New Jersey Department of Education

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    Richard Vespucci
    Jon Zlock

    Micah Rasmussen

For Release: November 21, 2003

McGREEVEY CELEBRATES SCHOOLS THAT ARE "GETTING IT RIGHT" Schools of Excellence Winners Demonstrate Effectiveness of Governor's Education Priorities

(PRINCETON) - Recognizing that providing our children with the skills to compete in the 21st century economy is our most fundamental obligation, Governor James E. McGreevey today granted 25 schools that are succeeding in that task the First Annual Governor's School of Excellence award. The Governor established the distinguished program last year to honor schools that are demonstrating effective practices to prepare their students for the future.

"By celebrating 25 schools that are getting it right and preparing children to succeed, we are providing great examples for every other school in the state," said McGreevey. "Each of these schools are recipients of the Governor's School of Excellence Award because they are proving how initiatives like targeting early literacy and supporting great teachers make the difference between a 'good' school and an 'excellent' school. They represent the best of all we are doing to improve education in this state."

"Most all of what we do at the Department of Education and in this Administration is focused on finding ways to enhance education through calling attention to schools that succeed and programs that work," Commissioner Librera said. "The Governor's School of Excellence program is an important one - we want school districts to look at these schools as examples of how to encourage and foster students to generate excellent results."

Today's ceremony marks the first of a three-year program that will provide a $25,000 prize to up to 25 schools each year. This year, 94 schools competed for the award. The schools must meet at least five of the following criteria:

  • Outstanding growth in literacy measures, as demonstrated by improvement in test scores.
  • Meaningful improvement in parental involvement in school matters.
  • Improvement in student attendance, graduation rates, retention rates, and/or dropout reduction.
  • Reduction in violence and vandalism.
  • Creative and increased involvement with partnerships and/or the community.
  • Creative and increased use of technology as a tool for learning.
  • Demonstrated improvement in the quality of professional development of teachers.
  • Demonstrated success in providing better learning opportunities for specialized populations such as special education students or second language learners.
  • Documentation that shows areas of significant improvement that may not fit one of the aforementioned categories.

A list of the 25 schools recognized today is attached.

The Governor's School of Excellence program provides awards to schools that demonstrate significant improvement during a two-year period. The schools can use the funds for educational purposes which they decide. The schools report to the Commissioner at the conclusion of the school year how they have used the money. Each school may be recognized only once in three years. Schools that receive awards will serve as demonstration centers for exemplary programs.

Funding for today's awards was made possible by Pepco/Connectiv, formerly Atlantic City Electric Company, and First Energy Corporations, formerly Jersey Central Power & Light Co. Both companies donated $1 million each for the program.

"I would like to thank Connectiv and First Energy for their donations that support this distinguished program," said McGreevey. "These two companies clearly recognize that investing in education now, means having a highly-skilled workforce later."

The Governor and Commissioner also thanked Jeanne Fox, president of the state Board of Public Utilities (BPU), and Seema Singh, director of the Division of the Ratepayer Advocate, for working with the two utilities as part of a joint effort between the two entities to secure funding from utility mergers or contracts.

To date, Ratepayer Advocate Seema Singh and President Jeanne Fox at BPU have generated $4 million for the Department of Education as a result of working with the following companies: Elizabethtown Water and Elizabethtown Gas, as well as Consumers' NJ Water.

"It is through the hard work and efforts of both the Board of Public Utilities and the Division of the Ratepayer Advocate that funding for this important program is possible," Commissioner Librera said. "We would certainly be remiss in not acknowledging their efforts. With their backing, as well as the Governor's continued commitment to this program, we will continue to put the spotlight deservedly on these schools.

"We will continue to recognize the students who perform, the teachers and administrators who lead them, and the schools and their communities for their ongoing emphasis on raising, and celebrating, student achievement."

"I am honored to present each of these schools with this award," said Governor McGreevey. "I hope that schools across the state will look to today's recipients and be inspired to provide their own students with the same opportunities for success."

More information about the schools is available at:

2003 Governor's School of Excellence Award Recipients Atlantic County
Brigantine Elementary School

Bergen County
Jackson Avenue Elementary School

Memorial School
Little Ferry

Burlington County
Bordentown Regional High School

Camden County
George Washington School

Thomas Paine Elementary School
Cherry Hill

Joyce Kilmer Elementary School
Cherry Hill

Samuel S. Yellin School

Cape May County
Maud Abrams School
Lower Township

Cumberland County
Maurice River Township Elementary School
Maurice Township

Cunningham Elementary School

Gloucester County
Harrison Township School
Harrison Township

Evergreen Avenue School

Hudson County
High Tech High School
Hudson County Schools of Technology

Alexander D. Sullivan School
Jersey City

Mercer County
Washington Elementary School

Middlesex County
Lincoln Middle School

Piscataway High School
Piscataway Indian Fields Elementary School
South Brunswick

Monmouth County
Monmouth County Academy of Allied Health & Science
Monmouth County Vocational Schools

Spring Lake Heights Elementary School
Spring Lake Heights

Morris County
Marie V. Duffy Elementary School
Wharton Borough

Passaic County
John F. Kennedy School
Wayne Township

Salem County
Penn Beach Elementary School

Union County
Magnet High School for Math & Science
Union County Vocational-Technical Schools