Saturday, November 9, 2019

2019 Hoboken Board of Education Results

Proposed PSE&G Substation- Hoboken, NJ 
HOBOKEN, NJ — Hoboken residents headed to the polls for the 2019 general election on Tuesday, Nov. 5. In addition to statehouse and county races, voters chose representatives on the local board of education.
There were five candidates competing for three seats on the Hoboken Board of Education in 2019. Each term last for three years.
With 98 percent of the districts reported, it appears that - pending official certification - Sheillah Dallara, Alex De La Torre and Joyce Simons have emerged victorious.
According to the Hudson County Clerk's Office, the unofficial results are:

2019 Hoboken Board of Ed Results (99.34% reporting)

303 Willow Avenue- Nov 8, 2019
The terms of current school board members Dallara, De La Torre and Jennifer Evans are expiring. Evans withdrew from the 2019 race after previously filing a petition to run.

De La Torre, Simons and Dallara ran together on the "3-4-5 For Hoboken School Board" slate, which gained the endorsement of Mayor Ravi Bhalla.

Gursahani ran as an independent candidate, aligning her campaign with Bautista's.
Waiters previously competed for a seat on the Hoboken Board of Education, running with the slogan "Education Before Politics" in 2018.

    Thursday, November 7, 2019

    Hoboken Middle School Falls to Lowest 5% of All Public Schools in New Jersey - Lowest NJ Department of Education Rated School in Hoboken

    Hoboken Middle School, Hoboken NJ 

    How low can Hoboken Middle School NJDOE ratings plummet until they are discussed openly and publicly ? Is this what the community receives for $27,899 per student? Is this what is meant by "continued improvement" or in "moving the public schools forward"? 

    Numerous administrative turnover, inept district leadership, and failed instructional strategies have led to the Hoboken Middle School not only scoring the lowest in Hoboken but scoring among the lowest NJDOE rated schools in the State of New Jersey (including charter schools- see list below). 

    Is there a plan for Hoboken Middle School other than making Brandt a second middle school for Hoboken and making it the "white" middle school? Why does Hoboken Middle School continue to fail to adequately educate Hoboken's poor, minority, and black and brown populations? (see Chart 1 and Chart 2 below)

    Here are NJDOE scores (0-100) that were reported in March of 2019The NJDOE ratings were established to comply with the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). 
    How the NJDOE Ratings are calculated: Elementary and middle schools: English language arts growth (20 percent), math growth (20 percent), progress toward English language proficiency (20 percent), English language arts proficiency (15 percent), math proficiency (15 percent), chronic absenteeism (10 percent)
    NJDOE Rating for Hoboken Middle School- March 2019 

    NJDOE Ratings for all of Hoboken Public Schools: 

    Chart 1: 2018-19 Percentage of White Students- Hoboken Public Schools 

    Chart 2: 2018-19 Percentage of FRL Students- Hoboken Public Schools 

    Saturday, October 26, 2019

    WALLACE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL Drops - Now Among the Lowest Performing Public Schools in Hoboken, Hudson County, and New Jersey on NJDOE Educational Quality Metrics- "requiring targeted support"

    Wallace School Drops in NJDOE Scores and Percentiles for 2017-18
    Elementary school is critical to student success in middle school and high school. Research shows conclusively that 3rd grade reading scores correlate with later school success. It is the period where the basic foundation of reading and mathematics are first established. That being said, recent independent, third party evaluations of the Wallace Elementary School shows there is cause for concern for the educational future of the students attending this school.

    Wallace Elementary School in Hoboken, NJ scores are once again among the lowest scores in the State of New Jersey (last year the NJDOE ranked the school in the 37th percentile-- this year the NJDOE ranked the school below the 27th percentile). 73% of New Jersey Public Schools do better than Wallace Elementary School on the NJDOE 0-100 scale score. 

     The New Jersey Department of Education scores are graded on a scale of 0-100 and consider standardized test results, graduation rates and other factors. For elementary and middle schools like Wallace School, the following criteria are used for score calculation:

    NJDOE Elementary and middle schools scoring criteria:English language arts growth (20 percent), math growth (20 percent), progress toward English language proficiency (20 percent), English language arts proficiency (15 percent), math proficiency (15 percent), chronic absenteeism (10 percent). A 50th percentile rating is considered average.

    The NJDOE has ranked Wallace Elementary in the 27th percentile-- 10 percentile points below last year's incredibly low 37th percentile score. This with an 8:1 teacher ratio, 64% of students that are NOT economically disadvantaged, an average of 9.5 years of experience for a teacher, and around $30,000 per pupil spending. 


    2016-17 Cost per Pupil- Hoboken City District

    The NJDOE reports that there are approximately 687 students in Wallace Elementary School, 64% of which are NOT economically disadvantaged. Wallace is a majority non-poverty school. PK-06 grades are housed in the school. 

    The Wallace Elementary School student to teacher ratio is 8:1 according to the NJDOE - while the average class size for a New Jersey elementary school is around 19 to 1 according to the US Department of Education

    2018-19 Great Schools Rating- Wallace Elementary
    Moreover, according to the NJDOE the average Wallace teacher has 9.5 years of experience and the district's per pupil spending is around $30,000 per pupil. To be clear, these are not novice instructors teaching economically disadvantaged students in an underfunded school. Rather, these are experienced, well paid tenured teachers teaching in high resourced classrooms with low student-teacher ratios in a school that is majority non-poverty.

    One would think that the instructional and administrative staff would have better results in reading and mathematics. These results are inconsistent with what we expect from well funded, medium/high socioeconomic status (SES) schools.  

    Unfortunately, the Wallace results as well as similar results from the Hoboken Middle School should come as no surprise. It was about 1 year ago when I posted that an analysis by researchers at Stanford University showed Hoboken has the lowest growth rate in Hudson County and among the lowest growth rates in NJ and the entire nation (see Figure 1). 

    Figure 1- Effective School Districts (Stanford University)

    The result is that the New Jersey Department of Education has currently classified Wallace Elementary School as "requiring targeted support."

    Find out more about Wallace Middle School by clicking HERE.  

    Contact the Wallace PTO at:

    2018 Performance Report- Wallace School

    Commentary: Perhaps Board Members, administrators and instructional staff involved with Wallace Elementary School in Hoboken should consider concentrating their efforts more on student achievement in reading and mathematics rather than obsessively posting on social media with students as props about participation "accomplishments."


    Tuesday, October 15, 2019

    Dual Language School of the Month: Hoboken Dual Language Charter School (HoLA)

    The Hola Dual Language School in Hoboken, NJ is recognized this month by "Dual Language" for its ground breaking work in dual language instruction. What follows in information from the DUALLANGUAGESCHOOLS.ORG website.  I am a founding member of the Hola Dual Language School and the school continues to be a regional and national leader in dual language instruction. -Dr. Anthony Petrosino 

    This month, we are honoring the Hoboken Dual Language Charter School, for their excellence, perseverance, and dedication to bilingual education. They began their dual language school as a result of their conviction that bilingualism is both a critical 21st century skill, and a means of cultivating empathy and building bridges across cultures. 
    Their planning process began with the formation of a founding team that included a range of skill sets in order to tackle the enormous task of building a school from scratch most effectively and efficiently. They each took on a different piece of the process according to experience and expertise. One important element of their planning process was reaching out to successful existing schools for feedback on established best practices, as well as what they had learned along the way—or even wished they had done differently. 
    It was incredibly helpful to have a full year dedicated to planning before opening our doors. This allowed us to think through and plan every aspect of the program and, importantly, to put together a team of experts currently working in the field, along with local community leaders, to provide input every step of the way. We learned quickly to work nimbly to learn from both research data and from history to weave together effective aspects of successful programs, and really make them our own.
    The beauty of a charter school in New Jersey is that the New Jersey Department of Education holds the schools to high standards, but then, also, allows them to innovate, which in turn allows them to be more effective in their mission. The flexibility they had in their implementation phase allowed them to choose the dual-language program that, through their research, they found most effective—the 90/10 model of immersion. They became the first school in New Jersey to run a dual-language program that way, then began to pave the way for other dual language programs in New Jersey 
    We became the first and only charter school to be designated a “Model Program” by the New Jersey Department of Education, a distinction that we’ve enjoyed for 6 years in a row now, and that has led to other dual language schools from all over the country to visit us and learn from us. We are also very proud to have become the first charter school in New Jersey to implement a low-income preference in the lottery, and then the first to create a preference for English language learners. Now, 30% of charters in New Jersey have implemented a lottery preference, following our lead. 
    Because successful immersion programs require a very specialized set of skills among teachers, HoLa has found it challenging to ensure that they have a pipeline of excellent teachers with both strong bilingual skills and academic content skills, as well as a passion for immersion. They have learned that it is critical to seek out teachers with a growth mindset and to develop skills internally. They invest a great deal of time and energy into developing their teachers, and then working to retain them. They insist on cultivating a deep knowledge of immersion practices and strategies, as well as expertise in current best practices in general education, such as data driven instruction.
    Their coaching system is critical to supporting their school’s success. Each teacher has a designated instructional coach who works with him or her to provide targeted feedback and support in ongoing skills development. This relationship is intrinsic to their model, and therefore, to their academic and linguistic outcomes.
    Our best advice is to seek out excellence in teaching and learning from those who have achieved the best outcomes for students. Our greatest success has come from understanding the best practices that are leading to great achievement results for kids across the country and ensuring that we are implementing those practices at our school. Among those best practices is a focus on data-driven instruction and giving teachers the resources and tools they need to carry out lessons that are rigorous and language-rich in a multitude of subjects.
    They use writers and readers workshops in the early elementary grades, and implement it in both English and Spanish, so that students have authentic experiences reading and writing in both languages. The one period per day that students in grades K-2 spend learning in English is English Language Arts, and there is also a separate Spanish Language Arts class daily. In each of these classes, students develop strong literacy skills in the designated language through guided reading, phonics and grammar instruction, context-based vocabulary development, and a cross-curricular approach to reading analysis and purpose-driven writing.
    Of all their successes, they are most proud of HoLa’s emphasis on multiculturalism. They tell students that “bilingualism is their superpower”, and believe this superpower transcends just by being able to speak another language. Because their staff is over 84% Latinx and hail from over a dozen countries, their students are constantly learning about different cultures and learning about a larger, interconnected world.
    At HoLa, they are always thinking about innovative learning opportunities. Earlier in the year, they visited with the Education Office of Spain to look at potential partnerships in curriculum, activities as well as teaching partnerships. They were delighted when the Education Office of Spain toured their school and decided HoLa was a great fit for their visiting teachers’ program.
    This program allows highly qualified and experienced teachers to teach in classrooms in partnership between the Spanish government and the local American school. They were the first school in New Jersey to form this partnership with the Education Office of Spain and are excited for future collaborations.
    Bilingualism isn’t an extra for HoLa, it’s the core of our mission. Our school was created around a mission of dual language education and that mission shapes everything we do. From our executive director, to our teaching staff to our board of directors, everyone is mission aligned and focused on growing the next generation of global citizens in Hoboken.
    If you enjoyed this article, don’t forget to subscribe to our weekly newsletter.

    Thursday, October 3, 2019

    All Schools Open House- Thursday October 3 5-8PM - Hoboken HS

    Over 30 schools attending All Schools Open House!

    Over 20 elementary schools, 17 middle schools, and 4 high schools. Come check them all out tonight!!

    Wednesday, October 2, 2019

    Body of Woman Believed to be 35 to 50 Found in Hudson River in Hoboken

    Hoboken Train Station- Hoboken, NJ 
    A woman’s body was pulled from the Hudson River near the Hoboken train station, authorities said on Wednesday, October 2, 2019.

    The body of the unidentified woman, who is believed to be 35 to 50 years old, was spotted in the water by a citizen on Tuesday around 3 p.m. near the Lackawanna Terminal, authorities said.

    The Regional Medical Examiner’s Office is investigating the cause of death, and the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Homicide Unit is looking into how the woman ended up in the water.

    Although a medical examination is still pending, the prosecutor's office believes the woman to be between 35 and 50 years old. Anyone with information about a missing person within the last 30 days should contact authorities, the statement says.

    Anyone with information is asked to call the prosecutor's office at 201-915-1345 or to leave an anonymous tip at

    Full Story: Click Here 

    Hoboken Train Station- Bird's Eye View, Hoboken, NJ

    Monday, September 23, 2019

    Hola Dual Langauge on Tiempo - September 22, 2019: Part 1 and 2

    WABC- Hola Dual Langauge Program partners with Spanish Consolate 
    Here are two wonderful videos about the Hola Dual Language School in Hoboken, NJ. Recently the school has partnered with the Spanish Consulate to provide students and teachers with cross cultural education. The program will last a full academic year with the possibility of extending. 

    Jersey Journal - September 25, 2019

    Regular readers will recall that Hola could have been in the Hoboken Public School system. I proposed it as a program but it was voted down in 2009. Since then, Hola has become recognized statewide, regionally, and now internationally as a leader in K-8 education. 

    Read more about how the "reform" Hoboken Board of Education--  (Kids First and now their legacy in the Hoboken Board of Education who furthered a lawsuit against Hola) voted down the possibility of Hola being in the Hoboken Public Schools. 

    "I am amazed at the amount of time we have spent discussing Hola when we have the kind of test scores we just saw from No Child Left Behind," said Lane Bajardi.
    "Instead of spending the last six months figuring out how to spin Hola, we should have spent figuring out how to develop a progressive tutoring program," said Ruth McAllister who is currently running for school board. "The children that we have to worry about are these children that are failing now."
    "Hoboken cannot afford a trendy new program where it is wanted but not needed," said Jean Marie Mitchell, a former Board member and president of Calabro PTA.

    Those who voted "no" for Hola being in the Hoboken Public Schools were as follows:

    Jimmy Farina -- no
    Theresa Minutillo -- no
    Rose Marie Markle - no
    Carrie Gilliard - no "We cannot afford to do this - we're going to hurt our children that are here right now."

    Since voting against Hola, the Hoboken School District is consistently at or near the bottom in county, state, and national rankings (more)...but first in social media tweets about how great everything is going. 

    Wednesday, September 18, 2019

    "Back to School" Video by Sandy Hook Promise

    Survive the school year with these must-have back to school essentials. **Please note that this PSA contains graphic content related to school shootings that may be upsetting to some viewers. If you feel that this subject matter may be too difficult for you, you may choose not to watch this video.**

    Monday, September 16, 2019

    Follow on Twitter: @ajpetrosino

    Replacing Sewage Lines- Hoboken, NJ - 2019 
    FOLLOW ON TWITTER: @ajpetrosino
    Dr. Petrosino is a product of the Hoboken Public Schools where he also taught for 4 years at Hoboken High School and where he was the Assistant Superintendent of Schools for the Hoboken Public Schools during the 2007-08 to 2009-10 school years. He is a founder of the Hola Dual Language School and writes extensively about public education...with a regular focus on Hoboken, NJ. 

    Before joining the faculty at The University of Texas, Dr. Petrosino was a Postdoctoral Fellow at The National Center For Improving Student Learning and Achievement in Mathematics and Science (NCISLA) at the University of Wisconsin. Dr. Petrosino's doctoral work was completed at Vanderbilt University. While at Vanderbilt, he was an active member of the Learning Technology Center. His Master's was completed at Teachers College, Columbia University. Dr. Petrosino is the author or co-author of over 40 peer reviewed journal articles in publications such as American Educational Research Journal, Mathematical Thinking and Learning, Journal of Science Education and Technology, and The Journal of the Learning Sciences, 100+ national and international research-based conference presentations, 17 book chapters and numerous invited presentations. He has participated in research presentations and collaborations with colleagues from China, Mexico, Italy, Germany, and Australia. He currently has three active research grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF).  

    Follow on Twitter by Clicking HERE

    Monday, September 9, 2019

    Grand Opening- Little Linguists Brings Bilingual Education to Hoboken Families

    Official Opening of Little Linguists- Hoboken, NJ
    September 2019 
    ¡Felicidades to our friends at Little Linguists on their ribbon-cutting today! Bilingualism is a superpower! 🦸🏽

    Congrats to Little Linguists..Hoboken's Language Nursery! — with Little Linguists..Hoboken's Language Nursery.

    Congratulations to Susan Costomiris and Margarita Garcia for this exciting new venture in bringing more choices to the families in Hoboken, NJ. For more information, please click HERE.

    Susan Costomiris- is a Hoboken mom of an eighth-grade student at HoLa. She has been a Board Trustee of HoLa since 2009. She is also a board member of HOPES since 2015. Susan’s background is in Finance and Project Management.

    Margarita Garcia- is a life-long Hoboken resident. Margarita is currently Hoboken Dual Language Charter School’s (HoLa) Summer Camp, Aftercare and Enrichment Coordinator since 2010. Previously Margarita worked as a Unit Director at the Boys and Girls Club, and at Stevens Cooperative.

    Bilingualism is a very much examined and all around recorded research subject. Well-known sentiment is separated concerning what constitutes an appropriate bilingual child, and what benefits they may harvest from learning two dialects at the same time instead of acing one at that point acquainted with the others. At Little Linguists we immovably trust that a bilingual education readies any child for life all around of childcare and school.
    Inside Little Linguists

    Most ‘traditional’ daycares and schools center around the advancement of one dialect before acquainting one with a second or third dialect. We see, as proper bilingual training, the ideal approach, is presenting the kids to a second dialect at a considerably more youthful age, actualizes liquid learning forms, ESL educating and immersion, and thoughtfulness regarding two dialects paying little heed to a local foundation. The question is, what do the children take away from figuring out how to talk two dialects fluidly from such a youthful age?

    Email for pricing information. Please specify child’s age and if you are interested in full time, part time or after school care. 

    Hoboken Ranked 102nd of 513 New Jersey Towns - New Jersey Monthly

    Italian Feast Fireworks - Madonna Dei Martiri- Sept. 2019
    New Jersey Monthly has released its rankings of the best (and worst) places to live across New Jersey. According to the publication, Hoboken is the 102nd best place to live. The survey ranks 513 towns from top to bottom.

    In compiling New Jersey Monthly's 2019 Top Towns list, researchers at Leflein Associates, an independent research firm based in Ringwood, considered five categories to represent the quality of life in New Jersey's 565 municipalities: home values, property taxes, crime rate, school performance and a lifestyle factor.

    Due to a lack of statistically significant data, towns with populations under 1,500 were dropped from the survey. The research team ranked each of the remaining 513 towns based on the following indicators:

    1) average residential tax bill (2018);
    2) change in average property tax bill (2016-2018);
    3) effective property tax rate for 2018;
    4) median home-sales price (2018);
    5) change in median home-sales price (2016-2018);
    6) average days homes were on the market (2018);
    7) total crime rate (2016);
    8) violent-crime rate (2016);
    9) ranking in New Jersey Monthly’s Top Public High Schools chart (published September 2018);
    10) and a lifestyle factor that considers the number of acute-care hospitals and live performing-arts theaters within 10 miles of the municipality’s main zip code, number of restaurants within two miles of the municipality’s main zip code, and average commute time for those working away from home.

    The final rankings were based on each municipality’s combined rankings for the 10 indicators. Extra weighting was given to the Effective Tax Rate and Top High Schools indicators.

    The following sources were used: NJ Department of Local Government Services (for population figures); NJ Division of Taxation (for property taxes); NJ Division of Taxation/Office of Property Administration (for home-sales prices); New Jersey Realtors (for time on the market); NJ Division of State Police (Uniform Crime Report); NJ Hospital Association (hospital locations); NJ Council for the Arts and NJ Theater Alliance (theater locations); searches (restaurant locations); and the U.S. Census/American Community Survey (commute times). The annual crime rate and violent crime rate are based on reported crimes per 1,000 residents.