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Chester Principals Share 'Tremendous' Test Scores

Principals from three Chester schools reported on academic achievements in the district.

At Monday's Chester Consolidated School District Board of Education meeting, Melissa Fair, Michele Stanton, Robert Mullen, Brad Currie and Dr. Jeanette Krone presented the school district's academic achievements and test scores.

Fair, the principal at Dickerson School, started things off with her school's Scholastic Reading Inventory. SRI is a research-based, computer-adaptive reading assessment program for students from kindergarten through 12th grade which measures reading comprehension on the Lexile Framework for Reading.

But don't call it a test.

"One of the things we did this year is we put in the Scholastic Reading Inventory," Fair said. "We're not calling it a test, it is an inventory; it's an assesment of where children are reading and what level they're reading on. We still have a very traditional early childhood education, but the infusion of technology is undeniable at Dickerson School." 

"We are absolutely seeing growth," Fair said.

Fair said Dickerson is still using Sadlier Phonics -- systematic and explicit instruction and abundant practice for phonemic awareness and essential phonics skills -- and enVision Math, which is interactive math lessons followed by visual learning strategies.

"It still is a traditional education program. It's still about the social, emotional and the academic, but you can't have the academic if you don't have the social and emotional," Fair said.

Krone added that the school is doing tremendous work with special needs and ELL students.

"Despite many of our students not achieving proficient scores on the NJ ASK, in the third, fourth and fifth grade we know they are making progress," Krone said. "The state gave us a test, which we are mandated to take every year, and we had 28 students tested and 19 achieved [state benchmarks] or showed improvements."

Stanton, Bragg Intermediate School's principal, spoke about all the activities her school had participated in this year, including a book drive for its sister school in Africa; " the week of respect and anti-bullying at the beginning of the year when Miss New Jersey came in and talked about being bullied when she was a student in Chester; the professional learning communities; and the two principal roundtables.

Stanton said that her third, fourth and fifth grade students tested higher than the state average in ILA, math and science, and there were 43 perfect scores throughout the three grades in math and science.

Mullen, principal at Black River Middle School, and Brad Currie, dean of students/supervisor of instruction, closed it out the presentation and talked about the test scores at the middle school. Throughout the three grades, there were 99 perfect scores in math, ILA and science on the NJ ASK - 2012.

"The test scores are phenomenal," Mullen said. "We have tremendous, tremendous scores; the teachers do a phenomenal job."

Also at BRMS, 20 out of 23 sixth-grade students passed the special education LAL while 21 out of 23 sixth graders passed the math portion; 14 out of 21 seventh-grade students passed the LAL and 16 of 21 seventh graders passed the math exam; and 20 out of 25 eighth-grade students passed the LAL with 17 of 25 eighth graders passed the math part. In addition, Chester was near the top in average test scores for Morris County in 2012.

"Our scores in Morris County for language arts grade eight, we are in the top five in Morris County of all the middle schools, there's about 30-35 middle schools," Currie said. "I'm very proud of those scores. In math, grade eight from last year, again in the top five; very proud of that. Science, again in the top five Morris County. Grade seven, language arts Morris County from last year we are in the top three or four. With math we're right there as well. Grade six from Morris County last year, we're number two. We're very proud of that. We're number two in Morris County for language arts, and number four for mathematics. We're very proud of those scores."

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