District shares results that show improved test scores in vast majority of schools; shares strategies educators are using to build on progress
[Newark, NJ – September 28, 2016] At a public board meeting on Tuesday, Superintendent Christopher D. Cerf and Newark Public Schools (NPS) staff members shared that for the second year in a row, PARCC results showed gains in both Math and English Language Arts (ELA) across the district. In addition, academic leaders shared specific classroom strategies educators are employing to build on progress.
“We are, once again, very encouraged by results that show our students continue to make steady progress,” Superintendent Cerf shared. “With that in mind, many of our schools still have a long way to go. That is why we gathered recommendations from the public last year to determine ways the district can make further progress and are sharing how we are implementing those recommendations. We think it is important we are all on the same page about how we are using this information to continue to improve student learning.”
District data showed several promising trends:
- The percentage of students meeting or exceeding expectations across the district was up 6.0 percentage points in ELA and 2.5 percentage points in Math.
- The vast majority of schools are making progress. PARCC data reveals that 48 of 57 schools are showing improvement in ELA, and 40 of 57 schools are showing improvement in Math.
- 3 NPS high schools and 5 NPS elementary schools beat the state average in either ELA or Math, or both.
“This data in many respects reinforces what we already know,” noted Chief Academic Officer Brad Haggerty. “We have so many great schools in Newark: some that are literally among the best in the state, and others that beat the odds when you compare them to schools with similar demographics. It also shows though, that overall, not enough students are meeting expectations. Our team has done significant work over the last year to make key investments that will help us build on this progress to move all schools to where we want them to be.”
The district shared key investments they are making to help educators and students build on and accelerate progress: Key investments that put students at the center of their learning, a more consistent and aligned approach to instruction across schools, rigorous and inclusive curricula across all subjects, increased targeted educator coaching and support, and use of technology to highlight best practices and tailor student lessons.
“In the last year, we worked with the community to identify what was most important to them, and we combined that input with our student data analysis to lay out a comprehensive plan for improvement,” shared Caleb Perkins, who is the Deputy Chief Academic Officer at NPS. “We then spent countless hours with our educators this summer, working on specific classroom strategies that our analysis shows helps students the most. We believe these efforts will provide our educators with the tools to not only help students improve on PARCC, but to prepare them for college and careers more consistently than ever before in Newark.”
The investments that were shared are a part of the broader strategic plan the district released last month, laying out plans across all school and district functions for the next three years. In order to highlight what these plans look like in practice, the district shared a video from a math educator’s classroom – where the teacher currently employs a few of the strategies district staff are working to spread more consistently across all schools.
“One of the most powerful parts of my job is when I get to see educators starting to implement strategies with their students that other teachers have proven already work,” noted Assistant Superintendent Erskine Glover. “If we can continue to help our educators improve – one classroom at a time – we believe that all of our schools can build on and accelerate progress, and ultimately set up more of Newark’s students for success in life.”
For the full presentation shared at the public school board meeting on Tuesday, click here. For data from 2014-15 school year that shows progress made by Newark Students on measures like student growth percentile, click here. Newark Public Schools will share additional data elements and analysis as the New Jersey Department of Education makes them available.