Hoboken School Board Honors Excellence in Education

At the March 2024 Hoboken Board of Education meeting, a focus was placed on celebrating the accomplishments of students and educators, with the announcement of the Governor’s teachers and Educational Services Professionals of the year taking a prominent place. The meeting also addressed the increase in kindergarten enrollment for the upcoming school year, surpassing demographic study projections. Furthermore, concerns were raised during the public comment section regarding alleged unprofessionalism and lack of cultural sensitivity at the Hoboken Middle School.

The recognition of the educators and students commenced with detailed presentations from principals of various schools. John P. Esposto from Hoboken Middle School and Uka Figaroa from Hoboken High School were named Students of the Month for February, each lauded for their academic and personal achievements. In the educator category, Andrew Mendes was recognized as the Teacher of the Year for his innovative teaching and coaching at Hoboken High School. Elizabeth Pullman was celebrated as the Educational Service Professional of the Year for her support in the Brand School’s kindergarten program, while Cassidy Hall at Connor’s Elementary School and Kelly Cofrancesco at Connor’s School also received accolades for their impactful roles in teaching and fostering reading skills, respectively.

Further commendations were given to educators Hari del Roa and Simone Braxton of Hoboken High School for their exceptional dedication and contributions. Del Roa’s leadership in innovation and organizing student programs, as well as Braxton’s dedication to students in the transition program, were both celebrated with applause and congratulations from those in attendance.

Beyond individual recognitions, the meeting delved into the operational aspects of the district. The curriculcommittee recommended a partnership with Fairleigh Dickinson University to enhance professional development and approved several field trips. The committee also provided updates on high-impact tutoring programs, dual language information sessions, and the growing demand for the Seal of Biliteracy program.

From the facilities perspective, ongoing renovations of school restrooms and the installation of security doors at Connors School were noted. An upcoming energy audit was mentioned as a measure to achieve savings on utility bills. The finance committee brought forward items for approval related to tuition, technology, and transportation contracts.

The governance committee’s report included appointments, resignations, leave requests, transfers, terminations, increases, and approval of new substitutes, as well as the approval of workshops for staff and changes to the current school-year calendar.

The report on the upcoming school year’s kindergarten enrollment revealed that the number of enrolled students, currently at 344, is expected to rise by at least 35, reaching a total that exceeds projections from a demographic study conducted in 2021. This marks the lowest not returning number from the prek4 transition to kindergarten since at least the 2015-2016 school year and the highest total enrollment from that same period.

In wellness matters, the board approved a triop sports agreement with Weehawken High School and Secaucus High School for interscholastic ice hockey to reduce program costs. Additionally, the acceptance of extra funds for the 2024 school-based Youth Services Grant, which supports mental health and wellness programs in Hoboken High School, was on the agenda.

During the president’s report, commendations were extended to the recognized teachers and staff, with an encouragement for community members to attend an upcoming fundraiser. However, the meeting also faced its share of concerns expressed during the public comment section. Parents shared their experiences regarding the Hoboken Middle School, including reports of unprofessional behavior and cultural insensitivity from the principal and teachers. They also voiced dissatisfaction with the handling of investigations into incidents involving their children and called for the board’s intervention.

Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.
Christine Johnson
School Board Officials:
Ailene McGuirk, Sheillah Dallara, Chetali Khanna, Sharyn Angley, Alex De La Torre, Thomas Kluepfel, Malani Cademartori, Antonio Graña, Leslie Norwood

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