Nearly 10,000 Paterson students received grades of ‘incomplete,’ document shows | Paterson Times

Nearly 10,000 Paterson students received grades of ‘incomplete,’ document shows


Nearly 10,000 Paterson students received grades of “incomplete” for the fourth marking period, highlighting the district’s struggle to provide students an education after schools were forced to close because of the coronavirus pandemic.

School district data shows 9,759 students — representing a third of Paterson students – have received the grade of “incomplete.” 6,391 were elementary school students in 3-8 grades; 3,368 were high school students in 9-12 grades.

“Students who did not complete their assignments have received grades of incomplete for the fourth marking period. The district is giving students every opportunity to submit missing work and convert grades of incomplete to the appropriate letter grades,” said superintendent Eileen Shafer in a statement on Thursday.

Shafer said the district has given families the option of waiting until schools re-open to submit missing work.

Deadline to submit work is October 1, she said at a public meeting last month.

The district closed on March 17 as coronavirus cases began to increase in New Jersey. District officials had to distribute tens of thousands of paper packets to students to deliver an at-home education.

School officials hadn’t equipped students with laptops or tablets before the pandemic. In late April, Shafer distributed Chromebooks to high school students.

School board member Corey Teague was surprised by the 3,368 high school students who received grades of incomplete for the fourth marking period.

“They had their devices. And so that really doesn’t make sense,” said Teague, speaking of high school students. He said the Board of Education needs to have a discussion to better understand the situation.

School board president Kenneth Simmons said the high school students had received packets that they had to complete before the laptops were distributed. He also said some parents have yet to submit their children’s packets to the district.

“Some students may have been present in online classes but did not submit the assignments. This could be for a number of reasons including a family having difficulty accessing the internet, or a student having difficulty with the class material. And we cannot forget that students and families are facing challenges brought on by the pandemic itself, which could impede a student’s ability to turn in assignments,” said Shafer.

“It’s alarming,” said school board member Emanuel Capers. He said a third of students getting grades of incomplete raises more questions about the attendance data district officials presented at a board meeting last month.

Capers and his colleagues raised questions about attendance data that showed daily average attendance was better when the schools were closed.

Average daily attendance for district students was 92.56% in January, but that figure climbed by two percent to 94.61% in June, according to data presented to the school board last month.

School board member Vincent Arrington was audibly frustrated as school officials presented the data.

“For me, the purpose of reports is to make sure that our students are engaged and involved. We want to make sure that this wasn’t a vacation,’ said Arrington in the July 22 public meeting.

School officials called parents and conducted welfare checks to gather attendance. They also took into account returned packets.

Simmons said the state gave local districts a great deal of flexibility in gathering attendance.

Arrington wanted more precise and accurate data. He asked for Google Classroom activity data.

Students who received grades of incomplete will still go to the next grade level, said school officials.

“We made a bad situation into the best we could with what we had at that time,” said Shafer at the July 22 meeting.

Simmons said the district is better prepared if it has to close again in the next school year and provide virtual instruction to students. School officials have ordered thousands of Chromebooks to make sure every student has a device. They also formed a partnership with Altice to ensure every device has internet access.

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  • HankMorgan

    Wow. Just wow. Shafer and her idiot school administrators are sure to find a way to blame and torture teachers over this. Then give herself and sycophants big promotions and raises!

  • Uptownstomp

    The problem is simple, parents did not hold there kids accountable therefore they didn’t do the work.

    • Canwereason Logic

      Board members, principal, and parents will continue to make excuses for these children failing. Most students in this community can not read and write and the adults around them continue to pass them. School leaders continues to make it almost impossible for teachers to fail students.

  • TK Kirkland

    Shafer needs more step down and go back to Amish land. This is unacceptable!

  • bigron

    If students will go to the next grade even with an incomplete, why do they have to return the packets? It's sad parents in Paterson have no real options to educate their children. Catholic schools closed down long ago. Only options are crummy charter schools that are worse than the District.

    • TK Kirkland

      Are you insinuating that Catholic schools is/was a better option for Paterson students?? Residents who struggle to pay their “reduced” rent to Section8; wouldn’t stand a chance trying to keep up with a $400-$600 monthly school note…just for some pedophile-principal priest to grope on them…? Get real..

      • HankMorgan

        No. His point is that aside from the cost Paterson children were better educated in city Catholic schools than they were in the public system. He’s right. And despite your condescending opinion many Paterson parents were happy to pay to tuition to better educate their children. During my career many of my colleagues had received diplomas from Paterson Catholic or Don Bosco. Those diplomas served them well. You twist comments here in a self-serving manner to support some stupid, antisemitic, condescending, racist or just plain disgusting “joke.”

        • TK Kirkland

          My parents are those from the “many” you speak of. Paying $350 per month for my tenure of 1st~3rd grade at St. Johns Catholic in Paterson. I don’t recall the education any better than public. All I remember is coloring, naps, being religiously indoctrinated, and lining up as a class to watch kids sit on the principals LAP chatting about God..I’m doing pretty well without a “private” education. A diploma is a diploma.. whether from a sh!thole up to the ivy’s. It’s up to the individual to keep pursuing and accomplishing. Sorry not buying it !

          • John

            Were you sexually molested at the Catholic school you claim to have attended where everyone is a sexual predator? You seem very upset and frustrated. Dont blame others for your lacking in success and life

          • HankMorgan

            Good times, huh?

  • HankMorgan

    Shafer’s tenure has been a massive failure. But her position allows her to grease so many palms (especially her own) that the board and the city’s connected do not dare to call her out. And, of course, that’s why she got the job in the first place!
    This thoroughly corrupt and incompetent administration needs to be defunded and dissolved. Don’t even think about returning control to the city. Although I’m not at all sure how the dire situation she has created could ever get any worse.

    • Canwereason Logic

      Board members, principals, and parents will continue to make excuses for these children failing. Most students in this community can not read and write, and the adults around them continue to pass them. School leaders continue to make it almost impossible for teachers to fail students.

      • HankMorgan

        I really wish you had some data to support your assertions.

        • Canwereason Logic

          The data is readily available; just look at state test scores. Students have a large number of absences, especially in high schools, and they still graduate. Again, the data is accessible for all to read. Teachers' hands are tied, ask them how many students they had to pass without them knowing how to read and write on grade level. A harsh reality, but it's the truth. Over 50 to 70 percent of students can not pass a reading comprehension test in communities like Paterson.

          • HankMorgan

            Valid points. The education attainment levels are some of the lowest in the country. I’m sure that contributes to high levels of illiteracy. Just looking for stat regarding that. Can’t find one.