Haddonfield School District makes big strides in QSAC scores

CamCo Office of Education review reveals dramatic uptick over last year.

New Jersey’s Department of Education released the results of Haddonfield School District’s Quality Single Accountability Continuum (QSAC) review earlier in the month, and the district performed markedly better than in last year’s evaluation.

The QSAC measures all state public school districts on proficiency in the following components the state DOE deems relevant for effective operation: Instruction and Program, Fiscal, Governance, Operations and Personnel. 

The highest possible score for each component is 100 percent, with passing grades in New Jersey being 80 percent or higher. Haddonfield scored an 83 in Instruction and Program, 96 in Fiscal Management, 85 in Board Governance, 88 percent in Operations and 84 for Personnel matters. 

“These current QSAC scores are more befitting of Haddonfield’s strong state and regional status than the scores we received a year ago. These scores have validated our hard work since receiving failing QSAC scores in May of 2019,” said Superintendent Larry Mussoline. 

“We knew many systems weren’t in place in the Haddonfield school system and we knew we had our work cut out for us to reestablish those lost systems,” added Mussoline, who announced his retirement in March.

“Happily, I depart Haddonfield knowing that it’s in much better shape than it was when I took over in June, 2018.”

Assistant Superintendent Chuck Klaus revealed at the board of education’s monthly public session in June, 2019, that the district scored below average for its first QSAC review since 2011 in all but one of the five criteria: 63 for Instruction and Program, 75 in Fiscal matters, 75 percent in Operations and 46 percent in Personnel. Board Governance, upon appeal last year, was pushed above a passing grade. 

Board President Adam Sangillo chimed in during that meeting, saying the district would have to undergo yearly reviews until proficiency in all areas could be attained. Klaus also said there were 37 separate indicators the district needed to identify and correct based on that report, and had to submit to the state by June 21. 

The district did so, and the improvement plan to address all deficiencies in the four subpar criteria was approved in late August. Subsequently, the Camden County Office of Education conducted an interim review of the district’s progress, which began in earnest at the outset of the previous academic year and eventually produced the improved results.

“I am pleased to inform you that your district has satisfied at least 80 percent of the weighted indicators in each of the five areas of the NJQSAC review process and has been designated as ‘high performing,’” said Paula Bloom, acting director of the Office of Field Service Coordination, in a letter issued to Mussoline.  

“(Department of Education) Commissioner (Lamont) Repollet will recommend to the state board of education that your district be certified as providing a thorough and efficient system of education, for a period of three years or until the next NJQSAC review,” she added.

“Congratulations on this accomplishment.” 

Mussoline praised the work of several district employees for getting the district back on track: Klaus — who will become the district’s next superintendent in July — as well as Chief Academic Officer Colleen Murray,  for squaring away curriculum issues; Board Secretary Mike Catalano and Director of Facilities Tim McFerren, for attending to business transparency and building issues; as well as HR Specialist Jamie Dobbins, for handling personnel matters. 

“We anticipate that we’ll be close to 100 percent in all criteria in the next three years, or by the next cycle whenever we’re evaluated again. Things that weren’t in place a year and a half ago are coming together,” Mussoline added. 

“Chuck and his team can now concentrate on modernizing the district to meet the demands of employers and colleges in 2020 and beyond. I leave here elated with the work our team did.”