Paterson HistoryPaterson Public Schools
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District Profile

Paterson Great FallsGuided by the principle of “Preparing All Children for College and Career,” the Paterson Public School District is working to draw out the true potential within every student to become life-long learners and 21st century leaders in their communities, their nation, and the world. With more than 40 languages spoken in its classrooms, the Paterson Public School District is among the most diverse in the state. The 2018-2019 total district enrollment is 24,987 students, which includes 24,151 students in kindergarten to 12th grade plus 683 pre-kindergarten students and 153 adult school students. An additional 2,888 pre-K students are educated through partnerships with pre-K community providers.
The Paterson Public School District has been under state control since 1991. On May 2, 2018, the New Jersey Board of Education approved a resolution to put the district on a path to local control. This followed the restoration of local control in specific aspects of the district including operations, personnel and fiscal management. Prior to the state board’s decision, a Quality Single Accountability Continuum (QSAC) review noted that improvements had been made in the areas of instruction & program and governance.
With the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) in place, all Paterson students are eligible to receive breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack at no cost to them. The district provides special education services for 3,925 students and bilingual/ESL services for 4,827 English Language Learners (ELL).
The student population in the Paterson Public Schools mirrors the trend of urban communities across the nation and in New Jersey. About 66.9 percent of its students are of Hispanic origin, 22.2 percent are African-American, 5.6 percent are of Asian descent, and 5.0 percent are Caucasian. Nearly 57 percent of all students in Paterson speak a primary language other than English. The rich diversity in the district is an educational asset. It enables students to learn firsthand about other cultures and, develop an appreciation for cultural similarities and differences as they prepare for success in a multicultural world.
Since 2009, the Paterson Public School District has been engaged in a major effort to improve student achievement at both the elementary and secondary levels. During the 2009-2010 school year, the district developed an ambitious five-year strategic plan, called Bright Futures, to transform the district into a high-performing urban school system. After completing the Bright Futures plan, the district developed a follow-up plan for the 2014-2019 timeframe called Brighter Futures and its goals continue to be focused on the same top priorities.
Recently, the district has been embarking on a number of groundbreaking initiatives to provide more opportunities for students to achieve academic excellence. Among those initiatives are the instituting of an International Baccalaureate program, a campaign to combat chronic absenteeism, and an aggressive K-5 reading program.

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