Thursday, February 15, 2024

The Fires: Hoboken 1978–1982 in partnership with the Hoboken Historical Museum, Diaspora Solidarities Lab, and New Jersey Council for the Humanities from February 1–April 15, 2024

"The Fires: Hoboken 1978–1982," in partnership with the Hoboken Historical Museum, offers a poignant lesson in resilience, community strength, and the power of collective response to urban challenges. The project sheds light on the devastating fires that swept through Hoboken during the specified period, serving as a historical lens into a community's ability to overcome adversity.

Through this collaboration, we learn the importance of documenting local history, as it preserves the collective memory of a community and fosters a sense of identity. The fires, while destructive, became a catalyst for community mobilization, demonstrating the capacity for solidarity in times of crisis.

The project also underscores the need for proactive urban planning and fire prevention measures. Understanding the historical context allows for informed decision-making to create safer and more resilient urban environments.

Ultimately, "The Fires" emphasizes the enduring spirit of community and the lessons it imparts about the shared responsibility of preserving and learning from our collective past for a more resilient and informed future. -Dr. Petrosino

CENTRO, The Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College, has announced the opening of the exhibition, The Fires: Hoboken 1978–1982 in partnership with the Hoboken Historical Museum, Diaspora Solidarities Lab, and New Jersey Council for the Humanities from February 1–April 15, 2024. CENTRO is the largest university-based research institute, library, and archive dedicated to the Puerto Rican experience in the United States.

Centro's Directora is Dr. Yomaira C. Figueroa-Vásquez, an Afro-Puerto Rican writer, teacher, and scholar who was born and raised in Hoboken. In addition to serving as CENTRO's Directora, she is a Professor of Africana, Puerto Rican & Latino Studies at CUNY Hunter.

The exhibition, first installed at the Hoboken Historical Museum, features the work of Christopher López, a Puerto Rican Lens-Based Artist, Educator, and Public Historian.

Dr. Figueroa-Vásquez expounds, "The Fires: Hoboken 1978-1982 is a multidisciplinary show that surfaces the living histories of the fires and arsons that transformed the city of Hoboken from the 1970's-1980's. Through a violent cocktail of intimidation, greed, corruption, and indifference, over 50 Hoboken residents, mostly children, lost their lives in fires that ravaged the city during the era of post-industrial urban renewal. Arriving four decades after the apex of the fires, photographer Chris López, a Bronx native of Puerto Rican parentage, critically engages the afterlives of arson, displacement, and dispossession. Unlike the historic and well documented history of fires in the Bronx, very few photographers captured images of the arsons in Hoboken and even fewer scholars have studied the phenomenon. The existing archive is deeply indebted to the work of journalists, the painstaking work of community organizers, and a few documentary filmmakers who captured the terror, uncertainty, and destruction of that time period. In this context, The Fires represents the first exhibit of its kind to visit this history alongside those who were most deeply impacted."

We encourage everyone to visit this powerful exhibit, which will be displayed at the Silberman School of Social Work in El Barrio, located at 2180 3rd Ave. Visiting hours are Mondays-Fridays 10am-5pm.

Monday, February 5, 2024

Petrosino to Serve on Committee at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

Associate Dean at the Simmons School of Education and Human Development invited to serve on Board on Science Education committee for PreK-12 STEM Education Innovations

Associate Dean for Research and Outreach at Simmons School of Education and Human Development, Anthony Petrosino, has recently been invited and has accepted the invitation to serve as a member of the Board on Science Education committee on PreK-12 STEM Education Innovations. This board is a part of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine and seeks to identify and understand any “research gaps or factors that impede or facilitate widespread implementation of new initiatives at local, regional, and national levels.”

Dr. Petrosino’s board appointment will last until April 2025.


An ad hoc committee of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine will conduct a consensus study to: 

  1. Review the research literature and identify research gaps regarding the interconnected factors that foster and hinder successful implementation of promising, evidence-based PreK-12 science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education innovations at the local, regional, and national level;
  2. Present a compendium of promising, evidence-based PreK-12 STEM education practices, models, programs, and technologies;
  3. Identify barriers to widespread and sustained implementation of such innovations; and
  4. Make recommendations to the National Science Foundation, the Department of Education, the National Science and Technology Council’s Committee on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Education, state and local educational agencies, and other relevant stakeholders on measures to address such barriers.

Friday, January 12, 2024

Seeing the World through a Mathematical Lens: A Place-Based Mobile App for Creating Math Walks

Dr. Anthony Petrosino's grant with the National Science Foundation receives recognition.

Dr. Anthony Petrosino and colleagues have received recent recognition for a $2,448,189 NSF grant (# 2115393) with the National Science Foundation. Petrosino (Co-Principal Investigator) along with colleagues Candace Walkington (Principal Investigator), Cathy Ringstaff (Co-Principal Investigator); Koshi Dhingra (Co-Principal Investigator); and Elizabeth Stringer (Co-Principal Investigator) are involved in work developing an application for learning math outside of school.


Math is everywhere in the world, but youth may see math as disconnected from their everyday experiences and wonder how math is relevant to their lives. There is evidence that informal math done by children is highly effective, involving efficiency, flexibility, and socializing. Yet, more is needed to understand how educators can support math engagement outside of school, and the role these out-of-school experiences can play relative to the classroom and lifelong STEM learning. 

This Innovations and Development Project seeks to conduct research on a location-based mobile app for informal mathematics learning. This research takes place at 9 informal learning sites and involves iteratively designing an app in which learners can view and contribute to an interactive map of math walk stops at these sites. Learners will be able to select locations and watch short videos or view pictures with text that describe how mathematical principles are present in their surroundings. For example, learners could use the app to discover how a painting by a local Latino artist uses ratio and scale, or how a ramp in downtown was designed with a specific slope to accommodate wheelchairs. 

Research studies will examine the affordances of augmented reality (AR) overlays where learners can hold up the camera of their mobile device, and see mathematical representations (e.g., lines, squares) layered over real-world objects in their camera feed. Research studies will also examine the impact of having learners create their own math walk stops at local informal learning sites, uploading pictures, descriptions, and linking audio they narrate, where they make observations about how math appears in their surroundings and pose interesting questions about STEM ideas and connections they wonder about. 

Thursday, January 11, 2024

Deadline Fast Approaching for Hoboken's PUBLIC (free) Charter School Lotteries

For all those interested in entering the lottery for Hoboken's Public (free) Charter Schools. Keep in mind, the reason why there is a lottery is because the demand exceeds the seating capacity of each of these charter schools. 


 Hoboken families are encouraged to learn more and apply to enter the lottery for the city’s public charter schools – Hoboken Dual Language Charter School (HoLa), Elysian Charter School and Hoboken Charter School. The three public schools are free, open to all Hoboken residents and do not have any entrance testing requirements. Because demand exceeds available seats, students are randomly selected for entrance to the schools through a lottery system. All three schools offer a weighted preference for Hoboken families who live in public or subsidized housing or receive public benefits. The collective deadline to apply to the three public charter school lotteries ends January 11th, 2024 at 5pm. 

Learn more below:

Elysian Charter School:

Hoboken Charter School:

Hoboken Dual Language Charter School:

Saturday, December 16, 2023

Hoboken's HoLa Dual Language School Exceeds at Brown University's Science Olympiad Invitational AND is Recognized by the New Jersey School Board Association with a School Leader Award for 2023; Hoboken District Schools Continue to Flounder Under Johnson

Congratulations to these middle schoolers from the Hola Dual Language School in Hoboken, NJ. These students brought home 13 medals including several top-three finishes at the Brown University Science Olympiad Invitational.

Earlier this week, Hola was recognized by the New Jersey School Board Association with a School Leader Award for 2023. The award is formal recognition for HoLa as a leader in dual-language programs in New Jersey. 

HoLa continues to enjoy diverse and independent recognition for school success. Unfortunately, it is too bad the rest of the Hoboken Public School district is rather disappointing. As an example, some might remember recent revelations that Superintendent Johnson professionally and personally misrepresented herself about having a doctorate for well over a decade. Others might recall a recent US News and World Report showing that over half of the high school students are reading below grade level; only 8% of all students were proficient in Algebra; and 1% of students were found to be proficient in Science.


Friday, December 15, 2023

The Mathematics of a Resiliency Park- Does Holding 400,000 Gallons of Water Impact the Flooding Impact of 17,400,000 Gallons of Water?

Real world application of mathematics and science are consistent with national STEM reform efforts. Such skills also are consistent with better informed citizens who are often asked to participate in critical infrastructure efforts. 

One current example involves the chronic flooding in Hoboken, NJ. Some will recall, Hoboken was severely impacted by Superstorm Sandy and still floods often and regularly. 

The city has implemented a number of efforts over the year (water gardens for example). One effort is the notion of a resiliency park where rainwater would be retained in large underground containers during heavy rain events. Will these efforts be effective? One way to look at this question is via mathematics and science rather than by public relation campaigns. 

Here is how a middle to high school problem may be posed centering around a problem which attempts to mitigate flooding. 

Question: A new park in a city will include underground infrastructure to withhold 400,000+ gallons of rain to reduce flooding. If the town is one square mile, how significant is this infrastructure in reducing the chance of flooding?

Note: The amount of rain considered to be capable of flooding is roughly in an hour can vary depending on the location and the type of precipitation. However, generally, rainfall rates of 1 inch (2.54 centimeters) or more per hour are considered heavy or intense, and may cause flash flooding and other hazards

Mathematical Calculation: A rainfall of 1 inch over square mile is equal to 17,400,000 gallons of water. A resiliency park capable of holding 400,000 gallons of water would represent 2.29% of the rainfall that falls during a 1 inch rainfall

Answer: Please assess the relative effectiveness of this resiliency park. 

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Presinzano wins Hoboken 1st Ward Council Seat

Paul Presinzano is now the councilman-elect in Hoboken’s 1st Ward, winning the first runoff in the Mile Square City since 2009 by an unofficial tally of 692 to 529.

John Hines of Hudson County View reports: (
full article

This was the first runoff election since Peter Cammarano defeated Dawn Zimmer for the mayor’s seat in 2009. Thanks to Operation Bid Rig, Zimmer would become the acting mayor about a month later when Cammarano was arrested on corruption charges.

Presinzano lost decisively in the 2021 council-at-large races where he ran on a slate without a mayoral candidate, however, he remained involved on the political scene ever since and announced a 1st Ward council run in January.

He took the fight to Mayor Ravi Bhalla and the administration on countless occasions, eventually drawing an opponent in Rafi Cordova – the chair of the rent leveling and stabilization board.

Cordova announced on May 18th with the support of Bhalla and former 1st Ward Councilwoman Theresa Castellano, who lost to current local representative Mike DeFusco in 2015.

DeFusco announced he wasn’t seeking re-election on May 2nd, prompting Cordova to jump in the race shortly thereafter.

While Presinzano fell just short of 50 percent plus one on November 7th, a contest that also included former Health and Human Services Director Leo Pellegrini – who came in a distant third – he managed to come out on top again this evening

Cordova received 10 less votes in the runoff than he received in November, 2023. 

Council Runoff Results

Here are the unofficial results as of 9 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 5, as reported by the county of Hudson. 

  • Paul Presinzano: 692
  • Rafi Cordova: 529
  • TOTAL: 1,221

6,264 people are listed on the registered voter rolls in the 1st Ward.

For comparison, these were the official results from the three-way race last month:

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Former Hoboken Assistant Superintendent of Schools Dr. Miguel Hernandez Passes Away at 58

Sad news about former Hoboken Assistant Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Hernandez.

Hernández, who held a doctorate in education leadership, served as Assistant Superintendent of Schools in Hoboken, New Jersey. 

In February 2021, Hernández released a 104-page book titled “Letters from My Students” to encourage teachers and those aspiring to enter the profession during the pandemic.

Hernández was a standout athlete for the Red Raiders of Keyport High School, shining on the gridiron and the wrestling mat. He graduated with the Class of 1984.

Hernández is survived by his wife of 15 years, Janine Hopkins Hernández, and his father, Hipólito Hernández. He had four brothers and two sisters, according to his obituary.

A funeral Mass was scheduled for Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. at Our Lady of Fatima Parish at 376 Maple Place in Keyport. 

Thursday, November 9, 2023

‘Moms for Progress’ team sweeps Hoboken Board of Education race-By John Heinis/Hudson County View

Hudson County View reporting that The “Moms for Progress” ( Kids First legacy) slate swept the Hoboken Board of Education race in a largely uneventful contest that saw four candidates running for three, three-year terms.

The “Moms Leading Progress” Hoboken Board of Education slate: From left to right: Trustee-elect Sheillah Dallara, Trustee Chetali Khanna, and Trustee Sharyn Angley, the board president. Instagram photo.

Trustee Chetali Khanna was the top vote getter with 3,754, BOE President Sharyn Angley was right behind her at 3,704. Their running mate, Sheillah Dallara, received 3,590 votes, according to preliminary tallies from the Hudson County Clerk’s Office.

Dallara, who opted not to seek re-election last year after winning three-year terms in 2016 and 2019, ran in place of Trustee Melanie Tekirian, who coincidentally also decided not to run again after two terms in office.

Meanwhile, Angley and Khanna ran unopposed in 2020 with Tekirian as the “Hoboken Together” team.

This time around, their only opponent was perennial candidate Pat Waiters, who had some success, notching 2,539 votes, but leaving her just under a thousand votes from a board seat.

She was also on the ballot in the 2nd Ward council race, but she received only 65 votes, stating last month that she was going to focus on the BOE contest.

The school board race was largely absent of conflict this time around, with one of the only notable moments being when Trustee Ailene McGuirk endorsed the Moms Leading Progress slate and questioned why Waiters had campaign literature suggesting to write McGuirk in.

Friday, November 3, 2023

New Jersey Awards $41M to 243 School Districts for Tutoring- Hoboken District and Hoboken Charter Receive Awards

Trenton, New Jersey – The New Jersey Department of Education today announced approximately $41 million in preliminary grant awards for the implementation of High Impact Tutoring in approximately 240 New Jersey school districts to implement highly effective, evidence-based strategies that promote learning acceleration among students.

High Impact Tutoring is designed to enable school districts, charter schools, and renaissance school projects, to work with educational service vendors, nonprofit organizations, and colleges and universities to provide tutoring services at scale and provide educational assistance to students. School districts, charter schools, and renaissance school projects are also able to utilize existing staff for specific tutoring programs outside of regular classroom instruction.

Full list of NJ District to receive funds:

The bid process requires districts to gain local school board approval, publicize their needs, advertise for 20 days and choose tutoring firms. In addition, tutoring firms will need time to hire and train additional tutors and run security checks. About 340 districts applied for the grants; those requesting more than $32,000 must solicit bids from tutoring companies that can provide the services.

Full story:

Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Hoboken Dual Language School Becomes First Charter School to Receive School Leader Award for 2023- Executive Director Jen Sargent Also Recognized and Honored

As many regular readers of this blog know, I was an original Board member of the Hola Dual Language School and proudly served in that capacity for over a decade. It is wonderful to see this public school thriving and becoming a model school and program not only in Hoboken or in New Jersey but nationally. Congratulations to the Founder and Executive Direct Jennifer Sargent for her leadership and vision. -Dr. Petrosino 

The Hoboken Dual Language Charter School (HoLa) has become the first charter school to receive the School Leader Award from the New Jersey School Boards Association (NJSBA) for 2023. The announcement came on Monday, Sept. 25.

HoLa is a K-8 dual language public charter school in Hoboken with more than 415 students. Students predominantly join HoLa in kindergarten and, regardless of language background, spend 90 percent of their day in Spanish-speaking classrooms in the early grades. Students gradually receive increasing amounts of instruction in English as they get older, and by 4th grade, instruction is 50 percent Spanish and 50 percent English.

HoLa was specifically recognized for the successful launch of its AP Spanish program in Middle School, an initiative that has enriched the educational experience of its students.

“This award is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our entire HoLa community,” said Jen Sargent, HoLa’s executive director and co-founder. “We are honored to be recognized by the NJSBA for our innovative programs and our commitment to student success. This remarkable success stems from the unique experience our students receive, starting in kindergarten, where they seamlessly master the art of reading and writing in both Spanish and English.”

Hola Graduation 2023
Executive Director Jen Sargent far right

HoLa’s School Leader Award will be presented to their leadership team at a Hudson County School Boards Association (HCSBA) event on Nov. 28. The school will also be featured in the NJSBA School Leader magazine later this year, showcasing the school’s efforts. HoLa is the only free public Spanish / English dual language charter school in the state.


Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Algebra I Scores in Hoboken Show No Growth and No Advancement

Algebra I* scores in the Hoboken School District along 3 different time points- 2015, 2021, and 2023-24. Little to no growth. Little to no advancement. No accountability. Easy to claim things are "going well"--and "getting better" and "leading progress" but the data shows a much different story. Research shows students who complete higher levels of math in high school experience lower rates of unemployment and receive higher salaries, on average, than their less-accomplished peers.

2015 Algebra I Scores- Hoboken

2021 Algebra I Scores- Hoboken 

2023-24 Algebra I Scores- Hoboken 

What does this actually mean for Hoboken High School? Here's an example: There are roughly 450 students in the high school. Almost all must take Algebra I. An 8% proficiency rate means there are roughly 36 students leaving the high school with grade level understanding of Algebra I and 414 who are not. And the data charts posted above show this has been ongoing at least since 2015. 

Please note, this is a district with a 13:1 student teacher ratio, $27,000 per student, and 20% of student families qualifying for Free or Reduced lunch (see demographic data below). 

It is doubtful anyone can find another district in the country that exhibits this type of educational outcomes with these types of resources.

Hoboken District Demographic Data

Hoboken District Free or Reduced Lunch 

In conclusion, Higher levels of math achievement benefit you in the labor market regardless of whether you graduate high school. James notes that the earnings gap between high school grads with high and low math is about 10% — the same return, he says, as comes from one year of college.

This includes any students who were enrolled in an Algebra I course and took the Algebra I assessment in grades 7 through 12. Students in sixth grade who were enrolled in Algebra I course during the 2021-22 school year were required to take both the Algebra I and Grade 6 mathematics assessment. The results of their Algebra I assessment are not included in these results but will be reported when the student in in grade 9.