WEST ORANGE, NJ - The West Orange Board of Education has posted its preliminary agenda for the April 15 meeting on its website. 

The meeting will be held at West Orange High School Library Media Center beginning at 8:00.

Interim Superintendent James O'Neill will discuss the report on New Jersey Schools, in particular West Orange Public Schools, released by the state on Wednesday: http://education.state.nj.us/pr/.  

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Beginning with School Year 2011-2012, the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) significantly changed the annual school report cards, required under both federal and state legislation. The new School Performance Reports highlight several components of each school in detail.  Several Superintendents, while welcoming the information, criticized in particular the new "peer comparison rankings"  which determine peer similarity based on student's levels of poverty and special needs. In some cases, schools with practically identical test scores, in the same peer groups, have wildly different percentile ranks. according to a NJ.com article.

With a new process for determining and collecting information,  it will take schools and the state some time to get used to the new School Performance Reports, learn correct reporting, improve the format  and avoid errors. The new reporting format and information processing is an adjustment for both the state and the schools.

In addition, the state released school spending data, noting that the average spending per pupil rose from $17,322 in 2010-11, to $18,047 in 2011-12.

According to the Department of Education, the goal of  the new School Performance Reports seek to:

  • Focus attention on metrics that are indicative of college and career readiness.
  • Benchmark a school’s performance against other peer schools that are educating similar students, against statewide outcomes, and against state targets to illuminate and build upon a school’s strengths and identify areas for improvement.
  • Improve educational outcomes for students by providing both longitudinal and growth data so that progress can be measured as part of an individual school’s efforts to engage in continuous improvement.