From the Echoes-Sentinel

WARREN TWP. – Watchung Hills Regional High School moved up the rankings this year in New Jersey Monthly Magazine‘s list of Top 100 public high schools in the state, jumping from 50 to 11.

The last time this last was published was in 2014, when Watchung Hills Regional was ranked 50. Principal George Alexis said the ranking is a positive because it shows the entire school community is a part of the effort to improve year after year.

“We’re proud of our school community and know that when we focus on learning and work together, we all deepen our understanding of our potential and raise our performance,” said Alexis. “It’s everyone’s contribution that makes results like this possible.”

The rankings are created using information provided by the schools to the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE). Some of the factors considered in the rankings include the percentage of students who graduate, the percentage of students who remain in college more than a year after graduating and the number of students taking Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) as well as their scores.

This year’s rankings also included consideration of the participation in visual and performing arts classes by the student body.

Superintendent Elizabeth Jewett said the rankings aren’t a priority for the school but the recognition is beneficial to the school community.

“Moving up in the various rankings that come out is certainly not our end game; however, we can use the rankings as another indicator of progress,” said Jewett. “The New Jersey Monthly ranking takes a number of factors into consideration, including AP performance, SATs, college enrollment, graduation rate, school environment; and for the first time, the 2016 calculation includes participation in the arts.

“The improvement from 50 to 11 is something to be celebrated as it validates everyone’s commitment, including the staff, the students, the parents, the Board of Education, toward becoming better tomorrow than we are today.”

Jewett said this ranking shows the school’s progression and an essential factor in that is making sure the students are considered above all else when making decisions.

“It is not surprising what can be achieved when we truly put students first in all decisions we make,” said Jewett. “I thank our entire learning community for doing that every day.”