Saturday, November 20, 2021

Start Strong?

By now, many either have attended virtually, or have heard and seen the data from the 11/18/2021 Englewood, NJ BOE meeting. There is much to unpack and there are data not mentioned that need to be brought forward. As we view student performance, we must ask for connecting data, because it never is prudent to view student performance data in isolation. So, I have a few questions, if I may:

(1) What are the attendance data for each school?

(2) And for the high school, what are the period-by-period attendance data?

(3) What are the teacher observation data for each school--is there any correlation between the high marks that teachers earn and student performance? Are teachers receiving stellar marks while there are glaring student performance deficits?

(4) What are the demographic data for the teachers along the areas of student performance?

(5)  What are the data that measure the effectiveness of In-Service / Professional Development--how has student achievement improved or stagnated as a result?

(6)  What are the data for the frequency of principals visiting classroom--not for formal observations, but to get a sense of what actually is going on in the schools?

(7) What are the data for the time allocated for collaboration among teachers of the same subject to share in best practices? (

(8) What are the data for the methodology of choosing principals for our schools to ensure that they are academic leaders and that they have the opportunity to share best practices with one another? 

 (9) What is the ecumenical outreach? What are the data regarding partnerships with our local houses of worship fostering their assistance in community outreach? 

(10) What are the data regarding the delivery of support to our students who still are displaced from Hurricane Ida?  

 (11) Do the curricula guides exist and what fidelity is there to implementation? How is this measured?

 (12) What is the per capita student spending and what is the itemized list of deliverables? 

(13) With these troubling levels of performance, are individualized strategies indicated for each student, teacher, and administer? 

 (14) What are the strategies between the feeder and the receiver schools to ensure readiness as students transition from one campus to another? 

(15) What are the data on teacher-student ratios? Are smaller class sizes indicated?

As an alumna, and as a former Dwight Morrow High School teacher, I can attest that these are only a small fragment of the important introspective questions that educators ask with great regularity, and have been asking over the years. Because student performance does not occur in a vacuum, it is one of a myriad of components that need to be examined and addressed. The onus of responsibility for student performance does not reside solely with the students. This is a matter for all of us—parents, teachers, administrators, the Englewood community, as well as the students. We should ask pertinent questions. If no one has learned, then no one has taught. We cannot accept that everyone on the campuses, except the students, has stellar performance indicators. If the students have not acquired the knowledge in a manner that they own it and can synthesize it, then we have not taught them. This is a hard truth, but if we are finally going to be transparent and listen to the personnel on the frontlines, then we need to own up to this.

 I submit this in all humility and with Much Love And Concern. L.A.B.
Lynette Adrian Peters-Bickham