Schools report cards show changing trends

More students are now choosing to attend two-year colleges after graduation from Hillsborough High School.

By: Donna Lukiw
   More Hillsborough High School graduates are choosing two-year colleges over four-year schools, according to the Department of Education’s New Jersey State School Report Cards.
   "I think a lot of people are seeing the value of going to Raritan Valley Community College for two years and then go off to great schools," board member Judy Haas said Wednesday.
   About 74 percent of the 2003 graduating class went off to four-year schools while 18.2 percent of the students attended two-year schools.
   The numbers dropped to 69.3 percent for the Class of 2005 attending four-year schools and 22.5 percent went off to community colleges.
   "It makes great economic sense," Ms. Haas said.
   Superintendent Karen Lake said the choices of which school to attend are usually based on financial issues within each family.
   "The SAT scores have gone up and it’s one of the indicators that colleges look at," Ms. Lake said. "I think we have the third highest SAT scores in Somerset County. It’s not that students aren’t being accepted into four-year schools, it’s more economical."
   Even though students are choosing two-year schools, the graduation rate is above average compared to the average state numbers.
   "I commend the administration across all grade levels as we continue to meet the needs of all our students," board member Steve Sloan said.
   About 98 percent of seniors are graduating from Hillsborough High School while the state’s average calculates 91.3 percent of students graduating.
   With high graduation and post-graduation rates, seniors who took the state standardized test, High School Proficiency Assessment (HSPA), showed improvements from 2003 and 2004.
   "Our commitment to curriculum development as well as professional development has proven to increase our student performance and shows that we offer a strong and well rounded program of studies," Mr. Sloan said.
   According to the school report card, students scored 36.1 percent advanced proficient in language arts compared to 32.7 percent in 2003-2004 and an average of 35.6 percent in comparable districts.
   In math, HHS students in 2004-2005 showed to be 47.3 percent advanced proficient, compared to 2003-2004 scores of 35.3 percent but fell under the district factor group average of 48.9 percent.
   "I’m pleased our scores compare favorably in our district factor group," Ms. Lake said. "But we still have to make improvements. We’ve put remedial measures in our schools to increase math scores."
   Ms. Lake said there is a semester course for high school students who did not score well on the HSPA.
   While students are scoring high on their test scores, showing high graduation and post graduation rates, the Hillsborough district also spends about $2,000 less per student compared to the state’s average.
   According to the school report card, Hillsborough spends $10,683 per student while the state average is $12,567. Most districts in the county spend more per student, such as $14,592 in Bedminster, $13,775 in Watchung Hills and $11,049 in Bound Brook.
   "I’m sure we’re one of the lowest spending districts per pupil in our county," Mr. Sloan said.
   To see more information on how Hillsborough schools rated visit