Saturday, August 23, 2008

Rock and Roll Forever Foundation Meeting

On Saturday, August 23rd Dr. Petrosino was in St. Louis* as part of a meet and greet with the founder of the Rock and Roll Forever Foundation, Mr. Steve Van Zandt (middle). The Rock and Roll Forever Foundation is a non-profit, educational organization founded on the belief that rock and roll is among America's most lasting contributions to world culture. In accordance with this, the Foundation's mission is to study, preserve, and celebrate rock and roll's place among the arts that have defined the 20th century and continue to shape life in the 21st. There's hope that the Hoboken School District will be able to incorporate some of the foundation's curricula materials and course guides into our K-12 Arts/Music curriculum. Dr. Petrosino was in attendance with a colleague, Professor Brian Reiser of Northwestern University (far left). In addition to work in the learning sciences, Dr. Reiser also shares a deep commitment to curriculum development and first brought this opportunity to Dr. Petrosino's attention. After the brief meeting in which Dr. Petrosino invited Mr. Van Zandt and/or a representative of the foundation to speak to the Curriculum Committee, Drs. Petrosino and Reiser attended a performance by Mr. Van Zandt and his band members at the Scottrade Center.

For more information on the Rock and Roll Foundation see:

* The trip to St. Louis and the meeting with the Rock and Roll Foundation representatives came at no expense to the Hoboken School District

Thursday, August 21, 2008

HHS Among Top Five Improved NJ Schools

New Jersey Monthly recently posted an article on the most improved high schools in the state. Hoboken High School had the second largest increase, moving up 121 places in this year's rankings. Proper caution and perspective must be taken with any such rankings as it is often very dependent on the methodology employed. We are confident that Hoboken High School, and all our other campuses, are part of a good district striving for excellence. The recognition is certainly welcomed and reflects the collective efforts of many people over a period of multiple years.

The full article can be accessed by pointing your browser to:
Below is the text from the article:


2008 rank: 139
2006 rank: 260
Change in rank: 121

As an urban institution that is also part of a special-needs district, Hoboken High School has faced many challenges over the years.

But things are looking up. Hoboken High’s graduation rate is up to more than 95 percent from 88.6 percent in 2006; 60 percent of its diverse student population—the school is about 67 percent Hispanic, 20 percent African American, and 11 percent white–go on to a four-year college.

Lorraine Cella has only been principal at Hoboken High for a year, but she has already implemented innovations that seem to be making a difference. A literacy expert, Cella emphasizes reading and writing for her 550 students. Every three days, the entire school devotes each class to reading or writing about a current issue, such as the Iraq war in history class or childrens’ health in gym class.

“The problem with school in general is that students find it boring,” says Cella. “We have to look at what is relevant to them. If we can connect what they are studying to issues of today, then they have a reason to learn the background to their subject.”

Data point: Thanks to a decline in enrollment, average class size at Hoboken is down to 13.6 students from 16.3 in 2006.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Summary of August 14- Last Official Meeting Day of the Summer

The following is a summary of the activities of the Hoboken Curriculum Committee for August 14, 2008. Today was the last official meeting day of the group and we celebrated with some words by Superintendent Raslowsky to start off the day, followed by an in-house lunch and some last day housekeeping activities. Members of the Committee will work individually to finish up some loose ends over the next 3 weeks but the Committee as a whole will not reconvene until the start of the fall semester in September (schedule still pending).

ARTS AND MUSIC: This summer, the arts committee completed the curriculum mapping for grades K-10. Also, we designed unit planners for the MYP. We are currently still working in this area. We divided in teams of two according to our disciplines, and divided the Arts Curriculum into the content area divisions of: Art, Music, and Theater/Dance. For the elementary years, we designed themes for each grade level. The purpose of this was to unify the three disciplines of the arts curriculum. When designing these themes, a cross-curricular approach was implemented as well. Elementary teachers from various grade levels were consulted for their ideas on the elementary curriculum. Combining the cross-curricular and interdisciplinary approaches, we concurred on five themes for grades K-5. In progressive order, the themes are entitled: Myself, My Home, My Community, How We Discover, How We Connect, and How We Apply. For the MYP, each team designed themes derived from the New Jersey State Standards and the Middle Years Program Standards. We consulted various text books in our disciplines for unit planning and formulated ideas from our units and lessons plans currently implemented in our classes. As an Arts Committee, we will continue writing the MYP unit plans in the fall.

SCIENCE: Accomplishments: Completed Units and Design Drafts for all Grade 4 Units; Completed all Units and Grade 1 Design Draft; Completed Grade 3 Unit Plan and Design Draft 3-4; Restructured mapping for grades 1-5 to change the sequence; Started to restructured units to fit the new mapping for grades 1-5; Complete Science Fair Format for district; Complete Curriculum overview for Science 1-12; Revise the curriculum mapping and units for grades 1-5 on the computer

HEALTH AND PHYSICAL EDUCATION: Today our group completed necessary PE & Health units for grades 8-10. Over the five week session we have been able to write curriculum for grades 1-10 in both subject areas. In the fall, we will continue to write the curriculum for grades 11 & 12.

HOLOCAUST/GENOCIDE: Holocaust/Genocide:Today we had Helen Simpkins collaborate with us on materials and information to keep in mind when writing curriculum. She was very informative and full of knowledge. Although feeling overwhelmed, we are excited to develop this in the fall.

LANGUAGE ARTS: we put completed and revised copies of Drafting by Design and MYP Unit Planners for grades 1 through 11 into the Language Arts Binder.

Holocaust Curriculum Meeting

On August 14, a subgroup of the Hoboken Curriculum Committee lead by Ms. Marni Rosenblum (including Ms. Beth Tomlinson, Ms. Kathleen Kelly-Ynoa, Mr. Mark Taraszkiewicz, Ms. Janice Shikham, and Dr. Petrosino) met with Ms. Helen Simpkins, consultant to the State Commission on Holocaust Education, on materials and information to keep in mind when writing curriculum on the Holocaust and genocide. Ms. Simpkins was most informative and will be a great source of knowledge as we move forward revising our district's curriculum.

 We are very excited and honored to work with the New Jersey Commission on Holocaust Education in promoting Holocaust education in the Hoboken School District. By state statue, the Commission shall survey the status of Holocaust/Genocide Education; design, encourage and promote the implementation of Holocaust and genocide education and awareness; provide programs in New Jersey; and coordinate designated events that will provide appropriate memorialization of the Holocaust on a regular basis throughout the state. The Commission will provide assistance and advice to the public and private schools and will meet with county and local school officials, and other interested public and private organizations, to assist with the study of the Holocaust and genocide.

Useful links:

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Summary of Activities for August 13

The following is an update on the activities of the Hoboken Curriculum Committee for Wednesday, August 13:

PHYSICAL EDUCATION/HEALTH: The Physical Education and Health group worked on writing a narrative that addresses the overall goals and vision for the curriculum grades K through 12. We completed all the physical education units for grades 9 and 10 the exception of softball. We research activities, lessons and ideas that pertain to health units in grades 9, 11, and 12. We also organized our binder according to the curriculum map. Tomorrow we will complete the Softball unit planner for 9th and 10th grades. We will also finish the Drug & Alcohol and Decision Making, Advocacy & Leadership units for 8th grade. We anticipate to be completed with all the unit planners kindergarten through 10th grade by tomorrow afternoon.

SOCIAL STUDIES: Today we continued to develop MYP units for grade 10. We anticipate finishing grade 10 tomorrow. After checking our schedules, we will also determine the best time for us to continue our meetings in the fall.

MATHEMATICS: Today we completed Drafting a Design from Big Ideas for the fourth grade. This is the last primary grade that we had to plan out using the Drafting a Design. Tomorrow: We are going to write the narrative that overviews mathematics from grade K-12. Also, we plan to start writing PYP unit plans for the primary grades.

TECHNOLOGY: Today in technology I worked on the "Big Ideas" forms to go with completed planners. By the end of tomorrow we should have them done for all of 7th grade, most of 6th grade (Robin is working on some from home) and about 1/3 of 8th grade. Many of the 8th grade planners are being typed now. Once they are returned, we will finish Big Ideas forms for them also.

LANGUAGE (primary): Completed reviewing standards for 2nd grade in the 2nd grade units; Started Unit 4 (Incredible Stories) - Writing a Narrative - 3rd grade; Started Unit 5 (Animal Habitats) - Writing a Research Report - 3rd grade; Completed Unit 5 Rubric; Started Unit 6- (Voyagers) - Descriptive Writing- for 3rd grade

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Meeting with Hoboken Historical Museum

Today, Bob Foster, Director of the Hoboken Historical Museum met with members of the Hoboken Curriculum Committee at Calabro School in a follow up to an earlier meeting this spring with Dr. Petrosino and the Museum staff. The meeting was very productive and we look forward to the participation of Mr. Foster and his colleagues in being a valulable external source of expertise as the Committee moves forward.

The following is a list of possible local history topics that the Hoboken Historical Museum put together recently...many of these topics will be adapted for students in grades 4 and 5 in the District's revised curriculum.

1. Physical geography and geology of local area: mapping skills, Hudson River, Palisades
2. Original settlers: Lenni Lenape Indians
3. European settlers: Henry Hudson (Dutch) and English settlers
4. Revolutionary War: Bayard and Stevens Family
5. One Hundred firsts in Hoboken: things that were invented or used first in Hoboken
6. Stevens Family as inventors and city developer.
7. City of Hoboken from township to city: 1800-1855, incorporation, street grids and street planning, taxation, roads, sewers and forms of government
8. History of the waterfront from Elysian Fields to commercial port to Hudson River walkway
9. World War I
10. the Great Depression
11. Immigration and migration: Germans, Irish, Italians, Puerto Rican, African-American, yuppies
12. Genealogy
13. Transportation: ferries, railroads and PATH
14. City animals
15. Industry: manufacturing and de-industrialization
16. Music and arts
17. Built environment: roads, buildings, parks
18. Oral histories

Summary of Activities for August 12

The following is a summary of activities undertaken by the Hoboken Curriculum Committee on Tuesday, August 12, 2008:

SOCIAL STUDIES: Today the Social Studies group met with Bob Foster of The Hoboken Historical Museum. We discussed major themes in the history of Hoboken and New Jersey. This afternoon we worked on MYP units for grade 10. We will continue those units

MATHEMATICS: Today we continued to work on completing the Drafting a Design from a Big Idea for the primary schools. We got through the third grade today, only leaving us the fourth grade to complete. Also, we updated or mappings for the primary grades.Tomorrow: We plan to complete the fourth grade Drafting a Design. This will allows us to begin to use the PYP planner to write unit plans for the primary grades.

SCIENCE: Accomplishments: Completed Units and Design Drafts for all Grade 8 Units; Completed Grade 4 Unit Plans and Design Drafts 1-7; Completed Grade 1 Design Drafts 1-4; Completed Grade 3 Unit Plan and Design Draft 1-2; Mapping for Grades 1- 12 Revised and Complete Wednesday: Continue work on Grades 1, 3 and 4 Design Drafts ; Revise Lab Template Grades 9 -12 ; Start Science Fair Format for district

LANGUAGE ARTS: The Language Arts committee began entering drafting by design and myp units into the curriculum folders on the l drive for 11th grade. We also revised the language in the big idea and significant concepts for 9th grade. We plan to complete the 11th grade units before Thursday. We will also try to include a narrative for each grade level

WORLD LANGUAGE: Things that were accomplished today: All units for grade 3 are now typed under both formats; Curriculum units for the 2nd grade from October to June were done-under the PYP format but these units were not typed. The UBD for the second grade is in process. The typing for the second grade curriculum for the UBD is done for the first 2 months of the year. However, the making of the rest of the units under the Understanding by Design still need to be done. In addition, Mrs. De la Rosa and Isabel Bruno took the PYP planner and the UBD template home and each work on a different component. Mrs. De la Rosa was able to make the rest of the UBD for the second grade and was able to type them as well. Isabel Bruno completed the revising and typing of the PYP planner for the second grade.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Summary of Activities for Monday, August 11

The following is an update of activities by the Hoboken Curriculum Committee for Monday, August 11th:
MATHEMATICS: Today was very productive. We completed the Drafting a Design from Big Ideas for the first grade. For the primary grade we have completed the Drafting a Design for grades one, two and five. During the afternoon we began two Draft a Design for the third grade.
Tomorrow: We plan to complete the third and fourth grade Drafting a Design sheets. By the end of the week we hope to have all the primary grades completed for at least the Drafting a Design. We would also like to begin the PYP Planner for the primary grades.

LANGUAGE ARTS (secondary): We located and created rubrics; We developed an assessment guide for fourth grade; We began discussing ideas for our narratives; We made revisions to the drafting design and MYP unit planners.

LANGUAGE ARTS (primary): Today's Accomplishments Completed Unit 6; Completed Unit 7; Completed Unit 1, Grade 3; Began Unit 2 & 3, Grade 3 Tomorrow: Complete Units 2 & 3; Begin Units 3 & 4.

SOCIAL STUDIES: The group finished the fifth grade units, and prepped for our meeting tomorrow with Bob Foster. We are hoping he will have good ideas with ways we can implement Hoboken and New Jersey history in the curriculum. We will be continuing to work on the eight grade curriculum tomorrow as well.

SCIENCE: Completed Design Drafts for Grade 6; Completed Design Draft for Grade 5; Completed Design Drafts for Grade 4 Units 1-4

WORLD LANGUAGES: All units for grade 4 are finished and typed. The 3rd grade curriculum was completed and it is now half way typed; The curriculum for the 2nd grade is on its way. Units from September to October were developed.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Curriculum Summary: Thursday, August 7

The following update is from Thursday, August 6, 2008:

TECHNOLOGY: The technology group has now finished with grades 6-8 and has begun mapping out projects for the grade 5 units. Our group is dwindling...Dr. Susan Imholz is concluding her work with us and leaving for her new teaching position at Pepperdine University in California. We sincerely appreciate all the insights we gained from her as we worked together writing units for technology.

MATHEMATICS: Today we complete the Drafting a Design from the Big Idea for Grade 2. We also mapped Grades 1 and 2 to better prepare us for writing the Unit Plans. We complete a unit for Grade 1 using the Drafting a Design format. Side not there are no NJCCCS for mathematics in grade 1.

PHYSICAL EDUCATION/HEALTH: The week has finally come to an end and the Physical education and Health group has had an incredible week. The following is now complete: 1) Unit planners for grades 1-8 (both Physical education and health) 2) Draft design for grade 3 and 4 (PE) 3) Draft design for grade 6 (both subjects) 4) Curriculum map for grades 1-8 (we need some time to make adjustment for the 3rd and 4th grade map on the L drive) We are anticipating another productive week next week. We are planning to complete the unit planners for grade 9-12.

SOCIAL STUDIES: Today the Social Studies group, despite its small numbers, was able to move forward with vigor. We managed to complete a great majority of the MYP Unit Planners for the fifth grade. (Kevin will be working on two units over the weekend.) It is our goal to have the fith grade done by Monday morning, leaving us with the afternoon to start thinking about the eighth grade. Today, we also worked on the February unit for the 5th Grade, and completed it. We will have the rest of the group look it over on Monday, just to see if more should be added to the unit. IWe plan on working on the March Unit Sunday which would bring the 5th Grade Curriculum close to being finished.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Lego Logo Workshop: Dr. Imholz

On Wednesday, Dr. Susan Imholz (who completed her PhD at MIT working with Seymour Papert) treated several committee members from across all disciplines to a demonstration exercise in Lego Logo, a curriculum tool which marries the Logo programming language to Lego kits. This program enables students to build small motorized vehicles, the movements of which can be directed through the Logo programs fed into the computer. This allows for the introduction at an early age of the concept of variables, which might make the transition to more advanced math concepts easier. In the demonstration, we were asked to write simple code that would direct our cars to follow the path of a triangle. Working together, we mastered the exercise. It is clear that this could be used for cross-curricular lesson planning. Students could build the lego cars/robots, draw maps (ART) for the robots to follow, write narratives (Language Arts) about the path taken by the cars, and finally create Logo programs using mathematical concepts.

Related links:

Curriculum Committee Summary: August 6

The following is the August 6th update for the Hoboken curriculum Committee:

SCIENCE- Accomplishments: Continued Design Drafts for Grade; Revised Grade 6 Unit 3 and 4 Assessments.Thursday:Type Grade 3 Units; Complete Design Drafts for Grade 6; Start Design Drafts for Grade 5; Start MYP Units and Design Drafts for Grade 10; Complete Grade 3 Unit Five

LANGUAGE (primary): Today's Accomplishments: Completed Unit 2, Grade 2; Completed Unit 3, Grade 2; Completed Unit 4,Tomorrow: Unit 4; Rubric, Grade 2; Continue with Unit 5, Grade 2; Start Unit 6, Grade 2; Check Standards for First Grade

SOCIAL STUDIES: Today we completed the edit of the mapping of the primary years on the L drive. We also began brainstorming units for the 5th grade US histoy MYP planners. The first unit on colonial life is complete. Tommorrow we will address the American revolution, and governmental structure units.

ARTS/MUSIC: To my delight, the extensive amount of time that we have spent in understanding the MYP method of instruction and its components as they relate to mapping out the Arts curriculum is truly paying off. All 3 teams (visual, music, and theater/dance) are now working independently, “Drafting Big Ideas” and filling out the MYP Unit planners for each unit. I’ve encouraged all members of the team to set reasonable goals for themselves everyday that take into account the amount of time it takes to produce a quality unit, while at the same time, moving forward to achieve some progress in writing the curriculum.

All three areas are making progress; music has just about finished the writing for 6th grade, while visual is a quarter-way through that same grade. I’ve decided to work on 9th and 10th grades before tackling 6-8, finishing 3 units today. As we proceed, I expect the process to move along faster. It is very encouraging watching all the team members creating units thoughtfully and a using concepts and terminology straight from the MYP. I can see tremendous growth and understanding of the program among all the team members and am inspired by their dedication to working very hard on this project.

MATHEMATICS: As a group we complete the Drafting from a Big Idea from Grade 5. This is part of our plan to complete the primary grades before the end of the summer. In the afternoon we attended the LEGO LOGO presentation in the cafeteria. This was very beneficial for the primary grades and will allow students to enjoy mathematics.Tomorrow: We plan to continue to Unit Plan the primary grades. We hope to have Drafting from a Big Idea complete for second grade and possibly complete third grade as well.

WORLD LANGUAGE: Things that were accomplished today: All units for grade 5 are now typed in the PYY and the UbD’ The 4th grade was also completed. We started to input the information on the PYP and UDD unit planners. The beginning of grade 3 in on its way. We hope to complete it my Monday afternoon.

LANGUAGE ARTS (secondary): Ninth grade was completed and saved in L drive. Revisions continue be made to fourth to tenth grade to adhere to MYP format and uniformity within the Language Arts Department.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Board of Education Presentation

On Tuesday, August 5 Dr. Anthony Petrosino along with a dozen members of the Hoboken Curriculum Committee presented the Hoboken Board of Education and the public with an update on curricular efforts and activities over the past 5 months. Highlights included a discipline by discipline K-12 update on curriculum mapping, curriculum planners, and curriculum design units as well as professional development efforts and anticipated timelines. Hoboken residents may view this presentation on local cable television for the remainder of August. 

Summary of August 5 Curriculum Committee Activities

The following was accomplished by the Curriculum Committee on August 5, 2008:

LANGUAGE ARTS (Primary)- Today's Accomplishments- Completed Lanugage Arts Curriculum Map; Created Curriculum Map for Math, Grades 1 and 2; Assisted Social Studies group with Curriculum writing for primary grades; Began Unit 3 & 4, Grade 2 LA; Completed rubric for Unit 13, Grade 1; Finished reviewing and modifying standards for completed units
Tomorrow: Complete Unit 2, Grade 2; Complete Unit 3, Grade 2; Complete Unit 4, Grade 2; Begin Unit 5, Grade 2; Continue filling out "Big Idea" forms for all first grade units.

SCIENCE- Accomplishments: Completed Design Drafts for Grade 7; Started Design Drafts for Grade 6; Revised Grade 6 Unit 1 Assessments; Completed all typing of Grade 4 Units.Wednesday: Type Grade 3 Units; Complete Design Drafts for Grade 6; Start Design Drafts for Grade 5; Start MYP Units and Design Drafts for Grade 10; Complete Grade 3 Unit Five.

LANGUAGE ARTS- We met and discussed uniformity among the units. Then we continued to edit and input all MYP units.

WORLD LANGUAGE- Things that were accomplished today:All units for grade 5 are now typed in the PYP. Also, Units 1-15 were typed to the UBD template; In addition, changes were made to MYP Finding the Big Idea for the MYP Years Units; Also, unit plans were developed for the 4th grade curriculum from the month of October to the month of March. Besides this, we were able to finish the units from September to December in the Understanding by Design.

SOCIAL STUDIES- This morning we completed all MYP units for the 9th grade world history. This afternoon elementary Donna and Jennifer helped us revise the maps for grades 1-4. They are now complete and must be entered into the master map tomorrow. Once the map is complete our plan for tomorrow is to complete units for the 5th(PYP) & 8th(MYP) grades.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Summary of August 4 Activites

The following is a list of activities conducted by the Hoboken Curriculum Committee on Monday, August 4, 2008:

LANGUAGE ARTS- Today, we aligned the CCCS for the 4th unit for the 10th grade Language Arts curriculum and completed the 5th unit MYP planner for the 10th grade. we also researched supplemental materials for the 10th grade curriculum.

LANGUAGE ARTS (PRIMARY)- Today's Accomplishments: Completed Unit 13, Grade 1; Began rubric for Unit 13, Grade 1; Completed Unit 1, Grade 2; Completed Rubric for Grade 2, Unit 1; Began Unit 2 of Grade 2; Updated Curriculum Map for grades K-4; Began working on "Big Idea" form for Grade 1, unit 1; Reviewed and modified standards for Grade 1, units 1-6 Tomorrow: Complete rubric for Unit 13, Grade 1; Complete Unit 2, Grade 2; Complete Rubric for Unit 2, Grade 2; Continue filling out "Big Idea" forms for all first grade units; Continue reviewing and modifying standards for completed units.

MATHEMATICS- Today we complete the MYP Unit Planner for Grade 9 Algebra 1. We had to add a unit so that the unit plans would not run too long. We started to discuss the MYP final project.Tomorrow we plan to tighten up both the Algebra 1 and Geometry Unit Plans. We also would like to complete at least half of the Algebra 2 Unit Plans.

TECHNOLOGY- Today we worked on unit planners for grade 8. Progress was slowed since we were missing one group member but that should be resolved tomorrow. For 8th grade, September, May and June are in progress and March-April is complete. Tomorrow we will continue working on grade 8, which should be completed by Wednesday.

SCIENCE- Accomplishments: Completed typing of Grade 5 units; Reviewed and aligned NJCCS for grades 5 – 7; Reviewed Grade 8 Units, necessary revision of MYP Assessments needed; Started Design Drafts for Grade 7; Organized K-12 units in order of progress.Tuesday: Complete Design Drafts for Grade 7; Start Design Drafts for Grade 6.; Complete Grade 3 Unit Five; Type Grade 4 Units 8 -10.

WORLD LANGUAGE- Today, the World Languages Team was able to complete the curriculum for grade 5. It is made up of 27 units/lessons. Units 4-15 were typed to thePYP unit planner. In addition, we were able to work on units 1-15 using the UBD unit template. We hope to have the entire 5th grade totally done by tomorrow under both models-the UBD and the PYP. Moreover, the first month of instruction for the 4th grade was done as well.