Paterson Public School District (31-4010)

Paterson Public School District

Educating Paterson’s youth is the function of the Paterson Public School District. With more than 40 languages spoken in its classrooms, it is one of New Jersey’s most diverse school districts. This urban district enrolls approximately 25,000 students in grades kindergarten through twelve and an additional 2,900 prekindergarten students with community providers. Its 56 schools are largely configured as pre-K, K-8, and 9-12 with a small number configured as grades K-4, pre-K-5 or 6-8. The district, one of four that is state-operated, has been managed by the New Jersey Department of Education since 1991 because of its previous fiscal mismanagement and poor student achievement. The district has made progress in this area and local control of “Operations” was returned to the district in 2014. In February 2016, the New Jersey State Board of Education approved returning two additional areas of local control – Fiscal Management and Personnel.

With the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) in place, all Paterson students receive free breakfast and lunch. Approximately thirteen percent or 3,200 students receive special education services and 3,500 students are English Language Learners (ELL) who receive bilingual/ESL services. The student population in the Paterson district mirrors the trend of urban communities across the nation and in New Jersey. Sixty seven percent of its students are of Hispanic origin, twenty four percent are African-American, and approximately nine percent are of Caucasian, Middle Eastern or Asian descent.

The vision of the Paterson Public School District is to be the leader in educating New Jersey’s urban youth; and our mission is to prepare each student for success in the college or university of their choosing and in their chosen profession. In support of the district’s Brighter Futures’ Strategic Plan’s priorities and goals, the district annually identifies and implements transformation objectives and initiatives that sharpen the focus on school and district improvement.
These objectives continue to be:
• Build healthy school cultures and climates;
• Redesign critical processes and procedures;
• Revise teacher and administrator evaluation systems;
• Implement New Jersey Student Learning Standards;
• Implement high impact academic interventions for low performing students;
• Strengthen the district’s assessment system;
• Build capacity among staff:
o Teachers;
o Principals and vice-principals; and
o District administrators and supervisors.

The district has made tremendous progress toward the full attainment of both our vision and mission. Illustrations of academic and process outcomes realized in recent years include:
• Significant, and in some cases, record-breaking improvements in performance on state and districts assessments;
• Historic increases in high school graduation rates;
• Significant improvements in meeting QSAC standards and successfully earning the return of local control in three District Performance Review Areas; and
• The best audits ever of the district’s finances since State Control were imposed in 1991.