Monday, October 31, 2016

Ragamuffin Parade in Hoboken-- A Tradition Continues

Ragamuffin Parade & Costume Contest

Mayor Dawn Zimmer, the City of Hoboken and
Mon. October 31, 2016
To participate: Line of march setup begins at 3:15pm
on Washington Street
 bet. 13th & 14th Street
Parade starts at 3:30pm

Parade features local live music, floats, lots of great costumes and so much more.
Wear your Halloween best!
Costume Contest begins at 4:30pm after the Parade
at The Little League Field, 5th Street & River Terrace
Prizes awarded in five age categories.
Featuring your host & MC: Polka Dot
Thanks to all of our sponsors for their generous support.

Thanks to our GOLD sponsors:

Johnny Rockets

Litzky Public Relations

Academy Bus
Carepoint Health
Flo On Wheels

Thanks to our SILVER sponsors:
Aether. Game Cafe • Baby Boot Camp   •  Ben & Jerry’s  •  Bienvenue Dance Center
Big Fun Toys  •  
Bricks 4 Kidz  •  Biggies  •  Little City Books •Devotion Yoga • Dozzino Hoboken • Drum Den  •  Liberty Science Center
Flo on Wheels  •  
Grimaldi’s Coal Brick-Oven Pizzeria • Guitar BarHide & Go  •  Hoboken Aardvarcks • Hoboken Family AllianceLeanne Schanzer Promotions • Learn Language Hoboken • Just 4 KidsMad Science of Union & Hudson • Mario’s Classic Pizza CafĂ©
MathWizard of Hoboken • Inner Athlete • 
Medicine Man Pharmacy
Mimi Kids Yoga  •  
Napoli’s  •  Monroe St. Movement Space  •  Music TogetherMy Gym Hoboken • My One Dress  •  Puppet Heap  •  Peanut Butter BoyPreschool of Rock • Romparoo • Ron Albanese (Polka Dot)Studio L  •  Tiger Schulmann  •  Urban Arts • Urban Jungle Play
Wee Babe  •  Work It Out •  FRESH 102.7 
and more










Hoboken School District Results of 2014-15 PARCC Scores for Ninth Grade Language Arts

Figure 1: Grade 9 Language Arts PARCC Results 2014-15
If there is any subject more important than Algebra I and Algebra II for economic and college success it is Language Arts. You need to be able to read, write, and communicate effectively. The following is some details concerning what is looked at in terms of the PARCC testing for Language Arts for Grade 9. In addition we include data centering on how Hoboken High School has done in Language Arts as well as comparison with other districts with similar socioeconomic demographics. 
What is PARCC? The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) is a consortium featuring eight states, the District of Columbia, and the Bureau of Indian Education, that work to create and deploy a standard set of K–12 assessments in mathematics and English, based on the Common Core State Standards. The PARCC consortium was awarded Race to the Top assessment funds in September 2010 by the U.S. Department of Education to help in the development of the K–12 assessments. PARCC has included educators in the development of its assessments and will consult with more than 200 postsecondary educators and administrators in the development of the assessments.
From the data (see Figure 1) it appears that in 2014-15 Grade 9 scores in Language Arts was not only low...but among the lowest even in districts with similar students from the same socioeconomic demographics. It was not that long ago when Hoboken High School received back to back recognition by US News and World Report for their academics. Triangulating this data is the fact that the school district has failed its annual QSAC DPR in Instruction and Program for the fifth straight year. -Dr. Petrosino 


The New Jersey Student Learning Standards for English Language Arts (ELA) build on the best of existing standards and reflect the skills and knowledge students need to succeed in college, career, and life.
Here are the key aspects of the Standards: 
  • Literature and informational (nonfiction) text are important for our students and should maintain their rightful place in our classrooms; 
  • Background knowledge and motivation are critical to the success of students when learning to read and when accessing complex text; 
  • Research by students provides the opportunity to learn more about a subject, but equally as important, provides students the opportunity to look beyond their research to questions left unanswered (new avenues for student research); 
  • Using evidence remains a critical skill, interspersed throughout the standards, allowing students to ground their thinking in the work of authors and experts in literature and in the content areas; 
  • Literacy must be recognized and guided in content areas so that students recognize the academic vocabulary, media representations, and power of language inherent in the work of scholars and experts, and 
  • The importance of foundational skills in the early grades, as students learn to read, cannot be overstated and calls for targeted, sustained intervention at any point of struggle for a student.
From the 2015-16 Interim Review of the QSAC DPR in Instruction and Program we know that: The district received no points on the criteria of meeting the Annual Measurable Objective (AMO) in language arts literacy (LAL) for the district's total population.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Amid Claims and Assurances of Progress by the Kids First/Reach Higher Hoboken/Forward Together Political Group....Hoboken School District Fails QSAC DPR in INSTRUCTION AND PROGRAM for 5th Consecutive Year

Halloween- Hoboken NJ
On July 6, 2016, the Hoboken School District was notified by the New Jersey Department of Education that the district had failed the 2015-16 QSAC DPR in INSTRUCTION AND PROGRAMThe system focuses on monitoring and evaluating school districts in five key components (see Figure 1) that, based on research, have been identified to be key factors in effective school districts (Instruction and program; Personnel; Fiscal management; Operations; and Governance). 

This is the fifth consecutive year the district has failed QSAC (receiving a score below 80) in INSTRUCTION AND PROGRAM.  

Other than the safety and well being of children, there is no other priority more important to a school district than curriculum, instruction and subsequent student learning. Athletics, clubs, facilities, governance, benefits, salaries, budgets while all important take a back seat to safety and well being of the children and of learning, instruction, and curriculum.  

As many of us know, it is easy to say something is improving. It is much more challenging to see evidence of improvement by independent, 3rd party, objective evaluations by unbiased entities. Multiple years of consecutive failure to pass the DPR in Instruction and Program by earning a score of 80 or better is not necessarily progress...especially in light of the fact that the district scored an 87 under previous Board and district leadership in Curriculum and Instruction. The DPR in INSTRUCTION and PROGRAM did go up 1% this past year with is positive and has shown progress since the 45% in August of 2014 but is still a long way from the 87% received after the first full comprehensive review after completion of the Hoboken Curriculum Project by over 80 teachers and staff under my leadership. Hopefully, the Board will be able to get these scores back to passing sometime in the near future. In the meantime, its important for the public to be aware of these QSAC scores. 

QSAC RESULTS- HOBOKEN SCHOOL DISTRICT 
2011-12 DPR INSTRUCTION AND PROGRAM** - FAILED
2012-13 DPR INSTRUCTION AND PROGRAM** - FAILED 
2013-14 DPR INSTRUCTION AND PROGRAM** - FAILED 
2015-16 DPR INSTRUCTION AND PROGRAM** - FAILED 
First QSAC DPR assessment in INSTRUCTION AND PROGRAM after completion of the Hoboken Curriculum Project under the leadership of Dr. Petrosino and the Hoboken Curriculum Committee. QSAC was new to the district in 2007 when I came to the district and in a little over 24 months, the DPR score in INSTRUCTION AND PROGRAM went from an initial score of 34 to 87. 
** QSAC DPR assessment in INSTRUCTION AND PROGRAM under current Board majority. 


Score >80 = PASSED*
Score <80 b="" failed="">**
  July 7, 2016 QSAC Letter by zz on Scribd


What is most distressing is that it wasn't that long ago, under different Board and District leadership, that the Hoboken School District scored an 87 on the QSAC DPR for INSTRUCTION AND PROGRAM. Despite proclamations that the school district is "improving" or statements that Kids First/Reach Higher Hoboken inherited a failing district-- the reality is that much of the gains in instruction and program that were achieved and independently verified by the State of New Jersey have eroded...reaching as low as 45 in the spring of 2014. Poor leadership, 7 superintendents in 6 years, 5 high school principals in the same period of time, multiple district configurations, and numerous other principals and administrators during the Kids First/Reach Higher Hoboken/Forward Progress leadership (2009-present) have taken a toll. 

The ongoing failure of QSAC DPR in INSTRUCTION AND PROGRAM is a contributing factor to the district receiving the designation of a "District in Need of Improvement" in November of 2011. Whether the continued failing scores in INSTRUCTION AND PROGRAM are related to the district's violence and vandalism rates, or other factors is open to discussion and interpretation. -Dr. Petrosino 


When we view the entire detailed report (see below) we read some interesting findings: 

1) The district received no points on the criteria of meeting the Annual Measurable Objective (AMO) in language arts literacy (LAL) for the district's total population.

2)  The district received no points on the criteria of meeting the Annual Measurable Objective (AMO) in mathematics for the district's total population.

3) Language Arts: The district received no points on the criteria of meeting at least 95% of the total student population achieved proficiency (proficient plus advanced proficient) in the most recent year assessed (NJDOE goal);

4) Mathematics: The district received no points on the criteria of meeting at least 95% of the total student population achieved proficiency (proficient plus advanced proficient) in the most recent year assessed (NJDOE goal);

5)  The district received no points for meeting the criteria of at least 95%, according to the most recent NJDOE-published high school graduation rate (N.J.S.A. 18A:7E-3  ); 

6)  The district received no points for meeting the criteria at least 90%, according to the most recent NJDOE-published high school graduation rate (N.J.S.A. 18A:7E-3  ); 


To see the full 2015-2016 Interim Review of the QSAC Report on INSTRUCTION AND PROGRAM see below: 


Under "Kids First/Forward Together" Leadership Hoboken School District's 2014-15 Algebra II PARCC Scores Lowest in All FG District Factor Groups in New Jersey

Figure 1: 2014-15 NJ PARCC Algebra II Scores by District Factor Group 
Algebra is frequently called the gatekeeper subject. It is used by professionals ranging from electricians to architects to computer scientists. It is no less than a civil right, says Robert Moses, founder of the Algebra Project, which advocates for math literacy in public schools as a civil right.  To see how the Hoboken School District scored in Algebra I please CLICK HERE

To hear the rhetoric of "great progress", one would expect that Algebra II scores are doing reasonably well. Especially since back in 2012 the Kids First/Forward Together Board members approved an Algebra II curriculum: 

Click to Enlarge
Click to see full Board Agenda for October 2012
 

 So how is the Hoboken School District doing in Algebra II when compared to other New Jersey schools with similar characteristics ("FG" district factor group) on standardized Algebra II PARCC scores? 

Unfortunately, under the Kids First/Forward Together Board leadership, the Hoboken School District recorded the lowest scores in the district factor group (DFG) in 2014-15. New Jersey designates every school district by a distract factor. From lowest socioeconomic status to highest, the categories are A, B, CD, DE, FG, GH, I and J. There are 92 public school districts in New Jersey designated “FG” including the Hoboken School District.  

District factor groups in New Jersey are based on the following socioeconomic criteria: 1) Percent of adults with no high school diploma, 2) Percent of adults with some college education, 3) Occupational status, 4) Unemployment rate, 5) Percent of individuals in poverty, 6) Median family income.

Even when taking into account ALL 6 of these socioeconomic factors, the Hoboken School District scored lowest in the State of New Jersey on the 2014-15 Algebra II PARCC assessment. Echoing the words of former Board of Education trustee and Kids First political group member back in 2007 (when it was evidently more acceptable to question, criticize, and challenge Board members, superintendents and teachers)... "we are failing our children." 




Saturday, October 29, 2016

QSAC Scores 2008-2014: Hoboken Public Schools Score 45% on 2014 QSAC DPR in Instruction and Program- 4th Consecutive Year of Failing Scores During Kids First Era

Figure 1: QSAC DPR 2008-2014
Click to Enlarge 
Portions of this post was first published in 2015... There will be a more detailed post on QSAC scores this coming week, but to be clear-- here is the documentation that after an initial score of 34% (which I inherited and was assessed on work before I arrived in the district during the initial statewide use of the QSAC assessment for districts in New Jersey) the QSAC DPR in INSTRUCTION AND PROGRAM rose to 87% after the first full assessment of the completed Hoboken Curriculum Project



EVERY QSAC evaluation after in INSTRUCTION AND PROGRAM since I left the district has resulted in a failed QSAC DPR score (a score below 80% is failing) going as low as a 45% in 2014-15. That means FAILED QSAC DPR Scores in INSTRUCTION AND PROGRAM for 2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15, and 2015-16 under Kids First/Progress Together member leadership. 

Click here for Details: http://hobokencurriculumproject.blogspot.com/2015/05/hoboken-public-schools-score-45-on-qsac.html

Click to Enlarge




Friday, October 28, 2016

Hoboken High School: Total Grade 9-12 Enrollment Down -23.7%; Hoboken Resident High School Enrollment Down -41.7% During "Kids First/Reach Higher, Hoboken/Forward Together" 7 Year Majority Era

I find it a challenge to take seriously political slogans like "Continue the Progress" when the resident enrollment of Hoboken High School is down over 40% during the last 7 years. It is troubling when these political slogans concern the lives of Hoboken's most precious resource...its children and young adults. 
While I was Assistant to the Superintendent, Hoboken High School enjoyed a fantastic amount of independent, third party positive recognition from state and national media sources. During that period of time, we were voted the second most improved high school in the State of New Jersey by New Jersey Monthly and we won back to back Bronze Medal Awards by US News and World Report. All three awards were unsolicited. All three awards were well deserved. And all three awards were due to the coordinated work and cooperation between the teaching staff and by consistent leadership from building and district administrators.

Under the current Board majority leadership of the Hoboken School District (in place since May of 2009 and known by various names including Kids First/Reach Higher, Hoboken/Forward Together), Hoboken High School has gone through 5 principals in 7 years while the district has gone through 7 interim and "permanent" superintendents in roughly the same time period (Raslowsky, Carter, Rusak, Romano (never served), Toback, Brockel, and the current superintendent). 


Perhaps most critically, the newly renamed "Hoboken High School" and "Hoboken Middle School" rather than the "Hoboken High School/Hoboken Junior Senior High School" has gone though 4 different configurations and/or name changes since 2010 alone (Grades 9-12 and Grades 7 and 8; Grades 9-12; Grades 8-12;  Grades 7-12)

Figure 1: HHS Total Enrollment Data 2009-2016
Click to Enlarge

From the enrollment data in Figure 1 it appears as if parents of high school age students in Hoboken are finding alternative educational options and may not be completely happy with the reconfiguration approved by the Kids First/Reach Higher, Hoboken Board majority.  Other factors may include that since 2009 the High School has not been recognized as positively by New Jersey Monthly or US News and World Report. Other issues may also play a role. What is clear is that since the 2009-10 school year, Grade 9-12 enrollment is down -23.7% in Hoboken High School. 

Perhaps more telling, Grade 9-12 enrollment of Hoboken resident students (omitting "choice" students, which I helped bring to the district in 2009) has plummeted -41.7% since 2009-10 school year, the first year of the Kids First/Reach Higher, Hoboken/Forward Together era


Figure 2: HHS Grade 9-12 Resident Enrollment
Data 2007-08 to 2015-16
Click to Enlarge

The trend is even more telling when we look at enrollment data over a much longer period of time at Hoboken High School (see Figure 3). Before the Kids First/Reach Higher Hoboken/Forward Together era there was a noticeable uptick (2003-04 to 2008-09) in Hoboken High School enrollment of resident students in Grades 9-12. Once the Kids First/Reach Higher Hoboken/Forward Together era began (see red bar graphs in Figure 3), Hoboken families have been abandoning Hoboken High School at an alarming rate. 


Figure 3: HHS Grade 9-12 Resident Enrollment
Data 1998-99 to 2015-16
Click to Enlarge

A few things supporters of Kids First/Reach Higher Hoboken/Forward Together may not realize that may have an impact on these enrollment numbers: 

1) lower SAT scores than expected from economic status of student families
2) designation of the Hoboken School District as a District in Need of Improvement
3) low rating of the Hoboken School District by independent news organizations
4) violence, vandalism and bullying in the Hoboken Public Schools; and 
5) five consecutive years of failing INSTRUCTION AND PROGRAM as evaluated by the New Jersey Department of Education
6) recent teacher effectiveness ratings
7) High School graduation rates

A quick summary: 

The Hoboken Public School students obtain SAT scores lower than expected by their socio-economic status, they are in a district that was designated by the New Jersey Department of Education as a "District in Need of Improvement" and this district has failed the New Jersey QSAC DPR for Instruction and Program for the past 4 years. The Newark Star Ledger gave the district high school a "D". In addition, the district was rated the 9th most violent school district in New Jersey by HobokenPatch.com and the rate of violence and vandalism incidents in the schools remain very high compared to schools in Hudson County and around the state. Add to this 6 superintendents in 7 years and 4 different district configurations in the same period and we can see reason why the quality of education the poor and disadvantaged students of Hoboken are receiving under the leadership of the "Kids First/Reach Higher Hoboken!/Forward Together" political group might be considered a threat to their civil rights. Especially if one considers the quality of an education to be a civil right. 









Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Most Recent Violence and Vandalism Data for Hoboken, Hudson County, and New Jersey School Districts

Many readers will recall that an analysis conducted by Patch.com during the 2013-14 school year showed the Hoboken Public Schools to have the 9th highest rate of Violence and Vandalism in the State of New Jersey (see Figure 1). At the time,  this analysis and the subsequent implications caused a great amount of concern by people throughout the city and school district. The Kids First-Forward Together political group had been in majority control of the Hoboken Board of Education for over 4 and a half years at the time of the report.


Where is the district in terms of Violence and Vandalism after more than 7 years of Kids First-Forward Together leadership and almost 3 years after this analysis by Patch? This is the latest data available (see full report at the end of this post) and is officially presented in a report titled the "Commissioner's Annual Report to the Education Committees of the Senate and General Assembly on Violence, Vandalism, and Substance Abuse in New Jersey Public Schools" - and is Based on District-Reported Data in the Electronic Violence and Vandalism Reporting System (EVVRS) and the Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying Investigations , Trainings, and Programs Systems (HIB-ITP). 


Figure 1: Hoboken Patch Screen Shot
Click to Enlarge

Here is the most recent published raw data sorted from highest incidents per 100 students to lowest incidents per 100 students in Hudson County, NJ and some selected districts across New Jersey. The data has been parsed to observe the individual numbers within each category (Enrollment, Violence, Vandalism, Weapons, Substances and Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying (HIB)) for each district in Hudson County and in a sample of other districts around the state. 

Click to Enlarge













Here is the most recent published raw data sorted alphabetically and in graphical chart form for Hudson County, NJ and some selected districts across New Jersey and graphed as "incidents per 100 students."

Click to Enlarge












When we use RATES as opposed to TOTAL NUMBERS we see interesting and unique patterns in the data. The Hoboken School District still has higher rates of violence and vandalism than any other district in Hudson County, NJ or districts such as Camden, Newark, and Asbury Park. 

SUMMARY: Is this the "continued progress" that we hear politicians speak of? Is this the "moving forward" that we are told the Hoboken Public Schools are experiencing and voters must "protect"? No one likes to speak about things like violence, vandalism, weapons, and bullying...but it does happen and it is up to the adults in charge to assure these incidents happen as little as possible and at rates as low as possible. Nonetheless, according to self reported data, Violence and Vandalism happens in the Hoboken Public Schools at a rate that surpasses all other districts in Hudson County and many other districts throughout the State of New Jersey. To be clear, this does not necessary mean that the Hoboken Public Schools are "dangerous" places-- danger is something that is a subjective. But what is clear is that parents and taxpayers of the city need to have access to objective data, reasonably presented in a comprehensible fashion in order to make their own educational and safety decisions concerning their children. 

METHODOLOGY: While large school districts in cities such as Newark and Camden led the way in total number of incidents, there were many districts that had a higher rate of incidents of violence. In order to equalize large, medium, and small districts it was determined to take a look at the report in the context of how many students attend school in each of the districts ("enrollment"), and construct a list of the districts with the highest number of incidents of violence per 100 students. This makes it easier to compare districts with each other since the incidents of violence, vandalism, weapons, bullying etc takes into account the total number of students in that district. If this techniques was not employed, than the districts with the largest enrollments would likely have the highest total number of incidents and (perhaps inappropriately) be classified as "violent" districts. Conversely, districts with relatively average enrollments but with relatively high number of total incidents for the number of students they serve would go relatively unrecognized.

The following research was helpful in preparation of this post: Reference 1, Reference 2, and Reference 3.

Note: There is no statistical evidence that the rates of Violence and Vandalism has been impacted by the addition of "choice" students into any NJ school district. 

Monday, October 24, 2016

Why Algebra Matters and an Examination of the Hoboken School District's 2015 PARCC Algebra I scores...with State and County Comparisons

Hoboken Boat House 
It is frequently called the gatekeeper subject. It is used by professionals ranging from electricians to architects to computer scientists. It is no less than a civil right, says Robert Moses, founder of the Algebra Project, which advocates for math literacy in public schools as a civil right.  


Basic algebra is the first in a series of higher-level math classes students need to succeed in college and life. Because many students fail to develop a solid math foundation, an alarming number of them graduate from high school unprepared for college or work. Many end up taking remedial math in college, which makes getting a degree a longer, costlier process than it is for their more prepared classmates. And it means they are less likely to complete a college-level math course. For middle-schoolers and early high school students and their parents, the message is clear: It’s easier to learn the math now than to relearn it later.

 To hear the rhetoric of "great progress", one would expect that Algebra I scores are doing reasonably well. Especially since back in 2012 the Kids First/Forward Progress Board members approved an Algebra I curriculum: 

Click to Enlarge
Click to see full Board Agenda for October 2012 

 So how is the Hoboken School District doing in Algebra I when compared to other New Jersey schools with similar characteristics ("FG" district factor group) on standardized Mathematics scores? Hoboken seems to rank around 59th out of 62 or so school districts in their own factor group. I guess this is considered "progress" in an era of low expectations--- 

How is the Hoboken School District doing in Algebra I when compared to other New Jersey schools with similar characteristics ("FG" district factor group) when we view the data as graphical representation in chart form? The story may be a little clear...

Click to Enlarge
So how is the Hoboken School District doing in Algebra I when compared to other school districts in Hudson County, New Jersey?
Click to Enlarge






These Algebra scores speak for themselves. What does not speak for itself is the scholastic damage and limited opportunities that these students now face with such poor performance in Algebra I for the rest of their lives. Who is responsible? All we hear is how much "progress" is being made...how "great" the schools are doing...how wonderful leadership has been. 
Algebra I PARCC scores are not an isolated aspect of the education students are receiving in the Hoboken Public Schools under the current board majority leadership. For instance: 
The Hoboken Public School students obtain SAT scores lower than expected by their socio-economic status, they are in a district that was designated by the New Jersey Department of Education as a "District in Need of Improvement" and this district has failed the New Jersey QSAC DPR for Instruction and Program for the past 4 years. The Newark Star Ledger gave the district high school a "D". In addition, the district was rated the 9th most violent school district in New Jersey by HobokenPatch.com and the rate of violence and vandalism incidents in the schools remain very high compared to schools in Hudson County and around the state. Add to this 6 superintendents in 7 years and 4 different district configurations in the same period and we can see reason why the quality of education the poor and disadvantaged students of Hoboken are receiving under the leadership of the "Kids First/Reach Higher Hoboken!" political group might be considered a threat to their civil rights. Especially if one considers the quality of an education to be a civil right. 
Conclusion: Perhaps the civil rights of students in Hoboken are being threatened. But it is clear these rights are not being violated by an expansion of two grades by a single charter school, or enrollment restrictions, or boundary restrictions, and it is evident that proper funding is being allocated. It may be the case that the children of Hoboken are being denied the quality education they truly deserve and require and that may be a violation to the spirit of civil rights and to the 1954 decision of Brown vs. Board of Education. Whether this is a legal issue or a moral issue is an interesting question. But for those who wish to applaud the upholding of the civil rights of students by the current "Kids First/Move Forward Hoboken!/Forward Progress" majority of the Hoboken Board of Education...it may be time to closely examine the education being received by the district's high needs population and whether their civil right of access to a quality education is what is actually being violated. 
Later this week we will look at another important aspect of a child's education and how the Hoboken School District under the leadership of Kids First-Forward Progress have been doing... Literacy/Reading. 






Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Hoboken Board of Education Candidates Forum- October 20th from 6:30-8:30 pm

Click to Enlarge
This year's Hoboken Board of Education Candidates Forum which is an opportunity for all voters to learn about the Board of Education Candidates. Questions can be submitted by attendees. The Board of Education serves all of Hoboken’s citizens and its decisions have implications for parents regardless of current school placement. Thank you to the Hoboken Quality of Life Coalition for organizing this important opportunity.
Official HQLC announcement: 
The Hoboken Quality of Life Coalition is pleased to invite all Hoboken residents to its 2016 Board of Education candidates’ forum, continuing a tradition the Coalition has maintained for over a decade. These forums give Hoboken voters an opportunity to hear directly from the candidates running for the three open seats on the Board of Education in the November 8, 2016, election. This year’s forum will take place on Thursday, October 20, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Elks Lodge, 1005 Washington Street. 

These events are arranged by the Hoboken Quality of Life Coalition, Inc., and will be moderated by Bob Bowdon, a professional interviewer and longtime resident of Hoboken, who has expertly conducted QLC-sponsored forums over the last eight years. These events have consistently presented a lively exchange of policy ideas, opinions and comments on issues that the voters themselves consider the most important. 

Question and Answer Procedures: Written questions will be solicited from the audience and submitted to a panel, who will select the clearest and most concise questions on a wide range of topics. Candidates will have a minute and a half to respond to each question, and a one-minute rebuttal will be allowed with permission from the moderator. Each candidate will have an opportunity to make one-minute opening introductory and closing remarks, and a timekeeper will ensure that time limits are respected in answering questions.

Elks Lodge- Hoboken, NJ 


Thursday, October 13, 2016

Do You Know Your Child’s Learning Style, and Does It Matter? - Dr. Petrosino Interviewed

Lyric Theater-Hoboken, NJ 81-83 Hudson St. (circa 1920)
I was recently interviewed for an article concerning "learning styles"-- for "Austin Family"  Learning styles is a topic which corresponds with some of my research in cognition and general learning theories. Readers who would like to learn more about this topic are encouraged to read this article on what the scientific and research literature says about learning styles. -Dr. Petrosino 


Do You Know Your Child’s Learning Style, and Does It Matter?

Some of us are visual learners, and some of us are auditory learners, right? It seems like an accepted part of education: we each learn best when information is presented a preferred way. But current thinking in many scholarly circles says this assumption may be false.
Many experts and classroom teachers agree it is less important to be taught in a particular style than to receive information in a variety of ways, or modalities. And the modalities used—such as visual, auditory or kinesthetic—should fit the content being taught. For instance, an “auditory learner” will still likely learn about geography best by looking at maps, and a “visual learner” will need to hear foreign language sounds to pronounce them. Furthermore, we all seem to learn better when material is presented multiple times and in a variety of contexts.
UT Austin Professor Dr. Anthony Petrosino is concerned that students may limit their learning potential by adopting a label. Petrosino is an associate professor at UT’s School of Education and co-founder of the UTeach Program. Visual thinking tools help everyone, he says. And just because a person prefers a particular learning style doesn’t mean he actually learns best that way.
“It’s probably best to have your child learn through multiple modalities,” Petrosino says. We learn through all our senses; the more of these used, the better our comprehension, recall and retrieval will be, he adds. Deeper learning comes from using a variety of methods, like having students read or write about a subject, do related activities, respond to questions, debate one another or make presentations.
This view is echoed by Dr. Robert Duke, an expert on music and human learning and a professor in UT’s Butler School of Music. “The more different ways an individual interacts with some idea or some skill, the more likely he or she is to remember it and be able to use it in the future,” he says.
Children need to learn to deal with confusion productively, Duke adds. “Most jobs require you to think more creatively and be able to solve problems that are unusual,” he says.
The idea that we should pay attention to learning style preferences continues to have its advocates. One such supporter is Dr. Richard Felder, a professor emeritus at North Carolina State University, who helped develop the popular Felder-Silverman Learning Style Model.
But even those backers agree that the goal is not to pigeonhole students nor burden teachers. Rather, the knowledge can become one more tool to enhance the education process. “The point is not to match teaching style to learning style but rather to achieve balance, making sure that each style preference is addressed to a reasonable extent during instruction,” Felder wrote in 2010.
Regardless of the teaching methods your child may encounter, she may certainly benefit from a deeper understanding of how she likes to interact with information. One kid-friendly place to find diagnostics and other resources is at kids.lovetoknow.com. Your child may discover ways to reinforce classroom instruction, both in school and at home.
Here are some other ways you can help:
  • Support your child’s teacher in using tools and methods. Ask how the teacher incorporates different modalities and encourage him or her to use a variety. If the school lacks resources, parents or the PTA may be able to purchase maps, flash cards, CDs, DVDs or portable A-V equipment.

  • Teach your child to ask for support. Encourage your child to ask for explanations or resources that use additional modalities. For example, if a teacher tends to present math concepts verbally, your child might ask for pictures, charts or YouTube videos.

  • Set your child up for success at home. Offer study aids or encourage her to create her own. She could make flash cards to practice multiplication tables or write a poem about how plants reproduce. Drawing pictures or singing songs about a story may help her remember its plot. Your child may form creative and self-supportive study habits that will pay off later in upper grades and college.

  • Don’t be in too big a hurry to help. Allowing your child to struggle with a certain amount of confusion may help him learn to solve problems on his own. In addition, it teaches the value of persistence and encourages your child to acquire new strategies—regardless of the style or form in which material is presented— with more competence and confidence as he matures.
Margaret Nicklas is an Austin-based freelance journalist, writer and mom who covers public affairs, public health and the well-being of children.