My name is Grace Sergio, and I am the proud president of the Hawthorne Avenue School PTSA, and I represent the 350-plus parents who have elected me. The parents and members of the Hawthorne community are devastated by the potentially disastrous impact that the One Newark plan will have on our students and community. What’s most shocking about State Appointed Superintendent Cami Anderson’s One Newark plan is that it undermines the success of the students and staff of Hawthorne.
Under the leadership of Principal H. Grady James IV, our school has turned the negative achievement and culture trend around for the better. I want to go on record with the following concerns:
• In 2013, Hawthorne Avenue School performed in the 94th percentile in Student Growth among its NJDOE designated peer schools. This translates to a #3 statewide ranking.
• Hawthorne Avenue School performed in the 72nd percentile in student growth in Academic Achievement, ranking it #7 in the state.
• State Appointed Superintendent Cami Anderson’s One Newark Plan lists Hawthorne Avenue School as a Charter Launch school. “Charter Launches transform previously district operated K-8s into charter-operated K-8s”, or a BRICK operated K-8, according to the Newark One Plan. Each of the schools that the superintendent has proposed to take over Hawthorne have not performed nearly as well in student growth and in meeting NJDOE targets set for them, as Hawthorne Avenue School.
During his first three years, Principal H. Grady James’ instructional leadership has resulted in three consecutive years of positive gains in student achievement. We are on the way to educational excellence.
• In 2013, Hawthorne is the only school in NPS who met its state target in language arts literacy and exceeded the target by double-digits in mathematics.
• There are schools who will not be impacted by the One Newark plan whose students are performing much lower than Hawthorne’s students.
Hawthorne and TEAM are not NJDOE peer schools, but some interesting comparisons can be made:
1. In their peer group of schools, Hawthorne’s Academic Achievement is in the 72nd percentile. TEAM Academy is in the 65th percentile. TEAM does not report Student Growth performance, but in the targets below, Hawthorne has shown that we are moving in the right direction.
2. Hawthorne met NCLB Progress Target in language arts literacy in the Schoolwide subgroup.strong>
3. Hawthorne met NCLB Progress Target in math in the Schoolwide subgroup.
4. Hawthorne met NCLB Progress Target in language arts literacy in the Black subgroup.strong>
5. Hawthorne met NCLB Progress Target in math in the Black subgroup. strong>
6. Hawthorne met NCLB Progress Target in language arts literacy in the Students with Disability subgroup.
7. Hawthorne met NCLB Progress Target in math in the Students with Disability subgroup.
8. Hawthorne met NCLB Progress Target in language arts literacy in the Economically Disadvantaged Students subgroup. .
9. Hawthorne met NCLB Progress Target in math in the Economically Disadvantaged Students subgroup.
Hawthorne Avenue School is one of ten Newark Public Schools who compete in the same NJDOE peer group. Among NPS peer schools, Hawthorne ranks #1 in Student Growth. The next closest school, Belmont Runyon ranks a distant 12th. Hawthorne’s #7 state ranking in Academic Achievement ranks #2 behind Miller Street School who achieved a #5 rank. Here’s a profile of this cohort of schools:
Of these ten peer schools, eight will live to see another school year and students will have the option to continue to be educated in their own neighborhood. If we are guardians of our children’s future, how do you explain the closing of the districts highest student-growth performing school that serves its most challenging student population?
Will you help us to fight for the school to remain open under its current leadership? Will you help us to receive the resources we need to repair our building and continue to move our students in the direction of positive student gains and high student achievement growth? Will you help us to keep the current administration and staff in place, as the achievement data shows that what they are doing is actually working?
I thank you in advance for your time and support as we fight to be the difference in the lives of the students who we are charged to educate.
Grace Sergio-Hawthorne Avenue School PTSA President
Hawthorne Avenue School PTSA
Grace Sergio, President
428 Hawthorne Avenue
Newark, New Jersey 07102