Montclair High School is a comprehensive four-year public high school located in Montclair, in Essex County, New Jersey, United States, serving students in ninth through twelfth grades as the lone secondary school of the Montclair Public Schools. The school has been accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Secondary Schools since 1928.
As of the 2012-13 school year, the school had an enrollment of 1,969 students and 157.6 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a studentâ"teacher ratio of 12.50:1. There were 302 students (15.3% of enrollment) eligible for free lunch and 93 (4.7% of students) eligible for reduced-cost lunch.
Founded in the late 19th century, MHS quickly outgrew its original location (torn down in the 1930s) on Orange Road, the site of which is now the field of Hillside School. The current "Main Building" was then opened, and it is one of the older public high schools in New Jersey. It initially was only the "Main Building," as it is colloquially referredto, but as time went on and the enrollment grew, the board of education allowed the high school to annex George Inness Junior High School school across the street, which is called "the Annex", "Ninth Grade Academy" or the "Freshman Building", in which many of the ninth grade classes take place.
The school holds classes in two buildings on opposite sides of Park Street. The Main Building of the high school is located on the west side of Park Street, and the George Inness Annex / Ninth Grade Academy / Freshman Building is located on the east side of the street. Traffic is stopped eight times a day for five minutes between periods to allow students to cross the street. Many fences and a crosswalk have been installed for the purpose of restricting the students' routes to a 1Â½ meter path. Gym classes are sometimes held at Woodman Field of Essex Park, two blocks away, otherwise in the school's four gymnasiums. Occasionally gym classes will transform into "Breakfast Club" and will be held at Sunrise Bagels in the Watchung Plaza area.
Montclair High School has an outdoor amphitheatre through which a brook flows, which is where graduation ceremonies are held, weather permitting. This Amphitheater is also the site of pep rallies, concerts, and public movie showings. The brook is Toney's Brook, which also goes through Rand Park, also on the campus.
Students in grades 10-12 at Montclair High school can all leave the campus for lunch and free periods, by an open campus policy. Trucks park at the school and sell food to students, students eat in Rand Park, which is partially on the school's campus, and eat at local restaurants and shops.
Awards, recognition and rankings
The school was the 120th-ranked public high school in New Jersey out of 339 schools statewide in New Jersey Monthly magazine's September 2014 cover story on the state's "Top Public High Schools", using a new ranking methodology. The school had been ranked 99th in the state of 328 schools in 2012, after being ranked 94th in 2010 out of 322 schools listed. The magazine ranked the school 85th in 2008 out of 316 schools. The school was ranked 90th in the magazine's September 2006 issue, which included 316 schools across the state.
Schooldigger.com ranked the school as 201st out of 376 public high schools statewide in its 2010 rankings (a decrease of 56 positions from the 2009 rank) which were based on the combined percentage of students classified as proficient or above proficient on the language arts literacy and mathematics components of the High School Proficiency Assessment (HSPA).
In Newsweek's May 22, 2007, issue, ranking the country's top high schools, Montclair High School was listed in 896th place, the 24th-highest ranked school in New Jersey. The school was listed in 214th place, the eighth-highest-ranked school in New Jersey, in Newsweek's May 8, 2006, issue, listing the Top 1,200 High Schools in The United States.
In 2001, Montclair High School came in 2nd place in the National High School Mock Trial Championships held in Omaha, Nebraska, and was the New Jersey High School Mock Trial Championships in 2006.
Montclair High School's Fed Challenge Team has ranked first in the New York Region eight times, and won the National Fed Challenge Championship in 2001.
In 2005, the Montclair High School FIRST robotics FRC Team 555 won the Arizona Regional in Phoenix, Arizona. They also won second place in the New York City Regional as well as the web design award and the Johnson & Johnson Sportsmanship award. The team then went on to win the Johnson & Johnson Sportsmanship award at the international championship in Atlanta, Georgia. In 2007, the Montclair High School FIRST robotics team won the Denver Regional and the Regional Rockwell Automation Innovation in Control Award in Denver, Colorado. In 2008, the FIRST team won the New York City Regional and went to the quarter finals at the Championship Event in Atlanta.
In 2007 and 2009, MHS won the Euro Challenge championship. The first place cash prize was $1,500 in 2007 and $1,250 in 2009 for each of the five team members. In 2008 and 2011, MHS took a close second place in the Euro Challenge championship. Each team member received $1,000.
In 2009 and 2013, seniors of the Civics and Government Institute at Montclair High placed 2nd in the state at the We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution competition held in Trenton, New Jersey. The 2013 team qualified for the We the People national finals in Washington D.C. but were unable to attend due to budgetary concerns.
In 2009, 2011 and 2012, the members of the Model Congress/Model United Nations Club won "Best Delegation" at the University of Pennsylvania Model Congress Conference.
"Humanities" and "Philosophy and Composition" teacher, Gregory Woodruff, was named, "Humanities Teacher of the Year" by the New Jersey Council for the Humanities in 2010 for teaching highly rigorous classes in classical and contemporary literature and philosophy. He was awarded the weston award in 2011.
The Montclair High School Mounties compete in the Super Essex Conference, which includes public and private high schools in Essex County and operates under the supervision of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA). With 1,487 students in grades 10-12, the school was classified by the NJSIAA for the 2014-15 school year as North I, Group IV for most athletic competition purposes, which included schools with an enrollment of 1,108 to 2,479 students in that grade range. Until the NJSIAA's 2009 realignment, the school had participated in Division B of the Northern New Jersey Interscholastic League, which was made up of high schools located in Bergen County, Essex County and Passaic County, and was separated into three divisions based on NJSIAA size classification. The Mounties have an abundance of successful sports programs, including rowing, baseball, football, lacrosse, soccer, ice hockey, basketball, volleyball, softball, track and field, fencing, golf, cross country, field hockey, gymnastics, swimming, wrestling, tennis, and bowling.
MHS recently expanded and refurnished their field house which is located at Woodman Field in Essex Park. The field house houses restrooms, locker rooms and meeting areas for many of the Montclair sports teams, in particular, football. Finished for the 2008â"2009 school year at an estimated cost of $5 million, the field house accommodates a new, state-of-the-art weight lifting gym with glass walls looking over Woodman Field, a film screening room for the Montclair Mounties football team, observation rooms looking over Woodman Field, and more. After receiving a pledge from the Furlong family of $3 million towards the project, the Furlong Field House at Montclair High School was constructed, with a ribbon cutting ceremony held in October 2008.
Towards the end of every hockey season, the Montclair Mounties host the "Montclair Cup". This competition is highly anticipated by the players and students. Every year, at Clary Anderson Arena (the Mounties home hockey arena), Montclair High School faces off against in town rival, Montclair Kimberley Academy. The MKA team won the 2011, 2012 and 2013 games, though MHS retains a 14â"7 edge in the series overall.
The football team won the North II Group IV state sectional championships in 1983, 1994, 1996, and 2002.
In October 2008, a Montclair High School football player, Ryne Dougherty, died as a result of a brain hemorrhage in a football game.
Clubs and activities
As of the 2013 school year, Montclair High School has 106 clubs. Most meet after school, but a few, like the school's newspaper, have a prerequisite. To participate in these clubs, students must also take a related class during the school day. One of the most prominent clubs at this school is the "Save Darfur Club." This club works to promote awareness about the 2003 genocide and its remaining effects and tension in Darfur (a region of Sudan). The club also raises funds for the Jewish World Watch's Solar Cooker Project, which provides solar cookers to refugee camps in Darfur.
Montclair High School has its own performing arts program, called the School of Visual and Performing Arts (SVPA). The program includes a Dance Company for elite dancers, Technical Theater for those interested in behind-the-scenes work, and other activities. Most performances take place in the theater in Inness Annex, called the "Little Theater." Some significant productions include the Fall Showcase, a musical revue, and a musical, performed in the spring of each school year.
Students protested New Jersey governor Chris Christie's appearance on school grounds on March 30, 2010, in response to ensuing budget cuts that affected the school. Over 200 students walked out of their classes in protests of the budget cuts in April of the same year.
In March 2014, MHS experienced an outbreak of a stomach virus. The illness spread rapidly, affecting approximately 170 students and staff members one day and over 300 the next, approximately 20 percent of the school's population. A disinfection of the school's two buildings was performed. Two popular nicknames for this illness were "The Plague" and "The Boot."
Core members of the school's administration are:
- James Earle, Principal
- Shirlene Powell-Sanders, Assistant Principal, Unit 1
- Damen Cooper, Assistant Principal, Unit 2
- John Jeffries, Assistant Principal, Unit 3
- Eileen Gilbert, Assistant Principal, George Inness Annex
- John Porcelli, Assistant Principal, Athletics and Student Activities
Montclair High School has been featured in or used as a filming location for several films, commercials, and television shows including:
- The original 1950 film version of Cheaper by the Dozen
- Mean Girls
- Ed â" NBC series
- The Sopranos â" HBO series
- Imaginary Heroes
- Seven Minutes in Heaven
- NBA Back to School Commercials â" Featuring many famous basketball stars
- Lymelife (2009) featuring Emma Roberts, Cynthia Nixon and Alec Baldwin.
- Buzz Aldrin (born 1930), second human to step on the Moon.
- Albert Anderson (born 1950), guitarist and songwriter who played with Bob Marley & The Wailers, The Wailers Band, Peter Tosh, Black Uhuru, Lauryn Hill, Ben Harper, The Centurions, Traffic and UB40.
- Yael Averbuch (born 1986), soccer player.
- Me'Lisa Barber (born 1980), sprinter.
- Clarence Birdseye, founder of the modern frozen food industry.
- Allen B. DuMont (1901â"1965), television pioneer.
- Frank Bunker Gilbreth, Jr. (1911â"2001) and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey (1908â"2006), son and daughter of famed Frank Bunker Gilbreth and Lillian Moller Gilbreth, and co-authors of Cheaper by the Dozen.
- Rees Jones (born 1941), golf course architect.
- Robert Trent Jones, Jr. (born 1939, class of 1957), golf course architect.
- Julie Kane (born 1952), Poet Laureate of Louisiana, 2011â"2013.
- Daniel Karcher (born 1964), NPR host and filmmaker, best known as host for WBGO and production of The Blair Witch Project and Family Guy.
- Nicole Leach (born 1979), actress.
- Aubrey Lewis (1935â"2001), The Star-Ledger's Football Player of the Century and University of Notre Dame football and track star.
- Warren Littlefield (born 1952), former President of NBC Entertainment.
- Anne McCaffrey (1926â"2011), author of science fiction and fantasy novels.
- John McMullen (1918â"2005), former owner of the New Jersey Devils and Houston Astros.
- John Miller, journalist who conducted interview with Osama Bin Laden.
- Jeff Mills (born 1968), linebacker who played four seasons in the NFL with the San Diego Chargers and Denver Broncos.
- Christina Ricci (born 1980), actress.
- Anwar Robinson (born 1979), American Idol finalist.
- Adam Schlesinger (born 1967), Bassist for the band Fountains of Wayne.
- Benjamin Strong, Jr. (born 1872), first governor of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
- David Tyree (born 1980), wide receiver who played for the New York Giants.
- Joe Walsh (born 1947), musician with the Eagles.
- Ingrid Wells (born 1989), soccer player.
- Richard Wilbur (born 1921), former United States Poet Laureate, who has won the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award.
- Alex Winter (born 1965), actor, best known for his role in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure.
- Montclair High School webpages
- Montclair Public Schools
- Montclair Public Schools's 2012â"13 School Report Card from the New Jersey Department of Education
- School Data for the Montclair Public Schools, National Center for Education Statistics