Message From the Superintendent
Dr. James Hunderfund,
Dear Residents, Parents and Friends,
When you read this letter, we will already be halfway through the school year. Looking back on the first half, we have many reasons to give thanks. Our students’ and teachers’ hard work has resulted in record-breaking honor roll numbers in all of our schools. The number of scholar-athlete teams, with our coaches’ support, has also reached new heights. More students are enrolled in college-level courses with the incentive of college entry credits or honors placement status. The byproduct of this enhanced commitment to academic success for all students, K-12, has resulted in a significant reduction in disciplinary suspensions. As more students continue to concentrate their efforts on the achievement of their personal goals, there are accelerated positive results that affect the entire school culture.
In December, the Malverne Herald article “Why We’re Better Than Before” provided some examples of Malverne’s educational growth and improvement over the last eight years. Credit for these outcomes rightly belongs to everyone who has supported our students through the able governance of our school board, our staff members’ expertise, our parents’ partnership and our community’s budget support.
As we embark upon the annual odyssey of budget development for next year’s resources, we can anticipate another struggle to make ends meet. However, some good news includes a reduction in the mandatory state retirement system payments that will be helpful in balancing the tax levy cap equation.
Newsday’s Jan. 20 article, “Widening School Gap,” pointed to the problem of an achievement disparity between the wealthiest and poorest school districts on Long Island. In New York State, a characteristic of most poor districts is their number of “educationally disadvantaged” students. For Malverne students, this indicator has risen to 40 percent. Although the combined wealth ratio (property and income) for Malverne School District residents (1.3) is above the state’s average (1.0), a significant portion of our student population is not even close to New York State average. This is important when educational outcomes are compared between the richest and poorest school districts. On many indicators, Malverne’s student achievement of academic success far exceeds the group norms for districts with limited family resource/wealth and enrollment diversity.
Congratulations and thanks to all of our students, teachers and schools who have exceeded categorical norms and who continue to improve every day!
James H. Hunderfund, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools
Malverne Students Improve Academically Thoughout The 2013-2014 School Year; Positive Trend Noted Over Past Six Years
Students throughout the Malverne School District have once again demonstrated academic improvement and overall success for the 2013-2014 school year. Based on a variety of measures, including national recognition for “College Readiness”, Advanced Placement (AP) results, Regents examination scores and other measures of success, the district is proud to announce that over the past six years, there has been a definitive trend of higher academic achievement.
During the 2013-2014 school year, 197 AP exams were administered. 60% of our students achieved a score of three or higher. The number of students who achieved scores of four or five also dramatically rose from 4% in 2008 to 30% in 2014. The overall increase of “high” scores for this time period rose 700%. We had 13 AP scholars; 4 AP Scholars with Honors and 5 AP Scholars with Distinction. This year, Malverne High School was recognized in the Washington Post for being in the top 6% of the nation’s outstanding high schools for “college readiness”.
In 2013-2014, we increased the number of students taking Regents exams in the middle school. We had all 8th graders, excluding our self-contained class, take the Living Environment Regents at the middle school. 97% of the Howard T. Herber students passed the Living Environment. At the high school, we increased our enrollment in the number of students taking the higher level math and science Regents’ exams. In 2008, our Physics enrollment was 25. In 2014, we had 72 students take Physics. This is a 288% increase in enrollment. In 2011, we had 51 students take the Algebra 2 and Trigonometry Regents. This year, we had 97 students take this Regents, which is a 190% increase in enrollment.
With regard to passing Regents exams, in 2009-2010 we had 76% of our students pass the ELA Regents. In 2013-2014, we had 93% pass. During this same time period, our Geometry results rose from 63% to 84%. 95% of the graduates from the class of 2014 received a Regents Diploma and 43% received an Advanced Regents Diploma. Also, 91% of our graduating class will be attending a 4 year or 2 year college in September. The grade point average of our graduating class shows a significant increase from 2010. In 2010, 65% of our graduates had a GPA of 75 or higher. In 2014, 80% of our graduates had a GPA of 75 or higher.
Our Honor Roll and High Honor Roll have increased have increased this year in both the middle and high schools, with the largest increase in High Honor Roll. In 2011, we had 14% of our high school students on the High Honor Roll. In 2014 we had 27% of our students. At the middle school, we went from 27% to 32% in the same time period.
In 2013-2014 school year, we had a change in instruction with the SAT initiative and the Technology initiative. We also implemented peer and adult mentoring the Dare to Dream program and, of course, our Character Education. With these programs and the change in instruction, the behavior of our students improved. With the improvement of behavior came a significant decrease in suspension rates at both the middle and high school. Over the past five years, Howard T. Herber decrease 65% in the number of school suspensions and Malverne High School decreased 90%. So, as you can see, our academic performance has made huge strides as well as the behavior of our students.
Superintendent of Schools, Dr. James H. Hunderfund said, “I am extremely proud of our students for their continued efforts to achieve their highest potential. It is important for us to focus on the overall positive trajectory that our district has experience in recent years. While there will always be room for improvement, I am encouraged by the positive trend our schools have established. In time, I am confident that this will lead to a greater percentage of students not only passing, but excelling on all measures of achievement. Among the other measures of student success, it is important to include college enrollments, which have averaged 90% per graduating class, including many acceptances to highly competitive colleges and universities. Honor Roll achievement trends continue to demonstrate an increased focus upon the value of good grades. Higher achievement on report cards has improved the overall Grade Point Average for each graduating class. Also, many more students have successfully completed Regents course credits while still in their middle school years at Howard T. Herber.
In addition to academic improvement, Malverne has experienced positive growth in students’ character development, as well. District statistics prove that Malverne students are becoming more involved in pro-social volunteerism and school organizations. There has been a significant trend of decreasing suspension rates at both the middle school and the high school.
“As we move forward, Malverne administrators, teachers and staff members will continue to work with students on developing their full academic potential, as well as emphasize the importance of character and behavior and the total development of each child in our care”, Dr. Hunderfund stated. “Over the past five years, we have made notable progress, and we all look forward to continuing in this direction.”