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Curriculum Reform is Focus for Heights Schools

Superintendent Mark Porto says the district is considered high performing by state QSAC standards but curriculum must be updated.

The will continue to take several steps towards improving its curriculum program, Superintendent Mark Porto reported at the Thursday night Board of Education meeting.

Porto said overall the district was considered high performing by the recent state mandated QSAC (Quality Single Accountability Continuum) monitoring system, which monitors a district’s performance over a three-year period. The Hasbrouck Heights district scored 88 percent in the instruction program area, a 2 percent decrease from 2009, Porto said.

One of the requirements of the state is to have an updated curriculum plan which Porto noted staff and administrators  have already begun. He says the district will continue to move forward with curriculum reform over this coming school year.

Porto also noted that the recent state NJASK tests show a decline in student performance in language arts at some grade levels and the curriculum could be to blame. A main initiative will be to update the literacy and writing curriculum, Porto said, noting that teachers, along with parents, can play a role.

The district will continue to send students in the gifted and talented program to Ho-Ho-Kus on Saturday mornings for this school year but is working towards bringing a program in house. Porto explained that the state does not recognize this current gifted and talented program as district’s are required to have enrichment programs in-district that are more project based which Porto hopes to have in place by school year 13-14.

The superintendent said the district received 100 percent QSAC rating in the areas of fiscal management, operations and personnel. The district received a 84 percent rating in the area of governance which Porto said was due to the district’s lack of a nepotism policy. He pointed out that the board of education has since adopted a nepotism policy last month.

Porto told the audience he is confident that the next three years will bring even higher QSAC scores than what the district received this year.

Porto also pointed out two recent articles which recognized Hasbrouck Heights as a well performing district.  Porto said a recent NorthJersey.com article on increased real estate sales in Hasbrouck Heights included a quote from a local realtor who said this can be attributed to the solid education system.

Also, rose up in the ranking by New Jersey Monthly magazine from #107 to #72.

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