The Academy of Health Science also known as Harp Academy has been recognized by the New Jersey Department of Education as a high performing “rewards” school, announced the district on Wednesday afternoon.
The designation makes Harp Academy an exemplary Title 1 school, a classification assigned to schools with high number or percentage of students from low-income families. There are 57 high performing “rewards” schools in New Jersey, according to the district.
To get on the list a school has to attain progress targets for the past two school years, ensure 90-percent of its students and subgroups meet proficiency standards, and meet other benchmarks, according to the district.
“We are extremely honored to be recognized by the State as a High-Performing Rewards School,” said Kelli A. White, principal at Harp Academy. “This prestigious designation is one important step towards achieving our goals.”
White said the school has built a “culture of caring” in which school staff have a shared responsibility for students’ success.
The school is being rewarded for its achievement with a $50,000 grant from the Department of Education. Majority of the city’s schools are designated as priority and focus schools. Harp Academy is the first in the district to obtain the “rewards” school designation which means the school has achieved high proficiency levels and made progress towards closing the achievement gap.
The academy was recognized for progress made in the 2014-15 school year.
“This is a special day for our school district, and especially for this outstanding high school academy,” said state-appointed district superintendent Donnie Evans. “Seven years ago, we engaged in a major high school renewal initiative which has generated tremendous results across the district – from healthier school cultures to increased high school graduation rates (HARP is currently at 100 percent).”
The academy, which is located on Colt Street, next to the historic City Hall building, has 282 students in grades 9-12.
The school will be among 17 other “rewards” schools in New Jersey to be recognized at the New Jersey Association of Federal Program Administrators’ (NJAFPA) Spring Conference on June 9th, 2016 in Atlantic City.
“I want to commend the students and staff at HARP for raising the bar and becoming Paterson’s first High-Performing Rewards School,” said Evans.