Editor's note: The following was submitted to TAP into Westfield in response to requests for comments about Westfield High School's absence from U.S. News & World Report's 2016 "Best High Schools" list, which was released Tuesday.

How do you measure the success of an education? There may not be one answer to that question, but we do have many data points that help assess this.

Our goal in the Westfield Public Schools is to educate students to reach their highest potential and to become responsible and productive citizens in a global society.  Whether one is judging by public or personal achievements, our students and staff in the Westfield Public Schools continue to impress.

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Looking at statistics, I am not sure how many public high schools can claim, as Westfield High School can, that 100 percent of its senior class has graduated and 97 percent are continuing their education. If judged again by numbers, 151 WHS students earned awards on Advanced Placement exams and 92 percent of all AP grades were a 3 or higher (a score which often is accepted for college credit). SAT scores surpassed the state average by 195 points. The National Merit Scholarship Corporation has named four of our seniors National Merit Finalists and 21 of our students have been recognized as Commended Students. (Click here for more detailed information.)  Two state and three county athletic championships have been won this school year, and dozens of performing arts awards have been earned, including the national success of the WHS Marching Band.  

Aside from statistics, several of our faculty members were invited to address colleagues nationwide regarding effective teaching methods, and also have been recipients of awards. WHS’s digital learning was highlighted in an award-winning TV magazine program focusing on innovative projects in New Jersey public schools, and last year our school district received international attention when Voice of America taped our classrooms in action. 

At the heart of the Westfield community is volunteerism. Just last month a group of students from WHS was honored by the Community Food Bank of New Jersey for donating thousands of pounds of food – more than collected by large universities.  Several clubs in our schools devote themselves to helping others. The Community Service Club at WHS was recognized by the State Department of Education for years of assistance to needy individuals. Reaching beyond the borders of New Jersey and the United States, the Humanities class at WHS has provided shoes for children in Haiti to attend school, and has donated funds to help build a school for indigenous children in Central America. 

My hope is that our school children are learning how to be creative thinkers as well as good-hearted neighbors. So many of our graduates are returning to Westfield to live and to raise and educate their children. We welcome them back to build on the tradition of excellence – a tradition that can be proven by the success of our students. 

Read more about the widespread accomplishments of our students and staff on the Points of Pride website.