During a recent meeting, the Fort Lee School Board celebrated several significant achievements, including the district’s marching band winning the National Bands Group 5A Championship, and improvements in Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) scores. The board also discussed the implementation of new initiatives and strategies to address areas that need improvement, such as the science scores, and dealt with concerns raised by parents during the public comment period.
The meeting led off with Superintendent Robert Kravitz’s report on district initiatives and achievements. He celebrated the success of the “Reading is Out of This World” program, which promotes independent reading among students. This program allows students to borrow books, create book cover designs for display, and receive special coins for a book vending machine upon completing three book covers.
In addition to the reading program, the superintendent highlighted the accomplishments of the Fort Lee High School marching band for winning the 2023 National Bands Group 5A Championship, and the students selected for the Bergen County Choir. Other recognitions included the achievements of the tennis players and student Martin Basset for his commitment to community service.
The board also announced a flag decoration initiative to honor veterans and service members. The public can purchase flags to support local VFW programs. Furthermore, an open house for prospective students was scheduled, with upcoming assessment results being presented.
Superintendent Kravitz also presented various assessment results, noting an increase in SAT and ACT math scores for three consecutive years. The ACCESS assessment results, measuring English language proficiency for multilingual students, were also shared. Kravitz discussed interventions and strategies for improving the results of the Dynamic Learning MAP assessment for students with significant intellectual and developmental disabilities, including individualized education plans and integrating academic, social, and functional skills throughout the school day.
The board noted improvements in AP and IB scores, indicating progress in the academic performance of students, particularly in subjects such as biology, calculus, English literature, and US government, as well as math and Spanish in the IB program.
The NJSLA results for mathematics and science were also discussed. While most students met or exceeded standards in math, there were some variations across grade levels. A decline in performance was observed in grade 7 Algebra 2, but there were improvements in grades 5, 6, and 8 math, as well as Algebra 1. The board attributed these improvements to focused instruction, data teams, and changes in the core sequence at the middle school level.
The discussion of NJSLA science data revealed a need for improvement. Over 50% of fifth graders demonstrated proficiency in science, but more work needs to be done in this area. The board acknowledged the decline in achievement among the black subgroup population but praised the growth in achievement among Asian, Hispanic, multiple races, and white subgroups. Intervention strategies for science included professional development for teachers, revising assessment questions, and integrating science and math content through STEAM programs.
Part of the meeting was allocated to the public for comments and questions. Concerns were raised about the lack of communication and involvement in the special education parents advisory committee. In response, Superintendent Kravitz acknowledged the need for improvement and expressed the district’s goal to have more frequent meetings. He mentioned that efforts were being made to increase parent participation and involvement in the committee.
Continuing with the meeting, the board discussed the implementation of the Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) to provide personalized learning for students. The pilot program called the WI period, intended to enhance academic support for students, was also presented.