Harrington Park School District

Harrington Park School District

The district has created a Self-Directed Growth Plan model where teachers choose and research an essential question that they investigate throughout the year, and uses technology to enhance the model.

State: New Jersey Number of Students: 608
School Type: Public School District Free and Reduced Lunch: 0.0%
Grade Level: K-8 English Language Learners: 3.3%

School Context

Meaningful Teacher Evaluation: The superintendent has led HPSD in an exploration of teacher evaluation and thecreation of a Self-Directed Growth Plan model, where teachers choose and research an essential question that theyinvestigate throughout the year.

Data Driven: The district wants to use a growth model to measure student achievement that is data driven, so it is pilotingthe Northern Valley math assessment with grades 7 and 8. The assessment was developed by the district’s staff.

Educating the Whole Child: Projects and programs that teach all children reaching all learning styles are highly valued inthe district. To benefit the whole child and offer multiple learning opportunities, Harrington Park has a Parent Academy, aVirtual Student Academy and offers professional development through the Parent Academy for educators.

State of Technology

Redefining Innovation As a Community: The district is workingtogether as a community of students, teachers, families andadministrators to redefine innovation. There is a student council leadteam, a teacher lead team and a parent lead team that meet and havefrequent conversations about what innovation means to them.

Exploring Teacher Growth: Nine years ago the superintendent, Dr.Adam Fried, began asking questions about teacher evaluation, wonderingwhat can help make master teachers even stronger. The district nowuses a Self-Directed Growth Plan (SDGP) model where teachers choosean essential question and work throughout the year to collect data andanswer the question. The teachers then share their findings with thewhole staff. This has helped the district promote teacher collaborationand best practice sharing.

School Incubator: Last year, Harrington Park began using technologyto enhance the Self-Directed Growth Plan model in a big way. It startedto incubate early startup companies like Learn Trials, ClassWallet, andBranching Minds by becoming a lab site for these tools. The districtstarted playing matchmaker between teachers and startups, particularlystartups with tools that could help answer the essential questionsteachers were asking. Fried worked with New York accelerators suchas 4.0 Schools and EDGE to find companies that would be a strong fit.This model allows students to try out new technology and helps startupcompanies get feedback from key stakeholders in the classroom. Italso encourages teachers to be involved in the development of toolsfor schools. Fried wants the district to become more widely known as acommunity that is open to being a lab site for new and exciting tools.

Digital Day: Harrington Park has hosted two digital days, providingstudents with an opportunity to learn remotely. In the most recent one,the district had a late opening so upper elementary and middle schoolstudents worked virtually for half of their day. The staff planned aheadquite a bit, making sure students had access to the tools they needed forlearning. The district’s home page was used as a launch page. Studentslogged in and clicked into their classroom where all assignments,discussions and comments could be found.

For the Love of Reading: Harrington Park purchased a collection ofrefurbished Nook eReaders from Barnes and Noble and downloaded allof the middle school books to the devices. The Nooks live in HarringtonPark’s Media Center and are available to be checked out by students ingrades 6-8. They are also used to introduce eBooks to younger readers atthe elementary level.

Tech Needs & Requirements

Harrington Park is interested in finding a way to connect all of the systems it uses to store student and operationalinformation, and breaking down the silos of data stored across student information and learning management systems.


Rethinking Certification: Harrington Park is exploring how to include a peer-to-peer review recertification process. Thedistrict wants to build something that allows teachers to be recertified in the state of New Jersey.

*Content From 2016

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