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High Schools Tumble in NJ Monthly Rankings

Mendham High School drops 19 spots, Central slips nine.

Both West Morris Regional high schools dropped in New Jersey Monthly Magazine’s annual rankings released this week.

Mendham High School had the more drastic decline, slipping from number 26 to 45 year over year, while West Morris Central fell from number 43 to 56.

Factors in the rankings include School Environment, Student Performance, and Student Outcomes, according to the magazine’s methodology. To learn more about the methodology, go here.

The rankings are a result of the 2010-11 school year’s performance.

The monthly rankings also include a category of top schools by district factor group, a socioeconomic classification of schools. West Morris Central, an “I” school, and Mendham High School, a “J” school, both missed the top 10 in this year’s rankings. New Jersey Monthly lumped “I” and “J” schools together.

The top school in that category’s ranking is New Providence, and “I” school, which also topped the overall public high school rankings. 

Matt S August 21, 2012 at 05:51 PM
the problems with the administrations here and the two schools combined are killing Mendham HS...let Mendham HS be on its own and have MENDHAM/CHESTER taxpayers put all their money to that school and not to help fund Central HS
Tracy Buckner August 21, 2012 at 09:19 PM
I can't wait to see the spin on the falling in the rankings. When I moved here in 2004 WMMHS was ranked 9th...now 45th?! Clearly there is a problem and I am hoping that instead of attacking the methodology or the magazine, the Board and the Superintendent come up with a plan. That might be too much to ask as anyone who has been to a Board meeting with a question will tell you. (please read "Regional Board Hushed Public" in The Patch) When I moved here from Florida I picked up NJ magazine and we based our search on the high school rankings. We looked in Holmdel, Milburn, Mountain Lakes, and Mendham/Chester. We chose WMMHS. If I was looking to move today, with a ranking of 45 I would look elsewhere. Wake up taxpayers....start asking some questions and make sure you get some answers. My kids are graduated but my property value is still important to me.
Oldtimer August 21, 2012 at 10:22 PM
Rankings provided by NJ Monthly are, well, not exactly the most influential. A better guide is provided by USNews, which has a heck of a lot more experience in this than NJMonthly. http://www.usnews.com/education/best-high-schools/new-jersey/districts/west-morris-regional-high/west-morris-mendham-high-school-12812
Harvey August 21, 2012 at 11:07 PM
If you moved here because of NJ MONTHLY (a trashy magazine with about as much discretion as a TV reality show), you get what you deserve.
kittykitty August 22, 2012 at 01:13 AM
John, what specific hiring and dismissal "practices" at WMMHS are you speaking about? I've heard no such thing. We have a quality high school, retain quality teachers, and our kids get an outstanding education. As noted by others earlier, who listens to NJ Monthly as an arbiter of excellent education? Why, CBS, Jamie Button, and others who are looking for fuel for their fire. Nothing is wrong at Mendham or Central. What does everyone say about the US News rankings I wonder.....hmmm......
Domino August 22, 2012 at 01:28 AM
John, the principal's name is Mike Matyas. With all of these "facts" that you apparently have at your disposal, if you are going to smear someone is it too much to ask that you at least spell his name correctly?
LVMom August 22, 2012 at 04:04 AM
i love how everyone here is all 'dump central' let them pay when the entire nation is up in arms over Romney paying only 14% taxes... did Mendhams/Chesters forget that they pay a LOWER RATE then long valley? This is a case of the Romney's throwing the working class under the school bus. -- we are falling because of many many reasons... but i've already said them, so i'm not going to repeat them again.
Matt S August 22, 2012 at 04:15 AM
This is exactly the problem...LV and M/C can't agree on anything. Mendham pays WAY more in property taxes than LV and Chester. It is a known fact. It is not fair to Mendham that their money goes to Central and not all to the HS that is in their own town
cv August 22, 2012 at 10:38 AM
Honestly arent we all tired of being ptitted against each other here? @ Matt S go join CBS and spread the hate somewhere else. The state and the Mayors are trying to come to conclusions FOR THE BETTER OF OUR CHILDREN. Again everyone loses sight of this. The state set this up years ago not the horiible people of WT.
Amalia Duarte August 22, 2012 at 12:15 PM
Nearly all schools moved up or down -- many dramatically. Ex: Bernards jumped from #32 to #11. Millburn dropped from #1 (for many years) to #8. From what I've observed as the mom of an incoming sophomore, Mendham High School seems to give back to the students what they put into it -- like most things in life.
Stay at Home Mom August 22, 2012 at 12:26 PM
Why not lay blame where blame belongs. J Button is on our BOE. During J Button's tenure our ranking has dropped by some measure. What has J. Button brought to the table? divisiveness, talk of unfair funding, forming CBS to attack our Superintendent, upset our elective process by going after other elected Board members, prank phone calls to some, and now more chaos when the Mayors are starting to put the pieces together. Yes, he has been joined by 3 C Boro Council members. They deal in the same approach. (Hoven, Cooper Napolitano, Iversen) What educational value has J Button brought to the table? J Button, please resign and allow someone else to help our schools instead of the divisiveness you bring to the table.
Barbara August 22, 2012 at 01:25 PM
If you read the methodology for the NJ Monthly rankings, it becomes strikingly clear why the two high schools continue their decline. Don't blame Mike Matyas, Jamie Button or CBS. They didn't create the problems. Why doesn't someone ask for an explanation at the next Board meeting and see what is offered.
Who Killed Bobby Joe August 22, 2012 at 02:05 PM
NJ Monthly changes their methodology every two years, so it is impossible to compare across years. For those of you looking to place blame, look no further than MT Board member Jamie Button. His stated goal from his first campaign was to break up the district, get rid of the superintendent and the principal. By repeatedly lying, loudly, he has created an environment of hostility and distrust, and wasted innumerable hours of board members and administrators time. Instead of focusing on student outcomes, he has focused on politics to further his own personal, divisive agenda. Add the innumerable hours that his sidekick Marcia Asdal has wasted being "taken aback" and you have a simple explanation for West Morris' decline in the rankings. And BTW, @Tracy, I hope you don't pick your family's doctors through NJ Monthly rankings too.
Inge Schnee August 22, 2012 at 02:13 PM
Mendham High has been on a downhill slide ever sinceit decided to spend millions on the IB , a European based program and American gimmick, which is much less rigorous than the AP, much more costly - paying for evaluations and the program cost to individuals and entities in Europe- and availble to far fewer students than the nationally recognized AP. Start teaching to the AP again, stop spending money on the frivolous IB and Mendham will once again be a top school. We have been on a downward slide ever since we started throwing our money out the window to the IB.
Barbara August 22, 2012 at 02:37 PM
Inge- you just identified the major issue causing the drop in the rankings. The gold standard AP program continues to be diluted in the district as teachers "must" teach IB rhetoric in front of mixed classes of IB and non IB (AP) students. Often they (the teachers) do not cover what is required to score well on the AP exams because we are an IB high school following IB curriculum written in Switzerland. We should follow the lead of a neighboring district who dumped the IB program, refocused on AP and has seen a steady rise in their rankings.
Claire August 22, 2012 at 03:17 PM
I agree with Barbara and Inge - get rid of the IB and focus on AP - incorporate AP teaching into both Honor and Advanced levels
MrsT73199 August 22, 2012 at 05:56 PM
Tracy, I think you have a valid point. Parents often look at rankings to decide which school district will provide the best education - and for property value. There are certainly flaws in the ranking system, but we should also notice that less affluent areas are outperforming both high schools in these scales. The Board and administration - of all the sending districts as well as both high schools - do need to assess their programs and plan for improvement.
jefco348 August 22, 2012 at 06:16 PM
Houston ....we have a problem.Sort of like the Captain of the Titanic telling his passengers that there is nothing to worry about.....wakeup,the numbers dont lie,just the board and the politicians do. Linda,step away from your computer walk outside and open your eyes...
Domino August 23, 2012 at 05:34 PM
Perhaps when the BOE is no longer single-focused on how unfair Jamie Button's tax bill is and actually discusses educational issues, things will improve. That is, of course, unless you count Mr. Button's proposal of giving his sons an extra study hall as "educational improvement". I think parents need to focus less on the ratings of a magazine whose primary focus used to be the quality of weiners served at the shore and more on the larger question of whether their children are still being accepted into colleges of high quality and performing well while there .

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