MAPLEWOOD, NJ – Columbia High School, serving the unified school district of South Orange and Maplewood, has received its annual “report card” from the state of New Jersey in what is called the NJ School Performance Report. The report ranks schools in Academic Achievement, College and Career Readiness and Graduation & Post Secondary measures.
According to the report, Columbia’s academic performance is about average when compared to all schools across the state, but is ranked “high” when compared to its peers (which is defined as “schools that have similar grade levels and students with similar demographic characteristics, such as the percentage of students qualifying for Free/Reduced Lunch, Limited English Proficiency programs or Special Education programs”). Columbia outperforms 58% of all schools statewide academically and 62% of its peers.
Columbia’s performance in College and Career Readiness is ranked as “very high” when compared to schools across the state (outperforming 83% of schools statewide), and also “very high” when compared to its peers (outperforming 88% of its peer schools).
The school's Graduation and Post-Secondary performance (which is calculated from data about graduation rates, dropout rates, and post-secondary attendance) lags in comparison to schools across the state, outperforming 26% of high schools statewide. Additionally, Columbia "significantly lags" in this parameter in comparison to its peers, outperforming just 10% of those schools.
In Columbia Principal Dr. Lovie Lilly’s narrative, which the state has published along with the report card, it is pointed out that the school is currently in the second year of its Five-Year Strategic Plan, which “is aligned with district goals and incorporates strategies that provide open access to higher level classes for all students, and prepare them for college and career readiness. With an emphasis on high expectations and academic rigor, the plan is intended to transform teaching and learning in grades 9-12.”
Dr. Lilly notes that, “The average Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) scores continue to be above state averages. Our mean SAT scores are as follows: Critical Reading = 530 (“Five Year Change” in mean score since 2008 = +24 points); Math = 542 (“Five Year Change” in mean score since 2008 = +24 points); and Writing = 530 (“Five Year Change” in mean score since 2008 = +24 points). More than 90% of our students take the SAT and two of them earned perfect scores or 2400 points each. In addition, three students earned perfect scores on one section of the test.”
The state has defined Columbia High School’s peer group for the purposes of this report as including: Bergenfield HS, Henry P Becton Regional HS, Fort Lee HS, Leonia HS, New Milford HS, Ridgefield Memorial HS, Wallington Jr-Sr HS, Bordentown Regional HS, Delran HS, Florence Twp Memorial HS, Triton HS, Sterling HS, Secaucus HS, Hightstown HS, Lawrence HS, Edison HS, JP Stevens HS, Middlesex HS, Old Bridge HS, Piscataway Twp HS, South Plainfield HS, Colonia HS, Matawan Regional HS, Ocean Twp HS, Red Bank Regional HS, Boonton HS, Morris Hills HS, Parsippany HS, Brick Twp HS and David Brearley HS.