We do not envy the good people at Niche.com who have the task of ranking the best elementary schools in Bergen County NJ. It must be difficult to pick the best of the best when most of the schools have dedicated faculty and staff, relatively low student-teacher ratios and innovative, exciting programs. But pick they did, based on a combination of factors that included state test scores, student-teacher ratios, student diversity rates, teacher quality, grade school ratings and the overall quality of the school district. These factors were rigorously analyzed after being pulled from Department of Education reports, Common Core data and parent surveys, among other sources. So without further ado, the 2018 10 Best Public Elementary Schools in Bergen County:
Wandell School leads the pack this year with an overall grade of A+. At just around 200 students, Wandell School is able to offer programs such as an outdoor living science habitat, a collaborative initiative that enables students to research and investigate their environment. Wandell also boasts an integrated Pre-K, instrumental music instruction for grades 3,4 and 5, a gifted and talented program and exciting after-school enrichment opportunities.
The smallest of the schools in the top 10, Alpine Elementary has a student-teacher ratio of just 6:1 and also earned a grade of A+. With a firm belief in whole-class enrichment opportunities, Alpine Elementary School provides each grade with an age-appropriate Artists in Residence program that includes multi-week enrichment exposure and at least one interactive curriculum-based field trip. Construction of a new wing has enabled faculty and staff more space to provide these unique experiences.
Also earning an overall A+ ranking, Hawes Elementary has long been known for its innovative and one-of-a-kind Space Program. Woven throughout the curriculum for all grades, the Hawes Space Program is particularly special for second graders with simulations and real astronaut space suits.
There is much to love about Orchard Elementary, so much, in fact, that it earns an A+ overall ranking. Orchard shares the love with their weekly Community Building Assemblies (CBAs) in which students are encouraged to speak publicly and share what they have been learning and teachers make announcements and talk about upcoming events. The best part? Parents are invited to attend and participate.
With an overall ranking of A, Mackay School earns a higher mark for diversity than most in the top 10, coming in at a B+. The 2017-2018 season sees improvements to the building with upgrades to the gym and the library. And Mackay School prides itself on its focus on healthy lifestyles, promoting walking over driving to school and healthy snacks and lunches.
Ranked A overall, Walter Stillman is most excited about their one-to-one Chromebook initiative. Parents rave about Stillman's top-notch principal, and opportunities for students and parents to work in the school garden make this school unique.
In addition to their overall A, Travell earns high marks in proficiency percentages for both reading and math. Travell also recognizes the importance of teachers by going all out on teacher appreciation week with door decorations for each teacher that celebrate his or her singular personality, interests and hobbies.
Coming in at #8, Hillside teachers earn an A+ and the school gets and A overall. At Hillside School, the claim to fame is the Hillside News Network (HNN), a daily live newscast run by students that seeks to integrate technology and workplace readiness skills.
Luther Lee Emerson Elementary has got to be proud of the whopping 92% of proficient readers in their testing sample that helped them get to an A rating. They can also be proud of their robust club offerings, which include an art club, a book club and a music club in which members compose the song they sing at their 4th grade moving-up ceremony.
10. Ridge Elementary
Rounding out the Top 10, Ridge School holds an overall A rating with a 13:1 student-teacher ratio and a ranking of #61 in the state. Ridge School models innovative parent participation with its Friends of Ridge enrichment program. This parent-sponsored program allows for school-wide author visits and special enrichment activities for each grade.