By David Madden

CAMDEN, N.J. (CBS) — Camden’s state-appointed schools superintendent has been on the job for about three months. And while he recognizes the challenges ahead, he also sees a great deal of potential.

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The city’s school problems are well documented. The perception made worse, perhaps, with word that only three high school seniors passed their SAT’s last year.
Superintendent Paymon Rouhanifard believes while that number has to come up, some students might be better in a community college or trade school.

“What we need to do is work with all of our students so that they make the choice,” Rouhanifard says, “and we work with them to have the best chance in succeeding in that pathway.”

Some are doing that now, he insists, but not enough.

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“The Camden I know is resilient,” Rouhanifard says. “There are many, many stories of students who have persevered to graduate from high school and college and build meaningful careers. The problem is, it shouldn’t be that hard.”

His long term plan is to challenge students more and make sure they’re provided with the tools to succeed.

The district is now working to upgrade buildings and security. And parents need to get more involved. To that end, the district is waiving a $75 fee parents paid for a background check before they could volunteer in a school.

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