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


JUNE 19, 2014

Dear Parents and Guardians,

As you know, our students responded in fine fashion to my challenge back in September to read for one million minutes. They blew past the million and read a total of over 1.4 million minutes! As a result I dressed as “The Cat in The Hat” for our Reading Assembly on June 4th. We set next year’s Reading Minute goal at 1.5 million minutes and will begin on the first day of school in September. Thanks for your support in helping our students realize the importance of reading and for working so hard this past year.

On that day as well, Ms. Lois Gross, the Children’s Librarian from the Hoboken Public Library was on hand to talk about their Summer Reading Program. I encourage you to take advantage of everything the library has to offer and have your children read books from their HCA Summer Reading List as part of the public library program. For those of you who live outside of Hoboken, please check out what your respective cities’ libraries have to offer. As a special incentive for our students, I told them that day that anyone who reads five books and completes five book reports instead of the two they are required to do, will receive a “Free Dress Down Day,” next year! Thanks in advance for making reading part of your child’s summer plans.

We will be busy here at HCA over the summer with various projects to enhance our school’s security and to upgrade our computer/technology program. I am happy to tell you that we will have game lines drawn on the blacktop in the courtyard to give the children several game options during recess in the nice weather. Teachers will receive training in the areas of technology and in developing and implementing an integrated writing program. The building will be scrubbed clean and we will take the time necessary to plan and prepare for the upcoming school year.

We have scheduled all of our afterschool activities to begin in September and hopefully have done so to allow you some flexibility if you want your child to participate in more than one activity. I am pleased to tell you that we have included violin instruction to mix and are currently looking into French instruction as well. The activities will be scheduled as follows:
Monday               Violin Ages 3-5
Tuesday              Young Rembrandts Art
Wednesday          Performing Arts Studio –Dance
Thursday              Chess
Friday                  Violin Ages 6 and up

Choir Rehearsal will take place on Wednesdays. The Prep Connection day will be determined over the summer when we meet to plan the program with Mr. Arteaga from St. Peters. The Title I program will run should funding be available and those days will hopefully be determined prior to the start of school in September.

I am happy to tell you that Mariann Bloor and Shannon Swaitek will be Co-presidents of our Home and School Association. Carrie Maglia will stay on, as treasurer and Laura Samuelson will continue to be the secretary. We welcome our new vice presidents. Jen La Fave, Andrea Cuttita, Christy Haise, Engin Okaya, Manisha Beriwala and Joana Vieria, who will join the Executive Board of the HSA in that capacity. We encourage all parents to get involved in our different school and HSA events. The first general meeting is scheduled for September 10th with meetings scheduled on the first Wednesday of each subsequent month. Please join me in thanking these ladies and all of our parents who help make the Home and School Association such a vibrant, effective and important part of our school.

A special thank you goes out to Monica De Falco and Julianne Connell who are stepping down as president and vice president respectively. Both did amazing things this past year and will continue to be a big part of our Home and School Association and our school – I’ll make sure of that!

There will be some staffing changes at Hoboken Catholic Academy for the 2014-2015 school year. Two of our teachers have resigned their positions to move on to new opportunities outside of HCA. We wish, Ms. Najmi, our Math support teacher, well in her position with the Bayonne Board of Education. Middle school math teacher, Mrs. D’Alto, has taken a position as a staff developer and will be working with inner city math teachers to help them improve their skills. Both of these ladies will be missed and we all wish them well in their new endeavors.

Consequently, we need to hire a math specialist for grades five through eight. Mr. Petagno will serve as a math and reading support teacher for grades 1-4, replacing Ms. Najmi and Mrs. Cabrera, who will now only teach Spanish. A new fifth grade teacher with secondary math credentials will be hired to teach math in grades 5-8. Miss Blaney will join Mrs. Bernardo in grade three. The teachers will each teach subjects to both classes with Mrs. Bernardo teaching math and science. They will work together on all grade three projects and programs, team teaching when appropriate and collaborating in all academic areas. I am excited about the prospect of their collaboration and teamwork.

Mrs. Salib will move from kindergarten to grade two and Ms. La Mastro will return to the PK3 class, replacing Miss Blaney. Like third grade, the new second grade team will plan together daily and coordinate all projects and programs throughout the year. Mrs. Fasanella will move from grade four to Kindergarten and will work closely with Ms. Gravina to insure a continuation of our outstanding Kindergarten program. A new fourth grade teacher will be named at some point over the next few weeks.

Ms. Wilms will be responsible for Religion instruction in grades five through eight and will coordinate all of our prayer services, monthly Masses, special programs and events to bolster our school’s Catholic identity. Parents will be invited to all of our prayer services during our AM assembly to mark such important events as our 911 Remembrance, Veterans’ Day, Thanksgiving and many more. We will hire a science specialist to teach students in grades five through eight and serve as the seventh grade homeroom teacher. Ms. Campana will no longer teach health. This will allow us to provide computer instruction one day per week for all classes in grades one to eight. Classroom teachers will teach their students health and a part-time computer instructor will be hired to assist Ms. Cordova in delivering our program. Ms. Campana will continue as our music teacher and choir director.

Finally, over the summer I will reach out to parents to be part of our Ad hoc committee to develop a plan to make our fundraising efforts more inclusive. They will be charged with reviewing what has been done in our neighboring schools and provide a recommendation for a course of action, before the application and registration process begins next fall.

As I have said previously, we have had a great school year. I am excited about our future together and look forward to continuing to work with you to make our school great. Please enjoy your summer and be safe. Thank you for your continued support.

God bless you

Matthew McGrath

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