Paterson Public Schools serves about 25,000 students in pre-K through the 12th grade and their families in New Jersey’s third largest city. The District is working to draw out the true potential within every student to become lifelong learners and 21st century leaders in their communities, this nation, and the world. While the Paterson community may be classified as low-income, many of its students are high-achieving. More elementary school students are reading at or above grade level, and more high school students are earning college credits through Advanced Placement exams and taking college-level courses before graduation. Paterson Public Schools stands out as one of only 17 districts in New Jersey to offer the competitive International Baccalaureate program, and one of only four districts with a P-TECH high school, a program that, in collaboration with IBM and Passaic County Community College, graduates students with an associate degree in applied science and practical tech sector experience. As of June 15, 2022, the District’s total kindergarten to 12th-grade enrollment was 24,996 with 21,667 students in grades K to 12, 785 students in the District’s prekindergarten programs, and another 2,544 students in pre-K programs that partner with the district. Also, 3,857 students received special education services and 6,844 students were English Language Learners (ELL) who received bilingual/ESL services. The student population demographics in 2021-2022 were as follows: 68.52 percent of the students were Hispanic, 19.44 percent were African-American, 5.88 percent were Asian, and 4.79 percent were Caucasian. Through the Community Eligibility Provision, all Paterson students are eligible to receive breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a snack at no cost to them. In 2009, the Paterson Public School District began the practice of improving student achievement through five-year strategic plans. The District’s current five-year strategic plan, Paterson – A Promising Tomorrow, was completed during the 2018-2019 school year after an effort that involved students, parents and guardians, community stakeholders, staff, and Board of Education commissioners.
During 2021-2022, the District achieved new milestones and continued to embark on groundbreaking initiatives to provide more opportunities for students to achieve academic excellence. Some of the highlights of the year were:
In September 2021, the new, state-of-the-art Joseph A. Taub Middle School on Union Avenue opened ending years of the neighborhood’s students commuting across the city to the former Paterson Catholic High School building.
U.S. News and World Report named Public School No. 28/Paterson Academy for the Gifted and Talented the nation’s top elementary school and top middle school.
As of July 1, 2022, a total of three International High School graduating classes completed the International Baccalaureate (IB) program, and 12 students have fulfilled the rigorous requirements for the IB Diploma.
The first students at the Paterson P-TECH Academy program began their internships at IBM.
District students were accepted at Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, the University of Pennsylvania, and many more competitive colleges and universities.
Meanwhile, the District is expanding its career and technical education programs, continuing its aggressive elementary school reading and math programs.
Perhaps among the most important initiatives launched in the 2021-2022 school year were those that addressed students’ social-emotional wellbeing and those that fostered equity in the district. The Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) Team was launched to respond to help students maintain their mindfulness and mental health, and help teachers develop methods of attending to their students’ SEL needs. Early in the school year, the district brought the Youth Equity Stewardship, or YES, Program to five schools to bring students’ perspectives, vision, creativity, and passion to the forefront of policymaking for schools in the 21st century.