FAIR LAWN, NJ — The Fair Lawn School District was named a “high performing” school district by the New Jersey Quality Single Accountability Continuum (QSAC) after a recent evaluation of its 10 schools, Superintendent Nick Norcia reported at the July 25 board of education meeting.
QSAC is the state Department of Education’s “monitoring and district self-evaluation system for public school districts,” according to its official website. Representatives visited the Fair Lawn district this past summer to conduct what Norcia called a “grueling monitoring” to analyze curriculum, fiscal management, government, personnel, and inspect hallways and bathrooms.
“It’s an audit of everything we do here,” said Norcia.
QSAC representatives sat down with members of the district’s administration, which included Norcia along with assistant superintendents Dr. Natalie Lacatena and Camille DeFranco, to conduct a “high stakes” process of probing their upkeep of 21st Century standards and reviewed test scores, attendance records and graduation rates. After their review, QSAC scored the district with the following marks:
— Instruction and Program: 91%;
— Fiscal Management: 100%;
— Governance: 100%;
— Operations: 97%; and
— Personnel: 100%
Norcia said no school district receives a perfect score and attributed the lost points to their most recent district performance report. Released in April, the report evaluated the district on such topics as graduation rates, test scores and chronic absenteeism, to name a few. According to the results which Lacatena presented this past spring, areas for improvement in the district included middle school mathematics and their graduation rate.
According to the results of that report, the state DOE set a graduation goal of 95% of district students graduating within four years. According to Fair Lawn’s report, the school district’s Hispanic population did not meet the four- or the five-year goal at the high school level. For Hispanic students in the district, that number fell short a few points to 92.4% who graduated within four years. While the state’s target for a five-year graduation is at 95.7%, currently, 92 percent of Hispanic students graduated within that timeframe, according to the report.
Though Fair Lawn’s mark was nearly perfect, Norcia acknowledged the hard work administered by the entire staff from the paraprofessionals to the teachers, subject supervisors and custodians.
“This is a testament to our district at large,” said Norcia. “All your hard work as a district feels good when you’re high performing.”