HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, NJ -  Student  achievements and a presentation of the latest NJSLA test scores were featured at October’s Hasbrouck Heights Board of Education meeting on Thursday, October 24 at Kiefer Auditorium.

The meeting opened with the awarding of certificates to students who achieved perfect scores on last year’s New Jersey Student Learning Assessments state tests, either in Math, English/Language Arts, or both. Over a dozen students received certificates.  

Next, Hasbrouck Heights High School Vice Principal Vincenzo Barchini and Director of Curriculum Nicole De Bonis gave presentations that broke down the school district’s NJSLA test scores.  Since the tests, formerly known as PARCC, began in the 2014-2015 school year, the district’s five-year growth in test scores can now be seen.

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These tests are administered to students via computer. The subjects presented were Mathematics (grades 3 through 8), English/Language Arts or ELA (3 through 10), Algebra (6 through 10) and Geometry (8 through 10.) (The NJSLA was optional for eleventh-grade students, so the results do not show those scores.) A passing mark on the NJSLA is 750; a student who scores 750 or more is said to be "Proficient" in the subject. The results show significant growth in all the scores from the first year to the latest year.

 The average score for elementary school students last year is 767, compared to 752 the first year. The middle school students last year averaged 764, up from 744 in 2014-15. High school students averaged 752 last year, compared to 733 the first year of the test.

The percentage of Proficient students in English in the district is up 15.3 percent from that of 2014-15, while Math proficiency is up 21.9 percent. 

Comparing Hasbrouck Heights district’s average scores with those of the entire state, it is found that the district outperforms the state in both English and math. In English, 67.1 percent of the district’s students were proficient, compared to the state’s 57.6 percent. In Math, 60.8 percent of Hasbrouck Heights students achieved proficiency, compared to 42.7 percent of students in the entire state.

The state is now asking districts to break down the results by population subgroups, such as race, gender, and students who receive free/reduced lunch. There was a striking gap between male and female students in English; 74 percent of girls were proficient in the subject, while only 61 percent of boys were. In math, females and males were pretty much evenly matched, with 60 percent of girls and 59 percent of boys achieving proficiency.

For the SAT tests, the mean score for ERW (Evidence-Based Reading and writing) was 537.4, and the mean score for Math was 562.4.

De Bonis talked about the scores of those students who took the Access for ELLS (English Language Learners) test. Among the tested students for which there is comparable data, 71 percent showed growth while 29 percent showed a decline. De Bonis noted the intervention strategies that are being put in place for these students, including reviewing standards and strengthening professional development for teachers.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Matthew Helfant noted that as the years go on, the jumps in scores won’t be so big “because you can’t keep projecting up ten percent, twenty percent increases over time.”  He said that the improved scores can be attributed to many improvements that have taken place in the district, and are a testament to everyone  the administrators, the staff and the parents working together.  

The full slideshow regarding the test scores can be found on the district website, www.hhschools.org. Hover over “Central Office” and select “Assessment” on the menu that appears.

Helfant then gave the report on discipline and HIB (harassment, intimidation and bullying) in the schools. He said that in the 2018-2019 school year, the middle/high school had 146 incidents that required “removal.” Helfant explained that in-school suspensions are included in that number. He also noted that the schools have been cracking down on cell phone use and vaping, which account for the high number.

Helfant said that the district is required to do a self-evaluation on how well it is educating the staff on HIB policies and procedures. Out of a possible score of 78, he said, the district gives itself a 76 for Lincoln School and 75 for all the others.

The Superintendent’s report for October can be accessed at the district’s website, under the “Superintendent’s Corner” section.

Helfant said that the Chromebooks that students requested in the Chromebook lottery will be available for pickup October 30, at a cost of $25. Out of 340 that entered the lottery, 100 were selected to receive Chromebooks.

Helfant also noted that starting in November,  a facilities newsletter will be sent out to parents. The newsletter will report on the major projects that have been going on in the district.


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