Community and School Environment Scan Description of School and Community


Strategic Theme #2: College and Career



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Strategic Theme #2: College and Career


  • XHS added additional college related workshops for XHS families and opened previous workshops up to all grade levels. These included presentations from the Educational Funding Consultants Association (EFT), Lincoln Financial Services, Athletic Vision, and the XHS Guidance Counselors.

  • The XHS also added resources for non-college bound students such as information sessions on technical institutes for career choices (electrical, plumbing, automotive, culinary, art, and specialized training programs), presentations from branches of the military, the Youth Employment Services (YES) Program, Career Vocational and Rehabilitative Services (DVR), and training in various fields from Raritan Valley Community College.

  • The XHS adopted Naviance Succeed, a comprehensive website to assist students with making decision about courses, colleges, and careers.

  • The XHS created a booklet entitled the College Planning Packet. This booklet can be found the on the high school homepage under Guidance.

  • The XHS completed an analysis of application to colleges/universities applied and the acceptance rate of XHS graduates from 2007-2011.

  • The XHS launched an Academy of Liberal Arts program in cooperation with Raritan Valley Community College. Students have the opportunity to graduate high school with a high school diploma and an Associate’s Degree in Liberal Arts.

  • The XHS added Advanced Placement offerings (AP Human Geography and AP Human Psychology).

  • The XHS created a Guidance Exploration Lab for students.

(X School District Official, 2014).
Strategic Theme #3: Technology


  • The XHS added computer labs, SmartBoards, and iPads.

  • The XHS added a student operated television station and video production facility.

  • XHS plans to have a student to computer ratio for the 2014-2015 school year of 2:1.

(X School District Official, 2014).
The New Jersey Performance Report, found the following findings concerning the school’s present status (Table 16). XHS’s academic performance is high when compared to schools across the state, and their academic performance is very high when compared to its peers. The school's college and career readiness is high when compared to schools across the state, and is very high when compared to its peers. Also, graduation and post-secondary performance is about average when compared to schools across the state and to its peers (New Jersey Department of Education, 2013). The three performance areas which include academic achievement, college and career readiness, and graduation will be discussed below. Areas Peer Rank (Percentile) Statewide

Table 16: Performance Areas


Performance Areas













Peer Rank


Statewide

Targets Met

Academic Achievement

82%

69%

100%

College & Career Readiness

88%

78%

80%

Graduation and Post-Secondary

55%

45%

100%

(New Jersey Department of Education, 2013) Areas Peer Rank (Percentile) Statewide
Academic Achievement
Academic achievement measures the content knowledge that students have in Language Arts Literacy and Math, and the New Jersey High School Proficiency Assessment (HSPA) results for the 2011 school year (Table 17) indicate that the students of XHS passed the HSPA test for that school year (New Jersey Department of Education, 2013). According to the Adequate Yearly Progress Status Under No Child Left Behind Accountability Requirements 2011, XHS made AYP with the number of indicators met: 40 out of 40. In 2010, the school failed to meet the required number of indicators due to the sub-population of “Students with Disabilities” (New Jersey Department of Education, 2011). According to the school’s HPSA remediation teacher, “this is not indicative of actual failing, because our sub-groups are so small that percentages do not actually reflect accurate scores, and we also had an increase in ESL students” (RLET, personal communication, February 17, 2014).
It is important to note that The State of New Jersey is discontinuing HSPA assessment in March of 2014 and is transitioning to PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness of College and Careers). This assessment will be aligned with the Common Core Standards in Math and Language Arts.
Table 17: Academic Achievement Indicators for 2011


Academic Achievement Indicators

XHS

Performance

Peer Rank

(Percentile)

State Rank

(Percentile)

Percent of Targets Met

Language Arts Proficiency and above

97.3%

90

71

100%

Math Proficiency and above

91.1%

74

67

100%

SUMMARY – Academic Achievement




82

69

100%

(New Jersey Department of Education, 2013)

Since 2008, XHS has successfully improved in Language Arts Literacy resulting in a 46.7% higher rate in “Advanced Proficient” students, and there has been a very small improvement in Math of 1.03% higher in “Advanced Proficient (Figures 4 and 5). Since 2008, there has been an emphasis on HSPA remediation in the school district. By assessing NJASK and PSAT scores of students in lower grades, teachers determine whether or not certain students may be in need of extra tutoring in Language Arts and Math. Those students are then asked to attend tutoring sessions that are held during study halls, lunch periods, and on Saturday mornings (RLET, personal communication, February 10, 2014).


Additionally, measures have been taken to address testing skills and results, with the school district investing in an online program called Study Island. The Study Island website allows students to “master the content specific in state and Common Core standards. Study Island provides rigorous content for ELA and Math in grades K-12, PARCC, and benchmark tests built specifically from the Common Core State Standards” (Study Island, 2014).


Figure 4: Proficiency Trends for XHS – Language Arts Literacy
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(New Jersey Department of Education, 2013)
Figure 5: Proficiency Trends for XHS – Math
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(New Jersey Department of Education, 2013)

College and Career Readiness
XHS has many course offerings for students of all learning levels. There are applied/introductory levels courses that follow the content specific New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards that employ strategies that address the specific need of diverse learners. College preparation courses are designed to challenge motivated students who wish to enter a college and/or university. There are also Honors/Advanced Placement level courses that are designed to challenge highly motivated students with talent and expressed interest in a specific content curricular area, and students wishing to be placed in an honors or AP course must meet specific criteria. The criterion includes having a 90% average in a subject area and also having approval by a parent or guardian (Program of Studies, 2014).
XHS encourages their students to take college entrance exams and challenge themselves with rigorous course work. The school provides an SAT Prep course during the school year that students may enroll in prior to taking the SAT. The table below (Table 18) represents the composite SAT score for the year 2011-2012 as well as the average Critical Reading, Mathematics, and Writing scores (New Jersey Department of Education, 2013). The composite score of 1,609 is 10.7% higher than the state average score of 1,504.
In addition, the table below (Table 19) represents the percentage of all AP tests taken by students enrolled in XHS that scored as a 3 or greater, and it also demonstrates that XHS scored 4.5% higher than the state average (New Jersey Department of Education, 2013).
Table 18: Composite SAT Score


2011-2012













XHS

Peer Average

State Average

Composite SAT Score

1,609.0

1,522

1,504

Critical Reading

516.6

498

492

Mathematics

558.0

525

517

Writing

534.3

499

496

(New Jersey Department of Education, 2013) Areas Peer Rank (Percentile) Statewide
Table 19: Advanced Placement (AP) Test Results


Advanced Placement (AP) Test Results













XHS

Peer Average

State Average

Scored 3 or Greater

79.6%

77.9%

75.1%

Scored 3 or Greater in English,

Math, Social Studies, or Science

79.0%

77.6%

74.5%

(New Jersey Department of Education, 2013) Areas Peer Rank (Percentile) Statewide
Graduation and Post-Secondary
This section presents the averages of the peer school percentile ranks, the average of statewide percentile ranks, and the percentage of statewide targets met by the XHS (Table 20). According to guidelines “calculated according to the NCLB Cohort methodology as required by the United States Department of Education, XHS has ‘Met Target’ percentiles for graduation and post-secondary requirements” (New Jersey Department of Education, 2010).
Table 20: Graduation and Post-Secondary Indicators


Graduation and Post- Secondary Indicators

School wide

Performance

Peer Rank

(Percentile)

Statewide Rank

(Percentile)

Met Target

Language Arts Proficiency and above

91.9%

65

49

Yes

Math Proficiency and above

1.4%

45

40

Yes

SUMMARY – Graduation and Post-Secondary




55

45

100%

(New Jersey Department of Education, 2010)Areas Peer
Section 4: Summary of Established Education Program
The educational program at XHS has a strong commitment to standards-based, performance-based learning and assessment, and high quality instruction. Currently, the teachers at XHS teachers have been taking part in curriculum development to ensure that the curriculum is aligned to the Common Core State Standards. Only four core curriculum subjects: language arts, social studies, science, and mathematics will be summarized below, because they provide a concise overview of the school curriculum.
Language Arts Philosophy
The XHS requires four years of Language Arts for graduation and the goal of the Language Arts program encompasses the elements of high school students being able to read and comprehend literature, informational text, and develop foundational reading skills. In addition, students will develop their writing, speaking and listening, and language skills. The goal of the courses is to prepare students for the New Jersey High School Proficiency Assessment (HSPA) and the new PARCC assessment in reading and writing. The sequence of the courses over the four years is aligned with the New Jersey Common Core Content State Standards and district curricula (Program of Studies, 2014).
The primary materials used for Language Arts by grade level are as follows:
Grade 9 Elements in Literature

Grade 10 Adventures in English Literature

Grade 11 Adventures in American Literature (first ½ of book)



Grade 12 Adventures in American Literature (second ½ of book)
Social Studies Philosophy
The goal of the social studies program in the X School District will provide learners with a deep understanding of the concepts to enable them to think critically about local, state, national, and global issues. Students will learn about the history of the United States and also World History. XHS students will take courses such as World Studies, United States History I and II, which are aligned with the New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards.
The primary materials used for Social Studies by grade level are as follows:
Grade 9 World History

Modern World History

Grade 10 The American Pageant 11th Edition

The American Spirit, Volume 1 to 1877

Grade 11 New United States History

World History Patterns of Interaction

Grade 12 The American Spirit, Volume 2 Since 1865

Street Law – 6th Edition


Science Philosophy
The goal of the science program in the X School District is to provide learners with a key understanding of concepts and their connections to the principles of science and to use scientific knowledge of thinking for individual and social purposes. The students of XHS are required to take three science courses in order to graduate: Biology, Chemistry, and Physics, and the courses will be aligned with the New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards.
The primary materials used for Science by grade level are as follows:
Grade 9 Biology an Everyday Experience

Modern Biology

Biological Science

Grade 10 Chemistry: Concepts & Applications

Grade 11 Physics: Principles and Problems

Grade 12 Essentials of Human Anatomy & Physiology

College Physics


Mathematics Philosophy
The goal of the mathematics program in the X School District is to develop students’ ability to have a conceptual understanding and comprehension of math concepts, operations, and materials, and to be able to use the tools that they learned in school strategically in order to solve problems in the 21st century.
The XHS requires each student to complete three years of mathematics for graduation, and the mathematics course sequence is aligned with the New Jersey Core Content State Standards, district curricula, and the statewide assessment system.
Grade 9 Algebra: Tools for a Changing World

Grade 10 Geometry: Tools for a Changing World

Grade 11 Algebra 2 Applications

Advanced Mathematics

Grade 12 Calculus Concepts and Contexts

Elementary Statistics

An Introduction to Programming in C++

Java Software Solutions for AP Computer Science
The overall theme of each subject by grade level is summarized below (Table 21).


Table 21: Outline of Important Themes


Core Curriculum Subject

Overall Theme

Language Arts




English I


Understanding the way internal and external factors affects one's perspective on society and influences our lives.

English II


Understanding internal conflict throughout various literary time periods and why the study of conflict is pertinent to current personal and societal issues.

English III


How social and political environments affected the literature of the time from 1800 through the present.

English IV

The relationship between man and nature in various literary time periods, including the present.

Social Studies




World Studies

Examine and assess the geographic, social political, economic, technological, and cultural factors that have shaped human history.

United States History I

Analyze the growth of American power and influence from the period of Reconstruction to the post-World War I era.

United States History II

The overall theme is for students to collaborate to investigate the geographic, social, political, economic, cultural, and technological factors that shaped the United States during the 20th and 21st centuries.

Science




Biology

Provide students with the conceptual framework, investigative skills, and heightened concern for the environment necessary for college courses.

Chemistry

Provide students with the conceptual framework, factual knowledge, and analytical skills necessary to understand the composition and interactions of matter.

Physics

Allow students to explore direct applications.

Mathematics




Algebra I

The overall theme of the program includes demonstrations of real-world applications of algebra and the integration of numeric, algebraic, geometric, and graphic techniques.

Geometry

The overall theme focuses on plane geometry from theoretical and practical perspectives.

Algebra II

The overall theme includes the study and application of polynomial, exponential, logarithmic, rational equations, and functions.

Pre-calculus

Prepare students for high school or college calculus.

(Program of Studies, 2014)

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