Academy for Mathematics, Science, and Engineering

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Academy for Math, Science, and Engineering
Academy for Math, Science, and Engineering is located in Morris County, New Jersey
Academy for Math, Science, and Engineering
Academy for Math, Science, and Engineering
Academy for Math, Science, and Engineering is located in New Jersey
Academy for Math, Science, and Engineering
Academy for Math, Science, and Engineering
Academy for Math, Science, and Engineering is located in the US
Academy for Math, Science, and Engineering
Academy for Math, Science, and Engineering
520 West Main Street
Rockaway, NJ 07866
United States
Coordinates 40°53′27″N 74°31′45″W / 40.8908°N 74.5292°W / 40.8908; -74.5292Coordinates: 40°53′27″N 74°31′45″W / 40.8908°N 74.5292°W / 40.8908; -74.5292
Type Magnet public high school
School district Morris County Vocational School District
Superintendent Jim Jencarelli
CEEB code 310274
Director Cheryl Giordano
Principal Todd Toriello
Faculty N/A FTEs[1]
Grades 9-12
Enrollment 97 (as of 2014-15)[1]
Student to teacher ratio N/A[1]
Color(s)      Green

The Academy for Mathematics, Science, and Engineering is a highly prestigious four-year magnet public high school program intended to prepare students for STEM careers. Located in Morris County, New Jersey, it is a joint endeavor between the Morris County School of Technology and the Morris Hills Regional District. It is one of twelve vocational academies under the Morris County Vocational School District and housed on the campus of Morris Hills High School in Rockaway, New Jersey.[2]

Organizations involved with the Academy include New Jersey Institute of Technology, County College of Morris, The Research & Development Council of New Jersey, Verizon, and the Morris / Sussex / Warren Workforce Investment Board. Admission to the Academy is extremely competitive; prior to 2017, twenty-six students were admitted to each class. As of the 2014-15 school year, the school had an enrollment of 97 students.[1] However, starting with the class of 2021, the class size was increased to 48 students.


The Academy for Math, Science, and Engineering was created along with three other Academies by the Morris County School of Technology; 2015-16 marks the sixteenth year of the school's existence.[citation needed]

Awards, recognition and rankings[edit] ranked the school as one of 16 schools tied for first out of 381 public high schools statewide in its 2011 rankings (the school was not included in the 2010 ranking) 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).[3]

In 2005-06, the Academy averaged a 1982 combined SAT score, third highest of all public high schools statewide. The Academy was also tied for highest in SAT Mathematics (695).[4]

In 2015, the Academy was ranked 3rd in the nation by Newsweek, with an average SAT score of 2136, and an average AP score of 4.31.[5] The Class of 2016 had an average SAT score of 2252.[6]

The Academy was ranked as the second-best high school in America in Newsweek's 2016 "America's Top High Schools" ranking,[7] a minor bump from Newsweek's 2015 ranking in which it was ranked 3rd best high school in America.[5]


The Academy is located on the campus of Morris Hills High School, unlike the other academies within the Morris County Vocational School District, which are held on the Denville Township campus. The Morris Hills campus includes the Dr. James J. McNasby Technology Center, a small, modern building on the Morris Hills campus separate from the primary building that provides facilities for automotive shop, computer aided design lab (including a 3D printer), and a graphics workshop (including large plotters and screen printers). Students enrolled in the Academy attend classes in both buildings; the joint nature of the program allows students to enjoy normal interaction with Morris Hills' public high school students while engaging in a highly rigorous academic program.


As part of the selection process, students must pass a rigorous examination and interview process to be accepted. All potential applicants take an entrance exam in November to January. If they pass the first round of admissions, the applicant is called in for a group interview. Admissions is based on entrance exam scores, standardized test results (seventh grade NJ ASK results), teacher recommendations, and the interview. Once admitted, the student is required to attend a two-week summer program. The program runs from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm and transportation is not provided. Students spend time in CAD, Math Analysis I, AP Physics 1, and Humanities classes.

All eighth grade students in Morris County are eligible to take the admissions test – the Accuplacer exam, offered by the College Board – after acquiring specific teacher recommendations. Students must have completed or be enrolled in an Algebra 1 course at their middle school. Because the Academy for Mathematics, Science, and Engineering is typically the most popular academy in terms of student interest as compared to the other academies offered by the Morris County Vocational School District, the selection process is thus particularly competitive. The admissions rate for the 2015-2016 school year was 16.4%.[8]

Because of the workload and challenge of the curriculum, no Academy class has graduated with the full twenty-six members with which it originally started. The first graduating class in 2004, for example began with 24 students but only graduated 12. The second fared slightly better, beginning with 21 students and graduating 14 students. The 2009 graduating class lost 8 members in the first 2 quarters of their freshman year, another at the end of their sophomore year, and another before the start of their senior, year leaving it as the second-smallest class with 13 students. Recent classes have been slowly improving; the 2010 graduating class graduated 15, and the 2013 class graduated 21. The 2017 class is on track to become the first class to graduate all 26 members.


Although it is not allowed for there to be an activity that only Academy students can participate in, Academy students are responsible for founding many of Morris Hills High School's activities, such as the Astronomy Club which was formed in 2006 by the members of the class of 2009. There is also an Academy Physics club which consists of the five Freshman academy students with the highest first marking period average. Members of the Academy Class of 2013 established the Morris Hills chapter of the Junior State of America, and members of the Academy Class of 2017 established the Morris Hills chapter of the Science Olympiad. Since some clubs meet from 7:30 to 8:00, there may be problems in attending the meetings due to the extended school day for Academy students (which begins at 7:18 to allow for the Z-Block course, versus the 8:05 time for Morris Hills Students).

Students, if they wish, can play sports with other students in Morris Hills High School.


Academy students must accumulate 170 credits to graduate, 50 credits more than the New Jersey state graduation requirement and 30 credits more than Morris Hills High School graduation requirement. In doing so, students must meet multiple sets of requirements imposed by the state, the school district, and the Academy itself.

State requirements include physical education (three quarters physical education and one quarter of health annually), one year of a foreign language, one year of fine arts, one year of business and financial literacy, and one computer proficiency class. In practice, the business requirement is fulfilled by the mandatory Academy Business Strategies course, the computer requirement is fulfilled by the mandatory CAD courses, and most students take three or four years of a language in accordance with the recommendations of highly selective universities. The only remaining requirements that students must pay attention to is the visual and performing arts requirement. The art requirement can be fulfilled through the Morris Hills offerings consisting of Chorus, Band, String Ensemble, Music Appreciation, Fundamentals of Music 1, AP Music Theory, Foundation Art, Drawing and Painting, Digital Art and Design, AP Studio Art, and AP Art History, among others.

Academy course requirements are listed below. Notably, students go through the science curriculum by taking physics, then chemistry, then biology, in an approach known as "Physics First" (see section below). Students must take multiple science and technology courses, such as computer aided drafting and engineering. Students must also take four years of mathematics instead of three, one year more than the state and district requirement.

The Academy operates on a quarterly grading system and uses a 100-point numerical scale. Grade point averages are thus based out of 100 rather than the traditional 4.0 used by many other high schools. Honors courses receive 5 extra points when factored into the GPA calculation, and Advanced Placement courses receive 10 extra points when factored into the GPA calculation.[8]

Academy students are not ranked due to the competitiveness of the program and the small class size.

Curriculum by Year[edit]

All courses denoted "Academy" are taught at the honors level and are taught to only students of the Academy. These courses are often more rigorous than their counterparts taught to Morris Hills students. All courses denoted "AP" represent courses under the Advanced Placement program offered by the College Board. These courses are taught to a mixed group of students from both the Academy and Morris Hills, with the notable of exception of freshman year AP Physics 1.

Freshman Year[edit]

Freshmen who enter the Academy already having taken a geometry course in middle school are eligible to place out of the course through an end-of-course exam. Students who receive a passing score take an additional elective course. Some students choose to pursue an AP course, such as AP Computer Science Principles, as this additional elective (see list below).

Sophomore Year[edit]

  • Academy Mathematical Analysis II (Pre-calculus)
  • Academy Fundamentals of Engineering (CAD 2)
  • Academy Chemistry H
  • Academy Science Inquiry and Technology I H
  • in addition to other required courses such as English, World History etc.

Junior Year[edit]

Senior Year[edit]

Advanced Placement offerings[edit]

Students can choose from a comprehensive list of 25 Advanced Placement courses offered by Morris Hills High School.[9] While the only course in which students must enroll in order to graduate is AP Physics 1, nearly all students take advantage of other Advanced Placement offerings during their sophomore, junior, and senior years.

In practice, however, Academy students have extremely limited schedules and very few available blocks to take electives of their choice, largely due to the numerous core science and technology classes required as part of the program. Typically, students only have enough space in their schedules to take one AP course sophomore year, four during their junior year, and three or four during their senior year, depending on each student's specific situation in regards to the arts requirement, desire to continue with a foreign language, and placement out of freshman year Geometry.

Morris Hills High School offers students the option to take any Advanced Placement exam offered by the College Board, even those for which there is not a corresponding course at the school. Some students choose to self-study courses during the school year and take the exam in May to potentially receive college credit.

List of AP courses available[edit]

(asterisk denotes courses that can usually fit into Academy students' schedules)

  • AP Art History
  • AP Biology*
  • AP Calculus AB*
  • AP Calculus BC*
  • AP Chemistry*
  • AP Computer Science A*
  • AP Computer Science Principles
  • AP Economics*
  • AP English Language and Composition*
  • AP English Literature and Composition*
  • AP Environmental Science
  • AP European History
  • AP French Language and Culture
  • AP US Government and Politics
  • AP Human Geography
  • AP Music Theory
  • AP Physics 1*
  • AP Physics C*
  • AP Psychology*
  • AP Spanish Language
  • AP Statistics*
  • AP Studio Art: 2D Design
  • AP Studio Art: 3D Design
  • AP Studio Art: Drawing
  • AP US History*

Physics First[edit]

The Academy curriculum employs the Physics First approach, in which freshmen take an introductory physics course (AP Physics 1) rather than the traditional biology course offered to most high school freshmen. The primary difficulty with the implementation of Physics First in most high school curricula lies within the fact that most high school freshmen lack the required Algebra 1 background prior to beginning the introductory physics course, but since all Academy students are required to enter freshman year having completed an Algebra I course, the Academy does not encounter this issue. The basic trigonometry – including the three trigonometric functions – necessary in physics is also taught to students at the beginning of their Geometry course. Further topics in trigonometry – including graphs of trigonometric functions – are rearranged to be taught earlier in the Algebra II/Pre-Calculus curriculum through special cooperation between the Physics and Mathematical Analysis instructors. The Physics First approach emphasizes concepts in Physics in the instruction of Chemistry and concepts of Chemistry in the instruction of Biology.

Academy students may elect to study AP Physics C (both the Mechanics and Electricity & Magnetism components of the course) as well as Advanced Topics in Physics later during their high school careers. These courses are offered in conjunction with Morris Hills High School. Note that there is no opportunity for students to take AP Physics 2, except through self-study.

Senior Year Internship[edit]

The senior year internship is a mandatory component of the Academy curriculum and students cannot graduate without having completed one (or more internship) totaling to one hundred hours. The internship must be approved by the board of education of the Morris County Vocational School District and must be demonstrably related to the fields of mathematics, science, and engineering.

College credit[edit]

Nearly all Academy students earn college credits while in high school. Most of these credits are earned through high scores achieved on Advanced Placement exams, as well as courses approved by Seton Hall University (including the sophomore year Academy Chemistry course) or the New Jersey Institute of Technology. All Academy graduates are awarded an official NJIT transcript listing credits earned through the articulation agreement.


  1. ^ a b c d School data for Academy For Mathematics Science And Engineering, National Center for Education Statistics. Accessed December 12, 2016.
  2. ^ Academy for Mathematics, Science, and Engineering 2015 Report Card narrative, New Jersey Department of Education. Accessed June 3, 2016. "The Academy is a collaborative effort between Morris County Vocational School District and Morris Hills Regional School District and is located at Morris Hills High School in Rockaway, New Jersey."
  3. ^ New Jersey High School Rankings: 11th Grade HSPA Language Arts Literacy & HSPA Math 2010-2011, Accessed February 22, 2012.
  4. ^ 2005-06 School Test Score Rankings, The Star-Ledger. Accessed June 19, 2007.
  5. ^ a b "America's Top High Schools 2015". 2015-08-19. Retrieved 2016-08-16. 
  6. ^ High School Profile 2015-2016, The Academy for Mathematics, Science, and Engineering. Accessed January 6, 2017.
  7. ^ "America's Top High Schools 2016". 2016-08-11. Retrieved 2016-08-16. 
  8. ^ a b "School Profile – Academy for Math, Science, and Engineering" (PDF). Morris Hills High School. Retrieved 16 Aug 2016. 
  9. ^ "Morris Hills Regional District Program of Studies" (PDF). Morris Hills Regional District. 2016. Retrieved 16 Aug 2016. 

External links[edit]