Northern Highlands Regional High School District (03-3700)

Northern Highlands Regional High School District

A four-year public high school, Northern Highlands strives to address the needs of all of its students who come from four towns in northern Bergen County: Allendale, Upper Saddle River, Ho-Ho-Kus, and Saddle River. Students do not identify themselves by the towns from which they come; they are all part of the Northern Highlands community. Pass the high school any time of the day - evenings and weekends, four seasons of the year and find students actively engaged. They are either practicing, performing, or rehearsing in preparation for yet another event or activity.

Known for the high academic achievement of its students, Northern Highlands emphasizes preparation for education beyond high school and prepares students to become life-long learners. Ninety-seven and a half percent of the Class of 2016 attends college. Due to the highly competitive nature of its student body, Northern Highlands does not rank its students; rather, it provides colleges and universities with a comprehensive academic profile of its entire student body.

There are extensive course offerings in English, social studies, mathematics, science, and world languages. There are also challenging elective offerings in business, applied technology, family and consumer science, music, and fine arts. Northern Highlands has 22 Advanced Placement courses: English, United States History, European History, World History, U.S. Government and Politics, Psychology, Calculus AB, Calculus BC, Statistics and Probability, Biology, Chemistry, Physics B, Physics C, French, Spanish, Economics, Computer Programming, Art History, Studio Art, Photography, Music Theory and Environmental Science. Many honors courses augment the curriculum as well. Students also have the opportunity to transition between high school and post-secondary education to earn college credit through a number of partnerships with colleges and universities.

Syracuse University Project Advance (SUPA) program offers courses in English, Forensics and Spanish, all of which are introductory freshman-level courses regularly offered on the college campus. Upon successful completion of the course, a student will earn college credit and a Syracuse University transcript. Credits can then be transferred to either Syracuse University or a school of choice. The same is true of our partnerships with Bergen Community College, Fairleigh Dickinson University, Seton Hall University, and Rutgers University. Courses offered through these programs include United States History II, Dynamics of Healthcare, Emergency & Clinical Care, Medical Terminology, Multivarialbe Calculus, Marketing, Computer Aided Drawing, as well as our Tomorrow’s Teachers program, which preps students for a career in education.

Following three years of exploration and research, Northern Highlands implemented a new science sequence for incoming freshmen in September 2005. Labeled "Physics First," this nationwide initiative places the study of physics in the ninth grade, followed by chemistry and then biology. Previously, many students were scheduled for a year of physical science followed by biology, chemistry and then, possibly physics. This curricular revision ensures that all students graduating from Northern Highlands will have had three core sciences.

Northern Highlands offers over 60 co-curricular activities and clubs, including vocal and instrumental music, dramatic and musical productions, creative writing, journalism, environmental awareness club, debate team, and award-winning publications including our school newspaper The Highland Fling and our literary magazine The Loch and Quay, along with many others. Approximately 94% of our student body participates in one or more co-curricular activities. Our interscholastic athletic program offers 15 sports for boys and 16 for girls, on varsity, junior varsity, and freshman levels.

Northern Highlands recognizes that one of the many challenges facing our incoming freshmen who come from smaller sending districts is to become acclimated to a large high school environment. To address this concern, we have implemented Boomerang Project, a statewide peer leadership program developed and coordinated by the Princeton Center for Leadership Training. The curriculum is designed to utilize upperclassmen to assist freshmen make a successful adjustment to high school.

Northern Highlands' veteran teachers have helped to make their newer colleagues' transition to Highlands a seamless one. Eighty-five percent of the faculty has at least a Masters degree, and prides itself on providing "cutting-edge" instructional strategies, methodologies, and assessment practices, as well as cross-disciplinary experiences for students. Both faculty and administration are committed to their students' academic achievement; as a result, students continue to achieve at high levels. For example, their combined critical reading and math mean SAT score in 2016 was 1176, 167 points higher than the New Jersey state average. In the same year, their mean SAT II scores in the ten subjects reported on our School Profile was 683.

To maintain excellence and prevent complacency, Northern Highlands continues to: provide workshops on new technologies and methodologies; introduce new staff members to Northern Highlands' school climate and values; inculcate an expectation of continuous improvement; and improve the efficiency of communication between students, parents, and teachers. To continue to meet the challenge of the AchieveNJ initiative, core curriculum content standards, and our expectations for our students and faculty, we continued to: schedule training sessions addressing technology, assessment, Student Growth Objectives, and the Marshall teacher evaluation system; provide opportunities for administrators, supervisors, and teachers to attend conferences, workshops, engage in Professional Learning Communities, and other in-service offerings regarding unit planning, assessment, and new instructional strategies. We also implemented a 1:1 comprehensive technology initiative for all staff and students in the 2016-2017 school year. In addition, we schedule regular meetings of principals from our sending districts and regular meetings among the districts' superintendents.

In closing, Northern Highlands continually prides itself on taking a proactive approach to all aspects of school life and remains dedicated to setting new standards for educational excellence. To obtain additional information on our school, readers of this narrative are encouraged to visit the school's website at www.northernhighlands.org.