School History

Highlands Elementary School 1906. The first schools in the Highlands were private. One was located in the Water Witch house and run by Colonel Jones' daughter, Angeline (later Mrs. Waddell), and the other was situated in a building constructed below the Twin LIghts in 1867 as a gift by Edward and Mary Hartshorne. The public school in district 67, picture here was built in 1877 on the northeast corner of Navesink Avenue and Miller Street at a cost of $2,000. It had 179 desks for pupils. The building seen here was the result of a $2,500 expansion in 1884 which created a "fine building furnished with all modern and improved furniture."

Highlands School in 1910--a year of further expansion. The addition measured 29 by 54 feet and included landscaping with a field stone wall and a staircase at the rear giving access to the lower town. "Plans for an addition to the school are being drawn by Thomas J. Emery. The addition on the west side will be two stories and will add four classrooms at a cost of $10,000. Demorest Herbert will be the contractor and Daniel Bills will do the painting." Register, May 1910.

Mrs. Louella Parker Opferman's third grade class at Highlands School in 1905. The teacher can be seen in the center of the top row.

Highlands School burns to ashes, May 22, 1928. This was one of the few monumental fires in the Highlands to be documented by photography. The 250 students were placed in temporary quarters around town and on the old site. Some enrolled in St. Agnes Parochial School in Atlantic Highlands. Some simply discontinued their education and sought work, especially with the Depression about to hit America. The salary of a seventh grade teacher (male) in 1928 was $1,450.

The New Highlands Elementary School on Navesink, between Water Witch and Linden Avenues. On December 8, 1928, a bond issue was approved by voters to build a new school at a cost of $188,000, thus placing at $165,000 debt on the taxpayers. The corner stone was laid in May 1930, almost two years after the fire, and the town celebrated with a huge parade. The school was dedicated in December of 1931. A library addition was approved 287 to 79 at a cost of $89,000, of which $72,000 came from a state grant. It was completed in December, 1974.