ELIZABETH – Achievement is up in the city’s public high schools, officials announced. Data obtained from the 11th grade High School Proficiency Assessment (HSPA) shows the district-wide proficiency level for Language Arts Literacy (LAL) in eleventh grade is 71.5 percent. Since 2005, LAL scores have steadily increased from 59 percent to 71 percent — an increase of 22 percent.
School officials attribute the increase in performance on high school state assessments to a landmark decision made by the Elizabeth Board of Education over two years ago that changed the way students are taught at the high school level.
In 2009, the board adopted the “EHS Transformation” initiative, creating six independently-run high schools that offer unique academic and career opportunities. Those schools are: John E. Dwyer Technology Academy; Thomas A. Edison Career and Technical Academy; Elizabeth High School; Admiral William F. Halsey, Jr. Leadership Academy; Alexander Hamilton Preparatory Academy; and Thomas Jefferson Arts Academy.
“EHS Transformation” addressed overcrowding issues by providing students with smaller learning communities, while creating more diverse and rigorous curricula with different school options. Prior to this initiative, the Elizabeth Public Schools only had one high school with over 5,200 students, Elizabeth High School, which was the largest high school in the nation according to federal statistics from 2005.
The current Elizabeth High School, the number one performing high school in Union County, achieved excellence with 100 percent LAL proficiency in 2011.
Additional increases in LAL proficiency were achieved in Alexander Hamilton Preparatory Academy which increased 14.2 percent, John E. Dwyer Technology Academy which increased 16 percent, Admiral William F. Halsey, Jr. Leadership Academy which increased 2.6 percent, and Thomas Jefferson Arts Academy which increased 14.8 percent.
Along with growth in LAL proficiency, mathematics proficiency has also increased. Elizabeth High School improved to an impressive 97.5 percent proficiency in mathematics, while Hamilton Preparatory Academy, Halsey Leadership Academy, and Dwyer Technology Academy all experienced student performance increases of 12.8 percent, 13.4 percent, and 5.5 percent respectively.
A composite of the 11th grade HSPA data for LAL and mathematics shows a 13 percent increase from 2009 through 2011 for Elizabeth Public Schools.
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