Montclair has a magnet school system recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as one of the top six magnet school districts in the U.S.

Montclair provides school choice. In other communities, Manhattan included, the school you are assigned to, is determined by the zone you live in around that school. In Montclair, with 7 elementary schools, 3 middle schools and one comprehensive high school, specialized programs have been developed in each school which gives each school it’s own “theme”. The Montclair Board of Education believes children are best served by a program that most closely supports their own individual learning styles.

The choice system was originally voluntary and implemented in 1977 but grew continuously and now includes all of Montclair’s elementary and middle schools. The community is highly diverse and the magnet system which started as a desegregation plan, has turned into a true system of choice.

How does the Montclair BOE Magnet System Work?

When parents register their children for elementary school, they list their first through sixth preference of school. The district uses a computerized system to assign students based on preference, school enrollment/spaces/slots.

Montclair School Tours – Open House Week

Each year, Montclair schedules an Open House week which includes tours. In 2012, school tours for all Montclair elementary and middle schools took place during the last week of March. Tours can be arranged at other times of the year upon request.

Although the basic curriculum is the same for all schools, each school offers special programs consistent with its own magnet theme. These are:

Elementary Schools Theme Grades

Bradford The University Magnet K-5

Bullock Environmental Science K-5

Edgemont Montessori K-5

Hillside Gifted and Talented 3-5

Nishuane Gifted and Talented K-2

Northeast Global Studies K-5

Watchung Science and Technology K-5

Middle Schools Theme Grades

Glenfield Gifted and Talented/Visual and Performing Arts, Grades 6-8

Mount Hebron S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math), Grades 6-8

Renaissance at Rand Liberal Arts 6-8

High School

Montclair High Comprehensive 9-12

Here’s a brief description of each Montclair public school below. I recommend that if you’re considering the Montclair school system or a particular Montclair school, use these resources to learn about what Montclair schools offer. Consider what the philosophy is in educating children and what role parents play in the school. Take a look at the Montclair high school graduating class – their achievements and where they went on to attend university. Look at the choices students are given for advanced placement courses, athletics, and extracurricular activities.

If you’re considering the Montclair public school system, I’d be happy to connect you with a representative at the Montclair Board of Education to answer your questions. I’m also happy to connect you with parents who currently have children enrolled in the Montclair schools, as well as Montclair High School graduates who can give you personal insight to their experience.


For Bradford School, whose theme is the University Magnet, math, science, social studies, and language arts comprise the basic curriculum. Bradford’s association with Montclair State University, enhances an elementary school that already offers top-notch technology and many other first rate programs. Bradford students visit MSU for a host of learning opportunities such as music recitals, dance and theater performances, video conferencing and physical education.

Grades K-5, Hours: 8:50 am – 3:05 pm

87 Mount Hebron Rd., Montclair, 973-509-4155

The Charles H. Bullock School’s central theme is Environmental Science which is interpreted in the broadest possible sense to include natural sciences and the human environment. The school’s integrated curriculum helps students recognize that learning is built upon connected experiences which link the classroom to the outside world. The child centered learning environment seeks to foster values of personal, social and environmental responsibility.

Grades K-5, Hours: 8:50 am – 3:05 pm

55 Washington St., Montclair, 973-509-4255

The Edgemont School was established in 1987 as a magnet based on the philosophy, educational foundations and instructional practices of Dr. Maria Montessori. In the school’s state-of-the-art Cosmic Studies Lab, students develop an understanding of the world around them through hands-on, project-based explorations, and real-life applications. Requirements for 21st century teaching and learning are infused across all subject areas through computer fluencies, current technologies and digital tools.

Grades K-5, Hours: 8:20 am – 2:35 pm

20 Edgemont Rd., Montclair, 973-509-4162

Hillside School’s gifted and talented magnet program presumes that all children have special gifts and talents and that it is the school’s responsibility to identify and nurture every child’s special abilities. Half the day is spent with a Basics team for instruction in language arts, math, science and social studies and half the day is spent in Aesthetics and in the Creative “I” program which supports children’s individual interests and talents through projects, small group assignments and excursion into the community. Drums of Thunder is the school’s drumming group which is nationally known and continues to grow.

Grades 3-5, Hours: 9:20 am – 3:35 pm

54 Orange Rd., Montclair, 973-509-4200

Nishuane School’s philosophy is based on the belief that all children are gifted and talented. The school has been recognized as a School of Excellence by the U.S. Dept. of Education as a STAR SCHOOL. The school’s environment and curriculum are designed to draw out individual talents and to encourage the growth of self-esteem necessary to make self-actualization possible.

Grades K-2, Hours: 9:20 am – 3:35 pm

32 Cedar Avenue, Montclair, 973-509-4222

Northeast School’s magnet theme Global Studies is a powerful perspective for examining and understanding the world’s people, places and problems. Language, arts, math, science and social studies constitute the core curriculum and all students attend weekly classes in music, arts, physical education, Spanish and technology. Studying the world provides the students opportunities to reflect on cultural diversity, the global economy, politics and real life issues.

Grades K-5, Hours: 8:20 am – 2:35 pm

603 Grove Street, Montclair, 973-509-4242

Watchung School whose theme is Science and Technology is dedicated to preparing its students to face their future by developing independent learners who can confidently negotiate a world where technology and science are the tools utilized to retrieve, interpret and process information. The emphasis in all areas is on hands-on experiences that teach and reinforce the importance of the scientific method. The school is equipped with a state-of-the-arts science lab, a solar greenhouse, and a technology lab. Watchung School was named a 2011 National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Dept. of Education.

Grades K-5, Hours: 8:50 am – 3:05 pm

14 Garden St., Montclair, 973-509-4266


Glenfield Middle School, whose magnet is Gifted & Talented/Visual & Performing Arts, assigns students to one of 7 houses. Within the house structure, students are encouraged to unfold the mysteries of life through language arts, mathematics, science, social studies and world language. Through aesthetic electives, students create, shape, and express themselves through a variety of artistic experiences in paint, sound, language, body movement, clay, voice and film. Glenfield Middle School has an extensive elective program and interdisciplinary areas where academic success is the cornerstone of the school’s foundation.

Grades 6-8, Hours: 7:50 am – 2:09 pm

25 Maple Ave., Montclair, 973-509-4171

Mount Hebron Middle School is the University STEM Magnet (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics). The school is equipped with science labs and computers, and students access information, apply technologies to solve real world problems and connect with people and ideas from around the world. Technology is an integral component in all classes as a means to deliver content, as well as to provide a vehicle for self-expression. The school is divided into five houses in order to provide students with an intimate learning experience and students remain within the same house for all three years of middle school with the same teachers.

Grades 6-8, Hours: 7:50 am – 2:09 pm

173 Belleview Ave., Montclair, 973-509-4220

The Renaissance Middle School at Rand’s mission is to mold individuals to think critically and responsibly. The school’s theme is Liberal Arts. Students investigate ideas through an interdisciplinary, thematic curriculum within a small learning environment. The thematic approach centers on essential questions that provide the discipline to exceed state and school district standards. Student work is assessed through portfolios that indicate growth over time. All students participate in community service and Renaissance was awarded the Service Learning Leaders Award for innovative service to the community.

Grades 6-8, Hours: 8:20 am – 4:05 pm

176 North Fullerton Ave., Montclair, 973-509-5741


Montclair High School has upper and lower school buildings, housing approximately 1954 students in grades 9-12. The senior 2012 graduating class currently has 474 students. The school is proud of its rich history of educational excellence dating back to the early 1800s. It offers a rigorous learning environment with a four year academic program offering Advanced Placement courses, plus High Honors and Honors courses. The school offers a number of smaller learning communities (see October 19, 2011 article), the Weston Science Scholar Program, participation in the “Mini-Medical School” at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, a working dental lab with the support of Delta Dental, participation in Robotics Competitions with support from the New Jersey Institute of Technology. Montclair High School is honored with New Jersey Department of Education’s Best Practice Award for Civics & Government Institute, and is a partner with Montclair State University as a Professional Development School. Many students have attended various Governor’s Schools and Montclair High School students have placed first in the nation in the Federal Reserve Bank’s “Fed Challenge,” first in the Model United Nations Competition at Yale and second in a National Mock Trial Competition. In 2011, graduates went on to attend Brown, Columbia, Yale, Princeton, Harvard, Cornell, U Penn, Wesleyan, Tufts, and almost 20% of the graduating class attended Barron’s list of the Most Competitive Colleges including Brandeis, Carnegie Mellon, George Washington, NYU, Vassar, Boston College and Cooper Union. More than 30 athletic programs and 85 extracurricular clubs and organizations are available.

Grades 9-12, Hours: 8:00 am – 2:33 pm

100 Chestnut Street, Montclair, 973-509-4100

For information on Montclair’s public school system and the magnet system visit the following:

Montclair Public Schools

Montclair Magnet System with Full Magnet Booklet

“Our Schools, Our Town” – a 25 minute video presentation

Montclair PTA – for an overview of Montclair’s magnet school system

For registration questions, call the Registrar at 973-509-4017.

Taxpayer’s Guide to Education Spending – Montclair


For those considering private schools in New Jersey, the Montclair area has numerous options for consideration.

Montclair Kimberly Academy

Montclair Kimberly Academy is one of the largest co-educational Pre-K – 12 independent day schools in New Jersey. Located on three age-appropriate campuses, MKA offers an innovative education that combines excellence in teaching, creativity in curriculum and a highly-personal, technology-enriched environment while embracing the highest academic standards.

Montclair Cooperative School

The Montclair Cooperative School is a community of learners (Nursery through 8th Grade) in which children are invited to take risks, question, explore, discuss, interpret, and create. They discover ways to apply learning effectively in solving problems and constructing new knowledge. The Coop is a cooperative in that everyone – teachers, students, and parents – participates in the educational process. The school is progressive in that children learn by building on multi-disciplinary themes and experiences.

Lacordaire Academy

(Grades PreK-8 CoEd; Grades 9-12 All Girls Student Body) Innovative and effective instruction is the core of Lacordaire’s educational experience. The PreK-12 curriculum challenges students to learn through exploration and curiosity. The rigors of the course of studies causes Lacordaire students to develop confidence, critical thinking and analytical skills necessary for them to proceed and be successful in each stage of their academic career. Leadership skills are gained by students taking charge and leading every activity the school offers—clubs, sports, and in the arts. The student-centered approach causes students to take ownership of their school and its community.

St. Cassian School

(PreK-8) St. Cassian School is a thoughtful, respectful and loving family oriented school stressing basic skills and Christian values. St. Cassian’s mission is to help each child develop as a whole, independent person spiritually, intellectually, socially and physically. St. Cassian School will provide effective preparation for its students to meet the challenges of life in today’s society and to be responsible, moral, and productive citizens.

Montclair Nursery Schools; Pre-K

Montclair Community Pre-K

Union Congregational Nursery School

Over the Rainbow

Montclair Cooperative School

Montclair State University Ben Samuels Children’s Center

Children’s Studio

St. James Preschool


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