BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ – A few years ago, the board and administration asked a question, “We say we are a high performing district, but how do we know?” The answer was to establish a strategic plan, set goals and then hold annual reviews of the progress in meeting achievement and growth goals.
The NJ School Performance Report and Student Achievement data dashboards provide a way for the board to mark the progress of students at the various schools in the district. In the fall, “we benchmark achievement and growth against ourselves,” in the spring the district benchmarks its growth against the “dashboard” schools, which are comprised of the top middle schools throughout New Jersey, McKinney said. “In these categories we look at, we look at the ranking against the other schools,” as well as whether the school is moving up.
At the last board meeting, Acting Superintendent of Schools Scott McKinney presented the semi-annual report and results at Columbia Middle School showed great improvement. There was growth in seven of the eight categories measured except "Math Six," which remained the same, and in each category measured, the school's data placed in the top one-third of the top middle schools in the state .
After reporting the results McKinney said, “We are incredibly proud of this,” acknowledging it represents the work of middle and elementary staff members who prepare the students.
While the scores and ranking of Deerfield School in Mountainside were not specifically addressed, Deerfield is one of the top middle schools included on the slides comparing rankings between schools. Students from Mountainside attend Governor Livingston High School, and the districts are working together to make sure the curricula in Mountainside and Berkeley Heights are in sync.
Assisting in the presentation were Columbia Middle School Principal Frank Geiger, Governor Livingston High School Principal Robert Nixon and District Supervisors Laurie Scott and Drew Ziobro.
There is a lot of information in each of the slides in the presentation which can be seen in the photos above and on the district website here.