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STEM Innovation Academy Breaks Top 20 in NJ High School Rankings

26 April 2024 · Office of Communications

As always, Orange students shine, highlighting how the district is committed to student success.
The rigorous high school debuts at high-ranking spot as its first inclusion in national school ranking reports. The school was also recognized as a Project Lead The Way Distinguished High School for hard work from the 2023-2024 school year. 

ORANGE, NJ — STEM Innovation Academy of the Oranges has achieved a remarkable milestone by securing 13th place in the 2024 New Jersey best public high school rankings released by US News and World Report. Appearing among the top twenty schools in New Jersey is particularly noteworthy for the City of Orange as vocational schools typically dominate the top of the rankings. 

According to the 2024 rankings, STEM Innovation Academy of the Oranges is considered to be the third highest-ranking public high school belonging to a traditional, municipal school district serving local students in New Jersey. 

The top-performing schools in the U.S. News & World Report's leaderboard are evaluated by their students' achievements in math, reading, and science state assessments, achieving qualifying scores on various college-level exams, and high graduation rates according to the 2021-2022 school year. 

“The rankings reflect the hard work of our students, teachers, and partners,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Gerald Fitzhugh, II. “These rankings are more than a reminder of our excellence – it is a reminder that our district has continuously worked to provide better opportunities for our students.”

STEM Innovation Academy of the Oranges, led by their principal, Dr. Devonii Reid, is a unique four-year program for grades 9-12 students. The school is a collaborative effort of the City of Orange, Orange Public Schools, New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), The College of New Jersey, and Montclair State University. STEM Innovation Academy of the Oranges became a standalone school in September 2020.  

“We are happy that STEM Innovation Academy of the Oranges is ranked highly in the state,” said Orange Board of Education President Shawneque Johnson. “This is concrete proof that our teachers work tirelessly to support students and make sure they succeed. Our families often speak about how they believe in the academic and social-emotional teaching being done at the school.”

The high school’s ranking is also the district’s most prominent placement on the list. The US News and World Report ranks schools by their performance on state-required tests, graduation rates, and how well students are prepared for college. 

In Essex alone, STEM Innovation Academy of the Oranges ranks strongly as the second best high school in the county. STEM is then followed by Millburn, Livingston, two schools in Newark, and Columbia High School in the South Orange-Maplewood School District. 

“The leadership of the school board and Superintendent Fitzhugh have shown what determination looks like here in Orange,” said Orange Mayor Dwayne D. Warren, Esq. “Our city holds education as a top priority for all residents, and our school district consistently positions itself as the best provider of learning for our students, year after year.”

STEM Innovation Academy's curriculum emphasizes rigorous mathematics, science, and engineering education. The approach that the school administration has taken integrates early college immersion, project-based learning, and a focus on calculus-based majors, preparing students for complex challenges in higher education and beyond. Students at the high school are able to earn college credits toward computing sciences, mechanical engineering, and biomedical engineering degrees.

Engineering-minded students are also provided opportunities to participate in enriching extracurricular activities across the district. In April 2024, STEM Innovation Academy students participated in the district’s production of Annie the Musical

With a strong emphasis on career readiness and personalized learning paths, STEM Innovation Academy and its teachers empower students to thrive in the ever-evolving world. The high school, now officially ranked #13 in the state, is setting academic benchmarks and nurturing a generation of forward-thinking leaders equipped to excel in high-demand fields.

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About Orange Public Schools

Orange Public Schools provide a diverse range of opportunities and programs to meet the needs of over 5,800 students supported by over 900 staff members in eight elementary schools, one middle school, one comprehensive high school, one alternative high school, one high school dedicated to advanced STEM studies, a gifted and talented academy, and a renowned preschool program for children ages three and four.

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