All About New Jersey Schools

Want to Learn More About Local Schools?!

According to a Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers by the National Association of Realtors, 25% of home buyers rank school quality and 20% rate proximity to schools as a deciding factor in their home purchase decision.

Not surprisingly, families move to northern New Jersey to take advantage of some of the leading schools in the country, and choosing the right school–and town–for your family is a big decision.

Just this week, WalletHub  ranked New Jersey as the state having the 2nd best public school system in the nation, and NJ is home to 17 National Blue Ribbon Schools.

Schools are always top of mind for NJ homebuyers, so below we have provided some great rankings and resources. Please note that the various surveys and rankings use different criteria, and thus, provide different ways to evaluate schools.


GreatSchoolsSummary Rating

GreatSchools uses parent feedback to generate comprehensive school reviews

GreatSchools, a leading website trusted by parents, gives a clear snapshot of a school in a select region and compares the performance to nearby schools. Parents submit feedback and recommendations on the school system to new parents. The survey does not solely assess the school’s academic performance, test scores and student progress, but extends its research to environmental factors like the number of student groups represented–one example being students with disabilities–the quality of the teaching staff and even the housing market in the area.

NJ Monthly MagazineEducation 2016: Our Top Schools 

NJ Monthly Magazine rates the top high schools in the state

The NJ Monthly Magazine Top High Schools list collects data from local schools in New Jersey. The magazine also collaborates with an independent research company to analyze information provided by the Department of Education (DOE). The biannual list adjusts the weight of specific factors such as Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program scores to obtain the most accurate results. While the school survey presents unbiased results, some readers feel it lacks the resident feedback that often impacts their decision-making processes. In addition, the survey only covers New Jersey public high school rankings, which may not be an immediate concern for families with younger children.

NewsweekAmerica’s Top High Schools 2016

Newsweek ranks high schools based on student preparedness

Newsweek’s annual ranking of the top high schools in the U.S. also remains a well-established resource for families. The survey evaluates students’ ability to transition to their next life event whether they attend two- or four-year colleges or choose to pursue a career. The criteria includes factors like graduation rates, the number of college-bound graduates and Advanced Placement (AP) tests. Newsweek also measures the effectiveness of each school in terms of whether or not they equip students with the tools for success.

U.S. News & World ReportUS News Best High School Rankings 

U.S. News & World Report grades high schools on their academic success rate

U.S. News & World Report collects data on public high schools across the country. Schools receive a gold, silver or bronze medal based on two major indicators: performance on state assessments and how well they prepare students for college. The list endorses schools that produce a measurable academic outcome for students across the board. While the list identifies the top-performing schools in the U.S., some families prefer more localized surveys considering the report primarily focuses on student success following high school. It does not examine students’ progress or how much they learn during their high school career.

Niche2019 Best Schools in America 

Niche develops school rankings by drawing from independent data sources

Niche’s survey includes K-12 schools across the country, and uses a slightly more familiar ranking system by assigning schools letter grades from “A” to “C.” Niche acquires data from multiple sources including the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Education (DOE) to generate comprehensive reviews. However, due to the amount of self-reporting typically through the use of online-generated surveys offered by the website, the results can be skewed. The website also relies on more generalized data. Individual schools can be weighed down in the rankings by more holistic reference points like the Overall District Score.

Additional Resources:

The New Jersey State Parent Information and Resource Center (NJPIRC)

NJPIRC is a statewide, non-profit organization whose policies and activities are designed to improve student academic achievement and to help ensure that students in NJ, particularly those in low performing districts, achieve high academic performance.

State of New Jersey, Department of Education – School Report Cards


The annual New Jersey School Report Card is required by state law. It presents thirty-five fields of information for each school in the following categories: school environment, students, student performance indicators, staff, and district finances.

If you want real information about a principal or staff or the culture of a school, you need to find parents to speak with. One easy way is to go to the town, hit the playgrounds and library story times and ask, see who lives locally. Some towns have community message boards through Facebook, NextDoor, etc...  Most schools will let you come in and tour and, at certain times of year, school districts have open house events.

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