Piscataway Township School District (23-4130)

Piscataway Township School District

The Piscataway Board of Education offers a broad-based, challenging curriculum to ensure every child can pursue post-secondary education without the need for remedial course work, and to prepare every student to succeed in a diverse society. The District continues its efforts to encourage every student to reach his or her highest potential.

In the 2015-2016 school year, the Piscataway School District was honored by state and national organizations: The National School Board Association (NSBA) named Piscataway Township Schools a first place winner in the 5,000 to 20,000 student population category for its Magna Award, recognizing innovation and excellence in public schools. Piscataway was recognized for its multi-service English Language Acquisition Program for Preschool through Grade 12. The NJSBA (New Jersey School Board Association) included the district’s You…I…We Inspire campaign in its A+ Ideas, Programs and Practices, and awarded Piscataway’s LEAP Program an Honorable Mention in their 2015 School Leader Award.

The District continues to implement new programs targeting specific school populations. The new summer Jump Ahead program focused both on students who were ready to tackle honors and AP level subjects, offering them summer preparation for a more vigorous course load, and students who wanted a look ahead to prepare for the grade level, as well as academic assistance for students who need additional review before moving on to the next grade level. These summer courses blended traditional and online learning with very positive results.

But the real story of a school district lies in the individual successes achieved by its students every day. Following are a sample of honors and achievements by Piscataway students:

• Enrollment in AP and Honors courses continues to climb, as does enrollment in other PHS courses that allow students to earn college credit, such as the Rutgers BioMedical Program that has an enrollment of 80 juniors and seniors. Science scores in particular are impressive and include:

o Scores on the New Jersey Biology Competency Test have risen dramatically, from 9.1% Advanced Proficient in 2011-2012 to 21.6% in 2013-2014, while partially proficient scores have decreased, from 45.3% in 201-11-2012 to 37% in 2013-2014.
o In 2015, 88% of 46 students enrolled in AP Biology earned scores of 3 or higher; 48% earned scores of 4 or 5. Twenty-two percent of the AP Biology students were black or Hispanic.
o In 2015, 68% of 42 students enrolled in AP Chemistry earned scores of 3 or higher; 53% earned scores of 4 or 5. Fifteen percent of AP Biology students were black or Hispanic.
o The first student cohort in the BioMedical Program graduated this year; 78% of participating students earning from 3 to 10 Rutgers credits.

• The Waksman Student Scholars Program (WSSP) at Rutgers University allows high school students and their teachers to conduct authentic research in molecular biology and bioinformatics with Waksman scientists. For the 2015-2016 WSSP research project, students focused on isolating and sequencing a gene for the small subunit of the enzyme RuBisCO (Ribulose 1,5-Bisphosphate Carboxylase/Oxygenase) from the organism Landoltia punctate. Lollin and Ms. Lesley Wilson.

• Piscataway music students from elementary through high school continue to shine in competitions, earning seats in Region, County and All-State bands, orchestras and choirs and PHS Band, Choir and Orchestra continue to score high in overall competitions. After a decade away from competing, the PHS Jazz Band received the highest available “Gold” rating in their first competition.

• Six PHS students secured slots at the 2016 Future Business Leaders Association (FBLA) National Leadership Conference.

• PHS art students took top honors in many competitions, including the Congressional Art Competition, Art Educators of NJ Winter Exhibit, and New Jersey Department of Human Services Teen Media Contest.

• One PHS senior was named a National Merit Scholar and another qualified for the United States Scholar Program.

• PHS media students won the Middlesex County “Don’t Drive Dangerously” Contest

• PHS Athletics won the GMS Sportsmanship Award

• Piscataway students continue to take top spots in online competitions for both vocabulary and math, with PHS students consistently scoring in the top 20 schools nationwide. Our middle schoolers continue to achieve in the online math competition, SumDog.

• Middle School students studied Shakespeare with the NJ Shakespeare Company.

• Piscataway continued its focus on digital literacy, wth students in grades K-8 joining tens of millions of students in 180 countries in celebrating “Hour of Code.”
With the knowledge that our students must be technologically proficient in order to succeed, Piscataway continues to build its focus on technology skills:

-Digital Literacy skills are introduced in kindergarten and continue developing through grade 5.

-The iPad project is fully implemented for students in grades 6 - 8, providing teachers and students with increased capability to work collaboratively, critically and creatively. Students worked on group projects, connected for online editing and video conferencing, and recorded data from scientific experiments conducted at home and in class. Middle school curriculum in all content and creative arts have embedded applications that enhance learning for middle school students any time, any place. The iPads expanded teachers’ ability to provide individualized and differentiated instruction. Students will use the iPads throughout their middle school years, and incoming 6th graders will continue to receive iPads. Beginning at Grade 6, students earn digital technology badges, self-selecting activities to demonstrate proficiencies required by the state.

-The Project Lead the Way science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or “STEM” program, is fully implemented in the middle and high schools. Designed to help students develop a greater understanding of math and science skills as they are applied in everyday life, the program intertwines scientific elements with the student’s imagination to explore energy, environment, robotics, and other STEM-related topics in practical applications.

With an emphasis on giving our children a strong foundation for learning, Children’s Corner Preschool, the district’s early childhood educational program, has offered enriching learning experiences for three- and four-year old preschoolers of Piscataway and the surrounding community for over 30 years. The Infant Program established at Children’s Corner in 2012-2013, continues to provide a nurturing environment designed to stimulate infant growth, and prepare for transition to the Toddler Program. The recent expansion of preschool programs was designed to support individual growth and development, with the goal of ensuring that our youngest learners have the skills needed for success in Kindergarten and beyond.

From preschool through high school, making sure that the students of the Piscataway School District are prepared for college, other post-secondary programs, and the workforce, means that they have acquired critical thinking skills, knowledge, curiosity, perseverance and the desire to lead in a global economy.