Progress Toward Achieving District Goals Presented at Board of Education Meeting.


SPARTA, NJ – Dennis Tobin, Superintendent and Dr Melissa Varley, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Staff Development made a presentation to the board of education and the public at the December meeting at the Mohawk Avenue School.  The presentation was the first of an anticipated four on the topic of how the district is progressing toward achieveing the annual district goals.  

The first and second goals are related in that they deal with providing curriculum and academic programs, professional development, implementing Achieve NJ and student achievement as measured by PARCC.  The first goal deals with all students.  The second goal specifically targets special education student. 

PARCC is the state mandated standardized test that will be implemented by all districts in NJ this year.  The PARCC will replace the NJASK test, though certain secondary level classes such as Algebra I and II and Biology, will continue to take a standardized End of Course exams.

Sign Up for E-News

In presenting the district’s progress toward achieving these goals, Varley reported on the English Language Arts and Math scores on common assessments given to all students in grades Kindergarten through High School.  The common assessments evaluated the students’ acquisition of skills and knowledge of the common core standards covered in the first marking period and benchmark evaluations for standards expected to be acquired by the end of the year.

Varley presented a chart for each grade in each subject, including Algebra I and II and Geometry at the middle and high schools.  She presented scores for general education and special education.  The scores were broken down into three categories; Approaching Standards, Meeting Standards and Exceeding Standards. 

In addition to the test scores Varley discussed the Major Activities used to achieve the first and second goals.  These include;

  • Expanding the before and after school remediation programs,
  • Brain Camp,
  • Professional Development for Staff,
  • Alignment of curriculum to the Next Generation Science Standards,
  • Implementing Readers’ and Writers’ workshops and
  • Development of Student Growth Objectives. 

In addition, for the second goal the Major Activities include focus on Special Education Parent Advisory Group and the ongoing process of having Child Study Teams evaluate and update Individualized Education Plans.

Tobin took over the discussion for the remaining goals.

The third goal deals with facilities;

  • Doing a needs assessment, 
  • Prioritization of capital projects and
  • Submitting the Long Range Facilities Plan, as required by the state. 

Tobin gave a timeline for the anticipated completion of the various parts of this goal.

The Long Range Strategic Plan was a holdover from the previous year.  It was mutually agreed that this fourth goal be carried over and has been substantially satisfied.  The district sponsored three widely publicized and well attended meetings open to the community this fall.  The goals were created.  The NJSBA representative Annunziata will be synthesizing them and presenting the final language for board approval.  The expectation is that this will happen in February. 

Finally, the fifth goal is to expand the professional development for staff.  The Professional Development Academy has begun and has even been opened to other districts seeking to have their staff receive additional training.  Sparta has received payment from other districts who have taken advantage of this opportunity. 

There were only a few questions posed by board members after the presentation.  Brenda Beebe wanted to know the “source of the assessments” used for the first two goals.  Varley responded that many were used including DRA, STAR reading assessment, CMI and others.

Kim Yoemans wanted to know how the data from the various assessments were merged and what percentages were used to determine on which level the students were performing.  Varley explained that each assessment already determines a level of proficiency and that the levels from those assessments were used.

Another question from Yoemans was how the reports differed for honors and AP student.  Varley’s response was that the standards being assessed are the same for all students.  Those in an advanced class are getting a more in depth exposure to those standards.  Yoemans also wanted to know how these scores indicated the students would perform on the PARCC.  Varley said “We don’t know what the PARCC looks like so we don’t know.”  She went on to say the curriculum is aligned with the Common Core State Standards and the students are performing better this year than last on the common assessments. 

There will be similar presentations at the conculusion of each marking period.  

The district goals were set at a special meeting in August at the Sparta High School Media Center.  It was a contentious meeting that lasted more than four hours.  It was moderated by Al Annunziata Field Service Representative from the New Jersey School Boards Association.    

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Sparta Police: Brooklyn Man in Trouble for Fake Plates

May 27, 2018

SPARTA, NJ –  A Brooklyn man is facing charges related to stolen license plates.  On May 23 around 9:30 a.m. Sparta Police Officer Steven Guido was on White Lake Road when the automated license plate reader in his patrol car sounded an alert, police said.

The notification said the license plates on a white Ford van that had just pulled into the Printing Center parking lot were ...

Sparta Police: Drunk Brooklyn Man Asks Police to Shoot Him

SPARTA, NJ – A Brooklyn man was taken for observation when he asked police to shoot him after having crashed his car down an embankment on County Road 517 near the Sparta Middle School.  On May 17 around 2:06 a.m. Sparta Police Officers Brian Porter and Timothy Lynott found Joshua Lindland of Brooklyn asleep in the driver’s seat of a gray Audi against a tree, police ...

Sparta Police: Passengers Face Drug Charges in Traffic Stop

SPARTA, NJ – Two Wantage women face drug charges after the car they were in was stopped for a broken headlight on Route 15.  On May 5 around 2 p.m. Sparta Police Officer Ben Griffin pulled over Alex Torres, 22, driving a white Honda Accord with two passengers, police say.

The officer saw a metal marijuana grinder behind the driver’s seat.  The car and ...

Glen Lake

May 27, 2018

Being that I was forced to pay 15k to join this beach, I expect there to be more sand real soon. I would also like a grill.  

Sparta Education Foundation Thanks Community for Dragon Boat Festival Success

Dear Editor,

The Sparta Education Foundation’s Fourth Annual Dragon Boat Festival drew thousands to the Lake Mohawk Boardwalk on Sunday, May 20.  From the sponsors, participants and schools to the many volunteers and cheering spectators, the Dragon Boat Festival was a true reflection of Sparta Pride.

Congratulations to the Dragon Boat Festival’s top three teams: First Place ...

Upcoming Events

Sun, May 27, 1:00 PM

Van Kirk Homestead Museum, Sparta

Life Along the Wallkil River



Sat, June 2, 9:00 AM

Sparta Health and Wellness parking lot, Sparta

Sparta Farmers Market


Sat, June 9, 9:00 AM

Sparta Health and Wellness parking lot, Sparta

Sparta Farmers Market

Sun, June 10, 1:00 PM

Van Kirk Homestead Museum, Sparta

Life Along the Wallkil River



Sat, June 16, 9:00 AM

Sparta Health and Wellness parking lot, Sparta

Sparta Farmers Market

Thu, June 21, 2:00 PM

Van Kirk Homestead Museum, Sparta

Summer Afternoon Garden Soiree

Home & Garden


Sat, June 23, 9:00 AM

Sparta Health and Wellness parking lot, Sparta

Sparta Farmers Market

Sun, June 24, 1:00 PM

Van Kirk Homestead Museum, Sparta

Life Along the Wallkil River



Sat, June 30, 9:00 AM

Sparta Health and Wellness parking lot, Sparta

Sparta Farmers Market

Newton's Petition to Move Election Certified, Tabled to May 30 by Council

May 15, 2018

NEWTON, NJ—The petition to move elections from May to November was certified by the clerk and presented to the Newton Town Council at the meeting on Monday night.  The petition has been circulating since April and was a point of controversy in the recent council election campaigns.

According to the town attorney, the town clerk certified “369 valid signatures of qualified ...

Vehicular Homicide Charges for Driver of Paramus School Bus

May 25, 2018

MORRISTOWN, NJ - The driver of a school bus involved in a crash on Route 80 last week that killed two people faces two counts of second-degree vehicular homicide/death by auto, it was announced today.

The driver, Hudy Muldrow, 77, of Woodland Park, attempted to make an illegal U-Turn on the highway in an attempt to find his way to Waterloo Village, the planned destination of the bus that was ...

Sneak Peek! Highly Desirable Lake Mohawk 3BR

Longing to live the lake lifestyle? Today's your lucky day! Take a sneak peek at our newest home available in Sparta's highly desirable Lake Mohawk community, and get ready for our OPEN HOUSE Saturday, June 2nd from 1pm-3pm.

This 3 bedroom, 2 bath home at 137 Hillside Road, Sparta, features a wood burning insert in the living room fireplace, perfect ...

Why You Should Buy Your NJ Home Before Interest Rates Rise

Interest rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage climbed from 3.95% in the first week of January up to 4.61% last week, marking a 7-year high according to Freddie Mac. Many factors fueled the current pace of acceleration.  Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist, opines:

“Healthy consumer spending and higher commodity prices spooked bond markets and led to higher mortgage ...

Is Your First Home Within Your Grasp Now?


Bottom Line

According to the US Census Bureau, ‘millennials’ are defined as 18-36-year-olds.

According to NAR’s latest Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers, the median age of all first-time home buyers is 32.

More and more ‘old millennials’ (25-36) now realize homeownership is within their grasp now!

Are YOU ready for ...

Find Your Dream Home During Our DOUBLE Open House Weekend!

The forecast for this weekend is rain, rain, and more rain---so why not spend your time touring your new home?  Team Nest Builder offers 2 wonderful Open Houses this weekend, PLUS a new listing for you to check out via video tour!

27 Hilltop Trail, Sparta

Step into your own fairytale with this Lake Mohawk, storybook-sweet 3-bedroom, 1.5-bathroom gem! Gather in front of the rustic ...

Help Feed Hungry Sussex County Families Through Foodstock

Did you realize food pantry shortages INCREASE during the summer months? Decreased donations and increased need due to the summer break from school lunch and breakfast programs leave many Sussex County families hungry.  

Enter Foodstock:  an annual spring countywide food drive started 15 years ago through the coordinated efforts of Pass it Along, United Way of Northern New Jersey, ...


AtlantiCast: Episode 15

On this week’s AtlantiCast, learn some important tips for controlling and avoiding diabetes from an Atlantic Health System expert, see how Atlantic Health is advancing cutting-edge research, hear what’s being done to keep health care environmentally friendly and much more!


Sussex County Board of Chosen Freeholders May 9 video

SUSSEX COUNTY, NJ - Video of the Sussex County Board of Chosen Freeholders May 9 meeting. 


Enrollment Begins June 2 For Lord Stirling's Summer Riding Lessons

May 26, 2018

BASKING RIDGE, N.J. — The Somerset County Park Commission will be conducting registration for summer horseback riding classes and other seasonal programs at Lord Stirling Stable, located at 256 South Maple Avenue in Basking Ridge, N.J.  

Lessons are offered to juniors (ages 9-17) and adults, and will accommodate first-time beginners through more advanced levels with jumping ...