Office of the SuperintendentPaterson Public Schools

Office of the Superintendent

Superintendent’s Message

The Paterson Public School District has embraced a college-ready mission for its 29,000 students. Over the past two years, the district has aligned the high schools with this mission by transforming all large traditional high schools into twelve small thematic programs and converting all high schools to “schools of choice”. Additionally, in an effort to greatly improve student achievement district-wide, the district has implemented several strategies which include: advanced professional development for staff, creation of the Innovation Zone, implementation of robust student assessments and the development of a new teacher and administrator evaluation system tied to student achievement. Although the district has experienced early successes, there continue to be areas in need of significant improvement. These areas include school and district organizational culture, family engagement, and inadequate facilities.


Two years ago, under Superintendent Evans’ leadership, the district created “Bright Futures: A Strategic Plan for Paterson Schools” to begin to transform the educational system from one that is “in need of improvement” to one that is “a leader in educating New Jersey’s urban youth”. The district’s current mission is to prepare all students for success in any college or university and in their chosen careers. Four priorities have driven the district’s work: Effective Academic Programs; Safe, Caring and Orderly Schools; Family and Community Engagement; and Efficient and Responsive Operations. Since the development of Bright Futures, the Paterson Public School district has aggressively implemented most of its strategies.

Recent Outcomes

The changes noted above and other changes have contributed to recent improvements in student outcomes including:

  • District’s graduation rate using the cohort method for the 2011 graduating class increased to 64%, as compared to 50.4% in 2010 and 45% in 2009.
  • An increase in proficiency for first-time takers of the High School Proficiency Assessment (HSPA) language arts literacy from 51.7% in 2010 to 59.5% in 2011 to 66.4% in 2012, with 80% of General Education students at proficient or above. HSPA Mathematics scores have increased from 30.9% in 2011 to 46.6% in 2012. This includes an 18.8% increase for LEP students.
  • Increased proficiency in mathematics on NJ ASK for students in grades 3-8 from 45.9% in 2010 to 49.1% in 2011.
  • Within cohort analysis of grade 3-8 students on NJ ASK from 2009-10 to 2010-11 found that four of five cohorts increased their performance in mathematics by as many as 8 percentage points. Three of five cohorts increased their performance in Language Arts Literacy by as many as 18 percentage points.
  • Per Interim Renaissance Star Assessments (Jan/Feb 2012):
  • Both the Innovation Zone and Non-Innovation Zone schools have experienced a 5% gain in Mathematics.
  • Early indicators also suggest strong growth in three of the district’s priority
  • College acceptance rates have improved as follows:
  • Seniors enrolled in Innovation Zone high schools who intend to attend and have been accepted into a two or four year college or university has almost doubled in comparison to the senior class of 2011 (47.39% to 85.36%).
  • Seniors enrolled in Non-Innovation Zone high schools who intend to attend and have been accepted into a two or four year college or university has increased by 24.52% in comparison to the senior class of 2011 (61.52% to 86.04%).

Thank you.

Donnie W. Evans, Ed.D.
State District Superintendent
Paterson Public Schools

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