TOMS RIVER – Recent findings by Toms River Regional Schools shows that students are excelling in three main areas – AP classes, SAT scores and attendance/dropout rates.
Over the past five years, about 160 additional students started taking advanced placement, or AP classes, at High School East, North and South, and nearly 70 percent of them are earning a mark of 3 or higher on the exam, which is the standard passing score.
“When a drastic increase like this happens with AP participation, it’s not unusual to see a drop-off in students receiving a 3 or higher on the exam,” said 6-12 Assistant Superintendent John Coleman. “In our case however, we’ve remained steady with about 66% of students reaching that mark. This is where evidence of growth meets substance, and we feel as though we have something sustainable to not only tout, but to build on moving forward.”
Toms River students are also scoring about 6 percent higher on their AP exams than students across the nation.
Results skewed positive when it comes to the SATs as well. The state average stands at 1075, but all three Toms River high schools beat that, with East at 1086, North at 1106 and South at 1087. Records show that the district has been beating the state’s status quo since around 2010, and perhaps earlier.
Students are also missing far less time in school. Chronic absenteeism, which defines a student who misses 18 days or more in a school year, went down almost 17 percent from 2013-2014 to the current school year. The New Jersey Department of Education uses chronic absenteeism as one of its benchmarks when it assembles district performance reports.
“You have to be in school to learn, and we know that when our kids are in school they’re getting the best education we can possibly provide,” said Superintendent David Healy. “We’ve worked to ensure that all students regardless of who they are feel they are supported and welcomed and therefore want to come to school.”
The dropout rate is only 1.1 percent as of 2016, down from 2 percent it three years earlier, and below the state’s average dropout rate.
The Toms River Regional School District has introduced lunch-time SAT programs, SAT Word of the Day contests and AP Potential, as well as three Career Academies – one at each high school – in hopes to increase college and career readiness among its students.
“These are the results every Board strives for,” said Board President Ben Giovine. “No initiatives are implemented by accident – all of our goals and efforts are focused on student success. Everything is interconnected, and we know that keeping students engaged and in school will ultimately lead to talents for college and career. I am so proud of the results we are seeing so far.”