Montclair BOE Meeting: Progress Report on Goal of “High Expectations & Achievement for All”

“High Expectations & Achievement for All” is the first goal — and according to Montclair Schools Superintendent Penny MacCormack — the most important of the district’s Strategic Plan.

At the halfway mark of the two-year plan, a progress report on the academic achievement aspect of this goal will be presented by Chief Academic Officer Gail Clarke at Monday night’s Montclair Board of Education meeting. The meeting will be held in the Montclair High School Auditorium, 100 Chestnut St., at 7:30 p.m., and will be streamed live on Baristanet.

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The district has been implementing a number of strategies to meet the goal of “High Expectations and Achievement for All,” including encouraging the sharing of best practices among teachers. In addition to offering professional development, teachers can now turn to content specialists within the school to have their questions addressed immediately.

“There’s now an expert in each school that can help them right then and there,” MacCormack said.

Another key factor to reaching the highest achievement for all, MacCormack said, is responding to teachers’ needs.

For example, she said, “We adopted a new math textbook series based on the teachers saying what they really needed in addition to the curriculum.”

Teachers also played a key role in developing growth targets for Student Growth Objectives, or SGOs. They were trained in administering assessments, such as the DRA2 and Reading Growth tests and a manual is now in the works. Resources have also been made available to parents (see list at end of presentation or go to

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Pre-K screening is another important strategy. In 2013-14, teachers developed a screening tool, as well as a school readiness inventory. Use of the screening tool is being encouraged, but not mandated.

The district has also formed a Kindergarten Task Force in 2014-15, reaching out to the Montclair Community Pre-K, private pre-K schools and Head Start, as a new tactic to make sure pre-K students are prepared for entering public schools.

“It’s so crucial that we are having that conversation with the folks that are preparing them,” MacCormack said. “Everyone has the same goal, it’s just a matter of talking to one another.”

“High expectations and achievement for all” was a goal developed in alignment with feedback obtained from the community, MacCormack said.

“We expect the highest achievement and have high expectations for all kids,” she said.


Tonight’s presentation will also include state-mandated district reporting of NJ ASK NJ-HSPA test results and achievement gap analysis based on three sub-groups: race/ethnicity, economic disadvantage and special education.

At the Oct. 6 BOE meeting, the superintendent presented on the School Climate portion of “High Expectations and Achievement for All.”

Read the full agenda of the Monday, October 20 meeting.

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  1. While MacCormack is extolling the virtues of high expectations for all, she forgot to include that these goals are only necessary for our students to attain – not her.

    By awarding her $20,000 in merit pay for her dismal performance last year, her BOE apologists are making it clear that you don’t really need to be college and career ready – just politically-connected and supported by powerful interests. When you have that going for you, results don’t matter at all. You can screw up as royally as you’d like, and you’ll still keep your job and get paid handsomely. Remember that wisdom, class of 2015!

  2. So good to see veteran/award-winning reporter Teresa Akersten’s name here! Kudos to B-net for getting her on board!

  3. Good news Assessmentgate. Didn’t you hear? The BOE is getting themselves some PD. Gee, a little late don’t you think? I wonder how much THAT will cost??

  4. qby33, I am hearing the BOE is spending just over $10,000 on professional development for themselves. I guess they can’t afford to pay the Paras and fund their PD. Something has to give.

  5. Well that is good news if Ms. Akersten is an award winning reporter. There are tons of things to report in this town. It would be most wonderful if she could interview our Superintendent and find out the reasons why the Paras were not paid for what they worked. It would also be great to find out why the Montclair Public Schools are hiring full time substitutes instead of Full Time Paraprofessionals with a contract for our students with special needs. Oh and another thing, how do people who cost the district so much money in the assessment fiasco last year GET A BONUS??

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