As of the 2005-06 school year, the school had an enrollment of 2,228 students and 157.6 classroom teachers (on a FTE basis, for a student-teacher ratio of 14.1.
The school was the 52nd-ranked public high school in New Jersey out of 314 schools statewide, in New Jersey Monthly magazine's September 2008 cover story on the state's Top Public High Schools. The school was ranked 82nd in the magazine's September 2006 issue, which included 316 schools across the state.
J.P. Stevens was founded in 1964, and rapidly expanded with North Edison. Originally, JPS was a senior high school, serving grades 10 through 12. In 1984, the Edison School District changed the junior high schools into middle schools, moving 9th grade into JPS.
The history of the demographics of J.P. Stevens is somewhat unusual. From the time it opened through the 1980s, the school's students were mostly Caucasian, with an African American minority. Beginning in the 1980s, J. P. Stevens saw increasing numbers of Asian Americans. By the school year, the largest group of students at J.P. Stevens was of the Asian Americans (particularly Indian Americans), following the same trend as Edison as a whole. As of the school year, Asian-Americans constitute 56% of students. In addition, 34% of the school is Caucasian, 7% African American, and 3% Hispanic. Only 35% of JPS students speak English as their primary language at home.
The average class size of the school is about 27 students. The school's ratio of students to computers is 12 to 1 while the state average is 4 to 1.
On the Language Arts section of the High School Proficiency Assessment (HSPA), 54% of students scored proficient and 37% scored advanced. On the Math section of the test, 38% scored proficient and 52% scored advanced. The average SAT score is 1160 out of 1600. The Advanced Placement Program (AP) participation is 22%. The average attendance rate is 96%. As of the school year, JPS had a suspension rate of 11%. 97% of JPS seniors graduated and only 7% of the school graduated via the SRA process. 77% of the graduating seniors go on to four-year colleges and another 17% of the graduating seniors go on to two year colleges.
A student at the school won the girls' 5,000 meter race at the 1983 Kinney National High School Cross-Country Championships held in Balboa Park, San Diego, California, with a time of 16 minutes 43.7 seconds.
The J.P. Stevens High School Chorus is directed by Diane Wions. The J.P. Stevens Choir has won numerous awards, including Best Overall Choir at National and State competitions. In the 2006 Music Festival in Virginia Beach, Virginia, all competing groups from J.P. Stevens won first place, including best overall choir with all superior ratings. At the ACDA Festival in May 2006, the A Cappella Ensemble and the Chamber Ensemble both received The Sweepstakes award with a perfect score. In the Roxbury Invitational 2007, J.P. Stevens A Cappella Ensemble was one of two concert choirs selected to be in the showcase (previously in 2005), and went home with a 1st runner up trophy (with a rating of gold), behind Hopewell Valley Chamber Singers. In 2008, J.P. Stevens A Capella once again qualified as one of two showcase choirs at Roxbury Invitational, receiving a rating of gold. In addition, two concert soloists were selected to perform in the showcase. Many students from the choir are accepted into the Regions II Choir, the NJ All-State Choir, All-Eastern High School Honor Choir, and Governor's School of the Arts. At the Heritage Festivals in Boston, Massachusetts in April 2007, the A Cappella Ensemble received second place and the Concert Choir won first place, as well as the Adjudicator's award. In addition, the Chamber Choir was awarded first place in the Madrigal Choir category, and the school won Best Overall Choir and the Sweepstakes award. All performing groups received a gold rating. In the 2008 Festivals of Music in Washington, D.C., all competing groups from J.P. Stevens won the top honors.
The J.P. Stevens High School band program is under the direction of Andrew S. DeNicola and assistant director John Zazzali. Around 200 students participate in several ensembles, among which are Freshman Band, Symphonic Band, Wind Ensemble, Lab Jazz Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble, and Marching Band. Students can also participate in pep band, pit band, and various small ensembles. Freshman band consists of incoming freshmen and allows the young student to grow accustomed to the atmosphere of a new band program. As the student progresses through his high school career, he joins either the symphonic band or the wind ensemble, both of which are groups that comprise sophomores, juniors, and seniors. The repertoire of the symphonic band is more advanced than that of the freshman band, and the symphonic band attends several festivals and competitions throughout the year. The wind ensemble is among the finest in the state, attending the state gala concert for the past three years, winning numerous awards. Membership is limited through audition only. The members are among the finest musicians across the state. Many of them are accepted into region and all-state bands year after year.
The J.P. Stevens High School jazz program is also among the finest in the state. Membership is through audition only. Students are accepted into either Lab Jazz or Top Jazz. Lab Jazz Ensemble consists of musicians showing a particular interest in jazz. The Lab Jazz Ensemble is directed by John Zazzali. The Jazz Ensemble (Top Jazz), directed by Andrew DeNicola, is the highest level jazz group. It has been accepted to the NJIAJE Jazz Finals every year from , and was named state champion in 1998, 2000, & 2004 (though a minor time penalty pushed their placement to 2nd).
The J.P. Stevens Marching Hawks perform at Varsity Football games and competitions around the area. The Marching Hawks are a Class VI Marching Band, composed of around 150 members. Anyone attending J.P. Stevens High School is eligible to participate. The Marching Hawks have won many competitions, and rank as one of the top 10 Marching Bands in the state as of 2005.
The 2008-2009 Marching Hawks
The 2008-09 Marching Hawks currently have around 140 members. The show is entitled "A Ron Nelson Holiday" consisting of Rocky Point Holiday as well as Sonoran Desert Holiday(pt.1&pt.2).
The Marching Hawks took 1st place at the Scotch-Plains Competition on September 13, 2008, as well as receiving Best Overall Music, Best Percussion, Best Overall Effect, and the Mayor's Award.
Brian Verdi has been the director of orchestras since the school year. Each year a number of students audition and are selected to participate in both CJMEA Regions II and All-State Orchestra. The orchestras compete each year in various orchestra festivals and place first in every competition. Presently the orchestra program has over fifty members and continues to grow.
The J.P. Stevens High School Orchestra Program consists of three orchestras, a string quartet and some of the finest young musicians in the state of New Jersey. Chamber Orchestra includes 21 students who are selected by audition and perform standard string literature. Concert Orchestra has more than 50 students that is combined with winds and percussion to form the Symphonic Orchestra. Students who play in the string quartet are selected by audition and perform at weddings and other fundraisers around the community.
The John P. Stevens award winning theatre company has been an ongoing program in the school for many years now. Since the foundation of the company, several Broadway and off-Broadway shows have been performed; some notable include: Grease, Into the Woods, Pippin, The Wiz, Leader of The Pack and Urinetown: The Musical. The theatre company's production of Urinetown: The Musical garnered several honorable mentions and nominations by the NJ Papermill Playhouse Rising Star Awards as well as a separate award being honored to student Thomas Minucci for the best set design. Other productions by the company from the past include Macbeth, The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown and Working among others. The theatre company put on a production of Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee's Inherit The Wind in November 2007. Most recently, the company put on perhaps their most successful and lauded show ever: the Stephen Sondheim musical Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street in April 2008. Tickets easily sold out for the show, thus, each performance night oversaw members of the theatre company performing to one of the largest turnouts ever. Darlene Rich, an English and Theatre Arts teacher at the school, is currently the director and head of the theatre company.
The "More Ways Out" Improv Troupe meets every Thursday after school, to practice along with other students the art of "staying on ones toes". In the past years the "More Ways Out" improv troupe has won best in state numerous times. Most recently, the troupe went to New York City for an improv workshop encountering many professionals, as well as attending the NYC comedy festival.
SerenAIDe is an annual, entirely student-run, benefit concert that was organized to raise money and awareness for victims of Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's Disease. This event takes place in the first week of May. The concert was inspired by the choral director's husband's struggle against this disease. Over the last three years the students have successfully raised over $24,000 towards the ALS foundation and the Jewish Community Center of Belle Mead, New Jersey.
Recently, a new robotics club was founded. Team 2554 , the JPS Warhawks , which attended the FIRST Robotics Competition 2008 New York Regionals, is a new robotics club started in the 2007-2008 school year at John P. Stevens High School. The team went on the place 18 out of 64 , qualifying for finals.