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From the Principal's Office: Comments on Holmdel's 2010 School Report Cards

Holmdel's school superintendent and four principals comment on the annual report cards just issued by the state Department of Education.

The 2009-2010 school report cards were released this week on the user-friendly state Dept. of Education website. Holmdel Patch invited the district's four school principals to offer commentary, in their own words, on what the reports reveal.

Barbara Duncan, Superintendent of Schools, said the report card put Holmdel school district's accomplishments in a positive light. "We have an outstanding administration, faculty, staff and student body that is served well by a dedicated school board," she said, in remarks emailed Friday.

"We look forward to a longer school day as we believe that we will accomplish even more with the additional time," Duncan said.

Students at Holmdel High School continue to outperform their peers, both at the state level, and in their District Factor Group (DFG), on standardized tests.

Passing rates on the High School Proficiency Assessment (HSPA) were exceptionally high in both Language Arts Literacy (98%) and Math (94%).

Similarly, students’ SAT scores at HHS ran about 30-40 points higher than their DFG peers, and we boast a 90% passing rate on AP exams

The length of our instructional day is less than the state average; provisions in the new teachers’ contract with the Holmdel Board of Education will allow us the opportunity to shorten that “gap.”

I have often said that when you possess the most critical natural resources (motivated students, professional faculty and staff, supportive parents), good things, necessarily, are going to happen. The School Report Card validates this belief.

Overall the entire report card presented positive news about our school [Satz] in relation to state averages and other schools in our district factor group. 

For 7th grade Language Arts Literacy (LAL) and Math students on the NJASK, we had a proficiency rate of 87% and 85.5%, respectively. 10% 

Our scores were equally impressive in 8th grade for our LAL and Math students as well, with an overall proficiency rate of 85.5% in Math and 94.3% in LAL.

Being that we have negotiated extra time into our school day, we are looking to utilize this time as a means of improving our on-going character education initiatives as well as investigating how the amount of time students are engaged in instruction can be increased as well.  Specifically, but not limited to, the areas of LAL and Math instruction.

That our faculty and staff members work diligently to provide the most optimal education for our students to keep them competitive in an ever-growing and demanding world.

By reviewing this 2009-2010 school report card, one can easily track the academic progress, as well as obtain information regarding school environment, teaching staff, district finances, class size, and attendance.

Following the release of the New Jersey School Report Card on February 8, 2010, it is apparent that Indian Hill continues to maintain its history of being a school of excellence and the students being well served.

One of the things I am proud of is that Indian Hill’s averages are well above the state and national means in both proficiency and advanced proficiency levels of Math and Language Arts Literacy in grades 4, 5, and 6. 

However, due to the continual lower scores in Language Art Literacy achievement across the state, Holmdel district has taken an initiative of intensive teacher training in Literacy.  There is a greater reliance on formative assessment, small group, and one-on-one conferencing to determine the strengths and weaknesses of students, as readers.

 

One area of good news in the school report card is that we are on par with our District Factor Groups (DFG) in the area of literacy.  That is a comparison we look at very carefully to see where we fall out with schools similar to ours. 

We also had nearly 45% of our children score advanced proficient in the area of mathematics.  We are proud of the strong background our teachers give to the children in the classroom.

One area of improvement we are focusing on is that of literacy instruction.  Just as the rest of the state, our literacy scores are consistently lower than our math scores. 

There has been a push at Village School to improve our performance through different ideas about literacy instruction -- Readers’ and Writers’ Workshop.  This effort has been coordinated through our teachers, parents, reading specialist, supervisor of humanities, and building administrators.

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