U.S. News & World Report released its 2018 rankings of the Best High Schools in the nation on Wednesday, and five New Jersey schools made the Top 100 overall and one ranked as the best STEM school in the nation.
The publication considered 28,800 public schools in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, awarding 500 with gold medals, 2,211 with silver and 3,237 with bronze.
BASIS Scottsdale, in Arizona, was the No. 1 overall school for the second year in a row. The charter school network in Arizona placed facilities in all five of the top spots overall, U.S. News said.
New Jersey’s 23 gold medal schools, in order of their state ranking, were:
- High Technology High School, Lincroft, No. 22 overall;
- Bergen County Academies, Hackensack, No. 43;
- Bergen County Technical High School, Teterboro, No. 58;
- Biotechnology High School, Freehold, No. 66;
- Ronald E. McNair High School, Jersey City, No. 68;
- Elizabeth High School, Elizabeth, No. 145;
- Union County Magnet High School, Scotch Plains, No. 171;
- Chatham High School, Chatham, No. 181;
- Princeton High School, Princeton, No. 230;
- Academy for Information Technology, Scotch Plains, No. 262;
- West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South, West Windsor, No. 264;
- Ridge High School, Basking Ridge, No. 318;
- North Star Academy Charter School of Newark, Newark, No. 346;
- Marine Academy of Science and Technology, Highlands, No. 349;
- Millburn High School, Millburn, No. 380;
- Montgomery High School, Skillman, No. 388;
- Highland Park High School, Highland Park, No. 397;
- Academy for Allied Health Sciences, Scotch Plains, No. 413;
- Alexander Hamilton Preparatory Academy, Elizabeth, No. 414;
- West Windsor-Plainsboro High School North, Plainsboro, No. 420;
- Summit Senior High School, Summit, No. 437;
- Academy of Allied Health and Science, Neptune, No. 452;
- Glen Ridge High School, Glen Ridge, No. 460.
U.S. News also created rankings of the top charter schools — which differ from traditional public schools in regulation and enrollment, among other factors — and magnet schools — which have curriculum designed around a theme — as well as the top schools for studying STEM, or the subjects of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
One place where New Jersey really stood out was in the STEM rankings.
High Technology High School in Lincroft was the No. 1 STEM school for the fourth year in a row, U.S. News said, edging out top overall school BASIS Scottsdale for the honor. Bergen County Academies and Union County Magnet High School also made the Top 10 for STEM, at No. 4 and No. 8, respectively.
North Star Academy Charter School of Newark was the top New Jersey charter school, and the only charter school in the state to earn a gold medal. New Jersey had no schools listed in the magnet rankings.
U.S. News ranked the schools based on four main factors. First was student performance on state-mandated tests during the 2015-16 academic year; schools that performed better than expected, given poverty levels, moved on to step two. That step included test performance of historical underserved students, including minorities, compared with the state average. The third step was student graduation rate, with a minimum of 80 percent needed to move on. The fourth step, which determined if a school earned a medal, and which one, looked at preparation for college.
Massachusetts fared the best among states, with about 26 percent of eligible high schools in the state earning a gold or silver medal. Every state except South Dakota had at least one gold or silver medal school — South Dakota did not allow the use of certain data, limiting its rankings.
New Jersey ranked 17th among states, with 14.8 percent of the 419 eligible schools earning a gold or silver medal. Schools in the Garden State got 39 silver medals in addition to the 23 golds.
For more information, and the complete rankings, click here.