WESTFIELD, NJ — New Jersey’s annual school performance reports show that Westfield’s public schools are meeting and exceeding many state benchmarks.

Recently released School Performance Reports for the 2017-2018 academic year show that all Westfield schools either met or exceeded state requirements for student growth and student performance on assessments. The district has a 97.9 percent high school graduation rate, and an above-average college enrollment rate (93.2 percent), according to the reports.

The district’s 10 schools have a combined enrollment of 6,348 students in grades ranging from pre-Kindergarten to grade 12 with a student-to-teacher ratio of 12-to-1, according to the data. The average district teacher has 11.6 years of experience, the data show.

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“The Westfield Public School District consistently performs well,” said Dr. Margaret Dolan, the district’s superintendent. “Continued technology upgrades and an unwavering focus on the health and wellness of our students and staff are among the many ways we enhance our curriculum and support our school community.”

Summative Scores included in the data account for several indicators measuring student growth and performance. These schools also receive Summative Ratings, which assign each school a percentile to show how it compares among all schools in the state. Summative scores are only given to schools with students in grade 3 or higher.

Summative Scores and Summative Ratings for the Westfield School District’s 10 schools are as follows:

  • Franklin Elementary School: Score of 79.17 (Rating: 90.05)
  • Jefferson Elementary School: Score of 65.82 (Rating: 74.47)
  • McKinley Elementary School: Score of 86.99 (Rating: 96.27)
  • Roosevelt Intermediate School: Score of 52.20 (Rating: 52.84)
  • Tamaques Elementary School: Score of 75.05 (Rating: 85.84)
  • Thomas Edison Intermediate School: Score of 60.84 (Rating: 67.77)
  • Washington Elementary School: Score of 95.27 (Rating: 99.47)
  • Westfield Senior High School: Score of 82.59 (Rating: 89.68)
  • Wilson Elementary School: Score of 86.28 (Rating: 95.79)

None of the district’s schools are designated in need of comprehensive support, a designation reserved for any schools that have a summative rating lower than five, or for any high schools with a graduation rate of less than 67 percent.

The district’s two intermediate schools, Roosevelt and Thomas Edison, rated comparatively lower than the rest of the schools in the district. It is something Dolan attributed in part to the differences in ranking systems used by the state. Indicators used for elementary and middle schools differ from those used for high schools.

“The middle school rankings combine growth and performance, using a narrow definition of growth, with growth accounting for much more than actual student performance in the final ranking,” Dolan told TAPinto Westfield. “By comparison, the high school report focuses on the performance of students on state assessments and the graduation rate.”

Enrollment in Advanced Placement, or AP, classes at Westfield High School, which stood at 54.7 percent, were significantly higher than the state average of 34.9 percent, the reports show.

MORE: Westfield’s 2019-20 School Budget Funds New Hires, Hikes Levy 2.8%

The high school offers 16 Advanced Placement courses along with several honors courses in most disciplines, Dolan said, and places a strong focus on college preparatory courses.

“Students who take advanced placement tests score well,” she said of the scores, which range from low of 1 to a high of 5. “Sectional averages for the Class of 2018 included 4.8 in Calculus BC, 4.5 in Statistics, 4.3 in Physics and Spanish Language, 4.2 in Chemistry, and 4.1 in English Language, Computer Science A and U.S. History. Our students are disciplined and motivated to do well.”

The report indicates that chronic absenteeism, the percentage of students who miss 10 percent or more of days enrolled, is much lower in the district (3.3 percent) than the state average (10.9 percent).

“Chronic absenteeism in Westfield Public Schools historically has remained low,” Dolan said.  “We are fortunate to partner with a parent community that places a high premium on education.”

Released annually by the state Department of Education, the school performance reports allow districts and schools to review their progress in accordance with the federal Every Student Succeeds Act.

ESSA was enacted nationwide in 2015 “to ensure all students have equitable access to high-quality educational resources and opportunities, and to close educational achievement gaps,” according to the Department of Education.

“The School Performance Reports are a tool designed to inform and empower entire communities,” said Lamont O. Repollet, New Jersey Department of Education Commissioner in a news release. “Not only can they be utilized by parents, educators and the general public, but school leaders can use the reports to help identify areas in which they can better meet the needs of students.”

Reports can be accessed on the Department of Education’s School Performance Report website.