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U.S. News Ranks EHS-FJC, Hamilton Prep Among Top 50 in NJ

EHS-FJC Earns No. 204 in National Rankings of America’s Best High Schools


Elizabeth, N.J., April 27, 2021 – Elizabeth High School – Frank J. Cicarell Academy (EHS – FJC) and Alexander Hamilton Preparatory Academy ranked among the top 50 high schools in New Jersey as part of the 2021 U.S. News & World Report Best U.S. High Schools rankings.

EHS – FJC led the way with a national ranking of 204 and a state ranking at No. 13 while Hamilton Preparatory Academy received rankings of No. 1,143 nationally and No. 49 in the state.

“Elizabeth High School and Alexander Hamilton Preparatory Academy continue to set the bar when it comes to meeting our district goals of college preparedness, career readiness, and on-time graduation,” said Elizabeth Public Schools Superintendent Olga Hugelmeyer.

The aim of the U.S. News rankings is to show which schools are the best in the country when it comes to  students demonstrating outstanding outcomes above expectations in math and reading state assessments, earning qualifying scores in an array of college-level exams, and graduating in high proportions..

In coordination with North Carolina-based RTI International, a global nonprofit social science research firm, U.S. News ranked approximately 17,860 public high schools out of the nearly 24,000 reviewed. This is the count of public high schools that had a 12th grade enrollment of 15 or greater, or otherwise had sufficient enrollment in other high school grades during the 2018-2019 school year to be analyzed.

The methodology used to create the rankings included six ranking indicators and their weights used to produce the overall score for each qualifying school. The College Readiness Index, or CRI, is 30 percent of a school’s overall score and accounts for the proportions of twelfth graders who took and earned a qualifying score on at least one AP or IB exam. Earning a qualifying score is worth three times more than just participating in an exam.

Math and Reading Proficiency, which includes aggregated scores on state assessments that students may be required to pass for graduation, accounts for 20% of the overall score, as does Math and Reading Performance, which discerns how aggregated scores on state assessments compare with U.S. News' expectations given the proportions of students who are Black, Hispanic and from low-income households.

The other three indicators, Underserved Student Performance, College Curriculum Breadth, and Graduation Rate, each hold a weight of 10 percent toward the overall score. They account for scores on state assessments aggregated just among students who are Black, Hispanic and from low-income households, the proportions of twelfth graders who took and earned a qualifying score on AP and IB exams in multiple areas, and the proportion of entering ninth graders who graduated four academic years later, respectively.

EHS and Hamilton Preparatory Academy ranked

No. 13 and No. 49 respectively in the State of New Jersey

Elizabeth Public Schools joins West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District, Jersey City Public Schools, and Newark Public Schools District as the only non-exclusive vocational school districts to have multiple high schools ranked in the top 50 in New Jersey.

“These rankings are a good indicator of passion and commitment that our students and staff at Elizabeth High School and Alexander Hamilton Preparatory Academy have demonstrated when it comes to academic performance and preparing themselves for their lives after high school,” said Elizabeth Board of Education President Jerry Jacobs.

“Their achievements continue to show the rest of New Jersey and nation that a great amount of talent and potential resides here in Elizabeth and that students receive high quality instruction at Elizabeth Public Schools that can compete with any public school district anywhere.”

The 2021 U.S. News and World Report Best High Schools Rankings of New Jersey high schools can be found at