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    For Immediate Release



    Anne H. Gallagher, NJASA Director of Communications

    609-599-2900, ext. 126


    New accountability system puts state at the helm for student achievement;

    Community support needed in at-risk districts to make this program a ‘home run’


    • Dr. Richard Bozza, executive director of the New Jersey Association of School Administrators, is available to discuss the new state accountability system in its expanded role in At-Risk schools, as well as the role of Chief Education Officers and the community, in making it a success.



    TRENTON, N.J. May 7, 2012 — New Jersey’s most troubled schools will be getting more ‘hands on’ help from the state to turn around persistent academic failure and close achievement gaps, a move that the New Jersey Association of School Administrators applauds as an effective alternative to the federal program, No Child Left Behind.


    No Child Left Behind mandates blanket changes across the board while the new accountability program allows the state to target schools rather than school districts,” noted Richard Bozza, Ed.D., executive director of the NJASA. “This change will start to address the specific barriers to learning that are present in schools in underserved areas.”


    In February, New Jersey received a waiver from certain provisions of No Child Left Behind, a one-size-fits-all federal program. The state then developed its own accountability system of Priority, Focus and Reward schools. Of the 2,500 schools in New Jersey, the state identified 258 at-risk schools and 112 high-achieving schools for the program.


    • 75 priority schools include the lowest performing five percent of Title 1 schools in the state over the past three years.
    • 183 focus schools have room for improvement in specific areas, such as graduation rates or student achievement gaps.
    • 112 reward schools show outstanding student achievement or growth over the past three years. Reward schools will have the opportunity to share successful practices with educators across the state.  


    It’s anticipated that the state will manage this program via satellite bureaus known as Regional Achievement Centers.



    “Chief Education Officers will be working closely with the state to remove barriers to learning in these schools,” said Dr. Bozza. “But that’s not the greatest challenge that we face. It’s minimizing the effects of circumstances outside of school—from poverty to gang violence—that can hinder educational progress. There is a lot that can be done to ‘clean up’ these areas and minimize these negative effects. We’re calling on the communities to step up to the plate and make this program a home run.”


    About NJASA

    The New Jersey Association of School Administrators is an organization of chief education officers and school administrators who lead school districts in New Jersey’s 21 counties. The association’s mission is to ensure a superior statewide system of education. Through ongoing professional training and education, the association shares knowledge among its members about best practices from both educational and administrative perspectives. Its goal is to move education forward by ensuring the highest quality of instruction for all New Jersey children.