Millburn's Board of Education members addressed the recent ranking of the high school, falling from number one to eight, in its meeting this week, saying achievement has never been higher.
"To me these surveys really mean nothing," vice president of the board, Dr. Eric Siegel, said. "These kids did outstanding. We had a 100-point higher average on SAT scores than the highest school. Our students are achieving. Our students are doing well at the next level. What more could we ask for?"
The board explained that the high school students' SAT score average was 1851, which is the highest of the top 50 schools, according to New Jersey Monthly Magazine. Also, the percent of students with advanced proficient scores on the HSPA was 51.6 in language Arts and 69 in math.
"Would we even have been number one with our scores from two or four years ago if they used the metric that they use today?" Siegel asked. "The answer is probably not."
Board member, Jean Pasternak voiced her opinion on the rankings, saying the district should always have a mindset to improve. She described it as an opportunity to improve and it's not a negative.
This was the first year that the NJ Monthly Magazine used class size in its criteria of ranking schools, which was the main metric, the board said, in the lowering the high school's rank. This was the first time, sine 2008, the school was not ranked number one. New Jersey Monthly's full rankings can be found here.
Board member, Jeffery Waters, said enrollment in the district was the problem. He explained a few factors went into an increased class size over the last few years.
Two years ago, the district was reviewed and told it must consolidate classes that have fewer than 15 students.
"We had a lot of sections with less than 15 students," Waters said. "We weren't supposed to have sections with 15 students because you weren't being efficient."
Waters also said, the board had millions of dollars in state aid taken away two years ago.
"We've maintained our elite achievements with fewer teachers than other schools,"Superintendent Dr. James Crisfield said, previously.
The 2010 class, when the last polling was done, was the smallest in the system, with 320 students. During the current rankings, the 2011 class had almost 400 students, adding 80 students to the high school. That is 5 percent of the students, Waters said.
"Student achievement is a priority goal and these results dictate that we are accomplishing that goal with phenomenal success," board president Michael Birnberg said.
More information to come about Monday night's Board of Education meeting.