Here’s how Washington Township did on the state report card

Class sizes throughout Washington Township’s 11 elementary, middle and high schools continues to stay close to the state average of 19.1 students per class, according to the 2010-2011 School Report Card issued by the New Jersey Department of Education late last month.

Washington Township High School boasts an 18.4 class size while the middle schools remain well bellow the state average, ranging from 14.2 per class to 15.8 The six elementary schools and kindergarten class have slightly bigger classes, ranging from 18.8 to 22.8 pupils per class.

“In size, stature and standard, the Washington Township Public Schools proudly continue to show the way in educational excellence and achievement,” said Superintended of Schools Robert Goldschmidt. “Enlisting the talents of an exceptional teaching and support staff, our district annually re-dedicates its energies and resources to create safe, structured environments where every child can thrive, flourish and succeed.

Testing and scores:

Students in the district continue to surpass state scores on the New Jersey Assessment of Skills and Knowledge (NJASK), as well at on the High School Proficiency Assessments (HSPA) and the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT).

High School students scored far more proficient on the HSPA test as compare to the state average.

The state average for the math portion shows about 25 percent of students scored below average, 50 percent finished with an average score and another 25 percent finished above average. Students at Washington Township High School placed 12.3 percent below average, 58.2 percent average and 29.6 percent above average.

High school principal Joe Bollendorf said he attributes students’ success on the math portion of HSPA testing to the increased focus on math curriculum.

“Utilizing ARRA funds, mathematics teachers continued to be placed in Resource Integrated Math 2 and 3 and Resource HSPA 12 classes to supplement content knowledge,” Bollendorf said. “A comprehensive HSPA Mathematics preparation program continued to be utilized by all teachers of students in grades 9 through 11 to provide remediation in each of the 4 clusters tested on the HSPA assessment.”

Students at the high school also toped the state average in the Language Arts portion, as well.

The high school’s SAT scores were on par with state averages, with students averaging 507 in math, 493 in verbal and 491 in essay. A 518 in math, 494 in verbal and 496 in essay is what students from across the state averaged.

The class of 2011 graduated 93.91 percent of its student population, a class Bollendorf had much to boast about.

He said 11 percent of students who graduated in 2011 were named National Merit Commended Scholars. The high school offered 17 Advanced Placement Courses; 221 AP exams were taken, with 75 percent of those students receiving a score of three or above.

He added that 59 student athletes graduated in the top 25 percent of the class of 2011 and 45 athletes continued their careers at the collegiate level.

“The 2010-11 School-year at Washington Township High School fostered a continuation of the theme of the three R’s–rigor, relevance, and relationships. We believe this is the essence of a strong secondary education that prepares students for the challenges that face them in all walks of life in the 21st century,” Bollendorf said. “The curriculum and course offerings guided the rigor while teachers in the classroom provided relevance, and the entire staff along with our extensive extra-curricular programming emphasized the importance of relationships.”

At the middle school level, eighth graders at each of the three middle schools had close to or more students score proficient on the NJASK exam in Language Arts, math and science.

Students at Chestnut Ridge Middle School had more students receive advanced proficiency on all three tests as compare to the state average. Bunker Hill Middle School boasted more advance proficiencies that the state average on the Language Arts exam.

Fifth graders at each of the six elementary schools had fewer students receive partial proficiency on the NJASK Language Arts test and more students receive proficiency scores in Language Arts as compared to the state average. Students at Bells and Wegdwood Elementary Schools had a higher number that the state average in advanced proficiency on the Language Arts exam.

The same fifth graders from each of the district’s elementary schools had higher than state averages in proficient scores on the math portion.

No Child Left Behind:

Under the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), the NJASK and HSPA exams are given to students across the state to measure proficiency Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP).

Every school is evaluated annually to see if AYP has been met and state benchmarks reached.

Washington Township High School made AYP this year.

Each of the three middle schools did not meet AYP requirements for the third consecutive year. This is the second year Bunker Hill, Chestnut Ridge and Orchard Valley are received the “school in need of improvement status,” which requires parent notification, supplemental education services, a school improvement plan and technical assistance from the district.

The state AYP benchmark increased for 2011 testing, said Chestnut Ridge principal James Barnes, making it tougher to attain.

“In LAL, the benchmark went from 72 percent to 86 percent and in Mathematics, the increase went from 61 percent to 80 percent,” Barnes said. “These new benchmarks had an impact on the students’ performance and our overall AYP achievement.”

The lone elementary school to make AYP this year is Birches Elementary.

Bells, Hurffville, Thomas Jefferson and Wedgwood did not make AYP for the first time this year, which merits an early warning with no intervention needed.

Whitman Elementary missed AYP for the second consecutive year and the first year for the “school in need of improvement status.”

Finances/Salaries:

For the 2010-2011 school year, the district spent $16,745 per student, about $25 less than districts of a similar budget type.

The components that make up the cost per pupil include faculty and administration salaries, classroom instructional costs and support services, among other items.

Administrators in the district averaged a salary of $125,367. Statewide, administrators averaged $119,491.

Across the state, faculty averaged a $63,851 salary, while district faculty averaged $61,355.

To see your child’s School Report Card, visit http://education.state.nj.us/rc/rc10/index.html.

About Melissa DiPento

If it happens in Cherry Hill, I want to know about it. I'm a South Philly resident/South Jersey suburbanite and will see the story first-hand, even if that means riding my single-speed bike along Route 70. I especially enjoy writing about politics and sustainability.View all posts by Melissa DiPento