Dr. Evans' Message
In the life of the school district, June is “graduation” month, a time when we recognize those who have completed their high school career and will now proceed to an institution of higher education or their chosen profession. Indeed, it is our mission, in Paterson Public Schools, to prepare every student for success, no matter what path they choose to take.
As you may know, all students must pass the High School Proficiency Assessment, otherwise known as the HSPA, in order to graduate. For those students who do not pass the HSPA, the state has created a new assessment, called the Alternative High School Assessment or AHSA. This test replaced the former Special Review Assessment or SRA. The AHSA test proved daunting for many students and when the results came in, it was discovered that only 10 percent of all New Jersey students taking this assessment actually passed. Because of this, there are several hundred Paterson students now at risk of not receiving their high school diploma.
Currently, there are several options for our Paterson students who did not pass the AHSA on the first round, and I wanted the community to be aware of these options and our efforts to help every student successfully reach their goal of receiving a high school diploma.
First of all, the state of New Jersey is offering an appeal process that takes into account high test scores on other assessments, such as the SAT and ACT. This will help many seniors receive their diploma. Secondly, we are administering the Mathematics portion of the test to a large group of students this week. These are students who have passed the other areas of the test, and just needed to retake one portion to successfully complete the AHSA.
Finally, over 300 students will be offered a “summer prep program” to be held at three locations in Paterson this summer. Our high school guidance counselors are currently enrolling students in this two-week program which will provide the tutorial assistance they need to successfully pass the AHSA when it is re-administered between July 19 and August 6.
Once again, community awareness, involvement and support makes all the difference. If you are the parent, neighbor or relative of a student who is attending the summer prep program, encourage them to strive for perfect attendance and take advantage of this great opportunity. When we work together as a community, the rewards of our efforts can be seen in the smiles and the successes of our graduating seniors.
Donnie W. Evans, Ed.D.
State District Superintendent
Paterson Public Schools