Reflections of 2017

Is it possible another year has gone by?  As a member of the #compelledtribe reflection is something we try to do at the end of each year.  As a human being, reflection is necessary for growth. As an educator reflection is necessary to assess where we are on our path and where the compass of our journey will point us toward the future.


2017 was a successful school year for me. Here are two newsletters from the Barnegat School District where I currently serve as Superintendent.  I don't usually share what has happened in Barnegat but I'm very proud of the district's accomplishments.

The first newsletter (above) celebrates the opening of our school year with highlights that include amazing improvements in our PARCC (Partnership of Assessment and Readiness for the Common Core) scores. These amazing results are as follows:

In reviewing PARCC data, here are some impressive results regarding the growth in Barnegat:

From 2015-2017 in Language Arts Literacy, grades 3-11: 5 of 9 grade levels reflected increases in "meeting expectations and exceeding expectations". This resulted in a 55% increase of all students across grades 3-11 in Language Arts Literacy.

From 2015-2017 in Mathematics (including Algebra I & II and Geometry), grades 3-11: 7 of 9 grade levels demonstrated increases in "meeting expectations and exceeding expectations". This resulted in a 67% increase of all students across grades 3-11 in Mathematics.

Lastly, in Mathematics grades 3-11 Barnegat students had higher gains than the state average in 7 of 9 grade levels. We were higher than the state by 27%.

In addition, the newsletter highlights the amazing successes of our athletic teams, dance team, and marching band as well as Strategic planning efforts and other district successes.

In December there were even more highlights to share:

The December newsletter celebrates the success of individual students and a wonderful highlight of one of our very own Barnegat High School teachers in a segment on Classroom Close-Up New Jersey called, "Reach before you Teach".  In addition, please read the news on our commitment to the local VFW with essay contest winners and the wonderful visibility of our newly formed Navy Jr ROTC. The ROTC program was a desire of the Board of Education that hired me in 2011.  It took many years of applications to the Department of Defense. Finally we were granted a charter and Barnegat pride is now even stronger and more visible than ever before.

Lastly, I have formed the Coalition for Wellness and Prevention in Barnegat.  This group of volunteers, which crosses all sectors has come together so that we can do what we can to prevent students and families from falling victim to drug and alcohol use in our community.  We will be applying for a Drug Free Communities grant this spring that should further our efforts for our community and families.

What I have learned in 2017 is that I am incredibly proud of what I have done.  When my contract ends in June, I can leave Barnegat with my head held high on all that the district has accomplished under my leadership.  I hope that I have also left an imprint of putting students first, embracing student and staff growth, and honoring the character and integrity of education. I think the Barnegat teachers know that the mantra, "Every Student Matters Every Day" is something I have not only preached but also put every once of my effort behind this year.

On a personal note, my daughter's cheerleading team (Lacey AYC - American Youth Cheer) came in third in the nation in their class! The experience my daughter and her teammates had was extraordinary. Watching a team grow and improve with supportive coaches and parents was extremely rewarding. My son is a competitive gymnast and competed for the first time in December as a Level 5 USAG (United States American Gymnastics) men's competitor. He scored a 9.4 on floor and is looking forward to competitions this season at West Point Military Academy and Temple University.  Seeing him mature and focus through this intense sport with caring, committed coaches has been a truly wonderful experience. He also performed his first vocal solo at Christmas-time and I couldn't be more proud.


My most proud achievements of 2017 are a result of my dedication and the dedication of teachers and coaches to children.  They are my children, Gavin and Katie and the children of my district. I am blessed to be rewarded by the experiences and achievements of the most important people in this world - the young ladies and men who signify the future of our nation.

~ Karen Wood