Englewood School Board Examines Proficiency Scores, Discusses Student Initiatives

In a recent Englewood School Board meeting, topics of discussion ranged from addressing student learning assessments, fostering homegrown talent through scholarships and the inception of a peer-to-peer tutoring club, to various strategies aimed at enhancing multilingual education. The discourse was marked by a thorough examination of the New Jersey Student Learning Assessment (NJ SLA) scores and collaborative strategies to improve the current standings, coupled with an announcement of a generous donation and the introduction of a promising tutoring initiative.

A substantial portion of the meeting was dedicated to a detailed scrutiny of the recent NJ SLA scores, a grave concern as many students across various grade levels did not meet the proficiency benchmarks in English Language Arts (ELA) and mathematics. Despite the troubling statistics, a hopeful note was struck for the 11th grade where a commendable 85% met the proficiency standard in ELA. The board recognized the trends as part of a broader national issue, fueling a determined resolve to steer improvements through enhanced instructional strategies and support mechanisms for teachers and students. The discussion extended into a consensus on the necessity of a strategic plan, grounded in detailed data analysis, to elevate educational outcomes.

Building on a progressive note, the board applauded the successful back-to-school event and acknowledged a generous donation of $10,000 from DARS Cars Lexus of Englewood to support a student scholarship and the Dwight Morro Student Council. Superintendent Dr. Marnie Hazelton emphasized utilizing the scholarship to nurture homegrown talent pursuing degrees in education.

An encouraging update was provided by an 11th-grade student regarding a peer-to-peer tutoring program that nurtures affection for subjects such as mathematics. The initiative has seen encouraging success, fostering enjoyment and educational advancement among participants. The program is in stages of being formalized into a club with the cooperation of middle school teachers.

Focusing on academic excellence, the new assistant superintendent for curriculum instruction introduced a vision aimed at meeting the diverse learning community’s needs through relationship building and continuous professional development. The vision was followed by an announcement of ongoing recruitment efforts to fill 15 district positions, underlining the importance of selecting the right individuals over merely filling vacancies.

Multilingual education stood as a notable point of discussion, with the board discussing the newly adopted code from the Department of Education aimed at facilitating multilingual learning. The dialog included acknowledging the dynamic demographic changes and the necessity for targeted interventions to foster growth at various educational stages. The discourse embraced the potential of bilingual and dual-language programs, emphasizing a strategic approach to elevating students to higher proficiency stages in language learning. Future strategies discussed included leveraging after-school and summer opportunities for more focused learning in smaller groups.

In the latter part of the meeting, concerns about flooding issues affecting school assets were raised, with a proposal to communicate urgently with city authorities, including the mayor and city council, to address the water logging issue originating from a nearby brook. The meeting also touched upon recent modifications to the compensation structures for substitute teachers and paraprofessionals, settling on a stipulated hourly rate of $27 for the latter group.

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