Students revealed to exceed state testing expectations in recent BOE meeting

The success of its students was the main focal point of Clearview Regional’s recent BOE meeting.

Board of education members, accompanied by Harrison Township committeewoman Julie DeLaurentis, presenting the plaques for the district’s two schools for achieving bronze status on Nov. 29 (Krystal Nurse/The Sun).

By KRYSTAL NURSE

The Sun

At its Nov. 29 meeting, the Clearview Regional Board of Education discussed changes to state testing procedures.

Mantua resident Randi Karpinski, during public comment, asked the board about the state’s phasing out of the PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers), as she wondered about how it will affect students and the costs associated with it. Superintendent John Horchak and Director of Curriculum and Instruction Sherry McAteer said the new test, New Jersey Student Learning Assessment, will have no cost to the district, as it’s a requirement, and sections were shortened to ease up on students.

“Most of the teachers and administrators and parents were talking about reducing the time because it’s a lot of time on the kids,” said McAteer, referencing a roundtable held by the state at Gateway Regional. “Each subject has been reduced by one full unit and the passages are shorter. So the reading and ELA are going to be shorter with fewer questions, which is how they were able to reduce the minutes.”

“The other modification that they made was to the percentage integrated in a teacher’s evaluation and dropped it to 5 percent,” said Horchak. The modification was the lowest possible percentage the state could lower it to.

McAteer further clarified the test will not be different from the PARCC in regard to content, but instead will be less time on the students. The district, she said, could see a shorter testing period, which occurs next in the spring of 2019.

In her presentation, McAteer reviewed the district’s placement in PARCC and AP (Advanced Placement) scores against the rest of the state:

  • AP Studio Art saw every student enrolled scoring a 3 (passing) or better;
  • Most students (66 percent) in most of Clearview Regional’s AP courses scored a 3 or better;
  • The highest number of 5s (highest possible score) were earned in AP Calculus AB and BC, first and second level course;
  • AP Chemistry and Physics saw the lowest averaged scores in the district;
  • The number of students enrolled in AP courses declined;
  • PARCC scores for English Language Arts are trending up in passing in the grades that took the test (seven through 11) while the number of students failing is trending down in the past four years (2014 to 2018);
  • The district is above the state average in English;
  • Math PARCC scores followed the same trend of English with more students meeting the state’s requirements for passing than failing to meet;
  • While the middle school saw 97 percent for algebra I and 96 for geometry passing in the previous test (spring of 2018), the high school fell below the state’s 45.8 percent passing average at 44 percent.

McActeer concluded stating the district has several intervention programs in place to address students’ needs, such as enriching those who are succeeding and helping those who are failing with after-school tutoring, night school and in-class support. The district, she added, also looks to encourage teachers to set goals for the year, increase collaboration and to review the school’s climate and culture to see how they are affecting the students.

In other news, Karpinski also inquired about a drinking water issue occurring at the high school and middle school. Business Administrator Esther Pennell said the state requires all districts to test, quarterly, the quality of their water, which is then published online. No problems were known to the board at the time of the results.

Horchak revealed plaques the middle school and high school received from Sustainable Jersey for achieving bronze status. It is unknown where they will be placed.

“There are plenty of other empty spots here for these plaques, and both our high school and middle school were awarded the plaque, and it’s a reflection of our commitment to sustainability overall and recycling is just a small part of that program,” said Horchak.

“We had a whole slew of staff members throughout the schools that helped out with this, such as Scott Land, Lisa Tiedeken, Lisa Marandola, and others,” said Pennell.

Horchak extended congratulations to the district’s students and Harrison Township for remaining committed to Clearview’s goal of going, and staying, green.

The school’s fall athletic programs were congratulated, especially the football team for reaching the South Jersey Group IV final.

Briana Groach, representing student council, informed the district of the success of Mr. Clearview, which raised around $7,000 for a local family and the high school’s scholarship fund; the success of a homeless care package drive that gained 350 donations; the Latin club collecting two tons of food during a recent food drive; and the Key Club raising $500 for the Food Bank of South Jersey in the equivalent of canned goods and funds.

Upcoming events by the student council include Hoagies for Hope (Feb. 3) and the Powder Puff game (Dec. 11). Other upcoming events unrelated to student council also included the Dec. 14 home Kingsway Regional “Coaches versus Cancer” and the Jan. 8 home Williamstown “Clearview Culture Night” basketball games.

The next board of education meeting is scheduled to occur on Dec. 20 at 7 p.m. This will be the last meeting before its Jan. 3 reorganization meeting.