Piscataway, NJ – The National School Board Association (NSBA) named Piscataway Township Schools one of five, first place winners in the 5,000 to 20,000 student population category for its Magna Award – a national award program that recognizes innovation and excellence in public schools.

Piscataway was recognized for its comprehensive Preschool through Grade 12 English as a Second Language (ESL) Program. This is the second national award for Piscataway’s ESL Program this year. In September, the district was recognized by the White House as a “Bright Spot in Hispanic Education.”

More than 62 primary languages are spoken in Piscataway. To meet the needs of ESL students, the district provides opportunities for success in mainstream classrooms, develops academic strengths, and increases participation in honors and Advanced Placement classes. Immersing students into both conversational and academic language and providing cultural guidance to their families is essential.

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The preschool program offers language immersion, health services, and community connections for parents. The elementary program embeds more than 60 ESL-endorsed teachers, allowing more students to remain in mainstream classrooms and benefit from peer conversation.

Meeting afterschool and on Saturdays, the high school ESL Academy builds upon services available during the regular school day, reviewing classroom work and identifying language deficiencies. Further, the Academy offers extended family members English classes, field trips, job application help, and interviewing skills, and assists parents in navigating the education system and college application process.

“The ESL Program’s success is due to the hard work and commitment of our entire staff and the students and families we serve,” said Teresa M. Rafferty, Piscataway Superintendent of Schools. “In addition to the fine work and dedication of our ESL staff, every year, more of our teachers return to school to earn the additional educational credits they need to become ESL-endorsed.”

This year’s three grand prize, 15 first place, and 15 honorable mention winners were selected from three enrollment categories: under 5,000 students, 5,000 to 20,000 students, and over 20,000 students. Each of the prize-winning school districts will be recognized during a special presentation at NSBA’s annual conference, to be held April 9 to 11 in Boston.

“Public schools work tirelessly to improve student achievement,” said Thomas J. Gentzel, Executive Director, NSBA. “These Magna Award-winning districts are some of the finest examples of the creativity and dedication of our public school leaders across this nation.”

About Piscataway Township Schools

Serving over 7,000 students, Piscataway Township Schools provide K - 12 and preschool programming, special education instructional programs and services, as well as before and aftercare, adult education classes, youth enrichment programs, and summer youth programs.

The mission of the Piscataway Public Schools is the continual development of each child’s intellectual, aesthetic, social and physical abilities in a positive environment that fosters self-esteem and helpsall students realize their abilities and gifts.

National School Boards Association

The National School Boards Association (NSBA) is the leading advocate for public education and supports equity and excellence in public education through school board leadership. NSBA represents state school boards associations and their more than 90,000 local school board members throughout the U.S. Learn more at: www.nsba.org.