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Hoboken Schools May Go Back to Middle School Model

The superintendent first wants more community input.

In a few years, Hoboken may again see a middle school. 

By going back to having a traditional middle school—which used to be the case in Hoboken—Superintendent of Schools Mark Toback at Tuesday night's Board of Education meeting proposed organizing the grades by age. Now, students of different ages sometimes have class in the same building. 

But, before anything can happen, Toback said he wants more community input on the proposed measure.

"This is a community decision," Toback said. "It's an idea and that's it."

Currently eighth graders are also housed at . That would no longer be the case if there'd be a middle school in town. 

If the system is changed, grades one through five would probably have class at the . The middle school could be housed at . Grades nine through twelve will remain at the high school. 

If the change is made, it probably wouldn't happen until the beginning of the 2014-2015 school year, Toback said. 

ThisMeansWar May 11, 2012 at 07:48 PM
Where would you be without C, P & T? Cut, Paste & Twinkies.
Journey May 11, 2012 at 09:10 PM
It is Demerest (sp) and has been many things over the years, first a high school, then a middle school, I think the alternative high school, and next year it will have pre-k.
prosbus May 11, 2012 at 10:41 PM
HobokenReformer, please point out which of CuriousGal's statements of the current academic state of the district is inaccurate. Was there a time of lower test scores? Has district enrollment ever been lower than it is today (especially considering the number of outside "choice" students we are enrolling)? Is the district NOT a "DINI"? Is it not true that HHS has the 3rd lowest graduation rate in Hudson County? Are there less than 90% of students currently enrolled in a school that has failed to make Adequate Yearly Progress for the last 2 years? Facts do seem to have a bias against Kids First leadership when it comes to academic ACHIEVEMENT doesn't it? Kids First is excellent in academic PROMISES. And they are notable in academic PLANS. And they are experts at hiring interim academic POSITIONS. But, actual results? Well....Kids First doesn't seem to meet any kind of standard that provides confidence to the community they serve.
Patton May 12, 2012 at 12:00 PM
David E Rue...Elysian Charter is in there. i believe a day care as well im not 100% sure of what else
nice try May 12, 2012 at 10:00 PM
@Journey: I'm not sure of the the precise reasons for changing the K-8 model but I know space at Wallace School is a problem with upper grades housed in portable trailers. I've heard parents of younger children complain about the k-8 model worrying that the 7-8th graders are too big. Of course parental perspectives about the appropriate age/grade mix shift each year as their child grows. I experienced a K-9 model growing up in the suburbs as did my siblings with no problems. My child is just approaching the middle school years so I'm quite interested in Dr. Toback's plan for organizing the schools by grades across the city. At the same time if the 8th grade remains in HHS I have no problem with that either. We know a lot of 8th grade students who are comfortable there and enjoying the HHS.
franksinatra May 14, 2012 at 03:50 PM
This doesn't sound like a good idea. I can see it really ripping the town apart. Hoboken's advantage is its neighborhood schools. Unlike in the car-dependent suburbs, most of us can walk to neighborhood grade schools. Ending the middle schools a few years ago acknowledged that advantage and resulted in more parents sticking with the public schools longer because their children could stay in their neighborhood schools longer. Now Taback apparently wants to uproot the entire school system, sending all 6th-8th graders to Connors, all 1st-5th graders in Connors and Calabro to Wallace, and all kindergartners in Connors and Wallace to Calabro. Once all this gets out, the opposition from parents--especially the ones near Connors--will be intense. Most parents will not support having their young children bused across town every day. Many parents--both minority and non-minority--will simply drop out of the public schools. One pre-k parent I saw over the weekend has already decided to switch to Hoboken Catholic if this plan happens. This forced busing of kids all over the city each day will easily cost the district 25% of its student body. And like all of the forced busing programs of the 60s and 70s that were supposed to created integrated schools, the school system will end up virtually entirely minority and poor. Any parent with any wherewithal will find a way out, as half the parents of school-age children here now already do. It's hard to conceive of a more destructive proposal.
pied piper May 14, 2012 at 04:54 PM
Post first then pick up the pipe. "FORCED busing of kids all over the city each day " Where did you come up with this? Then you say: "Ending the middle schools a few years ago acknowledged that advantage and resulted in more parents sticking with the public schools longer because their children could stay in their neighborhood schools longer"----"Any parent with any wherewithal will find a way out, as half the parents of school-age children here now already do" Which is it? they are staying longer or they are leaving? The middle school switch was started about 4 years ago, under Raslowski. And the support of your theory rests with: "I can see it really ripping the town apart. Many parents--both minority and non-minority--will simply drop out of the public schools" "One pre-k parent I saw over the weekend has already decided to switch to Hoboken Catholic if this plan happens."
Journey May 14, 2012 at 07:08 PM
busing? Why? What is the state/county/city distance that forces busing. The NJ town I grew up in didn't have to bus you unless you lived more than a mile away from the school or there were no sidewalks. I lived 9/10th of mile from my elementary school and I walked. Who lives more than mile from any Hoboken school?
nice try May 14, 2012 at 07:27 PM
Here are the NJ State public school busing regulations: Q. Who must be transported? A. In accordance with state law, N.J.S.A. 18A:39-1, all public elementary school students (grades K-8) who live more than two miles from their school and all public secondary school students (grades 9-12) who live more than two-and-a-half miles from their school are entitled to transportation. These students are said to live "remote from school." Whenever a school district is required to provide transportation to students attending regular public school programs, students attending nonpublic schools who meet those distance requirements may also be entitled to transportation services. In addition, any student classified with special needs who either meets these distance requirements or for whom transportation is required in the student’s Individual Education Plan must be transported. http://www.nj.gov/education/finance/transportation/faq.htm
Journey May 14, 2012 at 08:02 PM
This is not about busing, it is about trying to raise a race issue. You want the world to think that families that are 'white' will flee the schools if forced to send their children to an integrated school. Thanks for painting us as racists. I love the diversity of Hoboken, I want my daughter to go to school that reflects the neighborhood she lives in, which means African-American, Hispanic, Italian, and Northern European mongrels like herself. I'm more than proud that my first cousins have Mexican heritage, or that my first cousin once removed (my first cousin's daughter) has African heritage. Keep your racism to yourself and don't try to put it on the rest of us.
pied piper May 14, 2012 at 08:27 PM
In the state of NJ, it is a 2 mile minimum. But hey- that little fact ,won't cause mass hysteria and sound bites.
ThisMeansWar May 14, 2012 at 09:01 PM
Journey, you're not actually taking Maureen's 25% drop in enrollment and the rest of this claptrap seriously I hope.
nice try May 14, 2012 at 09:13 PM
NJ State public school transportation policy: Q. Who must be transported? A. In accordance with state law, N.J.S.A. 18A:39-1, all public elementary school students (grades K-8) who live more than two miles from their school and all public secondary school students (grades 9-12) who live more than two-and-a-half miles from their school are entitled to transportation. These students are said to live "remote from school." Whenever a school district is required to provide transportation to students attending regular public school programs, students attending nonpublic schools who meet those distance requirements may also be entitled to transportation services. In addition, any student classified with special needs who either meets these distance requirements or for whom transportation is required in the student’s Individual Education Plan must be transported. http://www.nj.gov/education/finance/transportation/faq.htm
gettheledout44 May 14, 2012 at 11:08 PM
journey can you not follow the conversation? franksinatra's point was that this plan would get rid of neighborhood schools that are within walking distance. connors at 2nd and monroe is about 22 blocks - way more than a mile - from the applied housing at 13 th and hudson. putting the only middle school on the edge of town is insane. of course the board will have to talk about busing kids over there, damn the cost. notice how pied is leading the charge for hoboken kids to walk all over the place from her perch in westfield. kids first wants this and she will shill for them without checking the facts. and i think she missed this part of the dept of ed's q & a on busing.... Q. Is it a district’s responsibility to provide transportation for students who live less than remote from school when hazardous road conditions exist? A. Boards of education are not required by law to provide busing for students who live less than remote from school even for safety reasons. However, boards are permitted, at their own discretion and expense, to provide transportation for students who reside less than remote from school and may charge the student’s parents or legal guardians for this service. Municipalities may also contract with boards of education for this service and charge the parents. This transportation service is called subscription busing.
Hobbs May 14, 2012 at 11:14 PM
As usual Hoboken's OLD GUARD politicos will use any excuse to try to breed hate and chaos to get back control of the BOE.
franksinatra May 14, 2012 at 11:16 PM
Toback said at the meeting that the kids will be bused to their new schools under this plan (something that will cost millions of dollars a year and clog our streets with dozens of buses--and cars for the parents who don't want their kids on a bus. This won't exactly help with Dawn's green agenda to reduce traffic, encourage walking and make the streets safer.) But the point is not the busing. Whether kids are bused are not, many will be forced to travel a long distance to get to school each day. A first grade who lives beyond Connors will need to get to Wallace. A sixth-grader in the Shipyard will have to travel to Connors. An unintended consequence will be kids forced to get up earlier, get less sleep, be absent more often and do less well in school. If Toback thinks this will raise test scores, it will do the opposite. There is not doubt that the result will be many kids disappearing from the school system. PP -- the middle school switch started under Gagliardi, not Raslowsky.
gettheledout44 May 15, 2012 at 12:36 AM
can't even have a discussion without good old hobbs knee jerking his old guard auto fill response. toback in this story says he wants community input, which makes him a million times smarter than hobbs. hobbs, what scares you so much about a debate over issues? if you don't have anything to offer besides "john corea's quarters" than stay on the sideline and zip it.
pied piper May 15, 2012 at 12:32 PM
Sorry-- the middle school was approved under Gagliardi- then Gagliardi was paid off 600k to move over for raslowski --who- saw it through implementation. Toback never said that the kids will be bused to their new schools under this plan, it was Sullivan who said it- he said nothing of the sort and responded to her "statement" with there will be plenty of time to discuss all of the issues, "I just wanted to present this to the public for some dialogue." And for the love of god- until you get that PHD and have 15 years teaching and administrative experience don't assure the population that you know how to raise test scores. You have shown that you have limited understanding of even the simplest forms of educational issues.
pied piper May 15, 2012 at 12:36 PM
I feel so much dumber for having read this post. Are you advocating for bussing or are you against bussing? When you finish having the debate with yourself, please let us know your thoughts. As you and others have pointed out- bussing minimum distance is 2 miles.
franksinatra May 15, 2012 at 08:37 PM
I thought i heard Toback propose busing, but as i said, the point is not busing, the point is forcing hundreds of Hoboken kids out of their neighborhood schools and into schools on the other end of town, sometimes as much as 1.5 miles away. Parents will go nuts when they catch wind of this, if Toback decides to proceed. I'm glad Toback is seeking "some dialogue" but history shows that he doesn't listen to anyone. He got lots of dialogue on Ohaus and Hillenbrand and still had Kids First fire them. We completely disagree on your last point. Nationwide and statewide, the vast majority commissioners of education, superintendents, administrators and many teachers have phds and at least 15 years of teaching experience. Yet there's a consensus that k-12 education nationwide is in crisis--both urban and suburban--as we fall further and further behind other countries. So much for the value of a phd. in education. Toback and others deep inside the educational blob are the last ones who would ever be able to figure out how to fix our schools. He's so clueless about what's wrong he thinks starting a middle school is the answer! All he's doing is--i hate to say it--rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
Journey May 15, 2012 at 11:38 PM
I know some parents that have opted to go to Brandt next year for preschool even through Demerest is closer to them. With childhood obesity on the rise I would rather my child walk father.
Journey May 15, 2012 at 11:47 PM
There are already families with kids in schools that are not the one closet to them. In the past you could choose any one of the three elementary schools for your kid. Some parents in the 4th ward did not choose Conors. In fact I know parents were concerned that for 12/13 new enrollments that option was changing.
pied piper May 16, 2012 at 10:55 AM
Again, you are wrong. Nationally, poverty has always been noted to be the enemy of education. Academically the US is not falling behind other countries in the suburban areas, We are number one based on affluence and academic achievement comparative to other nations. So, I guess that paid value must be there. The US has a 21% poverty rate, compared with Finland ( number 1-worldwide) which has a 7% poverty rate. Finland has one of the lowest, if not the lowest poverty rates amongst those countries copmpared for ranking. Finland was listed as one of the worst disctricts not too long ago. The educational institiutions were fractured with porvate schools and other sponsored schools. It was projected that only 25% of the population, (those in poverty and special needs) would be enrolled in their public schools within 20 years. They felt this was a crisis and took actions to improve the situation. Their remedy- ALL children MUST attend their local school district. Private and other sponsored schools were outlawed. Teachers and administrators are highly respected and held in high stature. They are now the number one district worldwide.
MadisonMonroe May 16, 2012 at 11:58 PM
P.P. are you recommending the closing of all private schools in the US so that we can mimic Finland? Are you speaking on behalf of Kids First? Are you aware of the taxes in Finland, including mandatory taxes you pay to state-sponsored churches? The total income taxes including the mandatory insurance fees were 29.8 % for an average yearly income of 37,400 € in 2010. And are you aware that Finns believe in books, not laptops; chalkboards, not smartboards?
pied piper May 17, 2012 at 10:39 AM
The US could never mimic Finland, it is against the consititution-basic fact. I base my info on facts not,"consenesus" "Yet there's a consensus that k-12 education nationwide is in crisis--both urban and suburban--as we fall further and further behind other countries" As usual, your consensus man is dead wrong. Also, find it amusing that your scholar believes that "Toback and others deep inside the educational blob are the last ones who would ever be able to figure out how to fix our schools. He's so clueless about what's wrong he thinks starting a middle school is the answer! All he's doing is--i hate to say it--rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic." Many Phds and other educational experts know how to fix the problem but the US system is not set up to allow it. Those experts do as much as they can within the confines of their legal authority.
pied piper May 17, 2012 at 10:48 AM
Currently, there are 6 public elementary schools to choose from. Parents are never far from a neighborhood school. If the district moves to a k, 1-5, middle school and HS set up, middle and high schoolers can usually walk to school and grades 1-5 will have 4 locations to choose from. Certainly, all children will be within less than a half a mile of any public elementary school, given the 4 options - there would be one school in the 5th ward, one in the 2nd ward, one in the 6th ward and one in the 4th ward. Which is currently, exactly what we have now.
gettheledout44 May 19, 2012 at 10:01 PM
pied piper is wrong AGAIN! stop spreading the misinformation from westfield. the school board meeting is on channel 77 now. it clearly shows a discussion about busing and that the ONLY grade 1-5 school would be Wallace under toback's middle school plan. repeat - only one elementry school under the toback plan. you were at this meeting right pied? you must have been out getting your nicotine fix when these issues were discussed. toback says they can send buses from one school to another without triggering the 2 mile rule. so if you're in the 6th grade and live uptown you can walk to wallace and get the bus to connors. if you're a first grader who lives downtown you have to take a bus to get to wallace. yeah, that's the way to go green. what's dawn got to say about that? and the cost of buying all the buses to truck kids all over town? kids first doesn't care about costs, we know that. pp you moved out of town and put your kids in a new school. so GO AWAY. your kids may be smart (like you bragged at the meeting - it's on the tape) but you are incapable of basic comprehension. but that doesn't stop you from spreading lies and misinformation.
Journey May 24, 2012 at 07:07 PM
What you heard was Mrs. Sullivan bringing up the subject of busing. Dr. To back then discussed various options and said it would be something for the community to discuss. Nice attempt at twisting the facts.
Journey May 24, 2012 at 07:17 PM
Liar. I just watched it. It is interesting that you bring up busing and Mrs. Sullivan brings it up. Mrs. Sullivan whinnied about how far it is to walk from uptown to Conners. I'm a huge supporter of children getting to school with their own feet or a bike. Kids don't get enough exercise as it is. I also must be more fit than Mrs. Sullivan because I walk from Hoboken to the Newport Mall and average 5 miles a day just commuting and other life activies.
Journey May 24, 2012 at 07:25 PM
Don't though stones, it is expensive to replace all that glass. Dr. Toback said that if we provide courtesy students that could walk (based on the state rules about distance and safety) we would have bus all students in Hoboken including private school. If we do shuttle between the schools we will not trigger that expensive consequence.

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