Progress at the Hoboken BOE

Dear Editor:
In response to Theresa Burns’ letter, let me offer a different view. Personnel and Governance scored a perfect percent Fiscal management scored 95 and operations 93 percent. The 69 percent instructional score is down from the prior year, but double that of several years ago. We were only proficient in two categories in prior years.
To improve scores (nothing ever goes up in a straight line) the BOE has hired tutors and instituted a complete all grade level gifted and talented program. The prior program, John Hopkins, while an excellent program was not offered in all grade levels, as required by NJ law. John Hopkins will be offered after school so students enrolled in it will not be disrupted.
The former IB program was unfortunately only graduating 1 student per year on average and is being replaced by an AP program which will allow many more students to obtain college credit for courses. Our teachers have taken college prep classes to be ready to teach these students.
Adult education is back. This time it will be run by Hudson County Community College. This saves Hoboken taxpayers money.
Two grades now have laptops, with an additional grade to receive laptops each year. Even better is the introduction of interactive “Smartboards” in every classroom.
A suggestion I made to the BOE was to utilize online resources such as This was started by Salman Khan to teach his relative’s children. They did so well that their friends wanted his help, so he put videos up on YouTube. Microsoft’s Bill Gates saw the videos and teamed with Khan to start the online academy. It now has over 2,600 videos covering a variety of subjects such as basic math to calculus, history, civics, sciences and SAT preparation. I am hoping the BOE can use this resource for the Smartboards, but in the meantime you can access it yourself. I urge all parents to give it try. If you like it let Superintendent Toback know!
A new venture is the creation of a student run culinary program. Children will get practical experience on how to run a business, collect money, keep records, maintain stocks, clean up and other chores that such a venture entails. This innovative concept will give students a unique, real world experience in business.
Also important is the school tax levy which is now set at the lowest level permitted by NJ state law. This has been accomplished by reducing a bloated, patronage ridden administration. No teaching positions have been eliminated.
There is an updated web site: Now you can pay for school lunches online, for example. Check it out.
Additionally a badly needed 6 year capital improvement program is being instituted. The new Connors playground was the initial step.
Things still need improving at the BOE, but in only 2 years with Kids First in charge exciting things are happening. The best is yet to come, if you vote to keep Kids First as the majority.

Scott Siegel

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