The below FAQs are Hoboken Public Education Foundation’s perspective and understanding of these key questions. This page is not district-sponsored.
1. What is the culture and learning environment like across the district?
The Hoboken Public School District (HPSD) is a diverse and dynamic learning community. We have experienced teachers, dedicated parents, and an administration that seeks to challenge and support every student. The HPSD motto is “Rigor, Relevance, and Relationships”. The district lives up to this motto by setting clear academic road maps to learning; offering a wide range of activities and opportunities for students in and out of the classroom; and building partnerships in our schools and in the broader community. The HPSD is committed to meeting the academic and social-emotional needs of our students through innovative programs and hands-on curriculum offerings. The HPSD is dedicated to supporting equity and excellence, thus enabling each student to reach their full potential. A core value embraced by the district is to instill multicultural understanding among our students.
2. Which curriculum offerings are available in the Hoboken Public School District (HPSD) and how often are they updated?
The most essential task for a school district is to meet the needs of all students and engage them in the process of becoming lifelong learners. The HPSD seeks to prepare all of our young people to be college and career ready by equipping them with the skills necessary to succeed in the 21st century. All curriculum offerings are aligned with the New Jersey Learning Standards. The district is committed to honoring and celebrating the diversity of our student body by fostering opportunities for global and multicultural learning. The district takes pride in educating the whole child by incorporating social emotional learning for all students. As a result, the course and program offerings in the Hoboken Public School District are progressive, innovative and unique. Differentiation of instruction is a key tool in providing modifications for special education students, English Language Learners, skill fragile students, and those identified as gifted.
3. Which STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) programs are offered by the Hoboken Public School District (HPSD)?
STEM-based learning is a major component of academic life across our district. Grades K-12 students participate in Project Lead the Way (PLTW), a nationally recognized curriculum that engages students in critical thinking and problem-based learning across a wide range of STEM topics. The HPSD is one of the few districts across the nation that provides STEM learning five days a week beginning in Kindergarten. The curriculum is built on the premise that peer collaboration and experiential learning are essential to nurturing the next generation of scientists. All four district elementary schools were recently recognized as PLTW Launch National STEM Schools of Distinction.
Hoboken High School is the only high school in Hudson County to offer all three PLTW High School Programs of Study. PLTW students are able to take advantage of Hoboken High School’s state-of-the-art science, computer, and engineering labs as they progress through the comprehensive four-year program of their choice: biomedical science, computer science, or engineering. Before graduating, students can participate in university-based programs, engage in intensive internships, attend prestigious summer enrichment programs, and in many cases, earn college credit.
The HPSD is a founding member of the Liberty STEM Alliance, a Liberty Science Center-led initiative to promote STEM learning and collaboration across Hudson County. The HSPD also partners with Rutgers University in providing a Pre-Medical Honors Program at the high school level.
4. Which special programs does the district offer that help distinguish Hoboken Public Schools from other schools?
The HPSD offers an array of programs that meet the needs of all students, including:
Classrooms Without Walls
Passport to Learning after school enrichment program
Gifted and Talented Programs including Johns Hopkins Courses
Personal Growth Period
Project Lead the Way
Passport to Adult Learning
Challenge and Support
Leap into Summer Learning
Award-winning high school drama and music program
Early Childhood Education
English Language Learner Courses
The Classroom Without Walls program provides high school students with the opportunity to travel abroad. Students have traveled to England, France, Italy, Spain and Japan. Future trips are planned for Greece, the Galapagos Islands, and China. A commitment to global learning is paramount in the HPSD. Last year, the District was granted the ability to offer qualifying high school students, the New Jersey Department of Education’s coveted Seal of Biliteracy. Hoboken High School also offers a state-of-the-art Aquaponics lab where students learn to grow various fruits and vegetables, a CyberPatriot competition team, National Honor Society, Harvard Model Congress, Model U.N. Debate, Hispanic & African American Culture Clubs, among other clubs and activities.
Leap into Summer Learning is a recently added four-week summer academic and enrichment program available for students in Kindergarten-8th grade.
Beyond the classroom, service learning is incorporated throughout all grades to develop civically engaged citizens. For example, district students recently fundraised over $18,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
Hoboken High School offers dual enrollment high school and collegiate credit courses through Rider University, Fairleigh Dickinson University and NJIT. It also offers 22 Advanced Placement courses – 11 in-class and 11 online. The HPSD recently added the AP Capstone Diploma Program, which equips students with independent research, collaborative teamwork, and communications skills. Hoboken High School is excited to begin a new partnership with Hudson Community College in the upcoming school year which will afford all students the opportunity to earn both a high school diploma and an Associate’s Degree simultaneously.
Our district is known for our outstanding Theater Department, which has been featured on Playbill.com and Classroom Close-ups New Jersey. The Theater Department has won several awards at major theater competitions including the Speech and Theater Association of New Jersey Competition and the International Thespians Festival.
The Music Department has been selected to perform in prestigious events like the National Memorial Day Parade in Washington DC, the American Young Voices Concert, and Propelify. The Music Department has earned a number of national awards, including a ‘Superior’ ranking at the 2019 Trills and Thrills Music Festival.
We are very proud of our Redwing Athletics Department. Our student athletes have competed at the highest levels and student games draw large crowds throughout the community.
The administration partners with stakeholders through advisory committees and our strong Parent Teacher Organizations (PTOs), and presents adult workshops through the Passport to Adult Learning workshop series. The Passport to Adult Learning series seeks to strengthen the home-school connection.
5. What requirements do you have for teacher experience and accreditation?
The HPSD follows state recommendations for teacher licensure. Each teacher in the district holds the required license and is matched to their area of specialty in the classroom. It is important to note that the HPSD has a robust new teacher mentorship program that runs for two years. The New Teacher Academy meets monthly. A specific point of focus for our new teachers is equipping them with the knowledge and skills to meet the needs of all learners to set them up for success.
Unlimited professional development opportunities are also made available to staff members through graduate coursework, on-sight professional development days and off-site workshops. Teachers also engage in ongoing professional learning communities to research and dialogue about relevant topics related to teaching and learning.
6. What after-school enrichment programs does HSPD offer?
The Passport to Learning & Wellness program is a universal afterschool program that provides enrichment courses, academic support and challenge, wellness activities and structured play for students in Grades K-8. Students can take chess, coding, drama, yoga, among other options. At the 6th through 8th grade levels, students may also extend instrumental music instruction, or engage in unique sporting opportunities such as fencing, swimming, tennis, golf, and archery to name just a few. There is no cost for children who quality for free lunch to participate. The Passport to Learning Program transforms the elementary schools and middle school to serve as community centers and encourages children to nurture their passions.
7. What is the average class size in the HPSD?
The district ensures that Kindergarten classes do not go above 21 students. At all other grade levels, classes are capped at 24 students, yet rarely ever reach that cap. The district is committed to creating small classes to provide the best possible learning environments for all students.
Anecdotally, many parents report that that their children are in classroom sizes that are around 16-18 students. This year, the average class size for kindergarten classes was 16 with a teacher and a teacher’s aide.
8. Please provide information on academic quality.
The New Jersey Department of Education monitors and evaluates school districts with a system called New Jersey Quality Single Accountability Continuum (QSAC). QSAC evaluates schools in 5 areas: personnel, governance, fiscal management, operations, and instruction and programming. To receive a high performing distinction, school districts must receive a score of 80 or above in each area. In December of 2018, the Hoboken Public School District exceeded the score of 80 in all five areas and was deemed a “High Performing” school district by the New Jersey Department of Education. This designation signals the district’s commitment to continuously reach higher on behalf of all students and incorporate best practices.
9. How much scholarship money is typically awarded to high school graduates?
The Hoboken High School Guidance Department has worked tirelessly in supporting students as they apply to colleges and universities. Financial scholarship awards jumped from $1.8M in 2014 to $13.5M in 2018. The implementation of the Raise Me initiative in 2018 has awarded the class of 2018 an additional $3.2M in ‘micro-scholarships’. We are incredibly proud of our Redwings as they prepare for college life. Over 95% of Hoboken High School students apply and are accepted to institutions of higher learning.
10. Can you explain how children from neighboring areas attend our schools?
Hoboken Public Schools are part of New Jersey's Interdistrict Public School Choice Program which enables students from approved choice districts to apply for enrollment into Hoboken Public Schools. The K-12 program increases educational opportunities for students and their families by providing students with school options outside of their district of residence and giving parents the power to select a school program that best serves their child's individual needs. In the past, Hoboken has had a number of spots for students from other districts to attend our Public schools, however with Hoboken’s significantly growing Public School population, these spots have become much more limited.
As of April 2019, the district had 166 seats for school choice. Approximately 90 were at the High School, 12 were at the Middle School, and 64 were at grades K-6. In most instances, the elementary seats are filled by siblings of those enrolled in the High School as school choice students or children of staff members.
11. How are children placed into our public schools?
Several factors are considered when placing students in the Public School system, with priority given to: students who have siblings in the school (the district tries to keep families in the same school together where possible), students with special needs (who need to be placed in the schools where the programs that support them are located), and a commitment to ensuring that we continue to work toward achieving a socio-economic balance and racial footprints in our schools. All students are, however, placed in the 1st or 2nd closest school to their home and less then .9 miles walking distance.
12. Can you talk about the safety measures that are in place in our schools?
The Hoboken Public School District has a team of School Security Guards. In addition, there are four School Resource Officers assigned to the district by the Hoboken Police Department. The district is equipped with cameras and follows all state regulations regarding safety drills.
13. Please provide future improvements/expansion plans for Hoboken Public Schools.
To meet the needs of our growing student population, the district has undertaken several facility improvements. The Demarest building was recently renovated to accommodate a dedicated middle school, which grew to include 6th grade for the 2019-2020 school year. The Hoboken High School auditorium received upgrades, as did the high school science labs and football field. The Connors School cafeteria was also recently renovated. The Early Childhood Education Program will expand to include seven additional classes in the fall of 2019. The Calabro school recently transitioned from an elementary school into an Early Childhood Education Program location.
Note that we understand HPSD is currently evaluating additional options for new and expanding facilities. As you can imagine, this is a major undertaking that requires much thought and planning given the space limitations of our mile-square city.
14. Where do you see the district 5 years from now?
We expect Hoboken to be a best-practice model for educational excellence and the premier educational choice for all families in Hoboken. The administration is raising the level of expectations for all students and is challenging all of the district’s children to achieve their full potential. The district values its partnership with families and staff and when we work together, the sky is the limit. Under the Superintendent’s leadership, the district will continue to harness positive energy, provide encouragement, and utilize partnership-building to achieve success in our schools.
We couldn’t be more proud of our schools and the direction we are headed together in partnership with the HPSD!
Click Here to learn more about the Hoboken Public Education Foundation.
Click Here to watch Joseph F. Brandt Elementary School receive the Project Lead the Way (PLW) Distinction Award in 2018 and learn more about PLW across all our Hoboken Public Schools.