Superintendent Questions Legitimacy of New Jersey Monthly's High School Rankings

Outdated data and conclusions based on calculations few comprehend have Superintendent Michael Polizzi asking New Jersey Monthly, "What makes a great school, great?"

Superintendent Michael Polizzi sat down with Patch to further discuss the methodology used by and why their findings do not accurately reflect New Milford's standing.  

The ranking is based on the school's District Factor Group (DFG), a classification developed by the NJ Department of Education that groups schools with other schools whose districts are demographically and socioeconomically similar. This classification system provides a useful tool for examining student achievement and comparing similarly-situated school districts. DFG's are updated every ten years when the Census Bureau releases the latest Decennial Census data.

"New Milford High School's standing does not accurately reflect the significant growth that the school has experienced since 2010," Polizzi said. 

Polizzi said that had the study been based on 2011-2012 data, rather than 2010-2011 data, the results would have shown a much improved district. The chart below reflects the data in the study along with data collected by Polizzi from 2011-2012. Also included in the chart is a school in the same DFG as New Milford, A.L. Johnson in Union County, ranked 40th in the state for comparison.

Criteria NMHS 2010-2011 NMHS 2011-2012 NMHS 2012-2013 (projected) A.L. Johnson (Clark) Grade 12 Enrollment 152.5 173 168 199.5 Average Class Size 23 19.2 18.7 16.9 Student/Faculty Ratio 12.5 10.3 10.1 9.0 % Faculty Adv. Degrees 52.7 50 53.1 72.5 Average SAT Scores 1452 1509 TBD 1553 Advanced Proficiency HESPA Language 22.8 27.5 TBD 27.3 Advanced Proficiency HESPA  Math 22.8 21.8 TBD 29.6 Number of A.P. Courses Offered 9 11 13 15 % AP Scores 3+ 47.9 71.2 TBD 50.9 Adjusted Graduation Rate 92.9 99.4 TBD 99.4

Polizzi said that the next New Jersey Monthly ranking that will come out in 2014 will be based on data from 2011-2012 and given the projected numbers, he is confident that New Milford's ranking will greatly improve. 

According to Polizzi, the rankings do not report:

  • Transformation of overall school climate and culture. 
  • Transformation of antiquated classroom design into 21st Century environments for learning.
  • Expansion of virtual high school opportunities with 25 seats.
  • Creation of 16 new core and elective offering courses over the course of the last two years.
  • Addition of three new A.P. courses, bringing the number to 13. 
  • Hiring the school's first national Board Certified teacher.
  • The development of relevant, career-focused curriculum connected to university majors and workforce need. 
  • Professional relationships and partnerships.  

"Had New Jersey Monthly used 2011-2012 data, New Milford High School would have almost certainly been in the top 100," Polizzi said. 


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