The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act, signed by President George W. Bush in 2002, was one of the most significant and sweeping Federal Education policy reforms. This law was a revised version of the Elementary and Secondary School Act of 1965.
The NCLB Act redefined the Federal role in K-12 education with special emphasis on closing the achievement gap. In order to determine whether or not schools and districts were on track, each state set benchmark goals and then measured the level of progress being made toward the ultimate goal that all students will demonstrate reading and math proficiency. In New Jersey, the tests used to measure such progress were the NJASK Test Grades 3-8 and the HSPA Test for Grade 11.
In February 2012, the U.S. Department of Education announced that New Jersey had received a waiver from the provisions of NCLB. Effective the 2012-2013 school year, the setting of Annual Measureable Objectives (AMOs) for each school based on the goal of closing the achievement gap by half within six years. Also known as “performance targets,” AMOs were calculated for each school in the district and for the subgroups within each school. Subgroups of students are defined by ethnicity, economic status, limited English proficiency, and learning disabilities. The plan is to close the achievement gap in equal annual increments over the 6-year period.
Districts and schools in NJ were also required to focus on the subgroups of students who did not meet the established progress targets and to document any existing or new strategies being used to address the needs of these subgroups. These strategies are listed in each school’s action plan or School Improvement Plan (SIP) which was developed by the School Improvement Team. In South Brunswick, all schools developed such plans based on test data and a Quality School Review assessment.
This year, students will once again be taking State tests in Grades 3-8 and 11 in English Language Arts and Mathematics. Based on student academic growth and demonstrated proficiency on these assessments, schools will be placed into categories for targeted State attention (priority, focus and reward schools).
Information on progress toward target goals under the NCLB waiver will be included in the new school report cards, which will be coming from the State Department of Education prior to the end of this school year. The reports will give parents and districts more of a “window on their schools' performance” including the percentage of students who get college-ready scores on the SAT, the number of middle school students who pass Algebra I, the percentage of students who are chronically absent, high school graduation rates, the percentage of graduates who enroll in secondary education, and a comparison of each school with a "peer group” of 29 other schools in the state with similar demographics.
The South Brunswick School District will prepare students to be lifelong learners, critical thinkers, effective communicators and wise decision makers. This will be accomplished through the use of the New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards (NJCCCS) and/or the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) at all grade levels. The schools will maintain an environment that promotes intellectual challenge, creativity, social and emotional growth and the healthy physical development of each student.