6 Key Players In New Jersey Education

For any state as populous as New Jersey, the task of providing young people with education from kindergarten through postsecondary school is enormously complex. For the system to function with apparent ease, there must be an interlocking set of institutions, from school boards and districts to individual education providers, making key decisions and making resources available behind the scenes. In no particular order, this list highlights organizations shaping the ways in which the Garden State learns.

For #1, we have Notre Dame High School in Lawrenceville. A ministry of the Catholic Diocese of Trenton, the learning institution aims to educate young people to realize their full potential through a faith-filled environment, a college-preparatory program, co-curricular activities, and a commitment to citizenship and service in the community.

Notre Dame offers many opportunities for students wishing to pursue the arts. Young scholars can be involved in the production of plays or musicals, either onstage or behind the scenes. There are also dance, graphic design, and film classes, the latter of which includes scriptwriting, lighting, and more.

Coming in at #2, we have the New Jersey Association of Independent Schools. This nonprofit, voluntary membership association's mission is to foster the educational, ethical, and professional excellence of its member schools while safeguarding their independence.

Located in Morristown, NJAIS works to fulfill its mission by: administering a standards-based accreditation program that supports continuous school improvement; providing a broad spectrum of professional development opportunities for teachers, administrators, and trustees; and advocating for member schools at the local, state, and federal levels.

Next up, at #3, we have Essex County College, located in Newark. It has a second campus in West Caldwell as well as a Police Academy in Cedar Grove; the academy is for students interested in criminal justice and becoming public safety officers. Essex is a public community college with many associate's degrees in fields such as health science and music.

Essex also offers a range of certificates, in areas such as cybersecurity and massage therapy. The school's class credits are transferable to four-year colleges, and it offers corporate training to all of its students for dozens of area businesses; graduates have secured employment at national firms like Goldman Sachs and Prudential.

The #4 entry is the New Jersey School Boards Association. This group's mission is to provide training, advocacy, and support to advance public education and promote the achievement of all students through effective governance. It is based in Trenton.

The association offers a range of services to school districts, including field support on strategic planning, legal advice, policy wellness checks, and help with grants. The NJSBA also offers training and services to help schools evaluate their pedagogical approaches to STEAM learning.

At #5, we present Ramapo College, a public liberal arts school in Mahwah. The institution was named among CondeNast Traveler’s 50 most beautiful campuses in the country and offers bachelor’s degrees in the arts, business, humanities, and social sciences, as well as in professional studies, which includes elementary education, nursing, and more.

Ramapo has established partnerships with several community colleges in New Jersey, including a 3+1 program with Passaic County Community College, to allow students a more affordable path to a bachelor’s degree. The institution has graduate programs in several fields, such as accounting, business administration, and data science.

Rounding out our list at #6 is the New Jersey Institute of Technology. As the state’s public polytechnic university, it offers over 100 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in six specialized schools, such as applied mathematics, biochemistry, architecture, and business data science.

NJIT has several NCAA Division I varsity sports, along with club and intramural ones. The school's athletic facilities include an indoor running track, a six-lane pool, a fitness center, an arena that seats 4,500, tennis courts, and a volleyball playing area.