Mt. Laurel Schools releases the district’s annual ‘State of the District’ report

The report reviews topics such as student enrollment, staff employment, the district’s fiscal health, future challenges and more.

Mt. Laurel Schools has released the district’s annual “State of the District” report, which is now available for the public to review on the district’s website.

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Superintendent George Rafferty gave an overview of the report at the most recent Mt. Laurel Schools Board of Education meeting, in which he reviewed topics such as student enrollment, staff employment, the district’s fiscal health, future challenges and more.

As outlined by the report, as of March 31, Mt. Laurel Schools has an enrollment of 4,265 students, with 145 students in preschool, 2,096 students in grades kindergarten through fourth at elementary schools, 951 students in grades five and six at Hartford School, 965 students in grades seven and eight at Harrington Middle School and 27 out of district placements.

The report also detailed the education level of Mt. Laurel Schools 360 teachers, with 53 percent holding a bachelor’s degree, 46 percent holding a master’s degree and 1 percent holding a doctoral degree.

At the administrative level, 73 percent of the district’s administrators hold a master’s degree, and 27 percent hold a doctoral degree.

Overall, the district employees 417 certificated staff members and 358 support staff members.

The district also continues to maintain 669,928 square feet of property by operating eight schools – six elementary schools, one upper elementary school and one middle school – along with the district’s administration building, transportation building and MLH Leaning Center.

Much of this year’s annual report also focused on further outlining the first year of the district’s strategic planning initiative known as “A Path to Success 2030,” which was introduced to the public in January.

The initiative’s name included the year 2030 as a reference to when the kindergarten class at the time of the initiative’s beginning planning stages was set to graduate high school.

The plan was crafted in recent years by writing committees after the district solicited input from a community-wide survey and multiple community planning meetings, which were attended by Mt. Laurel stakeholders.

Year one of the three-year plan focuses on the following six goal areas: Full-day kindergarten, Communications and Community Engagement, Facilities, Curriculum and Instruction, Students and Students with Special Needs, and finally, Teachers and Staff.

  • Goal Area One – Full Day Kindergarten
    • Seven new classrooms with alterations underway
    • Developed a program with curriculum writing to take place this summer
    • Trained teachers in the state Department of Education’s kindergarten implementation guideless and trained in the state’s Kindergarten Entry Assessment
    • Held a district-wide kindergarten orientation
    • Established a central registration process and registered 365 students so far
  • For Goal Area Two – Communications and Community Engagement
    • The district’s full-day kindergarten communication plan is ongoing
    • The district continues to collect date on its various communication platforms (website, social media, etc.)
    • Staff has been trained in use of the district’s Global Communication System
    • The district continues to research new communication tools.
  • For Goal Area Three – Facilities
    • Phase One of projects in the district’s recent $35.5 million referendum have been bid out and are underway
    • Technology infrastructure improvements are ongoing
    • Computer replacement continues for staff and students to maintain the ongoing to one-to-one program
    • Security vestibules are complete in all schools
    • Additional cameras are in schools and buses, locks have been replaced, security strobe lights and panic buttons have been installed
    • District continues its shared service agreement with Mt. Laurel Township to provide two, full-time school security officers
  • For Goal Area Four – Curriculum and Instruction
    • Administrators, guidance counselors and designated teachers are training in “Responsive Classroom” and “Developmental Designs” programs
    • Restorative practices have been implemented at Hartford Upper Elementary School and Harrington Middle School
    • A student assistance coordinator has been added at Harrington
    • Administration and supervisors are researching an “integrated content area” curriculum
    • The district continues to review alternative forms of assessing student academic growth
  • For Goal Area Five – Students and Students with Special Needs
    • The district is reviewing class inclusion models
    • Officials are assessing delivery of ESL services
    • The district is reviewing I&RS and Response to Intervention processes
    • Officials are reviewing the district’s discipline code and the NJ Positive Behavior Support In Schools
    • The district is planning diversity, cultural awareness and equity training for administrators
  • For Goal Area Six – Teachers and Staff
    • The district is reviewing its communications platform for shared best practices
    • Officials are reviewing and enhancing the teacher mentoring program
    • The district is exploring an expansion of staff recruitment vehicles
    • Officials are surveying staff-development needs
    • The district is analyzing alternate means of professional development delivery
    • Officials are exploring a staff recognition program for all employees.

To view this year’s full State of the District Report, visit www.mtlaurelschools.org.

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