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Dwight Morrow High School is a four-year comprehensive public high school located in Englewood, New Jerseymarker, United Statesmarker, as part of the Englewood Public School Districtmarker. The school also serves students from Englewood Cliffsmarker, who attend as part of a sending/receiving relationship.

Founded in 1932, the school is named after Dwight Morrow, an American businessman, politician, and diplomat, who lived in the city. The school shares its campus with the Academies@Englewood and Janis E. Dismus Middle School. Janis Dismus is located across Millers Pond but the academies are both led by the same administration

As of the 2005-06 school year, the school had an enrollment of 1,059 students and 105.0 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 42.1.

The school was the 128th-ranked public high school in New Jersey out of 316 schools statewide, in New Jersey Monthly magazine's September 2008 cover story on the state's Top Public High Schools. The school was ranked 180th in the magazine's September 2006 issue, which surveyed 316 schools across the state.

Academic programs

The Academies@Englewood also known as A@E or Academies @ Englewood is a four-year comprehensive magnet public high school program started by Dr. John Grieco (founder of the Bergen County Academiesmarker) in an effort to diversify the Dwight Morrow High School campus, to raise the standard of public education for Englewood residents, and to attract white residents of Englewood and Englewood Cliffs back to the public school system. The school was created at a time when Englewood and Englewood Cliffs population was about 42% and 67% white, respectively, while the Dwight Morrow was some 99.9% African-American and Hispanic. As established, the school would accept 75 students from Englewood and Englewood Cliffs, and 75 students from out of the district in each grade, for a total enrollment of 600 students.

The school was established in 2002 with four academies: Finance, Information Systems, Law and Public Safety, and Pre-Engineering. A fifth academy, Biomedicine, was added in 2004. The school graduated its first class in 2006, with 91 students, about half of whom were from Englewood, the other half from several dozen North Jersey towns. The school is located in Englewoodmarker, in Bergen Countymarker, New Jerseymarker, United Statesmarker, as part of the Englewood Public School Districtmarker.

The school participates in the Interdistrict Public School Choice Program, having been approved on November 2, 1999, as one of the first ten districts statewide to participate in the program. Seats in the program for non-resident students are specified by the district and are allocated by lottery, with tuition paid for participating students by the New Jersey Department of Education. The school's participation in the program has drawn students from over 40 Bergen County, Hudson Countymarker and Passaic Countymarker.

As of the 2007-2008 school year, the school will require students to declare a major that will guide their course selection throughout their four years at the school.


The primary controversy with the Academies is its location on the Dwight Morrow High School campus. The South building was taken away from Dwight Morrow High in 2002 to establish the Academies and the two schools also share a single auditorium and gymnasium. This left Dwight Morrow High with only the North Building and fewer available classrooms. Residents in the City of Englewood have expressed feelings of anger in allowing the Academies to operate on the campus; newspapers such as the Bergen Record have quoted residents accusing the Academies of being a racist institution, regardless of the fact that there are many African American and Hispanic students in the Academies @ Englewood.

The Englewood Board of Education has repeatedly attempted in various ways to integrate the two schools, but that task has been proven difficult due to many issues. The original idea in bringing the Academies to Dwight Morrow High School campus was to diversify the student body of Dwight Morrow while setting a higher standing for education in the entire district. The campus itself has been diversified, but the two schools are kept almost completely separate. Until recently, the schools shared only classes such as electives, music, art, and gym, but from the school year of 2006/2007 onward, they now operate on the same day schedule and many students share core classes. However, if the Academies @ Englewood are not included as part of the Dwight Morrow High School student body the school still remains overwhelmingly minority, about 98% black and Hispanic.

A 2005 report by the New Jersey Department of Education documented the continuing segregation between the Academies and Dwight Morrow, with African-American and Latino enrollment in the Academies declining each year, despite the stated goal of achieving greater minority balance.


During the 1980s, changes in local demographics drastically altered the school's ethnic body resulting in an African American majority. The nearby district of Englewood Cliffsmarker attempted to end its sending receiving relationship with Englewood due to the poor performance of the school. This led to a bitter court battle between Englewood and Englewood Cliffs beginning in 1985, a move characterized by Englewood as racist. By 1992, the school was 97% African American and Hispanic. "There were more violent incidents reported at DMHS (Dwight Morrow High School) than any other school in Bergen Countymarker in the 1991-92 school year, and test scores remained painfully low." Court battles continued, in an attempt to desegregate the high school.

According to Assemblyman John E. Rooney, "white students from Englewood Cliffs, the district trying to end its obligation to send its students to Dwight Morrow, feared for their safety at the heavily minority institution." Most Englewood Cliffs parents have chosen private school over Dwight Morrow High School.

Current situation

In the fall of 2002, a new magnet program was opened up in an attempt to attract non- African American students back to the school. The opening of the new academy led to more discrimination from the viewpoint of Englewood's African American community. The academy was given a portion of the campus to operate on, and the regular high school, Dwight Morrow, continued to operate on the remainder of the campus. The academy has a diverse population and is kept separate from Dwight Morrow while occupying the same campus. This has created two distinct schools on one campus. Dwight Morrow recently has had protests, overcrowded classrooms and an inferior education.

"The books are old and the classes are overcrowded,' said..., a junior. "In my history class at least five students have to stand up each day." .

The academy has highly-qualified teachers as well better resources.

"Academies@Englewood; longer school day, rigorous and engaging core academic curriculum, technology, upgraded classroom materials and equipment not available to Dwight Morrow students, climate reflecting high expectations, inviting classrooms. Students are spirited and proud of their school and opportunities."

Dwight Morrow high school continues to have major problems and continues to be 97% black and Hispanic. If the Academies @ Englewood are included as part of the High School's total population, that percentage is considerably lower.

Many residents of Englewood feel that the City of Englewood has worked against the progress of the high school by opening up the Academies. About 50% of the students are from Englewood. Englewood's African American community feels the city and the board of education has put its minority residents second with this move.

"For the past three years they've been feeling like second-class citizens in their own town, sharing a campus with another high school touted as academically superior, and getting no respect...The message to kids and parents at that 97 percent African-American and Hispanic high school is that for so-called integration to happen on the campus, you must swallow the bitter pill that tastes like apartheid."

Future plans

The Englewood Board of Education has plans to integrate the Academies @ Englewood with Dwight Morrow High School. The plan to phase the two schools in to one will take place over the next few years. The integration of Dwight Morrow with the Academies has caused much controversy.


The Dwight Morrow High School Maroon Raiders participate in the BCSL American athletic conference of the Bergen County Scholastic League.

The boys basketball team won the 2008 North I, Group II state sectional title, defeating Pascack Hills High Schoolmarker 72-65 in the tournament final. The win marked the team's first sectional title since 2005, ending a two-year run by Pascack Hills.


Core members of the Dwight Morrow administration are:
  • William Gibney, Principal
  • Garry Dennis, Vice-Principal

Notable alumni


Name Class
Regina Belle (born 1963), Grammy Award-winning singer. 1981
Wayne A. Cauthen (born 1955), City Manager of Kansas City, Missourimarker. 1974
David X. Cohen (born 1966), executive producer and head writer of Futurama. 1984
David Feldman, comedy writer.
Bruce Harper (born 1955), former NFL Player New York Jets. 1973
Ernie Isley (born 1952), lead guitarist for the Isley Brothers. 1970
Marvin Isley (born 1953), bass guitarist for the Isley Brothers. 1972
Richard Lewis (born 1947), comedian and actor. Curb Your Enthusiasm. 1965
Rick Overton (born 1954), comedian and actor. 1972
Freddie Perren (1943-2004), songwriter, record producer. 1961
Clarke Peters (born 1952), actor (Det. Lester Freamon) from the HBO series The Wire was born Peter Clark. 1970
Keith Reddin (born 1956), playwright and actor. 1974
Tracey Ross (born Linda Tracey Ross, 1959), actress, Ryan's Hope (1985-1987) and Passions (1999-present). 1977
Wally Schirra (1923-2007) NASAmarker astronaut.
Sister Souljah (born 1964), activist and writer.
Tony Tolbert (born 1967), former NFL Player Dallas Cowboys.
David Townsend (1954-2005), musician. Played guitar with The Isley Brothers, and formed Surface with bassist David Conley in 1983. Had a #5 US/#1 US R&B hit in 1989 with "Shower Me With Your Love". 1972
Joey Travolta (born 1950), actor. 1969
Bill Willoughby (born 1957), former NBA Player who, along with Darryl Dawkins, were the first high school players drafted by the NBA. 1975
John T. Wright, First African American Councilman elected in Bergen County, in November 1952.
Tom Wright (born 1952), actor (Weekend at Bernie's II, The Brother from Another Planet). 1970
Brian Glassman, Doctorate in Jazz. 1979

Name Notes
Sarah Jessica Parker (born 1965), actress. attended, moved to Hollywood
John Travolta (born 1954), actor. attended, dropped out in 1971
Bill Warren, Guggenheim Fellowship Recipient/Painter. attended, dropped out in 1976


Dwight Morrow High School has two buildings. One building is called the North building and was the original structure of the school. Later on Martin Luther King Jr. Hall, also known as the South building, was added to the campus. The High School's North building was built using Gothic architecture. The North building features a 100 foot tower.

Millers Pond on the campus coupled with the Janis E. Dismus Middle School on the grounds lends a collegiate atmosphere to the school.

Popular culture

See also



  1. Anne E. Tergeson, "School denies it's a hotbed of danger", The Record , October 22, 1993, sec. B, p. 1.
  2. Englewood school turns heads
  3. Englewood students stage walkout over chaotic conditions, The Record , September 23, 2005
  4. Students still feel slighted at Dwight Morrow

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