Elizabeth High School (New Jersey)

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Elizabeth High School
Big ehs.jpg
447 Richmond Street (Upper)
425 Grier Avenue (Lower)
Elizabeth, NJ 07202
Type Public high school
School district Elizabeth Public Schools
Principal Michael Cummings[1]
Faculty 53.0 (on FTE basis)[2]
Grades 9–12
Enrollment 769[2] (as of 2012-13)
Student to teacher ratio 14.51:1[2]
Color(s)      Scarlet
Athletics conference Union County Interscholastic Athletic Conference
Team name Minutemen

Elizabeth High School is a four-year public high school located in Elizabeth, in Union County, New Jersey, United States, serving students in ninth through twelfth grades as part of the Elizabeth Public Schools. In 2009, the school and its more than 5,000 students was split into separate houses, each operating as an independent school with its own principal and subject of focus, including one which has retained the Elizabeth High School name.[3] The school has been accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Secondary Schools since 1978.[4]

As of the 2012-13 school year, the school had an enrollment of 769 students and 53.0 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 14.51:1. There were 447 students (58.1% of enrollment) eligible for free lunch and 153 (19.9% of students) eligible for reduced-cost lunch.[2]

Awards, recognition and rankings[edit]

In its 2013 report on "America's Best High Schools", The Daily Beast ranked the school 320th in the nation among participating public high schools and 25th among schools in New Jersey.[5] The school was ranked 217th in the nation and 18th in New Jersey on the list of "America's Best High Schools 2012" prepared by The Daily Beast / Newsweek, with rankings based primarily on graduation rate, matriculation rate for college and number of Advanced Placement / International Baccalaureate courses taken per student, with lesser factors based on average scores on the SAT / ACT, average AP/IB scores and the number of AP/IB courses available to students.[6]

The school was the 119th-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.[7] The school had been ranked 148th in the state of 328 schools in 2012, after being ranked 294th in 2010 out of 322 schools listed based on school statistics prior to the split.[8] The school had been ranked 302nd in 2008 out of 316 schools.[9] The school was ranked 287th in the magazine's September 2006 issue, which surveyed 316 schools across the state.[10]

Following the split, Schooldigger.com ranked the school 21st out of 381 public high schools statewide in its 2011 rankings (a decrease of 8 positions from the 2010 ranking) which were based on the combined percentage of students classified as proficient or above proficient on the mathematics (97.5%) and language arts literacy (100.0%) components of the High School Proficiency Assessment (HSPA).[11]


Battin High School and Thomas Jefferson High School were both closed at the end of the 1976-77 school year, after the Elizabeth High School complex was completed and all of the district's students, male and female, were accommodated at the new four-building facility, ending the city's status as "the only community in the state with separate public high schools for boys and girls". The $29.3 million project included renovations to Thomas Jefferson High School, which was integrated into the new complex. The Battin High School building, together with the four existing junior high schools, was repurposed as a middle school for grades six through eight.[12]

With over 5,279 students, Elizabeth High School had been the largest high school in the nation in terms of student population.[13] Prior to 2010, Elizabeth High School occupied eight campuses, also known as houses: The William F. Halsey house, the John E. Dwyer house, the Thomas Jefferson house, the Thomas Edison house, the Sam E. Aboff house, the Alexander Hamilton academy, the Upper academy, and the Lower academy. In 2009, the Elizabeth Board of Education passed the "Transformation Plan", which split-up the houses that made up Elizabeth High School and made each house its own high school. The Upper and Lower academies became the new Elizabeth High School.[3]

Almost half of each graduating class had failed to pass the standard High School Proficiency Assessment and complete required course credits, so they are funneled through a so-called Alternative High School Assessment test. [14] About one in four students who entered the high school dropped out.[15]


Elizabeth High School was composed of the following eight houses (or campuses), plus an administration building, and an indoor sports center:

  • Peter B. Gold Administration Building
  • Thomas Dunn Sports Center
  • William F. Halsey House
  • John Dwyer House
  • Thomas Jefferson House
  • Sam E. Aboff Alternative House
  • Thomas A. Edison Vocational and Technical Academy
  • Upper Academy
  • Lower Academy
  • Alexander Hamilton Preparatory Academy

Main Complex[edit]

The Halsey House, Dwyer House, The Peter B. Gold Administration Building, and Thomas Dunn Sports Center share one large building, forming the Main Complex of Elizabeth High School, most commonly known as "The Main". The Main Complex holds more students, teachers, and administrators than the other houses/campuses in the city. The Main Complex was known as the heart of Elizabeth High School.

The Main Complex is where all the Elizabeth High School extracurricular activities and sports teams are found. The building functions as a hub central as other students from the other Elizabeth High School houses come here during the after school hours. The Main Complex also holds Elizabeth High School's swimming pool where the swim team practices and meets are held. The Main Complex campus is also famous in the student body for holding a unique courtyard, being the only campus in Elizabeth High School to have one accessible to its students.

Thomas Jefferson House[edit]

Located across the street from City Hall and war monuments, Thomas Jefferson House was the school's oldest house. First built in 1928 as an all-boys high school and named for the author of the Declaration of Independence and third president of the United States, Jefferson was now a house of Elizabeth High School and the center for the district's visual and performing arts programs. This house was just a short walk away from The Main Complex campus.

Jefferson specializes teaching its students in visual arts, such as drawing, painting, and creative crafts; as well as performing arts such as dance, acting, and singing. And also extra subjects, including creative writing.

Thomas A. Edison Academy For Career & Technical Education[edit]

Thomas A. Edison Academy For Career & Technical Education was originally built as Thomas Edison High School in 1935, and the last graduating class of the high school was in 1987. Named for the great inventor who worked on many of his major contributions to the scientific and commercial world right here in New Jersey. The Thomas A. Edison Academy For Career & Technical Education was the center for vocational and technical education in the city.

Williams Field, which holds the school's football field and outdoor track and field, is adjacent to the Thomas A. Edison Academy.

Sam E. Aboff Alternative House/Halsey Academy of Finance (AOF)[edit]

The Sam E. Aboff Alternative House was the Elizabeth High School's smallest house in terms of both population and area. It was home to troublesome students and students who are excessively absent and/or tardy. It was located less than 100 yards from the Main Complex.

In 2009, each Elizabeth High School "House" was reformed into its own high school academy. The Sam E. Aboff House became the Halsey Academy of Finance (AOF), a branch of The Admiral William F. Halsey, Jr. Leadership Academy. AOF is the location of the Halsey Business Leadership Strand. The Halsey Academy of Finance can house a total of 200 students and all four grade levels of Business Leadership students.

Halsey Academy of Finance is part of the National Academy Foundation (NAF). A number of the city’s high schools have gone through the prestigious NAF rigorous development process and received permission to establish NAF academies within their base schools. NAF academies join with local businesses and higher education institutes to prepare students for careers in fields such as technology, engineering, business and finance, and hospitality. The NAF curriculum engages students through a series of career exploration courses, mentorships, internships, and many opportunities for off-campus extended classroom experiences to give the participating students a better idea of the opportunities available to them in terms of further education and career fields. All NAF courses use project-based learning techniques with an emphasis on strengthening literacy. Halsey Academy is fortunate to have been able to establish its own NAF Halsey Academy of Finance on a campus directly across the street from the main Halsey building.[16] [17]

Upper and Lower Academy[edit]

The Upper and Lower Academies were established in 2006 with a curriculum that prepares students for four-year colleges. The Upper Academy building held 10th–12th grade students (upper classmen), while the Lower Academy building holds 9th graders (lower classmen). Students enrolling in these academies are encouraged to take honors and Advanced Placement-level courses. Students are required to wear school uniforms and must maintain at least a 3.0 grade point average to enroll or continue to stay in The Upper and Lower Academies.

In the 2012 "Ranking America's High Schools" issue by The Washington Post, the school was ranked 2nd in New Jersey and 79th nationwide.[18]

Alexander Hamilton Preparatory Academy[edit]

Alexander Hamilton Preparatory Academy sign being placed in early 2008.

Alexander Hamilton Preparatory Academy was the newest house in Elizabeth High School, accommodating lower and upper classmen, bringing a total of eight houses in Elizabeth High School, serving the largest high school population in the United States.

Alexander Hamilton Preparatory Academy integrates a curriculum with the philosophies of the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program.

AVID is a research-based instructional model that encourages students to prepare for and participate in a challenging college preparatory curriculum. In addition to enrolling in honors and AP level courses, students will receive academic support through a specially designed AVID elective taught by AVID-trained instructors. The rigorous curriculum prepares students for four-year colleges. Students are required to wear school uniforms during school hours.

Each student needs to establish and maintain at least a 2.0 Grade point average to enroll or continue to stay in Alexander Hamilton Preparatory Academy.

Alexander Hamilton Preparatory Academy's campus is the farthest one from Elizabeth High School's Main Complex. It is located next to Westfield Avenue, close to the borders of other towns. Hamilton Preparatory is the only house in which students must walk outside to classes. They are held in a small separate one-story adjacent building known as "The Portables", which is only a few yards away from the student cafeteria back door entrance and the main teachers' parking lot.

Hamilton became the 46th best high school in New Jersey by US News in 2012

Transformation plan[edit]

From 1979 to 2009, Elizabeth High School was one big high school composed of eight campuses (or houses). In 2009, the Elizabeth Board of Education passed the "Transformation Plan" that split-up the high school and created six smaller high schools.

  • The Upper Academy and Lower Academy became the new Elizabeth High School
  • The William F. Halsey House became Admiral William F. Halsey, Jr. Leadership Academy
  • The John Dwyer House became John E. Dwyer Technology Academy
  • The Thomas Jefferson House became Thomas Jefferson Arts Academy
  • The Sam E. Aboff Alternative House became part of Admiral William F. Halsey, Jr. Leadership Academy
  • The Thomas A. Edison Vocational and Technical Academy stood the same
  • The Alexander Hamilton Preparatory Academy stood the same

Extracurricular activities[edit]

The Elizabeth High School Marching Band won the USBands State and National 5A Competition in 2011, 2012, and 2013.[19][20] In the 2014 season, the Marching Band moved up from 5A to 5 Open and went undefeated until their streak was snapped placing 4th in the National 5 Open Championship in MetLife Stadium on November 15, 2014. Throughout the week of Super Bowl XLVIII between the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos, the Elizabeth High School Marching Band was invited to perform at Media Day in the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey as well as perform in pre-game festivities at the Super Bowl at MetLife Stadium.


The Elizabeth High School Minutemen compete in the Union County Interscholastic Athletic Conference, following a reorganization of sports leagues in Northern New Jersey by the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association.[21] With 3,896 students in grades 10-12, the school was classified by the NJSIAA for the 2014-15 school year as North II, Group IV for most athletic competition purposes, which included schools with an enrollment of 1,087 to 3,896 students in that grade range.[22] Prior to the 2010 reorganization, the school had competed in the Watchung Conference, which consisted of public and private high schools in Essex County, Hudson County and Union County in northern New Jersey.[23]

The football team won the North II Group IV state sectional championships in 1981, 1988–89, 1997, 1999-2000, 2006, and the North II Group V state sectional championships in 2012.[24] The football team won the 2006 North II, Group IV sectional championship, defeating Phillipsburg High School, 14-9.[25] The team also took the 1999 North II, Group IV sectional championship with a 26-14 win over Montclair High School.[26]

The boys basketball team won the 2003 North II, Group IV title, topping Linden High School 77-72 in the final.[27]

The Elizabeth High School girls rugby team won the title of Northeast Regional Champions in June 2008. They went on to become the 7th-ranked Girls U-19 rugby team in the nation. The team only formed in 2006.[citation needed]

Elizabeth High School Boys Varsity Soccer, 2008 New Jersey State Champions.
Fall Sports Winter Sports Spring Sports
Football (Boys) Indoor Track (Boys and Girls) Outdoor Track (Boys and Girls)
Soccer (Boys and Girls) Basketball (Boys and Girls) Baseball (Boys)
Volleyball (Girls) Wrestling (Boys) Softball (Girls)
Tennis (Girls) Swimming (Boys and Girls) Tennis (Boys)
Cross Country (Boys and Girls) Bowling (Boys and Girls) Golf (Boys and Girls)
Gymnastics (Boys and Girls) Rugby (Girls)
Marching Band (Boys and Girls)

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ Administration, Elizabeth High School. Accessed June 22, 2011.
  2. ^ a b c d School Data for Elizabeth High School, National Center for Education Statistics. Accessed March 18, 2015.
  3. ^ a b Kwoh, Leslie. "Elizabeth High School to split into six different schools in September", The Star-Ledger, January 15, 2009. Accessed June 22, 2011. "Elizabeth High School's 5,300 students will be divided into six schools in September to alleviate overcrowding in the biggest school in New Jersey."
  4. ^ Elizabeth High School, Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Secondary Schools. Accessed July 22, 2011.
  5. ^ Streib, Lauren. "America's Best High Schools", The Daily Beast, May 6, 2013. Accessed May 8, 2013.
  6. ^ Staff. "America's Best High Schools 2012", The Daily Beast / Newsweek, May 20, 2012. Accessed May 23, 2012.
  7. ^ Staff. "Top Schools Alphabetical List 2014", New Jersey Monthly, September 2, 2014. Accessed September 5, 2014.
  8. ^ Staff. "The Top New Jersey High Schools: Alphabetical", New Jersey Monthly, August 16, 2012. Accessed September 11, 2012.
  9. ^ Staff. "2010 Top High Schools", New Jersey Monthly, August 16, 2010. Accessed June 22, 2011.
  10. ^ "Top New Jersey High Schools 2008: By Rank", New Jersey Monthly, September 2008, posted August 7, 2008. Accessed August 19, 2008.
  11. ^ New Jersey High School Rankings: 11th Grade HSPA Language Arts Literacy & HSPA Math 2010-2011, Schooldigger.com. Accessed February 23, 2012.
  12. ^ Horowitz, Ben. "Elizabeth Awaits Coed High School", The New York Times, July 10, 1977. Accessed December 4, 2011. "ELIZABETH'S 48-year role as the only community in the state with separate public high schools for boys and girls will end in September with the opening of a new four-building complex at the corner of South Pearl and South Streets."
  13. ^ Golson, Jennifer. "This School Could Be a City; A diverse community with its own supermarket, beauty salon and auto repair service, Elizabeth High, the nation's largest, struggles to improve in an imperfect world", The Star-Ledger, June 25, 2006, copied at the Elizabeth Public Schools website, backed up by the Internet Archive as of February 5, 2009. Accessed September 11, 2012.
  14. ^ "N.J. high school seniors struggle with alternative graduation test", NewJerseyNewsroom.com, March 28, 2011. Accessed December 15, 2011.
  15. ^ "Elizabeth High School to split" The Star-Ledger, January 15, 2009. Accessed December 15, 2011.
  16. ^ http://halsey.epsnj.org/pages/Admiral_William_F__Halsey_Jr__/Contents/Finance_Academy
  17. ^ http://www.epsnj.org/pages/Elizabeth_Public_Schools
  18. ^ Mathews, Jay. "The High School Challenge 2011: Elizabeth High School", The Washington Post. Accessed June 19, 2012.
  19. ^ Staff. "Elizabeth H.S. Marching Band successfully defends state and national championship titles", Suburban News, November 15, 2012. Accessed September 23, 2014. "The Elizabeth High School (EHS) Marching Band brilliantly capped off another undefeated season by winning the US Bands (formerly known as USSBA) Group 5A National Championship, as well as the US Bands Group 5A State Championship. Winning both the state and national titles for the second year in a row reaffirms that the EHS Marching Band ranks as one of the best in New Jersey, and one of the best in America."
  20. ^ Staff. "Elizabeth H.S. Marching Band wins state and national championship titles", Suburban News, November 5, 2013. Accessed November 18, 2014. "The Elizabeth High School (EHS) Marching Band brilliantly capped off yet another undefeated season by winning the U.S. Bands Group 5A National Championship, as well as the US Bands Group 5A State Championship. Winning both the state and national titles for the third year in a row reaffirms that the EHS Marching Band ranks as one of the best in New Jersey, and one of the best in America."
  21. ^ League Memberships – 2014-2015, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed September 23, 2014.
  22. ^ 2014-2015 Public Schools Group Classification: ShopRite Cup–Basketball–Baseball–Softball for North II, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association, as of July 8, 2014. Accessed September 23, 2014.
  23. ^ http://web.archive.org/web/20110207103530/http://watchungconference.com/ Home Page], Watchung Conference, backed up by the Internet Archive as of February 7, 2011. Accessed December 16, 2014.
  24. ^ Goldberg, Jeff. N.J.S.I.A.A. FOOTBALL PLAYOFF CHAMPIONS, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed December 4, 2011.
  25. ^ 2006 Football Tournament - North II, Group IV, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed May 27, 2007.
  26. ^ North II, Group IV, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed May 26, 2007.
  27. ^ 2003 Boys Basketball - North II, Group IV, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed May 26, 2007.
  28. ^ Todd Bowles, Database Football. Accessed September 19, 2007.
  29. ^ Kratch, James. "New Jets head coach Todd Bowles rocked the tux in high school yearbook photo", NJ Advance Media for NJ.com, January 14, 2015. Accessed March 18, 2015. "The Jets have continued the Jersey theme by hiring Todd Bowles, an 1981 Elizabeth High graduate, as their new head coach."
  30. ^ Harris, Doug. "Dateline: The World; Elizabeth Native, NJ (Newton Jones) Burkett of WABC News, writes the 'first draft of history'", Trinitas Hospital Healthy Edge, Fall 2008. Accessed January 23, 2015. "[Q] As a native of Elizabeth, what keeps the City close to your heart? [A] ...I was in the Elizabeth High School graduating class of 1980. I lived in Elizabeth for the first 18 years of my life until I left to go to Columbia University, but my parents still live there."
  31. ^ Rodney Carter, database Football. Accessed September 19, 2007.
  32. ^ Alcides Catanho profile, database Football. Accessed June 10, 2007.
  33. ^ Staff. "Chapman Scores 5 Touchdowns As Jefferson Subdues Cranford", The New York Times, November 29, 1968. Accessed December 4, 2011. "Gil Chapman, Thomas Jefferson sophomore halfback, scored five touchdowns as Jefferson erased a 14-0 deficit to defeat Cranford, 32-21, today."
  34. ^ Chris Gatling profile, Basketball Reference.
  35. ^ Player Bio: Khaseem Greene, Chicago Bears. Accessed January 23, 2015. "PERSONAL: Standout safety at Elizabeth High School for coach Chet Parlavecchio"
  36. ^ Coffey, Wayne. "Make Room for Daddy; Horace Jenkins, 26, goes from William Paterson to possible NBA first-round pick", New York Daily News, April 22, 2001. Accessed March 1, 2008. "It is a prodigious jump, even for someone with a 44-inch vertical leap. It is even more impressive, considering that Jenkins never played his senior year at Elizabeth High School"
  37. ^ Sargeant, Keith. "Pitching Rice", Home News Tribune, September 26, 2006. Accessed March 20, 2011. "The lone New Jersey native on South Florida's roster is Jerome Murphy, a 2005 Elizabeth High School graduate."
  38. ^ Sargeant, Keith. "Former Rutgers football star Raheem Orr looking to inspire future Scarlet Knights", NJ Advance Media, for NJ.com, August 22, 2014. Accessed January 23, 2015. "He arrived here from Elizabeth High School in 1999, regarded as an All-State linebacker and the most decorated New Jersey recruit signed in the Terry Shea era."
  39. ^ Luther Wright profile, Basketball Reference. Accessed June 15, 2007.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°39′36″N 74°12′50″W / 40.660085°N 74.21391°W / 40.660085; -74.21391