Arthur L. Johnson High School was recently ranked number 40 among 328 public high schools in the state by New Jersey Monthly Magazine.
ALJ rose dramatically in the rankings since 2010, when the magazine last published this list, where the school was number 101. In the 2008 list, ALJ came in at number 95. NJ Monthly Magazine’s 2012 rankings of the top public high school will be featured in the September issue, which hits newsstands on Aug. 28.
"The staff at ALJ and the Board of Education has been working very hard to push our students to not accept 'average' and be complacent, but to go beyond and maximize their potential,"ALJ Principal Richard Delmonaco told Patch. "Our students have lived up to our challenge and have proven successful. The students have improved on their SAT scores and AP scores. We realize that this is just one ranking, and we want to continue to provide our students with the best possible programs so they can be successful beyond high school. The key now is to find new and innovative ways to improve as a school. We are really proud of our kids and appreciate all their hard work. The NJ Monthly ranking justifies all that we have been doing the last two years as a school."
NJ Monthly Magazine mades changes to their methodology this year, including a new graduation-rate calculation, eliminating student/computer ratio as a factor and increasing the weighting for data on test results, according to an article announcing the top public high schools.
"I was pleased to see that criteria used in the past that was more focused on school spending was eliminated, and a greater emphasis was placed on student outcomes and performance," said Clark Superintendent Ken Knops. "Spending greater sums of money is not an indicator of student success and educational achievement. Rather, setting higher district standards, providing greater rigor, developing creative and innovative programming resources, hiring outstanding teachers, and supporting the professional growth of all staff are areas I believe will enhance the quality of education. It’s a delight to see Arthur L. Johnson listed prominently in the Top 15 percent of high schools in the state. It’s an honor richly deserved by our students, staff, parents, administration, and Board of Education.”
Besides ALJ, several other area high schools were ranked as follows:
New Jersey Monthly Magazine Top Public High SchoolsName 2012 Ranking 2010 Ranking Summit 15 25 Jonathan Dayton 26 40 Governor Livingston 36 24 A.L. Johnson 40 101 Westfield 49 41 Cranford 51 13 Scotch Plains 60 62 Chatham 20 8 Roselle Park 122 190 David Brearley 127 113 Elizabeth 148 294 Hillside 166
The categories and indicators used in the ranking, listed on NJ Monthly Magazine's web site, are as follows:
School Environment: The sum of the standardized rank scores for average class size; student/faculty ratio; percentage of faculty with advanced degrees; and number of AP tests offered, which was calculated as a ratio of grade 11 and 12 enrollment in order not to penalize smaller schools. (Senior class size is shown in the published charts for reference only; it is not part of the ranking calculation.)
Student Performance: The sum of the standardized rank scores for average combined SAT score; percentage of students showing advanced proficiency on HSPA; and students scoring a 3 or higher on AP tests as a percentage of all juniors and seniors.
Student Outcomes: A single score based on a new graduation-rate calculation (four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate) introduced by New Jersey in 2011, as mandated by the federal government. Essentially, the adjusted cohort formula divides a school’s number of four-year graduates by the number of first-time ninth-graders who entered the cohort four years earlier. For further information, visit state.nj.us/education/data/.
Vocational schools: Schools defined in this category by the state Department of Education were ranked using the same methodology as other public schools, but with two exceptions. No average class size is available for these schools, since many students are shared with mainstream schools. Similarly, there is insufficient data on AP tests.
Special Notes: Some schools were missing only AP-related data, particularly the number of students who scored a 3 or higher on AP tests. For these schools (which had fewer than 10 students who took an AP test) a value was imputed for purposes of the ranking using an average of other schools in their DFG. Also, for certain districts where there were obvious errors in the data (Midland Park, Elizabeth and Paterson), corrections were obtained directly from the districts.