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Sparta, Hopatcong High Schools Miss NJ Rankings

U.S. News & World Report's annual national rankings released; no Sussex County schools make top 50 spots in the state.

Sparta High School students tested either at or above New Jersey averages, while Hopatcong High School students tested below those numbers, and neither were ranked in the top 50 schools in the state, according to U.S. News & World Report.

The magazine’s annual high school rankings were released Tuesday morning and showed a changeup in the top 10 spots, and no Sussex County school made the top 54.

The top spot went to Biotechnology High School in Freehold, ousting this year’s number two, High Technology High School.

Three main factors are calculated for the rankings, including college readiness, math proficiency and language proficiency.

U.S. News & World Report ranked Hopatcong and Sparta High Schools as indicated in the chart:

School College Readiness Math Proficiency Language Proficiency Hopatcong High School 4.4
(8% AP proficient) 2.8
(65% proficient) 2.9
(83% proficient) Sparta High School 33.2
(39% AP proficient 3.2
(87% proficient) 3.3
(96% proficient)

Sparta had a 14-to-1 student to teacher ratio, while Hopatcong had a 16-to-1 student to teacher ratio, the report showed.

Hopatcong’s numbers were all down from 2012’s report, as the “college readiness”

Just eight percent of Hopatcong High School students tested in AP exams, the report said.

Sparta High School’s college readiness and language proficiency were both above the state average, while its math proficiency was near the New Jersey middle, the report said.

What do you think of the rankings? Do they fall in line with your perception of the high schools?

Emily April 24, 2013 at 06:19 PM
chief18 I hate to burst your bubble but have you seen the rankings. sure there are some good teachers and yes students are doing well post-graduation, but overall we are a failing system. I agree with Chrissy 100%. Something is wrong if all those pheomoenal teachers are teaching we should not have a problem,correct! If it is up to the students to educate themselve then we don't need the teachers, again correct. Think about what you posted. Unreaslistic thinking on your part. I realize your a proud graduate,but alot of our students have to be taught by the teachers that is why they are on the payroll TO TEACH. See if you step back and take a long hard look you will see the fault lies within the teaching staff and administrators. If they fail, the students fail, the system fails. They should be held accountable, and stop blaming the parents. We gave them the privilage of educatcating our children and they deserve alot better then what they are getting. What we have to do is find out what the higher ranking schools are doing and follow their lead. I bet it falls back on the administration and teaching staff. Have a good day.
Willa Scantlebury April 24, 2013 at 07:12 PM
I am tired of these stupid skewed reports! My kids have and are thriving in the Hopatcong school system. Jeesch Patch, must you post crap like this? This negativity helps no one!
Emily April 24, 2013 at 07:31 PM
lucky you. Look at the big picture, This is not crap this is the truth. If we were doing so well then why did we form a task force to give input to our teachers to help make this situation better. stupid , not at all, your in denial as to the fact there is a major problem. We are now ranked lower then ever. Thriving, think not. Thanks Patch for giving concerned people a chance to voice their opinion on a very serious situation. Our childrens education.
Jason Koestenblatt (Editor) April 24, 2013 at 07:52 PM
Thanks for the comments, everyone. @Willa, if this were crap, we certainly wouldn't post it. But it's a ranking system by a reputable national news organization. In May, we'll likely run a story on Newsweek's annual rankings, and again over the summer when NJ Monthly releases theirs. This isn't a report about how bad or good a school district is; rather, it's a brief article explaining what rankings our local schools received. We've also run stories similar to this in the past two years when the rankings were made available.
BeachBum April 24, 2013 at 08:41 PM
Another good reason to use private schools or go out of district
Clay Thomas April 24, 2013 at 09:39 PM
One of the factors affecting Hopatcong's declining high school enrollment is the NJ Choice School option. We are hemorrhaging some of our best student/athletes to Lenape. Sparta is likely to be a Choice option with the 2014-2015 school year. You can imaging what the long term result will be!
Clay Thomas April 24, 2013 at 09:41 PM
Sorry, that last sentence should be......You can imagine what the long term result will be!
Chief18 April 25, 2013 at 12:49 PM
I am happy to say that you haven't burst my bubble. I can read and I have read the report. Obviously it does appear that we are a failing system, and that a solution does need to be found. The teachers on the payroll do teach and do work outside of the classroom.They need to create lesson plans for their classes, submit those lesson plans and have them reviewed. They must prepare themselves for classes, and sometimes even learn or brush up on material to teach classes. I am not familiar with your education but i'm sure you were in a school setting where you sat down for 8 periods a day in a classroom and had a teacher TEACH, instead of just handing out assignments and telling you to do them. Homework is a way of reinforcing what the teacher taught so the student fully understands the concepts. I believe that everyone deserves a share of the blame, instead of going the easy route and ultimately damning the teachers and putting the blame on them. Ultimately it is the responsibility of the student to have the willingness to learn. A teacher can stand in front of a classroom for 6 hours a day and teach, but he/she has no control over whether or not the student actually pays attention, does the work, and learn. You said if the teachers fail, the students fail. How about this, if the student fails, the teachers and administrators fail.
Chief18 April 25, 2013 at 12:53 PM
and just let me clarify my last sentence, before you go on another mindless rant. If the student fails, because I believe that it is the responsibility of the student, then those teachers who put forth great time and effort in their job will be wrongly blamed and categorized as failures. Thus we'll never find a solution to this report above.
Willa Scantlebury April 25, 2013 at 01:55 PM
Fair enough Jason, but to me it's crap. Nothing but negative information. And to compare us to Sparta? What the heck! Different demographics. How about you compare us to a HS in Kentucky? Dropping (again) in the ranking is the truth and that totally stinks. The task force is a task farce. The school board and the superintendant need to address the problems NOW and we are really tired of their excuses. Budget shortcomings, union BS, hiring issues, please! My point is. . . How about an article on some of the kids that are in the top of the class and their aspirations. Did you know there are quite a few NJ Scholar Athletes in the HS school this year? How about in May you post about the great things that come from this town. News on positive things happening here. Sport programs, benefit races, charity events, teacher spotlights. Humm. . .kind of like the old Patch, when it first started and it generated a nice positive community vibe. Seems so often these things apparently aren't news worthy. Ya wonder why so many people don't go on patch anymore is because of all the negativity. Let Newsweek & NJ Monthly report their own stinking reports!
Emily April 25, 2013 at 03:55 PM
Chief18, In denial. Show me different and maybe I won't mind paying all those school taxes if I know we are getting the best. No matter how you try I believe what I know. Get out there and find out what's really going on. Talk to the kids, parents and SOME of the teachers that are being labeled as poor educators. I think it will be an eye opener for you. I guess there is good and bad in everything but if I'm paying I expect to get what I am paying for. We all have our opinions and that's what makes the world go round. Clay is right. We give choices they go, so maybe there is a problem. If we were so good why are they leaving. I still remember the saying someone posted on patch" Will the last student leaving the high school please turn off the lights" So sad.
Russ Crespolini (Editor) April 25, 2013 at 05:03 PM
Hey Willa, Thanks for commenting. I wanted to really (as briefly as possible) catch you up on some things you may or may not be aware of. Jason and I officially took over the reigns of Hopatcong-Sparta Patch fulltime on April 15. Over the past two years Patch has evolved into a community platform, not only a hyperlocal news site. Gone are the days of one editor for one town. Jason and I are responsible for four Patch sites that encompass two counties, eight towns and nine school districts. We rely on the community to keep us informed and partner with us in sharing their town news and getting it reflected on the site. Over the course of our first ten days we have run pieces on a fundraiser for a Hopatcong school nurse, the winners of a PSA contest for drug awareness, promoted the school musical and mixed that in with the usual municipal and school board news. Having worked closely with both previous editors of this site we are happy to be working in these communities and take our commitment to furthering their work seriously. I hope you and everyone in the community will work with us to make the site a reflection of the community. Please drop me a line at russ.crespolini@patch.com any time. And thanks again for reading and commenting. The continued high level of community involvement we see everyday is one of the reasons this site is a success. :-)
Ron Willis April 25, 2013 at 05:06 PM
Great things are happening within the Hopatcong school system. Keep up the great work!
Surenuff April 26, 2013 at 01:15 PM
@Willa The problem is the bad outweighs the good.Are there a lot of great things about Hopatcong yes absolutely!However the bad things get the attention because no one wants to address them.Drugs use is on the rise, racism is on the rise, & unfortunately the administration continuously hides most of the issues going on in those schools. Talented students are leaving because the district does nothing to protect them against bullies & doesn't offer the advancement in education to get a fantastic secondary education. Your kids are doing great that's fine but you are not the majority.People are fed up & frustrated at least I know I am, but I can't afford to send my kids to a private school.How long are people suppose to await change? Most don't have the kind of time to gamble with Hopatcong schools, that's why they leave. On top of the fact that these kids are getting abused while trying to learn is just the icing on the cake.
Surenuff April 26, 2013 at 01:16 PM
*continued... I am sure by now everyone has heard the story of Cliff Lundins son & how fantastic he is doing, but what about the rest of the kids in Hopatcong.Does anyone care about them? Until people face the facts that property values will continue to sink as long as the schools are not improving, more will leave. I love Hopatcong but reality is that I wish that my property taxes were paying for a better education. You can stay in the bubble land of pretty & amazing, I will live with the truth( you know the one you can't seem to swallow).FYI: Sparta &Vernon aren't comparable, with that we can agree on because last time I checked our competition was Camden.
Observer April 26, 2013 at 06:45 PM
Emily, I’m the one responsible for the “Will the last student…” remark some time ago. Glad you remembered it. When I wrote it, it was meant to be humorous and a bit outrageous but now I wonder if it will come true sooner rather than later. At the moment, I can’t believe what I’m reading about the alleged incidents at the Middle School. First, if they’re true and second if they are true, what’s been done about them. I’m not naive, kids will push and shove each other for a multiple of insignificant reasons but these incidents go way beyond that.
Emily April 26, 2013 at 07:03 PM
Observer, I quote that phrase to alot of people because it is so real.
Friendly Advice April 27, 2013 at 03:02 PM
Well said Chief
Friendly Advice April 27, 2013 at 03:15 PM
the middle school incident was not AN ATTACK. It was kids playing football and as kids are kids it led to--lets tackle the man with the ball, which the victim himself did many times. Please give the school time to access the situation
Surenuff April 28, 2013 at 01:03 AM
Here's some friendly advice one of those kids has already been charged and the police are doing what the school would not and should have done-->>INVESTIGATE. Playing a non sanctioned contact sport without equipment is one thing, 7 kids ATTACKING a kid defenseless on the ground and calling him a n**ger is another. Tackle the man with the ball led to the ATTACK of the kid. Sounds like the "school" dropped the ball if you ask me. Along with the other 3 violent incidents in the same week at the same school, you tell me who is learning? These rankings are self explanatory. If you can't equate the violence to learning then let me help you out. Here is something you can read to reiterate what I have already said. http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/schoolviolence_factsheet-a.pdf
Clay Thomas April 28, 2013 at 01:12 PM
It would certainly seem that the Middle School principal, who is paid in excess of $170K (Data Universe), should be taking the lead in getting to the bottom of these alleged incidents and making the school safe for all the students who attend. If not, then action should be taken.
larry storch April 29, 2013 at 06:52 PM
My kid graduated from HHS and is attending an ivy school next fall for her graduate degree after attending a NY state school on a 4 year scholarship. that being said my other daughter had a terrible HS experience; bullying(yes the school did nothing and the cops could do even less) and a bunch of not so good teachers. Parents are the problem in many cases but the school also has issues; we were involved with the school and our children; if you are smart don't expect much from the school it is up to the parent anyway you cut it.
Fed up April 29, 2013 at 11:10 PM
Racism is on the rise ? I have spoken with minorities who disagree with that statement. There is hate but that comes from parents who raise children to hate. It must be difficult to have to dig so deep and to have to make up stories just to prove you're right. Funny thing is as much hate that is being fed to ones own children, everyone else knows the truth and expects nothing more from certain people. That's sad. It's not ok to spread lies about children. It's not ok to try and invite fear and hate between races. Some kids have been getting away with poor behavior and have been catered to simply to not have to deal with the parent. Guess the middle school doesn't put up with the nonsense. Neither will private schools. Lets monitor what goes on in our homes and our child's behavior both good and bad and maybe we might see the problem. Look in the mirror. There is your problem.
Surenuff April 30, 2013 at 01:35 PM
Couldn't agree with you more.. The hate does come from the home and parents who raise their kids to hate. I think with the middle schools (administration) its more about brushing things under the rug then anything. All these incidents could have been prevented. You are only angry with the one (which isn't a lie btw) but there are many (including the special needs child who was jumped by the lockers) . I know minorities that would agree and disagree, still doesn't change the fact that it happened. I never said racism is effecting the rankings but merely on the rise, violence and drug use are major contributing factors. Problem is no one cares enough to do anything but just talk about the issues. There are some great teachers in this district, but they don't get the support when it comes to discipline in these schools. How can they teach when the trouble makers continue to be sent back to disrupt the classroom? There is an old saying there is power in numbers. Until Hopatcong realizes that until they deal with "all" the issues with these schools, things will always be the same. People will continue to leave for better choices & rankings will continue to sink. Property values will decline & there will always be a negative stigma associated with this town. I'm not inviting hate & fear, simply stating the facts of a so called completely isolated incident. What you do with that is up to you...if anything maybe it will make you mad enough to invite change...hell demand it!
Joan Doe April 30, 2013 at 04:36 PM
According to this magazine, Dover (Morris Cty) HS ranks above Sparta, although all of its numbers are lower than Sparta's. ??? I don't understand these rankings. And Elizabeth HS one of the best in the state? Please. These rankings are a joke, bearing no relation to reality. The rankings of the state itself are closer to reality, though not perfect.
Denise Caputo April 30, 2013 at 06:15 PM
Surenuff- Nothing that goes on in the middle school or the high school concerning certain people is every a secret. The problem appears to be when the kids who are always in trouble or have some kind of discipline problem, parents often do not want to believe it. People can always leave for better choices, who wouldn't? Trouble makers get sent back to class rooms because the parents are in denial their child might actually be the problem. Your statement above regarding racism affecting the grades is not the intent of your post and I don't believe I said it was. I was referring to the previous post about the 7 children beating a defenseless child on the ground. I would have to question the source of the information. You are claiming racism is on the rise. There are plenty of rumors going around town, mainly from what I can tell, is from a students parent. You also stated one was charged. What did the courts say? What about the other boys? If one was charged why weren't all of them? What about the other boys? What do the police say? You can not say that racism is on the rise. It has been my experience that if some people sat back and looked at their behavior they would see they are the problem and not the solution. There was no need to throw in racial comments in a school reporting article. That is part of the problem, not everything is about race. By putting this comment in, you are drawing attention to something for personal gain. That is shameful.
Denise Caputo April 30, 2013 at 07:33 PM
After pondering the situation last night, I decided it is not necessary to hide behind names.. I am ready. I am demanding justice. However, it will be for the children who are being wrongfully slandered. Way to open up the flood gates. Hate breeds hate. Bullies raise bullies. The only hate I see is from the one who is slandering the kids names all over town. Our school organizations would be wise to reconsider who they have in charge. There is change coming, people will no longer tolerate the nonsense that adults spew for selfish motives. Not everyone needs to hide behind lawyers.
Surenuff May 01, 2013 at 05:26 PM
@Denise The intent of my post can be taken however you like. There are several problems in this school system. I have mentioned a few. The issue regarding the seven boys isn't public record, but like you say the rumor mill is a mist. The issue isn't the students or the behavior of the students. Its more about how the administration deals with the behaviors of those students. If you think only the middle school has issue you would be mistaken. The high school has just as many problems from what I can see. I couldn't tell you what the courts said or the boys or the police. What I can say is that the incident did occur. The kids involved aren't getting away with it (as far as the police are concern anyway). If the racial comment bother you then maybe you should be at the administration building trying to find out why something so nasty is being done and said in the first place. No everything isn't about race, however like I said this is one incident...what about the others because there are many (not necessarily racial). You have questions? Give the superintendent a call and get the answers from him. Go down to a BOE meeting they are every month, don't sit here on an article about how crappy the schools are and complain if you are willing to do anything. That's part of the problem people want to complain but who is willing to step up to the plate?
Clay Thomas May 01, 2013 at 06:23 PM
The current Middle School principal was involuntarily transferred from the High School. Considering the status of the High School, you can make what you want of that.
Denise Caputo May 01, 2013 at 09:39 PM
Surenuff: I think you need to show the same maturity out in public that you show here on patch.

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