The Rutherford School Board meeting saw Superintendent Jack Hurley discussing state testing results and revealing plans for new intervention strategies, while the board started its self-evaluation process. The meeting also acknowledged the approval of funds for facility projects and several personnel-related motions.
The meeting opened with Superintendent Hurley presenting the state testing results, highlighting an improvement in language arts scores from 2022 to 2023, particularly in grades six and eight. The district achieved higher percentages than the state average in grades three through eight, with 80% or higher in grades four, five, six, and eight. In math and Algebra 1, they also surpassed the state in meeting or exceeding expectations. However, he emphasized that grade seven showed a significant drop in math scores, prompting the math committee to closely examine the issue.
The board then reviewed individual score reports to identify areas of improvement, discussing providing interventions and tools to strengthen those areas. Superintendent Hurley noted the need for a new math program, as the current one is no longer supported. The board considered whether to continue the program through grade 8 or adopt a middle school approach for grades 7 to 12. Additionally, Hurley expressed dissatisfaction with low science scores, emphasizing the need to focus on inquiry-based learning and science fair activities.
During the meeting, Superintendent Hurley also discussed various initiatives and test scores, mentioning the possibility of bringing in coaches to work with teachers and the use of grant money for online tutoring. He also presented an overview of the performance in language arts of students following a different curriculum due to significant disabilities. Statistics about the profile of the class of 2023 were also shared, with the majority of the 96.8% of graduating students attending four-year colleges.
The board then launched its self-evaluation process, agreeing to complete it within the next three weeks. They approved various personnel-related motions, including the retirement of Mr. Potter, the appointment of an interim assistant principal, and the approval of teachers for supplementary after-school programs.
In terms of finance, the board approved the routine approval of bills and a truck donation to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The policy committee put forth 11 policies and regulations for consideration. The board members shared their experiences attending PTA meetings, praising the PTA’s efforts in supporting students and teachers. The legislative update mentioned Senate Bill 397, which aims to prohibit public libraries and schools from banning or restricting access to certain books, and includes penalties for non-compliance.