In a recent meeting at Nellie K. Parker school auditorium, the Hackensack School Board showcased the positive strides in academic performance data, with a particular focus on New Jersey Graduation Proficiency Assessment (NJ GPA) results. The district also laid out planned interventions tailored to improve outcomes in literacy, mathematics, and support for English Language Learners. Alongside these educational updates, Superintendent Robert Sanchez highlighted ongoing facility improvements and delays. The Board is also actively seeking community input for the appointment of a new superintendent as Mr. Sanchez plans to retire.
The meeting opened with a presentation that celebrated a 99% participation rate in the recently adopted NJ GPA. Data revealed that both Math and English Language Arts (ELA) scores have shown an uptick. “When our teachers and our educational community work together, we will continue to see progress,” said one of the presenters. Notably, students in most racial and programmatic categories were identified as “graduation ready,” though only about 30% of students with disabilities met this criterion.
Two supervisors elaborated on future plans based on this performance data, including a multi-tiered system of support tailored to students’ needs. Among the new strategies are quarterly independent choice reading projects and integrated nonfiction reading and writing units. There was also mention of a partnership with a state representative to aid Professional Learning Communities in the district in leveraging data for targeted instruction.
On the same note, the Board discussed the introduction of evidence-based programs like “Read 180” and “System 44” for students requiring more intensive help in literacy. A new adaptive math program, Alex, will offer a “tailored learning plan” based on initial assessments for each student. Priority for these interventions will be given to special education students, citing an identified need for this year.
As for facilities, Superintendent Sanchez brought attention to renovations at Hackensack Middle School and High School. Some projects, notably cafeteria renovations, have encountered delays due to unexpected construction issues, but contingency plans are in place. Current district enrollment stands at 5,130 students, and Sanchez encouraged a “positive and purposeful approach” to the new academic year.
Public participation included Lance Stewart, who questioned the availability of presentation materials online, and Tony Jackson, a teacher at Nellie K. Parker, who voiced concerns about the lack of transparent action for Fairmont teachers.
In terms of governance, the Board is actively seeking community input for appointing a new superintendent. A survey will be made available online, and board member comments indicated a commitment to community engagement. “We want to make sure that we are including the community as we move forward in different steps along the way,” said one board member.
Various board members spoke passionately about the importance of acknowledging historical events and the role they play in the education of today’s youth. One member, born in South Korea and adopted to the U.S., commended the district’s diversity, stating it filled him with emotional responses.