Tuckerton Leader

Pinelands Regional Does Better Than All Other Local High Schools on PARCC

May 04, 2018

Pinelands Regional Board of Education member Stephen Kubricki is a staunch defender of the district. At past board meetings he’d fought against what he thinks is a bad public perception of the high school’s athletic program, pointing to the successes of squads such as the girls volleyball team winning the Shore Conference Tournament last fall while the boys soccer team won its first ever Shore Conference B South Championship that same season and the school’s softball team took home the South Jersey Group III crown the previous spring.

But at the board’s April 18 meeting, Kubricki tore apart another and perhaps more serious public perception, that Pinelands is academically inferior to other area high schools.

Earlier in the meeting, Acting Superintendent of Schools and permanent Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction Cheryl Stevenson had reviewed the impressive progress the district had made in its PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers – New Jersey’s current form of standardized testing) scores in the spring of 2017. Those test results had come out last autumn, but Stevenson hadn’t had sufficient time to analyze them for the public because the controversies surrounding the high school roofing project had dominated board meetings for months. (The Tuckerton Leader, however, had carefully examined those scores and told the public about Pinelands’ success at that time.)

During the board forum segment of the April 18 meeting, Kubricki followed Stevenson’s lead.

“Dr. Stevenson has already talked about our PARCC scores and how the district does a fantastic job in terms of looking at the results of students from year to year and their progress and the school as a whole. But there’s another aspect of the standardized tests, the PARCC scores, that I think it is important to get the message out,” said Kubriki. “I think it addresses a question about Pinelands pride and about how we compare with schools in our area because that’s something that is important.

“A lot of times, I know I have friends and they do not give Pinelands the recognition, either academically or athletically, that it deserves. And we’ve had many instances where people in the community send their students to other schools, and when you ask them why, they say, ‘Well, Pinelands isn’t as good academically or athletically as school A or school B.’ And that’s a perception, I think, that is not necessarily true, and I think it is about time we dispel that perception and we recognize the excellence that Pinelands is and how it relates to other schools in the area.”

Kubricki launched into a slide presentation that compared Pinelands’ overall PARCC results to area high schools – Absegami and Cedar Creek to the south, Southern Regional, Barnegat, Lacey, Central and Manchester to the north and New Egypt to the west. Four hundred two high schools were ranked, broken into four categories.

“I just wanted to see, in terms of perception, which high schools you think would fall into those four categories,” Kubricki told the board and the audience.

Four of the area high schools ranked in the top half of the state, with rankings of 175, 180, 186 and 194.

“Can you guess who has the highest rank out of those nine schools?” Kubricki asked. “Pinelands. Pinelands, not Southern, not Absegami, not Barnegat – Pinelands.”

Pinelands was ranked 175 in New Jersey. New Egypt checked in at 180, Southern at 186 and Absegami at 194.

Kubricki said that was something the Pinelands community had to take pride in, recognize and publicize.

Also announced at the meeting were the 2017-18 teachers and education service professionals of the year. Lynn Heinrichs was the high school’s teacher of the year while Kristin Mooney took service professional of the year honors. Tracy Rosario was the junior high’s teacher of the year while Dara Stack was named as that school’s service professional of the year.
— Rick Mellerup


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