retire this year after 44 years in education. "It's time for new gifts to be shared," she said.
Business First ranked 262 elementary schools across Western New York, using test scores from the New York State Education Department.