NJ’s ‘Best’ High Schools: New Rankings Released


Niche — a website known for its extensive rankings of schools, universities and communities — released rankings Tuesday that include updated data for 92,743 public schools, 30,112 private schools and 11,820 school districts nationwide. The platform combined user input — ratings from current students, alumni and parents — with quantitative data.

High Technology High School is New Jersey’s highest-ranking public institution, holding ninth place on Niche’s list of the nation’s top public high schools. Two other Garden State schools occupy the top 20: The Academy for Mathematics, Science & Engineering (11th) and Bergen County Academies (15th).

Here are New Jersey’s top public high schools, according to Niche:

  1. High Technology High School (Monmouth County Vocational School District)
  2. The Academy for Mathematics, Science & Engineering (Morris County Vocational School District)
  3. Bergen County Academies (Bergen County Vocational Technical School District)
  4. Biotechnology High School (Monmouth County Vocational School District)
  5. Union County Magnet (Union County Vocational-Technical School District)
  6. Academy for Information Technology (Union County Vocational-Technical School District)
  7. Marine Academy of Technology & Environmental Science (Ocean County Vocational Technical School District)
  8. Bergen County Technical High School – Teterboro (Bergen County Vocational Technical School District)
  9. Middlesex County Academy for Science, Mathematics & Engineering Technologies (Middlesex County Vocational & Technical School District)
  10. Dr. Ronald E. McNair Academic High School (Jersey City School District)
  11. Academy for Allied Health Science (Union County Vocational-Technical School District)
  12. Princeton High School (Princeton Public Schools)
  13. West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South (West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District)
  14. Academy of Allied Health & Sciences (Monmouth County Vocational School District)
  15. Tenafly High School (Tenafly Public School District)
  16. West Windsor-Plainsboro High School North (West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District)
  17. Millburn Senior High School (Millburn Township School District)
  18. Union County Vocational-Technical High School (Union County Vocational-Technical School District)
  19. Marine Academy of Science & Technology (Monmouth County Vocational School District)
  20. Northern Valley Regional High School Demarest (Northern Valley Regional High School District)
  21. Northern Highlands Regional High School
  22. Livingston Senior High School (Livingston Board of Education School District)
  23. Ridgewood High School (Ridgewood Public School District)
  24. Ridge High School (Bernards Township School District)
  25. Summit Senior High School (Summit Public School District)

These are New Jersey’s best private high schools, per Niche:

  1. Princeton International School of Math and Science
  2. The Lawrenceville School
  3. The Pingry School
  4. Newark Academy
  5. Delbarton School
  6. The Peddie School
  7. Dwight-Englewood School
  8. Kent Place School
  9. Princeton Day School
  10. Rutgers Preparatory School
  11. Blair Academy
  12. Montclair Kimberley Academy
  13. The Wardlaw + Hartridge School
  14. Stuart Country Day School of the Sacred Heart
  15. The Pennington School
  16. The Wilberforce School
  17. The Hun School of Princeton
  18. Golda Och Academy
  19. Ranney School
  20. Morristown-Beard School
  21. Pioneer Academy
  22. Moorestown Friends School
  23. Primoris Academy
  24. Mount Saint Mary Academy
  25. Oak Knoll School of the Holy Child – Upper School

See Niche’s full rankings.

Niche said its rankings differ from others that rely almost exclusively on test scores and academic performance in that it also includes input from students, alumni and parents, as well as quantitative data from sources such as the U.S. Department of Education to evaluate teachers, resources and facilities. Niche incorporated nearly 2.5 million school reviews from students, parents and teachers — the largest online collection of school reviews, according to the platform.

The rankings help parents make informed decisions on their children’s education, according to Niche CEO Luke Skurman.

“We strive to put as much power in their hands as possible so they can make informed decisions with confidence,” Skurman said in a statement. “Our 2023 rankings surface key insights and data points for parents everywhere to use in their school search. We’re honored that millions of families consider us a reliable resource during such a pivotal moment in their lives.”

But high school rankings have their critics. In 2013, journalist and former professor and The Atlantic writer John Tierney argued that high school rankings are “nonsense.”

“Parents might be able to use that information to find an affordable residence near good schools, while still leaving themselves within reasonable reach of their place of employment,” Tierney wrote. “It’s harder to fathom the logic for ranking high schools nationwide. Few are the families who will move out of state or across the country on the basis of claims about school quality.”

School ratings have the power to drive segregation, contends Jack Schneider, an associate professor of education at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.

“There’s evidence that this is already happening via websites like GreatSchools.org and Niche.com,” Schneider wrote last October for WBUR. “Privileged parents compete against each other in the real estate market to buy homes near ‘good’ schools, while lower-rated schools suffer reputational harm and serve increasingly disadvantaged students.”

Niche named the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics in Durham, North Carolina, the top public school. Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, is the best private school.

As in previous years, the Best Schools rankings include categories for boarding, charter and magnet schools as well as schools for STEM and the arts among many others.

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