555 7th St., Hoboken, NJ 07030
Tel: (201) 963-9535
Fax: (201) 963-1256
Email: info@hobokencatholic.org 

Copyright © 2014 Hoboken Catholic Academy. All Rights Reserved.
Webmaster: Jane Cordova


June 17, 2016

Dear Parents and Guardians,

It is hard to believe that the 2015-2016 school year is coming to a close. It has been an excellent school year! On Saturday, June 18th, we will say good-bye to some wonderful young ladies and gentlemen. Graduation from elementary school is a very special event. It marks the end of the first and longest part of a student’s educational journey. Some of our kids have been here since they were three years old! It also means that we will say good-bye to some pretty terrific parents. So, please join me in thanking and acknowledging all of our graduates and their parents, especially those parents who will also be leaving Hoboken Catholic Academy on Saturday, June 18th. The student names marked with a * indicate that they are the last in their family to attend Hoboken Catholic Academy.
Congratulations graduates and parents!

The Hoboken Catholic Academy Class of 2016
Sara Bartoszek
Calvin Flett
Sophia Gallagher
Matthew Geruso*
Garrett Joyce
Samantha Lemke*
Danica Mercado*
Natalie Misyak
Veeran Nagpaul
John Papagni*
Dylan Penafiel*
Ashley Ringor*
Angelo Rodriguez*
Tessie Sciancalepore*
Serina Sebbio*
Aeon Seo
Mark Stoll*
Tara Suter*
Julienne Trent
Kailyn Troya

As I indicated in my year-end letter at this time last year, our school has come a long way since the doors were closed following Super Storm Sandy. I am pleased to tell you that that progress has continued. Thanks to your generous support, we have completed the first phase of our air conditioning project. The second floor classrooms are cool, even on the hottest days. Teachers and students have been able to focus on teaching and learning without the oppressive heat and the drone of multiple fans and undersized air conditioners. Plans are in the works to complete the project and put units in all first floor classrooms, the kitchen and the office suite this summer.

Our students continue to make us proud with a number of accomplishments, both academic and extracurricular. From our eighth graders’ high school selections and over $375,000 in scholarship offers, to awards at local, county and state level spelling bees, the Hudson County Science Fair, local and national writing contests, academic competitions, choir performances and athletic events, HCA students have excelled.

More than 250 students participated in sports, with all of our teams being competitive, while demonstrating excellent sportsmanship. Our choir performed beautifully each time they were asked to sing. They made more than a dozen appearances, highlighted by the iSing competition and concert at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark. This year, our choir, under the direction of Laurie Campana, was rated “Superior,” by the iSing judges, the highest level possible!

Many of our older students were part of Student Council, the National Junior Honor Society or Campus Ministry. They collected hundreds of pounds of food, dry goods and clothing, scores of toys for sick children and thanks to second grader Zoe Bloor, have sent scores of drawings to area nursing homes and hospitals. They will host our Grandparent Thank-you Dinner/Dance on Monday, June 13th, and will undoubtedly steal the hearts of the 50 or so seasoned citizens who will attend. Our seventh and eighth graders logged hundred of volunteer hours, assisting our littlest students enter school each day and travel to and from church for monthly masses and during our evacuation drills, babysitting for Home and School Association meetings as well as volunteering at countless HSA and school events. They served as tour guides during open houses and always represented our school and our families in a positive way. Our children truly live the gospel message of love and service and have answered Pope Francis’ call to put others before ourselves. I could not be more proud of them.

HCA has continued as a Professional Development School this year, in conjunction with William Paterson University, and Professor in Residence, Anna D’Alto, has worked with all of our teachers. She teamed with middle school math teacher, Molly Molino, to provide an afterschool enrichment program. They covered such topics as Fibonacci Numbers and Fibonacci Art, Topology and Network Theory, Tangrams, Fractal Cuts, The Sierpinski Triangle and Tessellations. Students learned and used high-level math in fun and interesting ways and our two resident math experts had the opportunity to work together to benefit our students. We will continue our relationship with William Paterson University and welcome Mrs. D’Alto back next year.

We will continue our subscription to First in Math and students will have access using their current log-on information until July 31st. I am pleased to inform you that our school, Hoboken Catholic Academy, placed 18th in the state of New Jersey, with a score of 3,432 stickers per student! Next year we will work to increase our student participation and look to move up in the statewide rankings.

Teachers were trained in the use of “Close Reading,” which emphasizes a variety of strategies to foster a deeper understanding of text, particularly non-fiction and technical pieces. Students in all grades have been trained to provide text evidence for their responses to comprehension questions and read pieces in a thorough and purposeful way.

As you will recall as a result of our standardized test results last spring, we implemented a number of initiatives to address areas we felt needed improvement. The 2016 Terra Nova results have been posted on our website, and as you will see, we have made fine progress. Our students have scored well above the national average in all areas at all grade levels and fared very well when compared to the rest of the Archdiocesan schools. I will be recommending fifty-three students for inclusion in the Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth Program, based on their Terra Nova scores in reading and or mathematics! We have already begun the process of analyzing this year’s test data and will develop plans to address areas we identify as needing improvement. We will continue to implement the changes we put in place this year, including the emphasis on Close Reading strategies, test and curriculum alignment and pacing.

The Accelerated Reader Program did not generate the level of participation we anticipated so we will not renew our subscription for the 2016-2017 school year. We have had an excellent response to the Epic website and free online access to thousands of eBooks so that program will continue.

As a continuation and expansion of our STEM initiative begun last year, we have had a dedicated STEM Activities Teacher plan and coordinate activities with the classroom teachers. The STEM projects required students in grades 1-4 to work in teams to plan, design and complete real-world tasks to solve problems. Projects included learning about Fossil Formation by creating fossils, learning about bird habitats by creating birds’ nests, learning about different types of bridges, then designing and building their own, engineering houses for the Three Little Pigs, building barometers to forecast the weather, and many more. Our eighth graders are completing their Waterbotics unit in which they have been charged with designing and constructing robots from LEGO kits to perform tasks under water, then reflect on how well their creations performed. Along those same lines and thanks to the Hoboken Family Alliance and Stevens Institute, our eighth grade students joined with eighth graders from all of Hoboken’s schools, at the STEM-a-thon on May 17th. The event was a great opportunity for our students to work together in teams to solve real world problems. Next year we will expand our program to include all of the grade levels.

We continued our partnership with St. Peter’s Prep and their Ignatian Scholars, expanding the tutoring and academic competition programs begun last year to also include an STEM component. All three parts of the program were successful, with students in grades 5-8 participating in the new STEM component. Like our in-school program, students were given problems to solve then worked in teams to design and build devices and structures to solve the problem. I will meet over the summer with Mr. Juan Arteaga, Assistant Dean of Students and Coordinator of the Ignatian Scholars Program at St. Peters Prep to fine-tune our partnership and look to include more of our students in this worthwhile afterschool program.

If you will recall, last spring, our middle school students took part in a live “Face chat,” with an Education Specialist from NASA about the exploration of the planet Mars. As I shared several weeks back, this year, two of our students were semi-finalists for essays they submitted explaining where NASA should next send the Cassini Probe. Since then, Mrs. Esteves has continued our amazing connection with NASA, as evidenced on this YouTube video:

Two years ago we were thrilled to report that the NJ Council of the Knights of Columbus named Mrs. Bernardo the New Jersey State Teacher of the Year. Last year, sixth grade and language arts teacher, Mrs. Peggy Girovasi, was recognized by the Mary Immaculate Council of the Knights of Columbus in Secaucus, as their teacher of the year. I am pleased to tell you that this year, Ms. Renata Koziol received the same distinction! Please join me in congratulating Ms. K for this wonderful and well-deserved recognition by the Knights of Columbus.

On a final note, thanks again to Monica De Falco, Katey Maye, Amber LaGatutta, the 5K Race Committee and volunteers for the incredible job they did leading up to and the day of the annual 5K Walk Run on Saturday, June 4th. The event was incredibly well run and the three hundred plus participants, including over 100 HCA students, had a blast. Thanks to our sponsors and all who participated in any of our three races on Saturday.

As we wind down the last few days of school and get closer to our moving up ceremonies and our Eighth Grade Graduation, please know that the teachers, support staff, and I know how truly blessed we are to be able to be part of a school with such wonderful children and outstanding families. We appreciate your support and will continue to work hard to move Hoboken Catholic Academy forward next year and in the years to come.

Please have a great summer and be safe.

God bless you all.

Matthew McGrath

Hoboken Catholic Academy awarded accreditation by the Middle States Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools.

September 8
School Opens
FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL for grades K-8
       Full day of school/ Brown bag lunch
       Morning care/ Aftercare begins

September 9
Welcome Back Mass 10 am

September 12
First Day for PreK3 & 4
Letters A-M (11:20 am dismissal)
       Cafeteria opens

September 13
First Day for PreK3 & 4
Letters N-Z (11:20 am dismissal)

September 14
PreK3 & 4
11:20 am dismissal
       HSA meeting 7 pm

September 15
PreK3 & 4
11:20 am dismissal

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