Improvement In District Schools Is Noted By State DOE

Dan Loughren, the district’s assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, speaks to the Board of Education at its July 27 meeting.

Township education officials got a double-dose of good news about Franklin’s schools over the past several months.

At the end of June, the district was told by the state Department of Education that Sampson G. Smith Intermediate School and Franklin Middle School were removed from the state’s so-called “watch list.”

The schools had been designated “focus” schools for a number of years because of the wide gaps in the results of proficiency tests between the school’s highest and lowest performers.

In mid-September, Franklin Middle School, Sampson G. Smith School and Conerly Road School were notified that they had been certified as “Future Ready Schools” by a program designed to support digital learning readiness in schools.

The program was created by New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark, the DOE and the New Jersey School Boards Association.

Dan Loughran, the district’s assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, told the Board of Education about Sampson and FMS being taken off the “focus” list at the board’s July 27 meeting.

“We set rigorous goals,” he said, “sometimes we hit them and sometimes we miss. But these are rigorous goals.”

In June 30 letters to the schools’ principals, telling them of the state’s decision, acting DOE Commissioner Kimberly Harrington said she “applaud(s) your successful efforts to close the achievements gaps in your school, and encourage(s) you to maintain a cycle of continuous improvement in order to remain on a positive trajectory.”

The “Future Ready Schools” program “offers support to teachers in updating their pedagogy and educational practices and promotes the success of teachers and schools by using them as models for other schools,” according to a press release from the school district. “This is done though a certification process which attests to the school’s effective digital learning policies and practices.”

FMS, SGS and CRS, along with Franklin Park School, MacAfee Road School and Elizabeth Avenue School, entered the “commitment phase” for certification through establishing a school wide Future Ready Team, developing a plan to create and implement Future Ready initiatives and submitting evidence to support these initiatives, according to the release.

“Our Supervisor of Instructional Technology, building principals and their Future Ready teams worked very diligently to develop and implement plans for these schools and I, as well as the rest of our district community, applaud their efforts,” schools Superintendent John Ravally said in the release.

“It is especially significant that our schools will be part of the inaugural group of Future Ready schools and will serve as examples for other schools throughout the state, school board president Ed Potosnak said in the release. “This certification is just another example of the innovation present at Franklin Township Public Schools.”

FPS, MRS and EAS have not yet heard if they have been certified, according to the release.

Representatives from the middle, Sampson and Conerly Road schools will accept their awards in October during the New Jersey School Boards Association annual workshop, according to the release.


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