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Mixed Results for Forrestdale on New State School Performance Report

Scores run gamut of academics to student growth performance

When it comes to academics, the NJ School Performance Report places Rumson's Forrestdale School in a very high, the highest, category.

The school outperformed 91 percent of schools across the state in academics, a "very high" score, and 62 percent of the schools in its peer group, a "high" score.

The Academic Achievement category "measures the content knowledge students have in language arts literacy and math," according to the report. Forrestdale also shows that it is meeting 83 percent of its performance targets in the category.

College and Career Readiness showed Forrestdale at a high statewide rank, outpacing 76 percent of schools. Among peers, the school outpaced a lower 49 percent.

Most of the scores range from very high to average in rank.

However, when it comes to "student growth performance," the school rates as "lagging" behind its peer group of similar schools with coinciding demographics. In Monmouth County, those schools include Knollwood School in Fair Haven and Monmouth Beach and Shrewsbury Elementary schools.

Forrestdale, which educates students in grades four through eight, outpaced 56 percent of schools in this category across the state, which is average, and a much lower 31 percent of peer schools. The school, however, met 100 percent of its performance targets in student growth.

So, why the seemingly low score among peers? According to the report, proficiency in this category measures the performance of students "from one year to the next on the NJ Assessment of Skills and Knowledge (NJ ASK) tests in Language Arts Literacy and Math when compared to students with a similar history of performance on NJ ASK."

According to the ASK scoring, Forrestdale, as a whole, has remained pretty much level from year to year, but at a high proficiency level.

For instance, in Language Arts, the advanced proficient levels have ranged from 20 to 32 percent in the last four years. However, 2011-12, the last year, showed the lowest rate of 20 percent. The percentage of students rating proficient is the highest, at 67 percent in 2011-12. And there were very few partially proficient scores.

Math advanced proficient scores have greatly outpaced language arts, with Forrestdale showing 45 percent at that rank in 2011-12, more than double language arts.

The lag in language arts scoring in both Rumson and Fair Haven schools has been a concern for which officials and parents have been trying to pinpoint a cause, such as evolving testing methods and/or curriculum, and remedy. It has been discussed at many board of education meetings in the past year.

Some have blamed it on technology taking the onus off of honing spelling, grammar and creativity skills, with spell checks, texting and the like.
For a breakdown of ASK score trends by grade, and further details about the other scores click here to view the entire presentation.

The school as a whole did not meet its No Child Left Behind progress target for Lanuage Arts Literacy, with a pass rate of 86.6 perent and a target of 89.7 percent.

Bryan April 18, 2013 at 10:56 AM
Best schools ever, any problems with this system is the superintendant ..
MrsTea April 18, 2013 at 11:26 AM
Here are your causes - poor study habits, little to no push from home around the importance to excel in all academic subjects, mixed skill level classes forcing teachers to teach to the lowest common denominator, focus on sports rather than academics, focus on standardized testing rather than teaching. Yours truly, A Teacher
sc mustgo April 18, 2013 at 04:09 PM
While the test scores are good, you cannot attribute any of that success to the administration. It comes from the students, teachers and parents. The Administration and BOE do not care about the students successes. They have an ineffective Principal that nobody respects and a Superintendent that everyone hates. What a great place.
Mary CS Must Go April 18, 2013 at 08:24 PM
And now the Mr. Karas has resigned! Principle of Deane Porter has resigned. When is the never ending revolving door going to stop. If the BOE has any common sense they will move Mrs. Gibbons to Deane Porter and hire a strong personality to run Forrestdale.
Cindy Mann April 18, 2013 at 08:41 PM
Rich Karas resigned today. The letters were sent home. How sad that he is yet another administrator to bite the dust. Rumson had better get their acts together. The searches continuously cost us money and the turnover is ridiculous. The fact that the schools have good test scores is a tribute to the teachers not the never ending revolving door of administrators..
sally jenkns April 18, 2013 at 11:13 PM
Mr. Karas resigning can only be a good thing for Rumson.
Amy April 18, 2013 at 11:16 PM
With the exception of my son's current homeroom teacher, I have seen very little individual challenge. We briefly had a Superintendent who was willing to change that and then -poof -our board let him slip away only to replace him with a Super who in my opinion is only concerned with making sure we are compliant with state mandates (nothing beyond) and keeping an over close watch on PTO members. As to the second issue she has successfully curbed creative fund raising, and alienated many of us who have contributed their time in the past. I cannot wait until the end of her contract!! The BOE should be looking to replace a principal and a Super. Better yet have Mrs Gibbons be principal for both schools with a vice principal. Most Principals (and Supers) in the state have much larger schools to run. Even better consolidate! consolidate! consolidate! Clearly Fair Haven is doing a better job!
Veronica Miles April 19, 2013 at 03:19 AM
Karas is a solid administrator and I wish him good luck. Sally you need to find something to do with your life and your child.
Jen Jones April 19, 2013 at 10:50 AM
CS MUST GO
J April 19, 2013 at 02:05 PM
According to the ASK scoring, Forrestdale, as a whole, has remained pretty much level from year to year, but at a high proficiency level.
RAC April 20, 2013 at 04:17 PM
Deane Porter under Mr Karas' supervision achieved an academic ranking of 96 putting it in the top 4% of all elementary schools. Deane Porter out scored Fair Havens Sickles School and Little Silvers Pointe Road School
J.Lane April 22, 2013 at 06:00 PM
Amy, Clearly Fair Haven, like Rumson, is doing a good job, but a better job? How long has Sickles Principal been in her position? Didn't Fair Haven just appoint a Superintendent that not long ago was Knollwood's new Principal? Won't they now have to hire yet another Principal? Let's spend more energy supporting our schools.
Sally April 22, 2013 at 09:55 PM
You are right, Veronica. Karas is certainly solid.
Amy April 23, 2013 at 09:29 PM
CS has now called a meeting to explain why we have flat-lined as far as improving our programs and test scores. I hope that she can explain what she and the board will do to improve our ranking among our peers and not waste the public's time with criticizing the way the ranking was done. I do not care how we rank with the state. The peer comparison tells us most about the quality, challenge and creativity of the curriculum.

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