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


AUGUST 18, 2015

Dear Parents and Guardians,

Please let me begin by thanking all of the members of our school family for their loving support of the Widjaja family following the passing of their son and brother, Christopher. Christopher was indeed an incredibly special little boy, whose smile lit up any room he entered. Answers are impossible to come by when a child leaves us so suddenly. Our faith tells us he is in a better place and he is at peace. I am certain this is true, but it does not make his family’s pain or the pain of his friends and their families any easier to take. As we begin our school year, please know that we at Hoboken Catholic Academy will do whatever we can to support the Widjajas and all of our students and families who have been impacted by Christopher’s passing. We will dedicate ourselves to strive for the ideals this wonderful little boy typified during his short time with us. We will work hard. We will be kind to others. We will help those around us who could use a helping hand. We will honor Christopher by striving to be more like him. Details about a parent meeting to discuss our school’s plan to provide support and honor Christopher’s memory will be emailed to you shortly.

Once again, we have had a busy summer at HCA. A number of classrooms were moved to accommodate shifting numbers of students in some of the grade levels and to insure that each Pre-K and Kindergarten classroom has a bathroom. The rooms, lavatories, hallways and stairwells have been scrubbed clean. All of our tile floors glisten and teachers have been getting their rooms ready. The gym floor was screened and two coats of polyurethane have been applied, so the gym floor looks brand new! The air conditioning project bid has been accepted and work has begun. Thanks to your generous support, air conditioning will be installed in all second floor classrooms, God willing, before the start of school in September! Additional security cameras will be installed next week along the outside of the building on Madison, Monroe and 7th Streets to further enhance the monitoring of our school, particularly during recess time on 7th Street.

As was indicated last spring, we have completed an analysis of our Terra Nova results and have developed a plan to address several areas needing improvement. That plan has several components.

The first is to increase the amount of time dedicated to reading instruction.

As you know, we typically begin each day with AM Assembly in the gym for students K-8, starting at 8:15AM. Because of the amount of time it takes for the entire school to travel from the gym to their respective classrooms following the assembly and students to settle into their seats, the instructional day does not commence until almost 8:40AM. During the winter months, particularly for younger students, it can take even longer for the instructional day to begin. On the days students go directly to their classrooms, most children are in their seats and ready for the day to begin by 8:15 and teachers are able to begin instruction as early as 8:25.

As a result, beginning on Monday, September 14th, all students will report directly to their classrooms upon arrival to school. Announcements and the Pledge of Allegiance will be broadcast into classrooms over the PA system and teachers will lead their respective classes in morning prayers. The instructional day will begin at 8:25. We will only gather in the gym for AM Assembly for Prayer Services or other special events.

This change will increase reading instructional time by 50 minutes per week, which will equate to nearly 2,000 minutes of increased reading instruction for each class annually.

The second will be the continuation of the math support teacher in grades one to four and an increase to include grade five as well as the inclusion of literacy support teachers at grades one and two. Math support teachers will be assigned daily to each class in grades one through five to facilitate team teaching, small group and individual instruction. Literacy support will be provided 2-3 days per week in grades one and two. The support teachers will work with groups of students as directed by the classroom teacher, to maximize time on task, reading fluency and comprehension skills.

Next, we will incorporate online programs in reading and math to be used at home to reinforce what is learned in school and allow students to go beyond what is covered, at their own pace.

We have subscribed to “First in Math,” and “The Accelerated Reader Program.” Both of these programs will enable students to complete tasks, which reinforce concepts learned in class, and follow their progress through the levels of the respective programs. The programs will allow students to challenge themselves to advance at their own rate and allow teachers and parents to monitor student progress. The Accelerated Reader Program will be used by students in grades 3-8 and First in Math will be used by students in Kindergarten through grade eight.

First in Math incorporates not only drill and practice, but emphasizes problem solving and higher order thinking skills, while challenging students to stretch beyond their current levels.

The Accelerated Reader Program provides a similar challenge, incorporating skill development in all areas, beyond basic comprehension. Teachers and parents will be able to monitor students’ progress and students will be able to see tangible evidence of their hard work. The Accelerated Reader Program will become the centerpiece of the Principal’s Million Minutes of Reading Challenge.

In addition, we will continue to be a Professional Development School in conjunction with William Paterson University. Mrs. Anna D’Alto will continue as our math Professor in Residence and continue to work with all of our teachers of mathematics. She will be with us one day per week for the entire school year.

Finally, teachers will continue to focus their instruction to move beyond basic comprehension in reading to help students analyze fictional as well as informational text, evaluate and extend meaning, and incorporate higher order critical reading skills. .

In math, teachers will continue to emphasize mastery of basic math facts as well as problem solving and thinking and writing mathematically. Through your generous support, teachers at all grade levels will utilize the math manipulatives they received as a result of the Spring Gala’s Teachers’ Wish List! Through the use of things like fraction tiles and tangrams, students will be able to see and manipulate the concrete representations of abstract concepts. The teachers are anxious to put them to use! .

There are several teachers and our nurse who will not be returning to HCA in September. Mrs. Fasanella, Ms. Gerges, Mrs. Stauber and Mrs. Rushnak have moved on and we wish them well in their future endeavors. .

Since before we left in June, we began the search process to replace the teachers who departed and add a new fourth grade teacher as well. I am pleased to tell you that there was a strong pool of candidates and the interviews and demonstration lessons went very well. .

Please join me in welcoming our new and reassigned teachers for the 2015-2016 school year..

Ms. Molly Molino is a graduate of Stevens Institute of Technology, with a Bachelor of Science in Pure and Applied Mathematics. She has a Master of Arts in Mathematics Education from Brooklyn College. Ms. Molino did her student teaching at Scholars’ Academy in Rockaway Park, NY and was hired by the school for two long-term substitute assignments, teaching basic and advanced math. Ms. Molino will teach math to students in grades 5-8 and will be the fifth grade homeroom teacher. .

Ms. Nicole Godfrey holds an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education from Aquinas College and a Masters in Education from the University of Texas, Arlington. Ms. Godfrey has taught for five years in grades one, two, four and five, in Texas, following one year in grades 4/5 at a Catholic School in Michigan. During her last year in the Texas School she was named team leader, coordinating all grade level activities. Most recently she served as a substitute teacher at the Hudson School in Hoboken. Ms. Godfrey was hired to teach the new fourth grade class. She was scheduled to join Mrs. Rushnak, our incumbent fourth grade teacher. Mrs. Rushnak, however, resigned from her fourth grade assignment at HCA to take a position closer to her home and to be closer to her father who is in poor health. .

Fortunately, because there were several strong candidates for the fourth grade position, I was able to bring in an excellent candidate to replace Mrs. Rushnak. Miss Allison Posluszny has an undergraduate degree in Business from Villanova University and worked for several years in advertising before returning to Montclair State University, where she earned a Masters in Teaching. Ms. Posluszny had an outstanding student teaching experience and was nominated for the National Student Teacher of the Year Award in 2014. She taught an excellent math demonstration lesson for us early in the summer and is excited to work with Ms. Godfrey to provide our students with an outstanding fourth grade experience. .

Miss Amy Cuccinelli will move into Kindergarten from the math support position she held last year. Ms. Cuccinelli, a graduate of Quinnipiac University, began her tenure with us as Ms. Gravina’s aide, where she fell in love with our students and with Kindergarten. Ms. Cuccinelli is skilled in the use of the Smart Board and Smart Table for instruction. When she was called upon to teach lessons in the Kindergarten and other classes on numerous occasions last year, she planned and delivered excellent lessons, demonstrating those technology skills. Ms. Cuccinelli has an excellent rapport with our students and is excited to work closely with Ms. Gravina to deliver our outstanding Kindergarten program. .

Mr. Michael Caufield, our jack-of-all-trades Kindergarten Aide, will become one of two math and reading support/computer teachers. Mr. Caulfield holds an elementary teaching certificate and a BA in Elementary Education from Felician College. Mr. Caufield has demonstrated the ability to work well with classroom teachers, providing individual and small group instruction as needed. He is skilled in the use of the Smart Board and manipulatives to enhance math instruction. He will utilize those instructional and technology skills in providing support to students during math and reading instruction and computer instruction in grades one and two. .

Mrs. Ashley Colona will teach reading in grade five provide math support for grades three through five. She will also provide computer instruction in grades three through eight. Mrs. Colona is a graduate of the University of Scranton with a BS in Elementary Education. She is certified to teach in New York and New Jersey and has strong technology skills. Mrs. Colona comes highly recommended and is anxious to make a difference at HCA. .

Mr. Petagno will move from third grade to become our Catholic Identity Coordinator. In that capacity, he will teach religion in grades five through eight and coordinate all of our masses, prayer services and special programs. Mr. Petagno brings a solid Catholic school background to the position and experience teaching at multiple grade levels. In addition, Mr. Petagno will provide literacy support in the second grade classes. He will also serve as our Student Council Advisor, where he will utilize his extensive background in developing leadership skills in his students. .

Ms. Wilms will tap her experience as a science teacher to work closely with middle school science teacher, Mrs. Esteves, and teachers in grades one to four as our STEM Activities Teacher. As you know, last year, we began our affiliation with Stevens Institute and their STEM program. Mrs. Esteves received three days of training at the university and developed and delivered a Waterbotics Program for our eighth graders. Ms. Wilms will work with Mrs. Esteves and the other teachers to develop and coordinate STEM projects in all grade levels K-4 aligned to their respective science curricula. In addition to her role as STEM Activities Teacher, she will work with the teachers and myself to seek grant funding for our various instructional initiatives. .

Finally, Mrs. Marjie Stauber, our school nurse, resigned her position to spend time with her new grand daughter. Finding a suitable replacement for Mrs. Stauber has been a challenge. I have worked closely with the folks at Catapult, the company who provides our nursing services, and have interviewed several candidates. As of the time this letter was written, the position remains open. I will continue to work with Catapult’s Nursing Supervisor to fill the position. In the meantime, if you know of an RN who would like to interview for the position, please have them contact me at mmcgrath@hobokencatholic.org. .

As you can see we have been very busy since we parted company in June. The school is scrubbed clean and the teachers are all in place. Soon the doors will open for the 2015-2016 school year. .

As always, thank you for sending us such wonderful children. Please join me in asking for the blessings of Almighty God for another great school year at Hoboken Catholic Academy..

Enjoy the rest of the summer! .


Matthew McGrath

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

September 3
Lobel's 10:00am
Kindergarten Orientation:

September 7
Labor Day

September 8-9
Faculty In-Service

September 10
Morningcare / Aftercare begins
School Opens FIRST DAY for Gr. K - 8
       Full day of school (Brown bag lunch)

September 11
Welcome Back Mass 10:00am

September 14
Cafeteria service begins
FIRST DAY for Pre K3 - K4:
       Letters A-M (11:20am dismissal)

September 15
FIRST DAY for PreK 3 - K4
Letters N-Z (11:20am dismissal)

September 2
Lobel's 10:00am
PreK Orientation 9:30am-10:30am
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