As students throughout the city likely cram through their required summer reading, Superintendent Mark Toback said last week that students and parents should look forward to “an exciting year” when Hoboken’s public school classrooms open on Sept. 7.
In a time when schools across the state have cut programs and funds, Hoboken has been able to make upgrades in the classrooms over the summer in preparation for the new school year, Toback said. Toback said the district received additional, unexpected state funds earlier this year, and the district also had unexpected retirements, which freed up money to be used in the classroom.
The district also has three new administrators, including two new principals.
Noreen Lazariuk is now the principal for Hoboken High School. Lazariuk previously served as the vice principal of Montgomery Township High School in Somerset County.
‘Parents will be able to check on how their child is doing in school whenever they want.’ – Mark Toback
Lazariuk has a bachelor’s of science and a master’s degree in educational leadership from Montclair State University.
The district also announced the hiring of Jay Medlin as the new principal of the Wallace Elementary School. Medlin is a longtime teacher and administrator in the Keyport School District.
Miguel Hernandez was also hired as the new assistant superintendent. Hernandez previously worked in the Newark school district.
“He has a lot of experience with school improvement initiatives,” Toback said of Hernandez. “He’ll be a great asset as we work toward new initiatives.”
Kids will cook for new café
The district recently authorized $100,000 to improve the culinary program in the high school to create a classroom that will also operate as a café.
Toback said the new classroom environment will teach students how to cook and work in a restaurant, which could help them acquire jobs either permanently or over the summers, as Hoboken has many restaurants and cafes. The new classroom will be finished within the first few weeks of school, Toback said.
The high school also finalized a new partnership with Hudson County Community College, which has a prestigious culinary program.
“There will be eight classes at Hoboken High School that can be counted for college credits,” Toback said. “We’re in the process of translating the college syllabus into the high school curriculum.”
Toback said the high school will also offer new Advanced Placement (AP) classes, which allow students to get credit for college.
The elementary schools will see increases in educational technology, Toback said.
“We’ve purchased enough smart boards that we can equip every one of our classrooms,” Toback said. “We’re bringing every one of our classrooms into the 21st century.”
SMART Boards allow teachers to incorporate multi-media and the Internet into lesson plans.
Toback said the elementary schools have a new science series, called FOSS Science.
“It’s widely recognized as an excellent way of teaching science,” Toback said. “It’s a hands-on approach to teaching science; it’s a lot of fun.”
In addition, kindergarten, first and second grades will receive a new math curriculum, and kindergarten through fifth grade will have a new language arts curriculum.
Parents can check kids’ grades, attendance on-line
Toback also said the district is in the process of installing Genesis software, which allows parents to log on and check on their children’s attendance, daily grades, and see where their children stand academically.
“Parents will be able to check on how their child is doing in school whenever they want,” Toback said.
The program is expected to be operational in January, and parents will receive a login name and a password, similar to an email system.
Toback added that the new program also allows the district to stay in touch with parents through email blasts and other announcements.
The district also created a school calendar to send to parents to keep them informed on the happenings of the school system.
Connors School, an elementary school located at 201 Monroe St., received new playground equipment that should be fully installed by the time school begins on Sept. 7, Toback said.
His first full yearZ
Toback was hired in January 2011; meaning 2011-2012 will be his first full year at the helm of Hoboken’s five public schools.
Toback said a goal is to “bring the district into the 21st century” with technology upgrades.
Other items on the horizon for the district, Toback said, include negotiations for teachers’ contracts, which expired on June 30.
Ray Smith may be reached at RSmith@hudsonreporter.com