Thursday, September 12, 2013

Hoboken High School EMT Program and Elective Class Dropped Without Public Discussion by Kids First led Hoboken Board of Education /Fox News 5 Coverage of Story (video)

Cassi Alexandra/The Jersey Journal
Hoboken High School EMT Corp (2011) 
The Hoboken High School Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) program and class was terminated this week. Begun shortly after 9/11 as an after school extracurricular activity and continuing over the next decade and more, the program and class garnered local and national attention. Here is a video from ABC-TV News from when I was the Assistant Superintendent in the district in 2009 highlighting the real world experience these students enjoyed was unique in the NY/NJ area and led to many students seeking careers in the allied health professions. In 2011, the Jersey Journal did a feature article on the EMT corp pointing out they make about 100 emergency calls a year in Hoboken and discussing the recent support they received from the Jersey City Medical Center

Apparently there is some debate as to how many students were enrolled in the course. Some people say 6 and others indicate as many as twice that amount were enrolled. 

No mention of the termination of the program or dissolving of the class was made at the September 10, 2013 Board of Education Meeting by the Board, the District Administrators or by Board Vice President and Chairperson of the Curriculum Committee Trustee Ruth McAllister. This is especially troubling since the community and EMT services rely on the Hoboken High School EMT program. 

There are many troubles facing Hoboken High School and it is a surprise this nationally known program was perceived to be extraneous to the mission of the school and district. For instance, Hoboken High School recently received a damaging review by the Newark Star Ledger (a grade of "D", lowest in Hudson County and among lowest in the state) as well a ranking in the bottom 50 high schools in New Jersey by New Jersey Monthly Magazine for its academic quality. Only a few short years ago, the school garnered recognition from US News and World Report and was declared the "2nd most improved high school in New Jersey" by New Jersey Monthly. Poor leadership by a political group known as "Kids First" as well as a revolving door of school and district leadership has had serious consequences for the district in general (designated a "District in Need of Improvement" by both the State of New Jersey and the federal government) as well as specifically at the high school. In light of such challenging academic results its disappointing that a program which provided real world, project based problem solving as well as clear vocational importance and provided a service to the community was terminated with no public discussion. 

Fox News 5 has covered the story extensively and the video below is certainly worth a look. Fox News 9 reports that according to students, issues of insurance coverage led to the decision.