The City of Cape May will hosted a dedication ceremony at Lafayette Street Park to unveil the completion of the Phase One improvements. Phase One construction of the project was activated through a $1.5 million grant from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority and was completed this summer. Student of Cape May Elementary School play in the grass of the new park adjacent to the school. Tuesday Sept 13, 2016. (Dale Gerhard/Press of Atlantic City)

Mainland Regional and Cape May city schools were recognized Wednesday by the state Department of Education as two of seven Lighthouse Districts in the state, a new designation highlighting academic growth.

This designation, announced by the DOE in September with the latest PARCC test results, recognizes districts for “illuminating the path toward academic growth and student success” by achieving academic growth in English language arts and mathematics with diverse student groups.

“Lighthouse Districts show what types of academic gains are possible when visionary instructional leaders, dedicated educators and supportive board members work together on behalf of the children in their community,” said New Jersey Education Commissioner Kimberley Harrington. “The Lighthouse Districts show that New Jersey is on the right path; their success has been contingent upon building a community of educators, students and families who believe each and every student can and will excel beyond New Jersey’s high academic standards.”

The DOE said it will engage with educators from the Lighthouse Districts to create a support network for other districts.

“By highlighting the best practices of the Lighthouse Districts, districts across the state can benefit from resources that come directly from their peers and illustrates how closing the achievement gap is possible,” said state Board of Education President Arcelio Aponte.

Other school districts recognized as Lighthouse Districts include: Beverly City, Burlington County; Black Horse Pike Regional, Camden County; Highlands, Monmouth County; Mine Hill Township, Morris County; and Washington Township, Warren County.

Contact: 609-272-7251 CLowe@pressofac.com Twitter @clairelowe

I began covering South Jersey in 2008 after graduating from Rowan University with a degree in journalism. I joined The Press in 2015. In 2013, I was awarded a NJPA award for feature writing as a reporter for The Current of Hamilton Township.