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As classroom doors open throughout the Garden State, marking the beginning of a new school year, U.S. News and World Report announced its annual nationwide ranking of high schools, naming Central Jersey College Prep (CJCP) as the top public charter high school in the State of New Jersey. In addition to its top public charter designation, CJCP also ranked #29th as the overall best high school in New Jersey and tied for #1st in the entire country in graduation rate. The annual national report also goes on to cite CJCP’s student body, with over 89% minority enrolment and over 25% of its student body as “economically disadvantaged.”
“For generations, families in Central Jersey lacked resources, opportunity, and consistency regarding their public education system, especially for minority families in our area. CJCP is proud that our teachers, staff, students, and parents have been instrumental in changing the learning paradigm in our local communities,” stated Dr. Namik Sercan, CJCP’s Chief Education Officer. “Whether it be the awards, graduation rates, test scores, or college acceptance, there is no question that together, we are truly changing lives for students who have been ignored for far too long and providing real hope to Franklin, North Brunswick, and New Brunswick’s most at-risk students. While CJCP is so proud to have received top honors from U.S. News and World Report’s annual high school rankings, we also fiercely believe that every student in our area deserves a great education. We hope these kinds of accolades may hopefully provide justification and approval from the State to serve more students in the future.”
Indeed, last year Sercan told NJ Education Report, “no matter the color of their skin, how much money their parents have, or whether their parents went to college, if provided with opportunities, kids will succeed.” Parents believe him: currently 1,200 students are on wait lists for CJCS, as many as are currently enrolled in the K-12 school.
“As the waiting lists to attend CJCP piles up each year, it truly pains me that more students are not allowed to attend CJCP,” stated Makeda Fryson, CJCP PTSO President. “Parents should have the ability to choose which public school best serves the needs of their child – and shouldn’t be concerned about availability nor backlash when having to make such a crucial decision. Parent’s choice matters – and it’s a choice that is not taken lightly. While I love celebrating the kinds of results U.S. News and World Report indicated in their rankings, I am not surprised because their focus has always been the students. Everyone’s focus should be the students.”
Today’s announcement continues CJCP’s long standard of national excellence. The U.S. Department of Education previously named CJCP as a “2016 National Blue-Ribbon School,” the highest possible designation granted to a K-12 school. CJCP has also been widely cited for exemplary high-performing classrooms and their work closing the achievement gap within the Central Jersey region. In addition, CJCP has also been awarded by the New Jersey Department of Education with a Tier 1 designation, the highest possible ranking for a public charter school in the State.
This year 100% of CJCP seniors were accepted to colleges and universities, Harvard, West Point, honors programs around the country, and schools throughout New Jersey, including Rutgers, Rider, Kean, and Montclair State. Thirty-five percent of CJCP graduates are “first-generation students,” the first ones in their families to attend college. Since its first graduating class in 2011, every student who graduates from CJCP has gone to college.