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For Release: November 21, 2003


2003-2004 Governor's School of Excellence Snapshots

The following is a list of the 25 Governor's School of Excellence winners for 2003 and a snapshot of examples why they've been named, based on the schools' applications. The schools named are all excellent examples of efforts that should be shared statewide.

Atlantic County

Brigantine Elementary School, Brigantine Public School District

  • The school was selected for its overall improvement in literacy and math test scores, as well as for their continued excellence in cutting-edge technological programs. For instance, the school has won first place in for four consecutive years in the Atlantic County Education Technology Contest.

Bergen County

Jackson Avenue School, Hackensack School District

  • This school has made considerable strides in academic achievement and has done so by addressing the various needs of a diverse population, with an ESL population of 63 percent. Efforts have led to results. In 1998-99, ESPA proficiency was 31.1 percent. In 2001-02, it grew to 80.3 percent.

Memorial School, Little Ferry School District

  • Memorial School is a school with great diversity, including a population of children who speak 33 different languages. Through programs that address the needs of such diversity, the school has seen its attendance rates remain high and its test scores improve. In 1999, 66.3 percent of the students passed the math portion of ESPA, compared to 79.1 in 2001-02. For Language Arts/Literacy, the percentages rose from 50 percent to 91.2 percent over the same period of time.

Burlington County

Bordentown Regional High School, Bordentown Regional School District

  • The school is focused on creating a foundation for success through partnerships with local colleges and universities. It is at the forefront of block scheduling. Recent accomplishments include improved graduation and attendance rates and lowered dropout rates. Over the last three years, the school's efforts have decreased violent incidents by 40 percent.

Camden County

George Washington School, Camden City

  • In the Spring of 2000, 15.4 percent of the school's fourth-grade students achieved proficiency in Language Arts/Literacy on the ESPA. In the spring of 2002, the percentage rose to 79.6. The school continues to emphasize the need to instruct children at their grade reading levels and the programs are paying off.

Thomas Paine Elementary School, Cherry Hill Public Schools

  • Language Arts/Literacy proficiency levels have climbed from 73.1 percent in 1998-99 to 94.4 percent in the 2001-02 ESPA. Math scores increased as well from 73.1 percent in 1998-99 to 96.3 percent proficient in 2001-02. The school continues to emphasize community and family involvement through various programs focused on raising achievement.

Joyce Kilmer Elementary School, Cherry Hill Public Schools

  • Joyce Kilmer has in place an excellent character education program, one that focuses on improving literacy as a key component. The school's scores have also improved tremendously. Literacy scores rose from 63.6 percent in the spring of 2000 to 93.7 percent in the spring of 2002.

Samuel S. Yellin School, Stratford School District

  • In 2000, the percentage of proficient students in the ESPA Language Arts/Literacy was 57.8 percent. It rose to 90.4 percent by the spring of 2002. One of the reasons is the school's PowerSchool Management program, one that stresses family involvement and trains parents and guardians on software that tracks student records, attendance, demographics, health, and academic performance.

Cape May County

Maud Abrams School, Lower Township School District

  • Rooted in the programming at this rural school with a diverse population and urban characteristics is an annual program called KINDNESS AND RESPECT FOR OURSELVES, OTHERS AND THE SCHOOL. As part of the program, students are recognized for observed acts of kindness. Additionally, ESPA scores jumped from 44 percent proficient in 2000 to 91.7 percent in 2002 for the Language Arts/Literacy component. Math scores jumped from 59.1 percent proficient in 2000 to 83.5 percent in 2002.

Cumberland County

Maurice River Township Elementary School, Maurice Township School District

  • The school saw ESPA scores improve from 86.4 percent of its students scoring proficient in 2000-01 to 90.7 percent in 2001-02 in Language Arts/Literacy. GEPA scores improved as well. The school additionally remains committed to community involvement through partnerships with four other school districts, state police, prosecutor's office, county mental health providers and other agencies through various grants to strengthen the school environment.

Cunningham Elementary School, Vineland School District

  • The early childhood programs are in line with the McGreevey Administration's focus on early literacy and the goal that all students will be able to read at grade level by the end of third grade. ESPA scores reflect such efforts. In 1999, 24.4 percent of the students scored proficient in the ESPA's Language Arts/ Literacy portion. The percentage rose to 78.5 by the spring of 2002.

Gloucester County

Harrison Township School, Harrison Township School District

  • Through two main programs, the Balanced Literacy Approach and the PASS (Phonemic Awareness, Spelling and Speech) program, the school has seen literacy improve greatly. In June 2002, 39 percent of third-graders were reading at above grade level, and 22 percent were performing below grade level. By June of this year, the percentage rose to 67 percent reading above grade level, and dropped to 9 percent reading below grade level.

Evergreen Avenue School, Woodbury Public Schools

  • Evergreen moved from being the lowest achieving school in the district in 1999, with 16.1 percent of its students scoring proficient in the Language Arts/Literacy portion of the ESPA, to tops in the district in 2002, with 79.3 percent proficiency. Math scores rose as well from 35.5 percent proficient in 1999 to 72.4 percent in 2002. The school incorporates a unique program on the Chinese language and the differences between Eastern and Western civilizations.

Hudson County

High Tech High School, Hudson County Schools of Technology

  • The high school has a zero percent dropout rate, and more than 95 percent of its seniors attend four-year colleges. Additionally, the number of students scoring advanced proficient in the 2002 HSPA Math category was 36 percent. The number rose this year to 48 percent. Proficiency levels rose from 59 percent to 73 percent, also for math. Encouraging results for a school with nearly 40 percent of its students in the at-risk category and where more than 45 percent of the students live in homes where English is not the first language.

Alexander D. Sullivan School, Jersey City Public Schools

  • The school reports high attendance rates, which are notable because of a rising student mobility rate over the last two years. The school had a 94.1 percent attendance rate and remains focused on providing quality learning experiences that focus on varied and diverse populations.

Mercer County

Washington Elementary School, Trenton Public Schools

  • About 76 percent of the school's students are economically disadvantaged and 29 percent live in households where English is not the first language. Still, ESPA literacy scores rose from 69 proficient and advanced proficient in 2000 to 88 percent in 2002. Strong community and parental involvement programs help pave the way for continued success.

Middlesex County

Lincoln Middle School, Dunellen Public Schools

  • GEPA scores for Language Arts/ Literacy were at 67.1 percent proficient or advanced proficient in 2000-01. They rose to 87.3 percent proficient or advanced proficient in 2002-03. The school embarked on a "truly remarkable" restructuring program, administrators said, that looked to turn test scores and school programs around in 14 months. The efforts have certainly paid off.

Piscataway High School, Piscataway Township School District

  • Literacy scores rose from a 75 percent passing rate for the 2001 HSPT to 83 percent passing the 2003 HSPA. In 1999-2000, the school administered 129 Advanced Placement tests, and 83 percent of the students scored a three or higher out of a 1-5 scale. This year, the school administered 141 AP tests, and 85.8 percent of the students scored three or higher. The school also has in place the Comfort Zone program, one that maintains a safe and welcome school environment.

Indian Fields Elementary School, South Brunswick Public Schools

  • ESPA results from 1998-99 show 66.3 percent of the students at Indian Fields scored proficient or advanced proficient. The percentage rose to 96.3 in 2001-02. The school is especially proud of its Summer Freedom School Program, one that has addressed the needs of 65 elementary students over the last three years as a literacy-rich summer program.

Monmouth County

Monmouth County Academy of Allied Health and Science, Monmouth County Vocational Schools

  • The school exposes students to an intense and thorough health/science curriculum, while at the same time placing an emphasis on character education programs designed to promote the empathy and sensitivity necessary for 21st century health professionals. HSPA scores have risen steadily as well. In 2001-02, 65.6 percent of the population scored advance proficient on the HSPA in language arts. In 2002-03, the percentage rose to 71.8 percent. Math results rose from 54.1 percent to 63.4 percentage, respectively, over the same period of time.

Spring Lake Heights Elementary School, Spring Lake Heights School District

  • The school has worked closely with Georgian Court College and other outside entities to develop new curricula and intensive programs geared toward raising achievement. In 2001-02, 13.5 percent of the student population scored advanced proficient in the literacy portion of ESPA. The number rose to 34.2 percent this past year.

Morris County

Marie V. Duffy Elementary School, Wharton Borough Public Schools

  • Through its Family and Schools Together (FAST) program, the school has focused on increasing parental involvement. This includes working with the Morris County Department of Social Services and other outside programs to especially target the needs of third-grade students. Additionally, scores have risen from 44.7 percent proficient and advanced proficient in the 2000 ESPA for Language Arts/Literacy to 88.7 percent in 2002.

Passaic County

John F. Kennedy School, Wayne Township Public Schools

  • Through its "Type" Writing Program, John F. Kennedy School continues to see continued results in literacy. Advanced proficiency percentages for the ESPA have risen from 14.7 percent in 2001 to 26.7 percent in 2002. Advanced proficient math scores have risen as well, from 32.4 percent in 2001 to 60 percent in 2002.

Salem County Penn Beach Elementary School, Pennsville School District

  • The school, like many of those awarded for the first time this year, focuses on enhanced programs that stress community, and teacher involvement. What results is stellar progress. In 1999, 39 percent of the students scored proficient/advanced proficient in Language Arts/Literacy. ESPA results in the same category rose to 94 percent in 2002. Math scores rose from 61 percent proficient/advanced proficient in 1999 to 93 percent in 2002.

Union County

Magnet High School for Math and Science, Union County Vocational-Technical Schools

  • This economically and culturally diverse magnet school sees nearly 100 percent of its students go onto college and has seen increased average SAT scores. In 2002, students scored a 609 verbal (out of 800) and 613 in math, for a combined average score of 1222 (out of 1600). The average rose to 1312 combined this year (652 verbal, 660 math). Additionally, each student must complete a minimum of 200 hours of community service in order to graduate.