The New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) announced recently that nine school districts and two charter schools earned the designation of Lighthouse District for substantial improvement in academic achievement.

The 11 Lighthouse award winners were announced at the NJDOE’s statewide “Equity for All” conference at The College of New Jersey.

“Lighthouse Districts can serve as beacons of success for public education in New Jersey,” said Education Commissioner Dr. Lamont Repollet. “We recognize Lighthouse Districts for tremendous academic gains, for demonstrating that all schools can excel and all students can achieve.”

The NJDOE launched the Lighthouse District initiative two years ago as a result of conversations with educators, families and students throughout the state, who felt there should be a greater focus on growth rather than proficiency alone.

“The aim of the Lighthouse initiative is not to identify the districts with the highest test scores, but rather districts that have shown the greatest improvement,” said Kathy Goldenberg, president of the State Board of Education. “By doing so, we give these local educators a platform in which they can share their initiatives, programs and successes with school leaders in other communities.”

The 11 Lighthouse award winners demonstrated measurable progress across diverse groups of learners and used multiple measures to provide individualized support to students and school communities. The NJDOE evaluated four years of district and school-level data to identify districts with the greatest academic improvement. Lighthouse districts are representative of New Jersey’s diverse student body, including size of the district and region of the state.

Officials from Lighthouse Districts will have the opportunity to participate in professional learning and networking opportunities between Lighthouse districts and other districts, take part in diversity and inclusion training, and provide insight to the NJDOE through policy discussions during the award term from July 2019 to July 2021.

The 2019 Lighthouse Award recipients are:

CamdenWaterford Township School District
Cape MayOcean City School District
EssexTEAM Academy Charter School
GloucesterWest Deptford Township School District
MercerPaul Robeson Charter School for the Humanities
MiddlesexPerth Amboy School District
MonmouthLong Branch School District
MonmouthRed Bank Borough School District
PassaicLittle Falls Township School District
SomersetSomerville School District
WarrenWashington Borough School District