Somerset Hills Regional School District (35-4815)

Somerset Hills Regional School District

The Somerset Hills School District has a tradition of academic excellence. Student achievement continually exceeds state and national averages on assessments. We maintain alignment with the New Jersey Student Learning Standards. Curriculum articulation, the implementation of new courses, and improvements occurred in many content areas.

Bernards High School seniors scored far above the New Jersey and National Scholastic-Aptitude Test (SAT) scores in 2015-2016.

SAT Test – Verbal/Reading
BHS 562
NJ 495
National 494

SAT Test – Math
BHS 582
NJ 514
National 508

SAT Test – Verbal/Writing
BHS 561
NJ 492
National 482

The class of 2016 also received many other honors. Seven students were named as National Merit Commended students and one student was named a National Merit Semifinalist. Forty-two students were named AP Scholars, 18 qualified for the AP Scholar with Honor Award, 59 students qualified for the AP Scholar with Distinction Award, 16 students qualified for the AP National Scholar Award. Seventy-three seniors qualified for the President’s Award for Educational Excellence.

The Bernardsville Middle school garnered many academic honors as well. In the NJ Science League, BMS was the only middle school to enter a team into this statewide high school competition. This team finished first in the state, and three students finished in the top ten.

Bernards High School received a Gold Medal Award from US News & World Report as one of 425 schools/school districts in the U.S. and Canada being honored by the College Board with placement on the 6th Annual AP ® District Honor Roll. This distinction is for increasing access to AP course work while simultaneously maintaining or increasing the percentage of students earning scores of 3 or higher on AP Exams.

Reaching these goals indicates that the district is successfully identifying motivated, academically prepared students who are ready for the opportunity of AP. Since 2012, BHS has increased the number of students participating in AP while improving the number of students earning AP Exam scores of 3 or higher.

Bernards High School is continuously ranked among the top high schools in the nation. Bernards High ranked 28th in New Jersey high schools by New Jersey Monthly magazine and #18 in NJ and #88 in the nation by Newsweek.

Since 1996, the Somerset Hills Education Foundation (SHEF) has enhanced the Somerset Hills School District students' learning experience through a large number of enrichment programs, grants, and educational projects. In the 2015-2016 school year, SHEF awarded more than $22,000 for teacher-initiated grants that enhance the classroom learning experience in all three district schools. SHEF also awarded $500 in funding for the 9th Annual Bernards High School Inter-generational Prom. This event brings together senior citizens and high school students for a magical evening of dining, dancing, and community spirit. In March 2016 SHEF brought back its signature fundraising event - the Chili Cook Off. It was held at the beautiful and historic United States Equestrian Team Foundation stable in Gladstone. Over 300 guests attended the event and all proceeds were donated to the arts that will benefit the students.

The district supports teachers through an in-district Professional Development Institute, four full-day professional development days, six partial professional development days and regularly scheduled horizontal and vertical articulation sessions. The format includes discussions, workshops and collaborative learning. Articulation sessions cover topics ranging from addressing unique student needs, content knowledge, pedagogy, and technology applications. The New Teacher Institute and Mentoring program orients new teachers to district goals and further supports their professional development. The district stays connected to universities through a partnership with Teachers College Columbia University in reading/writing workshops. Many teachers attend workshops at Teachers College as well as other local universities throughout the year.

To address the whole child, our schools provide a wide variety of co-curricular and athletic activities at every level. Music, art, theater, sports, computer science, science and math teams are among some of the programs that have garnered awards. Bedwell Elementary continually receives recognition for its character education program. Additionally, K-12 students contribute to the greater community through various service learning initiatives.

The district completed a comprehensive energy audit that was funded by a grant from New Jersey’s Clean Energy Program. Following the audit, the district implemented an Energy Savings Improvement Plan (ESIP) with Ameresco, an energy services company. Under this program, the district installed $3.2 million worth of energy improvements at no cost to the taxpayer and a guaranteed cash flow to the district of $31,946 per year for 15 years. These improvements were funded by grants, energy rebates and energy savings. This program has saved the district approximately $750,000 through June 30, 2016.

In September 2013, the district completed a major solar project, through a shared service agreement with the Somerset County Improvement Authority, whereby photovoltaic panels were installed at Bedwell Elementary School and Bernards High School. The solar project allows the district to purchase its electricity at significantly reduced rates.

As a result of the above activities as well as several other “Green” initiatives, the New Jersey Department of Education and the United States Department of Education honored Bernards High School in 2012 and Bedwell Elementary School in 2013 as Green Ribbon Schools.

In November 2015, the voters of the Somerset Hills School District passed a building referendum totaling $5,829,094 to fund the conversion of a former auditorium at Bernards High into a media center, new classrooms at Bernards High for students with special needs, parking lot upgrades at Bernards High, new sidewalk at the elementary/middle school campus and bathroom renovations at Bedwell Elementary school.

The project is eligible for 40 % debt service aid from the State of New Jersey, as such the net cost of the project is $3,497,456. The bonds were funded at an interest rate of 2.092% for a period of 15 years.

The Somerset Hills School District remains focused on meeting the needs of all students through the delivery of a world-class educational program that reflects a “whole-child” commitment to the development of each student.