Northern Highlands Regional High School
|Northern Highlands Regional High School|
|Type and location|
|Address||298 Hillside Avenue
Allendale, NJ 07401
|Superintendent||John J. Petrelli|
|Business administrator||James Davis|
|Students and staff|
|Enrollment||1,328 (as of 2012-13)|
|District Factor Group||J|
|Northern Highlands Regional High School|
|Type||Public high school|
|School district||Northern Highlands Regional School District|
|Principal||Joseph J. Occhino|
|Asst. Principal||Michael Koth|
|Grades||9 - 12|
|Athletics conference||Big North Conference|
|Publication||Loch and Quay (literary)|
|Newspaper||The Highland Fling|
Northern Highlands Regional High School (NHRHS) is a regional public high school and school district in Allendale, Bergen County, New Jersey, United States. The school serves students in ninth through twelfth grades from Allendale, Ho-Ho-Kus, Saddle River, and Upper Saddle River. Students from Saddle River have the option of attending either Northern Highlands or Ramsey High School, as part of sending/receiving relationships with the two districts.
As of the 2012-13 school year, the school had an enrollment of 1,328 students and 113.9 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 11.66:1. There were 8 students (0.6% of enrollment) eligible for free lunch and none eligible for reduced-cost lunch.
When District Factor Groups were being used, the district was, and still would be, classified by the New Jersey Department of Education as being in District Factor Group "J", the highest of eight groupings. District Factor Groups organize districts statewide to allow comparison by common socioeconomic characteristics of the local districts. From lowest socioeconomic status to highest, the categories are A, B, CD, DE, FG, GH, I and J.
Northern Highlands Regional High School is accredited by the New Jersey Department of Education.
As of 2012, school elections were shifted from April to the November general election as part of an effort to reduce the costs of a standalone April vote.
In May 1963, voters in Allendale and Upper Saddle River approved a referendum to create Northern Highlands Regional High School, with the expenditure of $3.65 million to build a facility on a 40-acre site, with plans to complete the building in time to start classes in September 1965.
The building, completed at a cost of $4 million, was dedicated in February 1966 and was constructed to handle an expected enrollment of 1,300 students. The facilities included in the original structure included a planetarium and 750-seat auditorium / theater and an FM radio station.
Awards, recognition and rankings
During the 1986-87 school year, Northern Highlands Regional High School was awarded the Blue Ribbon School Award of Excellence by the United States Department of Education, the highest award an American school can receive.
Maryann Woods-Murphy, a Northern Highlands Regional High School Spanish teacher, was awarded the state of New Jersey's highest honor given to a teacher: she was named the New Jersey Teacher of the Year. In her year of recognition, she visited the White House and met President Barack Obama as well as the Vice President, Joe Biden and his wife, Jill Biden.
The school was the 3rd-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. The school had been ranked 22nd in the state of 328 schools in 2012, after being ranked 6th in 2010 out of 322 schools listed. The magazine ranked the school 8th in 2008 out of 316 schools. The school was ranked 7th in the magazine's September 2006 issue, which included 316 schools across the state. Schooldigger.com ranked the school 43rd out of 381 public high schools statewide in its 2011 rankings (a decrease of 29 positions from the 2010 ranking) which were based on the combined percentage of students classified as proficient or above proficient on the mathematics (93.2%) and language arts literacy (97.7%) components of the High School Proficiency Assessment (HSPA).
In the 2011 "Ranking America's High Schools" issue by The Washington Post, the school was ranked 35th in New Jersey and 1,171st nationwide. The school was ranked 1174th nationwide, the 39th-highest in New Jersey, in Newsweek magazine's 2010 rankings of America's Best High Schools. In Newsweek's May 22, 2007 issue, ranking the country's top high schools, Northern Highlands Regional High School was listed in 766th place, the 16th-highest ranked school in New Jersey.
Northern Highlands has a four-day rotating schedule; days are lettered with A through D. Students are scheduled for eight courses, six of which meet daily. This schedule provides longer segments of time (57 minute periods) to engage in higher-order thinking and performance-based learning. To receive a Northern Highlands Regional High School diploma, all students must pass the New Jersey High School Proficiency Assessment (HSPA), and earn a minimum of 125 credits including: four years of English and a Freshman Rhetoric course for one semester; one year of World History / Cultures; two years of United States History; three years of Mathematics; three years of Science; two years of World Languages; two years of Career Education & Consumer, Family, and Life Skills, one semester of which is Contemporary Business Technology, one semester of a Financial Literacy course; two years of Visual and Performing Arts; and a year of Physical Education and/or Health for each year a student is in attendance at Northern Highlands.
Elective offerings in Visual and Performing Arts include: all art and music classes, Acting I, Actors’ Workshop, Creative Writing I and II, Journalism, TV Production I and II, and Film Studies. Semester courses include: Digital Multimedia and Web Page Design, as well as Mass Communications, Introduction to TV and Film, and Public Speaking. Elective offerings in Family and Life Skills include: Business, Computer classes, Industrial Technology, Family and Consumer Sciences, Music and Fine Arts. Semester courses include Digital Multimedia and Web Page Design which may apply either to Visual and Performing Arts requirements OR Family and Life Skills, and Personal Finance and Investment, Entrepreneurship, Financial Management and Accounting, and Sports and Entertainment Marketing. Engineering courses are offered and rapidly growing in popularity.
Presently, there are 37 Honors courses — two of which are Syracuse University Honors Project Advance classes in Forensic Science and Writing Studio I/ Reading Interpretation — and 19 Advanced Placement courses, in AP English Language and Composition, AP English Literature and Composition, AP United States History, AP European History, AP Calculus AB, AP Calculus BC, AP Statistics, AP Biology, AP Chemistry, AP Physics, AP French Language, AP Spanish Language, AP Latin Literature, AP Macroeconomics, AP Art History, AP Studio Art, AP United States Government and Politics, AP Computer Science and AP Music Theory. AP courses are available to juniors and seniors and sophomores, although sophomores are only allowed one. Although very few Highlanders take a study, those students who take two lab sciences must have a study.
The school newspaper is called The Highland Fling.
The Northern Highlands Regiment, the high school marching band under the direction of Theodora Sotiropoulos, is a top program in the region, having won the USSBA New Jersey Division 4A State Championship in 2004 and 2010 as well as the Group 3A State and National Championships in 2012. They also won the Group 4A National Championship in 2013 and 2014.
The Northern Highlands Regional High School Highlanders compete in the Big North Conference, following a reorganization of sports leagues in Northern New Jersey by the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA). With 1,013 students in grades 10-12, the school was classified by the NJSIAA for the 2014-15 school year as North I, Group III for most athletic competition purposes, which included schools with an enrollment of 754 to 1,076 students in that grade range. Before the 2010 realignment, the school had previously competed in the North Bergen Interscholastic Athletic League.
Northern Highlands is best known for its football program. The football team won the NJSIAA North I Group III state sectional championship in 1978.
Starting in 1965, Coach Fred Conrad took the lead as Northern Highlands Head football coach. After eight years, Conrad led Highlands to its first state final match. The Scotty Dogs ended up with Highlands' first championship win. Five years later, Conrad brought the Scotty Dogs to their second State championship. Three years afterwards The Scotty Dogs would face Indian Hills High School in the state, losing by a missed field goal (the last time Highlands has gone to the division 3 states). In 1982, Conrad turned over the head coaching job to Carl Mortenson, who led the Highlanders for six seasons. Steve Simonetti then took the reins in 1988. For 19 years, Simonetti coached the Highlanders (changed from Northern Highlands Scotty Dogs). By the time Simonetti retired from coaching in early 2006, 46 of his football players had gone to play in the NCAA. Simonetti was replaced by new head coach Christopher Locurto. In his two seasons as head coach, the team's record is 1-14 after a loss in a homecoming game against Mahwah High School by a score of 35-7 on October 19, 2008. Locurto had a 4-6 record in his 3rd season as the head football coach.
The Northern Highlands men's Track and Field program enjoyed a great deal of success past few years as they were crowned league champions from 2002-06. The men's track team won the League, County and Sectional championships in 2006 led by an incredibly deep distance and field team. The 2006 Track & Field team has produced numerous NCAA athletes. In 2009, Northern Highlands voted the 2006 Mens Track & Field team as the best male team in Highlands history while coming a close 2nd in the best team in history to the 1992 Girls soccer.
The Northern Highlands Ice Hockey Team won the NBIL regular season title and the inaugural NBIL Cup in 2007.
The 2001 girls tennis team won the NJSIAA North I, Group III sectional championship, defeating Ramapo High School, 3-2 in the tournament final. The boys tennis team duplicated the feat that same year, also defeating Ramapo High School by the same three matches to two score in the final.
The 2003 girls tennis team won the NJSIAA North I, Group III sectional championship, defeating Ramapo High School, 3-2 in the tournament final. The 2004 and 2005 teams, repeated the result, winning 4-1 over Ramapo both years.
The girls soccer team won the 2003 sectional championship over Northern Valley Regional High School at Old Tappan by a 2-1 score.
The Northern Highlands' field hockey team won the 2008 Bergen County Championship, its first since 2002. They were named The Record's Team of the Year, and the team was ranked #3 in the state. They moved on to be North 1 Group 3 state finalists, but suffered a 4-1 loss to Wayne Hills High School. In 2010, the Northern Highlands Field Hockey team has become the second field hockey team in the history of Northern Highlands to win three consecutive Bergen County Championships, defeating Northern Valley Regional High School at Demarest by a score of 1-0 in 2008, and defeating Ramsey High School by 2-0 in 2009 and 3-2 in 2010. Northern Highlands had also won three consecutive titles from 1998-2000.
The Northern Highlands' Girls Fencing team won state sectionals in 2008-09, becoming the number one fencing team in Bergen County. Then, they went on to the State Championships where they were defeated 17-10 by Governor Livingston High School for first in the state. However, in the 2009-10 season the Girls team made it back to the States against Governor Livingston where they won.
During the 2009 season, on November 21, 2009, the varsity girls soccer team played against Hopewell in the state finals in The College of New Jersey. The game ended with a tie of 0-0 and it was the first time Northern Highlands girls varsity soccer team has ever won a co-championship since 1992.
During the 2011 season, the varsity girls soccer team again made it to the state finals on November 19, 2011. Highlands won championship against Moorestown High School at 2-0. Furthermore, Northern Highlands girls varsity soccer team ended the season with a perfect score of 24-0-0  and with a national ranking of 4th among high school girls soccer teams.
The official student newspaper of Northern Highlands Regional High School is called The Highland Fling. The title refers to a traditional Scottish dance.
This 20-page paper is published eight times during the school year. Students do all of the work: planning the issues, writing articles, selling advertisements and assisting with the actual printing of the paper. The editors consider any interested students in grades 9-12 who wish to write or take photos for the paper. Students wishing to join the editorial staff first gain experience as contributing staff members and, in the spring, submit an application and writing sample. Outgoing editors select the new editorial staff from among the applicants.
The school's publications have won acclaim and numerous awards from the Garden State Scholastic Press Association, the Columbia Scholastic Press Association and the National Scholastic Press Association (co-sponsored by the American Society of Newspaper Editors), among others. The school's literary magazine, Loch and Quay, was recognized in both 1992 and 1994 by the Columbia Scholastic Press Association as a Silver Crown Magazine.
Clubs and activities
Northern Highlands has over 50 clubs that meet during and after school. They include: Student Council, Newspaper (The Highland Fling), Freshmen Literary/Art Magazine, Literary Magazine (Loch and Quay), Yearbook (Thistle), Marching Band/Color Guard, Chorus, Symphonic Band, Concert Choir, Highlands Voices (Select Vocal Ensemble), Percussion Ensemble, Fall Drama, Musical Production, Art Club, Book Club, Christian Club, Computer Club, Debate Club, DECA, Engineering Club, Environment Awareness, Fashion Club, Fed Challenge, French Club, Italian Club, Latin Club, Spanish Club Girls Learn International, Human Rights Awareness Club, Judaic Club, Knitting Club, Math League, Mock Trial, Model United Nations, Multicultural Awareness Club, National Honor Society, Photography Club, Quiz Bowl, Radio Club, Red Cross, Robotics, S.A.D.D., School Store, Science Club, Science League, Stock Market, and Transition Project.
- District Administration
- John J. Petrelli, Interim Superintendent
- James Davis, Board Secretary / Business Administrator
- School Administration
- Joseph J. Occhino, Principal
- Michael Koth, Assistant Principal
- Beth Beglin (born 1957), field hockey player who represented the United States three times at the Summer Olympics.
- James Comey (born 1960), seventh (and current) director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
- Margaret Juntwait (born 1957), Metropolitan Opera radio broadcasts announcer.
- Maria Pitillo (born 1966), actress who appeared in the 1998 film Godzilla.
- Chris Wylde (born 1976), actor and comedian.
- School Data for Northern Highlands Regional High School, National Center for Education Statistics. Accessed March 18, 2015.
- Taxpayers' Guide to Education Spending April 2013, New Jersey Department of Education. Accessed April 15, 2013.
- Northern Highlands Regional High School 2014 Report Card Narrative, New Jersey Department of Education. Accessed March 18, 2015. 'A four-year public high school, Northern Highlands strives to address the needs of all of its students who come from four towns in northern Bergen County: Allendale, Upper Saddle River, Ho-Ho-Kus, and Saddle River."
- Staff. "Tuition to rise $219 under new contract", Town Journal, November 19, 2009. Accessed August 22, 2011. "With no high school in the borough, Saddle River students have the option of enrolling in either Ramsey High School or Northern Highlands. The new deal replaces the previous agreement that covered 1998 to 2008."
- NJ Department of Education District Factor Groups (DFG) for School Districts, New Jersey Department of Education. Accessed October 13, 2014.
- Kleimann, Karen; Clyde, John. "Districts moving school elections", Town Journal, February 15, 2012. Accessed November 30, 2014. "The Allendale, Ho-Ho-Kus, Northern Highlands, Saddle River and Upper Saddle River boards of education voted to move their respective school elections to November for at least the next four annual elections. The five districts, along with a majority of school boards across the state, are moving their elections from April to November in hopes of sparing taxpayers the expense of a separate election, according to the New Jersey School Boards Association."
- Staff. "2 Jersey Towns Approve New Regional High School", The New York Times, May 26, 1963. Accessed August 21, 2011.
- Robbins, William. "Jersey School Is Equipped for Space Age Library Has Glass Walls", The New York Times, March 27, 1966. Accessed August 21, 2011.
- "Blue Ribbon Schools Program: Schools Recognized 1982-1983 through 1999-2002" (PDF). Office of Educational Research and Improvement, U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved May 11, 2006.
- "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."
- "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."
- Coutros, Evonne. "Northern Highlands teacher named N.J. Teacher of the Year", The Record (Bergen County), October 21, 2009. Accessed August 3, 2011. "Each year in class, Spanish teacher MaryAnn Woods-Murphy and her students at Northern Highlands Regional High School share the message of achieving goals and never giving up on a dream. MaryAnn Woods-Murphy gets a hug from Principal Joseph Occhino. Woods-Murphy, 53, lived up to those words today when she was awarded the state’s highest achievement as 2009-2010 New Jersey Teacher of the Year by Commissioner of Education Lucille E. Davy at a ceremony in Trenton."
- Staff. "Top Schools Alphabetical List 2014", New Jersey Monthly, September 2, 2014. Accessed September 5, 2014.
- Staff. "The Top New Jersey High Schools: Alphabetical", New Jersey Monthly, August 16, 2012. Accessed December 2, 2012.
- Staff. "2010 Top High Schools", New Jersey Monthly, August 16, 2010. Accessed February 11, 2011.
- "Top New Jersey High Schools 2008: By Rank", New Jersey Monthly, September 2008, posted August 7, 2008. Accessed August 19, 2008.
- New Jersey High School Rankings: 11th Grade HSPA Language Arts Literacy & HSPA Math 2010-2011, Schooldigger.com. Accessed February 26, 2012.
- "America's Top Schools 2014", Newsweek. Accessed October 13, 2014.
- Mathews, Jay. "The High School Challenge 2011: Northern Highlands Regional High School", The Washington Post. Accessed August 16, 2011.
- Staff. "America's Best High Schools: The List", Newsweek, June 13, 2010. Accessed March 27, 2011.
- "The Top of the Class: The complete list of the 1,200 top U.S. schools", Newsweek, May 22, 2007. Accessed May 24, 2007.
- Student Activities Guide 2005-2006, Northern Highlands Regional High School. Accessed March 17, 2007.
- 'Highlands Regiment Wins Nationals", NJ.com, November 14, 2013. Accessed October 13, 2014. "The Highlands Regiment, won the group 4A National Championship and the Cadet award at MetLife Stadium."
- League Memberships – 2014-2015, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed October 13, 2014.
- 2014-2015 Public Schools Group Classification: ShopRite Cup–Basketball–Baseball–Softball for North I, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association, as of July 8, 2014. Accessed October 13, 2014.
- New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association League Memberships – 2009-2010, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association, backed up by the Internet Archive as of July 24, 2011. Accessed October 13, 2014.
- Goldberg, Jeff. NJSIAA Football Playoff Champions, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed December 24, 2011.
- Rosen, Dan. "Northern Highlands wins initial NBIL Cup", The Record (Bergen County), February 24, 2007. "The Highlanders avenged their lone loss of the season with a 3-2 victory over Fair Lawn in the first NBIL Cup championship game as sophomore left wing Andrew Milanesi scored what proved to be the winner 7:10 into the third period."
- 2001 NJSIAA Girls Team Tennis - North I, Group III, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association, accessed April 28, 2007.
- North I, Group III, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association, accessed April 28, 2007.
- 2003 Girls Team Tennis - North I, Group III, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association, accessed April 28, 2007.
- 2004 Girls Team Tennis - North I, Group III, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association, accessed April 28, 2007.
- 2005 Girls Team Tennis - North I, Group III, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association, accessed April 28, 2007.
- 2005 Girls Basketball - North I, Group III, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association, accessed April 28, 2007.
- 2003 Girls Soccer - North I - 3, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association, accessed April 28, 2007.
- 2008 Boys Team Tennis - North I, Group III, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed June 2, 2008.
- Statpleton, Art. "Stapleton: Where dreams come true", The Record (Bergen County), May 19, 2008. Accessed June 2, 2008.
- Girls Volleyball Group Champions, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed June 15, 2011.
- Fox, Ron. "Northern Highlands wins third straight field hockey county title", Town Journal, October 28, 2010. Accessed August 17, 2011. "On the way to winning their third straight Bergen County field hockey championship Sunday, the Northern Highlands girls had to weather an unusual occurrence. The other team scored. In 2008, the Highlanders subdued Demarest, 2-0, for the title and last year blanked Ramsey, 1-0, to repeat as champion.... Then the Allendale team took charge and won, 3-2, on two second-half scores.
- Cooper, Darren. "Northern Highlands dancing toward third straight field hockey crown", The Record (Bergen County), October 19, 2010. Accessed August 17, 2011. "The Highlanders are looking to match history by winning their third straight County title — they also did the trick from 1998-2000."
- Mills, Ed. "Girls Fencing Team of the Year: Northern Highlands", The Record (Bergen County), March 24, 2010. Accessed June 25, 2010. "Northern Highlands made the big jump and won its first State fencing championship. The fourth-seeded Highlanders went 18-2 and defeated seventh-seeded Governor Livingston in the championship after stunning top-seeded Montgomery in the semifinals.... The Highlanders lost to Governor Livingston in last year’s State team finals."
- Staff. "Girls Soccer - 2009 NJSIAA Tournament - Group 3, Public Semis/Finals - Round 2 - Game 1 - Girls Soccer", The Star-Ledger, November 21, 2009. Accessed June 15, 2011. "It was the Bulldogs' first crown since sharing it with Chatham in 1983, while Northern Highlands won its first since a co-championship in 1992."
- "Moorestown (0) at Northern Highlands (2), NJSIAA Group Tournament, Final Round, Group 3 - Girls Soccer", accessed November 19, 2011
- Girls - National - Final Poll - November 22, 2011, National Soccer Coaches Association of America. Accessed December 2, 2013.
- 1992 Scholastic Crown Recipients, Columbia Scholastic Press Association. Accessed August 17, 2011.
- 1994 Scholastic Crown Recipients, Columbia Scholastic Press Association. Accessed August 17, 2011.
- Staff Contact Information, Northern Highlands Regional High School. Accessed October 13, 2014.
- New Jersey School Directory for Bergen County, New Jersey Department of Education. Accessed October 13, 2014.
- Jackson, Matt. "Northern Highlands Hall of Fame class unveiled", Town Journal, February 10, 2011. Accessed August 21, 2011.
- Weiser, Benjamin. "Man in the News; Reputation for Tenacity; James Brien Comey", The New York Times, December 2, 2011. Accessed August 21, 2011. "EDUCATION: Northern Highlands Regional High School, Allendale, N.J.; B.S., College of William and Mary; J.D., University of Chicago Law School."
- Beckerman, Jim. "Ridgewood native is the voice of the Met", The Record (Bergen County), July 28, 2008. Accessed July 29, 2008.
- Ivry, Bob. "Upstaged By A Lizard -- Mahwah's Maria Pitillo Finds Glory In Godzilla's Giant Shadow", The Record (Bergen County), May 23, 1998. Accessed December 2, 2013. "Whereupon the petite actress, who also attended Northern Highlands High School, executes a cutesy maneuver with her palms upraised -- a gesture best described as flouncing."
- Strauss, Robert. "IN PERSON; Hide Those Children. A Jersey Guy's on TV.", The New York Times, July 22, 2001. Accessed October 1, 2013. "On Aug. 5 at 11:30 p.m., The Chris Wylde Show Starring Chris Wylde, a 24-year-old who grew up as Chris Noll in Belvedere, Verona and Allendale, will premiere as the first late-night show on the cable network Comedy Central... 'So far, I think, the most famous person out of Northern Highlands Regional High School is Vinnie Testaverde's niece,' he said."
- Northern Highlands Regional High School
- Northern Highlands Regional High School's 2012–13 School Report Card from the New Jersey Department of Education
- Data for Northern Highlands Regional High School, National Center for Education Statistics