Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Percent of Hoboken Children Attending a Public School that Did Not Make AYP Increases from 14.5% to 90.5% Under Local BoE Political Group

Some of you will recall that from 2007-2009 I was the Assistant to the Superintendent of Schools in Hoboken, New Jersey. Since leaving in August of 2009, the district has faced some challenges. One of those challenges has been a politically charged atmosphere. For many reasons it has been politically expedient to characterize the public schools as being in disrepair and floundering when the Kids First political group took over control of the public schools but that is largely political rhetoric. In Fall 2009, test scores were announced and hailed as "disappointing" and "guarantees" were made that scores would improve the next year. This data indicates some of the challenges of making promises, especially in light of the systemic nature that reform generally needs to take in order to be successful. Here is some data analysis and source material/data from the New Jersey Department of Education which I conducted recently as part of a course I am teaching. Some of this data was first reported in a local newspaper, the Hoboken Reporter. -Dr. Petrosino

On November 3, 2010 the New Jersey Department of Education released the annual Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) report , part of the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation that aims to have all students achieving at grade level by 2014. Based primarily on the results of the New Jersey state assessments given to students in grades 3 through 8 and grade 11, AYP is a measuring tool with many components that accesses the quality and progress district level leadership is making toward educating the children it serves.

The recent AYP report, like QSAC, by the New Jersey Department of Education provides objective data concerning the results to date for the Kids First Board of Education majority and their stewardship of the Hoboken Public Schools.

Recall, in August of 2009 the current Board majority inherited a district with only 1 school that failed to make AYP. After almost 2 years in full control of the Hoboken Public Schools, we now learn 3 of the 4 public schools in Hoboken have failed to make AYP.

In Hoboken, the following schools did not make AYP for the 2010-2011 school year:










While, the following schools did not make AYP for the 2009-2010 school year (last year of the previous administration):


Under the previous administration and Board of Education leadership, Hoboken High School was a 2 time Bronze Medal awardee by US NEWS AND WORLD REPORT and was recognized by NEW JERSEY MONTHLY as the second most improved high school in the State of New Jersey for 2008. Concurrently, Wallace School was the informal K-8 flagshipschool in the district. Now, both Hoboken High School and Wallace have failed to make adequate yearly progress for the current school year.

But, the picture is more complicated. Since the additional 2 schools have the highest district enrollment, the impact factor on the entire district student population is magnified. Having the district's 3 largest schools fail to meet AYP plus the consolidation of the Demarest Alternative High School into the existing Hoboken High School-- plus the moving of all district 8th graders into Hoboken High School-- has had surprising and possibly disconcerting results.

Let us look at the data a little differently:

In August of 2009 roughly 14.5% of Hoboken Public School children attended a school that failed to make adequate yearly progress (AYP). But by November of 2010, after 18+ months of Kids First leadership, roughly 90.5% of Hoboken Public School children now attend a school which has failed to make adequate yearly progress as determined by the State of New Jersey

(see Calculations at end of this post).

The recent results are more concerning when one considers that the criteria needed for reaching AYP (i.e. student scores) will significantly increase very soon. In other words, the State is raising the bar for making AYP by about 33% at the same time 2 additional schools in the district have not reached the current bar or expectations.

As for what AYP actually IS--- here is a description from the New Jersey Department of Education website as presented by the current Acting Commissioner of Education:

“Like a ‘check engine’ light in a car, the AYP data indicates that something in a school district may not be working properly,” Acting Commissioner Hendricks said. “It could mean that only one small group of students in a school did not meet standards. Or it could be the first evidence of a systemic problem requiring sweeping change. Though these results are part of a broader picture, the Department takes this indicator very seriouslyand will work with the local leadership in these districts to examine the data, flag any underlying issues, and take action wherever it is appropriate to ensure our children are being properly served.”

“The report provides an early warning signal about student learning in New Jersey’s school districts and, whatever the reason, demands the attention of stakeholders at all levels to explore how our schools can do better,” added Acting Commissioner Hendricks. “If your school is on the list of those that did not make Adequate Yearly Progress, I would encourage you to contact your local school to find out more about the specific challenges and reasons for having fallen short of this marker. Just as the Department will continue to do, we encourage parents, taxpayers, students and administrators to work together to understand and assist in addressing the problems that are highlighted as a result of this report.”

School and district accountability documents are posted here:

For background of what AYP means and how it is part of the No Child Left Behind, visit:

Calculation #1: Basically the student population of Connors divided by total district enrollment.
300/2029 = 14.50%

Calculation #2: Basically, the October 2010 populations of Hoboken High School, Wallace, and Connors divided by the total estimated district enrollment.
1900/2100 = 90.50%

No comments: