State releases school performance reports for Montclair, other districts
By ERIN ROLL
The state has released school performance reports for New Jersey’s school districts, including Montclair.
On the assessments, schools were graded in three areas: English, math and chronic absenteeism. In each area, schools are rated as “needing improvement,” “showing progress” or “excelling.”
Montclair High School was found to be showing progress in English, but needing improvement in terms of math and chronic absenteeism. The report said that about 14 percent of students had been absent for 10 days or more during the 2016-2017 school year. The school’s graduation rate of 93 percent was just shy of the 95 percent needed for a rating of “excelling.”
Interim Superintendent Barbara Pinsak said that the district was reluctant to put too much emphasis on the report’s contents. “The district’s participation rate in PARCC testing is low,” she said via email on Tuesday. “It would not be fair to make an assessment of the performance of our schools based on that report.”
Montclair has seen a substantial number of students opt out of taking the PARCC test, the results of which make up a substantial part of a school’s performance report.
It has been reported that Gov. Phil Murphy, who took office on Tuesday, intends to eliminate the PARCC test as a graduation requirement.
Montclair High School’s detailed performance report includes information on how each grade level and demographic performed on the math, literacy and biology tests, as well as scores for the PSAT, SAT and ACT tests.
On the biology test, 68 percent of students got a score of “proficient” or better.
About 72.7 percent of students were enrolled in at least one AP course, and 37 percent of students took at least one AP exam. There is also information for visual and performing arts class participation; 34 percent of students take at least one visual art class, while 12 percent take a music class, 7 percent take a drama class and 6 percent take a dance class.
Of the elementary schools, Hillside, Northeast and Watchung appeared to do particularly well, with all three schools having a rating of at least “making progress” in English, math and absenteeism, and on the student growth percentiles in those subjects. Northeast had a grade of “excelling” in terms of absenteeism, with only 3.1 percent of students being absent for more than 10 days of the year.
Bradford achieved scores of making progress in all three subject areas. But in the section on student growth percentile, the school was found to need improvement on student growth in English, with a score of 39: one point shy of the 40 points needed for making progress.
Buzz Aldrin, like Bradford, was found to be making progress in the three subject areas, but needed improvement in student growth in English.
Charles H. Bullock was making progress in English and math, and the student growth percentiles in both subject areas. But the school was found to need improvement in terms of absenteeism, which stood at 10 percent.
Renaissance Middle School was found to need improvement in math, and the student growth percentiles for both math and English. Glenfield Middle School needs improvement in math and in absenteeism, and in student growth for math and English.
Nishuane, being a K-2 school, did not have the same performance report as the other schools, since standardized testing begins in the third grade. Instead, the school was analyzed on demographics and attendance rates.