The Deptford school district’s Acting Superintendent Kevin Kanauss announced the district’s plans for this year’s New Jersey Quality Single Accountability Continuum (NJQSAC) equivalency application during the Feb. 28 board of education meeting.
The NJQSAC, according to nj.gov, is the self-evaluation and monitoring of the state’s public-school districts. Deptford is one that has been selected to have its instruction and program, fiscal, governance, operations, and personnel evaluated to see if the district is performing effectively.
This year’s evaluation was complicated by COVID, which had a major effect on the township school system.
“I have already been told that we will fail,” Kanauss acknowledged. “But there’s a caveat to this. The caveat is because COVID kind of ransacked the federal assessments for NJSLA (New Jersey Student Learning Assessment) and the students’ and teachers’ performance.
“The QSAC evaluations are going to offer districts that are getting qsaced – or evaluated – an equivalency to their NJSLA scores as long as we present them with a plan.”
Rather than use NJSLA numbers, the district will instead use scores from the LinkIt! Benchmark tests for the 2020-’21 and 2021-’22 school years. It will also substitute scores from the 2018-’19 school year, which happened before the pandemic and likely would not be reflective of the district’s current population and growth.
“The LinkIt! Benchmarks are mirrored and correlated strongly with the NJSLA assessments,” Kanauss explained. “So, it’s only fair that when our students are taking this in school and they’re learning the standards and skills the NJSLA are measuring, that we would use the same assessment too.”
He further stressed the importance of the plan, saying that if the district doesn’t use it, it will end up with an equivalency score of 38.9, a failing grade. If the district does use the plan, it would receive a score of 41.5, a passing number.
The data will be utilized over a three-year period to represent the district’s current state and academic process.
Kanauss also provided a brief timeline on the plan that started on Feb. 2, when ideas for the proposal were discussed. They were eventually sent to the board of education on Feb 25. The district sent its finalized version of the plan to the county’s Executive Superintendent, Ave Altersitz, on March 1. If Altersitz approves it, she will then pass it on to the state.
The date of the monitoring for the NJQSAC is April 26. The Deptford school district passed the last time it was evaluated.