By ANTHONY J. MAZZIOTTI III
One of the best middle schools in Gloucester County is found in Deptford Township. In terms of PARCC testing, that is.
According to a powerpoint presentation by Monongahela Middle School Principal Jonathan Collins at the latest board of education meeting, between 2016 and 2018, MMS has shown the second-most improvement in Gloucester County in seventh- and eighth-grade math, behind Clearview and Logan, respectively. It showed the most improvement in seventh- and eighth-grade English language arts across the county.
These improvements have landed it in the statistically high-performing schools category alongside Clearview, Kingsway, Logan, Washington Township and West Deptford.
When compared to the rest of the state, 48 percent of MMS students in seventh-grade math and 66 percent of students in seventh-grade English language arts met or exceeded expectations in PARCC, good for 5 and 3 percent above the state average in that category.
Eighth graders tested well when compared to the state, too. Some 42 percent of eighth-grade math students and 75 percent of English language arts students met or exceeded expectations, which is 14 percent and 15 percent above state average.
In terms of advanced classes, 94 percent of algebra students and 100 percent of geometry students met or exceeded expectations, which is 48 percent and 70 percent higher than the state average.
“I love this, we tell this to our kids, we preach this to our kids, we try to instill that pride and tell them we’re one of the better middle schools in the state. We want them to reach and meet that bar every year,” Collins said.
Collins believes there is still room for improvement with test scores. The 1:1 initiative for Google Chromebooks in the classroom is almost complete, which will streamline the state testing process.
“When we implemented PARCC, it took us 30 days to test. Thirty days of interrupted instruction, no homework, a nightmare,” Collins said. “With the additional Chromebooks, this year we’re able to test the general population in three days, which is incredible. I truly believe this is going to have a positive impact on the scores. I think our scores are going to be even better with a three-day testing period.”
In other news:
- Oak Valley Elementary School disposed of old technology that was broken and unusable. Nine televisions and eight VCRs were disposed via Thanks for Being Green, LLC free of charge.
- Kyle Knowles from Boy Scout Troop 62 addressed the board in regard to building a “gaga” game pit at Good Intent Elementary School as his Eagle Scout project. A “gaga” game pit is an octagon arena where children line the walls and bounce a ball at each other with the intention of knocking them out, similar to dodgeball. Knowles estimates the diameter of the game pit will be roughly 20 feet and can support a full physical education class. The board approved Knowles’ request.
- The next board of education meeting will take place on Feb. 26 at the Blackwood Terrace School Administration Building at 7 p.m.