rosie for newsletterYesterday I attended the State Board of Education special meeting to listen to the State Operated Districts report.

The Paterson report was encouraging.  Dr. Evans shared the Bright Futures Strategic plan for 2009 through 2014 and gave updates for each of the goals. He reported that the District has brought almost all the Bright Futures goals to fruition and are working feverishly to advance the few that are lagging behind.

Here are some highlights.

High school successes:

  • Divided large HS into smaller autonomous schools
  • Implemented a full choice system in which most students get their first choice and all students get their first or second choice
  • Expanded alternative high school capacity
  • Focused on Full Service Community Schools
  • Reorganized and re-staffed district office
  • Created student run credit union
  • Established a parent organization in each school
  • Implemented Effective Schools model

Elementary school successes:

  • New focus on healthy culture and climate
  • Capacity building for staff
  • Robust assessment system
  • Implemented Common Core standards
  • New Teacher and Principal evaluation
  • High impact interventions include redesign of special education system
  • Process redesign
  • Won and implemented School Improvement Grants

Fiscally, according to the Auditors, Paterson public schools made a 180 degree turn and are managing our finances extremely well.

Also notable – Paterson high school students post the best HSPA scores ever. 71% of first time takers scored proficient or above. College acceptance improved significantly. Graduation rates increased from 45.6 in 2009 to 72.1 in 2013. Paterson showed notable gains in NJASK even with integration of new common core with other districts across the state staying flat or falling.

Looking forward, a Strategic Planning Steering Committee is already working on updating/
revising Bright Futures. Three working groups are focused on creating a new 5-year facilities plan, fiscal cliff planning and strategic planning.  Expect to see more elementary schools restructured to the K- 5 and 6-8 models, expanded choice at the elementary level and new facilities along with ongoing innovation and intervention.

I found the Paterson report to be much more substantial and data rich than any of the other districts.

There’s one other thing that I think is remarkable. District officials publicly acknowledged that PEF and PEOC leaders took the time to come to the meeting.  Every Paterson attendee was thanked individually and handed a package with copies of the materials presented to the State officials. We’ve come a long way!

Let’s keep working for continued advances so that we graduate every Paterson child.