South Amboy School District (23-4830)

South Amboy School District

We are pleased to send you a copy of this year’s New Jersey School Report Card for your child’s school. It is prepared annually by the NJ Department of Education based on 2015-2016 data submitted by the district. It is a comprehensive tool which will allow you to compare our district with state averages in areas such as testing, per pupil expenditures, student-to-administrator ratio, and student-to-teacher ratio. With state approval of our 2016-2017 budget, the district will continue to undergo changes that will improve the quality of education within all the schools which our students attend.

We are committed to providing each student with an academic program that challenges and encourages high expectations for learning. To this end, we have a grade of pre-kindergarten to grade twelve. Our elementary school is configured grades PreK-5 and at the South Amboy Middle/High School it holds students from grade six to twelve. Approximately 1,150 students are educated within these schools. Our district has adopted nationally recognized programs to challenge students in the elementary school. Everyday Math, Curiosity Corner, the Storytown literacy series, and Connected Math are just a few examples. Balanced literacy continues to be a focus throughout the district. Teachers develop instructional strategies to assist students in becoming active readers. In addition, writing is incorporated within themes to help students understand the interrelationships of reading and writing as a process, which adequately prepares students for anticipated benchmark tests such as the PARCC which will be administered again in the Spring of 2017.

Other notable accomplishments of pride are in the District’s Special Education Program. The Department of Special Services continues to focus on serving the educational needs of every South Amboy student. South Amboy’s special education program continues its commitment to educating students in the least restrictive environment, with appropriate supports. We have created programs for students with autism and multiple disabilities, from preschool to high school. Services to students with disabilities continue to expand at the middle/high school to include a wider continuum of students with specialized educational needs. Additionally, in-district programs now serve students with behavioral disabilities at all elementary and secondary levels, allowing them to be educated within a specialized and therapeutic educational setting. Inclusion classes continue to be expanded at every level, and teachers are educated on the benefits of inclusive education and on effective teaching strategies that support our inclusive culture. The Transitions programs at the middle school and high school have been expanded, and focus on developing positive post-secondary outcomes for our students with IEPs, whether they are headed to college, to post-secondary training, or to the workplace. The Special Education Department continues to be committed to the integration of technology to support instruction and maximize student achievement across all curricular areas, at all grade levels. Smartboards, iPads, laptops, and educational software programs are used within the Special Education Department to maximize student engagement and learning, and to improve academic skills.

For the faculty and staff our School Based Learning Communities continue to flourish here in South Amboy. The NJ Department of Education requires all public schools to establish school based common planning periods (CPP) for their teachers in similar grades and/or subject areas. During the 2015-2016 school year each school’s faculty conducted measureable investigatory educational research and program implementation related to the areas identified in the school’s needs assessment. During the CPP days, these CPP groups meet to discuss relevant research and pedagogical practices for improving student performance.

All the schools in our district administer assessments on a regular basis. We use a variety of evaluation tools to identify strengths and areas in need of improvement. The results of these assessments are used to help make decisions regarding the instruction and curriculum delivery throughout the school year. Teachers meet in grade level CPP groupings to compare outcomes and adjust planning, strategies, and instructional objectives based upon the results. Collaboratively, administrators and teachers use these assessment results to evaluate curricular and instructional priorities; they work to improve instruction for all students and address the individual needs of each student.

Such a process of curriculum revision, instruction and assessment will ensure that all students receive the most up-to-date instruction necessary to align with the knowledge and skills needed by all students to be successful in post-secondary opportunities, four-year colleges, community colleges, technical training institutions, military service, direct entry into the workplace, and an array of future careers – including some that are just being developed and others that are currently unforeseen.

Curriculum and instruction are the heart of any educational achievement. It is our collective goal that as a district, we unite core academic subjects, interdisciplinary themes and essential skills with an integrative approach to instruction that includes modern pedagogies, technology, resources and contexts working together to prepare our students for the real world and its rigorous requirements.

All students are assisted by staff that includes counselors at the middle/high school and elementary school levels. While our elementary and middle school students learn important social skills and individual competencies, our high school students establish graduation and career plans. The counseling staff continues to work with the community agencies to provide assistance to help youths-at-risk through the support of our Student Assistance Counselor and nursing staff. Our schools use the OLWEUS Anti Bullying Program in order to fully address the statewide mandate as well as to fully address the needs of our students and staff to embed appropriate activities throughout the school day.

Finally, I would like to list some of the more recent academic programs that South Amboy has instituted which provide our students and staff with the necessary skills and tools to make our district successful on the state standardized assessments based on the Common Core State Standards and meeting the NJQSAC requirements. These student and staff programs are as follows:
1. Six-week intensive after school tutorial programs in grades 3-8 and 11 that aid students in the skill building required to pass the state standardized tests.
2. Pre- and post-tests administered to students in grades 3-8 and 11 that relate to the mastery of areas included assessments.
3. Curriculum alignment, mapping and guide construction that correlate with state standards in all subjects.
4. Study Island and Read 180 Internet based diagnostic programs for all students in all grades.
5. Guided Reading programs in grades K-8.
6. Technology Integration and Math Problem Solving programs in grades K-12.
7. Expansion of the SAT Math, Critical Reading and Writing Preparation Programs at the High School.
8. Approval and implementation of Transitions and Life Skills curricula at the High School.
9. Alternate Performance Assessment (APA) for students with disabilities in grades 3-8 and 11 who meet defined criteria and for whom the standardized state tests are not appropriate.
10. Detailed approved Emergency Management Crisis Plans and drills for all schools.
11. Sustained Professional Development program for all employees with an updated teacher professional development library and periodical center at the SAES.

We plan to continue these programs with Board of Education and community support well into the future. I hope that you find the information in this edition of the NJ School Report Card to be useful. Please feel free to contact your building principal or me personally, if you have any questions.

In summary, South Amboy Public Schools continue on a journey of excellence through our commitment to ensure that each child receives an educational program tailored to his/her needs. We invite you to visit our schools. Please contact the school principal to arrange your visit.