Evesham Township School District gives annual State of the Schools presentation

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The Evesham Township School District has compiled its annual “State of the Schools” presentation for the 2013–14 school year.

The presentation highlights areas of student achievement and academic success using metrics such as performance reports regarding the federal No Child Left Behind Act, New Jersey Assessment of Skills and Knowledge standardized testing results and district cognitive ability assessment results.

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Superintendent John Scavelli, Director of Curriculum and Instruction Danielle Magulick and Curriculum Supervisor Robin Collins presented the results at the most recent board of education meeting.

“In order to provide a well-balanced view of students’ individual growth, we look at a variety of factors and use multiple measures to assess their progress toward specific learning goals, to analyze student needs, challenges and strengths, and to make teaching and program decisions as well,” Magulick said.

In regard to NCLB, the presentation outlined how the district had met several performance objectives for the 2013–2014 school year.

For the NCLB Title I section that relates to first-grade literacy achievements, 81 percent of all first-grade students who received a complete program of Reading Recovery met grade level benchmarks.

In the Title II section that relates to the professional development of staff, there were more than 3,700 participants, including 550 professional staff and 115 paraprofessionals, who participated in professional development activities.

Of those participants, 100 percent received the highest or second-highest ranking on evaluation surveys.

Under the Title III section that relates to English Language Learners, 100 percent of students met the Annual Measurable Achievement Objectives in progress toward learning English, which required the students to show a gain of 10 points or more on a scale between two years of taking the test.

Also outlined was the NJASK test, which all students in the district from grades three through eight take annually in the spring. The test focuses on language arts, mathematics and science.

The total population of students meeting state standards for language arts was 70.1 percent for grade three, 67.6 percent for grade four, 73.8 percent for grade five, 72.6 percent for grade six, 69.8 percent for grade seven and 91 percent for grade eight.

The total population of students meeting state standards for mathematics was 74.7 percent for grade three, 79.9 percent for grade four, 89.6 percent for grade five, 85.7 percent for grade six, 74.7 percent for grade seven and 82.3 percent for grade eight.

The total population of students meeting state standards for science, in which only grades four and eight are tested, was 94.8 percent for grade four and 88.4 percent for grade eight.

Comparatively speaking, Scavelli said the district falls a bit below districts in a similar socioeconomic standing throughout the state, but typically above general statewide numbers for all school districts.

Also in the report were results from a Cognitive Abilities Test, which uses verbal, non-verbal and cognitive reasoning to measure student aptitude rather than achievement.

Collins said the CogAT test helps the district compare results and provide alternate measures of what’s happening in the classroom.

“If they have high ability and low achievement…we try to make decisions to assist those students to close that gap, and on the other end, if they have low aptitude and high achievement, what’s going so well that we can tap into and share with others,” Collins said.

With the results in tow, the district has several areas of focus in the coming year.

For language arts, areas of focus include increased student writing time, multiple opportunities for drafting within genre and integration of literacy strategies into the content areas.

For mathematics, areas of focus include increased emphasis on problem solving, continued focus on number and operation, base ten, fractions and algebraic thinking, number system and increased emphasis on geometry and data.

Scavelli made note of how proud he was of the students and staff in the district for what they achieve on a daily basis.

“We have a lot of people that work together to make the education of our children possible,” Scavelli said. “So all of them, I know they enjoy what they do, they enjoy what they do every day, and we’re certainly proud of what they do, and we’re very proud of the education that we provide our kids here in Evesham.”

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