Thursday, May 29, 2008

Curriculum Committee Meeting-MYP Units

Today's Curriculum Committee Meeting centered on the development of units utilizing the IB MYP format. This was a continuation of the work begun last week and once again include Ms. Kate Dominique as the facilitator. Groups were divided into disciplinary units previously assigned and significant progress was made on the procedural aspects of unit development. The units will utilize the curriculumm mapping that was accomplished previously.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Hoboken Dual Language Project (HoLa)

Today a meeting occurred between administrators of the Hoboken School District and founding members of the Hoboken Dual Language Project (HoLa). HoLa has a sincere interest in improving the quality of education in Hoboken as well as increasing the number of choices available to our community. HoLa bring a range of experiences to their project including their common love of language, international travel, and cultural exchenage. The 30 minute meeting centered on the importance of immersion programs in the social, cognitive and cultural development of the child; curricula and pedagogical reforms currently under way in the Hoboken School District; the concept of Contract Schools, and a desire to meet again in a few weeks for a follow-up meeting.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Curriculum Committee Meeting- MYP

Today, with the leadership of Kate Dominique (Hoboken District IB Coordinator), the curriculum committee went over the basics of MYP for those who weren't at the institute day and didn't get to the unit planner. The committee conducted an activity to help them understand how the Areas of Interaction will be fluid throughout the curriculum, and then from 4-4:30 each domain group brainstormed the beginnings of a unit. Additional meetings will introduce the planner since it takes more time and is more involved.

The International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme (MYP) is designed for students aged 11 to 16. This period, encompassing early puberty and mid-adolescence, is a particularly critical phase of personal and intellectual development and requires a programme that helps students participate actively and responsibly in a changing and increasingly interrelated world. Learning how to learn and how to evaluate information critically is as important as learning facts. Curriculum documents are published in English, French, Spanish and Chinese but schools may offer the programme in other languages. The Middle Years Programme (MYP) is one of three programmes offered by the IB.

For mor einformation on the IB MYP program please see:

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

NMSI Talk- Dr. Petrosino

On Wednesday May 21 and Thursday, May 22 Dr. Petrosino presented work on two courses he dsigned. One, Knowing and Learning in Mathematics and Science (with colleague Dr. Walter Stroup) and Project Based Instruction in Mathematics and Science. Much of this work is being incorporated in the work of the Hoboken School District's Curriculum Committee.

The conference is in response to an outpouring of national interest of educators interested in replicating the successful UTeach program for training math and science teachers May 20-24, 2008. More than more 230 participants from around the country will attend the three-day meeting, the largest national workshop since the program’s inception 11 years ago.

Attendees will learn more about the highly successful UTeach program and explore issues related to science and math education with university faculty, administrators, and others currently implementing UTeach programs across the country. UTeach is being replicated at 13 universities throughout the United States through the Uteach Institute and the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI).

The Austin conference attendees will include representatives from current recipients of NMSI-UTeach grants, including: Florida State University, Louisiana State University/Southeastern Louisiana University, Northern Arizona University, Temple University, University of Kansas, University of California- Berkeley, University of Colorado- Boulder, University of California- Irvine, University of Florida, University of Houston, University of North Texas, UT Dallas, and Western Kentucky University.

Monday, May 19, 2008

LitLife Presentation

Today ten district administrators met with representatives from LitLife to discuss K-8 literacy and reading professional development in the Hoboken School District. LitLife works in a diverse range of school communities to 1) Design and construct curriculum along a spiraling continuum, 2) empower students to exceed national learning standards by training teachers wisely and well, 3) give teachers practical strategies and management tools to create a differentiated classroom, 4) inspire a love of reading and writing in all children by motivating teachers, and 5) develop strategic plans for literacy achievement at all grade levels.

The program is in over 100 schools and has served thousands of teachers grades K-12. The basic premise of the program is a belief that "the key to an extraordinary, memorable, equitable education for all children is effective, systemic, and joyous teacher training.

The professional development centered on student self regulation and metacognitive processes is consistent with findings from the National Research Council's findings on "HOW PEOPLE LEARN".

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Curriculum Meeting- May 14

The Curriculum Committee met today and discussed issues related around the development of hands on activities that incorporate basic principle of How People Learn. Specifically, the committee looked at three key issues: 

1) Reconsider developmental rationale for constraining middle school childrens’ science instruction
2) Effective structuring of clasroom environment for investigative activity via project based instruction preceeded by a meaningful problem
3) Emphasize working like scientists rather than functioning primarily upon students initial state of understanding

The Committee also examined design principles for effective instruction built upon the idea of reflection and revision. Specifically, theses Design Principles for Problems to Projects include:

1) Define Learning Appropriate Goals
2) Provide Scaffolds
3) Multiple Opportunities for Formative Self Assessment
4) Social structures that support participation and revision

The presentation by Dr. Petrosino focused on The Development of a Project, The Scaffolding of Student Activity, Opportunities to Reflect and Revise, The Use of Tools and Opportunities to Acquire Meaningful Content in Mathematics (Data/Measurement) and Science (Experimentation).

The challenge of this work is figuring out how to include detailed project based work like those demonstrated today while still being very conscious and aware of the existence of accountability testing and the educational, social, and political world they inhabit. 

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Summer Curriculum Committee Meetings

The Hoboken Curriculum Committee will begin summer meetings on Monday July 14 and continue until Thursday August 14. The Committee will meet four days a week (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday) from 9AM to 3:30PM with a 1 hour lunch period (11:30-12:30). Additional times and dates may be arranged when appropriate and approved. The primary goals of the summer meeting swill be to provide and articulate detail to the District's system wide curriculum revision process. Meetings will take place in Calabro School.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Frank Sinatra Stamp Ceremonies

“I would like to be remembered as a man who had a wonderful time living life, a man who had good friends, fine family - and I don't think I could ask for anything more than that, actually.” - Frank Sinatra

The United States Postal Service is releasing 120 million copies of the Frank Sinatra stamp this week, featuring a young Sinatra wearing his signature fedora and his blue eyes sparkling. Sinatra was born on Monroe Street and raised in Hoboken. "What you have here is the child of immigrant parents who came to seek the promise of America from the Old World," said Sinatra Jr. about his father. Pointing to the Hudson River flowing past Pier A Park in Hoboken, where the ceremony was held, Sinatra Jr. added, "This is the river that brought his parents to where we are today. "Here was a kid off the streets of Hoboken, New Jersey, and now his face is being honored by a United States Postal Service stamp. If that isn't the finest expression of the American dream, I don't know what is," Sinatra Jr. said.

Hoboken Mayor David Roberts joined Sinatra Jr. at the unveiling, along with actor Danny Aiello, U.S. Rep. Albio Sires, D-West New York, Superintendent Jack Raslowsky and well over 100 Sinatra fans. By CARLY BALDWIN

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Saturday Curriculum Meeting- May 10

The Curriculum Committee met for 6 hours today at Hoboken High School (9AM-3PM). The primary goal was to formulate a final version of the K-12 Curriculum Mapping for the new District Curriculum. For the first time this year we worked in content specific groups to address vertical alignment of the curriculum. Edits were made to previous drafts and some areas received significant reformulations. Content specific groups included Mathematics, Science, Language, Social Studies, and English. This leaves the areas of Music, Art, Physical Education and Career Education yet to be finalized. While we were all expecting to have this past us by this point, the involvement of many teachers across many grade levels is proving to be a major strength and deserves the time allocated. We are anticipating all mapping to be finished by the middle of May.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Red Bank Primary School Visit- Tools of the Mind

Over a dozen members of the Hoboken School District visited Red Bank Primary School in Red Bank, NJ today for a visit of the school's implementation of the Tools of the Mind PK-K curriculum. This was a follow-up to the March 4th visit (see post). Amy Hornbeck, coordinator of the Red Bank program, was on hand to lead visits to numerous PK and K classrooms as well as lead a Question and Answer period for principals and teachers following the classroom observations. Tools of the Mind is a research-based early childhood program that builds strong foundations for school success in preschool and kindergarten children by promoting their intentional and self-regulated learning. In a series of rigorous experimental trials, Tools of the Mind has been shown to have a significant impact on self-regulation of preschool children. The studies also found these gains in self-regulation to be related to scores in child achievement in early literacy and mathematics.

The Hoboken School District is currently assessing the viability of adopting the Tools of the Mind program to address the issue of self regulation among our youngest students in addition to streamlining the transition between the district's Pre K and Kindergarten programs. A decision will be made shortly.

A growing body of research indicates that many children start school not ready to learn not because they do not know their letters or numbers but because they lack one critical ability: the ability to regulate their social, emotional, and cognitive behaviors. Current research shows that self-regulation – often called executive function -- has a stronger association with academic achievement than IQ or entry-level reading or math skills.

District participants included:

Linda Erbe- Principal Connors
Elizabeth Falco-Principal Brandt
Susan Imorz- 21st Century
Jill Littzi- Kindergarten
Romy Marchesani-Kindergarten
Paula Ohaus- Arts
Linda Palumbo- Principal Calabro
Jessica Peters-Supervisor of Early Childhood
Dr. Anthony Petrosino- Asst. to Superintendent
Elizabeth Schwartz-2nd Grade
AnnaMaria Simone-Kindergarten
Katrina Sturdivant-Kindergarten
Charles Tortorella-Principal Wallace

For more information on Tools of the Mind visit: