UNION COUNTY, NJ — Summit has the best public schools in Union County and the fourth-best in New Jersey, according to the website Niche in its annual survey of New Jersey’s public education districts.
The ranking for 2019 puts Summit one place above last year’s classification.
Union County moved two more schools into the top 20: Westfield, which jumped 11 spots to No. 15, and Berkeley Heights, which climbed five spots to No. 20.
Niche, based in Pittsburgh, Pa., previously went by the name “College Prowler” and published college guidebooks; it gave Summit an overall grade of A-plus, judging it and 383 other school districts on a weighted basis of eight criteria ranging from academics to sports.
Summit, Westfield and Berkeley Heights all received an overall grade of A-plus as did Cranford, which moved up 12 places from last year’s rankings to No. 28.
The rankings are based on factors such as academics, accounting for 50 percent of the overall score, and include state assessment proficiency, SAT and ACT scores, and survey responses on academics from students and parents.
Rankings also include a teachers’ grade, worth 15 percent of the overall score and based on teacher salary, teacher absenteeism, state test results and survey responses about teachers from students and parents.
Two criteria were worth 10 percent each: culture and diversity, and parent-student surveys. Another two categories accounted for 5 percent each: heath and safety, and resources and facilities. Clubs and activities, and sports were each assigned 2.5 percent of the overall grade.
County school districts that received grades of A are: Scotch Plains-Fanwood at No. 35, six places lower than last year; and New Providence, which fell seven spots to No. 42.
Springfield received a grade of A-minus and climbed three places to No. 71. Roselle Park was given an overall score of B-plus and came in at No. 96, down three places, while Clark also had a B-plus score and was ranked 117th, a leap of 14 places.
Union was the only other school district in Union County ranked, coming in at No. 148 with a overall grade of B, down from No. 120 last year.
Niche ranked 149 public school districts in New Jersey.
Schools for which data could not be found for at least 50 percent of the factors being judged were excluded from the rankings while those with 50 percent or more, but lacking one of the required elements, were only assigned letter grades.
Garwood and Winfield Park were not included in the rankings and not given grades, as in the previous year.
Union County school districts that received only a letter grade are: Rahway, Linden, Kenilworth and Elizabeth at C+; Hillside received a C; and Plainfield and Roselle each were given a D.
Millburn took over the No. 1 spot as the best school district in the state, replacing Princeton, which fell to No. 2. The West Windsor-Plainsboro district remained at No. 3. Summit moved past Livingston, which dropped to fifth in the rankings.