Rutherford High School, a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence, is located in the center of Rutherford, New Jersey, town of 18,000 residents just west of New York City. Primarily residential, Rutherford enjoys all the advantages of a major metropolitan area while maintaining the atmosphere of a small town. Many of the students at the high school come from families who have lived in town for generations, while increasing numbers of ethnically and racially diverse newcomers are joining them. The central section of the school building constructed in 1922 is attractive and well maintained, as are the additions constructed in 1938 and 1957 and 2005. A pool was added in 1980. Students enjoy a curricula that includes subjects ranging from Advanced Placement English to Multimedia Design to Television Production. They appreciate the heritage of their school and community while preparing for the future. Rutherford High School- a mixture of old and new, tradition and innovation – offers a unique education. Based on a solid foundation from the past, the school challenges its talented, active student body to high levels of achievement.
Sometimes called “the best kept secret in Bergen County”, Rutherford High School is committed to excellence for all students as the center of its vision. Limited English Proficient students and students with disabilities are included and challenged in programs open to all. The school’s PARCC passing rate is consistently well above the state average.
The students of Rutherford High School attend a school that is more racially diverse than its community. Only fifteen percent of the borough population is African-American, Asian, or Hispanic, while 34% of the students fall into these categories. Many of the students come from families who speak a native language other than English. This diversity is celebrated and nurtured at Rutherford High School in ways such as the formation of a chapter of E.R.A.S.E. (End Racism And Sexism Everywhere). While 22.5% of borough residents are college graduates or beyond, annually over 90% of graduates attend two or four year colleges. These students share a sense of purpose in preparing themselves for life in the 21st century. The student population is stable and able to benefit from consistent attention and guidance from teachers and other staff members.
Sports banners and framed drama production posters lining the gym walls and entry hallways are daily reminders of the traditions of Rutherford High School. Each spring inductees into the National Honor Society sign their names in a register dating back to 1922, when the school chapter was first started. Every other year there is a presentation of the Distinguished Graduate Award. The honoree returns to the school to speak to students about his or her accomplishments. Career diplomat and ambassador Thomas H. Pickering and presidential speechwriter Peggy Noonan are among those honored as part of this tradition. Students also serve as guides for reunion classes. The Athletic Hall of Fame is another link from the present to the past that ties community and school together.
A rigorous core curriculum provides students with the basis for success. SAT scores are above the state and national averages. Incoming students must successfully complete 130 credits in order to graduate. Courses are offered for students of all abilities and interests, from those who require co-teaching as part of the special education inclusion project to those who earn credits through the Middle College Program with Fairleigh Dickinson University and the Dual Enrollment program with Bergen Community College. Teachers can be found working with students before school, during lunch, and after school when extra help is needed.
Tradition and the solid background of the academic core have been enriched by change. A virtual science lab is equipped with a SmartBoard, laptops, and other updated equipment. Science courses use a learning cycle approach. Music Technology allows students to experience all aspects of music theory and composing on MIDI keyboards. Health-related fitness is stressed in physical education classes, where traditional course offerings have been supplemented by life time sports, and students learn to scientifically evaluate their fitness. Technology has dramatically changed writing instruction, research and library skills, math and business classes. In 2017, we became a 1 to 1 school when every student received a Chrome Book. The 1 to 1 initiative compliments the technology already present in the TV Studio and state of the art STEM lab. The administration and faculty keep abreast of current educational trends and research, and the curriculum reflects their professional awareness. Partnerships with families and the community are strong.
Maintaining its traditions as it moves toward the future, Rutherford High School provides a safe, orderly, and supportive atmosphere for learning. Young people and adults respect one another in a setting that encourages students from different backgrounds to learn the value of diversity. Involved students perform hours of community service, work cooperatively on school and club projects, and compete on athletic teams. Graduates leave Rutherford High School with a solid foundation for lifelong learning and the personal qualities and skills essential for success in a competitive world.