The School District of the Chathams (27-0785)

The School District of the Chathams

Report Card Narrative / School Performance Report Narrative

The School District of the Chathams is a learning organization serving the communities of Chatham Borough and Chatham Township, and the roughly 4200 students attending its schools. The two communities, situated approximately 35 minutes west of New York City by rail or car, are characterized by well-educated, well-resourced, and highly supportive residents. Drawing on a direct train line into lower Manhattan, close proximity to major airports and highways, the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, and a quaint downtown area, the Chathams reflect a blend of metropolitan, historic, and bucolic elements that make the area highly attractive from a quality of life perspective.

The school district enjoys unparalleled support from the community. Since 1988, when the school districts of Chatham Borough and Chatham Township consolidated and became a single school district, voters have approved every annual school budget as well as a referendum proposal in the year 2016. Parents and community members have also mobilized to form entities that support the district in financial and other ways. These groups include a robust Parent Teacher Organization, the Chatham Education Foundation, the Athletic Booster Club, the Chatham Performing Arts Boosters, Education Counts, the Chatham Athletic Foundation, and more.

The students, teachers, and parents of the school district work together to advance learning and reach high levels of achievement. The school district offers a diverse and challenging curriculum that extends beyond the New Jersey Core Curriculum Contents standards and the Common Core standards. Students perform at a superior level on statewide standardized tests. For each of the past four years, over 97% of Chatham High School graduates have gone on to further their education, with over 90% of these graduates attending four-year colleges or universities. In 2013, U.S. News and World Report placed Chatham High School among the top 1% of public high schools in the United States for student achievement and for learning in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (S.T.E.M.) education. In 2014 and 2016, New Jersey Monthly magazine ranked Chatham High School as the number one high school in the state.

Enhancing the educational experience of students is a broad set of extracurricular offerings in the arts, athletics, service organizations, and special-interest activities. Our choral and music groups have performed in venues including Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, multiple athletic teams have won New Jersey state championships in recent years, and other extracurricular groups—such as the Applied Physics and Engineering Club, the Academic Team, and the Model Congress/United Nations Club—have garnered recognitions and awards.

Members of this school community recognize that academic achievement is important, but not supreme. The school district is committed to developing learners in a manner that emphasizes socio-emotional needs, character, and respectfulness. Each of the district’s six schools seeks to foster school environments free from bullying and rich with experiences that nurture the whole child. Similarly, the district is committed to offering programming that is based on the individual needs of students, be they academic, behavioral, or developmental in nature.

The School District of the Chathams is a community of learners, one that I am proud to serve.

Dr. Michael LaSusa
Superintendent of Schools