CAMDEN, NJ — Camden schools have been markedly getting better since 2015 and were successful in transitioning from the classroom amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a new poll has found.  

The findings, released Wednesday, were part of a survey carried out by New York-based Democratic polling firm, Global Strategy Group — which gathered responses from 200 registered Camden voters between June 15 to June 18. 

Camden Education Fund (CEF), a local non-profit, commissioned the poll as part of their work to assess citywide education needs in the district of roughly 15,000 district, charter, and renaissance students.

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According to the poll, 70% of parents believe Camden schools have improved over the last five years, whereas 12% said they worsened. 

“We remain committed to providing high quality schools for all Camden students. This means that every decision made at Camden City School District is focused on accelerating student achievement in learning environments where they feel valued, challenged and prepared for college and careers,” said Superintendent Katrina McCombs.

“These poll results indicate that we are making progress. This data will help us with plans for continued school improvements and help us deliver on our promise to provide a high quality learning environment," added the superintendent.

Camden Education Fund executive director Naeha Dean said data is already available to prove that schools have made strides in test scores, graduation rates, and postsecondary enrollment. 

“What we wanted to gather was data on how families are experiencing schools on a day-to-day basis, especially in light of the disruption caused by COVID-19,” said Dean.  

Camden’s transition to remote learning, which began for schools in March as the coronavirus outbreak made building shutdowns necessary, came in phases and varied somewhat based on school type.

Key findings, the CEF said, point to 97% of parents being satisfied over how schools communicated the closures, with 93% satisfied with the instruction and support they received at home.  

“I’m encouraged but not surprised by this data,” said school board president Wasim Muhammad. “Schools’ response to the pandemic was nothing short of heroic.  Educators, non-profits, and community leaders came together to ensure students had access to meals, to electronic devices, and affordable internet.  Our collaborative spirit created the conditions for success, and I’m confident we will keep this up as we enter the new school year.” 

Other findings: 91% of respondents (and 93% of parents) are in support of allowing parents to enroll students using one application system.

“The purpose of our organization is to meet the needs of families to make the process of finding and enrolling in a school easier. Increasing the number of satisfied parents is literally our mission so these findings are gratifying,” said Camden Enrollment executive director Tameeka Mason in a statement.

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