The Christie Administration named a Focus School last week, as part of its new statewide accountability system. This system has been developed from the No Child Left Behind Act.
“This is all part of the NCLB waiver and new accountability system that is going to be implemented in NJ. Schools will now fall into Priority, Focus, or Reward schools OR be uncategorized,” explained Freehold Borough Schools Superintendent Liz O’Connell.
The rest of the school district falls in the uncategorized category.
According to the Department of Education (DOE), a Focus School is a school with significant but focused areas of concern in student performance over the past three years. As part of the process, Focus Schools will receive targeted and tailored solutions to meet the school’s unique needs.
Freehold Intermediate is one of 183 Focus Schools.
The DOE describes the types of Focus Schools as the following;
• Low Graduation Rates: high schools with a 2011 graduation rate lower than 75%.
• Largest Within-School Gaps: schools with the largest in-school proficiency gap between the highest-performing subgroup and the combined proficiency of the two lowest-performing subgroups. Schools in this category have a proficiency gap between these subgroups of 43.5 percentage points or higher.
• Lowest Subgroup Performance: schools whose two lowest-performing subgroups rank among the lowest combined proficiency rates in the state. Schools in this category have an overall proficiency rate for these lowest-performing subgroups of 29.2% or lower.
According to O’Connell, Freehold Intermediate School is defined as a Focus School based on the within-school gaps. “Our gap is 46% between our highest-performing subgroup and two lowest-performing subgroups,” she explained.
The next step according to the DOE is to "provide targeted supports to schools with specific achievement concerns in Focus Schools to ensure all students are on track for college and career readiness."