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Columbia High School Ranked in State's Top 50

CHS moves up in New Jersey Monthly survey.


(CHS) is the 47th best public high school in the state, according to the recently-released ranking of 328 public high schools by New Jersey Monthly Magazine

Columbia, which serves students in both South Orange and Maplewood, has advanced steadily up in the biennial ranking, climbing from #89 in 2008 to #75 in 2010, and now to 47th. The ranking chart is attached as a PDF to this article.

“The entire community should be proud of CHS’s movement up the rankings and the accomplishment of our students that the rankings represent,” said Superintendent of Schools Brian G. Osborne in a statement released by the district.  “The steady improvement comes from the commitment and professionalism of SOMSD educators and staff, and the enthusiastic support that the SOMA community gives its public schools.  CHS is a fantastic place to go to high school, and we will work tirelessly to make it even better for all of our students.” 

Columbia was ranked in 6th place for schools in Essex County, behind Millburn (which dropped from #1 to #8 in the state ranking), Glen Ridge, N. Caldwell, Livingston and W. Caldwell. New Providence High School jumped into 1st place in the state ranking.

NJ Monthly made changes to its 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. The emphasis on test scores was intended to acknowledge student gains despite large decreases in state aid, according to the article. (Under Governor Chris Christie, the South Orange-Maplewood school district has seen its share of school aid drop 37.7 percent.)

“CHS and district leaders have had a strategic commitment to excellence and equity over the past several years that is moving Columbia High School forward," said Board of Education President Beth Daugherty. "The Board of Education is grateful for the efforts of our teachers and staff and the support of the entire community.” 

Columbia High School Principal Lovie Lilly said, “Over the past several years, we have been working on enhancing instruction, improving the ways we support and evaluate teaching, making curriculum more rigorous, and increasing access for students to our most challenging classes.  While we know we still have work to do to make Columbia High School all it needs to be for every student, these rankings are further evidence that we are moving in the right direction.  We have a great, hard-working staff at CHS, and I am confident that we will continue to improve.”

NJ Monthly Magazine’s 2012 rankings of the top public high schools will be featured in the September issue, which hits newsstands on Aug. 28.

diane August 22, 2012 at 04:16 PM
Congratulations to Columbia High School. My son is entering highschool this year and we have decided to send him to a boarding school in New York but if this keeps up he might eventually attend Columbia.
S. Carter August 23, 2012 at 12:59 AM
Congrats to my alma mater. Cheers from Lindsay G. Carter! Class of 2009.
Bill Silberg August 23, 2012 at 02:40 PM
Well-deserved recognition for a school that offers a broad range of excellent academic, athletic and arts opportunities in a richly diverse "real-world" environment. This is Columbia's great strength and should be celebrated. Bill Silberg (proud and grateful father of Jake Silberg, Class of 2011)
Deborah Davis Ford August 23, 2012 at 05:31 PM
Congratulations to Columbia High School! I believe we can expect continuous upward mobility in school state rankings. Our whole community is a winner.
jordan August 23, 2012 at 10:52 PM
btw my son went to columbia hs duke u. and now works at a prestigious investment bank.
R Johnson August 25, 2012 at 12:10 AM
Just FYI…After considering Andover, The Hun School, Newark Academy and Pingry we opted to send our daughter to Columbia High School. Every child is different, but for her that turned out to be, by far, the best decision. She is a top student and, after taking her PSATs and getting a 4 on the AP Statistics subject test (as a sophomore), has received letters from Princeton, NYU, Columbia, Yale, Williams, Amherst, Cornell, Cal Tech, Duke (and many other top schools). We thought she might have to forgo the diversity of a school like Columbia to get the best possible education. Boy were we wrong. She has friends from every group you can imagine and has developed splendidly with respect to being comfortable in her own skin. She has become the kind of person who is equally at home among wealthy kids who have travelled the world and disadvantaged kids who have had a much different life experience. I don't know who your child is or what your motivation was for sending him to a boarding school, and would not presume to make any judgement on the subject, but what I would suggest is taking a closer look at the high school if your goal is to ensure your child gets the very best out of his high school experience--academically, socially, and even with respect to civic awareness. Whatever you ultimately do, I wish your son all the best!
S. Carter August 25, 2012 at 01:55 PM
As a product of an Independent School education on Long Island, I am keenly aware of pros and cons of both public and private schools. Although every child is different, our daughter thrived at CHS. She went to private school from Nursery through 1st grade and matriculated in our school district Grades 2 through 12. We certainly had our challenges, but she was extremely well prepared socially, emotionally, and academically for college. Lindsay Carter now attends Mount Holyoke College as a rising Senior and our family is a proud advocate of Columbia High School and the dedicated faculty within the entire South Orange-Maplewood school district. They are among the best in the nation. The rankings are nice, but we always knew Columbia was a real gem. (The Carter Family) Class of '09 Columbia Graduate
sheila oliver August 25, 2012 at 07:12 PM
The reciprocal relationship between Columbia High School and its surrounding communities is strengthening and on a trajectory that enhances the quality of life for all, in the form of better educated citizenry, higher property values, etc. CHS is absolutely a precious jewel in crown we collectively wear as the proud residents of South Orange and Maplewood. Sheila Oliver

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