Mahwah School District Outperforms State in Standardized Tests: Intervention Plans in Place for Continuous Improvement

The Mahwah School District, in a recent board meeting, reported strong results in standardized testing, with the district outperforming state averages in math, ELA, and science across multiple grade levels. The board also outlined detailed intervention plans for continuous improvement, targeting specific student subgroups and areas of academic focus.

The meeting presented an in-depth analysis of district testing results from the New Jersey SLA and DLM, administered in spring 2023. The NJSLA tests proficiency towards standards in math, ELA, and science, while the DLM assesses special education students with significant learning challenges. Supervisor of Science for grades 6 through 12, Dennis Jarvis, and Supervisor of Mathematics for the same grades, Danielle Pway, acknowledged the collective efforts of the board, teachers, students, and families in achieving these results.

In the DLM assessment, 10 students in math and nine in ELA either met or exceeded their targets. However, the low number of students tested for science did not meet the threshold for reporting results. In response, academic coaches are now supporting teachers in devising targeted learning goals and intervention strategies for the DLM students, backed by professional development programs such as Edmark and the Orton Gillingham program.

Dennis Jarvis also shared ELA scores, showing that 67% to 97% of students across grades 3 through 5 met or exceeded expectations, outperforming the state averages. Despite a previous decline in scores, the district has seen increases across all grades in the year-to-year performance comparison. The board is now focusing on personalized learning using diagnostic data, professional development for teachers, and ELA tutoring as intervention strategies.

Presenting the math scores, Danielle Pway noted similar trends in performance levels as in ELA. Math proficiency was observed across grades 3 through 5 and in the advanced math program for seventh and eighth graders. The district outperformed the state in math scores for these grades, showing increases from the previous year. As part of the intervention plan for math, the board will utilize diagnostic data, offer professional development for teachers, and review student placement in support level classes.

Discussion also centered on the performance of students in science, with the district outperforming the state in meeting or exceeding expectations in the 5th, 8th, and 11th-grade science assessments. To further boost scores, the board plans to form a science committee to explore alternative hands-on programs, analyze current scheduling practices, and leverage maker spaces to prioritize understanding the engineering design process and the scientific method.

The meeting stressed the importance of ongoing assessment and intervention to support students’ academic growth. The board’s plan to use diagnostic data from I-Ready to group students based on learning needs, employ math coaches to support students in math workshops, and focus on multi-step word problems in data teams and professional learning communities exemplify this commitment.

The board also highlighted the use of interventions for students in subgroups, such as increased use of manipulatives, supplementary materials aligned with standards, and tutoring for multilingual learners. Other tools like Lexia and Magic School AI will be utilized for translation and scaffolding purposes, and a guided math approach will be implemented to support increased small group instruction during core time.

Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.

Michael DeTuro
School Board Officials:
Prema C. Moorthy, PhD, Richard A. DeSilva, Jr., Benjamin A. Kezmarsky, Michael Galow, Trista Daveniero, John Dinice, Christopher L. Hughes, Lynda Zaccone, Matthew Park, PhD

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