Thank you Dr. Johnson
May 06, 2018 | 889 views | 0 0 comments | 64 64 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Dear Editor:

I started volunteering in the Hoboken Public School district when my oldest daughter was 2 years old. I have seen the district grow by leaps and bounds in the last five years with many advancements and achievements. I have trusted the Board majority and administrators with the most precious person in my life - my child. I know from first-hand experience that the tenets of equity and excellence guide the Board and administration’s decisions. I see a persistent and dogged effort in making sure that the children of Hoboken can reach higher and achieve academic success.

Ever since Dr. Johnson became Superintendent, she has had a laser-like focus on expanding opportunities for the children of Hoboken. One of Dr. Johnson’s first initiatives was creating the Passport to Learning After School Program. This was the first of many significant steps in ensuring equity among programming options for children at the elementary school level. Passport to Learning democratizes access to enrichment courses for children regardless of a family’s income level. The Program is offered to all K-6 children across the district in all of our elementary schools - 5-days per week from 3pm to 6pm and there is no cost for children who qualify for free lunch to participate. Participation in the Passport to Learning program has increased from 130 children in 2015 to more than 500 children in 2018. Passport to Learning transforms the schools to serve as community centers and encourages children to nurture their passions.

I am also so pleased to see Dr. Johnson recently reconfigure the Kindergarten placement process to ensure that each elementary school reflects the diversity of our community and has integrated classes. This policy was the right thing to do for our children, families, and community. I applaud the administration for taking this crucial step. This policy will be one of Dr. Johnson’s most lasting and significant legacies. The Passport to Learning Program and Kindergarten placement system reforms are just two examples of the many accomplishments ushered in by Dr. Johnson. But what makes her stand out is the empathy that she shows families and her ability to listen to the community. She prefers the focus to be on the work and not her, but she is truly the one bringing it all together. Dr. Johnson always manages to do this in the most humble and generous manner.

In her nearly 3 years of serving in Hoboken, Dr. Johnson’s efforts have not gone unnoticed. Dr. Johnson received the 2016 Thurgood Marshall Education Award by the Hoboken NAACP and the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE). Dr. Johnson was also honored by the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders. Their resolution states: “Her passion for educational equity and excellence is unwavering. She believes the social, emotional and academic growth of all children is non-negotiable.”

Thank you Dr. Johnson and the Hoboken school district for all that you are doing to meet the needs of our children!

Vera Sirota

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