Office of the SuperintendentPaterson Public Schools
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Office of the Superintendent

March, 2010

Greetings!

As spring draws near, thoughts of high school graduation and college enrollment come to mind throughout the district.  These two topics are a focal point under this administration, as we work to successfully achieve our mission of preparing every student for success in the institution of higher education of their choosing and in their chosen career.  A key strategy in successfully reaching this goal is to improve the high school experience in Paterson.

Eastside HSThis month, I’d like to talk about an exciting highlight in this effort, which is the transformation of Eastside High School.  When Eastside opened its doors in 1926, it was considered one of the finest public schools in all of New Jersey.  The building was literally constructed to facilitate learning and achievement and indeed it has a glowing history with many accomplished alumnae.  But as many Paterson residents know, Eastside has experienced its challenges as well, and some of these, such as low academic performance and poor student morale, have become a top priority under my leadership.  We need to quickly and efficiently confront these challenges and offer more for our Eastside students, as soon as we possibly can. 

One of my beliefs as a Superintendent is that we have no time to experiment or “guesstimate” about what initiatives will prove to be successful.  As a former math teacher, I believe in data, and in this instance data tells us that a model developed under my leadership in Providence, Rhode Island holds great promise.   Hope High School experienced many of the same challenges that we have at Eastside, and by establishing three smaller learning communities with specialized staff resources, we experienced a swift and noteworthy improvement in test scores and the successful creation of a safe, healthy school culture.  I fully expect to see those same improvements at Eastside High School within the next academic year.

In September of 2010, three autonomous schools, each with their own principal, will open at Eastside.  Each school will maintain its own improvement plan with strategies and staff in place for accelerating student achievement and graduation rates.  No more than 600 students will attend each of the three schools, which will focus on the following professional fields:
1). Arts, A/V Technology, Communications and Information Technology
2). Government and Public Administration
3). Culinary Arts, Hospitality and Tourism

An essential element in this transformation is the meaningful participation and support of our school parents and community partners.  I encourage you to get behind this transformation and help support a new era of academic achievement at Eastside and indeed in all of our district high schools.  Here in the district, we are extremely optimistic about the transformation of Eastside High School, which will prove to be very beneficial to students and staff members as well.  With your support, we will not only meet those expectations, we will exceed them. 

Donnie W. Evans, Ed.D.
State District Superintendent
Paterson Public Schools
Superintendent@paterson.k12.nj.us

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