Superintendent’s Welcome Back Message
Welcome Back. I realize that the last two weeks of summer vacation have been especially difficult as many families have suffered great losses due to the severe flooding. Please know that my thoughts are with you and your families. As we turn our attention toward the new school year, we remain focused on our district’s vision to be a leader in educating New Jersey’s urban youth and our mission to prepare every child to succeed in college and their future career.
Recent HSPA and NJASK scores are indicating that some progress has been made, but the total number of Paterson students who are proficient in math and language arts is much lower than we desire, and the scores indicate mixed results from school to school. There is simply no time to waste as our children’s future depends on us. We need to see consistent progress in all areas and in all schools. To that end, I want to be very clear that it’s a new day in Paterson and we will no longer accept excuses for why our students are not achieving. We need to shift into high gear to implement the strategies and goals noted in our district’s strategic plan.
This year we have restructured our high schools and several of our elementary schools to improve student achievement and bring about significant improvement in school cultures. We are also introducing a new educational approach which we are calling the Paterson Innovation Zone. The Innovation Zone is a reform strategy designed to accelerate student achievement. This substantial intervention will begin this year with 17 district schools. The Zone schools will follow a managed instruction approach in which the district ensures that all students are taught the same comprehensive and aligned curriculum, and that all teachers know how to teach it.
Additionally, as we continue to change the culture throughout the district, we need to ensure that our schools are places where children can learn and where parents feel welcome. Creating a healthy school culture or climate involves many components but one area you will be hearing much more about is the State’s new Anti-bullying law. The district has already enacted a new Board policy approved to address Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying. Every staff member must be trained on the new policy, and as a district we will be creating a comprehensive program to address this growing problem.
This is a critical year where we will be aggressively working toward achieving our goals. With the steps we are taking, I believe we will expect to see significant improvements in students’ performance this year – from test scores to graduation rates.
In closing, we should be proud of what we have already achieved, and enthusiastic about the tremendous possibilities ahead. We are well-positioned to achieve our vision and mission. Let’s work together to make Paterson Public Schools a wonderful place to learn. Best wishes for a productive school year ahead.
Donnie W. Evans, Ed.D.
Superintendent's Archived Messages