If you didn’t pick up this month’s issue of New Jersey Monthly, be sure to grab a copy before they leave newsstands. Two Newark high schools — Science Park and University — made the list of the state’s top 75 public high schools. Science (#50) has appeared on the listing before, and moved up three slots from #53 the last time the ranking was done. But the magazine gave major props to University High School (#63), because it ranked among the most improved high schools. It moved up a stunning 80 slots to achieve its ranking this year.
All of the schools were ranked based on the size of their senior classes, average SAT scores, number of AP tests offered, the percentage of students scoring ‘3’ or better on AP tests, and other factors.
University High School was featured in a smaller sidebar, and has an interview with former principal Roger Leon. He is now Newark’s assistant superintendent for high schools. I don’t have a teenager enrolled at either school, but I think this is an awesome piece of news for Newark parents. I went to a magnet high school in Paterson, my hometown, so I was especially impressed with University’s approach to a humanities-based high school education. Sure, sure, I might have come down with a bit of ‘magnet school nostalgia’ (or envy) and put an undue amount of pressure on my sister to go to that school. It didn’t work, because she ended up at the equally impressive St. Vincent Academy. But can you blame me now? Sometimes it’s a good thing to be a helicopter parent. Or sister.
AND the North Star Academy was featured in a separate story about charter schools in the state. Read the article, you’ll pick up on some interesting facts that are sometimes over looked in the debate on school choice.
One of the major items on people’s wish list for the City of Newark is “better schools.” Betters school so that their kids can compete with the best in the state, country and the world at top universities and beyond. Better schools so that their house values will improve nicely, allowing them to sell and come out ahead. Better schools for all types of reasons. For now, though, Newarkers have three solid talking points as to why this is a city of choice in which to live, not a default pick.
Lastly, in another major boost to urban education, McNair Academic in Jersey City placed second on the list — right behind Millburn high school.