Ridge High School has received another top ranking in a major publication, for the second time this month, placing at no. 140 in Newsweek's just released report on top 1,000 public high schools in the U.S. Next door, Bernards High School, in Bernardsville, was ranked at no. 169.
Both schools were cited on such criteria as college readiness, SAT scores (1750 for Ridge, 1705 for Bernards), average Advanced Placement test scores (4 for Ridge, and 3.7 for Bernards), ACT scores (25.4 for Ridge, 26 for Bernards) and percent of students who were college-bound, 96 percent at both local high schools.
Data had been collected from 15,000 public high schools nationwide, according to the published report, released on Monday.
To see the full ranking list, click here.
"Ridge High School is particularly proud of our ranking as a majority of the schools ranked ahead of us are specialized schools with entrance criteria," Ridge Principal Frank Howlett said later on Monday afternoon. "Being ranked so high as a public comprehensive high school is very gratifying and is testament to our tremendous faculty and supportive community," he said.
Howlett also congratulated neighboring Bernards High for that high school's "excellent ranking."
"The Somerset Hills School District prides itself on our students’ academic performance and has appeared regularly on Newsweek’s top 1,000 high school list for many years," said Somerset Hills Superintendent Peter Miller. "However, for Bernards High School to be currently ranked 169 in the nation by such a prestigious publication is truly an outstanding accomplishment," he added.
Miller said the recognition is a tribute to the support our students receive from their families, their teachers and administrators, "our communities, and the Somerset Hills Board of Education." Students attend Bernards High from Bernardsville, Bedminster, Far Hills and Peapack-Gladstone.
Ridge High School also was ranked in the top 200 high schools in the nation during a previous school year, according to the school district's website.
Ridge among top 10 in state in this month's U.S. News and World Report
Earlier this month, U.S. News and World Report placed Ridge as no. 8 in the state and 174 in the nation from its survey of 22,000 high schools nationwide.
At that time, Bernards School Board President Susan Carlsson said that U.S. News and World Report's ranking was even more exceptional for comprehensive high schools such as Ridge, given that most of the top 10 schools in the state were specialized or magnet schools, which selects students from among those who apply.
Comprehensive high schools "have to take every person who walks in the door," Carlsson noted then. But she added she supports the concept of comprehensive high schools. "That's the world out there," she said.
The Newsweek report also acknowleged that many of its top high school rankings have "selective" enrollment in which they get to chose their students.
"Nearly 77 percent of the 1,000 [on the list of best] admit students through open enrollment, with no admissions restrictions," according to the online report. "But many of the highest spots were claimed by selective schools—where students are let in by academic achievement, admissions testing, or lottery—which makes sense given the growth of magnet, charter, and other specialty schools around the country: seven out of the top 10 schools on our list are either charter or magnet."
Those highest-ranking schools each place a heavy emphasis on high school courses with college-level academics, the report said.
According to Newsweek, this year’s ranking highlights the "best" 1,000 public high schools in the nation—"the ones that have proven to be the most effective in turning out college-ready grads." The list was based on six components provided by school administrators: graduation rate (25 percent of ranking); college matriculation rate (25 percent): AP/IB/AICE tests taken per student (25 percent), average SAT/ACT scores (10 percent), average AP/IB/AICE scores (10 percent), and AP courses offered per student (5 percent).
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