According to Superintendent Daniel Fishbein, the likely cause of Ridgewood's freefall from the is because of its high academic standards, not a drop in quality.
The school on East Ridgewood Avenue fell from #20 to #28 from 2010 to 2012, just four years after being ranked the seventh best high school out of 328 public high schools in the state.
Besting the village high school were , Ramapo (17), and Northern Highlands (22).
There's no reason to panic, according to Fishbein. In fact, he said, there's good reason to believe Ridgewood's academics are as strong as ever at the high school. The school had a higher SAT score than the other three and had a higher percentage of students scoring advance proficient in language arts and mathematics.
So what happened?
"Then you look at the percent of AP test results as 3 or better, that's where we fell short of other districts," Fishbein told the school board Monday night.
Speaking with the superintendents of the three other districts, Fishbein found the others don't require their students to take AP tests. Ridgewood students – through a waiver process – are required to, all a philosophy to have RHS students "challenge themselves," Fishbein said.
Regarding the AP test scores that led to the drop in rankings, Fishbein said the district will take a closer look at it to try and improve the mark.
That doesn't mean the fundamentals will change, he said.
"I don't think we should change how kids access the courses or take the courses," Fishbein said.
School board president Sheila Brogan said what specific data NJ Monthly Magazine choose to more heavily weigh for those rankings can have a large impact on the rankings but likely not in the educational quality.
One year Ridgewood fell because of six minutes less of instructional time. The next year six minutes were added.
"Did one minute per period really make [a difference]? The next year we had a higher rating."
Regardless, Brogan said, "The quality of education is very well established in this community."
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