Community and School Environment Scan Description of School and Community

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(National Center for Education Statistics, 2012a)

District Staff

According to National Center for Education Statistics (2012), there are 286.9 members employed by the X School District. Of that total, 180.80 are (FTE) teachers, 12 administrators, 28 instructional aids, 6 guidance counselors, 11 administrators, 21 support staff members, 36 student support services, 3 nurses, 1 librarian, and 28 instructional aides. The student to teacher ratio is approximately 1:8.77 (Figure 3) (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2012b).

Figure 3: XHS Staff


(National Center for Educational Statistics, 2012b)

School: X High School

X High School (XHS) serves approximately 1,191 students in district (XHS Official Site, 2012). X High School is a four-year public high school and it serves students from both Somerville and Branchburg located in Somerset County, New Jersey. The approximate distribution of students by grade level is outlined below (Table 9).

Table 9: XHS Enrollment by Grade Level

Enrollment by Grade Level



Grade 9


Grade 10


Grade 11


Grade 12


Total Students


(“PowerSchool,” 2014)

According to the New Jersey Department of Education School Report Card, the state average for the amount of time a school is in session on a normal school day is 6 hours and 30 minutes, and the XHS average is 6 hours and 15 minutes, and the state average of instructional time that a typical student is engaged in instructional activities 5 hours and 43 minutes, and the XHS average is 5 hours and 30 minutes (New Jersey Department of Education School Report Card, 2012b). In both instances, the amount of time at XHS is lower than the state averages (Table 10)

Table 10: Length of School Day and Instructional Time

Length of School Day

Amount of time school is in session on a normal school day.

X High School 6 hours: 15 minutes

State Average 6 hours: 30 minutes
Instructional Time

Amount of time per day students are engaged in instructional activities.

X High School 5 hours: 30 minutes

State Average 5 hours: 43 minutes

(New Jersey Department of Education School Report Card, 2012b)

With the exception of special education, the student attendance rate for the X high school is either above state level or is equal to state level (Table 11).

Table 11: Student Attendance Rate

Student Attendance Rate 2010-2011



Grades 9



Grade 10



Grade 11



Grade 12



Special Education



Total Students



(New Jersey Department of Education, 2012b)

According to New Jersey’s 2011 NCLB Report, the school district has met the requirements of State Law and the No Child Left Behind Act in regard to Average Class Size, because the total expected average is 19.0 and XHS has an Average Class Size of 17.9

(Table 12) (New Jersey Department of Education, 2010).

Table 12: Average Class Size at XHS

Average Class Size 2013-2014



Grades 9



Grade 10



Grade 11



Grade 12



Total Students



(New Jersey Department of Education, 2010)

The statewide level of the number of students per instructional, multi-media-capable computers, manufactured after July 1, 2007, available for use in supervised instruction is 3.6 (New Jersey Department of Education, 2012b). According to our Technology Supervisor, the “student-to-computer ratio for each school in X School District is better than the state average” (JSTS, personal communication, February 17, 2014).

In addition to the above, the technology department has also installed Smartboards in every classroom for the 2013-2014 school year. To prepare for next year’s PARCC testing, the district has budgeted for ChromeBooks for students at XHS. They are hoping to improve the current student-to-computer ratio at the high school from 3.2:1 to 2:1 (Table 13) (JSTS, personal communication, February 17, 2014).

Table 13: Student-To-Computer Ratio 2013-2014

Student-To-Computer Ratio 2013-2014



Elementary School



Middle School



High School



(JSTS, personal communication, February 17, 2014).

According to the Learning Disabilities Teacher Consultant at XHS, 149 (12.55%) out of 1,191 students have an Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), and 28 (2.35%) of the students have a 504 plan (LDTC, personal communication, February 18, 2014). Also, the majority of students at XHS ( 84.1%) speak English at home, there are many other diverse languages spoken in student homes (Table 14).

Table 14: Language Diversity

Language Diversity
















(New Jersey Department of Education, 2012b)

At XHS there are 111 staff members; 5 administrators, 88 teachers, and 18 additional staff members (XHS Official Site, 2014). According to the 2010 NCLB Report, all of the XHS teachers are highly qualified in the position they are teaching, and a majority of the staff and all of the administrators have advanced degrees (Table 15) (New Jersey Department of Education, 2011). Similar to the students at XHS, the faculty also has a higher attendance rate than the state average, and the faculty mobility rate is lower than the state average. However, the student to faculty ratio for XHS (12.2) is larger than the state ratio of (11.1) (New Jersey Department of Education, 2012c).

Table 15: Staff Information

Staff Information

Faculty and Administrator Credentials








National Board Certified Teachers






Faculty Attendance Rate






Faculty Mobility Rate






Student/Administrator Ratio


State Avg.




Student/Faculty Ratio


State Avg.




(New Jersey Department of Education, 2012c)

Section 2: Mission Statements, Goals and Objectives of the Somerville School District and the X High School

District Vision Statement
Our Mission as a school community is to provide quality education through an environment which promotes individual excellence and that all pupils achieve the Common Core State Standards and the New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards at all grade levels (District Policies, 2013).
The district’s mission statement makes a point to state that they want to provide quality education and produce students that achieve individual excellence in all aspects of their life. The mission statement also strives to achieve the Common Core State Standards at all grade levels which are aligned to the New Jersey Core Curriculum Content standards. In addition, the district has adopted the following goals:

  • Empower students to learn basic skills in obtaining information, solving problems, thinking critically, and communicating effectively through written and oral expression.

  • Foster an environment that provides pupils with experiences in higher level thinking, information processing, the responsibilities of citizenship, and employable skills.

  • Prepare all pupils to demonstrate competency in the subject areas, of health, physical education, fine, practical and performing arts, and career education.

  • Write and implement curriculum offers in science and mathematics according to state standards as they are developed.

  • Provide staff training in the teaching of mathematics and science at grades K-12 to increase teachers’ understanding of and ability to teach these subjects.

  • Promote that every student is literate and possesses the knowledge and skills necessary to compete in a global economy and exercise the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.

  • Provide programs and staffing to deal with pupils at risk.

  • Create an environment where pupils shall develop a positive view of self and learn to use effective interpersonal skills.

  • Instill students with a sense of accountability and an understanding of ethical principles and values.

  • Enable students to develop an understanding of his/her own worth, abilities, potentialities, and limitations.

  • Provide students with opportunities to become an effective and responsible contributor to the decision-making processes of the political and social institutions of the community.

  • Develop partnerships with parents to establish the responsibility of each to create and maintain safe and healthy educational environments for all pupils (District Policies, 2013).

Somerville School District Philosophy
The Somerville School District Philosophy is as follows:
Emphasis is placed upon individual student academic, personal, and social growth. They believe that students learn best in a supportive and nurturing environment, which models values and provides meaningful academic experiences. The dedicated faculty and staff provide an outstanding academic program, exceptional opportunities in the arts, and a vast array of co-curricular activities.
Free public education for all children is a cornerstone of a democratic society that values the worth and dignity of each individual. The primary goal shall be to offer each child the educational opportunity that will enable him/her to function politically, economically, and socially in the democratic society.
The school shall provide a planned program of learning that incorporates into its curriculum the lessons and experiences, within and without the classroom, needed to realize the educational goals of this district. The Board appreciates the need for constant improvement of the instructional program and will strive unremittingly to provide an educational system that assists each pupil in becoming a self-respecting individual who can function effectively and satisfyingly.
It is the expectation of this school district that all pupils achieve the New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards at all grade levels.
The Board will seek out and work cooperatively with the available resources at home and community including business and industry, in improvement of the educational program.
The Board will endeavor to employ a high caliber, well-prepared staff of adequate size and wide-ranging abilities. Moreover, the Board will provide pupils and staff, as needs dictate and means permit, with adequate educational supplies, equipment, and facilities.
The purpose of education in the schools of this district is to facilitate the development of each child to his/her greatest potential. The school staff shall recognize individual differences among pupils and encourage their achievement and progress, not only in basic skills but in the ability to think independently and critically. The school staff shall help pupils to understand our democratic society; to believe in it and to act fairly in their relationships with others; to develop in themselves attitudes of respect and helpfulness toward others; to want, and to be able to perform well, some portion of the work of the work; to acquire knowledge and skills necessary to do this with satisfaction to themselves and society; to understand and use effective methods in framing the questions and tackling the problems that they encounter in their lives to the end that they may function politically, economically, and socially in a democratic world (District policies, 2013).
Core Mission Statement for X High School
XHS is a community of learners that embraces a student’s ability to promote their growth through a variety of skill sets.  Our extensive academic and extracurricular programs will encourage critical thinking and innovative patterns of thought while promoting a global perspective with real world applications. In preparation for career fields of the 21st century, students will be able to effectively analyze relevant global trends and events in an instructional environment that reinforces cross-curricular connections (District policies, 2013).
Section 3: Documentation of the School’s Present Status
The XHS has a strategic plan in place with three strategic themes. The following includes the status of the plan to this date:
Strategic Theme #1: Equity in Programs and Opportunities

  • Students at XHS were surveyed and statistical data was collected on their participation and interest in academic courses (Advanced Placement, Honors, and Applied classes), athletic programs, clubs and extra-curricular activities. This data was analyzed for trends and patterns related to educational preparedness with selected variables (student ID, gender, ethnicity, residence, grade level, credits completed, and cumulative GPA).

  • The XHS added several new clubs and athletic programs (Rotary Interact Club, Genesis Club, Freshman Girls Basketball, Ping Pong, and Ice Hockey).

  • The XHS increased services for English Language Learners at XHS due to an increasing need of support.

  • The XHS partnered with the United Way to create a student participating, Tax Preparation Program for low-income families.

(X School District Official, 2014).

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