Today Camden Superintendent Paymon Rouhanifard announced PARCC scores for the district’s 16,000 students. These student achievement levels are the first since the district transformed several schools into hybrid charter/traditional schools, or “renaissance schools,” authorized through New Jersey’s Urban Hope Act.
“These results are an early indicator that the hard work our students and staff are leading is beginning to pay off,” said Superintendent Rouhanifard. “Test scores are one of many ways we measure progress, and it’s a good sign to have hundreds more students earning proficient results. I’m proud of our kids, our teachers, and our parents, and I’m eager to build on this progress—we have a long way still to go.”
Here are the PARCC highlights from Camden’s traditional district schools:
- Progress—All but two District elementary/middle schools made progress in math, and all but one District elementary/middle schools made progress in English language arts. High school students made progress in the Algebra II and English language arts exams.
- Proficiency—the percentage of students scoring 4 or 5, the results that indicate college and career readiness, rose from 4.3 to 7.4 percent in math and 6.2 to 10.9 percent in English language arts, across grades 3-8.
Here are the PARCC highlights from the district renaissance school partners—KIPP Cooper Norcross Academy, Mastery, and Uncommon Schools’ Camden Prep. The district press release notes that two renaissance schools, Camden Prep and KIPP, didn’t serve children in tested grades last year and so “this year’s PARCC results are the first statewide scores available. As such, determinations of progress can be best made on a student-by-student basis, comparing the results of students who attended a District school in 2014-15 and a renaissance school in 2015-16.”
- Uncommon’s Camden Prep— while only 3.0 percent of the students had been proficient in English language arts when they attended a District school in 2015, 27.0 percent of the same students were proficient when they attended Uncommon’s Camden Prep in 2016. In math, the percentage rose from 2.8 to 16.7.
- KIPP—while only 4.9 percent of the students had been proficient in English language arts when they attended a District school in 2015, 22.1 percent of the same students were proficient when they attended KIPP in 2016. In math, the percentage rose from 2.5 to 8.2.
“We are very proud of the progress that Camden Prep students have made in one year,” said Michael Ambriz, Chief Operating Officer of Camden Prep, part of Uncommon Schools. “These promising results demonstrate that our students’, families’ and teachers’ hard work is paying off. We also know that we have a lot of work ahead of us to raise achievement for even more Camden students.”
“Our 2015-16 PARCC results for our KIPP Lanning Square Middle School scholars show that clear progress is being made and we’re proud of our students for rising to the challenge of this rigorous test. We also know that there is work to be done and we will intensify our efforts to help our scholars achieve further PARCC proficiency,” said Drew Martin, Executive Director, KIPP Cooper Norcross Academy.
Mastery, on the other hand, did have test results from last year. Thus, PARCC results are available on a year-over-year comparison.
- Mastery—all four of its schools improved in English language arts, and three of its four schools improved in math.
“We partnered with the Camden community in three transformation schools last year and we believe the early signs point to being on the right track. We are proud that the effort our students and our teachers put in last year resulted in progress,” said Joe Ferguson, Chief Operating Officer for Mastery Schools of Camden. “However, we clearly recognize that our schools have a long way to go, and we must work tirelessly to ensure that every student attending a Mastery renaissance school in Camden receives the support they need to be successful in achieving their full potential.”
Taken together, district and renaissance school students combined improved from 4.3 percent to 7.7 percent in math and 6.6 to 12.0 percent in English language arts.
“This progress is hard-earned, and I salute our school communities on these results,” said Martha F. Wilson, president of the Board of Education. “We must continue to support our students, engage our families, and improve on these results.”
Contrary to anti-choice propaganda, renaissance schools serve about the same percentage of special education students as traditional district schools:
For the 2016 PARCC results, 21 percent of District students, 24 percent of Mastery students, 19 percent of KIPP students, and 18 percent of Uncommon’s Camden Prep students receive special education services.
Complete results are available at the district website.