Mixed Results for Brick in School Performance Reports

Concerns mount over high school rankings

Patch File Photo: Daniel Nee
Patch File Photo: Daniel Nee
Brick Township schools met 73 percent of their performance targets in the state's annual School Performance Reports issued for the 2012-13 school year, but the district was considered average among similar school districts and often lagged those districts in college readiness rankings at the high school level.

The "good news, bad news" trend permeated the reports for the district, often showing average to high performance metrics compared with state targets but lagging performance among similar school districts.

All of Brick Township's schools met the statewide target for student growth performance – a measure of each individual student in every township school in how the student scores on state tests from compared with the prior year – considered "very high performance," and as a whole, the district's median SGP scores were in the 64th percentile statewide. That ranking is considered a "high performance."

High School Concerns

At the high school level, however, the district ranked in the 39th percentile amongst its peer schools for its dropout and graduation rate, considered lagging performance.

The overall figures ranking college readiness were slightly worse.

On average, Brick district schools scored in the 33rd percentile against peer groups and in the 37th percentile against the state in College and Career Readiness indicators. By the new classifications, this is considered lagging performance, a report from the district said.

College and Career Readiness is measured in the elementary grades by using attendance figures only, a concern for school officials who say the rankings do not take into account factors such as the overall positive school environment or specific curriculum programs. But the state also takes into account how many students complete algebra courses in high school – a significant national indicator of whether a student is capable of completing rigorous coursework – and other measures such as PSAT and SAT completion and performance, attendance, and advanced placement participation and performance.

Brick Township High School was ranked in the 18th percentile in academic achievement amongst its peer group and in the 34th percentile statewide, both lagging in performance. Brick Memorial High School was ranked slightly better, but still lagging: in the 26th percentile amongst its peers and in the 41st percentile statewide.

Academic Achievement measures the content knowledge students have in language arts literacy and math. For high schools, this includes measures of the school's proficiency rate on both the Language Arts Literacy and Math sections of the New Jersey High School Proficiency Assessment (HSPA).

District Taking Action

Despite the concerns at the high school level, district officials said four out of the district's 11 schools were ranked 48 percent or above – average to highly performing – in the state report.

New initiatives being introduced in the district by Superintendent Dr. Walter Uszenski and his staff are aimed at increasing across-the-board performance, including the establishment of data analysis teams at each school, school improvement teams who will use the data to make scientific improvements to the school environment, professional learning communities that foster collaboration between teachers and improvements to teacher evaluations and instant feedback through new software.

The district is also offering federally funded after school tutoring programs, and has implemented full day kindergarten in an attempt to give students a head start.

A technology program has infused handheld and laptop computers in daily lessons, and Journeys and Math Expressions – new language arts and math curricula aligned with the Common Core – have been introduced to the district. The district has also implemented a new writing program plus a Diagnostic Reading Assessment program that allows teachers to identify students' reading levels and target instruction to them on an individual basis.

There has also been a focus on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in the middle school grades.


Read more about the performance reports tomorrow on Patch as we continue the series.
Ken April 30, 2014 at 07:47 PM
Jim I read your post and got an idea. I put Google maps up on the screen looking at the whole world. I called two of my daughters who were home. One at a time I asked them to find our home in Brick. Both of them had the house up on the maps in less then 30 seconds. I find it hard to believe there are that many stupid people in Florida
J April 30, 2014 at 09:36 PM
establishment of data analysis teams at each school, school improvement teams who will use the data to make scientific improvements to the school environment, professional learning communities that foster collaboration between teachers and improvements to teacher evaluations and instant feedback through new software. This is common core taking over our district and turning our kids into data. Testing and data is all it will be. No creativity because that data is so much more important then the needs of an individual student. Doe anyone else not find it odd that the biggest backers example: Bill Gates, push this crap on our kids yet private school their own... Smart kids get discouraged and flounder under common core standards. NJ needs to join the states opting out!
Melinda Murray April 30, 2014 at 11:12 PM
Look on you tube. Its called building the machine. Common core, interesting.
Jim May 01, 2014 at 09:04 AM
Ken the whole point of my post was to show how far behind are kids are as far as their education is concerned. have you ever visited a college lately? You will find a lot of our kids just don't have the skills to go forward in life. it's great to have a lot of we use to call" book learnin" and not be able to survive in society. I still say we have got to get back to the basics and teach our kids the skills they will need in life.
Jackie Decker May 01, 2014 at 12:31 PM
I believe some of the responsibilities need to go to the parents as well. Collaboratively with the teachers a child will excell. The Brick Memorial High School has been a positve experience with positive higher education outcomes!


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