Dr. Ronald E. McNair Academic High School

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Dr. Ronald E. McNair Academic High School
McNair Acad HS JC jeh.jpg
123 Coles Street
Jersey City, NJ 07302
Type Magnet Public high school
Established 1976
School district Jersey City Public Schools
Principal Kathleen McCabe
Vice principal Kristen Trabona
Faculty 50.0 (on FTE basis)[1]
Grades 9 - 12
Enrollment 707 (as of 2013-14)[1]
Student to teacher ratio 14.1:1[1]
Color(s)      Brown and
Athletics conference Hudson County Interscholastic League
Nickname Cougars
Publication Cougar Chronicle

Dr. Ronald E. McNair Academic High School (often dubbed Academic previous to its dedication, or as McNair) is a Magnet public high school located at 123 Coles Street in Jersey City, in Hudson County, New Jersey, United States. The school is named in memory of Dr. Ronald E. McNair, the astronaut and scientist who died in the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. McNair is part of the Jersey City Public Schools district. The school has been accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Secondary Schools since 1979.[2]

As of the 2013-14 school year, the school had an enrollment of 707 students and 50.0 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 14.1:1. There were 244 students (34.5% of enrollment) eligible for free lunch and 88 (12.4% of students) eligible for reduced-cost lunch.[1]

The school offers a wide selection of Advanced Placement (AP) Courses, in addition to a standard curriculum that contains courses at the Honors level. 21 AP courses were offered in 2010, with 897 students taking exams and 83.8% of those taking the exams scoring 3 or higher, more than quadruple the statewide average.[3] Most electives are regular, unweighted classes. From 2008 to 2010, 100% of the class has graduated and in 2010 a full 100% of the student body indicated that they planned to attend a four-year college.[3]


The school originally opened as Academic High School in 1976 on 70 Sip Avenue in Jersey City. The school also rented a space in a Ukrainian building at 16 Bentley Ave on Bergen Avenue. The school's name was also changed to honor the late astronaut in 1986. In 1997 the school moved to its new location on 123 Coles Street due to safety and spacing reasons.

Beginning in the 2004-05 school year, the incoming class size was increased from 140 students to 200.

In 2004, McNair Academic, the school's library was renamed in honor of teacher Vincent Russo. In May 2009, McNair lost Dr. Sara Solberg, a teacher of English, French, Shakespeare, and Mythology. The school opened a new stage in the Winter of 2010 named 'Sara's Stage' in her honor.


The school has been highly praised. Notable achievements include:

  • During the 2008-09 school year, Dr. Ronald E. McNair Academic High School was recognized with the Blue Ribbon School Award of Excellence by the United States Department of Education,[4] the highest award an American school can receive.[5][6]
  • In its 2013 report on "America's Best High Schools", The Daily Beast ranked the school 61st in the nation among participating public high schools and 4th among schools in New Jersey.[7]
  • In the 2011 "Ranking America's High Schools" issue by The Washington Post, the school was ranked 1st in New Jersey and 52nd nationwide.[8]
  • 26th place in U.S. News & World Report's November 29, 2007 issue listing the Best High Schools in the United States. McNair Academic High School was also named a Gold Medal School by U.S. News & World Report for making the Top 100 list.
  • The school was ranked 85th in Newsweek's 2009 ranking of the top 1,500 high schools in the United States and was the top ranked school in New Jersey, with 3.993 AP tests taken in 2008 per graduating senior and 80% of all graduating seniors passing at least one AP exam.[9] The school was ranked 27th place in Newsweek's May 22, 2007, issue listing the Top Public High Schools in the United States; the school was ranked in 83rd place in the 2006 survey and 15th in the 2005 rankings.[10]
  • The title of "Star School" during the 2004-05 school year by the New Jersey Department of Education—the highest honor that a New Jersey school can achieve.[11]
  • For the 2005-06 school year, the school was one of 22 schools statewide selected as Governor’s School of Excellence Winners, an award given to schools that have demonstrated significant improvement over the previous two academic years.[12]
  • The school was the 62nd-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.[13] The school had been ranked 2nd in the state of 328 schools in 2012, after also being ranked 2nd in 2010 out of 322 schools listed.[14] The magazine ranked the school second in the state in its 2008 report.[15] The school was ranked 1st in the magazine's 2006 rankings out of 316 schools included across the state.[16]
  • On November 30, 2007, McNair Academic was featured on News 12 New Jersey having ranked among the top 100 public high schools in the country.
  • Schooldigger.com ranked the school as one of 16 schools tied for first out of 381 public high schools statewide in its 2011 rankings (an increase of 236 positions from the 2010 rank) which were based on the combined percentage of students classified as proficient or above proficient on the language arts literacy (100.0%) and mathematics (100.0%) components of the High School Proficiency Assessment (HSPA).[17]
  • In 2016, McNair Academic was rated 3rd best high school in the state of New Jersey, 165th best STEM high school and 48th best high school in the country by U.S. News & World Report.[18]


General admittance is based on a consensus of PSAT scores, academic performance from the 6th through 8th grades, extracurricular activities, and teacher recommendations. With the primary goal of diversity through affirmative action, the school's enrollment is based on a quota of 25% White, 25% Black, 25% Hispanic, and 25% Other (mostly Asian).[19]

The school enforces a business-type dress code (though not a school uniform) for both students and teachers.[20] The basic protocols dictate the following:

  • Sneakers and shorts are permitted only in physical education classes.
  • Boys are required to wear slacks, button-down collared shirt, and tie for the entire school year, complemented by a suit jacket. A V-neck sweater during the autumn and winter seasons is permissible.
  • Females are advised to wear appropriate, unrevealing business attire. Pants or skirts above the knee are not allowed. Open-toe shoes are permitted only for the months of September–October and May–June.

Students are also required to fulfill 50 mandatory community service hours. They must also maintain a final grade of 70 or higher on all of their courses. If a student has a failing final grade in one course, he or she must go to summer school in order to pass the course. If a student receives a failing final grade in two or more courses, he or she cannot re-enroll in the school the following school year, and must instead attend his or her local public or private high school.


The McNair Academic Cougars compete in the Hudson County Interscholastic League, which includes private and parochial high schools in Hudson County and operates under the supervision of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA).[21] With 516 students in grades 10-12, the school was classified by the NJSIAA for the 2014-15 school year as North II, Group II for most athletic competition purposes, which included schools with an enrollment of 493 to 732 students in that grade range.[22]

The Girls Cross Country team has won the North II Group I state sectional championships in 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2012.[23]

The Boys Cross Country team has won the North II Group I state sectional championships 2011 and 2012.[23]

The Girls Spring Track & Field team has won North II Group I state sectional championships in 1999 and 2007.[24]

The Boys Spring Track & Field team won the North II Group I state sectional championships in 2007.[24]

Junior class member Leslie Njoku won the 2006 state All Group (aka NJ Meet of Champions) 400m hurdle title with a time of 59.48[25] and won the 400m Hurdle title at the Nike Outdoor Nationals with a time of 59.28.[26]

School programs[edit]

Beyond McNair's own internal visual and performing arts programs, McNair also works closely with the Visual and Performing Arts program at the Henry Snyder High School, where McNair students may choose to apply into four-year arts intensives, and Rutgers University, where students take ITV courses.

Every year McNair's Science Research students face stiff competition at the various levels of competition, such as Hudson County Science Fair, Junior Science and Humanities Competition, Siemens Westinghouse, and the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.


Core members of the school's administration are:[27]

  • Kathleen McCabe, Principal
  • Kristen Trabona, Vice Principal


  1. ^ a b c d Data for Dr Ronald Mc Nair Acad High School, National Center for Education Statistics. Accessed November 7, 2015.
  2. ^ Dr. Ronald E. McNair Academic High School, Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Secondary Schools. Accessed June 22, 2011.
  3. ^ a b Dr. Ronald E. McNair Academic High School 2010 School Report Card[permanent dead link], New Jersey Department of Education. Accessed June 22, 2011.
  4. ^ U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon Schools Program: 2008 Schools, United States Department of Education. Accessed September 23, 2008.
  5. ^ "CIBA cited as one of the best by Education Department", Journal Inquirer, November 16, 2006. "The Blue Ribbon award is given only to schools that reach the top 10 percent of their state's testing scores over several years or show significant gains in student achievement. It is considered the highest honor a school can achieve."
  6. ^ "Viers Mill School Wins Blue Ribbon; School Scored High on Statewide Test", The Washington Post. September 29, 2005. "For their accomplishments, all three schools this month earned the status of Blue Ribbon School, the highest honor the U.S. Education Department can bestow upon a school."
  7. ^ Streib, Lauren. "America's Best High Schools", The Daily Beast, May 6, 2013. Accessed May 8, 2013.
  8. ^ Mathews, Jay. "The High School Challenge 2011: Dr. Ronald E. McNair Academic High School", The Washington Post. Accessed July 22, 2011.
  9. ^ Staff. "The Top of the Class: The complete list of the 1,500 top U.S. high schools", Newsweek, June 8, 2009. Accessed June 10, 2009.
  10. ^ "The Top of the Class: The complete list of the 1,200 top U.S. schools" Archived May 23, 2007, at the Wayback Machine., Newsweek, May 22, 2007. Accessed May 24, 2007.
  11. ^ New Jersey Department of Education Star School Award recipients, accessed May 23, 2006
  12. ^ Snapshots of 2005 Governor’s School of Excellence Winners Archived August 28, 2006, at the Wayback Machine., accessed July 25, 2006.
  13. ^ Staff. "Top Schools Alphabetical List 2014", New Jersey Monthly, September 2, 2014. Accessed September 5, 2014.
  14. ^ Staff. "The Top New Jersey High Schools: Alphabetical", New Jersey Monthly, August 16, 2012. Accessed October 3, 2012.
  15. ^ Staff. "2010 Top High Schools", New Jersey Monthly, September 2010. Accessed September 16, 2010.
  16. ^ "Top New Jersey High Schools 2008: By Rank", New Jersey Monthly, September 2008, posted August 7, 2008. Accessed August 19, 2008.
  17. ^ New Jersey High School Rankings: 11th Grade HSPA Language Arts Literacy & HSPA Math 2010-2011, Schooldigger.com. Accessed February 20, 2012.
  18. ^ Staff. "2016 Best High Schools Rankings - New Jersey High Schools", U.S. News & World Report. Accessed June 30, 2016.
  19. ^ School profile Archived July 26, 2011, at the Wayback Machine., Dr. Ronald E. McNair Academic High School. Accessed February 28, 2011. "Maintaining a balanced student body of 25% African-American, 25% Caucasian, 25% Hispanic, and 25% representing other groups, McNair Academic is a unique multicultural tapestry."
  20. ^ Gacos, Katherine. "Jersey City Public Schools". www.jcboe.org. Retrieved 2016-02-28. 
  21. ^ League Memberships – 2014-2015 Archived September 10, 2014, at the Wayback Machine., New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed October 3, 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 October 3, 2014.
  23. ^ a b Grant, Ed. Sectional Cross Country Championships, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed June 30, 2016.
  24. ^ a b Spring Track and Field Sectional Championship History, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed June 30, 2016.
  25. ^ 2006 NJSIAA/STAR-LEDGER OUTDOOR TRACK & FIELDSTATE CHAMPIONSHIPS- 6/7/2006, Morris County Track Association. Accessed June 30, 2016.
  26. ^ Nike Outdoor Nationals - 6/15/2006 to 6/17/2006, MileSplit.com. Accessed June 30, 2016.
  27. ^ Home Page, McNair Academic High School. Accessed November 7, 2015.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°43′35″N 74°02′50″W / 40.726467°N 74.047095°W / 40.726467; -74.047095