Elizabeth School Board To Move Ahead With Expansion Of Successful High School

ELIZABETH – One of Elizabeth’s most popular high schools, an institution with a rigorous curriculum and a long waiting list of students who want to get in, will expand this fall into a building that was once a Catholic school.

“There are more than 200 families across this city who badly want to get their children into Alexander Hamilton Preparatory Academy because it is an excellent school, and we need to do whatever we have to do to give our families that opportunity,” Superintendent Pablo Muñoz said.


Muñoz and the Elizabeth Board of Education are moving forward with the leasing of a school building from the Archdiocese of Newark. This new acquisition to the Elizabeth Public Schools family will help the district to expand Alexander Hamilton Preparatory Academy. The new Alexander Hamilton Annex on North Broad Street will open in September with 260 freshman students, increasing the school’ current student population to approximately 950 students. The school is so popular among Elizabeth families that there are now more than 200 students on a waiting list to try to get in to Hamilton in various grades from 9 through 12.

In celebration of this agreement, Elizabeth Public Schools invited the leaders of the parish to join in its August Board of Education meeting for the signing of the ceremonial contract between these two organizations last week. Under the plan, Elizabeth Public Schools will rent the former St. Catherine’s School from the diocese. The building, which had recently been leased to the Township of Hillside, has 11 classrooms and one gym.

Hamilton is Elizabeth’s second highest performing high school, with a rigorous curriculum that uses the philosophies of the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program. AVID is a research-based instructional model that encourages students to prepare for and participate in a challenging college preparatory curriculum.

At the school, students must take four years of English, Math, Science and Social Studies, including and in addition to honors and Advanced Placement level courses. Students receive academic support through a specially designed AVID elective, taught by AVID-trained instructors. Ninety percent of Hamilton students in 11th Grade passed the High School Proficiency Assessment in language arts in 2011. Hamilton students must wear school uniforms and perform community service as part of their responsibilities.

“With Hamilton Prep, we have an example of public education that works; a challenging school that has parents lining up outside for a spot for their children. We need to meet that demand for excellent public education, and we can do that by expanding the Hamilton campus. Our Board of Education deserves praise for this work. We’re going to do what it takes to get our children the best education,” Muñoz said.

Elizabeth Board of Education President Marie Munn stated, “This is a continuation of our effort to
accelerate excellence at the high school level. All over Elizabeth, we are providing new choices for our students. Our Elizabeth Board of Education is extremely committed to providing the children of Elizabeth with the best education and will continue to work toward this goal.”

“The Elizabeth Board of Education is grateful to the Archdiocese of Newark for making their facilities available to the children of Elizabeth. This partnership will help us reach our goal of being one of the best school districts in America,” stated Elizabeth Board of Education Vice President Fernando Nazco.

Muñoz stated “Under our Keys to Excellence Strategic Plan, the district has already made great strides in academics, athletics and the arts. Since the plan’s inception, the district has received recognition by the New Jersey and U.S. Departments of Education for high student performance, built several new state-of-the-art school facilities, and created more educational choices for our high school students by forming six new high schools. Keys to Excellence 2 for 2011-2016 and our Accelerating Excellence initiative will help continue those efforts and achieve excellence.”

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