Sparta High School (New Jersey)
|Sparta High School|
|70 West Mountain Road
Sparta, NJ 07871
|Type||Public high school|
|School district||Sparta Township Public School District|
|Vice principals||Rory Fitzgerald
|Enrollment||1,142 (as of 2014-15)|
|Student to teacher ratio||11.8:1|
Columbia blue and
|Athletics conference||Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference|
Sparta High School is a four-year comprehensive community public high school serving students in ninth through twelfth grades from Sparta Township, in Sussex County, New Jersey, United States, operating as the lone secondary school of the Sparta Township Public School District.
As of the 2014-15 school year, the school had an enrollment of 1,142 students and 96.4 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 11.8:1. There were 25 students (2.2% of enrollment) eligible for free lunch and 21 (1.8% of students) eligible for reduced-cost lunch.
The school opened in September 1959 when Newton High School in neighboring Newton, which had also served Sparta students, could no longer take on Sparta's rapidly growing high school-aged population. The sending districts of Hopatcong and Byram Township combined with Sparta to form the initial student body. In its first year of operation, Sparta High enrolled over 400 students enrolled in just three grades, from the three communities that shared the school. In May 1964, Sparta graduated its first class—of 160 students—that had attended the school for all four years.
During the 1970s, Sparta High School instituted split sessions to help alleviate problems brought on by increased enrollment. This was only a temporary fix, however, and the township later approved a referendum to build an annex onto the back of the school, more than doubling its area. The section added a new cafeteria, a library, and open classroom spaces.
In the early 1990s, the open spaces provided by the built-on annex were renovated and became closed classrooms. By this time, over one thousand students—all from Sparta—were enrolled in the school. Later in the 1990s, the high school was expanded yet again, adding a new science wing and a number of technological upgrades.
In September 2006, Sparta residents approved a referendum to perform major renovations on the school. The construction began in the spring of 2008 and was completed by the beginning of the 2010-2011 school year. This reconstruction was to alleviate the issue of overcrowding that the school faced. During the construction, many classrooms were displaced to a cluster of modular trailer rooms.
Awards, recognition and rankings
The school was the 34th-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 83rd in the state of 328 schools in 2012, after being ranked 78th in 2010 out of 322 schools listed. The magazine ranked the school 63rd in 2008 out of 316 schools. The school was ranked 73rd in the magazine's September 2006 issue, which included 316 schools across the state. Schooldigger.com ranked the school tied for 104th out of 381 public high schools statewide in its 2011 rankings (a decrease of 6 positions from the 2010 ranking) which were based on the combined percentage of students classified as proficient or above proficient on the mathematics (86.6%) and language arts literacy (96.2%) components of the High School Proficiency Assessment (HSPA).
For the 2013-14 school year, Sparta High School ranked first out of nine public high schools in SAT scores.
The Sparta High School Spartans compete in the Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference, following a reorganization of sports leagues in Northern New Jersey by the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA). With 866 students in grades 10-12, the school was classified by the NJSIAA for the 2015-16 school year as North I, Group III for most athletic competition purposes, which included schools with an enrollment of 786 to 1,074 students in that grade range. Sparta High School had participated in the Sussex County Interscholastic League until the SCIL was dissolved in 2009.
Interscholastic sports programs compete in one of three seasons:
- Fall: Football, Boys' Soccer, Girls' Soccer, Cross-Country (Boys' & Girls'), Field Hockey, Girls' Volleyball, Cheerleading, Marching Band, and Girls' Tennis
- Winter: Boys' Basketball, Girls' Basketball, Skiing (Boys' & Girls'), Bowling (Boys' & Girls'), Winter Track (Boys' & Girls'), Wrestling, Swimming (Boys' & Girls'), and Ice Hockey
- Spring: Track and Field (Boys' & Girls'), Boys' Lacrosse, Girls Lacrosse', Baseball, Softball, Golf (Boys' & Girls') and Boys' Tennis
The boys' cross country team won the Group II state championship in 1979.
The wrestling team won the North I Group II sectional title in 1983 and the North I Group III title in 2000; the team won the Group II state championship in 1983. The wrestling team won the North I, Group III state sectional championship in 2000 with a 36-29 win against Indian Hills High School.
The girls' basketball team won the Group II state championship in 1985, defeating Middle Township High School in the title game) and won the Group III title in 1990 (vs. Pennsauken High School) and 2001 (vs. Toms River South High School). The 2001 girls' basketball team won the North I, Group III state sectional championship with a 36-32 win versus Northern Highlands Regional High School. The team moved on to win the 2001 Group II state championship, defeating West Morris Mendham High School in the semifinals and Toms River High School South in the finals to take the title. The team won the 2003 North I, Group III title with a 34-28 win against Pascack Valley High School in the tournament final. The 2006 team won the North I, Group III title in a low-scoring match, topping Northern Highlands Regional High School by a final score of 27-18.
The football team won the North I Group II state sectional championship in 2003 and won the North I Group III title in 2013 and 2014. In 2003, Sparta's football team won the North I, Group II state championship at Giants Stadium against Dover High School by a score of 16-0 in the championship game, finishing the season with a 12-0 record and making them Sussex County's only 12-win undefeated football team.
The softball team won the Group III state championship in 2011 vs. Middletown High School South. In 2005, the softball team won the North I, Group III state title with a 2-1 win against Nutley High School.
In 1995, Sparta's boys' soccer team won the state sectional championship and had a final season record of 21-2. The team finished first in the S.C.I.L with an undefeated record of 18-0.
Academic excellence off the field
The boys' soccer team has earned the National Soccer Coaches Association of America's High School Boys Team Academic Award for seven consecutive seasons (2003–04 through 2010–11) and nine of ten dating back to 2001–02. To qualify for the award, the team must have a minimum grade point average of 3.25 for the entire academic year. The team GPA is determined by adding every player's GPA, then dividing by the number of players. Sparta is one of only two boys' soccer teams in all of New Jersey to be recognized in each of the past seven years (Woodbury High School is the other).
According to the New Jersey Herald, the graduation rate for Sparta High School was 94.7%. This rate exceeds the national high school graduation rate of approximately 70%. Sparta High School currently has the highest graduation rate in Sussex County.
Clubs and student activities
Sparta High School has many clubs, academically-related teams and student activities to choose from. The school hosts an Academic Team, Debate Team and countless clubs for whatever interests a student may have. Some progressive groups such as the Gay Straight Alliance are also school sanctioned clubs. The creation of a new club require a teacher sponsor for the cause (tasked with supervising) and approval from the Administration. Sparta High School has the following clubs and activities: Academic Bowl, Art Club, Beginnings (Literary Magazine), Chemistry Olympics, Choir (Select, Treble, Men's, Freshmen Select, Women's), Debate Team, DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America), Drama Club, FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America), GSA/Spectrum (Gay Straight Alliance), Habitat for Humanity, History Club, Jazz Bands: Blues Inc! Blues Sanction, Key Club, Marching Band/Color Guard, Mock Trial, National Honor Society, Olympian (Yearbook), PDP (Peer Development Program), Science League, Science Olympiad, Strings Club, Student Council, The Oracle (Newspaper), Theater Productions, and a World Language National Honor Society.
Core members of the school's administration are:
- Janet Ferraro - Principal
- Rory Fitzgerald - Vice Principal
- Steven Stoner - Vice Principal
- Greg Baty (born 1964), former NFL player.
- Mike Budnik (born 1974), former professional inline skater, and professional mixed martial arts fighter.
- Tom Caltabiano (1979), writer/producer of sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond.
- Chris Jent (born 1970), former NBA player.
- Dan Miller (born 1981), mixed martial arts fighter and Cage Fury Fighting Championships Middleweight Champion.
- Jim Miller (born 1983), mixed martial arts fighter and Cage Fury Fighting Championships Lightweight Champion.
- School data for Sparta High School, National Center for Education Statistics. Accessed December 12, 2016.
- Sparta High School, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed September 19, 2015.
- History of SHS, Sparta High School. Accessed December 20, 2016. "Sparta High School opened its doors in September of 1959 with a student population of about 420 in three grades representing three towns. Those towns included not only Sparta, but Hopatcong and Byram as well. Eventually Ogdensburg would also send its students to Sparta."
- Gansberg, Martin. "Netcong Links Its Problems to I‐80", The New York Times, September 29, 1974. Accessed December 14, 2016. "And taxes have taken a big jump because of the need for joining with adjacent Stanhope in operating a regional high school, Lenape Valley, which opened last week.... The reason for the increase is because Netcong had to join with Stanhope, which is in Sussex County, to construct the regional high school."
- Carlson, Joe. "Christmas star is subject of planetarium show", New Jersey Herald, November 15, 2013. Accessed December 14, 2016. "The 53-seat planetarium, the only one in Sussex County, has been teaching students about the universe since Netcong, Byram and Stanhope combined to form Lenape Valley Regional High School in 1974."
- "Residents narrowly spring for overhaul to aging Sparta High School", News 12 New Jersey, September 27, 2006. Accessed August 13, 2014. "Sparta homeowners barely put the stamp of approval on a major high school facelift with the passage of a $71.5 million school referendum Tuesday night."
- 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 September 3, 2012.
- Staff. "2010 Top High Schools", New Jersey Monthly, August 16, 2010. Accessed February 1, 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 March 3, 2012.
- Sparta High School School Performance Report, New Jersey Department of Education. Accessed September 19, 2015.
- League & Conference Affiliations 2016-2017, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed January 10, 2017.
- General Public School Classifications 2015-2016, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association, as of December 15, 2015. Accessed December 12, 2016.
- Home Page, Sussex County Interscholastic League, backed up by the Internet Archive, as of February 4, 2012. Accessed November 19, 2014.
- NJSIAA 2016 - 2018 Co-Operative Sports Programs, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed December 12, 2016.
- Cross Country State Group Team Champions, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed February 1, 2017.
- History of the NJSIAA Team Championships, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed February 1, 2017.
- Team Wrestling - North I, Group III, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed July 12, 2007.
- Public Past State Champions, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed February 1, 2017.
- 2001 - North I, Group III, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed July 12, 2007.
- 2001 - Group III, Semis/Finals, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed July 12, 2007.
- 2003 Girls Basketball - North I, Group III, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed July 12, 2007.
- 2006 Girls Basketball - North I, Group III, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed July 12, 2007.
- Goldberg, Jeff. NJSIAA Football Playoff Champions, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed November 19, 2015.
- Cleary, Dan. "Top Teams of the Decade", Sussex County Sports Blog, January 3, 2010. Accessed September 12, 2011. "Sparta football returned to glory in the early part of the decade and coach Pat Shea capped his first stint with the Spartans by guiding the Spartans to the first and only 12-0 season in Sussex County history.... The Spartans knocked off a very game Montville squad 14-10 before blanking Dover 16-0 at Giants Stadium in the best farewell gift Pat Shea could ever receive."
- History of the NJSIAA Softball Championships, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed February 1, 2017.
- 2005 Softball - North I, Group III, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed July 12, 2007.
- All-time Boys Team Academic Award Winners, National Soccer Coaches Association of America. Accessed March 3, 2010.
- 2015-2016 Program of Studies, Sparta High School. Accessed September 19, 2015.
- Principal, Sparta High School. Accessed September 19, 2015.
- Vice Principal, Sparta High School. Accessed September 19, 2015.
- Litsky, Frank. "FOOTBALL; Tight-End Depth Helps Giants' Running Game", The New York Times, August 18, 1989. Accessed September 12, 2011. "At Sparta High School, perhaps a half-hour drive from here, Baty played tight end for a team that seldom threw more than five passes a game. In his first three years at Stanford, he was known as a blocker. As a senior, he caught 61 passes, a Stanford record, and his image changed."
- NFL Historical Player Results, National Football League, September 20, 2007.
- Community: Chris Jent's career began in Sparta, New Jersey Herald, March 20, 2006.
- McCullough, Andy. "Ex-Sparta High wrestlers Jim and Dan Miller make UFC a family affair", The Star-Ledger, March 26, 2010. Accessed January 30, 2011.
- Sparta High School web pages
- Sparta Township Public School District
- Sparta Township Public School District's 2014–15 School Report Card from the New Jersey Department of Education
- School Data for the Sparta Township Public School District, National Center for Education Statistics
- District loses schools chief to Sparta