Commissioner of Education David C. Hespe today commended the Asbury Park school system for the significant strides it has made since July 1998, when in response to concerns voiced by residents the department sent a special task force to the district to help resolve a growing list of problems.
Dr. Vito A. Gagliardi, a special assistant to the commissioner who headed the task force, presented to the Asbury Park Board of Education last night a semi-final report that gave the district high marks for the progress.
"The school board and administration should be proud of the accomplishments it has made," Hespe said. "There is still some more work to be done, but Asbury Park deserves kudos for the commitment it has made to improve school operations and educational opportunities for the children it serves. Dr. Gagliardi's report demonstrates how problems can be solved quickly and amicably when state and local officials agree to work in a collaborative manner."
"A spirit of cooperation and a sincere desire to improve the schools prevails among the board of education and the staff," said Dr. Gagliardi. "The interim superintendent has taken decisive steps to develop an organization table, increase the number of qualified applicants for positions, provide curriculum and professional development, improve attendance and dropout rates, and engage parents in the learning experience."
The task force focused its attention on six areas critical to the function of the school district: governance, administration, central office activities, curriculum development, school operations and special education. It issued a preliminary report in December 1998 that recommended a series of actions the district could take to improve each area. Since then, the task force has been working with local officials to help them implement the recommendations through compliance review, technical assistance and mentoring. The semi-final report praises the district for making considerable progress in all areas.
Among the findings of the report are:
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