SPARTA, NJ- Newsweek has listed Sparta High School on their top 5000 STEM high schools in the United States.  Assistant Superintendent Patrick McQueeney announced the ranking at the January board of education meeting.

According to the Newsweek.com list, published in November, Sparta is ranked 3677 with a score of 40.90 out of 100.

"I am especially proud of the diverse STEM opportunities that Sparta High School provides for our students,” Science Supervisor Marisa Wilson said. “We have courses available in all branches of science and technology including biomedical engineering, robotics, architecture, and computer programming, to name just a few." 

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Wilson said the district will be purchasing a plaque and banner to share the message of the recognition.

Mathematics supervisor Katie Arbolino said, "The success of our STEM program is built upon the foundation of our expert staff members and their investment in the delivery of high quality instruction. We offer a comprehensive curriculum through focused identification and response to the diverse learning abilities of our students. Our courses utilize a blended learning approach to provide access through hands on application and versatile online platforms."

According to National Center for Educational Statistics the United States has more than 24,000 public secondary schools and 2,946 private secondary schools not including private vocational/technical schools as of 2015-2016.  The Newsweek ranking included both public and private schools.

"As I travel around the state to different robotic competitions and meet STEM teachers from other districts I often get compliments about how great our robotics program is and how do we do it,” Robotics teacher and coach Mark Meola said.  “My simple response... ‘My district's into it!’ We are in the top 10% in the country for STEM education because the things we do in the classroom have a profound effect on our kids.  It is a combination of the right teachers, administration, vision and STEM education game plan that is making the difference."

Five years ago the high school welcomed the first class of STEM Academy students. Currently, three strands are offered including Biomedical Engineering, Computer Science and Coding and Engineering and Design. Eighth grade students are invited to apply for acceptance into the academy.

2019 graduates were the first class to complete all four years in the STEM academy ending with a capstone project and internship.

The publication partnered with STEM.org to rank.  Newsweek.com said the methodology for ranking was created by STEM.org using “the latest in regression analysis that takes into consideration a broad set of quantitative and qualitative date inputs collected from second quarter 2015 through third quarter 2019.”

Newsweek.org stated their purpose for creating the ranking was to find the best schools in America that “offer students experiences in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, while preparing them for post-secondary outcomes.”

Affluence and median household income were taken into consideration for the ranking according to Newsweek.org but it is not stated how those items factored into the ratings.

Area schools also on the list include:

  • Pope John – ranked 2756 with a score of 54.88
  • Morris Hills – ranked 2152 with a score of 64.09
  • Mount Olive – ranked 2011 with a score of 66.39
  • Randolph – ranked 1981 with a score of 66.87
  • Morristown – ranked 1794 with a score of 69.40
  • Kinnelon – ranked 1736 with a score of 70.39
  • Montville – ranked 1092 with a score of 80.13