A recent letter to the editor questioned the quality of education the Bayonne Board of Education is providing the students of Bayonne.
As the Administrator assigned to the Office of Curriculum I can attest that the students of Bayonne are provided with a superior educational program from pre-kindergarten through grade twelve. Our district boasts nationally recognized Blue Ribbon schools (Midtown School, Washington School, and Nicholas Oresko School). At Bayonne High School, the Class of 2013 had acceptances to many elite colleges and universities including Ivy League Universities such as: Yale, Dartmouth, Harvard, Cornell, and Princeton.
In 2013 the State of New Jersey changed their school reporting protocols from the state report card to a new school performance report. The school performance reports measure schools in three distinct areas: Academic Performance, College and Career Readiness, and Student Growth. Additionally, the performance reports measure individual school performance with peer schools that have similar grade configurations and are educating students with similar demographic characteristics. When compared to peer schools our students have met or exceeded expectations in all areas.
The district is reviewed by the NJDOE once every three years. One area that is evaluated is curriculum. I’m happy to announce that the Bayonne School District was designated as highly performing, a designation that can be attributed to the vision of Superintendent Dr. Patricia L. McGeehan, her Central Office administrators, directors and principals, and dedicated teachers working together with the support of the Board of Education.
The letter to the editor states that lowering the passing grade to 65 equates to dumbing down the education of our students. The recommendation to lower the passing grade was reviewed over the course of one year by a committee of educators and discussed at BOE workshops. A survey conducted by the committee revealed the percentage of schools using 65 or lower as a failing grade throughout the state was 94%. Districts within Hudson County such as North Bergen, West New York, and Union City all use 65 or above as a passing grade. The goal of the initiative was to level the playing field for our students. This was necessary because the State adopted a new set of standards in English Language Arts and Mathematics known as the Common Core State Standards. These standards are specific from school to school and measure up against national and international standards. The move to the Core is a major shift in learning for our students. The curriculum is more challenging and the benchmarks more demanding.
Our state scores consistently exceed those of other districts having similar socioeconomic characteristics, special needs and English Language Learners. Our standards are not being lowered contrary to what you might be hearing. Our students are held to the same standards as everyone else in New Jersey.
The community of Bayonne has always supported us in doing what is best for the students of Bayonne and we look forward to that continued support.
DENNIS C. DEGNAN, ED.D.
Administrator of Curriculum