NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Supervision, Jay Richter provided the Board of Education (BOE) with a state testing assessment report for 2018-2019 on Thursday, Oct. 17. In general, the majority of the New Providence students met or exceed expectations both in language arts and math and scored well above the state level on both tests.

Richter noted that there was a major change in the PARCC testing for 2019. The test is now called New Jersey Student Learning Assessment (NJSLA). He provided testing result data from 2015 to 2019.

During the latest testing cycle of language arts and literacy skills 79 percent of third graders met (score 4) or exceeded the expectation (score 5). Among fourth graders 81 percent registered 4 or 5. Similarly, 87 percent of fifth graders and 85 percent of sixth graders achieved the highest scores. In the middle school 94 percent of the seventh graders met or exceeded expectations. There was a noticeable jump in this grade level to better performance compared to the previous year at 83 percent. Over 80 percent of students in grades 8-10 scored 4 or 5.

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Richter noted that the district is working to get all students to succeed in the tests. The elementary grade language arts curriculum is updated periodically to meet educational needs. The district’s early intervention program and the availability of reading specialists at the early grade levels are helping students to succeed. The district has also implemented a co-teaching model based on staff recommendations.

Many middle school teachers also attend professional development courses and bring new ideas of teaching to the classrooms. The district offers a Summer Title 1 program to high school students who need additional instructional time. The district is also emphasizing independent reading skills in order for students to excel in high level reading and analysis tasks, Richter explained. High school students are also utilizing the “Albert IO” -program for test preparation both for language arts and math.

New Providence students are also testing well in math with 78-85 percent of elementary age (grades 3-6) scoring 4 or 5 during the latest testing cycle. A total of 79 percent of the seventh grade and 72 percent of the eight grade students met or exceeded expectation in 2019. The percentage of high scoring students in Algebra 1 and Algebra 2 rose significantly compared to the previous testing cycle. Richter noted that Geometry scores did not reach the same level, which is possibly due to the fact that it is not a graduation requirement.

Richter pointed out that the district is moving away from the “I am not good at math” mindset to a growth mindset where everyone can succeed in math skills. The co-teaching model is also used in math education as well as Title 1 summer program for high schoolers. The district is also piloting other assessment methods and continuing to utilize Edulastic assessment tools.

With regards to other news the board discussed the school calendar for the 2020-2021 school year. Superintendent David Miceli noted that some neighboring school districts have already approved their calendars with school starting before Labor Day. The board decided to survey the opinions of school starting date among the parents and staff.

The board also heard a presentation of two dyslexic students at Allen W. Roberts School. The students explained the difficulties they are facing in a regular classroom with their learning disabilities and brought attention to children that learn differently.