Monday, September 18, 2017

Hoboken Board of Education- Tuesday, September 12, 2017 Full Agenda


One item of particular interest resonated...If administrators are willing to accept bonuses for students doing well on state testing, are they willing to take salary deductions for under-performing state testing performance as well?

Item 9.16 is the Approval of Performance Based Bonuses in Accordance with Administrators and Supervisors Contracts for raising PARCC scores.

Recommended Action RESOLVED, that the Board of Education, upon recommendation of the Superintendent and in accordance with Article 18 of the Agreement between the Hoboken Board of Education and the Hoboken Administrators Association, approves a payment to the following administrators for the attainment of the following goals:

Administrator 1 (identified on Agenda)
By June 2017, Hoboken Middle School will increase the number of regular education students testing at level4 and level 5 by 30% on the Grade 7 and Grade 8 Math PARCC assessment administered in Spring 2017.

Administrator 2 (identified on Agenda)
By June 2017, Hoboken Middle School will increase the number of students testing at level 4 and level 5 by30% on the ELA PARCC assessment administered in Spring 2017.By June 2017, Hoboken High School will increase the number of students testing at level 4 and level 5 by30% on the ELA PARCC assessment administered in Spring 2017.

Administrator 3 (identified on Agenda)
To improve the student achievement in English Language Arts for sixth grade students so that there is a proficiency rate (students performing at a level 4 or 5) of 41.7% on the PARCC ELA test.

Administrator 4 (identified on Agenda)
By June 2017, there will be a 5% increase in the school-wide (3rd - 6th) Mathematics proficiency level onPARCC.By June 2017, the current 4th grade ELA Average Scale score will increase by at least 5 points to 746.


There are few things more potentially problematic than linking increased high stakes test scores to economic bonuses for administrators. It sets up a whole series of potential problems. Aren't administrators and supervisors already there to have students perform as well as possible? What is the purpose of an economic incentive? What will administrators and supervisors do now that they weren't doing before? 

Here's how to do it right: CLICK HERE
Here' is why performance pay for test scores is problematic: CLICK HERE  



   HBOE Sept2017 by Anthony Petrosino on Scribd

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Petrosino, A. J. and Mann, M. J. (2017). The challenges of understanding fluid in fluid density

The following is some research that has been conducted over the past few semesters with preservice STEM teachers' understanding of fluid density. Density is a concept taught in almost all elementary, middle, and secondary schools across the nation and is a central concept in the physical sciences. It is also historically a difficult concept to understand since it involved mass as well as volume and is multidimensional. Even more difficult in many respects is fluid density (fluids in fluids). The fluid density of a liquid is determined by its consistency with respect to its state in temperature and pressure. The temperature and pressure play an important role individually in determining the density of a fluid. Therefore, oil based drilling fluids and water based drilling fluids have different densities. In this paper a colleague and myself explore some of the especially difficult ideas embedded within fluid density and some efforts we have made to address this conceptual understanding for preservice teachers (n= 140).

Petrosino, A. J. and Mann, M. J. (2017). The challenges of understanding fluid in fluid density. Journal of Continuing Education and Professional Development. Vol. 4 No. 1 pp. 28-38.

Friday, September 8, 2017

HOPES Dedication Ceremonies for the new Frank Raia Annex

Mr. Frank Raia Addressing the Audience
On Wednesday, September 6, 2017 Mr. Frank Raia was recognized for his decades of leadership, philanthropy, and volunteerism to the people of Hoboken in general and the friends and families of HOPES in particular with the naming of the beautiful new HOPES Annex in his honor (for a thoughtful and in depth profile of Mr. Raia, please click here). 

HOPES was established in 1964 under Lyndon B. Johnson' administration because of the Economic Opportunity Act. As a CAP (Community Action Program), HOPES helps people to help themsleves in achieving self sufficiency. From the beginning, HOPES (Hoboken Organization against Poverty and Economic Stress) was charged with the responsibility of combating poverty in Hudson County, NJ by providing a variety of social service for the community.  

The Frank Raia Annex
Mr. Frank Raia is the current Board Chairman and has served on the HOPES Board of Directors since 1984. Raia has had the responsibility to oversee the governance of the agency and to ensure that HOPES' mission and agency goals are being met via strategic planning while maintaining financial stability. 

Over the years, Frank Raia and HOPES have been committed to addressing the barriers and causes of poverty through empowering individuals and families toward self-sufficiency. This is a core value and has been the guiding philosophy as HOPES provides a diverse set of programs for expectant mothers (engaging families in the area and development of their child/children; Promoting health in Expectant Women and children), infants and toddlers (fostering the development of young children, birth to 5 years old), preschool education (preparing children for school readiness), adult groups (assisting adults through social services and education opportunities), and senior services (helping seniors maintain independent lifestyles).  With the new Frank Raia Annex these programs will not only continue but they will expand in a modern, state of the art facility expanding on the 100+ year old David E. Rue Building.

Congratulations Frank Raia and thank you to the leadership of HOPES for recognizing Mr. Raia's commitment to the people of Hoboken and to the families of HOPES.



Thursday, August 31, 2017

2016 Grade 3 PARCC Mathematics and Language Arts Results for the City of Hoboken- Traditional Public and Public Charter Schools

SUMMARY: Every Hoboken charter school scored above the state average in 2016 Grade 3 PARCC Language Arts and in Grade 3 PARCC Mathematics; Every Hoboken charter school scored above every Hoboken Traditional Public School on 2016 in Grade 3 PARCC Language Arts and in Grade 3 PARCC Mathematics exam. 

Results for the 2016 New Jersey State Testing (PARCC) were released recently and are available on the New Jersey Department of Education website. I thought it would be interesting to look at how all of the public schools in Hoboken are doing at the early grades level in Mathematics and in Language Arts. Grade 3 is the earliest fully tested grade so I decided to look at that grade (for Grade 5 Results CLICK HERE). All 6 Hoboken public schools are included in the analysis including the 3 traditional public schools (Calabro, Connors, and Wallace) as well as the 3 public (free) charter schools (Hola, Elysian, and Hoboken Charter). 

Grade 3 was also selected because these students in the traditional Hoboken Public Schools have been under the full stewardship of the Kids First/Forward Progress/Reach Higher Board (recall, this group gained full majority of the Board of Education in May of 2009). The students tested were infants and toddlers when Kids First/Forward Progress took control of the Hoboken Board of Education. So, it is both fair and reasonable to say that these students have been exposed to nothing educationally other than what the Kids First/Forward Progress board approved and funded (curriculum, staff, instructional resources, school configuration, etc..,). 

A quick summary for new readers: 

Calabro- Traditional Public School 
Connors- Traditional Public School
Elysian- Charter School
Hoboken Charter- Charter School 
Hola- Charter School  
Wallace- Traditional Public School

Here is the raw data presented as mean scale scores by the New Jersey department of Education for the 2016 PARCC Grade 3 Language Arts for all charter and traditional public schools in the City of Hoboken. State average mean scale score for Grade 3 Language Arts is 746


School  Mean SS
Hola 772
Calabro 741
Connors 736
Wallace 760
Hob. Chart 773
Elysian 771

Here is the raw data presented as mean scale scores by the New Jersey department of Education for the 2016 PARCC Grade 3 Mathematics for all charter and traditional public schools in the City of Hoboken. State average mean scale score for Grade 3 Mathematics is 750.  

School  Mean SS
Hola 770 
Calabro 726
Connors 739
Wallace 757
Hob. Chart 765
Elysian 763

* Every Hoboken charter school scored above the state average for 2016 Grade 3 PARCC Language Arts and for Grade 3 PARCC Mathematics. 

* Every Hoboken charter school scored higher than any Hoboken Traditional Public School on 2016 Grade 3 PARCC Language Arts and on Grade 3 PARCC Mathematics exam. 

* Wallace School scored above the Hoboken Schools trend line for Grade 3 PARCC Mathematics. 

Sometimes to get a better understanding of data it is best to display the data in a chart or graphically. When we plot the mean scale scores in Grade 3 Mathematics and in Grade 3 Language Arts and use a  trend line to statistically divide the population into schools above and below the trend line we see a definite pattern emerge. Think of data points above the trend line as "above the population trend" and data points below the trend line as "below the population trend" when the population include the children being educated in Hoboken by both the traditional and charter public schools. For example, in the 2016 PARCC Grade 3 Language Arts chart below we can plainly see Hoboken Charter above the trend line, Wallace School slightly below the population trend, and Calabro below the trend line. 

2016 Grade 3 PARCC Language Arts All Hoboken Schools 

Figure 1: 2016 PARCC Grade 3 Language Arts
CLICK TO ENLARGE 


2016 Grade 3 PARCC Mathematics All Hoboken Schools

Figure 2: 2016 PARCC Grade 3 Mathematics
CLICK TO ENLARGE 

Soon we will take a look at some other grades in a similar fashion to see whether the Grade 3 score distributions are the norm or not. Here is some preliminary data on the 2016 5th Grade Language Arts Results (NJ state average mean scale score = 751) where we see similar distributions.


CLICK TO ENLARGE

Click to Enlarge 











Wednesday, August 30, 2017

2016 PARCC Scores in Grade 5 Mathematics and Language Arts Scores for all Hoboken Charter and Traditional Public Schools

Proposed American Legion Development- Hoboken, NJ 
SUMMARY: Every Hoboken charter school scored above the state average for the 2016 Grade 5 PARCC Language Arts and for Grade 5 PARCC Mathematics; Every Hoboken charter school scored above every Hoboken Traditional Public School on 2016 Grade 5 PARCC Language Arts and for Grade 5 PARCC Mathematics exam; Every Traditional Hoboken Public School scored below the state average in Grade 5 PARCC Language Arts and for Grade 5 PARCC Mathematics exam.

Results for the 2016 New Jersey State Testing (PARCC) were released recently and are available on the New Jersey Department of Education website. I thought it would be interesting to look at how all of the public schools in Hoboken are doing at the early grades level in Mathematics and in Language Arts. Grade 5 is a very important grade and curriculum becomes increasingly discipline specific. All 6 Hoboken public schools are included in the analysis including the 3 traditional public schools (Calabro, Connors, and Wallace) as well as the 3 public (free) charter schools (Hola, Elysian, and Hoboken Charter). 

The following are the Grade 5 2016 PARCC Scores in Mathematics and Language Arts Scores for all Hoboken Charter and Traditional Public Schools.

Click to Enlarge 

Click to Enlarge 

Grade 5 was selected because these students in the traditional Hoboken Public Schools have been under the full stewardship of the Kids First/Forward Progress Board (recall, this group gained full majority of the Board of Education in May of 2009). The students tested were not even in school yet when Kids First/Forward Progress took control of the Hoboken Board of Education. So, it is fair to say that these students have been exposed to nothing educationally other than what the Kids First/Forward Progress board approved and funded (curriculum, staff, instructional resources, school configuration, etc..,). 


Recall, beginning in 2008, the political group known as "Kids First/Forward Progress" began their take over of the Hoboken Pubic Schools by decrying issues of low student test scores along with the cost of educating each student, and the fact that teachers paid little to no money for their health benefits.



Sunday, August 27, 2017

Mary Tremitiedi- Hoboken School Administrator - Longtime Resident

Ms. Mary Tremitiedi
Mary Catherine Tremitiedi, age 66, retired school administrator, a longtime resident of Hoboken NJ, passed away Saturday August 26th 2017. Visiting hours will be on Tuesday, Aug. 29th 2- 4 pm and 7- 9 pm at the Failla -McKnight Memorial Home, 533 Willow Ave, Hoboken NJ. Valet parking available in rear of memorial home off Sixth Street. 

A funeral Mass will be held at 10 am on Wednesday, August 30th at St. Francis R.C. Church in Hoboken at 10 AM. Interment will be at Holy Cross Cemetery in North Arlington NJ. 

Born in Hoboken NJ, Mary was a daughter of Joseph and Catherine Lisa. She earned her Bachelor and Masters Degrees at Jersey City State College. She served the Hoboken School District for 38 years as a Teacher, Vice Principal, Principal, and Administrative Assistant to the Superintendent of Schools and retired in 2010. Mary came out of retirement to serve as Principal of Holy Family Academy preparatory school for young women. 

During her Career, Mary served as President of the Hoboken Teachers Association, member of the Negotiating Team, and President of the Hoboken School Administrators Association. Mary also served on the Board of Directors of the Hoboken’s School Employees Federal Credit Union for 30 years. She was member of the NJ Education Association, Hoboken Elks, Hoboken Municipal Drug Alliance, and The North Hudson Latin American Kiwanis. 

She is survived by her husband, Richard Tremitiedi, retired Hoboken Fire Chief; her children, Mary Margaret Tremitiedi, Michael Tremitiedi and wife Gioia; her grandchildren, Holli, Nicholas, and Natalie; her great grandchild, Lincoln; her brother Gerard Lisa and wife Yesmid; her sister in law Nancy Lisa ; her nephew Joseph Lisa III; and her Niece Kaylah Lisa. Mary was predeceased by her parents Catherine and Joseph Lisa; her brother Joseph Lisa and daughter Christine Tremitiedi.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Agenda for the August 22, 2017 meeting of the Hoboken Board of Education

The following is the full agenda for the August 22, 2017 meeting of the Hoboken Board of Education.




Sunday, August 13, 2017

Hoboken Dual Language School- Ranked 2nd Best Elementary School in Hudson County Among ALL Schools- Elysian Charter #3 and Hoboken Charter #11 County Wide Among Public Elementary Schools

Recently, the Hoboken Dual Language Charter School ("HoLa") was ranked the 2nd Best Elementary School in Hudson County NJ by Niche. HoLa is a free, public charter school where students attend for no cost- it is a free public elementary school. In existence only since 2011, HoLa has quickly gained city, state and regional recognition as being a model dual language school as well as delivering excellence in K-6 subject matter in all disciplines. In addition to HoLa being ranked 2nd in Hudson County,  Elysian Charter School was ranked the 3rd Best Elementary School in Hudson County and the Hoboken Charter School was ranked 11th Best Elementary School in Hudson County. No traditional Hoboken Public School finished higher than any of Hoboken's charter elementary schools in Niche's rankings

The Hoboken Dual Language School was also ranked the 6th top Elementary Charter School in all of New Jersey and among New Jersey's top 15% of Best Public Elementary Schools (Public and Charter). 



Friday, August 11, 2017

Hoboken Public Schools - 2018 District and School Information by Niche

Niche is a small company based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It is a team with a unique blend of data scientists, engineers, parents, and “yinzers” who are passionate about helping you discover the schools and neighborhoods that are right for you.

Recently their 2018 rankings were released and offer some interesting and objective 3rd party independent appraisal of local school districts. In this case, we take a look at the Hoboken Public School District in Hoboken, New Jersey.


For instance, the Hoboken School District received an overall rating of C+ (click here for Methodology on how school and district grades are derived) and we find that about 29% of the students are proficient in Reading and 22% of the students are proficient in Math as measured by NJ state testing. The average SAT score is 1010 (SAT User Percentile- National: 36%). The district has a very diverse student body and enjoys a 14:1 Student-Teacher ratio. According to Niche, the  district spends approximately $32,842 dollars per student. 

https://www.niche.com/k12/d/hoboken-public-schools-nj/

You can investigate more for yourself about Hoboken or any school district in the country by visiting the Niche website at: https://www.niche.com/


Wednesday, August 2, 2017

10 Important Studies You Need to Know About Concerning Video Games and Learning

Dr. Constance Steinkuehler
Can students and teachers learn from computer games and gaming? Many people say yes-- but sometimes parents and policymakers who wield influence in how education is funded, built, or enacted need more convincing. My colleague Constance Steinkuehler is a professor at the informatics department at the University of California, Irvine (and who formerly was a games advisor at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy) offered 10 studies that all skeptics—and anyone talking to them—should read and reference. -Dr. Petrosino

1. Research conducted by SRI and commissioned by GlassLab found that kids playing educational games showed a 23 percent gain over their peers learning via traditional materials.


2. Cooperative play can also lead to higher gains, according to a 2013 meta-analysis (PDF) in the Journal of Educational Psychology. “Collaborative play outperforms individual play by over two standard deviations,” says Steinkuehler.


3. The most effective games are those where “the educational content is married to the game mechanics,” she adds, referencing a 2011 study (PDF). “You don’t study the content and play the game as a reward; they’re embedded.”


4. All the surrounding activities and online communities that are built around a game offer learning moments, Steinkuehler states, referring to findings from a 2011 study published in Personnel Psychology. Watching other people play video games may seem lame and boring, she admits, but the popularity of Twitch has tapped into a valuable (and lucrative) market.


5. Games can also enhance attentional control. According to these researchers, “the true effect of action video game playing may be to enhance the ability to learn new tasks.” Steinkuehler adds: “The capacity to enhance attentional control means games are training the executive centers of attention. That means games have the capacity to train people how to learn.”


6. “Across all domains, language gains are one of the biggest effect sizes,” she says, referencing a 2012 study published in the Review of Educational Research. “Even when the game was not intended to increase vocabulary or language, games improve language and literacy.”


7. Steinkuehler’s own research found that a student’s interest is a “key variable” in the level of reading gains he or she enjoys. “When students are allowed to choose the text, when they cared about the topic, they fixed their own comprehension problems on the fly,” she says. “When you care about something, you will sit and persist through the challenges because you care.”


8. Games can change minds and challenge stereotypes, according to this study. “Games that allow for reflection and cause players to challenge their bias are more engaging,” she explains.


9. “Even if we treat games as a single category—which they’re not—you’ll find that games are correlated with intellectual performance and social competence,” Steinkuehler says, referring to this 2016 study.


10. This is probably the most concerning: “Games on the market have almost no relationship with research. And research have almost no relationship with games on the market,” Steinkuehler says, referring to a forthcoming study she will co-author. “If we are going to make products that are not just beautifully designed, but also make good on the claims that they’re for impact, then we have to be able to marry design and research in some fashion,” she implores.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Stifling Success- "How the public education establishment tried to destroy a distinguished charter school in New Jersey" by Charles Upton Sahm

HoLa Dual Language School - Ranked 1st in NJ on PARCC English Grades 3, 4, and 5
The following article is entitled "Stifling Success" and centers on how the public education establishment tried to destroy a distinguished charter school in New Jersey. The article is written by Charles Upton Sahm who is the Director of Education Policy at the Manhattan Institute. I include a few sections from the piece here but encourage any interested reader to view the entire article which can be found by clicking HERE

I will remind regular and new readers that the idea of a dual language program was initially proposed for the public school district while I was the Assistant Superintendent of the Hoboken Public Schools but was rejected by a 1 vote majority of the Hoboken Board of Education Trustees.  The same political majority that rejected a dual langauge program in the Hoboken Public Schools in 2009 later went on to file a lawsuit to reassess the dual language school's charter and expansion (see Figure 1). In essence, this political group (self described as "reform" of course) did not want a dual language program in the Hoboken Public Schools in 2009 and they wanted the dual langauge's charter possibly revoked and reassessed in 2014 once the school gained a superior academic reputation in the community. I encourage you to read more about the story below. -Dr. Petrosino

The city of Hoboken has spent three years and more than $200,000 of taxpayer money in an effort to impede the growth of its most successful school. HoLa (formally the Hoboken Dual Language Charter School) first opened in autumn 2010. The innovative 385-student charter school offers a content-rich curriculum delivered in both Spanish and English. Last year, HoLa ranked in the top 10 percent of all public schools in the state in terms of math and English test scores, and outpaced all other schools in Hoboken.

Like most charters, HoLa started with students in kindergarten, first grade, and second grade and then added a grade each year as students moved up. In 2013, with its oldest students about to enter sixth grade, and HoLa’s initial five-year charter up for renewal, the school asked the state department of education for permission to add grades seven and eight in order to continue to serve its current students until they reached high school.

The state granted permission, but the Hoboken board of education filed suit to prevent HoLa’s expansion. Why would the city not want its most successful school to expand? The simple truth is that the anti-charter board of education saw an opportunity to thwart a charter’s expansion. The lawsuit, however, alleged that HoLa’s expansion would aggravate racial segregation and harm the district financially. Both claims are spurious.

HoLa receives about $11,000 per student, with zero money for facilities, while the district spends double that amount per pupil in its district schools. The school survives financially only because it rents space from the Hoboken Boys and Girls Club, which offers HoLa a reasonable rate and uses the building during after-school hours.

Currently, the demographic composition of HoLa’s student population is 54 percent white, 31 percent Hispanic, 7 percent black, and 7 percent Asian; 12 percent of students come from families with income low enough to qualify for the federal free or reduced price lunch program. While it’s true that the student population of the district is less-white and more low-income, HoLa’s student body more closely reflects Hoboken’s general population: many affluent, white parents choose to send their children to private school. But Hoboken’s demographic composition is changing rapidly in any case: since HoLa opened in 2010, the percentage of white students in the district schools has increased from 22 percent to 33 percent and the percentage of students qualifying for the free or reduced school lunches has decreased from 69 percent to 53 percent.

The notion that HoLa is an instrument of segregation is especially noxious if one knows the history of the school and its founders. “HoLa was created to embrace the rich diversity of our community here in Hoboken,” notes Barbara Martinez, one of the school’s founders—and a daughter of Cuban immigrants. Initially, HoLa’s founders didn’t even want to open a charter. “The original idea,” explains Martinez, “was to set up a dual-language program in Connors elementary,” the city’s most segregated, lowest-performing school. The district rejected that possibility, so HoLa was established as a charter.

After it opened, HoLa sought to institute a weighted lottery system that would give preference to low-income students. That option violated state policy, so HoLa officials went door-to-door in local housing projects, distributing leaflets to ensure that low-income parents knew about of the school. HoLa’s founders repeatedly tried to persuade the state to change its lottery policy, and when it did so in 2015, HoLa became the first charter school in New Jersey to adopt a low-income preference in its admissions policy.

Parents care most about the quality of education their children are receiving, and HoLa delivers high-quality learning. During a visit this spring, I saw a fourth-grade teacher conduct an inspired lesson, in English, based on Gwendolyn Brooks’s poem “Cynthia in the Snow” and the poet’s use of onomatopoeia. Students then had fun writing their own weather-themed poems using words like “swoosh,” “splat,” and “slap.” In a class across the hall, a teacher was conducting a similar lesson using Spanish poetry. After a week, the two classes would switch, thereby exposing students to both languages and cultures.

After the Hoboken board of education first filed its lawsuit against the state department of education in March 2014, the court requested that the department further study the board’s complaints and issue a report. One year later, the department issued a report that found no evidence to back up the board’s claims. Not satisfied, in April 2015, the board requested the court issue a stay preventing HoLa’s expansion. The motion was denied.

Facing criticism that continuing the lawsuit was a waste of taxpayer money, the Hoboken board of education then created a private legal fund in order to continue to fund the litigation. Four board members contributed. In June, 2015, the board again requested an emergency stay to prevent HoLa’s rising seventh graders from retuning in the fall. That request was also denied by the court.

In May, three appellate court judges heard arguments from both sides. On June 29, one week after HoLa graduated its first eighth-grade class, the court decisively rejected Hoboken’s claims that HoLa has a negative “segregative and funding impact” on the city: the court’s decision repeatedly notes that the Hoboken board of education failed to provide data in support of its contentions. HoLa officials estimate that well over $200,000 in taxpayer money was spent by HoLa, the Hoboken board of education, and the New Jersey department of education on the litigation.

The board of education hasn’t said whether it will appeal the decision, but seven of the nine members of Hoboken’s city council have issued strong statements urging the board of education to move on. “It’s about time we end this senseless lawsuit and start worrying about educating our children as our top priority,” Councilman Michael Russo stated. “Let’s focus on providing our teachers the tools to make our public school system, which include our charter schools, the best in the state.” That’s good advice, and it will best serve the children of Hoboken if it is heeded.



Figure 1: HBOE sought reassessment of Hola's charter and expansion