The Top New Jersey Public High Schools 2018

Our bi-annual list of the best high schools in the state.

Photo courtesy of Pexels

There is a new number 1 high school in New Jersey. Dr. Ronald McNair Academic High School of Jersey City leaped 64 places to finish at the apex of the 2018 Top New Jersey Public High Schools chart in the September issue of New Jersey Monthly.

McNair Academic – named in memory of astronaut and physicist Dr. Ronald McNair, who perished in the 1986 Challenger space shuttle explosion – is a magnet school with a national reputation for academic excellence. McNair admits only 25 percent of the students who apply, based on PSAT scores, teacher recommendations and middle-school grades.

One look at the 2018 Top New Jersey Public High Schools backs up McNair Academic’s reputation. In the 2016-2017 school year upon which the chart is based, 100 percent of McNair Academic seniors scored at or above the proficiency benchmark for the AP tests and the reading and math SATs; 87 percent reached proficiency on the math SAT. The scores were the highest of any New Jersey public high school.

New Jersey Monthly publishes the Top Public High Schools chart every two years. The chart is based on numerous factors, including student/teacher ratio; student participation in AP or International Baccalaureate classes; AP and SAT test results; and graduation rates. Click here for the complete Top New Jersey Public High Schools methodology.

In all, New Jersey Monthly ranked 305 New Jersey High Schools.

Click here to download the 2018 Top High Schools list

McNair Academic was not the only big mover on the 2018 Top New Jersey Public High Schools chart. In fact, it was only the fourth biggest mover in the Top 100 of the chart. Elizabeth High School soared from number 122 to number 25 in the two-year span since New Jersey Monthly published the 2016 chart, thanks largely to significantly improved AP and SAT test results. Also making big moves: Northern Valley Regional in Demarest (83-15); Red Bank Regional (89-39); Point Pleasant Beach (125-52); and Haddon Township (137-82).

Five schools broke into the top 10 of the chart this year, led by McNair Academic. The other newcomers to the chart’s penthouse were Ramapo High School, which moved 46-5; West Morris Mendham High School (41-7); New Providence High School (13-9); and Ridge High School in Basking Ridge (14-10). New Providence High School had been the number 1 school in 2012. Chatham High School, which had been number 1 in 2014 and 2016, finished strong again this year at number 4.

Here is a look at the top 20 schools in the 2018 Top New Jersey Public High Schools chart compiled by New Jersey Monthly:

1. McNair Academic, Jersey City
2. Glen Rock High School
3. Millburn High School
4. Chatham High School
5. Ramapo High School
6. Haddonfield Memorial High School
7. West Morris Mendham High School
8. Livingston High School
9. New Providence High School
10. Ridge High School, Basking Ridge
11. Montgomery High School
12. Mountain Lakes High School
13. West Windsor-Plainsboro North High School
14. West Morris High School, Chester
15. Northern Valley Regional High School, Demarest
16. Hopewell Valley Central High School, Pennington
17. West Windsor-Plainsboro South High School
18. Montville High School
19. Bernards High School
20. Princeton High School

New Jersey Monthly bases its Top Public High Schools chart solely on data collected by the NJ Department of Education for its annual school performance report cards.

Click here to download the 2018 Top High Schools list

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