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New Milford Falls In NJ Monthly High School Rankings

School ranked as the 169th best high school on NJ Monthly Magazine's list of 328 high schools in the state.

fell eight spots in the latest NJ Monthly Magazine rankings of the state's ranking of high schools.

NMHS checked in as the state's 161st best school in 2010 and two years later finds itself at #169 on the just-released biennial ranking of 328 public high schools in the state. In 2008, the school ranked #99 in the state on the list.

NJ Monthly Magazine’s 2012 rankings of the top public high schools will be featured in the September issue, which hits newsstands on Aug. 28. Parochial schools are not included, though charter schools make the list.

NJ Monthly Magazine made changes to its methodology this year, including a new graduation-rate calculation, eliminating student/computer ratio as a factor and increasing the weighting for data on test results, according to an article announcing the top public high schools.

In the  issued in May rating the performance of every school in the state during the 2010-11, students at  generally had a greater percentage of proficient scores than their peers in the state and the District Factor Group (DFG) — which measures schools from socio-economically similar areas — on both the language arts and math sections of the HSPA test.

The high school also far surpassed the state average in Grades 11 and 12 participation in Advanced Placement programs. NMHS averaged 47.7 percent while the state average is 39.9 percent. However, the school did see a slight drop in the average SAT score which the administration said it is addressing by implementing new reading and math programs beginning in Kindergarten so that by the time students reach high school they will be accomplished readers and writers. 

Superintendent Michael Polizzi said, "To raise the reading and writing scores on the SAT's we have to create great readers and writers beginning in Kindergarten so by the time they take the SAT's they have the skills to perform well."

Regarding math, Polizzi said, "The goal is to have students taking algebra in the eighth grade."  

"Taking algebra in the eighth grade will prepare students to be in pre-calculus or calculus by their junior year in high school, which will positively impact their SAT math scores," he added.

Polizzi told Patch that since his arrival he has been untangling years of neglect in both the educational programming and the infrastructure of the school district. He said that upon his arrival three years ago, he inherited a fractured school district emerging from a decade of administrative instability —five superintendents in ten years.

Here are the rankings of area high schools:

Area Bergen County High Schools 2012 Ranking 2010 Ranking River Dell Regional 104 27 Teaneck 126 114 Bergenfield 139 136 Dumont 118 106 Westwood 58 92 Paramus 111 98 Fort Lee 97 72 Hasbrouck Heights 72 107 Emerson 77 34 Fairlawn 65 76


Have a question or a news tip? Email the editor Ann Piccirillo at annpiccirillo@yahoo.com. Or, follow us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your email inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Ann Piccirillo August 24, 2012 at 09:51 PM
During the last school year I spent a great deal of time each week at the high school covering events, attending assemblies, meetings, awards ceremonies, class presentations... and Principal Sheninger was not only always there to greet me, but was also present at all of the events--including evening and weekend events.
Jim Prendergast August 28, 2012 at 02:29 PM
You can see by the examples that Ann included in the article that the new calculation methods are probably what’s causing the rankings to bounce all over the place. I’m sure if we looked at the entire state, you would see similar flux. Here is a link to the current methodology: http://njmonthly.com/articles/towns_and_schools/2012-top-high-schools-methodology.html I do agree with Joe’s comment on the Holocaust Study Tour. What an incredible educational experience! There are school districts across the US that have an entire curriculum around Genocidal Studies that includes not only the Holocaust, but Zedong’s Genocide, Holodomor and others. We are lucky to have what we have and I would love to see it expand. Unfortunately, don’t let the shining star programs overshadow the fact that we do have a way to go with our core competencies. There are positive changes happening in our schools and we know that you can’t turn a ship on a dime. Nevertheless, if you take a 3 year snapshot of district performance, you will see that the district’s wake is statistically flat. Up in some areas such as AP and down in others such as SAT and state math scores. I’m not sure I’d be willing to bank on that kind of experience to continue to move us in the right direction.
Jim Prendergast August 28, 2012 at 02:30 PM
However, test scores that reflect the mastery of standard elements of education are a viable way to measure district efficacy. Not the only way, but a viable one. An ‘A’ isn’t an ‘A’ everywhere you go so there has to be an objective method of analyzing student and district performance. If you place the academic performance on a level playing field you take a step towards achieving equity. Combine this with strong extra-curricular and community service options, and you go a long way to creating college and career ready young adults. Don’t forget, this is all talking about the high school. We’re not even mentioning the lack of rigor at the K-5 level. I have no doubt that New Milford Schools are capable of amazing things. It will be our ‘Great Expectations’ that drive the coming of age of our schools. The question is, “How hard is our district willing to work and will the community hold them accountable for anything less than success?”
Jim Prendergast August 28, 2012 at 03:20 PM
Excellent observation Joe and congratulations to your daughter. The hard work definitely paid off! By your own admission, you “pushed for her…”. This is a testament to your involvement and passion as a parent. In your opinion, how differently do you think things would have played out had you not pushed? Most schools have resources to identify students that would benefit from AP courses and it isn’t solely based on existing grades. However, a lot of schools are VERY selective about who they allow into an AP class so as not to potentially dilute what information they put on their school profile. This practice practically abolishes equity and access in the classrooms. I’m not implying that NM does this, but a lot of schools do. I also agree with your comment about the K-8 classes. If deep and lasting changes aren’t made at this level, I’m afraid that all the changes at the HS level will be for naught.


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