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PHS Ranks Among Best N.J. High Schools

U.S. News and World Report ranks Princeton High School (PHS) among the top 10 Best High Schools of New Jersey for 2014.

PHS earned Gold Medal status in the media report Best High Schools of 2014, coming in at number 10 of 398 high schools in the state. Nationally, PHS is ranked at number 216 in the list of more than 19,400 public high schools in 50 states and the District of Columbia.

President of the Princeton Public Schools Board of Education Tim Quinn said: “My board colleagues and I congratulate all PHS students, teachers and staff for this achievement. I think it’s significant that PHS was one of only three open enrollment high schools in the state included in this [top 10] ranking.”

The top ranked New Jersey schools are: 1: Biotechnology High School in Freehold; 2: High Technology High School in Lincroft; 3: Dr. Ronald E. McNair Academic High School in Jersey City; 4: Middlesex County Academy in Edison; 5; Bergen County Technical High School, Teterboro; 6: Academy of Allied Health and Science, in Neptune; 7: Ridge High School in Basking Ridge; 8: Union County Magnet High School in Scotch Plains; 9: Chatham High School in Chatham; and 10: Princeton High School.

West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South in Princeton Junction ranks 14th in the state; Montgomery Township’s Montgomery High School is 16th; and West Windsor-Plainsboro High School North is 20th.

While also pleased with the report, PHS Principal Gary Snyder was quick to point out that rankings are by no means the whole story when it comes to education. “We are honored to be recognized in the publication and yet are not guided by rankings since the data shows only a narrow piece of the overall picture,” he commented by email Monday.

Mr. Snyder’s tempered response was echoed by Mr. Quinn. “While the entire community can be rightly proud of such an honor, the Board knows that many special things happen every day at PHS that can’t be ranked or measured.”

The school board president went on to say: “For me personally, if a poll or ranking or school performance report contains information the staff can use as part of our district’s culture of continuous improvement; if it uses criteria that are aligned with our mission and goals and takes into account the diversity of the learning community at the high schoolСreally, in all our schools С then it is useful, no matter where we’re ranked.”

“PHS students are recognized nationally for their achievement in the arts, athletics, activities, and service, in addition to their academic achievements. We also strive for continual improvement as a school and seek ways to support every student in his/her quest for knowledge and pursuit of their passion, while maintaining a proper balance in regards to student wellness,” said Mr. Snyder.

Best STEM Schools

PHS came in at number 91 in the list of the 250 high schools across the nation that are listed as the best in terms of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). The STEM ranking is based on a measure of student participation and performance on math and science AP exams in the top 500 public schools.

Gold Status

PHS is one of 25 gold medal winners in the state, which also has 19 with silver medals and 32 with bronze medals. Princeton’s Gold Medal status is determined by the college-readiness index, with only 500 schools nationwide achieving gold status.

With a student/teacher ratio of 12/1, near the average for the state, PHS scored above average for college readiness, at 62.6 percent, and above average for math proficiency and language proficiency, with a score of 3.6 for each out of a possible 4.0.

“We are pleased that the ranking recognizes both high achievement and equity,” stated Superintendent Stephen Cochrane, “and we congratulate our staff and students for their continued commitment to excellence.”

Methodology

To produce its Best High Schools 2014 report, U.S. News & World Report teamed up with the Washington, D.C.-based American Institutes of Research. One of the key principles is that a high school must serve all of its students well, not just those who are college bound, and that it must be able to produce measurable academic outcomes to show that the school is successfully educating its student body across a range of performance indicators.

U.S. News’s methodology for determining the overall rankings is based on three factors:

1. students’ reading and math results from the state standardized tests;

2. the scores of minority and low-income students as compared with the average for similar students in the state; and

3. the “college-readiness” index, which is based on the percentage of seniors who took and passed Advanced Placement (AP) exams.

The methodology used in the 2014 Best High Schools rankings was unchanged from the 2013 edition.

This year’s ranking is good news. Last year, the school was not listed at all by U.S. News & World Report, although last year’s Washington Post report placed it at number six in its list of New Jersey’s “most challenging high schools.”

In 2012, PHS had made US News &World Report’s top 10 list and ranked 196th in the nation.

“Princeton High School is a great place of learning for our students,” said Mr. Snyder. “With a talented faculty, challenging curriculum, varied course offerings, and supportive community, our diverse student body is able to thrive in one of the top open enrollment public high schools.”

In a similar report of Best Colleges and National Universities 2014, Princeton University ranked number one.

To view the complete rankings, visit: www.usnews.com/education.

 

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