In the latest Fair Lawn School Board meeting, the district’s performance on New Jersey Student Learning Assessments (NJSLA) was praised, with students surpassing state averages in English Language Arts and Math. The district was also recognized as the sixth-best small city in a Wallet Hub ranking. However, concerns were raised over the safety and well-being of Jewish students in light of recent events in Israel. Additionally, updates on various school activities, initiatives, and the district’s approach towards improving student performance were discussed.
The most significant focus of the meeting was on the district’s academic performance, particularly the results of the NJSLA and Dynamic Learning Maps (DLM) assessments, which evaluate students’ readiness in English language arts (ELA), math, and science.
The district demonstrated impressive performance in ELA and math. Fair Lawn exceeded the state’s expected 95% participation rate in all grade levels and subjects. In ELA, at least 70% of students met or exceeded grade level expectations on the NJSLA, outpacing the state average. The district’s students also outperformed their New Jersey counterparts in all grade levels and subjects for math, with Geometry results showing a notable increase compared to previous years. Both the school board and Superintendent DeFranco commended the district’s students, teachers, staff, administrators, and families for their dedicated efforts and support.
The meeting also highlighted the district’s comprehensive approach towards improving student performance. Various interventions, such as reading and math coaches, intervention programs, professional development, and the use of online resources, have been implemented. The school board is also exploring new strategies to enhance math fluency instruction, such as purchasing Delta Math for high school teachers and using data analysis to create student groups for targeted strategies. The board expressed its commitment to ongoing curriculum revisions and the need for a science specialist to support elementary teachers in teaching science and ensuring alignment with literacy and math instruction.
Despite the district’s academic successes, the meeting was not without its concerns. Two community members voiced concerns about the safety and well-being of Jewish students in light of recent events in Israel. They emphasized the need for better support and understanding for Jewish students and called for the creation of a more inclusive environment within the schools. The board expressed its commitment to student safety, with partnerships with the local police department and increased support for mental health staff being mentioned as steps taken by the district.