Friday, December 2, 2016

Hola Dual Language School Tied for 1st (out of 556 districts) in NJ on 2016 PARCC English/Language for Grades 3, 4, and 5

The state Department of Education released school and district scores for the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, last week. Patch put together a list of each school on the list, its town and its average percentage "not yet meeting expectations" for students in 3rd, 4th and 5th grades. Regular readers of this site will recall Hola has been recognized by the NJ Department of Education as an exemplary Dual Language program by the New Jersey Department of Education.

Hola Dual Language School tied for first in the state on PARCC scores in Language. The school is less than 7 years old. It receives the smallest amount of funding per pupil of all of the city's district schools. The school has children with IEPs and who qualify for free and reduced lunch, and speak spanish most of the time. 

Originally planned for the public school district while I was Asst Superintendent, the concept of a dual language program was rejected by the Kids First Board of Eduction majority by a vote of 4-3. Now, the same Board majority is in litigation with Hola

Some online forums have been discussing this data and have asked questions relative to the Hoboken School District. Comparisons of such sorts are difficult and not always clear or even productive. But, since it is a topic of discussion, I will offer some perspective. One should keep in mind before comparing the following that while it is easy and simplistic to say the two districts educate different children, this is simply not fully accurate. As one regular reader of this site explains:
"The demographic differences between Hola and the Hoboken School District at the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades are minimal,  HoLa only receives about HALF the funding per pupil that the district gets and the district gets to keep the other half for their own uses. So, one could easily recognize this not as a demographic issue, but as a new school embedded in a district that is unwilling to make innovative improvements (recall, Hola was presented to the Board of Eduction and rejected)" 
The following data is for K-5 grades between the Hola Dual Language School District and the Hoboken City School District. Grades PreK-1 are included as these preliminary grades give a better overall view of the socioeconomic status and demographics of these two districts up to and including the grades included in the PARCC rankings. All data was obtained by the NJ Department of Education and available on their website. 

         Grades PreK-5 Only 

Hoboken     Hola
White 46% 59%
Black/His 47% 31%
Other  7% 11%

FRD Lunch



In fact, the entire Hoboken School District has been experiencing a steady decline in enrollment of students from families eligible for free and reduced lunch from 75% in 2007. But these drops are most experienced in the early grades (Prek-5) as many non-FRD families "opt out" of sending their children to the Hoboken Public Schools as their children reach the higher grades (Grades 6-12). Click here for a full analysis of the changing characteristics of students enrolled in the Hoboken Public Schools. 

The following two charts (Figure 1 and 2) show clearly that non-free and reduced lunch children are the majority in the Hoboken School District in the early grades. The disaggregated by grade charts below indicate fairly clearly both the drop in enrollment as well as the steady decline in non-FRD families from Kindergarten to 12th grade. When one looks at district numbers taken in totality (reported as "district percentages"), this level of detail is not apparent. 

Figue 1: 2010
Click to Enlarge

Figure 2: 2015
Click to Enlarge

While I was Assistant Superintendent we added the research based "Tools of the Mind" PreK and Kindergarten curriculum as well as the "LitLife" as well as Read 180 to specifically to address Language and Reading in the Hoboken Schools. Most of these programs are no longer in place or vastly reduced. Scores were on the rise. Hopefully, they will be again soon. 

The Hoboken Public Schools under the "Kids First/Continue the Progress/Forward Together" leadership as well as all other school districts' rankings are included below...
Here is the list: