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School Enrollment, Ratings on Board of Ed Agenda

Chatham High fell in NJ Monthly's biennial ratings, released last month.

Michael LaSusa, the superintendent of the , will address school enrollments and ratings in his report to the Board of Education Monday.

In general, principals throughout the school district said enrollment at their schools has increased for the 2012-13 school year, though .

On Aug. 20, LaSusa said, “Enrollment to date is 4,128 students, which is a slight increase over last year and slightly below where our demographers projected us to be a couple of years ago. ... We’re in pretty good shape in all the buildings in terms of how that enrollment breaks out.”

LaSusa will also address school rankings, such as the . ranked 20th in the state, a fall of 12 spaces since the last list was released in 2010.

Board of Education President Thomas , which i. "Frankly I don’t think the state has responded or corrected the data. If NJ Monthly took the raw data, that creates all kinds of issues," Belding said.

Chatham High is not the only school that saw significant movement in their ratings, for example:

  • Haddenfield Memorial went from 11th to 33rd;
  • West Morris Mendham went from 26th to 45th;
  • Princeton went from 44th to 59th;
  • Montgomerey went from 10th to 61st;
  • and West Windsor-Plainsboro South went from 16th to 62nd.

Schools which saw improvements in their rankings include:

  • Glen Rock High, which went from 28th in 2010 to 4th in 2012;
  • Madison, which went from 15th to 6th;
  • Bernards, which went from 32nd to 11th;
  • and Metuchen, which went from 54th to 19th.

The Board of Education meets at 7:30 p.m. Monday at the . A full copy of the agenda for the meeting can be found in the Photos & Documents section of this article.

justanobservation September 10, 2012 at 05:21 PM
Administrative errors notwithstanding, there is marked difference between what a top-level school district should offer in its curriculum, testing, and level of teachers than what Chatham offers. I am a long-time resident and can only offer personal and anecdotal evidence, but Chatham Middle School and High Schools should examine its hiring practices and standards. My 7th grader came home with his first social studies assignment, which was to print out and glue images of his favorite things onto a piece of paper -- these would be hung in the classroom. This is a 1st grade assignment at best and I was embarrassed to watch him perform this task.
ABChatham September 11, 2012 at 01:59 AM
Are we in the minority or is it that no one has the time to care? As I bring up my complete lack of confidence in the the Principal and Supt., I have found no one that disagrees - both parents and teachers (off the record, of course). Who does LaSusa have in his back pocket? He needs to go. Groh is invisible and doesn't appear to even like kids so what is the endgame here?
MOCK September 11, 2012 at 11:08 AM
I agree with justanobservation- there are some very silly assignments in the middle school at times, but the biggest problem there is the 7th grade math program. It is weak at best. And new hires are hit or miss- sometimes you get a fantastice teacher, and sometimes it is so bad you have to pay for a tutor just so your child can stay with grade level.
justanobservation September 11, 2012 at 11:47 AM
Hiring a tutor, unfortunately, goes without saying. My children are bright, bring home good grades, and can move/learn at a much higher level than what is currently taught in the honors math programs at CMS and CHS. In order to keep up with other students NOT in this district but at a competitive level anywhere else, I've had to hire a math tutor for 2 years. I know we're fortunate enough to be able to afford this, but it's a crying shame that we have to.
CHS Parent September 11, 2012 at 01:16 PM
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Duncan Munchkin September 11, 2012 at 01:48 PM
I, too, have been decrying these schools for years. There are more of us than you think. Basically, everyone who has ever hired a tutor for their kid agrees with us--that the schools are not meeting our expectations or the needs of the kids. Why, in a such a small, yet socio-economically advantaged town, would SO MANY people have to find academic help outside the school system? Not all of these people are cut-throat competitive. These schools are weak from grade K--but there are so many people on both sides of the argument that have bloated house prices or some other vested interest tied up in the debate that they don't want to hear the truth spoken.
Duncan Munchkin September 11, 2012 at 01:52 PM
Pt. II At some point, you realize you are fighting an uphill battle against these people and others like the Education Counts budget ramrodders and you stop fighting and get the tutor, or you send them to private school. And so does everyone else who can afford that kind of solution. Then at that point, we are no longer a school "community"--it is basically every kid for him or herself. The idea of a school community or a community that cares about its school goes down the tubes. Which is basically where we are. How hard are people going to work to improve the community school when a lot of their child's real educational progress is coming outside of school by tutors etc? This is why it will get worse before it gets better.
justanobservation September 11, 2012 at 02:01 PM
Duncan Munchkin, your statement about every kid for himself is spot on, particularly at both ends of the bell curve. Average students in the middle who sort of muddle by will continue to muddle by and that seems suit them and their parents just fine, but those with special needs and those with higher skills are left to find their own resources. And the counselors are not equipped, unable, or don't understand how (I haven't figured out which yet) to guide those students.
TCG September 11, 2012 at 02:14 PM
1 - Remind me again why Jim O'Neil was run out of town? Could this be a "careful what you wish for" scenario? Over what amounts to a nice dinner out? 2 - Anyone leaning on NJ Monthly as a source for how well/poorly Chatham schools are doing needs to go back to school. NJ Monthly is in business to sell magazines. Their sole motivation in publishing those rankings every year is profit. If they don't "shuffle the deck" in the school rankings, they don't have a good headline and nobody buys the magazine. 3 - Every school faces challenges. Chatham is no different. There will always be students/parents who want/need tutors or "extra help" to ensure better odds at being accepted into the top schools. Wake up folks. You can't whine and complain about teacher salaries, higher property taxes and unions in one breath and they moan and groan about the results in the next.
justanobservation September 11, 2012 at 02:23 PM
Why not? If the results are not acceptable, why can't there be moaning and groaning and a call for better. This track toward mediocrity is invading the school system, and while many parents might think it's no big deal, others want and expect better. I don't think my 7th grader should be gluing and pasting at his age, nor do I think his daily English class should commit 15 minutes a day to quiet reading!! I don't think my high schooler should come home and tell me that 3 students in his honors English class could not tell the teacher what the word "hiatus" means. I could go on and on.
Duncan Munchkin September 11, 2012 at 03:27 PM
1 - O'Neill was not "run out of town." He fake "retired" because he couldn't stand the thought of making one less dollar per hour of mismanagement than he did the year before. Oh, and he wasn't big enough/didn't care enough to put his school district above his spats with the governor on his list of priorities. It is West Orange that should be careful of what they wished for. 2 - As far as I can see, you are the only one who has mentioned NJ Monthly ratings in this thread. The rest of us were talking about the actual school system. 3 - Your "framing" of this issue does not fit the actual "picture." To argue the fact that our tax money be used efficiently to create and run a quality school district is not whining or complaining. It is more like a civic duty.
ABChatham September 18, 2012 at 03:07 AM
with today's news of a BOE member resigning, is there anyone with the time to devote to begin turning around this mess?
XYZChatham September 25, 2012 at 06:58 PM
I hope you are all prepared for another increase in school budget. This will just be the latest reason to throw more money at the problem - Stop being cowards about it! Raising the budget is not getting our kids the best teachers. The tutors in Chatham are better than half of the teachers.

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