Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

School Chief Challenges District

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

School Chief Challenges District

Article excerpt

ENGLEWOOD -- Superintendent Robert Kravitz's first "State of the District" presentation painted a bleak portrait of the city's faltering schools, but he outlined an ambitious and hope-filled vision to rescue the district and its 3,100 students.

The capstone of Kravitz's vision is a program called Pathways that could allow future Dwight Morrow High School students to graduate with as many as 30 college credits from a North Jersey college.

Pathways is a partnership with Rutgers University-Newark, St. Peter's College in Jersey City, Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck and Bergen Community College in Paramus proposed by Kravitz in which the universities would write curricula for "majors" such as the environment, nursing and sports management.

"We have an opportunity to have every student graduate Englewood high schools with 15 to 30 college credits, so that first year is on us," Kravitz said. "We're going to get rid of those stumbling blocks to make sure our children succeed. ... We know that children are not prepared, and we're going to make sure they go in as sophomores so they are prepared."

Pathways was one of the reforms and ambitious projects Kravitz presented in his overall plan to revamp the school's curriculum and administration Wednesday night at his presentation.

He reviewed systemic dysfunctions outlined by several years' worth of audits that flagged problems with the district's payroll, purchasing and hiring.

His sweeping changes to the curriculum are coming at a time when the city district has sunk to the worst ranking in Bergen County, according to state measures. In the state's metric for instruction and curriculum, for example, the Englewood district crashed to a score of 18 percent in 2015, down from 39 percent in 2014.

And the district has an overall high school graduation rate of 73 percent, which is lower than Paterson's 78 percent. …

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