I attended the last BoE meeting and stayed well past midnight. I came with two questions and unfortunately left with those two questions unanswered.
Why is the district creating what is virtually a new K-8 school?
Why this particular concept to the exclusion of other ideas?
I was given the impression at the one and only Hola public meeting on Saturday that Hola will be established as a new elementary school in Hoboken: Wallace, Connors, Calabro and The Hola School.
We were told that “when Hola reaches full fruition, it will be given all services and resources as any other elementary school in Hoboken.” That will include 20+ fully equipped classrooms, full staff of dual language teachers and specials teachers, reading specialists etc… for comparison…this is the size of Calabro.
Some call it a “program” or a “concept” and claim it will cost very little to start up, maybe about $60,000 for books and such. That doesn’t include the cost of hiring four new dual language teachers. That is just this year. The expressed intent of this “program” is to add two classes per year with two new dual language certified teachers every year. Keep adding and you quickly get to 20 classrooms. This is not a pittance from some mysterious pot of non-recurring funds. We are committing the District to running a separate new elementary, one in which no one can register for after the 1st grade as per their special “program”.
Why does the District need a new K-8 school? Can we maintain a new K-8 school moving forward? Is there really demand within the community, not support, but true demand? Are the needs of the existing K-8 being met? If we do need a new K-8, why not something else…Science & Engineering or Arts and Theater? At least other children would be allowed to register after the first grade.
This leads to the second question – why this program or concept?
Anyone remember the past conversations in Hoboken regarding a Science High School or a Performing Arts High School? Some may recall that recently the three existing elementary schools were designated as “magnets”. Wallace was Science, Calabro was Language Arts and Connors was Performing Arts. What happened to that idea? What other “concepts” were explored and discounted in favor of establishing The Hola School? No one thought increasing language instruction for all kids was a good idea?
What was it about this particular concept, establishing a new dual language elementary school, that fits into the Superintendent’s goals and visions for the Hoboken School District? We have seen a great deal of back and forth between supporters and those with concerns; now it is time to hear from the ultimate decision makers!
Dear Superintendent and Board of Education Members – What are your exact goals and vision for the future of the District? What are the existing needs of the District? How does creating a new dual language elementary school address the overall needs of the District and fit your future vision?