COLONIA HIGH (23-5850-020)

Colonia is one of the nine sub-communities of Woodbridge Township, encompassing the northernmost four square miles of the Township. Colonia High School, home of the Patriots, was built in 1967. Approximately 1,365 students now attend Colonia High School, one of three high schools in Woodbridge Township. Children from both Colonia Middle School and Avenel Middle School feed into Colonia High School. Colonia High School is rich with tradition since its first graduating class. Colonia High School now celebrates over 50 years of educational excellence in.

Colonia High School has been recognized by U.S.News and World Report by receiving Bronze and Silver Medal Awards as a Top Rated High School. In 2015, 2016, and again in 2017, Colonia High School was recognized by The Washington Post as one of America’s Most Challenging High Schools. Colonia High School has steadily improved in almost every facet of academic growth due to a committed student body, faculty, and administration who strive for only the best opportunities for our students. Our graduation rate at Colonia High School in 2016 was ninety-eight percent with eighty nine percent of these students furthering their education by attending post-secondary schools. Seventy three percent of those students attending post-secondary schools were accepted to their first choice school.

Our mission at Colonia High School is clear and distinct: to infuse a holistic curriculum that challenges both our staff and our students to implement innovative classroom experiences that prepare all of our students for successful college and career integration. The administration, faculty, and staff at Colonia High School understand that it is of paramount importance to provide all stakeholders with an environment conducive to learning. Our faculty and staff have dedicated themselves to make Colonia High School the model of excellence in the following areas:

1) High academic performance based on Common Core, Advanced Placement, and SAT/ACT scores;
2) The greatest academic rigor and the highest expectations of achievement;
3) Character education and social empathy;
4) Positive decision-making displayed by students daily;

5) A Community of Caring Outstanding School of the Year;
6) Technological innovation by staff and students;
7) Home/school relationships and communication;
8) Extra-curricular participation;
9) School and community spirit;

10) A State of New Jersey Best Practice Award Winner;

11) A regionally and nationally recognized award winning Science Research program;
12) Staff professionalism;
13) Innovative classroom experiences including distance learning and dual enrollment courses with NJIT, Rider University, and implementing a pilot program of Networking Systems and Hardware Design with CISCO Systems, Inc;

14)- Infusion of new curricular programs exclusive to Colonia High School in the WTSD such as PLTW Engineering program, Graphic Design, College and Career Readiness Academy, and Sports Marketing;
14) Athletic participation, sportsmanship, and commitment.

15) A new 1700 sq. ft. Environmental Science Greenhouse facility;
15) Personalized student-teacher advocacy.

Colonia High School’s course offerings meet a wide range of educational experiences and needs of students from courses for the challenged learners up to programs for the gifted and talented. Student enrollment in 2016- 2017 for Advanced Placement is currently 315 students taking 640 AP courses and 412 Honors courses demonstrates that Colonia High School students are consistently challenging themselves with high academic rigor. These numbers far exceed any AP enrollments numbers in the history of Colonia High School. Both the number of students taking advanced placement exams and their relative scores on those exams has steadily increased over the past few years with 254 exams achieving passing scores on AP exams in 2015. The Colonia High School curriculum also boasts the only Engineering program in the district in collaboration with Project Lead The Way and partnered with T&M Associates Engineering firm with two Level 1 sections this year, one level 2, and a first ever level 3. Also implemented this year is a new US Naval Sea Cadet Division run at Colonia High School that will officially start in October of 2016. Our diverse curriculum provides quality preparation for; college bound aspirants, students pursuing alternative forms of post-secondary education, and those planning direct entry into careers. Our curriculum also includes multiple college level courses and an accreditation program through Middlesex County College which allows students to receive college level credit for select math classes. Colonia High School has partnered with NJIT to infuse four dual enrollment courses in the past few years. Additional innovative courses such as Forensics and Robotics were recently introduced into our curriculum with now eight sections created to meet the needs of our students for 2015-16.

Extracurricular programs focus on the preparation of the whole student through academics and character education. Colonia High School offers a variety of clubs, fine and performing arts, and athletic programs for our students. Athletically in 2016, Colonia High School was recognized with 38 All Division, 9 All Conference, 1 All State student-athletes. Our staff’s commitment to excellence has increased participation in all extracurricular activities. We provide our students with academic support with peer tutors and remedial programs supported by certified teachers in all content areas before and after school. Colonia High School has a transition program for new students that infuse peer leadership over a 2 hour orientation. In August of 2016, 307 of the 333 incoming freshmen attended this orientation to prepare them for the challenges and rigor of high school. Colonia High School follows up that transition with a Freshman Academy program for all grade 9 students which develops and builds upon study and writing skills necessary for their transition as well and the transition to college and careers. Over 75 senior Peer Leaders volunteered to assist with the 2 hour event.

Colonia High School continues to live up to its reputation as a State of New Jersey “Best Practice School” for Character Education, Science Research, and for Visual and Performing Arts. The Colonia High School science research students have distinguished themselves as award winning presenters and exhibitors at annual Science Symposiums and Competitions at Monmouth University and Rutgers University as well as International Competitions. Colonia High School Theater Arts program has distinguished themselves with honors including an Educational Impact award by the Paper Mill Playhouse. Colonia High School participates in activities and programs to build upon the national recognition that we have received in the area of character education. The “Community of Caring” program enhances our curriculum and creates a caring and respectful environment based on the universally accepted values of caring, responsibility, trust, respect, and family. It supports the infusion of character education in daily lessons and extracurricular activities. This character education program has only enhanced our anti-bullying efforts through our monthly initiatives with our “Character Project.”

Our students continue to give back to the community through their involvement in school activities such as the Interact club and Youth Alliance. The students at Colonia High School participated in fundraising activities for local charity organizations and sponsor weekly dances for the “Hand in Hand” program. Interact, along with other student groups, participate in community activities including; the Colonia Clean-Up, the Colonia Pride Parade, and Avenel Pride Day, among many others. In 2015-16, students led our Interact Club in raising well over $13,000 for programs such as the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Christopher and Dana Reeves foundation as a part of Team LeGrand, Champion Schools- Distracted Driving, Breast Cancer Walk, an Autism Walk, well over 2000 Toys For Tots, and over 6000 pounds of food for the Middlesex County Food Bank which was the highest of any school in the county. Colonia High School was chosen by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society to be filmed as a magnet school for other high schools to learn from very successful fundraising efforts and the commitment our students and staff have to charitable organizations. The Colonia High School students also rose over $3,500 towards a better education for students in Uganda. Colonia High School students travel over to Colonia Middle School and Avenel Middle School after school to tutor their students in Mathematics. Our “Heroes and Cool Kids” initiative enables our upperclassmen to become role models for younger students in the district. Our Youth Alliance enables all students to work with township offices on programs that they are coordinating. Our National Honor Society members are involved in various peer tutoring programs within our school. Each and every one of our nine Honor Societies has a community service and charitable fundraising component embedded to give back to a worthy cause associated with the discipline. Our Ecology Club, Environmental Science program and Science Research student’s projects have provided practical working knowledge of the environment, created a Green Initiative and conducts waste audits. These groups of students and staff volunteers also grew and donated numerous vegetables and herbs to local Food Banks and Soup Kitchens in 2016 all grown in our state of the art greenhouse. The Greenhouse also cultivates from seedlings, plants and grasses to assist with the ecological restoration initiative of the Woodbridge Township Waterfront Park as well as beautifying our school grounds and community.

Colonia High School seniors are given many leadership opportunities. This was the eleventh year of our Teacher Apprentice Program (TAP) which continues to be a successful “senior experience” with a built-in community service component that in 2016-17 has become a college level course with Rider University now designated as the Tomorrow’s Teachers Program. Tomorrow’s Teachers students assist teachers and their students while providing a valuable service to our sister schools and at the same time, gain a tremendous experience with this meaningful educational opportunity.

Colonia High School has established a long history of rich traditions and student success stories. We are proud to be Patriots and look forward to continuing in this legacy for years to come.

Christopher Chiera

Principal, Colonia High School

(732) 499-6500