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



March 17, 2017
Dear Parents and Guardians,

Apparently, winter will not let go. Tuesday’s all-day snowfall certainly complicated things as we anticipate the start of spring. Thank you for your patience with Wednesday’s delayed opening. Students hit the ground running upon arrival and completed a productive day of learning. Hopefully the warm sun and warmer temperatures will soon help melt the snow and we can say good-bye to winter. Opening day for the Mets and Yankees is less than two weeks away!

Students worked hard last week and tried their best during Terra Nova testing. Thanks for your help in preparing our students for the test and for getting them to school on time. The third and final trimester has begun and we recognized all students in grades 4-8 who achieved first and second honors for the second trimester on Thursday morning. Friday will be a $2 St. Patrick’s Dress Down Day. Wearing of the green is encouraged! We will begin Stations of the Cross on Friday as well at 1:30PM at St. Ann Church. Our award-winning choir, under the direction of Ms. Laurie Campana, will sing at the 10:30 Mass at St. Lawrence Church on Sunday, March 19th. Please join us that day if you are able. On Monday, March 20th, students in grades 3-8 will take part in a Penance Service beginning at 9:00AM, at St. Ann Church. After the service, Fr. Remo and several other priests will hear confessions.

The chicks have all hatched! Our kindergarten students in Ms. Lore and Ms. Gravina’s classes witnessed God’s miracle over the last ten days as two-dozen chicks emerged from their eggs in their incubators and are now huddled and chirping in their respective bins. Students from other grade levels have been invited to see the chicks and everyone is thrilled at the arrival of our new friends. The chicks will leave us to return to the farm on Friday and though we are sad to see them go, we are all excited about the petting farm that we will host in May. Who knows, maybe some of our chicks will return to visit us when the animals arrive that day. Stay tuned!

The STEM Expo will take place on Saturday, March 25th and our three teams will present their projects along with students from more than thirty other Newark Archdiocesan schools. Good luck to the students representing Hoboken Catholic Academy. They are, Nanki Nagpaul, Marianna Vieira, Amelia Gallagher and Juliana Greisbauer, from team MNAJ Scholars, Alice Altomare, Shreya Jagnade, Ethan Suarez and Tara Dean, from team JFE Company, James Jacobi, Joseph Petruzzelli, Joshua Dayo, Viviana Jimenez from team Seaetist and Ryan La Fave, Nicholas Azzopardi, Akshay Sharma, Matthew Fernandez and Aleksander Manda from team Climate Changers. You will recall that there were a number of outstanding projects centered on the United Nations Sustainable Global Initiative presented at our Middle School STEM Fair during Catholic Schools Week. The judges had a very difficult time selecting only three teams to move on to the STEM Expo. I am certain that our school will be well represented at the Expo!

The Spring Gala is just three weeks away and is shaping up to be another special HSA event. Thanks to Mrs. Young and Mrs. Alvez, and everyone who has worked hard to make our Gala successful. The bid items, including some great class baskets and student artwork as well as terrific specialty items for kids, families and adults will all be available at a great venue with incredible views, great food and lots of wonderful people. Parents will be able to show their love and appreciation for our amazing teachers by supporting our Teachers’ Wish List. Your generosity in the past has been nothing less than overwhelming. Thanks for everything you do to thank our teachers and staff. Our Gala is truly the social event of the year! I hope to see you there.

Finally, in the weeks ahead, I will be reaching out to the parents who indicated they would like to be part of our Ad hoc committee to identify and prioritize our building needs and repairs. Thanks in advance to all who have expressed a desire to help.

Lets all think warm thoughts and know that soon winter will be gone. Baseball, leaves and flowers, the miracle of Easter Sunday and the rebirth that spring brings each year are all right around the corner. We have much to celebrate!

God bless you and thanks as always for your kind support.

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal

March 1, 2017
Dear Parents and Guardians,

International Night was even more fantastic than anticipated! The food was incredible, the costumes and ethnic clothing were spectacular and the sharing of our many cultures was a true learning experience for us all. Thanks again to Rowena Dayo and Grannie Molloy for chairing the event and thanks to all of our wonderful presenters who shared the magic of their families’ heritage. I am already looking forward to next year’s International Night!

Next on the horizon for our wonderful Home and School Association is Family Dance Night. This is another very special family event at Hoboken Catholic Academy. On March 10th, families of Preschoolers through fourth graders will make their way back to our gym for an evening of good food, good music and memories that will last a lifetime. Thanks to Caterina Bartoli and her committee for planning this great family event.

Students will participate in an Ash Wednesday Prayer Service this afternoon at St. Ann’s Church at which time they will receive their ashes. In addition, students in grades 3-8 will take part in a penance service one afternoon during the week of March 13th when they will have an opportunity to go to confession. Fr. Remo, Monsignor Paul and several other priests will be on hand to hear confessions. As soon as the date is finalized I will share it with you.

On Friday, Fr. Remo will celebrate our First Friday Mass that will include our Eighth Grade Ring Ceremony. Mass will be at 10:00AM at St. Ann Church. There will be a half-day for students on Friday, while teachers attend workshops that afternoon.

Terra Nova testing for students in grades 2-8 will take place beginning on Monday, March 6th, and continue through Friday, March 10th. As I indicated in my last letter, please make sure that your children have a good breakfast and come to school well rested and on time. In fact, it is critical that all students, even those not being tested, arrive to school on time. Students arriving late to school not only disrupt the start of their own day, but they disrupt the morning routines of the entire class. It is particularly critical during testing that there are no distractions inside each class or in the hallways. Please help us insure the integrity of our testing environment by allowing the extra time needed to have your child arrive to school on time.

I am thrilled to report that our partnership with the engineering students from Stevens Institute of Technology will resume later in March. This six-week session will be open to fifth and sixth graders and will be scheduled as soon as the Steven’s students finalize their schedules. Once more information is available, I will reach out to our fifth and sixth grade parents so they can plan accordingly.

God bless you and your beautiful children. Lets have a great March!

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal

February 23, 2017
Dear Parents and Guardians,

International Night is here and I am thrilled! With seventeen countries represented and so many families involved, I am certain that this year’s event will be outstanding. Thanks in advance to Grannie Molloy and Rowena Dayo and everyone who has worked hard to make International Night such a special event. Thanks as well to all of our host families. We are all anxious to sample the wonderful food and learn about each of the countries represented. Most importantly we are excited to come together to celebrate our beautiful diversity and for our children to come to understand how blessed we truly are. Please join me as I eat my way around the world on Friday night!

Our students continue to make great progress in First in Math and in our Million Minutes of Reading Challenge. Please encourage your children to make time for both programs at home. It will certainly be time well spent. The reading minutes through January are now posted in the Virtual Backpack. We have cracked 500,000 minutes and are on pace to reach one million minutes before the end of school in June. The First in Math stickers are piling up and we hope to have an update on our school-wide totals in comparison to the other schools in the program in the weeks ahead.

On Friday, March 3rd, our eighth graders will celebrate another milestone on their journey toward graduation in June. Our oldest students will receive their school rings during the ring ceremony, which will be part of our First Friday Mass celebration at 10:00 in St. Ann’s Church. There will be a half-day of school that day for students while the teachers take part in professional development activities that afternoon.

Speaking of our fabulous eighth graders, in addition to acceptances and scholarships totaling more than $320,000 to the finest Catholic high schools in the area, three students have also been accepted to McNair Academic HS (1) in Jersey City and High Tech High School in North Bergen (2)! Both public high schools are highly competitive and very selective in the students they offer placements. Congratulations to the HCA Class of 2017!

Terra Nova testing for students in grades 2-8 will take place from Monday, March 6th through Friday, March 10th. Please make sure that your child (children) start each day with a good breakfast and that they arrive to school on time and well rested. Students should arrive to school on time each day regardless of testing, however, it is critical during testing week that classes not be disrupted by students arriving late to class.

March 6th will be a big day for our kindergarten classes as well. That day the chicken eggs will arrive from the farm! Our kindergarten students will observe the eggs in their incubators until the baby chicks emerge over the succeeding two weeks. Naturally the other classes will have a chance to visit the kindergarten classrooms to see the eggs and eventually the baby chicks.

We have added a spring school portrait day through Lifetouch, the company we use in the fall and which publishes our eighth grade yearbook. This time around, students will not be required to wear their school uniform. You will have the option as to what your child will wear for the photo. Spring picture day is scheduled for March 29th and a flyer from Lifetouch will be sent home shortly.

On Friday, March 31st, we will hold a special $2.00 Dress Down Day. The Luca Segalla Dress Down Day will have a Rock’ n Roll theme and will include students, teachers and staff! Luca is a student in Mrs. Ferrara’s PK4 class and his parents not only won the naming rights for the special day by making the highest bid at last year’s Spring Gala, but they selected the theme as well. This and several other school-themed bid items will be available at this years Gala, scheduled for April 7th at Maritime Parc. Stay tuned for Gym Teacher and Principal for a Day dates!

Under the requirements of the United States Environmental Protection Agency, through the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA), all schools were required to undergo an initial inspection for the presence of asbestos containing building materials and develop an Asbestos Management Plan. HCA’s plan has been in place since the law’s inception (1988) and subsequent inspections by a properly accredited staff member from the Office of Property Management of the Archdiocese of Newark have been conducted in the succeeding years following the development of the plan and continue to date. Our plan and the inspection reports are housed in the main office and are available for review by appointment, during regular school hours.

Beginning next year, we will include this annual notification in our parent handbook.

At Hoboken Catholic Academy, we have begun the self-study process, which will precede a visit from an evaluation team from the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools next spring. Part of that self-study and the accreditation process will be a parent survey, which will be conducted through Survey Monkey. Older students and staff will be surveyed as well. The goal of the self-examination and outside critique is to determine what we do well and areas we need to improve to continue to move our school forward. The last visit by the Middle States accreditation team occurred prior to Super Storm Sandy in 2011. The recommendations made by that visiting team became a valuable guide and a catalyst to many of the changes we have implemented over the last four years. As the process moves forward, I will provide you with the survey link and any additional information when it becomes available.

Finally, please enjoy the nice weather, know that Grapefruit League games have begun and that spring is right around the corner.

Thank you and God bless you, and God bless your beautiful children!

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal

February 1, 2017
Dear Parents and Guardians,

I am pleased to inform you that our amazing eighth graders have been accepted into all of the Catholic Schools for which they applied and many have received scholarships! Several students are interviewing for additional scholarship opportunities so we are still working on the final amount of money offered to our students. To date, our thirteen eighth graders have been offered more than $300,000 in scholarship monies from schools in New Jersey and New York! We will provide more details when the final decisions from the remaining schools become known to us. In any event, we all have reason to be proud of the Hoboken Catholic Academy Class of 2017! As they always do, our students have risen to the occasion and I could not be more proud of them. As we begin Catholic Schools Week, I am certain that there is no greater testimony as to the value of Catholic schools than the outstanding achievements of our students.

On another positive note, I attended the ground-breaking ceremony for the new park to be built on the L shaped lot across from our gym on Monroe Street. The ceremony took place today at 11:00AM. The park will run from Monroe to Jackson Streets and along Jackson toward the Jubilee Center and across 7th street to the property adjacent to the Monroe Center. In addition to the park, a new gym will be built on the same property, alongside the Jubilee Center. I am excited about the prospect of our students’ use of the park once it is completed! I have included a rendering of the site, in our virtual backpack.


Pre K parent/teacher conferences are scheduled for Tuesday, February 7th from 3:00-6:00 PM. The teachers will be sending out sign-up information as the day draws nearer. Parent/teacher conferences for grades K-8 will take place on Monday, February 13th from 6:00 to 8:30 PM and on Tuesday, February 14th, from 1:00-3:00 PM. There will be a half-day on the 14th.

School will be closed on Monday, February 20 and Tuesday, February 21 in observance of Presidents’ Day. On Friday, February 24th, the Home and School Association will host our third, annual International Night! Information will be sent out next week and I encourage everyone to participate. This special event has been an outstanding opportunity for students and families to learn about the wonderful cultures represented by our families. I am certain that this year’s program will be equally outstanding!

The reading minute totals for December are included in the Virtual Backpack. Thank you for encouraging your children to read and to work on their math skills through the First in Math Program.

We have welcomed two student teachers from St. Peters University for their spring semester. Mr. Ted Weinberg is working with Ms. Koziol in second grade and Ms. Amanda Valazquez is with Ms. Gravina’s Kindergarten class. Both student teachers will observe and assist their respective teachers and will be called upon to teach lessons later in the semester. We wish them well in their journey to become teachers and know that they will learn a great deal from Ms. Koziol and Ms. Gravina!

Finally, thank you as always for your continued support and assistance in making our school the wonderful place for children that it is. Thanks to Mike Tennaro, and to everyone who made the Texas Hold’ Em Poker Night such a huge success. Thanks as well to all of our parents who have volunteered to speak to classes during Career Day and at masses over the weekend. As we begin the weeklong Catholic Schools Week celebration I would like to thank you for choosing Catholic education and in particular, Hoboken Catholic Academy for your children’s education. We are indeed blessed.

With less than three weeks until pitchers and catchers report to spring training, longer days and warmer weather can’t be far behind!

God bless you all.

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal

January 13, 2017
Dear Parents and Guardians,

I have included the schedule for Catholic Schools’ Week on our website. Parents and guests are invited to attend the opening prayer service on Monday, January 30th as well as to the National Junior Honor Society induction ceremony, the Christopher Widjaja Spelling Bee and the Middle School STEM Fair on Thursday, February 2nd. All are welcome to attend the Religion Bee and Mass on Friday, February 3rd, as well. We still need parents to to speak at our career day and/or the masses on Saturday, January 28th and 29th. We have a number of slots still open. If you would like to help, please email me at mmcgrath@hobokencatholic.org.

Congratulations to our amazing eighth graders for their strong Co-op exam scores. Over the next few days they will receive their high school acceptances and we wish them well as they prepare for this next step on their educational journey!

Prep Connection is up and running and just like our eighth graders, some of our friends from St. Peters are learning about the options they will have as they prepare for the next stop on their own educational journeys. Acceptances from schools like Boston College, Notre Dame and MIT have already been received, with more to come. We are so blessed to have these exceptional young men volunteer their time to work with our students each week and I thank the Ignation Scholars Advisor and Assistant Dean of Students, Mr. Juan Arteaga and the program’s chaperone, Dr. Michael Holt, for making this program possible.

There will be an important item added to the February calendar. We will have our K-8 parent/teacher conferences on Monday, February 13, 2017 from 6:00-8:30PM and Tuesday, February 14, 2017 from 1:00-3:00PM. There will be a half-day for the entire school that day. After care will be available. Scheduling information will be sent home by the teachers in advance of the conference dates. The Pre-K conferences scheduled for February 7th from 3:00-6:00PM remain unchanged.

Poker Night is two weeks away! The packets have been sent home and are posted on our website. The evening is a lot of fun and has grown each year since its inception four years ago. Even if you don’t choose to play cards or craps you can still enjoy a good time with friends. Please join us if you are able.

One final thought-pitchers and catchers report to spring training in less than five weeks! Spring can’t be far behind.

God bless you all and thanks for sharing your beautiful children with us!

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal

January 4, 2017
Dear Parents and Guardians,

Happy New Year and welcome back!

Every New Year is filled with hope and we make resolutions to make things better than the previous year. My wish for each of you is that your resolutions for 2017 are fulfilled and that your new year is filled with joy, peace and love. Here at Hoboken Catholic Academy we will hit the ground running by getting right back into the business of teaching and learning. Our after school activities and basketball practice and games will resume and we will start looking ahead to our next major fundraiser, our Texas Hold’ Em Poker Night, and our Catholic Schools Week celebration.

Our fourth annual Texas Hold’ Em Poker night will have something for everyone and will take place in our gym on Friday evening, January 27th. This year, in addition to the poker, we will have Black Jack and Craps tables. As in the past, people who just want to come out, enjoy a nice meal and time with friends, will have that option as well. The fee structure for the evening is included in the packet, which will be sent home this week. The snow date for the event will be the following Friday, February 3rd.

Catholic Schools Week is a time to celebrate not only Hoboken Catholic Academy, but also all of our Catholic schools. In addition, it is a time to thank all of you for choosing Catholic education for your children. One of the highlights of Catholic Schools Week is Career Day, which is slotted for Monday morning, January30th. If you have the time and would like to share what you do with our students, we would love to have you do so. Please email me at mmcgrath@hobokencatholic.org if you would like to be part of career day. Also, we will need some parents to speak at the Saturday and Sunday masses at all of the Hoboken and Weehawken parish churches on January 28th and 29th. Like last year, we will have our outstanding eighth grade students take part, but they cannot cover all of the masses. So, if you can help us spread the good news about our school and about Catholic education, please let me know by email as well. Also, for the first time, HCA will host a Middle School STEM Fair during Catholic Schools Week. Students in grades 5-8 have been working in teams throughout the year to do research and create projects to raise awareness of problems facing the world’s communities through the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. That fair is scheduled for Thursday evening, February 2nd and more information about the event is forthcoming. The projects will be judged and the top five will be entered in the Newark Archdiocesan STEM Expo in March. The full schedule of all Catholic Schools Week activities will be sent out as the week draws nearer.

With the New Year we say good-bye to two old friends and welcome one new friend and an old friend in a new role. As many of you know, Kindergarten Aide, Michael Caufield has entered Officers Candidate School with the United States Air Force. What you may not be aware of is that our resident chef, Chef Rudy, has moved on to a new position as well. We wish both of these wonderful young men well and thank them for making a difference at our school.

Thankfully, we have secured two highly qualified people to take their respective places. Mr. Marty Ippolito has been our primary substitute teacher for the last four years. He holds a substitute certificate and has worked in all of our classes during his time with us. Mr. Ippolito has already begun working as our new Kindergarten Aide in Ms. Gravina’s class and we are thrilled to have him with us on a full time basis. Mr. Fred Shutterly joins us by way of Amanda’s Restaurant here in Hoboken and the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City. Mr. Shutterly is a trained pastry chef and has experience working in restaurants that serve hundreds of meals a night. Prior to transferring to and graduating from ICE, Mr. Shutterly attended NYU’s School of Engineering and is a graduate of St. Peters Prep, in Jersey City. Mr. Shutterly was able to work with Chef Rudy and Mrs. Bloor for several days before the break to facilitate a smooth transition. Please join me in welcoming both gentlemen to HCA.

On Thursday, January 4th at 7:00PM, we will conduct a test of the Honeywell emergency alert system. It is imperative that your contact information is up-to-date and accurate. If you receive the message there is no need for you to contact the school. If you do not receive the alert, please call the office at (201) 963-9535 on Friday morning.

The winter dress down day, originally scheduled for this Friday, January 6th has been rescheduled to Friday, January 13th. Students will attend First Friday mass on the 6th and should dress in their school uniforms.

Finally, thank you for all of the Christmas gifts, cards and well wishes. Your kindness and generosity is greatly appreciated by our teachers and staff and by me. It is truly an honor to be part of this wonderful Hoboken Catholic Academy community. Welcome back and Happy New Year!

God bless you all.

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal

December 19, 2016
Dear Parents and Guardians,

Thank you to everyone who attended our Christmas concerts last week. As I’m sure you will agree, they were excellent! The children did an amazing job and their teachers prepared them well. Thanks to Ms. Campana for her work with all of the classes as well as the school choir. The choir performances were indeed special and the children are to be commended for skillfully showcasing their incredible talent.

We are thrilled to report that thanks to Student Council President, Nora Jacobi, and her officers, a special buddy-reading program has begun. During indoor recess time, middle school students will read to small groups of Pre-K and Kindergarten students in their respective classrooms. Middle school students have been assigned to each class and a schedule is being generated.

After careful consideration, I have decided that it is in the best interest of the school’s instructional program to follow the federal observance of New Year’s Day on Monday January 2nd, and remain closed that day. Classes will resume following the Christmas recess on Tuesday, January 3rd. A number of schools and school districts in the area have opted to change from their original return date of January 2nd, and we will do the same. The day will be made up at the end of the school year should we exhaust the snow days built into the calendar. That decision will be made following the winter snow season.

Christmas parties will take place on Thursday, December 22nd, which will also be a $2, red and green dress down day. Thanks to all of our class moms for coordinating the parties with our teachers! Friday, December 23, the last day before the break, will be a half-day for all students with no after care available.

Finally, on behalf of the entire Hoboken Catholic Academy family, please accept my best wishes for a wonderful and blessed Christmas and a Happy, Healthy New Year.

God bless you and your families

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal

December 9, 2016
Dear Parents and Guardians,

What an amazing event! The annual Breakfast with Santa took place on Sunday and our Home and School Association volunteers did an incredible job in providing all who attended with a wonderful experience. A special thank you goes to our event chairs, Rowena Dayo and Kristen Hoey who planned and organized every detail, from soliciting donations and sponsors, to making decorations, setting up the room, arranging for pictures with Santa, providing music, crafts and activities, to coordinating the volunteers and serving the food. It makes me tired just to list all that they did! In fact, the event was so successful and we served so many people that next year we will look to stagger the times families will attend. We were also blessed by the continued generosity and support from Joyce and Eugene Flinn. Joyce is a member of our school’s Advisory Board and together with her husband, Eugene, own Amanda’s Restaurant, Elysian Café and Schnackenberg’s Luncheonette. Not only did they donate much of the food for our breakfast, but the worked with our Chef, Rudy to cook and serve the food throughout the day!

Thanks as well goes to all of the people and businesses that donated food and services: Anthony David’s
Philippine Bread House
Dunkin Donuts
Black Rail Coffee
Bagels on Hudson
O’ Bagels
The Little Grocery
King’s
Acme
Events by Design
Sugarsuckle
Morton Williams Claire Pascale, from A Bloom Entertainment

Finally, thanks as well to our parents, Mr. and Mrs. Apiado for the beautiful balloon Christmas trees and to Mr. Apiado for his tremendous work as our photographer.

Congratulations to our varsity boys’ basketball team for their win over St. Francis Academy in their first game over the weekend. Several of our teams saw action and as always we are proud of all our students’ efforts. The rest of our sub varsity teams will begin playing this week and weekend and our varsity girls and developmental program (Gr. 1 & 2) will begin in January. Good luck to all of our teams and players and thanks to all of our volunteer coaches!

Ms. Campana, our teachers and all of our students are busily preparing for our three Christmas concerts. The PK concert will take place on Wednesday, December 14th at 9:00AM. Doors will open at 8:45. The evening program for grades 3-8 will be on Thursday, December 15th at 7:00PM. Doors will open for parents at 6:35 PM, following student drop-off at 6:30PM. Our final concert featuring students in grades K-2 will take place on Friday morning, December 16th at 9:00AM. The doors will open at 8:45.

Class parties will take place on Thursday, December 22nd and there will be $2 Green and Red Dress Down Day that day. Our Christmas recess will begin with a half day on Friday, December 23rd. Classes will resume on Monday, January 2, 2017.

As I indicated in my last letter, the month of December tends to fly by, particularly in a Catholic elementary school. With all of the excitement and bustle of the season it is easy to loose sight of the true meaning of Christmas. Thank you for helping our children focus on what is important. Like your overwhelming response to our food drive last month, the National Junior Honor Society’s Toy Drive is already a huge success. We are indeed all blessed to be part of a school with such wonderful children and families. Thank you for making our school such a special place.

Please enjoy the upcoming concerts and the time with your families during this blessed season.

God bless you.

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal

November 11, 2016
Dear Parents and Guardians,

I realize that we just posted a letter from the principal yesterday, but I wanted to share the results of the Chamber of Commerce Awards Dinner with you today.

The Hoboken Chamber of Commerce Business Awards Dinner was very nice and I had the opportunity to meet and speak with a number of members of the Hoboken business community. The award for Educational Provider/Educator of the Year, for which Hoboken Catholic Academy was one of three finalists, was presented to the Hoboken Dual Language Charter School, HoLa. Our school was recognized with a beautiful trophy for being a finalist, which is on display in the main office along with the evening’s program.

As you know, our students, from Pre-K through grade eight, have been participating in the Principal’s Reading Challenge to read for 1,000,000 minutes. We have tabulated the minutes through the end of October and I am happy to report the results thus far. First, there is an adjustment to the September totals, based on the addition of some reading calendars not included in the original count. We actually had a tie for the top class with the average number of minutes read. Both Miss Godfrey’s fourth grade class and Mrs. Colona’s fifth grade students read for an average of 29.8 minutes per night! Congratulations to the students in both classes. The October results found that Ms. Girovasi’s sixth grade class had the top average time of 28.5 minutes per night per student! Congratulations to Ms. G’s students. Through October, our school’s reading minute total is 229,206. Our students are certainly on pace to reach the one million minute goal. Thanks for your help in encouraging your children to read at home. We have included the class-by-class breakdown in the Virtual Back Pack so you can track your child’s class throughout the year.

We hope to provide a similar breakdown of our school’s participation in First in Math, broken down by class. Stay tuned and please continue to have your youngsters work on the First in Math program on a regular basis. The reinforcement of math skills will serve our students well as we progress throughout the school year.

Thank you and enjoy the weekend.

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal

November 10, 2016
Dear Parents and Guardians,

We have received notification from Mayor Zimmer’s office that the essay submitted by eighth grader, Nicole Vij, has been selected as the winning entry in the Hoboken Veterans’ Day Essay Contest! More than one hundred students from all of Hoboken’s schools submitted essays this year and we congratulate Nicole for this great achievement. We will welcome mayor Zimmer and representatives from Hoboken’s Veterans groups one day next week for a special presentation.

Later this evening, I will attend the Hoboken Chamber of Commerce Dinner at the Elks Club, here in Hoboken. As you will recall, our school has been selected as one of three finalists, in the Educational Institution /Educator of the Year category. Considering the number of outstanding schools and educational institutions located in Hoboken, just to be nominated is an honor. Included along with Hoboken Catholic in this category are the HoLa Dual Language Charter School and the recently retired founder and Director of the Hudson School, Suellen Newman.

We will commemorate Veterans’ Day with a Prayer Service during AM Assembly on Friday, November 11th, to pay tribute to the men and women who have served our great nation and thank them for their service. Also on that day, our eighth graders will take the CO-OP Exam, which is used by the high schools in the Newark Archdiocese to select students for acceptance and in some instances, scholarships. Please join me in wishing our wonderful eighth graders well on this very important day.

Thank you to all of the parents who helped make our November Book Fair so successful! A special thank you to Katherine Nolan who worked the register on all three days and for everyone who assisted our students make their selections. Thanks to our support teacher, Ms. McGrady for coordinating the event, as she has done for nearly twenty years and to Ms. Girovasi for her help in setting things up on Sunday and assisting Ms. McGrady for many of those twenty years.

As Thanksgiving draws closer, we look forward to some very special HCA traditions. The first will be the annual Pre-K and Kindergarten Thanksgiving Show, which will take place on Friday, November 18th at 9:00AM. Later that evening our middle school students will participate in the Thanksgiving Dance. They will enjoy some tasty snacks and great music coordinated by the legendary DJ, our own Ms. Girovasi! Our Pre-K Thanksgiving Feast will take place on Monday, November 21st where our littlest students will enjoy some traditional Thanksgiving treats while learning about the first Thanksgiving.

Finally, please know that we recognize that we have much to be thankful for at Hoboken Catholic Academy. We are blessed with caring, dedicated teachers and staff, generous and supportive parents, and the most wonderful children we could hope to have. Thank you for entrusting us with your beautiful children and for all that you do to make our school the special place that it is. On behalf of our entire HCA family, please accept my best wishes for a joyous and blessed Thanksgiving. Thanks again, and God bless you and your families.

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal

October 27, 2016
Dear Parents and Guardians,

The HCA Golf Outing at Forest Hill Field House was a huge success! Thanks to Mike Tennaro, Alanna Hofmann, Jen Araneo, Donna Murphy, Serap Franco, Grainne Molloy, Kristi Alves, Laura Samuelsen and Roger Corrado for making the event so special. Thanks as well to all of our sponsors, contributors and golfers. We raised just under $12,000, and I only lost eleven golf balls! It was a great day all around.

Thanks as well to all of our parent and student volunteers who helped make our two Open House sessions so successful. More than sixty families in all visited with us on those days and many submitted applications. Thanks to parents, Alanna Kauffmann, Grainne Molloy, Donna Murphy, Kristen Hoey, Jennifer Lu, Katherine Cheng, Laila Leszyk, Shannon Swiatek, Cynthia Wong, Serap Franco, Dharshini Rajmohan, Erika Najarian, Shambi Dalal-Patel, Michael and Allison Verost, Noreen Hertis, James Ford and Laura Golden for helping to make both sessions so successful. (my apologies if I missed anyone) The seventh and eighth grade students who gave up their Saturday morning and who helped during school on Thursday, received numerous compliments from our guests and as expected, represented our school beautifully!

On Sunday, The HCA School Choir, under the direction of Ms. Laurie Campana, sang at the Ss Peter and Paul 9:00 mass. The mass was beautiful and our choir was exceptional! Please visit our Facebook page to hear and see our students sing the recessional song, A Song of Peace.

Halloween parades and parties are scheduled for Monday, the 31st and to say the children are excited would be an understatement! This year we scheduled both parades in the morning so parents can get back to work in the afternoon if they so choose. The PK-Kindergarten parade will begin at 9:00AM in the gym. Doors will open at 8:45 for parents who wish to attend. The Grades 1-4 parade will begin at 10:30AM, with doors opening at 10:15AM. The Pre-K and Kindergarten parties will take place later that morning and the rest of the classes will have their parties in the afternoon. We will follow the normal lunch/recess schedule.

On Friday, November 4th, there will be a half-day for students. The Mass for all archdiocesan teachers will take place at 1:30PM at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart, in Newark. The date of the mass was changed after we posted our preliminary calendar so the 4th was originally scheduled as a full day of school. In addition, there will be no mass for students that day. The 4th was also the original date for the eighth grade CO-OP Exam. Our students will take that test on Friday, November 11th. The correct information is located in the Upcoming Events section on our website. Please refer to this section for the most up-to date and accurate calendar information.

Finally, we need your help with an ongoing problem at HCA. I am concerned about the pattern of lateness demonstrated by a number of students thus far this school year. When a child comes late to school, not only is their daily routine disrupted, but it also disrupts the routine of the entire class. Punctuality is a critical life skill that develops at an early age. If children learn that it is acceptable to you that they are late to school, it will become acceptable to them. It is critical that together, we teach them the importance of getting to school on time.

The window for arrival to school is between 8:00AM and 8:15 AM and it is understood that there will be traffic delays on occasion. If lateness is an issue, please adjust your morning routine to account for those potential delays and insure that your child comes to school on time each day.

Thank you in advance for your help in getting our children to school every day, on time and ready to learn.

Please enjoy your children through the excitement of Halloween and keep them safe while Trick-or Treating.

Thank you and God bless you.

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal

October 13, 2016
Dear Parents and Guardians,

I am very happy to inform you that Mr. Bert Ammerman has joined us on a part time basis as our Assistant Principal. Many of you will recall that Mr. Ammerman was part of the panel who spoke at our Home and School Association meeting two years ago about planning and preparing for college. With an extensive background as a school and district level administrator, Mr. Ammerman most recently served as the Interim Superintendent of Schools in Saddle Brook. Prior to his retirement, Mr. Ammerman was the Principal of Northern Valley HS at Demarest for many years and is one of the most highly regarded educators in the state of New Jersey. I had the good fortune to work with Mr. Ammerman during my tenure in Parsippany and in Rochelle Park, just prior to my appointment here as your principal. Mr. Ammerman has met the teachers and students and will most certainly be an asset to our school.

Later this afternoon, we will participate in the Hoboken Family Alliance All Schools Open House at Hoboken High School. As many of you will remember, the event is a showcase of all of the schools in the area and an opportunity for parents to explore the various educational options here in Hoboken. Tomorrow we will have a special “Pink,” $2 Dress Down Day to support breast cancer awareness and Progress Reports for grades K-8 will be distributed. Next week, we will host our own Open House on Wednesday, October 19th and again on Saturday, October 22nd, both days from 10:00AM to 12:00PM. In between we will have our annual Golf Outing at Forest Hill Field House in Bloomfield on Thursday, October 20th, and no school for students on Friday, October 21st. Thanks to Mike Tennaro, Golf Outing Chairperson, and HSA officers Alanna Kauffmann, Serap Franco and Jen Areneo for their hard work in preparing for the Golf Outing and the Open Houses.

With the Golf Outing just a week away, we still have room for more foursomes and sponsors. With a beautiful new venue and a number of golfers and sponsors already in the fold, this year’s event is shaping up to be huge success. If you have not done so already, please check out the information about the day’s events on our website as well as the link to Forest Hill Field House. Please join us if you can. Of the $200 registration fee, $75 is tax deductible. Golfers and sponsors will be provided with our Tax ID number following the event and we welcome corporate matching gifts if applicable.

Our school choir, under the direction of Ms. Laurie Campana will sing at the 9:00 Mass at Ss Peter and Paul Church on Sunday, October 23rd. Please join us that day if you can. Kindergarten to Grade 8 Parent/Teacher conferences are scheduled for Monday, October 24th from 6:00-8:30PM and Tuesday, October 25th, from 1:00 to 3:00PM. On Thursday, October 27th, students will take part in the Living Rosary at St. Ann Church at 1:30PM. Students will pray with our middle school students as they make their way around the Stations of the Cross. We will finish October with our Halloween Parades and parties on the 31st.

Finally, congratulations to Ms. Godfrey’s fourth grade class for reading the most minutes for the month of September! They read 15,411 minutes for an average of just under 30 minutes per student, per night. The breakdown by class will be posted on our website in the next few days. Thanks to all of our students for their hard work and to all of you for making reading important to your children.

Thank you and God bless you all.

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal

September 27, 2016
Dear Parents and Guardians,

Thank you to all of our kindergarten through grade eight parents who joined us for our Back to School Night Program last week and in advance for our Pre-K parents who will be with us this coming Wednesday for the PK Back to School Night Program. Thank you as well to all of our moms who volunteered to serve as class parents! You will play a vital role in supporting our teachers and disseminating important information to the rest of the parents. Though, not everyone who signed up was accommodated, all who did volunteer will be the first parents called upon to chaperone trips and assist when the class moms need additional help. A meeting will be scheduled shortly with the HSA officers to provide details about your role.

Our first HCA event, the Kids’ Festival at the Ss Peter and Paul Oktoberfest on Saturday, was a huge success! Scores of children decorated pumpkins, had their faces painted, and bounced the day away in the Bouncy House. Some even challenged the principal to a foul shooting contest! Thank you to event chairs Donna Murphy and Jen Araneo and their committee for planning and delivering such a fun event. Thanks to all of our student volunteers and everyone who took part in this wonderful program.

Our next big event is rapidly approaching and is always a great day! The annual golf outing, which will take place on Thursday, October 20th, at the Forest Hill Field House in Bloomfield, will be no exception. In fact, the course is worthy of entertaining clients, if your business calls on you for such things! With several sponsors in place and foursomes beginning to register the day is shaping up to be our best outing ever! Please join us if you are able, or consider becoming a sponsor. We are hoping to top 100 golfers this year, so don’t delay in getting your foursome registered. Individual golfers are welcome as well. The registration form and fundraising voucher information are on the website under the HSA fundraiser link. If you don’t golf and can help out that day or with the prep work between now and then we could really use your help. Please reach out to event chair, Mike Tennaro at (201) 659-4175 or mtbull0507@hotmail.com if you can assist in any way or if you have any questions about the event!

The week of the golf outing will be busy indeed. We will host our two Open Houses, from 10:00AM to 12:00PM, on Wednesday, October 19th and Saturday, the 22nd. Volunteers are still needed for both days and our amazing eighth graders will serve as tour guides. Please reach out to Co- HSA Presidents, Alanna Kaufmann or Serap Franco if you can lend a hand.

Friday, October 21st has been designated by the Schools’ office as a Professional Development Day for teachers so there will be no school for students that day. Our teachers will work with other Catholic School teachers from across the Hudson County at the Archdiocesan Youth Retreat Center in Kearny to continue to align units of study through a program called Rubicon Atlas.

Please note that the Archdiocesan Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark for all teachers and staff originally scheduled for Friday, October 7th, has been changed to Friday, November 4th. Consequently, Friday, October 7th will be a full day of school and Friday, November 4th will now be a half- day. Please make the necessary adjustments to your calendar.

Finally, we received clearance to begin using the new water fountains! The test results were negative so we have removed the covering on the water fountains and they are available for use. The timeline for retesting moving forward, based on our results, is every six years. We now have filtered water in the kitchen as well as at both water fountains and will continue to change the filters according to the manufacturers specifications. Thank you for your patience.

God bless you and thanks for your help in getting us off to such a great start to the new school year!

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal

September 12, 2016

Dear Parents and Guardians,

Welcome back! We are off to an excellent start to the new school year. Thank you to all of the parents who were able to join us for our Opening Day Prayer Service. As those who were there will attest, our students, as usual, were amazing. Our eighth graders, under the direction of Mr. Petagno, confidently conducted the prayer service, our choir sang beautifully and Fr. Remo provided a wonderful blessing for us all. Our welcome back Mass on Friday was beautiful and we thank Fr. Remo for his help and guidance on both days and look forward to his continued involvement with our students throughout the school year.

Though the temperature outside soared to 90 plus degrees on our first two days of school, our students were able to work in comfort, thanks to the completion of our air conditioning project. We are indeed blessed to have your kind and generous support, without which this transformational project would not have been possible. Student productivity during the hot days to start and end each school year will certainly be enhanced and I thank you all for making that possible.

Information about the start of our afterschool activities, including the Prep Connection and Campus Ministry will be sent out this week. The school choir will have its first rehearsal on Wednesday 9/21/16 from 3:00-4:00 PM in the gym. Students in grades 2-8 are welcome to participate. Mr. Tallarida will send out information about our volleyball and track teams and those programs will begin shortly. I will also provide information about the First in Math online skill development program as well as Epic, the free EBook website our students will have access to. As part of the Prep Connection we will take part in the National Battle of the Books Program and I will provide more details in the days ahead as well.

The names and contact information for our Home and School Association officers are now on our website under the HSA heading. We will have our first meeting on Wednesday, September 14th at 7:00. Babysitting will be available. We will be sending out the room parent’s letter this week as well. Our class moms play a vital role in so many of our school’s activities and help us in so many ways. Please consider making yourselves available to help if you are able. Our first Home and School Association fundraiser, Kids’ Festival, will take place on Saturday, September 24th at Stevens Park, as part of the Ss Peter and Paul Oktoberfest celebration. Volunteers are still needed, so please consider helping out that day if you are able. We will have a table at the Hoboken Arts and Music Festival on Sunday, the 26th to share information about our school. Again, if you can spare some time that day, we still need some people to man the table at various times. Remember, to be able to volunteer in any capacity in our school you must complete the Protecting God’s Children training. We will offer that training at 6:00PM in our gym on Thursday, September 22nd. You must register for the training in advance on the Virtus Online link, which can be found on our website in the “For Parents,” section under “Volunteer Requirements.”

I have reviewed our emergency contact information from parents and have found that almost half of our parents have not yet updated their contact information in our online system. It is critical that we have current emergency contact and pick-up information for every student. If you have not done so already, please complete the update by the end of the day on Wednesday, September 14th. Information on how to register was emailed to all parents over the summer. If you have any questions, please call Porzia Aluotto at (201) 963-9535.

The date for the Archdiocesan Mass for teachers and staff at the Basilica Cathedral of the Sacred Heart has been re-scheduled for Friday, November 4th at 1:30 PM. As a result we will have a half-day of school that day. The original date, October 7th, was listed as a half-day on the calendar. We will have a full day of school that day. Please make the necessary adjustments to your calendar.

Finally, as always, thank you for all that you do to make our school the wonderful place that it is. Thank you for supporting our teachers and for your commitment to Catholic Education. Most importantly, thank you for instilling the virtues of hard work, kindness and compassion in your beautiful children. We are indeed blessed to work with them each day.

God bless you.

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal

July 18, 2016

Dear Parents and Guardians,

I hope that you are enjoying the start of summer with your families. As we prepare to welcome the annual St. Ann’s Feast to our corner, there are a couple of things I want to bring to your attention:

1. Lands End is online for school uniforms. The website for ordering is: http://www.landsend.com/pp/SchoolSearch.html?action=landing&selectedSchoolNum=900176348. Please note that if you order uniforms through the Scrip program, our school will receive 16% of the cost from Lands End! To learn how to take part in the Scrip program, please contact: hca.scrip@gmail.com. Please remember that if you prefer, uniforms can still be purchased through Lobels and Flynn and O’Hara as you have done in the past.

2. There have been some revisions to the annual calendar, which is now on our website. The changes are in bold. Please discard the preliminary calendar sent to you previously. Please note that two additional half days have been added to support teacher workshops in the afternoon on those days. Several snow days have been built into the calendar. If we need to add additional days we will have school on Holy Thursday and/or the Friday of Memorial Day weekend. We will not add days in June unless we have a particularly bad winter and exceed the built-in and additional days indicated above. If we have a mild winter and do not need to use the days built into the calendar, we will extend Easter break to include Wednesday 4/12/17, and/or Memorial Day weekend, to include Ascension Thursday on 5/25/17. Again, the last day of school, which is now, June 19th will remain the same. Finally, you will note that following the Baccalaureate Mass on June 16th, the entire school will congratulate our graduates through a “Clap-out,” in our gym. This ceremony involves students in grades 1-7 lining either side of the gym, cheering for our eighth graders as they make their way through the gym and out of the school for the last time. The ceremony is quite special and this coming year we will invite our graduates’ parents to be on hand for the moving send-off.

3. Work on the final phase of our air conditioning project is set to begin next week, following St. Ann’s Feast. In addition, our gym floor will be screened and recoated, next week as well.

4. The HCA school office will be closed during the days of the St. Ann’s Feast, July 21-26.

Thanks for your attention and enjoy the summer.

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal

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:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zn0CEHi5-Lg&list=PLTXQuaxXBKKxRSGdbqMClH0SjTq4hnTC2&index=1

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.

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal

June 1, 2016

Dear Parents and Guardians,

As is the case every school year, once the calendar page turns to May, the days seem to fly by. This May was no exception. With the book fair, field days, class trips, the iSing Choir Competition and Basilica concert, Confirmations and First Communions, the May Crowning and the eighth grade retreat and their first ever three day trip to Washington DC, all in the books, we still can’t take a breath.

June will bring our outstanding choir’s Spring Concert on Thursday, June 2nd, and the annual HSA 5K Run and Walk, this Saturday on the 4th. The concert will have an All American theme and should be spectacular. The 5K Walk Run is an incredible community event will be the result of a lot of hard work and months of planning and preparation by Monica De Falco and her committee. Thanks to all of our volunteers, sponsors and participants who will make things happen Saturday morning. The weather forecast is excellent and the venue is breathtaking. It is not too late to register and participate. Please go to the link on our website for details.

Students in grades 6-8 will have final exams on the 7th, 8th and 9th. On Friday, June 10th, thanks to the Dockendorf family, the whole school will enjoy a Ben and Jerry’s ice cream party. The whole school party was an auction item at our Spring Gala this year and Mr. and Mrs. Dockendorf generously submitted the highest bid! Later that evening, our eighth graders will have their Graduation Dance in our gym. They will be joined by our seventh graders that night and take one-step closer to Graduation.

On Monday evening, June 13th, our Campus Ministry students, form grades 5-8, under the direction of Ms. Girovasi and Mrs. Peterson, will host a special dinner dance for their grandparents. The Thank You Dinner Dance will give our students the opportunity to thank these special people in their lives. Thanks to Grace Sciancalepore and Leo’s Grandevous Restaurant and Joyce Flinn and Amanda’s restaurant for supplying the food for the evening, and Engle and Vockers Realty for supplying flowers for the guests. The music will be provided by our own, “DJ Peggy G.”

Our Art Show will take place on Tuesday evening, June 14th and Mrs. Albunia will turn our gym into a fine art gallery, displaying our students’ amazing artwork for all to enjoy. We will have our Sports Awards Assembly on Wednesday, June 15th at 10:00AM. With more than 250 students participating on our various teams, we thank all of our volunteer coaches and each of you for supporting our efforts.

Our PK and Kindergarten moving-up ceremonies will take place on Friday, June 17th at 9:00 AM and 1:00 PM respectively. The last day of school for PK and Kindergarten will be Tuesday, June 21st.

Our students will participate in the Eighth Grade Baccalaureate Mass on Thursday, June 16th at 10:00 AM at St. Ann Church. This will be our eighth graders’ final mass as Hoboken Catholic Academy students. We will celebrate all they have achieved and the thank God for the time they have spent with us. Many have been here since they were three years old! Graduation will take place on Saturday, June 18th at 10:00AM also at St. Ann Church. Please join me in wishing our amazing young men and women well as they move on to high school and beyond.

Students in grades PK-Gr. 7 will have a half-day on Tuesday, the 21st. Students in grades 1-7 will have half days on Wednesday the 22nd and Thursday, the 23rd. Thursday, June 23rd is the last day of school for students in grades 1-7.

In the next week or so we will be sending out our year-end letter with the 2016-2017 school calendar, the summer reading and supply lists, math workbooks and information about the start of school in September. We are adding Lands End as a vendor for our school uniforms and information about that will also be included.

On behalf of our teachers and staff, I would like to thank you for another excellent school year. Your children are fantastic and it is a pleasure to work with them each day. Please have a safe, relaxing and wonderful summer.

God bless you all.

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal

May 6, 2016

Dear Parents and Guardians,

As we conclude a soggy week to begin the month of May I would like to thank you for your patience and flexibility in dealing with the altered arrival and dismissal procedures due to the water main replacement work on Madison Street. The work adjacent to our school should be completed within the next few days. Once I receive word from the project manager from the water company as to when they will move on to the next section of Madison Street and we can resume normal procedures, I will pass it along.

Congratulations to fourth grade student, Joshua Dayo, for having his poster selected by The Partnership for a Drug Free New Jersey, to be included in their campaign to combat drug abuse. Josh’s poster, which is pictured on our Facebook page, was one of 30 selected from over 6000 entries statewide. Great job Joshua!

The Hoboken Catholic Academy choir participated in the annual iSing Competition yesterday, at the Archdiocesan Youth Retreat Center in Kearny. The choir, under the direction of Ms. Laurie Campana, performed three songs for the judges and a small audience of parents and staff members. I am thrilled to report that our choir, comprised of more than fifty students from grades two to eight, was rated “Superior,” the highest possible rating! Congratulations to Ms. Campana and our student singers for this wonderful accomplishment. The video of their performance is on our Facebook page.

The choir will next perform at a special concert at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark on Saturday, May 14th at 8:00PM. There will be seven Catholic elementary school choirs participating along with the award-winning choir from Cranford HS. The concert is free and open to all who wish to attend and will I’m sure be a wonderful event.

Congratulations to HCA alumnus (2014), Frank Corrado, for receiving First Honors for the third consecutive marking period at Xavier HS. Congratulations as well to Allie Mezzina, class of 2015, for being named a member of the “President’s List,” at Paramus Catholic HS and her classmate, Sophia Traficante, for earning First Honors also at Paramus Catholic HS.

Finally, to all of our moms – Happy Mothers’ Day! God bless you not only for all that you do for your own children and families, but also for what you do to help make Hoboken Catholic Academy the special place that it is. Please enjoy your special day.

Lets have a great month of May.

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal

April 25, 2016

Dear Parents and Guardians,

As you know, Archbishop Hebda will be leaving the Newark Archdiocese shortly to become the Archbishop of Minneapolis- St. Paul. There will be a farewell Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart at 7:00PM on Friday, April 29th. All are welcome to attend the Mass as well as a reception to follow immediately after Mass at the Archdiocesan Center, across Clifton Avenue from the Basilica. If you plan to attend, please send me an email at mmcgrath@hobokencatholic.org so I can give the schools office a head count.

Congratulations to seventh grader, Aramchan Lee and fifth grader, Louie De Falco for being named semi-finalists in their respective grade levels, in an essay contest, sponsored by NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration). The program, entitled “Cassini Scientist for a Day,” had students learn about Saturn, its fascinating rings and moons, and Jupiter, the biggest planet in our solar system then, based on what they learned select one of three targets for the Cassini Probe to explore. Both Aramchan and Louie suggested that the Cassini Spacecraft explore the rings and moons of Saturn and offered excellent reasons for their choice. NASA received 1,150 essays from students from 31 states. Congratulations to Aramchan and Louie for their thoughtful essays and for this wonderful recognition by NASA.

Congratulations to fourth grader, Akshay Sharma for finishing second in the Hoboken Rotary sponsored Christopher Widjaja Spelling Bee, held in our gymnasium on Friday evening, April 22nd. Mr. and Mrs. Widjaja and Carson were on hand to help award the plaques to the top three finishers. Congratulations Akshay!

Please be advised that we will have a change in our nursing services through the end of the school year. I am pleased to tell you that Mrs. Margie Stauber, RN, who served as our school nurse last year, will be with us one day per week through the end of school in June. In addition, Catapult has assigned, Ms. Mary Rose O’Brien, RN, two days per week and my former School Nurse, retired from the Parsippany Schools, Mrs. Bani August, RN, will be with us two days per week as well. Mrs. Stauber will be our lead nurse, and will be the person who will contact parents regarding immunizations, school physical compliance, auto immune injector delegate training and any other compliance issues, while our two substitute nurses handle the daily interactions with the students. Thank you for your patience and please contact me if you have any questions.

Sadly, we have said good-bye to the chicks, which hatched in each of our Kindergarten classes. The children enjoyed the wonderful experience of watching as the eggs began to crack and the chicks emerged from their eggs into the incubator. They then watched as the chicks’ feathers dried and they were moved to their temporary home in the plastic bin, where they began to eat food and drink water. Amazingly, in a matter of days the chicks were visibly bigger and very active. The experience will be long remembered, not only by our kindergarten students, but by all of our students as each class stopped by to see the chicks.

Finally, the HCA Spring Gala and Silent Auction was spectacular! The venue, with the amazing panorama of lower Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty, was outstanding. The auction items were incredible and the generous support of our families and friends is beyond words. Thanks again to Kristy Haise and her co-chairs, Roz Grant, Donna Murphy and Jen Araneo for putting together such a fun and successful event. Thanks to Dalia Kachouch for the HCA Events website, the Gallaghers for the beautiful “Giving Tree.” Thanks to Mrs. Albunia and the HCA student artists for the beautiful works of art. Thanks to everyone who donated or contributed to auction items, organized class baskets, helped set-up or clean-up before and after the Gala. Finally, thanks to everyone who so generously contributed through auction bids and donations. We are indeed blessed to be part of such a loving and supportive school family.

God bless you all!

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal


April 15, 2016

Dear Parents and Guardians,

We are thrilled to announce that eighth grade student; Veeran Nagpaul, won the NJ State Spelling Bee, sponsored by the NJ State Council of the Knights of Columbus. Veeran out-spelled student representatives from all of New Jersey’s Catholic Archdioceses at the annual competition held in Brick, NJ over the weekend. Veeran had previously won the Archdiocese of Newark Spelling Bee and was one of two students representing our diocesan schools in the state competition. Please join me in congratulating Veeran, who will attend High Tech High School in the fall.



Renovations on the interior of St. Ann’s Church have begun and tremendous progress is being made. The restoration program, well over a year old, has resulted in a transformation of the exterior of this beautiful church, constructed at the turn of the century by Italian craftsmen. Now, with the focus on the interior of the church, we will not have access to the church for the next two months as the work is being done during the week. Saturday and Sunday Masses will continue in the church until mid-May, however, our gym will serve as the church for weekend masses beginning on May 22nd when the pews and flooring will be removed and replaced. The work should take about three weeks to complete so the church will be available for our Baccalaureate Mass and Graduation. Unfortunately, the church will not be available for our May Crowning Mass on Thursday, May 26. As a result, we will have the May Crowning Mass and ceremony in our gym. More information will be forthcoming as the big day approaches.

As you are aware, each month, we conduct one fire drill and one emergency drill. Next Wednesday we will have an evacuation drill. Because St. Ann’s Church is not available, we will walk with the students to St. Francis Church. The Hoboken Police will provide an escort and our older students will walk with our Pre-K and Kindergarten students, assisting the teachers and aides in those classes. Typically, we use St. Ann’s Church as our assembly point, so this is an excellent opportunity to practice another option, should we need to make an adjustment in the future.

The excitement was palpable in our Kindergarten classes on Monday as Farmer Dan delivered the incubators and numbered chicken eggs to each class. He also brought two adult chickens with him and answered student questions before giving each student an opportunity to pet one of the chickens. Students have a lot of work to do over the next week or so. They will have to turn the eggs three times a day and make sure the eggs stay warm, but out of direct sunlight. Mrs. Lore and Ms. Gravina will chronicle the progress over the next few days until we welcome the baby chicks when they emerge from their eggs. You will be able to see the chicks when they hatch on our Facebook page. Stay tuned!



Finally, thanks to all who plan to attend our Spring Gala this evening. The auction items are incredible, the student artwork is spectacular and the weather is supposed to be perfect! Kristy Haise and the rest of her committee have taken care of every detail and have planned a amazing event. Thanks to all who helped make tonight the special night I’m sure it will be. Thanks to Kristy, Roz Grant, Donna Murphy and Jen Araneo for all they have done, as well as Dalia Kachouch for putting together the beautiful HCA Gala website. Also, check out the giving tree! Trevor Gallagher is now on my short list for set designs and props and Trish will be our artistic coordinator. What a beautiful work of art!

Lets have a spectacular evening and a great rest of the month!

God bless you.

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal


April 5, 2016

Dear Parents and Guardians,

Welcome back! I hope that you had a wonderful Easter and enjoyed some time with family and friends.

The first phase of the air conditioning project is complete and operational! The work was finished over the Easter break and all of the classrooms on the second floor now have wall mounted units that are quiet and efficient. In addition, work has begun to secure engineer reports and permits for the next and final phase of the project. All of the first floor classrooms, the office suite and the kitchen will be completed over the summer. Thank you for your patience and your generosity. With this enhancement to the learning environment, students and teachers will be able to maximize the teaching and learning process even on the hottest days.

Our Spring Gala is less than two weeks away and it is destined to be sensational! Kristy Haise, Roz Grant, Donna Murphy, Jennifer Araneo, and the rest of the Gala Committee have worked tirelessly to plan and organize this amazing event. Thanks to each of them as well as our class parents and everyone who sponsored auction items or contributed in any way. Your work continues to allow us to move our school forward in all that we do. The air conditioning project would not have been possible without the dedicated efforts of all of our fund raising event chairs, class parents, volunteers, sponsors and participants. Thank you all!

This is a very special week. On Thursday, second grader, Veronica O’Brien, will be “Gym Teacher For a Day,” and on Friday, Olivia Starace from fourth grade, will be “Principal for a Day!” Veronica will work with Mr. Tallarida to lead the physical education classes for the day, making sure that students participate in fun, engaging PE activities, while developing their life-long fitness skills. Olivia will lead the school in morning prayers, visit with all classes, sing “Happy Birthday,” to celebrate student birthdays, read to our Pre-K and Kindergarten classes, dictate a memo or two and will help Ms. LaForgia and me run the school. You will recall that both of these special days have come as a result successful bids by the girls’ parents at last year’s Spring Gala. I’m sure both young ladies will have great days and create wonderful memories.

As you know, over the last three years we have worked to improve the structure of our middle school program. During that time we solidified our schedule and have incorporated various components to better prepare students for high school. As we enter the third trimester, we will begin the next enhancement to our program. Until now, our Spanish program has been expository, with all students in Pre-K to grade 8 having one class per week. Starting in the next few weeks, students in grades seven and eight will have Spanish two times per week. For our graduating eighth graders, the extra class will provide an opportunity for students to increase their Spanish vocabulary, which will help prepare them for any of the Romance language classes they will take in high school. Our seventh graders will begin to build their understanding in preparation for next year when seventh and eighth graders will have Spanish two times per week. Our eventual goal is for students to complete the equivalent of Spanish I (Freshman Spanish) by the time they graduate from HCA. Computer instruction will continue, with Ms. Colona team teaching with Ms. Fusiak and Mrs. Esteves respectively, during social studies for grade eight and science for grade seven. This will allow for students to implement the technology skills they have learned in their classes, with support and guidance from Mrs. Colona.

Finally, our teachers have been introduced to an eBook program called ”Epic.” This program allows teachers to sign-up at no cost, and provides access for their students to over ten thousand books, which can be read on computers or tablets. Many of the titles are in the Accelerated Reader library and can be read prior to students’ taking the AR book quiz in school. By the end of the week all teachers will have emailed log-on information to each of you. Please note that students will have access to eBooks in school with our Mac Books. We will work with our System Administrator in the months ahead and over the summer to establish controls within our system to allow for students to bring tablets from home. Until safeguards and guidelines are in place, however, students are not permitted to bring tablets to school.

The Epic site can be accessed at: www.getepic.com

You will note that this is a paid subscription site, however, teachers have been given free access to the service, so please use the log-in information provided by your child’s teacher to access the online books at no cost.

Lets have a great April!

Thank you and God bless you.

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal


March 17, 2016

Dear Parents and Guardians,

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

With more than two thirds of the school year in the books, Terra Nova testing completed, Easter recess just days away and a new air conditioning system about to come online, I’d like to thank and commend our entire school family. Our students, teachers and staff have worked hard over the first seven months of school and thanks to your constant support and assistance, our school is moving forward. Our fundraisers have been very successful and our newest events, International Night, and Family Dance Night have been spectacular. This year’s International Night was even better than our first effort last year and the inaugural Family Dance Night will be tough to top in the years ahead.

Our students have excelled in the classroom, with 64 students in grades 4-8 being named to our second trimester honor roll. (Lists of all recipients are posted in virtual backpack) Our eighth graders have completed the difficult task of selecting the high school they will each attend in the fall. Because of their hard work and success on the Co-op exam, they had some wonderful schools and opportunities to choose from. Our students received acceptances from some of the most highly regarded Catholic and public schools in the area as well as an incredible number of scholarships totaling more than $378,000.

We have accomplished a great deal, however, we have so much more to do. The Home and School Association is preparing for our final two major fundraisers, the Spring Gala & Silent Auction in a couple of weeks and the 5KRun Walk Race in early June. Both events require a tremendous amount of preparation and coordination and our chairpersons and their committees are doing an amazing job. The class parents, event sponsors and all who volunteer and/or participate will all contribute tremendously to the success of each event and to the success of our school.

Our students will continue to work hard in the classroom and at home and things will not slow down for them in the least. Our eighth graders will begin work on their social studies research papers with instruction and support from their social studies, English and computer teachers, using the same format they will use in high school. They will also take part in the “Waterbotics” unit in science class where they will design and build robots from Lego kits that will be directed remotely to complete tasks in water. This year, they will also participate in the second annual STEM-a-thon co-sponsored by Stevens Institute of Technology and the Hoboken Family Alliance. (Last year’s program included 6th graders) Eighth grade students from all of Hoboken’s schools will take part in the daylong event on the Stevens campus, on May 17th. On May 18th, our eighth graders will begin their three-day class trip to Washington, DC!

We look forward to the Hoboken Rotary’s annual fourth grade spelling bee, which we will host at Hoboken Catholic Academy on Friday, April 22nd. As you will recall, HCA student, Christopher Widjaja, won the spelling bee last year, then sadly and unexpectedly, Christopher passed away over the summer. The Hoboken Rotary has named their annual spelling bee in Christopher’s honor and his parents and brother, Carson, will be on hand that evening to assist in the presentation of certificates to the winners.

A team of sixth grade students will compete in the Marist High School Math Contest on April 14th and in early May a team of seventh graders will take part in Marist High School’s Academic Challenge. A seventh grade team will also compete in the Queen of Peace HS Academic Games. You will recall, our team of Sophia Gallagher, Natalie Misyak, Tara Suter, Veeran Nagpaul and Calvin Flett, won last year’s Queen of Peace Games, beating out more than twenty other teams!

There is a change to the date of our scheduled faculty in-service day in April. The original date was Friday, April 29th. The new date will be Tuesday, April 26th. There will be no school for students on that day. The monthly and lunch calendars will be adjusted accordingly.

Our Choir is busy preparing for the “I-sing” competition on May 5th, at the Archdiocesan Youth Retreat Center in Kearny and a multi-school concert at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark two days later. Simultaneously, our choir is preparing for our own spring concert, scheduled for June 2nd, and Sunday Masses at St. Lawrence and OLG churches with dates to be determined.

Field days, an art show and our athletic awards assembly, PK and Kindergarten moving up ceremonies and finally, the eighth grade Baccalaureate Mass and Graduation are also all on the horizon.

So, please enjoy our Easter Recess, then hold on, because the next few months will be here and gone before you know it. Lets make them spectacular!

On behalf of everyone who has the good fortune to work with your children each day, here at Hoboken Catholic Academy, please accept my best wishes for a wonderful, blessed Easter and a well-deserved time with your families.

Thank you and God bless you.

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal


March 14, 2016

Dear Parents and Guardians,

According to the Hoboken Police, the water company is still working on the water main break that caused the disruption to our service earlier today, however we have regained our water pressure. As a result, school will be in session tomorrow.

We learned that the Honeywell voice message did not go through on some cell phones this morning. We are in the process of troubleshooting the problem with the company.

Regarding Friday’s excitement, to say we had an interesting start to the day would be an understatement. Thanks to all of you for your patience and understanding as we were greeted with an unexpected fire alarm during student arrival. As they do during all of our fire drills, the students did exactly what they were supposed to do and our teachers calmly guided them through the ordeal. We received permission from the Hoboken Fire Chief to re-enter the building and everyone settled into their respective classes. We began our day with our prayers and announcements around 9:00AM.

We delayed testing until the alarm company technicians arrived and we were certain that the alarm would not unexpectedly go off. The final day of testing was completed without further incident.

It was determined that the fire alarm panel in the boiler room was the source of the problem and would need to be replaced. Work to replace the panel began as soon as the technicians arrived at around 10:00AM, and continued until about 11:00PM. Thankfully, the Family Dance Night was not impacted by their work. The new panel is in place and the technician from the alarm company spent the better part of today fine tuning the system and making sure all components were operational. I am pleased to tell you that our fire alarm system is back online and the school is once again protected.

Terra Nova make-up testing for those students who were absent for parts of the test will take place over the next few days.

On an incredibly positive note, Family Dance Night was a smashing success. The children and parents had a wonderful time and the gym looked spectacular. Thanks Mrs. Bartoli and everyone who made our first Family Dance Night such a great event.

The Middle School Spring Dance is on tap for Friday evening and our Easter Egg Hunt will be in the Gym on Saturday morning.

Hopefully we can get through the next week and one half without incident and everyone can enjoy our well-deserved Easter recess.

Thank you and God bless you.

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal


March 10, 2016

Dear Parents and Guardians,

I have written about our amazing eighth graders on numerous occasions over the last few months, highlighting their many accomplishments. All of our oldest students have contributed greatly to our school, and each is deserving of recognition. This year, each elementary school in the Archdiocese of Newark has been asked to identify one outstanding graduate who not only excels academically, but also exhibits the qualities of kindness and service that are representative of our Catholic faith. This was no easy task. After careful consideration and much conversation, the teachers and I have selected Tara Suter as the 2016 Hoboken Catholic Academy Outstanding Eighth Grade Student. Tara and her parents will attend a special Mass, which will be celebrated by Archbishop Myers on Saturday, April 16th, followed by breakfast at the Archdiocesan Youth Retreat Center in Kearny. Please join me in congratulating Tara for this special recognition as well as our entire eighth grade for all they have done and continue to do during their time at HCA.

I am pleased to inform you that fifth grade student, Chase Kemmerer, received a silver medal for her grade level in the Hudson County Science Fair, held at The Liberty Science Center last week. Chase’s entry was an examination of the reliability of “Fit Bits.” Her well-designed experiment found that the fitness information tracked on someone’s cell phone was actually more accurate that the data collected on the Fit Bits tested. The annual science fair had more than three hundred entries from middle and high school students. Please join me in congratulating Chase for this wonderful achievement.

I am also happy to report that eighth grade student, Veeran Nagpaul won the Hudson County Knights of Columbus Spelling Bee over the weekend and will represent our school and all of Hudson County in the Knights of Columbus NJ State Spelling Bee later this month in Brick, NJ. Veeran, you will recall, won the HCA Christopher Widjaja Spelling Bee during Catholic Schools Week this year. Please join me in congratulating Veeran and in wishing her well in the state competition.

Good luck to Sean Swiatek, Summer LaGatutta and Diya Vithani when they represent our school at the annual Marist HS Fifth Grade Spelling Bee on Thursday, March 10th. Good luck as well to eighth graders Julianne Trent and Garrett Joyce and seventh grader Aramchan Lee when they compete against students from across the Newark Archdiocese in the Catholic Challenge on Saturday, March 18th at the Archdiocesan Offices in Newark.

Thank you to all of the alumni from the Hoboken’s Catholic Schools who joined us on Friday evening, March 4th, for our first All Catholic School’s Alumni Reception. A special thank you goes out to all of our Pastors for supporting the event, especially, Fr. Remo and Monsignor Bob for helping to fund the event. St. Ann School won the prize for most alumni to attend, beating Our Lady of Grace School by one person. In addition, alumni from Ss Peter and Paul, St. Francis, St. Joseph Schools and Hoboken Catholic Academy were also in attendance. Everyone who came, including four of our own teachers and OLG alumni, Ms. Girovasi, Mrs. Peterson, Mrs. Fitzgibbons, Mrs. Foley and former HCA Principal, Mrs. Perry, had a great time. Thanks to Mariann Bloor for her work in organizing the event and coordinating the Alumni Facebook Page. Thanks as well to Jen La Fave and Mike Tennaro who joined Mariann to help out that evening. Stay tuned for more information about future alumni events at HCA.

Our first ever Family Dance Night will take place on Friday, March 11th and Mrs. Bartoli and her committee are working through all of the last minute details. I’m sure it will be a memorable evening for everyone! Thanks to Mrs. Bartoli and everyone who have worked hard to make this a special event.

With the warmer weather finally making an appearance and the sun hanging around a little longer each day we have entered the final trimester of the 2015-2016 school year. St. Patrick’s Day and the Feast of St. Joseph are both a week away and Easter is right around the corner. It is important for our students to continue to work hard in the classroom and at home. Thanks in advance for helping our children stay focused on their schoolwork and for encouraging them to always try their best.

We have much to be thankful for at Hoboken Catholic Academy. Thank you all for helping to make our school the special place it is.

God bless you.

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal


March 3, 2016

Dear Parents and Guardians,

As you are aware, our students in grades 2-8 will take part in Terra Nova testing beginning on Monday, March 7th, and concluding on Friday, March 11th. During those days it is critical that all students arrive to school on time and are prepared for the test. Please make sure that your child gets a good night’s sleep each night and begins each day with a good breakfast. If you drive your child to school, please anticipate traffic delays and give yourself plenty of time to arrive to school on time. When a child is late to school, particularly on a testing day, it not only places them in a stressful situation, but it is disruptive to the entire class.

Please encourage your child to do his or her best on the test, but avoid putting undue pressure on them to do well.

Thank you for your help in providing the optimal testing environment for all of our students.

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal


February 22, 2016

Dear Parents and Guardians,

Several weeks back I shared the good news about our eighth graders’ high school acceptances and scholarships. At that time I indicated that students were still awaiting word from several schools and that I would provide more specifics once all notifications were complete. We now have all but one school accounted for (High Tech HS) and it is my pleasure to provide the details.

Our eighth grade students received 35 scholarships totaling $378, 370!

Here is a list of the high schools from which our students received acceptances and the number of scholarships offered by school:

Academy of Holy Angels (Demarest) One student offered a scholarship
Cathedral HS (NYC) Two students offered scholarships
High Tech HS (North Bergen) -anticipated
Hudson Catholic HS (Jersey City) Three students offered scholarships
McNair Academic HS (Jersey City) Three students received acceptances
Notre Dame HS (NYC) Nine students offered scholarships
Paramus Catholic HS (Paramus) Three students offered scholarships
Queen of Peace HS (North Arlington) One student offered a scholarship
St. Dominic Academy (Jersey City) Eleven students offered scholarships
St. Edmunds HS (Brooklyn)
St. Mary HS (Rutherford)
St. Peters Prep (Jersey City) One student offered a scholarship
Xavier HS (NYC) One student offered a scholarship
Xaverian HS (Brooklyn)



Please join me in congratulating the Hoboken Catholic Academy class of 2016 for their outstanding academic achievements. Thanks and congratulations go to their parents and teachers as well.

The first phase of our air conditioning project is nearing completion! During our two-day Presidents’ Day recess, the contractors installing our air conditioning system on the second floor completed all but the last few hook-ups. The project will be completed during Easter recess and our air conditioning system will be operational when we return from our Easter break. The next phase of the project, completing the first floor, will take place over the summer. Thank you for your patience and for your support of our fund raising efforts, which made this project possible.

Our second annual International Night will take place on Friday, February 26th and I’m sure will be an amazing event. Thank you to Mrs. Samuelson, Mrs. Misyak and Mrs. Bariwala, this year’s co-chairs and all of our host families for their hard work in helping us to celebrate the wonderful cultures represented in our school. Tickets are still available, so please join us if you can.

Alumni from HCA and all of Hoboken’s former Catholic Schools will celebrate our Catholic School heritage and reconnect with friends and classmates on Friday, March 4th in our gymnasium. The All Schools’ Alumni Reception will begin at 7:00PM and all alumni are welcome. If you are an alumnus of one of Hoboken’s former Catholic Schools and would like to attend, please check out our Facebook page and RSVP at:
catholicschools.hoboken.alumni@hobokencatholic.org

Terra Nova testing is less than a month away and teachers have begun to review test taking strategies and provide opportunities for students to take practice tests. Testing is scheduled for the week of March 7th. Please do not plan any family trips or doctor’s appointments for your children during school time that week and barring illness, please make sure they attend school. It is important that all students arrive to school on time every day and that week in particular. If a child arrives late to school, not only does it put them in a stressful situation, but also it is disruptive to the entire class. It is critical that we insure the integrity of the testing environment for all of our students. So please anticipate that there may be traffic issues or delays and give yourself additional time to insure that your child arrives to school on time.

At the end of our testing week, our Home and School Association will host our first ever, Family Dance Night. Thanks to Mrs. Bartoli and her committee for planning this wonderful event. I’m sure our PK to grade four students and their families will have a great time on the evening of Friday, March 11th!

Our middle school students in grades 5-8 will have their own dance, minus mom and dad, the following Friday. Under the direction of Mr. Petagno, our Student Council will sponsor the Spring Dance. With tunes from DJ Peggy G (Ms. Girovasi), our fifth through eighth graders will shake off the chills of winter and usher in the long awaited springtime.

The next morning, we will move our annual Easter Egg Hunt to the gym. The format will be different than what has happened in the past and more information will be sent out as the day approaches. Thanks to Ms. Cuttita and her helpers for making this a fun event for our PK and Kindergarten students.

Lets have a great end of February!

God bless you.

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal


February 9, 2016

Dear Parents and Guardians,

Ash Wednesday is a day away and students will attend an Ash Wednesday Service at 1:30 tomorrow at St. Ann’s Church. They will receive their ashes at that time. Students in grades 1-8 will pray the Stations of the Cross each Friday afternoon in Lent at St. Ann Church, beginning this week.

Because we will have started our Lenten observance, the Valentines Day parties will be limited to snack time on Friday. Teachers in grades PK3-Gr. 4 will arrange for a Valentines Day treat for students during snack time with their class parents. Due to popular demand, there will be a $2 “Something Red” Dress Down Day on Friday as well.

Our Catholic Schools Week celebration is behind us and we were blessed to have so many people help us celebrate our school and all of our Catholic schools. Thank you to everyone who made Catholic Schools Week so successful. Thanks to all of our parents and students who spoke at the masses to kick off the week and our choir members and their parents for representing our school on Sunday as well. Thanks to all of the parents and friends who spoke to classes during our Career Day. Our presenters did an outstanding job and our students learned a great deal about a wide array of professions.

Congratulations to the students who participated in our Religion and Spelling Bees. Special recognition goes to eighth grader, Angelo Rodriguez, and fourth grader, Teju Padmanabhan, for placing first and second in the Religion Bee. Special recognition as well, goes to Veeran Nagpaul, in grade eight, and Isabelle Garlick, in grade three, for placing first and second in the Hoboken Catholic Academy Christopher Widjaja Spelling Bee. Thank you to Mr. and Mrs. Widjaja and Carson for joining us on Monday for the spelling bee and for presenting the winners their certificates.

Congratulations to the newest members of the Hoboken Catholic Academy Chapter of the National Junior Honor Society. Sixth and seventh graders, Zoe Drasheff, Quincy Flett, Amelia Gallagher, Julianna Griesbauer, Olivia Kappock, Jake Landsbergis, Nanki Nagpaul, Amanda Tennaro, Mariana Vieira, Aidan Ward and Addison Wittnebert, were admitted into this prestigious organization during a dignified induction ceremony on Thursday morning. The student body learned about the five pillars of the NJHS, Scholarship, Leadership, Service, Citizenship and Character, and watched as the current seventh and eighth grade members welcomed the new students. NJHS President, Danica Mercado delivered the keynote address and demonstrated the excellence our NJHS students represent.

Thank you to all of our Pre-K parents for participating in our Parent Teacher Conferences last week and in for all of our K-8 parents for conferencing yesterday and today. The partnership between home and school is critical for academic success. We thank you for your continued support and assistance in all that we do. Hoboken Catholic Academy an excellent school because of the home & school partnership.

Thanks to Mike Tennaro and his committee as well as everyone who volunteered, sponsored and/or participated in last Friday’s Texas Hold’ Em Poker Tournament. It was a great night!

Finally, as we prepare to settle in for the long Presidents’ Day weekend, please know that pitchers and catchers report to spring training next week!

God bless you all.

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal


January 21, 2016

Dear Parents and Guardians,

Thanks to Mike Tennaro and his committee for their hard work in organizing this year’s Texas Hold’ Em Poker Tournament, slated for Friday, January 29th. The final plans are in place and it should be a really great night. It is not too late to sign up if you have not done so already. Even if you do not want to play poker, there are a number of other ways you can get involved. Please see the packet that is posted on our website for more details.

Thanks as well to Kristy Haise, Donna Murphy and Roz Grant and the rest of the Spring Gala committee for all they have done thus far in planning and organizing our annual Spring Gala/Silent Auction. A tremendous amount of work goes into putting our fundraisers together. Thanks to everyone who helps in any way and thanks as well to all of you for your support and participation.

Catholic Schools Week is right around the corner and I have included a schedule of events for the week. I also included a listing of the events parents are welcome to attend. Our choir will sing at the 10:30 Mass at St. Ann’s Church to kick off the week. Please join us if you are able. We are still in need of parents to speak about our school, following the masses at OLG, Ss Peter and Paul, St. Francis, St. Ann’s and St. Lawrence. If you are available to speak at any of the masses, please contact the school office at info@hobokencatholic.org. This year some of our outstanding eighth graders will speak at the masses as well! We are all set for career day and I will be contacting our parent volunteers with a schedule for their class visits shortly. Thanks to all of our moms and dads who will speak at the masses and who will join us on February 1st for Career Day.

Thanks to Mrs. Bernardo, we have contracted with “What’s Out There LLC,” from Union, NJ, to bring their Starlab Portable Planetarium System to our school on Monday, February 8th. Students in grades K-8 will be scheduled for lessons geared to their grade level to learn about the constellations and the planets of our solar system. To help defray the cost of the program, we ask that each student in grades K-8 bring in $2 by Friday January 29th.

Finally, -and I saved the best for last- our eighth graders have received their high school acceptance notifications and I am thrilled to report that all of our students have been accepted into their schools of choice.

In addition, this class of just twenty students has been awarded thirty-one scholarships to nine different Catholic high schools, totaling over $372,000!

Students received scholarships to St. Peters Prep, St. Dominic Academy, Paramus Catholic, Hudson Catholic, Academy of Holy Angels and Queen of Peace in New Jersey and Xavier, Notre Dame and Cathedral High Schools in Manhattan. In addition, three of our students who live in Jersey City have been accepted by McNair Academic High School, which is rated as one of the top public high schools in the State of New Jersey. Several students are awaiting notification from High Tech High School in North Bergen, another highly competitive public high school. Those letters will be sent out on February 1st.

To say that we are proud of the Hoboken Catholic Academy Class of 2016 would be an understatement of biblical proportions. Congratulations to this wonderful group of young men and young ladies, to their parents and their teachers. I am excited about what the future holds for this talented group of young people!

God bless you and as always, thank you for sending us your wonderful children.

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal


January 7, 2016

Dear Parents and Guardians,

Welcome back and Happy New Year! With the bustle of the holidays behind us I would like to thank all of our parents, teachers and staff for making the Christmas season at Hoboken Catholic Academy so incredibly special. The Santa Breakfast, Santa Shop, the concerts and class parties required a great deal of preparation and the hard work on the part of many people. Thank you to everyone who made it all possible.

The New Year brings some good news about our air conditioning project. All of the condensing units have been installed on the roof and the air handlers have been installed in each second floor classroom and the nurse’s office. Most of the connections are complete and those that are not will be done when we are closed for Presidents’ Day weekend. Any loose ends will be tied up during Easter break, so we will be well positioned for the hot days we can surely anticipate in May and June. Thank you for your patience and your generosity. This project would not have been possible without your kind support.

We received some more good news this week. Eighth grade student, Julienne Trent, received notification that the myth she wrote for the Scholastic Book Clubs’ Rick Riordan Mythology Writing Contest was selected as one of ten “Runners Up,” for the nation-wide contest. Julienne’s piece was one of eleven chosen from almost 10,000 entries! You will recall, that earlier this year Julienne was recognized by Mayor Zimmer for her Veterans’ Day Essay. That essay was the top eighth grade entry in the Hoboken Veterans’ Day Essay contest. Please join me in congratulating Julienne for these incredible achievements.

The Hoboken Catholic Schools Alumni Outreach Program has begun and we are excited to share the good news about Catholic education in Hoboken today, with the former students from all of Hoboken’s Catholic Schools. Likewise we are excited to begin the process of recognizing distinguished Catholic School alumni who paved the way for our school today. A special “all Hoboken Catholic Schools” alumni reunion is being planned for March 4th. More details will be available shortly.

Our next major fundraiser is right around the corner. Our annual Texas Hold’ Em Poker Tournament will take place on Friday, January 29th. This year, in addition to the poker, we will also have blackjack and roulette. The Fundraising Fee Voucher can be used for the Poker buy-in, and non-players are more than welcome to join us. Details about this fun event will be sent home shortly.

Catholic Schools Week will begin on Sunday, January 31st and run through Saturday, February 6th. A number of activities are planned and a schedule of the week’s events will be sent out shortly. As we have done in the past, we ask parents to speak at each mass in each of the Hoboken and Weehawken churches on Sunday the 31st. We provide a script so we deliver a consistent message, but certainly welcome personal comments from our parents. On Monday that week, we will have our annual Career Day. Students in grades 1-8 will learn about different professions from a number of our outstanding parents. If you would like to participate, we would love to have you. The program will run from 9:00to 11:00AM. A schedule will be developed once we finalize our list of parent volunteers. Each participant will be asked to speak to 3-4 classes ranging from grade one to grade eight. Each session will be fifteen minutes in length and presenters will move from class to class. If you would like to take part in Career Day and/or speak at one of the masses on the 31st, please email the school at: info@hobokencatholic.org

We are in the process of developing the schedule for our choir to sing at Sunday masses at the four remaining churches this year. Our students will sing at St. Ann’s, OLG, St. Francis and St. Lawrence in the weeks ahead. We will let you know the schedule so you can join us if you are able.

Finally, our amazing eighth graders are anxiously awaiting the results of the COOP exam they took back in November. The COOP exam is the test that is used by Catholic High Schools in New Jersey to make admissions decisions. Please keep our oldest students in your prayers as they prepare to take the next step in their educational journey. We should have the results next week.

One last note- pitchers and catchers report to spring training in just six weeks.

God bless you all and lets have a great 2016!

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal


December 22, 2015

Dear Parents and Guardians,

Thank you to everyone who attended our Christmas concerts. The children did an amazing job in each program and their teachers certainly prepared them well. Our choir, under the direction of Ms. Laurie Campana, performed beautifully at the concerts on Thursday evening and Friday morning. With the help of Mrs. Bernardo, Ms. DiGirolamo and Ms. Gravina, Ms. Campana planned and orchestrated the “Christmas Around the World Program.” She also worked with the teachers and students in our PK through second grade classes in preparation for their respective shows. The teachers at all levels worked with their individual classes, to not only learn their songs, but also to include some really neat dance routines! Somehow, they were able to accomplish this while continuing to focus on academics.

Thanks to our behind the scenes helpers, Mrs. Cordova, Mr. Caufield, Mr. D’Angelo who coordinated the sound system and the lighting as well as the movement of props and equipment before and during each of the shows. Thanks as well to Ms. Colona, who put our Music Around the World slide show together and for remotely advancing the slides during the program. I could not be more proud of everyone involved with each of the concerts. It truly was a school-wide effort. We are indeed blessed to have such dedicated teachers and staff as well as incredibly poised and talented students. I hope you enjoyed the shows as much as I did.

With the concerts behind us, and Christmas just days away, we have our sights set on the New Year and all of the excitement headed our way beginning in January. School will reopen on the fourth and God willing, each second floor classroom will have their newly installed air conditioning unit. Naturally, the warm weather is still months away, but with the rooftop units all in place, the classroom units will be installed during our Christmas recess. We will be ready for the hot days in May and June and thanks to your generous support, will raise the funds this year to complete the first floor this coming summer. I will keep you posted on the project’s progress.

We will welcome HCA alumni as well as alumni from each of Hoboken’s former Catholic elementary schools to “an organizational social,” on Tuesday, January 5th at 7:30 in the gym. We have reached out to several alums from each of Hoboken’s former parish schools to share our plans to thank and honor members of Hoboken’s Community of Catholic Schools, past and present. If you are an alumnus of Hoboken Catholic Academy, St. Ann’s, OLG, St. Francis, Ss Peter and Paul, St. Josephs, or Sacred Heart Academy (elementary) and would like to attend, you are more than welcome. Beer, Wine and light refreshments will be served.

The month will end with our next major fundraiser. The Texas Hold’ Em Poker Tournament, slated for Friday, January 29th, this year, will also feature Blackjack and Roulette! Remember, to utilize your fundraising fee voucher, you must participate in the Texas Hold’ EM portion of the event, however all levels of participation will be greatly appreciated. In fact, you are welcome to come and simply enjoy a meal and the incredible camaraderie of our parent community if you so choose. More information about this night of great fun will be sent out when we return from break.

As you will recall, we began the year with high hopes for our Accelerated Reader Program. Some students have gotten off to a great start and have read several books at home and taken the quizzes here at school. In fact, most students have read at least two books and taken two quizzes. Unfortunately, we did not provide the information necessary for you to view your child’s progress back in October when we began the program. I apologize for that oversight. The website for parents to monitor their child’s progress through the quizzes is entitled, Renaissance Home Connect and Accelerated Reader and can be accessed at:
https://help.renaissance.com/AR/HomeConnect

Parents should use their child’s log on and password to access their child’s individual quiz information. Remember, when visiting the site, we do not participate in the Accelerated Math Program. We use First in Math, so please disregard the Accelerated Math information.

Remember, books should be selected from the listings on www.arbookfinder.com Students will take the corresponding quizzes after each book is completed, in computer class. I encourage you to have your child read over the long Christmas recess and continue reading books for the remainder of the school year. Students in grades 3-8 should read one book per month and younger students should read books at their own pace.

I encourage you to have your youngsters continue their work in the First in Math program over the break as well. Keeping their math skills sharp will serve students well when we get things going again when we return from break.

Finally, on behalf of everyone at Hoboken Catholic Academy, please accept my best wishes for a blessed Christmas and a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year! Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to teach your beautiful children and for your continuous, kind support.

God bless you all!

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal


December 4, 2015

Dear Parents and Guardians,

Thank you to all of our parents and grand parents who were able to attend our Kindergarten and Pre-K Thanksgiving Show. As you know, the start time for that show this year was 9:00AM, which was earlier than we have started in the past. What we found through a number of positive comments from parents and teachers was that the earlier start time was a better way to go for several reasons. It allowed some parents to see the show and still get to work at a reasonable time, and it was better for teachers because it required less time to maintain student focus before the start of the show. As a result, we will move the start time for both the Pre-K and K-2 Christmas programs to 9:00AM. Doors will open at 8:40AM.

I am pleased to inform you that we have received the final approvals from the City of Hoboken to begin our air conditioning project. Work will begin next week with the placement of the condenser units on the roof. No work will take place in the classrooms until Christmas break so there will not be any loss of instructional time. This long overdue enhancement to our school’s learning environment would not have been possible without your generous support.

As you will recall, this is just the first phase of the project. Our plan calls for the installation of air conditioning units in each first floor classroom, the kitchen and the office suite, to take place after the students leave in June. The money for the second phase of the project will come from this year’s Home and School Association fund raising that exceeds the $100,000 budgetary requirement. Thank you to all of you who have sent in your $300 Fundraising Fee and for supporting all of our programs and events. Your support and commitment to our school allows us the opportunity to not only maintain the programs we have in place, but to continue to move our school forward.

If you have not done so already, please send in your Fundraising Fee and voucher choice for either the Texas Hold’ Em Poker Night or the Spring Gala. Last year both events were spectacular!

The students are busily preparing for their respective Christmas concerts and each, I’m sure, will be wonderful! Our HCA elves are putting the finishing touches on the Breakfast with Santa and the Santa Shop and this weekend our gym will be transformed into a Christmas Wonderland. It is a very busy time at HCA and lots of wonderful people are working really hard to make everything fall into place. Thanks to our parent volunteers, our amazing teachers and staff, and our fantastic children for making this blessed season so incredibly special.

Class parties will be scheduled on Tuesday, December 22nd. Pre-K and Kindergarten parties will be in the morning, from 10:00 to 11:00AM and grades 1-8 will be in the afternoon, from 1:30-2:30PM. Thanks in advance to our class moms for their help in putting them together.

Finally, as we make our way through the remaining weeks of Advent and anticipation builds for the blessed days of Christmas, please accept my continued best wishes and gratitude for your help in making our school such a wonderful place.

God bless you all!

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal


November 25, 2015

Dear Parents and Guardians,

As you will recall, because of a restructuring of the business function of all of the archdiocesan elementary schools, Ms. Cordova’s Business Administrator position has been eliminated. As a result, starting immediately, Ms. Cordova reports directly to the Business Office of the Archdiocese of Newark. She is assigned to our school, but with a very specific set of responsibilities, and eventually only 2-3 days per week.

Two weeks ago, we began a search for candidates to not only cover the areas no longer handled by Mrs. Cordova but also assist me in all aspects of our school’s operation.

I am pleased to inform you that that search is now concluded.

Ms. Kathryn La Forgia will join us on December 1st as our Assistant Principal.

Ms. La Forgia received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Dartmouth College with a dual major in Music and English. While at Dartmouth, Ms. La Forgia was the Principal Trumpet in the Dartmouth College Symphony Orchestra and Wind Symphony. She performed at both the Tanglewood and Aspen Music Festivals and founded the Dartmouth College Brass Quintet. After graduation she worked as a Research Programs and Human Resources/Staff Communications Assistant at Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York. While still performing and giving private and group music lessons, she earned a Master of Arts in Music Education from Columbia University. She then taught music at several New York Catholic elementary and high schools for more than eight years. In her assignments, she took on a number of administrative responsibilities, including the recruitment and placement of music teachers.

Ms. La Forgia went on to earn a Masters of Education in Educational Leadership from New York University with Principal certification in both New York and New Jersey. She completed a successful administrative internship at Ridgewood High School, in Ridgewood, New Jersey, during which time she analyzed student test data and observed and evaluated staff in tandem with the principal. Dr. Thomas Gorman, the Ridgewood HS Principal, gave Ms. La Forgia an excellent recommendation, as did the other references contacted.

I introduced Ms. La Forgia to the students earlier today and will introduce her to our parents at next Wednesday’s Home and School Association meeting.

Please join us that evening to welcome Ms. Kathryn La Forgia to our Hoboken Catholic Academy family.

As I have said many times, we have much to be thankful for at Hoboken Catholic Academy. As I have also come to realize, there is no challenge too great for our school community to overcome. With our restructuring, we will continue to have Mrs. Cordova as the keeper of our books and as the incredible resource she has always been. She is gifted in so many ways and a true blessing for our school. I am certain that with her help, we will transition in fine fashion to this next phase in the evolution of our wonderful school.

God bless you and Happy Thanksgiving!

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath

November 16, 2015

Dear Parents and Guardians,

Thank you to all of our parents who have completed the reregistration process to secure placement for your child(ren) for the 2016-2017 school year. Those who have not yet done so are reminded that the deadline for reregistration is this coming Friday, November 20th. You are also reminded that failure to reregister your child will result in the loss of your child’s place in the class. There will be no guarantee that a place will be available should you try to register your child as a new student later in the year.

Congratulations to eighth grade student, Julienne Trent, whose essay was selected as the eighth grade winner of the City of Hoboken Veterans’ Day Essay Contest. The contest was co-sponsored by the Hoboken American Legion. Please see Julienne pictured with Mayor Dawn Zimmer and John Carey from the American Legion on our Facebook page. The Mayor and Mr. Carey made the presentation at our school one morning last week.

On Friday, November 20th, our Pre-K and Kindergarten classes will put on the annual Thanksgiving Show, in the gym, starting at 9:00AM. The children have been working hard in preparation for the big event and I’m sure they will make us smile! Later that evening, the first Student Council sponsored middle school dance of the year will take place in our gym. The Thanksgiving themed event is open to all students in grades 5-8 and will run from 6:00 to 9:00PM.

Good luck to our eighth grade Academic Challenge Team, Veeran Nagpaul, Tara Suter, Natalie Misyak, Julienne Trent and Sophia Gallagher, when they look to win the Queen of Peace HS Eighth Grade Academic Challenge on Saturday morning, November 21st. You will recall that our seventh grade team, comprised of most of this year’s participants, won the 7th grade Academic Challenge last spring., also at Queen of Peace. Good luck ladies!

Our young scientists will share their projects with the rest of the school at our Middle School Science fair on Monday, November 23rd. The top entries from each grade level will be entered into the Hudson County Science Fair in March. You will recall that then sixth grader, Aramchan Lee, received a bronze medal in last year’s Hudson County Science Fair. We look forward to some great individual and group projects this year as well.

As we prepare for Thanksgiving and the upcoming Christmas season, there are two family centered, community outreach programs we would like to make known to you. The first program, called “Golden Rotarians,” is sponsored by the Hoboken Rotary. There is a flyer in the virtual backpack, explaining the program and inviting anyone who is interested to a meeting on Wednesday evening at the Hoboken Multi Service Center. The program matches volunteers and volunteer families with senior citizens in town, to set up monthly visits.

The next program is sponsored by Catholic Charities and it is called, “Help a Family at Christmas.” As the title implies, Catholic Charities will match families in need with donors who are asked to purchase Christmas gifts and supermarket gift cards for their adopted family. That flyer, containing information about the program as well as contact information, is also included in our virtual backpack.

Finally, our Home and School Association has partnered with Panera Bread at 310 Washington Street in Hoboken for a special fundraising opportunity. Panera Bread will donate a percentage of the bill to our school on Tuesday, January 12th, for anyone who dines at the restaurant that day and presents our flyer. More information will follow as we get closer to the date and the flyer will remain in the virtual backpack as a reminder. That same flyer will come home just prior to January 12th.

During this very special time of year, when we all count our blessings, please know that at Hoboken Catholic Academy, we have much to be thankful for. We are blessed to be able to work with your children each day, and equally blessed to partner with such a supportive and caring group of parents.

On behalf of the faculty and staff of Hoboken Catholic Academy please accept my best wishes for a wonderful Thanksgiving. May you have a food and football filled celebration with your families and friends!

God bless you all.

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath

November 4, 2015

Dear Parents and Guardians,

It is hard to believe that we have completed the first two months of school. It seems like just yesterday that we welcomed our students, both old and new for the start of the new school year. Back to school nights, parent/teacher conferences, our golf outing, and the Halloween parades are all in the books and the November Book fair has just come to a close. Our eighth graders are preparing to take the Catholic high school entrance exam, or COOP exam, on Friday, November 6th.

We have completed two successful Open House sessions and have a pile of applicants for open seats in the 2016-2017 school year. As you know, we have sent out the re-registration materials for next school year. It is very important to adhere to the timelines to re-register your child or children, as well as register siblings for the first time. At the end of the re-registration period we will begin the registration process for new students.

I mention this to remind you that should you not re-register your youngster(s) during the re-registration period, your child will loose his or her place in the class. It is likely that should this occur, the place you vacate will be filled with a new student. As you know, some of our classes are already full and will require waiting lists. Unless you are certain that you will not be returning in September, I suggest that you re-register to save your place. If a child is not re-registered and the spot is lost and the class is full, there will be no exceptions granted for your child to be added at a later date.

I mentioned the open houses and the golf outing and would be remiss if I did not thank all of the parents who volunteered to make both the golf outing and our open houses so successful. Thanks as well to all who have volunteered at our Book Fair.

As you may recall, last year we had a number of students participate in the Johns Hopkins University Center for Academically Talented Youth testing program. Five of our students received marks of High Honors and several more missed that distinction by several percentage points. The program is optional and open to students in grades 2-8 who excel in the classroom and whose standardized test scores are in the 90th percentile or higher (Grades 3-8). There are flyers in the office for any parent who is interested in learning more about the program.

On November 19th, our eighth grade girls will participate in a special program called the Women in Leadership Empowerment Forum at Hoboken HS. The program will include all eighth grade girls from all of Hoboken’s schools and will include over 100 professional women from Hoboken. Ms. Fusiak and Ms. Colona will accompany our students. Television personality, Natalie Morales from NBC, will be the keynote speaker!

Every three years all archdiocesan schools undergo an internal audit of their finances and operations. For our school, that process began last April and has now concluded. I am pleased to report that our audit, conducted by the Internal Audit Department of the Archdiocese of Newark, found that our financial house is in fine order. In fact, we were commended for having a “clean audit.” With the exception of some minor housekeeping and record keeping adjustments, which we have already begun to implement, we are in excellent shape. I want to publicly thank and commend our Business Administrator, Ms. Gigi Cordova, for maintaining such impeccable records and for her diligence in all that she does. Ms. Cordova is tireless in her efforts to serve Hoboken Catholic Academy and all of you.

As you know, Ms. Cordova has served as our school’s Business Administrator for many years. I am her third principal. As you will also recall, the archdiocesan schools have come under a new operational model called Lighting the Way. Most significantly up until now for Hoboken Catholic Academy, under the new model, was the elimination of co-sponsored schools and oversight by our Board of Pastors. Most of the other components of the plan impact schools that struggle financially, so we have not been affected. The next phase of Lighting the Way, however will impact how we do business on a daily basis.

Lighting the Way also calls for the elimination of each school’s Business Administrator position and replaces it with a new School Business Manager position. The person who assumes this new position will report directly to the Parish and School Business Services and Internal Audit Department of the Archdiocese of Newark and will work exclusively with the school’s finances. A Business Manager will be assigned to each school, with most being assigned to two schools and in some cases, three schools.

The good news for Hoboken Catholic Academy is that Ms. Cordova will be assigned to our school, so she will continue to oversee our finances. The bad news is that we have to find someone to assume all of her other responsibilities- and there are many!

To that end, I am working with the superintendent of school’s office to develop a plan to create a new administrative position for HCA. The successful candidate’s responsibilities will include the technology and school’s operations aspects of Ms. Cordova’s current position as well as responsibilities in the areas of curriculum development and supervision of instruction.

The entire transition will take place over the course of the next three and one half months. Ms. Cordova will not be assigned to a second school until mid- February. She will continue in her current capacity until then and will serve as a resource to our office staff and her replacement throughout the transition and on an ongoing basis beyond that time.

Please know that we will work diligently to ensure a smooth transition into the new structure. Thanks in advance for your patience.

We have changed the date of our first alumni event, Sinatra Night. The program was originally scheduled for November 30th, but a scheduling conflict has arisen that has necessitated a change. The new date is Friday, March 4th. If any of our parents are former Catholic school students from any of Hoboken’s Catholic schools would like to be part of the planning committee, please give me a call. More details will follow.

We have officially begun the run-up to Thanksgiving. I know how quickly the first two months of school have gone by and anticipate that the months ahead will rush past equally as fast. It is easy to get caught up in all of the excitement that preparation and anticipation of the holiday season brings. Please continue to remind your children to work hard in school and study and read at home. There will always be distractions, but it is important that we help children to always make their studies a priority.

As always, thanks for being such outstanding, supportive parents. Your children are a pleasure to have in school and testimony to all of the love and guidance you supply.

Lets have a great November!

God bless you and thanks again.

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal

October 2, 2015

Dear Parents and Guardians,

A special Thank you goes out to all of our parents who made the Kids’ festival at Ss Peter and Paul’s Oktoberfest such a huge success. The weather was great and the kids had a blast. Thanks as well to our super older students who volunteered to help that day. They always make us proud.

Thanks to all of our parents who will serve as class parents. The HSA officers will meet with you shortly to discuss all of our activities and the vital role you will play in all that we have planned. The next Home and School Association meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, October 6th, at 7:00PM and will be followed by our annual Welcome Back Social. That evening, parents will have an opportunity to reconnect with old friends and meet new ones while enjoying an adult beverage and some light snacks. It will be a great opportunity for our new parents to meet other parents and learn firsthand about the great events planned for the year and the wonderful people who make it happen.

Our annual Golf Outing will take place on October 16th at the Meadows Golf Club in Lincoln Park, NJ. Information about the outing is on the website. Thanks to Mike Tennaro and his committee for their hard work in putting this great event together. If you have not done so already and plan to play, please send in your registration form with the appropriate fee. It is always a great event and I’m sure this year’s outing will be equally outstanding.

There is information in the main office from the Johns Hopkins Center for Academically Talented Youth for their fall and spring programs. Students in grades 2-8, who demonstrate outstanding academic progress in the classroom and scores in the 90th percentile on the Terra Nova tests, (Current Grade 3-8 students) are eligible to apply. Last year we had a number of students participate with several being recognized with high honors by the Center. Please stop by to pick up a brochure if you would like to learn more about the program and/or apply.

Please be reminded that there will be no school for students on Monday, October 12th, for Columbus Day. School will also be closed for students on the following Monday, October 19th. Teachers will participate in professional development activities through the Archdioceses.

Finally, we are busily preparing for our two Open House days, October 22nd and 24th. Shortly thereafter we will begin the re-registration process for the 2016-2017 school year. Please check the website for more details in the weeks ahead.

As always, thank you for your continued support. Thanks for the excellent participation in our two back to School Nights and for helping to make our school a special place for our children.

God bless you and your families.

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath

June 10, 2015
Dear Parents and Guardians,

It is hard to believe that the 2014-2015 school year is coming to a close. It has been a very good school year. On Saturday, June 20th, 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 20th. 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 2015

Gabriella Aguayo*
Alexis Anosike*
Antoinette Critelli*
Mae Ebid*
Mina Hanna*
Florentino Hernandez*
Joel Jimbo*
Ashley Marrero*
Alexandria Mezzina*
Alexandra Mojica*
Manuela Peralta*
Sabrina Peralta*
Anthony Perrenod*
Adriana Sanguinetti*
Yvette Sarmiento*
Nicholas Siniscalchi*
Biagio Stoduto*
Sophia Traficante



When I arrived in July of 2013, the school building was not yet ready to reopen following Sandy. Since that time we have come a tremendous long way! Not only were all of the post storm repairs and upgrades completed, but we installed a new security camera system, re-keyed the interior locks, re-wired our PA and Wi-Fi systems and installed a new sound system in the gym. Thanks to your continued, generous support, this year we have generated more than $60,000 above the budgetary fundraising requirement and are well positioned to begin the first phase of the air-conditioning project, which will hopefully begin this summer. Thank you all!

Our students continue to make us proud with a number of accomplishments, both academic and extracurricular. From our eighth graders’ high school selections, to awards at spelling bees, science fairs, academic competitions and choir performances, HCA students excelled.

More than 250 students participated in sports, with several teams winning championships. 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. Many of our older students were part of Student Council, the National Junior Honor Society or Campus Ministry. They raised thousands of dollars and collected food, books, clothing, toys for sick children, phone cards for our service men and women and baby supplies to help people and families in need, while developing leadership skills that will serve them well in the future. They hosted our second annual Senior Prom, and once again stole the hearts of the 140 senior citizens in attendance. 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, 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 became a Professional Development School this year, in conjunction with William Paterson University, and welcomed former teacher, Anna D’Alto as our Math Professor in Residence. We will continue this distinction next year and for many years to come. We have also begun a relationship with Stevens Institute of Technology and their STEM program. Eighth graders are finishing up their Waterbotics unit, in which they were charged with designing and constructing robots from LEGO kits to perform tasks under water, then reflect on how well their creations performed. The unit has been quite successful with teams of students’ water-bots successfully completing their assigned tasks! Our intention is to secure training for more staff and include STEM activities at other grade levels beginning next year. Along those same lines and thanks to the Hoboken Family Alliance and Stevens Institute, our sixth grade students joined with sixth graders from all of Hoboken’s schools, at the STEM-a-thon on June 2nd. The event was a great opportunity for our students to work together in teams to solve real world problems. I am truly excited about our plans to expand the STEM initiative next year!

We continued our partnership with St. Peter’s Prep and their Ignatian Scholars, expanding the tutoring program begun last year to also include an enrichment component. Both parts of the program were successful, with the enrichment component contributing to our seventh grade team winning the Queen of Peace Academic Challenge over twenty other teams. Plans are in the works to expand the program even further to include a STEM component. Stay tuned!

Through the perseverance of their teacher and a little good fortune, our middle school students took part in an incredible event. The live face-chat with the NASA scientist about NASA’s Mars Mission will long be remembered as an amazing learning opportunity. Our students spoke with “Rachel,” as she worked at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, asking her questions and answering hers, for more than an hour. The one regret I have is that we did not have the capability to include third and fourth graders in the “face chat,” because we were limited by the size of the room. To that end, we are working on a solution. Using technology funding through the No Child Left Behind Grant we will purchase a rear projection unit, including a new screen, for the gym. The unit will allow us to conduct this type of class and include the entire school if we so choose!

Also, in the area of technology, again thanks to your generous support, we upgraded our two computer carts, added Smart Tables in Pre-K and Kindergarten and included computer instruction in grades 1-8. In addition to the weekly instruction, our teachers worked to infuse technology in other curricular areas through the use of the Smart Board and the Mac Books. We will continue to expand our use of technology to support instruction next year and in the years to come.

Last year 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. This year, one of our teachers received an equally incredible honor. Sixth grade and language arts teacher, Mrs. Peggy Girovasi, was recognized by Xavier High School in Manhattan with the Ignatian Educator Award. As I told you in my letter following the ceremony, the award came about because of an essay written by former HCA student and current Xavier HS honor student, Frank Corrado.

Please know that the teachers, support staff, and I are truly blessed 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.

Sincerely,

Matthew McGrath
Principal

June 9, 2015
Dear Parents and Guardians,

Our 5K Walk/Run is in the books and what an event it was! Despite the unsettled weather, the 5K, 1 mile run and the kid’s dash could not have been better, with over 500 participants throughout the morning. Monica De Falco and her committee have outdone themselves and this year’s event was simply spectacular. Thanks to everyone who helped make our annual 5K Walk/Run such a success.

The eighth grade yearbooks are in and they look great. We have a limited supply for sale to any parent in grades PK3-7. The cost is $50. Please call the office if you are interested.

Earlier today, students in grade PK3- Grade 4 learned about all of the summer programs at the Hoboken Public Library from Miss Kim and Miss Gloria, the Children’s Librarians, in a special AM assembly. Students will bring home information about the program that they received today. You can access the Hoboken Public Library through the link on our website to learn about all the wonderful programs they offer.

There will be a $2 dress down day on Tuesday, June 9th. Our All Sports Awards Ceremony will take place that afternoon so all student athletes are welcome to wear their team shirts.

On Wednesday, June 10th, our eighth graders will take part in their “Graduation Retreat,” at the Ss Peter and Paul Parish Hall and Chapel, where they will reflect on their time at HCA and talk about their hopes for the future. That same day, our seventh graders will have their field trip to Pyramid Mountain.

Our fifth and sixth graders will travel to Space Farms in Sussex County for their field trip on Thursday, the 11th.

On Friday the 12th we will say good-bye to our PK and Kindergarten students as they “”move-up” to the next level at their respective ceremonies. Later that evening, our eighth graders will join with their seventh grade friends for their Graduation Dance in our gym.

Monday, June 15th will be the last full day of school for students in grade 1-8. First and second graders will visit Turtleback Zoo that day and there will be before and aftercare that day. This will also be the last day for student lunch.

The Eighth Grade Baccalaureate Mass will take place on Tuesday, June 16th at 10:00AM in St. Ann’s Church.

We will have half days on June 16th and 17th. There will be before and aftercare on Tuesday, June 16th and before care on our last day of school, June 17th. There will be no aftercare that day.

The school-wide Terra Nova results have been posted on our website. In the summary, you will read that overall our students scored well above the national average in all grade levels and in all categories and did quite well when compared to students across the Archdiocese. The first graph that is posted identifies where all students, grades 2-8, placed in national score distribution quartiles. As a school, at least 57% of our students scored in the top quartile in all areas tested and at least 82% of HCA students in the top two quartiles. Like last year, we fell short of qualifying to apply for National Blue Ribbon School status. This year we missed the mark by one percentage point in reading in grade five and four percentage points in math in grade eight.

To address those short comings and to identify reasons why some students did not perform to the levels they did previously, over the summer a team comprised of Mrs. Bernardo, Mrs. Girovasi, our Math Professor in Residence, Anna D’Alto and myself will meet to review and analyze the test data to develop a plan to identify and address challenge areas, particularly in math and reading. Once identified, teachers at all grade levels will incorporate strategies to address the challenge areas. In addition, starting in September, 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. I will keep you posted as we progress through the process.

Summer packets will come home with students on the last day of school. My final letter of the year will be included in that packet and posted on our website.

We are nearing the finish line. Thanks for your help in making HCA a special place for children. I will share my reflections on the school year, where we were, where we are now and where I want us to be in the future, in my final letter.

God bless you all.

Sincerely,

Matthew McGrath
Principal

May 21, 2015
Dear Parents and Guardians,

With the Spring Concert, the choir performance at the Basilica, two field days and the Art Show behind us you would think that things are winding down at HCA. The truth is, there is still a lot going on and we will be busy right up to the eighth grade graduation on June 20th!

Thanks to all of our volunteers who assisted Mr. Tallarida in making our two field days so successful. Mr. T. did a great job in organizing and running our field days and students had a blast at both sessions. I’m sure the children slept well both nights. I know the adults did. A special thank you goes out to Officer Justin De Pasquale from the Hoboken Police Department and his colleagues, for providing a police escort to and from the Hoboken High School Athletic Field on both days. The students marched down the middle of the street, adding to the excitement each day! Please enjoy some photos from both days on our Facebook page, which can be accessed right from the HSA link on our website.

The Art Show was spectacular! Thanks to Mrs. Albunia, not only for delivering such a strong art program, but for displaying the student work so beautifully. Please check out the artwork on her Instagram site, @HCA_ART, as well as on our Facebook page.

The HCA Choir received a well-deserved standing ovation following their Spring Concert performance on May 20th. The concert featured several Disney movie songs and a number of solos. Congratulations to Ms. Campana and all of her singers, with special recognition to soloists, Nanki Nagpaul, Nora Jacobi, Amelia Gallagher, Sara Bartosek, Garrett Joyce, Chase Kemmerer and Sabrina Peralta and master of ceremonies, Natalie Misyak. The poise, stage presence and talent on display that evening exceeded anything I have seen in almost forty years in education. Simply outstanding!

Members of the choir followed their memorable HCA performance with an equally outstanding showing at the iSing Archdiocesan Grammar School Choir Festival at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark on Saturday evening, May 16th. Our students’ voices filled that majestic venue in magnificent fashion. In fact, Archbishop Hebda, who was in attendance that evening, made a point to tell me that our choir was “impressive.” They were indeed impressive and I could not be more proud of Ms. Campana and the members of our choir. Please check out some of their performances on our Facebook page.

The choir will finish up their performance calendar with the Senior Prom on May 28th and the 10:30 Mass at St. Lawrence Church in Weehawken, on Sunday, May 31st. All are welcome at the Mass.

On Tuesday, May 19th, sixth grade student, Aramchan Lee, received his bronze medal and a certificate for his science fair project in the annual Hudson County Science Fair in March. The ceremony took place at St. Peters University and was attended by Aramchan and his family. Please enjoy the photo from the Jersey Journal posted on our Facebook page.

Also featured on our Facebook page are some photos of our eighth grade students who have begun working on their “Waterbotics,” project. In conjunction with Stevens Institute of Technology, middle school science teacher, Erin Esteves has introduced this robotics unit as part of our STEM initiative. Students will learn about the component parts, then construct robots using LEGO kits. The robots will complete tasks under water and students will keep a record of their progress and their observations throughout the project.

Our sixth grade students will all participate in the Steven’s Institute/Hoboken Family Alliance sponsored, STEM-a- thon Day on June 2nd. Our students will join other sixth graders from across Hoboken at Stevens to participate in a series of STEM activities, and then gather with University staff to discuss what they learned.

Earlier on Thursday, those same sixth graders took part in a live feed from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, about the Mission to Mars. Students from around the country submitted questions to the NASA scientists and I am thrilled to tell you that two of our students had their questions answered. Aramchan Lee asked how long it took to build the Orion Space Craft and Jake Landsbergis asked how long it will take to get the astronauts to and from Mars. The students learned that it took a little over two years to build Orion and will take 18 months to have an astronaut complete a round trip to Mars. It was exciting for our students to hear their names and our school mentioned this way. It gets better! When Mrs. Esteves emailed a thank you to NASA, Rachel, one of their scientists, told Mrs. Esteves that NASA wanted to set up a live feed directly to Hoboken Catholic Academy to allow our students to have a one on one conversation with the scientists at the Kennedy Space Center! Details about the hook-up are being worked out and it should happen this week. This is a once in a lifetime event and I thank Mrs. Esteves for helping to make it possible.

Our second graders are preparing for the May Crowning Ceremony, which will take place during Mass at 10:00 AM at St. Ann’s Church, on Friday, May 29th , Students who recently received their First Holy Communion along with the rest of their classmates will place a crown on the statue of the Blessed Mother during the ceremony, and all are welcome to attend.

The annual 5K Walk Run is less than two weeks away and plans are progressing nicely. We encourage everyone to come out on June 6th, whether or not you plan to run. It is an amazing location and the race is truly a spectacular event. With the inclusion of the mile run and the student dash, there is something for everyone. With more than eighty students on the HCA track team, we expect a great showing from our student athletes. Please consider sponsoring a track athlete or other race participant. Information about the different ways people can sponsor a runner is on our website.

Finally, on Thursday, May 21st, our students, led by Mrs. Girovasi’s sixth graders, participated in a Memorial Day Prayer Service. The solemn event helped us all remember how fortunate we are that brave service men and women, throughout our nation’s history have given their lives to insure the freedoms we enjoy today. The students asked God to bless each of them and to watch over their loved ones. They asked God to also bless all former and current servicemen and women, particularly those in harms way. They asked God to bless all police officers, fire fighters and emergency services personnel. The students thanked them all for their service and for keeping us safe.

God bless you and thank you for your continued support. Lets have a great rest of the school year!

Sincerely,

Matthew McGrath
Principal

May 12, 2015

Dear Parents and Guardians,

As many of you have seen on our Facebook page, our sixth grade homeroom and middle school English teacher, Mrs. Peggy Girovasi, received the prestigious Ignation Educator Award from Xavier HS in Manhattan in a ceremony at the Jesuit high school last week. Former HCA student and current Xavier Honor Student, Frank Corrado identified Ms. G. in an essay as the teacher who has had the greatest impact on his life. Frank’s essay was one of thirty-nine chosen from over 280 freshman entries. As a result, Mrs. Girovasi was honored that night during a beautiful ceremony and is pictured with Frank and his parents on our Facebook page. Congratulations to Mrs. Girovasi for this well-deserved recognition.

The month of May has gotten off to an excellent start with many wonderful events planned for the weeks ahead. Thanks to Mrs. Mercado, Mrs. Girovasi, Mrs. Casper and the parent volunteers for helping to make our Scholastic Book Fair so successful. Unfortunately, many of our summer reading list books are on back order, but Mrs. Mercado arranged for parents to place orders with Scholastic to have the books sent as soon as they are available.

Our Choir received a rating of Excellent at the iSing Competition at the Archdiocesan Youth Retreat Center in Kearny on May 7th! The HCA Choir, with more than sixty members from grades 2-8, is under the direction of Ms. Laurie Campana. Please visit our Facebook page to see photos and view one of the songs, A Song of Peace, which features fifth grade soloist, Nanki Nagpaul and another, Regina Caeli, sung in Latin. The performance was outstanding and we are all very proud of our choir! Next for our young singers will be the annual Spring Concert, which will be held on Thursday, May 14th at 7:00 in our gym and the Combined School Concert at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark on Saturday, May 16th at 8:00PM.

Two teams of seventh graders will take part in the Marist High School Scholastic Olympics right after school on Tuesday the 12th. Different students will compete in each academic area. Please join me in wishing our students well as they represent our school.

Field Days are scheduled for the 18th for Pre-K to grade 2 and the 19th for grades 3-8. Thank you to all of our volunteers for working with Mr. Tallarida and our teachers on those days to help make these special days successful. Thanks as well to all our friends who sponsored this year’s tee shirts.

Mrs. Albunia will display our students’ amazing artwork at the HCA Art Show in our gymnasium on Wednesday, May 20th from 6:00 to 8:00PM. Please stop by and take a look at the various projects our students completed this year. I’m sure you will be pleased.

Campus Ministry students will host our second annual Senior Prom on Thursday, May 28th from 6:30 to 8:30PM. Our prom is not for high school seniors, but rather for our grandparents and seniors from the Hoboken community. Middle school club members will serve as waiters and waitresses that evening and our outstanding choir will kick off the evening with a few of their signature pieces. Students are diligently planning the theme and making the decorations and favors for the evening. Invitations for our grand parents will be sent out shortly.

The summer mailing with the 2015-2016 school calendar will be sent home this week. As you will see, we will get off to a late start because of how Labor Day falls and we have built three snow days into the calendar. Hopefully, we will get a break from the harsh winters we experienced the last two years and not need more than that. We included Holy Thursday and the Friday before Memorial Day weekend as off days again this year. Those will be the first days reinstated if we exceed the three snow days to avoid adding days in June.

Terra Nova test results will also be sent home this week. Once again, our students scored well above the national average in all areas. As soon as we finish analyzing the school-wide data, the overall results will be posted on our website.

It is hard to imagine that in a little more than a month we will say goodbye to our students for the summer and send another group of outstanding young people to high school. We have had an excellent school year and with the help of Almighty God, we will enjoy a strong finish to the 2014-2015 school year as well. Thank you for all that you do to support our school. We have much to be proud of but realize, that we have much more to do. With your continued help and support, HCA will continue to grow. I am excited about our future together!

God bless you.

Sincerely,

Matthew McGrath
Principal

April 27, 2015
Dear Parents and Guardians,

Each year since 1985, Queen of Peace High School in North Arlington has hosted an academic competition called the Queen of Peace High School 7th Grade Academic Games. On Saturday morning, twenty-one teams of seventh grade students from nine Catholic schools in the area took part in this prestigious competition. It is my extreme pleasure to announce that the Hoboken Catholic Academy team, comprised of Tara Suter, Sophia Gallagher, Natalie Misyak, Veeran Nagpaul and Calvin Flett, won this highly competitive team contest, for the first time in our school’s history! Congratulations to Tara, Sophia, Natalie, Veeran and Calvin, as well as their parents and teachers for this wonderful achievement!

As I reported to you my last message, HCA hosted the sixth annual Hoboken Rotary Fourth Grade Spelling Bee on Friday, April 17th. Thirty-two fourth graders from eight of Hoboken’s elementary schools showed their spelling prowess during the exciting competition. I am thrilled to announce that all four of our spellers advanced to the “top eight,” and two of our students, Christopher Widjaja and Diya Vithani placed first and second in the city-wide event! Congratulations to Christopher and Diya, as well as to Tara Dean and Sean Swiatek who also did a great job, spelling dozens of words correctly before exiting. Simply outstanding!

Congratulations as well go out to Aiden Ward and Diogo Montalvo, both fifth graders, for receiving special recognition form Hoboken Mayor, Dawn Zimmer for their Earth Day posters. The boys had their picture taken with Mayor Zimmer on Wednesday in recognition of their excellent work. The posters along with many more from our students and children throughout Hoboken will be on display at City Hall in the weeks ahead and at the Green Fair on Saturday, May 16th. Thanks to all students who submitted a poster and to Mrs. Albunia for coordinating our entries. Information about The City of Hoboken Green Fair, the new composting program and the City of Hoboken Newsletter can all be accessed through the City of Hoboken link on our website.

Members of the HCA Choir performed a medley of songs they are preparing to sing at the I-Sing competition next week at the St. Ann’s Guild Communion Breakfast, following the 10:30 Mass in our gym, on Sunday. Our students, under the direction of Ms. Laurie Campana, sang beautifully. Thanks to Mrs. Angela Bernardo for her help that day as well as at all of the choir rehearsals and performances, and to all of our choir parents for their continued support.

We are in the process of formulating next year’s calendar. As soon as the calendar is completed, we will send it out to you. In the meantime, please know that the first day for students in Kindergarten through grade eight will be Thursday, September 10, 2015. There will be a full day of school that day. The first day for Pre-K 3 & 4 (Students with last names beginning with A-M) will be Monday, September 14th and (N-Z), on Tuesday, September 15th. All Pre-K students will report to school from the 16th on and will be dismissed at 11:20 for the entire first week. Pre-K students will begin full days on Monday, September 21st. More details regarding Pre-K orientation and ways parents can get involved will be mailed out in the weeks ahead.

The Hoboken Catholic Academy Spring Gala & Silent Auction took place on Friday evening and its success surpassed our wildest dreams! The venue was spectacular, the auction items were outstanding and the 250+ guests were incredibly generous. A special thank you goes out to the Gala’s chairperson Kristy Haise, for the incredible job she has did in organizing and coordinating all of the moving parts that went into pulling off such a big event. For those of you who don’t know, Kristy and Brian are expecting their third child in about two weeks, which makes what she has accomplished even more amazing.

Thankfully, Kristy had lots of help from an excellent group of volunteers. The Gala Committee worked tirelessly with Kristy in planning the event, gathering auction items and pulling everything together.

Thank you as well to Katherine Nolan, Roz Grant, Mariann Bloor, Dalia Kachouh, Shannon Swiatek, Jeanine Elias and Donna Murphy for all of your hard work and generosity in the months of preparation leading up to the big night, and for your efforts the day of the Gala. Thanks to Roger Corrado for hosting the live auction and to Grace and John Sciancalepore orchestrating the games and Teachers’ Wish List donations. Thanks to all of our class moms, our sponsors and all who solicited and donated auction items and to all of our parents and friends who came out that night. Your generosity was amazing!

Hoboken Catholic Academy is a special school. All of the events highlighted in the paragraphs above as well as numerous similar accomplishments mentioned in my letters throughout the year underscore that very fact. We are blessed to have wonderful children, caring and dedicated teachers and staff and parents who routinely go above and beyond in everything they are asked to do.

Thank you and God bless you.

Sincerely,

Matthew McGrath
Principal

April 18, 2015
Dear Parents and Guardians,

With over 200 people already signed up for the Spring Gala & Silent Auction, this year’s event should be nothing short of spectacular! It’s not too late if you haven’t purchased your tickets yet, but time is running out. Kristy Haise and her committee have outdone themselves in planning and organizing this special event. The items to be auctioned are incredible and this year we will also include a “Teacher Wish List,” for people who want to make a donation in that way.

I am happy to announce that fourth grader, Aidan McMillan, will be “Principal for a Day,” on Monday, April 20th. Young Mr. McMillan will assume many of my daily tasks and I’m sure will have a great day! Like PE Teacher for a Day and Lunch with Mrs. Foley, Principal for a Day will be one of the many auction items parents can bid on at Maritime Parc on the 24th. Make sure to check out the class/grade level artwork that will be up for grabs. Last year’s eighth grade piece, a truly beautiful work of art, now welcomes visitors to the chapel at Ss Peter and Paul. Monsignor Meyers knows his way around a silent auction and snapped up the one of a kind gem with a generous bid. Don’t tell him, but I think with a little more pressure, he would have gone higher!

The 5K Run Walk plans are moving along and there will be Race Committee meeting following our HSA meeting on Thursday. This year there will be a contest for a student to design the official race tee shirt. More details will be coming home shortly.

Earlier this year we sent home information about the Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth Program and I am thrilled to announce that seven of our students took part in this prestigious program. Congratulations to third graders, Aarav Bhatia, Aleksander Manda, Finn Murphy and Addison Swiatek and fourth graders, Shreya Jagnade, Summer LaGattuta and Sean Swiatek for taking part in the program and doing very well on the reading and math tests, with special congratulations to Sean Swaitek, who earned High Honors on the Reading Test!

Middle School science teacher, Mrs. Esteves, completed three days of training at Stevens Institute and is making preparations for the “Waterbotics,” unit she will teach to her eighth grade students in the weeks ahead. The program involves classroom instruction and will culminate with the students building robots that will perform tasks under water. This program is part of the STEM initiative in which students are taught about how engineers use math, science and technology to create machines to benefit mankind. In early June our entire sixth grade will join other sixth graders from schools in Hoboken for a daylong, “STEM-a-thon,” on the Stevens campus. That day, teams of students will take part in a series of STEM activities and projects and learn first hand about the relationship between math, science, technology and engineering.

The National Junior Honor Society, under the direction of Mrs. Bernardo and Ms. Fusiak has begun a weeklong fundraising drive to support struggling young mothers. The Baby Bottle Campaign, through the Knights of Columbus, is designed to provide assistance to young families who are having trouble making ends meet. It will specifically help provide money for food and supplies for young mothers and families with babies.

The outstanding HCA Choir will be very busy in the weeks ahead. On Sunday, April 19th they will sing at the 10:30 Mass at Our Lady of Grace and at the St. Ann’s Communion Breakfast following the 10:30 Mass in our gym on the 26th. They will take part in the ISing competition on May 7th at the Newark Archdiocesan Youth Retreat Center in Kearny. Last year they were rated excellent at the competition! They will dazzle our home crowd with movie theme songs at our Spring Concert on May 14th. Next, and will take the big stage, or altar, at a special concert at the Basilica Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Newark on Saturday evening, May 16th. Last year’s program was incredible. The cathedral is majestic and the sound of our children’s voices filled the massive space in a glorious way. Finally, our singers will perform at our second annual Senior Prom on May 28th.

That evening, our Campus Ministry Students will take part in their final service project of the year by hosting our grandparents and seniors from our parishes at a special dinner/dance. In conjunction with the Hoboken Elks Club and the Hoboken Senior Citizens’ Council, we will host the event that will feature great food, supplied by the Elks Club and served by our students, and a night of dancing and good fun following our choir’s performance. Last year’s event was highlighted in H Magazine, so we are all looking forward to that special night.

The Spring Book Fair will begin on Sunday, May 3rd and will run through Wednesday, May 6th. We hope to have many of our summer reading list books available at the book fair. The new reading lists will be posted prior to the fair.

Considering the winter we just endured, it feels good to write about springtime events and our summer reading lists! It is incredible how quickly the calendar pages turn when the weather is great and the school year enters the final trimester.

As always, thank you for your continued support.

God bless you all and God bless Hoboken Catholic Academy.

Sincerely,

Matthew McGrath
Principal

March 31, 2015
Dear Parents and Guardians,

Our annual Easter egg hunt is in the books and the children didn’t seem to mind the chilly weather. Their smiles told the story of another successful event made possible by our amazing parent volunteers. Thanks to Mrs. Cuttita and Mrs. Vieira for organizing and manning the event, and to all of you who sent in eggs for the children to find. Thanks to everyone who helped out in any way. A special thank you goes out to eighth grader, Mina Hanna, who stole the show as our Easter Bunny. Seventh graders are put on notice, next year, one of you will have a tough act to follow!

Our Spring Gala is almost here and we have gotten some more amazing items and events for people choose that evening. If you haven’t purchased your tickets, please do so. I’m sure it will be an amazing night. The 5K race plans are progressing nicely and several major sponsors are already on board. Information about the event will be coming home shortly including some great ways to get involved, even if running isn’t your thing.

The days are getting longer and hopefully a little warmer and Easter is less than a week away. The children are anxiously waiting for the treats they will receive and we are all looking forward to spring vacation. Please take some time to gather with your families and to remind your children about the real significance of this week and our holiest day, Easter Sunday.

On behalf of everyone at Hoboken Catholic Academy, please accept my best wishes for a blessed Easter and a wonderful spring break. As always, thank you for sending us such beautiful children and for allowing us to be part of their lives.

God bless you all.

Sincerely,

Matthew McGrath

March 11, 2015
Dear Parents and Guardians,

March certainly came in like a lion and our Terra Nova testing schedule took a hit as a result. The main testing is now finally complete and make-up tests will be wrapped up by the end of the week. Teachers and students can now get back to business as usual as we begin the final trimester of the 2014-2015 school year.

On Friday afternoon we held our annual Religion Bee, rescheduled from Catholic Schools Week. Students from first through eighth grade battled for the better part of the afternoon answering questions about our faith. The final two contestants went back and forth for several rounds with seventh grader, Matthew Geruso, finally prevailing. Our second place finisher was Vaughn Gallagher. Vaughn is a second grader. Congratulations to both Matthew and Vaughn and all of the participants for such a great show.

We learned this week that eighth grader, Mina Hannah, placed fourth in the Knights of Columbus Spelling Bee held recently at Immaculate Conception High School and will be one of two representatives for the Newark Arch Diocese in the annual New Jersey Knights of Columbus Spelling Bee, later next month. Please join me in congratulating Mina, who will attend St. Peters Prep in fall, and wish him well in the state competition.

We also learned that sixth grader, Aramchan Lee, received a Bronze medal in the Hudson County Science Fair. There were over 250 participants in this prestigious event that was held at the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, with students from elementary, middle and high schools from all over the county. Aramchan’s science fair project was a recreation and explanation of a “homopolar motor,” which was the world’s first electric motor. Aramchan’s entry was recognized in the sixth grade category. Congratulations to Aramchan, who you may recall, won the fifth grade Spelling Bee at Marist High School last spring!

Our JV basketball team won their championship game on Saturday to complete an undefeated season! Congratulations to Coach Mike Bartoszek and his players for a great season and a very well played championship game. Please check out some pictures of the post game celebration on our Facebook page.

Thanks and congratulations as well go out to the members of our school choir who sang at the 9:30 Mass this past Sunday at St. Francis Church. The boys and girls wore their new choir robes for the first time and sang beautifully under the direction of HCA music teacher and choir director, Ms. Laurie Campana. The choir will next sing at Sunday Mass at Our Lady of Grace after Easter on a day to be determined. The choir is preparing for the I-sing competition on May 7th, as well as their concert at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart on the 16th, while also preparing for own spring concert. Please take a look at the picture of the group as they sang the recessional song from the altar at St. Francis Church on Sunday.

Thanks and congratulations go out to all of our families who participated in our inaugural International Night sponsored by our Home and School Association. More than twenty countries were represented, the food and dress were wonderful and each family or group of families who presented, shared a wide array of information about their heritage. It was indeed a great night and plans have already begun for next year’s program. Thanks to Mariann Bloor, Shannon Swaitek, Manisha Bariwala and Joanna Vieira for putting this year’s program together. Well done!

Lent is a time of reflection and a time to strive for closeness to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It is a time for families to pray together and to prepare for the most blessed and important day in the liturgical calendar, Easter Sunday. To that end, all of our families are invited to take part in a gathering for all of our Hoboken and Weehawken parishes at a Lenten Communal Penance Service, which will take place on Tuesday, March 24th at St. Francis Church at 7:00PM. Please join with families from each of our parishes to pray together and prepare for Easter.

Our families are also cordially invited to attend an evening of music and stories by international singer and songwriter Tajci, at St. Ann’s Church on Friday, March 27th at 7:30PM. The program is designed for its attendees to develop a “deeper connection to God, through music and story.” Please join Fr. Remo and the St. Ann’s community for this wonderful event.

Finally, our Home and School Association is in the final stages of preparation for our Annual Spring Gala& Silent Auction and work is well under way for our final fund raising event, the 5K Race, scheduled for Saturday, June 6th. Both events were spectacular last year and are on track to be even bigger and better this year. Thank you to Kristy Haise and Monica De Falco, the chairs of the two event committees, and all of the volunteers for their hard work in preparation for these two incredible events.

Hopefully, we have seen the last of winter’s relentless grip and we can turn our attention to nice days and a great finish to our school year.

Lets have a great March!

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal

February 25, 2015
Dear Parents and Guardians,

As February winds down we are in the final stages of preparation for our inaugural International Night celebration. I am thrilled at the level of excitement this new program has generated and invite all of our families to stop by and learn about the wonderful cultures represented at our school. There will be more than twenty countries represented with our wonderful families at each station to share their food, their clothing, their music, and inform us about the history and the celebrations of the country of their ancestry. I am certain that it will be a great night. So again, please join us this Friday evening, February 27th from 6:00 to 8:00 PM.

Things are heating up for our annual Spring Gala & Silent Auction. In the next few days, we will unveil a new website dedicated to the Gala and future fundraising endeavors. It will be linked to our school website and provide details about the event, including a summary of all of the auction items to date with estimated cash values. The listing of auction items will be updated as new items come into the fold. Save the date cards will be sent today, so mark your calendars for April 24th. With an anticipated crowd of more than 200 people, an impressive array of auction items and venue with a million dollar view of lower Manhattan, I’m sure our Spring Gala will be a night to remember!

The first week in March brings Terra Nova Testing to our school. Students in grades 2-8 will be tested each morning starting on Monday, March 2nd and ending on Friday, March 6th. Please make sure your youngsters get plenty of sleep each night and start each day with a good breakfast. It is also critical that all students arrive to school on time. When children are just a few minutes late it not only makes them anxious, but it disrupts the entire class. So please, give yourselves a little extra time to allow for traffic delays and other problems you can encounter getting to school.

Because of testing, we will reschedule the Eighth Grade Ring Ceremony Mass, originally planned for the half day on Friday, March 6th. Students will now have a full day of school on that day. The Ring Ceremony Mass will take place on Friday, March 20th. There will be a half-day for students on that day. Lunch that was ordered for March 20th will be served on March 6th and no lunch will be served on the 20th.

Congratulations to seventh grade, National Junior Honor Society member, Angelo Rodriguez, for receiving the President’s Volunteer Service Award. As you will recall, back in October, Angelo organized a fundraising campaign to support his participation in a Walk-A Thon for St. Jude’s Children’s’ Research Hospital. He logged dozens of volunteer hours and raised over $300 for the hospital. Angelo received a plaque and a letter from President Obama for his efforts.

Our Campus Ministry students will participate in a Retreat this Thursday, February 26th, from 3:00-6:00 at St. Ann’s Church. Ministry advisor, Miss Mary Bentley and faculty Advisor, Mrs. Girovasi will work with our 5th through 8th grade club members on a variety of leadership and spiritual activities. Fr. Rocco Danzi, Director of Campus Ministry at St. Peter’s University, will also be on hand to speak to our students. Currently, the Campus Ministry students are collecting baby clothes and products to be donated to “In Jesus’ Name Charities,” at OLG. That group has also begun to work on preparations for the “Senior Prom,” scheduled for May 28th. Thanks for your continued support as we help our students live our Catholic mission of love and service.

Pitchers and catchers are in camp. Position players will follow shortly and the first day of spring is just twenty-three days away. Daylight Savings Time begins on March 8th! I can’t remember what the ground hog(s) determined, but as it does every year, winter will eventually come to an end. Thanks for your patience with all of the email blasts and the Honeywell alerts. There is light at the end of the tunnel.

God bless you and your families. Lets have a great week!

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal

February 4, 2015
Dear Parents and Guardians,

Despite a snow day, Catholic Schools Week was great and went off without a hitch. Thanks to all of our moms and dads who spoke at masses to start the week and to those who shared their work experiences with our students during Career Day. Thanks to our Kindergarten and Pre-K moms who made the Hot Chocolate Social so successful and thanks and congratulations to all of our parents who attended their child’s National Junior Honor Society Induction Ceremony. The students showed their spelling prowess, with seventh grader Veeran Nagpaul winning the annual Spelling Bee. Fourth grader, Summer LaGatutta, and Veeran went toe to toe for several rounds before the older student finally won out. All participants did a great job! We will reschedule the Religion Bee and our “Eighth Grade Math Teachers Day,” in the next few weeks.

Congratulations to both of our volleyball teams who defeated the faculty team, who sported shirts with our team name, “Serve the Lord.” The teachers achieved some measure of success by splitting their two-game match with the eighth graders. Judging from the loud and enthusiastic cheering by the students, a good time was had by all. Speaking of loud cheering, student athletes of all ages were recognized at our All Sports Pep Rally, which was highlighted by the antics of our Cardinal Mascot (AKA eighth grader, Nick Siniscalchi).

We ended the week with a special Mass at St. Ann’s, which was celebrated by Msgr. Bob Meyers from Ss Peter and Paul. The offertory procession featured older students flanked by some of our little ones as they presented a globe, representing service to the people of our world, a bible, representing our faith and a candle, representing the light of knowledge. As usual the singing was outstanding. The Mass provided a fitting conclusion for our students and staff to our Catholic Schools Week celebration.

Later that evening, when all of the children were home for the night, our Home and School Association hosted our second annual Texas Hold’ Em Poker and Black Jack Tournament. Thank you to Mike Tennaro who chaired the event and all of our volunteers for all of their hard work in making the evening so successful. Thank you as well to all of our parents who generously sponsored the event. Thanks to the Vieiras, and the Gallucci’s who donated the wine and beer for the evening. Thanks to the DeFalcos for the delicious and enormous sandwiches. The Bloors and the HCA Dads Club were “Event Sponsors,” and because of their generosity as well as the generosity of the other sponsors, our Poker Night’s proceeds were significantly higher than last year’s inaugural tournament.

Forty-two participants utilized their Fund Raising Fee vouchers for the event. This too contributed greatly to the evening’s success. Many of those folks attended this year for the first time. The feedback we have received from many of the participants and volunteers was that they had a blast! Not only was the evening a huge financial success, it was really a fun night. Last year we raised $6,000. This year we have come in at just under $12,000!

The HSA is gearing up for our first ever International Night. A flyer has gone out and class moms have contacted their parents to solicit participants and spectators. The evening event will take place on Friday, February 27th and will be a celebration of the various cultures our families represent. Please refer to the flyer that is posted on our website or reach out to your class mother for more details.

The next major fundraiser is scheduled for April 24th. The Spring Gala will be held at Maritime Parc in Jersey City and more than 140 parents will utilize their Fund Raising Fee voucher for this event. Considering that last year there were about 120 total attendees at the Gala, the anticipated numbers this year could approach double that number. Thank you to Kristy Haise, the event chair, and all of the committee heads and class moms for the hard work and preparation for our next major fundraiser. Last year’s Gala was outstanding and this year’s party is shaping up to be even better.

I am thrilled to announce that we will begin what I hope to be a long and fruitful relationship with Stevens Institute of Technology, here in Hoboken. Mrs. Esteves, our middle school science teacher will be trained by university personnel in the delivery of a “Water-robotics” unit for our eighth graders in the spring. Students will build robots using special Legos Kits. The “Waterbots” that student teams will create will complete tasks under water. The unit will become part of our eighth grade curriculum and will serve as our introduction to the Stevens Institute STEM Program. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics and its programs are designed to increase awareness and provide tangible examples of how engineers use math, science and technology to make our world a better place.

In addition to the eighth grade “Waterbotics” unit, our sixth graders will participate in a special day long “STEM-a-thon,” in June. During the program our students will work with sixth graders from other Hoboken schools to engage and interact in various hands-on, team-based STEM activities. The program is being co-sponsored by the Hoboken Family Alliance and the Stevens Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education (CIESE). It will take place on the Stevens campus and I will pass along more information as it becomes available.

HCA students continue to live our Catholic mission of service. The Campus Ministry Club has begun a “Baby Supplies” drive to benefit the In Jesus’ Name Charities at Our Lady of Grace Church. The Ministry students created posters, which have been hung throughout the school and an announcement was made during AM Assembly. A flyer will be posted in the virtual backpack in the next day or so. As you will recall, earlier in the year that group conducted a food drive for the poor and our Student Council sent over 200 phone cards to our troops serving in Afghanistan. I have attached thank you letters from In Jesus name Charities and the USO. Thank you all for helping us to teach the message of sharing God’s love through kindness and compassion.

Thank you to HSA treasurer, Carrie Maglia, as well as my friends and former colleagues, Anthony Sciaino and Bert Ammerman, for their excellent presentation at our Home and School Association meeting on Wednesday evening. The program focused on preparing for college from multiple perspectives. Parents in attendance learned from three experts about the ins and outs of academic, emotional, logistical and financial planning for college. Remember, its never to early to learn about this important topic!

Finally, our amazing eighth graders have received their high school acceptances and once again, our students have done us proud. Our students have secured about $75,000 in scholarship offers. Ms. Fusiak has posted the list of school acceptances on her webpage. Please take a look and join me in congratulating our oldest students and wish them well in choosing the school they will attend.

Hopefully we will get through the next few weeks with minimal snowfall and warmer temperatures. Thank you for enrolling in and updating your contact information in our Honeywell Alert System and for providing us with accurate email addresses. We will continue to be vigilant in keeping our students safe.

Remember, pitchers and catchers will report to spring training in about ten days. The nice weather will surely follow!

God bless you and your families. Lets have a great week.

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal

January 13, 2015
Dear Parents and Guardians,

Thank you to all who have submitted your Fundraising Fee and voucher selection. For those who have not, please remember that the due date for the fee is January 15th. The Texas Hold’ Em Tournament, slated for January 30th, will be outstanding. It was last year. The Spring Gala is shaping up nicely as well with some great prizes already donated with many more to come. Last year’s event was spectacular and this year’s event will be as good or better! Don’t forget to make your voucher selection and join us for one of these great events.

When the Ad hoc committee convened back in September we focused on several areas that led to the inclusion of the fundraising fee. The first was to create a fundraising base to ensure that we reach the budgetary requirement of $100,000 on an annual basis. The next was to begin to create a fund above the operating budget to address capital needs that could not be addressed in the past. Our first area of focus is to provide an air conditioning solution for the second floor in particular and eventually, the entire school. Finally, the thought behind the voucher was to thank the people who already attend our events as well as to encourage the folks who do not, to now do so.

Catholic schools are indeed communities. We at Hoboken Catholic Academy are blessed with an outstanding group of parents, a dedicated staff and the most wonderful children anywhere. We recognize the sacrifices families make to send their children to us and know that additional fees are often problematic. As you know, there were security upgrades that were necessary and now that they are in place, your children are more secure. Technology hardware and maintenance is costly, but necessary if we want our children to gain the skills they will need in high school and beyond. Those costs are ongoing and never go down. Finally, as indicated above, there are capital projects that must be addressed. If we budgeted for those projects, the increase in tuition and fees would be substantial, so that is not an option. The solution that the Fundraising Fee Ad hoc Committee arrived at will allow us to address our building facility needs over time and in in stages, without having to implement larger tuition increases.

So, thank you again for submitting the fundraising fee. Thank you for helping us to make the positive changes that have occurred over the last two years and for helping to move our school forward. Together, we will continue to accomplish great things for our children.

God bless you.

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal

January 7, 2015
Dear Parents and Guardians,

I hope that you were able to enjoy a wonderful Christmas season with your families and I welcome everyone back as we begin 2015. After some very mild days to end the year, 2015 has gotten off to a frigid start. Hopefully the current Polar Vortex (a term I never heard before last year) will be our last. But the cold weather cannot get in the way of a jam-packed January, which will culminate with our Catholic School’s Week festivities and our second annual Texas Hold’ Em Poker and Black Jack Tournament.

The plans for the Tournament are progressing and a number of people have already signed on. Please be reminded that this event is the second of the three options to use your Fund Raising Fee voucher. All families must submit their $300 Fundraising Fee on or before January 15th. If you have not done so already, you must pay the fee and indicate on the form the event’s voucher you would like to receive. We will send a form to anyone who has not yet paid the fee or made a voucher selection, on Friday, January 9th. The Spring Gala is the final option and is scheduled for April 24th, however the deadline for the submission of the fee is January 15th.

We will have a Protecting God’s Children session on Monday, January 12th from 12:00-3:00. All parents who wish to volunteer with us in any capacity must go through the training. Please register for the class through Virtus, at Virtus Online. You must register there to take part in the training here.

School picture retakes will take place on Tuesday, January 13th and representatives from Lobels will be here on the 14th to measure students for winter uniforms. School will be closed on Monday, January 19th, in observance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

We will host an Open House for the parents of prospective students for the 2015-2016 school year on Thursday, January 22nd.

The Hoboken Catholic Academy Choir will sing at the 10:30 Mass at St. Ann’s Church on January 25th to kick-off Catholic Schools Week. Some of our great parents will speak at the conclusion of Sunday Masses that day at St. Ann’s and each of our former co-sponsoring churches. I have included our Catholic School Week schedule in the Virtual Backpack. The Student Council will meet next week to select the topics for each of the spirit days, so I will share that information when they do.

Finally, On Monday the 26th you will note that we have scheduled, “Career Day.” If you are able to come in that day and would like to share information about your chosen career with our students, we would love to have you. Just drop me an email at mmcgrath@hobokencatholic.org so I can put the schedule together. Please let me know as soon as possible but no later than Tuesday, January 20th.

As always thanks for your kind support.

Happy New Year!

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal

December 23, 2014
Dear Parents and Guardians,

Merry Christmas! As we prepare to send your beautiful children home to you for the Christmas recess, please accept my best wishes for a wonderful, blessed Christmas and a Happy, Healthy New Year. Thank you for helping to make Hoboken Catholic Academy such a wonderful school and for being such great parents. Our children are kind and considerate. They look for ways to help those less fortunate and are anxious to be of service whenever there is a need. They are a testimony to each of you. There is no greater mark that we can make in the world than to raise caring, compassionate children. I am indeed blessed to be part of this incredible family.

Thank you and God bless you.

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal

November 25, 2014
Dear Parents and Guardians,

With Thanksgiving just two days away it is a great time for each of us to reflect upon all the blessings we have to be thankful for. Here at Hoboken Catholic Academy we have a pretty long list. First, we are thankful for the beautiful children who brighten our halls every day. Whether it be the Pre-K and Kindergarten Thanksgiving Program, the middle school dance, or just a regular school day, our kids, from the youngest to the oldest, are simply amazing. They are kind to each other, enthusiastic about learning, and love to do things for other people.

Next, our teachers and support staff are caring, hard working and dedicated to our students, our school and Catholic education. They go above and beyond on a regular basis and help make this school special. They have done everything I have asked them to do and then some. Please know your children are in kind and loving hands. We are thankful for all that they do.

Finally, we thank you. You support our school; send us great kids, and respond so positively to all that we do. We recognize that it is a sacrifice for you to send your children to this school and thank you for your commitment. We also recognize and thank all of you who volunteer your time, donate supplies and materials, organize, run and support our fundraisers, serve as HSA officers and class mothers and coach our teams. We thank you for believing in the mission of Catholic education and for believing in Hoboken Catholic Academy.

In the weeks ahead we ask that you join us in thanking another very special group of people, the men and women serving our country in the armed forces. Following our morning prayers, we salute the flag and sing a patriotic song to start each day. We are able to do these things because of the brave men and women who volunteer to defend us and keep us safe. Please help us teach our children how blessed we are to live where we do and join us in saluting our soldiers and their families. A few weeks back we sent out information about the Student Council sponsored Christmas Phone Cards for Troops Program. Please support this program and help us, in one small way, to give some of our brave soldiers the opportunity to connect with their loved ones over the holidays.

December brings the season of Advent and the anticipation of the blessed birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ on Christmas Day. At Hoboken Catholic Academy it will be a very busy time. We will celebrate the beginning of Advent with First Friday Mass on December 5th. There will be a 12:00 dismissal and First Trimester report cards will go home that day as well. Our HSA will sponsor Breakfast with Santa on Sunday, December 7th with Santa’s Workshop beginning that day as well. We will be closed in honor of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on Monday, the 8th and will continue Santa’s Workshop when we return on the 9th. The Pre-K Christmas Show will take place on the 17th at 10:00AM and the evening program featuring students in grade 3-8 will take place on Thursday, December 18th at 7:00PM. The Concert featuring students in kindergarten, and grades 1 and 2 will be on Friday morning, December 19th at 10:00AM. Class parties and a special $2, red and green dress down day will happen on Monday, December 22nd. We will finish-up on Tuesday, December 23rd with a 12:00 dismissal. There will be no aftercare that day.

Information about our second annual Texas Hold’ Em Poker Night will be coming home shortly. The date for this year’s event will be January 30th. In addition to the poker, participants will be able to play Black Jack, or simply enjoy a night out with friends. Remember, for those of you who did not use your fund raising voucher for our Golf Outing, the entry fee for this event is one of your two remaining options. Simply send in the form sent out with my letter last month along with your fundraising fee of $300 and you will be provided with one ticket to Poker Night. The deadline for choosing this option or the ticket for the Spring Gala will be January 15th. Please give us a call if you have any questions.

I began this note by mentioning all we have to be thankful for. Let me end it by thanking God for giving me the opportunity to be part of this outstanding Hoboken Catholic Academy family. Thank you all for the love and support you have shown me since I became your principal last summer. Together we will continue to make Hoboken Catholic Academy the wonderful school that it is. God bless you and Happy Thanksgiving!

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal

November 11, 2014
Dear Parents and Guardians,

Veterans Day is an important day to thank and recognize the men and women who have served and who are currently serving in our armed forces. Many businesses and agencies close for this holiday. We chose to stay open today for a very special reason. Some of our amazing older students helped the rest of our students understand why today is so special. At our AM Assembly, students took part in a moving Prayer Service, during which, through readings, prayer and song our children thanked God for the valiant service of our brave veterans and asked his blessings on the fallen, the wounded and their loved ones.

To further honor our service men and women, the HCA Student Council, will sell ATT Phone Cards for Christmas, to be sent to our soldiers serving in Afghanistan. Last year we sent over 700 cards, in large part through the work of the O’Connell family and many of you, to our troops. Once again we will work with the USO to help our brave soldiers connect with family and friends during the Christmas season. This year, we hope to send 1000 cards overseas and ask all of our families to do what they can to help. We will send out the flyer and order forms later this week so you will have it in plenty of time for your Thanksgiving celebrations. Please remember, that because ATT is a participant in the Scrips Program, they will rebate 20% of the cost of each $9.50 phone card back to HCA. Thanks in advance for helping us thank and recognize our service men and women, while helping to raise funds for our school.

The reading minute totals for October are in and will be celebrated during AM Assembly one day this week. To date our students have read 228,753 minutes and are well on their way to surpassing last year’s minute total. The updated class and school minute totals are included in the virtual backpack. Thanks for continuing to make reading an important part of your children’s lives.

Thank you to all parents who came out last Wednesday for the first of our HSA Speakers’ Series presentations. That evening, following a brief HSA meeting, Sgt. Ken Kolich, the head of the Special Victims Unit of the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, and Hoboken Police School Resource Officer, Justin De Pasquale provided all in attendance with information and insights on the topic, “Keeping Kids Safe in the Technology Filled World.” The information was eye opening and relevant and we thank Sgt. Kolich and Officer De Pasquale for their help. Our next presentation will follow the HSA meeting in February and is entitled, “Planning for College-It’s Never Too Early to Start!” More information will follow as the date approaches.

Finally, as the colder weather approaches and we prepare for the potential of snow and school closings, we will do a test call in our new School Reach automatic phone call notification system. An email blast will be sent out on Wednesday, November 12th, announcing the call, which will be made at 6:00 PM, that same day. Please contact the office at (201) 963-9535 on Thursday morning if you do not receive a call.

Thank you and God bless you,

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal

October 29, 2014
Dear Parents and Guardians,

As October draws to a close we have reached the midpoint of the first trimester and have concluded our first parent/teacher conferences of the year. Thank you to all of our parents who attended a conference or who made arrangements to meet at another time. The most important partnership there is to benefit children is the one that exists between home and school. The teachers and I welcome and encourage your involvement in school. Thank you for taking part in all of our programs and initiatives and for supporting the school in every way. Together we can accomplish great things for our children.

As you know, because we had our Open House programs last week, we also sent out information regarding the reregistration process, which also begins at this time. When you send in the reregistration form and fee, please remember to also include the smart tuition form, a letter from your pastor if you are a parishioner and a copy of your child’s baptismal certificate. Remember, reregistration begins on November 3rd and concludes on November 21st.

In addition to reregistration, November will bring a number of special events and end with the wonderful American celebration of Thanksgiving on the 27th. Beginning on Sunday, November 2nd and running through Wednesday the 5th, we will host our Scholastic Book Fair in our gym. On Wednesday, November 5th, following our Home and School Association meeting at 6:30, the HSA will host it’s first presentation in their speaker’s series entitled, “Keeping Kids Safe in Our Technology Filled World.” We will welcome Sgt. Ken Kolich, head of the Special Victims Unit of the Hudson County Prosecutors Office, and Officer Justin De Pascale, Hoboken Police Department School Resource Officer, as our presenters. Some of our outstanding eighth grade students will be on hand to babysit for those parents who need to bring their children.

On Friday, the 7th, our eighth graders will take the Catholic high school entrance test called the Co-op Exam and the rest of the school will attend First Friday Mass at St. Ann’s Church at 10:00AM. Please join us if you are able. There will be a full day of school for students in Pre-K to grade 7 that day. On Tuesday, November 11th, please join us as well for AM Assembly in the gym, at 8:15AM for the Veterans Day Prayer Service. Our students will give thanks and pay tribute to the brave service men and women who have done so much or al of us. Due to a scheduling conflict, the International Night, originally scheduled for November 14th, will be rescheduled. The new date is yet to be determined.

Finally, our youngest students will be front and center as we approach Thanksgiving. On Friday, the 21st, our Pre-K and Kindergarten students will present their annual Thanksgiving program. They will sing, maybe dance and surely steal your hearts. Please note, the program was originally listed on the school calendar on Monday, the 24th. The date was changed to accommodate the music teacher’s schedule. More information will follow when we get closer to the day. On Monday, November 24th, the Pre-K classes will now have their Thanksgiving feast in the gym. The Pre-K teachers will be in touch with their parents to finalize the details in the weeks ahead.

God bless you and thank you for helping to make Hoboken Catholic Academy the wonderful school that it is. Have a great week!

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal

October 24, 2014
Dear Parents and Guardians,

Happy Halloween!

Parents of students in Pre K and Kindergarten are cordially invited to attend their child’s Halloween Parade in our gymnasium on Thursday, October 31st at 10:00 AM.

Parents of students in grades 1-4 are invited to the gym at 1:00PM for their child’s Halloween parade.

Chairs for parents will be set up around the perimeter of the gym and at 10:00 AM the little ones will circle the gym, just inside the thick red line surrounding the basketball court. We have invited our fifth, sixth; seventh and eighth grade students to enjoy the show as well and they will be seated in the bleachers. At the conclusion of the parade, parents will be asked to exit through the gym doors onto 7th Street while the children return to their rooms for their class parties.

After the condensed lunch periods, students in grades 1-4will have their parade in the gym. The parade will take place at 1:00 and like earlier in the day, 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th graders will watch the parade from the bleachers and parents will be seated around the perimeter of the gym. At the conclusion of the parade, parents will exit through the gym doors onto 7th Street and all of the students will head to their classes for their class parties.

Thanks in advance to the class moms for taking care of all of the preparations and for setting up for the class parties. To say that the children are excited would be an understatement!

Remember, parents are not permitted to go to the classrooms and no parent may leave with their child from the gym. If you wish to take your child home, and I hope you don’t, he or she must be signed out in the office.

All students will be dismissed at the regular time.

Finally, we have been invited to participate in the Hoboken Ragamuffin Parade, which will begin on Washington Street between 12th and 13th streets. Participants will begin lining up at 3:15 and the parade will begin at 3:45. Members of our Home and School Association will get our group started and some 8th graders will carry our school banner. There is no sign-up required. All students and parents are welcome to participate and can join the parade at any point along the route. Please learn more about the festivities HERE

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal


October 8, 2014
Dear Parents and Guardians,

Thank you to all of our parents for the positive response to the Fund Raising Fee/Voucher program. A number of parents have already sent in their payments and secured vouchers for the Golf Outing. Many more, donated money above the required amount and several more have chosen not to use a voucher at all. If you have not sent in your $300 check for the fundraising fee and would like to secure a voucher for the Golf Outing, please send in your check with the voucher form by Tuesday, October 14th. All other parents have until the middle of January to send their payment and select from the other two events, the Texas Hold” Em Poker Tournament or the Spring Gala/Silent Auction, for their voucher.

As was the case with our security camera/technology initiative, parents have shown their commitment to Hoboken Catholic Academy and their support for what we are trying to accomplish. Remember, the eventual goal is to secure funds above the $100,000 budgetary requirement to begin to address building needs that the school has been unable to address in the past.

Thank you as well for your patience as we continue to pilot some changes to the lunch menu. The feedback I have gotten from the students is encouraging, though I recognize that not everyone likes the new selections. The new, whole-wheat pizza was very well received and many students said they preferred it to what was previously served. I thought the new pizza was excellent. I encourage all students who have been hesitant to try the new pizza to give it a try. As is the case with many healthier foods, the new pizza is more expensive than what was served previously so if we offer it next month and beyond, the price will have to be adjusted.

Likewise, many students gave the turkey tacos a thumb’s up. So, if your child hasn’t tried it, have them talk to their friends who have and consider giving it a try. In my very unscientific survey of students after several of the lunch periods the response was very positive, but not 100%. So, please bear with us as we continue to make adjustments.

We have scheduled our two Open House programs much earlier this year so they will be in line with the other schools in the area. The Open Houses are scheduled for October 22nd and 25th at 10:00AM. As a result, we will also move our reregistration process forward as well. Information about the reregistration process, including tuition rates and fees for the 2015-2016 school year will be sent out next week. This change was necessary because it became clear that families had to commit to other Pre-K programs before they had an opportunity to attend our Open House and learn about what HCA has to offer. Because registration and tuition rates must be available for our Open Houses, we must provide all of you that information first.

Our students have gotten off to a very good start in the Principal’s Reading Challenge, but I know they can do better. The school-wide total for the month of September was 119,297 minutes. The top class was our seventh grade homeroom where the students read an average of 42 minutes per night! I will include all of the class totals in the virtual backpack by the end of the week. Please encourage your children to read for pleasure at home and record their minutes every day. Keep reading to our little ones and lets look to increase our minute totals as we move through the school year. Remember, the more kids read the more successful they will become.

I am thrilled at the positive response that we received regarding the Johns Hopkins University Search for Academically Talented Youth. Many parents have taken brochures and applied for the program online and I am certain that our students will do us proud. Likewise, I am thrilled at the positive response that we have received from middle school students and parents about our participation in the National Science League and National Social Studies League competitions. Thanks to our friends from the St. Peters Prep Ignation Scholars Program who will serve as coaches for our academic teams, and to Miss Fusiak and Mrs. Esteves for serving as advisors. Mrs. Girovasi will lead a team in the National Language Arts League and we thank her as well. That program will start in the next week or so and I can’t wait for our students to show the nation what they can accomplish!

Finally, please enjoy the upcoming long weekend. Know that your children are working hard and make us smile every day. They truly are gifts from God.

Thank you and God bless you.

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal

October 1, 2014
Dear Parents and Guardians,

Last week was a busy week at Hoboken Catholic Academy. We welcomed our new Pre-K parents to their Back to School Night, had our first eighth grade parent meeting and provided Protecting God’s Children training for more than fifty people. We had school picture day on Thursday and an awesome basketball clinic thanks to our friends from St. Peters University that evening.

The students in grades 3-8 elected their Student Council officers on Friday. Please join me in congratulating Allie Mezzina our new Student Council President and her officers, fellow eighth graders, Manuela Peralta, Vice President, Alexandra Mojica, Secretary and Ashley Morrero, Treasurer. The new officers made their acceptance speeches during AM Assembly on Monday and outlined their plans for the upcoming school year. The class representative elections for grades 3-8 will take place on Wednesday and Ms. Wilms will meet with the new Student Council later in the week.

Our wonderful Home and School Association volunteers ran the highly successful Kids’fest in conjunction with Ss Peter and Paul’s Oktoberfest Celebration on Saturday afternoon. Finally, on Sunday, some of those same great parents, led by Mrs. Bloor and Mrs. Swaitek, set up shop on Washington Street for the Hoboken Arts and Music Festival-spreading the good news about our school.

This week is off to a fast start as well. Our HSA Co-presidents met with our class mothers on Monday. We started our French and violin classes after school on Monday as well. On Tuesday afternoon, with Mrs. Bernardo’s help, our students who participated in the Junior National Young Leaders Conference in Washington, DC two summers ago, Danica Mercado, Calvin Flett, Sophia Gallagher and Tessie Sciancalepore, will share the strategies they learned with our Student Council and National Junior Honor Society officers and our sixth graders. Also, that day we will kick off our Prep Connection afterschool tutoring program and that evening parents will have a chance to re-connect with old friends and meet new ones at our Parent’s Back to School Social.

In recognition of the Feast of St. Francis, which will be on Saturday, October 4th, Fr. Alex will join us after AM Assembly on Thursday to bless our Pre-K to Grade 3 students’ stuffed animals and pictures of their pets. On Friday, students in grades 4-8 will walk to St. Francis Church for 10:00 Mass to honor St. Francis.

On Monday, October 6th, we will have a special “pink” $2 dress down day for breast cancer awareness. The proceeds from the day will be donated to support cancer research. After school day, we will take part in the Hoboken Family Alliance Open House at Hoboken HS. We will share the good news about all that is happening at Hoboken Catholic with prospective parents and share our open house dates and application timeline for next school year with them as well.

We are thrilled to welcome back, our former middle school mathematics teacher, Mrs. Anna D’Alto, who will be our Professor in Residence from William Paterson University. Mrs. D’Alto will begin today and will work with our teachers who provide math instruction, one day per week throughout the school year. As I indicated in last week’s letter Hoboken catholic Academy has been designated as a Professional Development School in conjunction with William Paterson University. As a result, in addition to Mrs. D’Alto’s time with us, our teachers will have access to an excellent series of professional development opportunities through the university that we hope to take advantage of as the year progresses.

Finally, as you will recall, last spring, following a parent meeting, I wrote to you about the need to restructure our fundraising operation and to explore ways to increase parental participation and raise funds beyond the budgetary requirement to address pressing, school-wide needs to benefit our children. We formed an Ad hoc Committee to look at what is done in other schools and come up with a plan to best meet the stated goals. That group has completed their work and later this week I will be sending home a letter that outlines the plan.

Thank you and God bless you. Lets have a great week!

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal

September 24, 2014
Dear Parents and Guardians,

As September begins to wind down our students have settled into the new school year and are working hard on their studies. Our afterschool activities have begun and will all be in full swing by the end of next week. The Prep Connection will begin next week as well and we will welcome back more than a dozen Ignatian Scholars from St. Peter’s to work with our students after school. Soon, we will resume our afterschool Title I program, which began last year. There are several procedural issues still to be resolved with the Hoboken Schools Office, so we will hopefully start the program in late October or early November. More information will follow.

The School Choir has begun practicing and sounds great! There are more than fifty singers from grades 2-8 and Ms. Campana has them in mid-season form after only a couple of weeks. The choir will sing at a Sunday Mass at each of our local parishes this year. The first performance will be at the children’s Mass at Ss Peter and Paul on October 26th. Once we schedule the rest I will share the dates with you. The children sang back in May at a Sunday Mass at St. Ann’s and were fantastic. I am thrilled that our talented students will continue to serve as true ambassadors for our school.

I am thrilled to inform you that Hoboken Catholic Academy has been designated as a Professional Development School in partnership with William Paterson University. As a result of our affiliation, we will welcome back our outstanding former Math teacher, Mrs. Anna D’Alto, who now serves as a staff developer and adjunct professor at WPU. Mrs. D’Alto will be with us one day per week for the rest of the school year. She will work with all of our teachers K-4 and Ms. Gerges our middle school math teacher, providing training, modeling teaching strategies and serving as an incredible resource for us all. While here, Ms. D’Alto helped Hoboken Catholic Academy students learn to love mathematics and prepared them well for high school. Please join me in welcoming her home.

Please join us on Saturday at the Ss Peter and Paul Oktoberfest – Kid’s Village, which is being run by our incredible Home and School Association. There will be plenty for moms and dads to do as well on Friday evening and Saturday. Please stop by and join in the fun. Our school will sponsor a table at the Hoboken Arts and Music Festival on Sunday afternoon. Our HSA moms and dads will man the booth, which will be on Washington near First St., and share information about our school. Please stop by and say hello and help spread the good news about HCA.

Finally, please join the Home and School Association for our annual Parents’ Back to School Social on Tuesday evening, September 30th. Parents will share a glass of wine and some light snacks, and have a chance to meet and connect with other parents. Naturally, this is a parent only event.

As you have read there is a lot going on at Hoboken Catholic. As always, thank you for your kind support and for sending us such great kids. Thanks for helping to make this school the special place that it is.

God bless you and your families.

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal

September 10, 2014
Dear Parents and Guardians,

The children have gotten off to a great start and we are well on our way to having another outstanding school year. Thank you for completing the online forms and updating your contact information. With just a handful of families still to enter their data we will hopefully make our test call with the new emergency call system, School Reach, sometime next week.

A great deal of information will be coming home this week and will be posted as well in our Virtual Backpack. Many of the forms sent home need to be completed and returned and/or were printed by the afterschool vendors. Information about our first major fundraiser, the annual Hoboken Catholic Academy Golf Outing, will be coming home as well. Please support this great event. Thanks to Mike Tennaro for chairing the Golf Outing and for all of his hard work in making it so successful. Please join us on the links and/or consider sponsoring or volunteering at the event. It truly is a great day.

We will host our Back to School Night for parents of students in grades K-8 on Wednesday, September 17th. The schedule and format for the evening will be sent home on Monday. Remember, teachers will provide an overview of their programs that evening, but will not discuss individual students. If any parents want to have such a meeting, they should call the school office and make an appointment.

On Friday, the 19th, students will be invited to wear a football or other sports shirt or jersey for our first $2 dress down day to mark the beginning of football season. Hopefully Giant fans can send their team some good vibes, much needed after the team’s Monday night performance. Jet fans on the other hand will hope to keep the momentum going after their big win.

Friday, the 19th will also be the day that eighth grade students running for the Student Council Offices will make their campaign speeches during AM Assembly. They will have gotten their petitions signed and hung campaign posters around the school by then, and will make their case to be elected President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer. Students in grades three to eight will vote for the officers on Friday the 26th and classroom elections for Class Representatives will take place the following week.

Our Pre-K Back to School Night is scheduled for Tuesday, September 23rd and the eighth grade parent meeting will be on the 24th. A Protecting God’s Children workshop will also be held that evening. Any parent who wants to volunteer in any capacity here at HCA must go through the program. Please register HERE, if you wish to be trained.

School pictures will be taken on September 25th. Remember to have tour child wear his or her school uniform that day. They should carry their gym uniforms to school if they have gym on Thursday.

Mr. Tallarida will be sending home information and a sign-up form for our second annual “Free Basketball Clinic” to be conducted by the men’s and women’s basketball teams from St. Peters University. Last year’s clinic was amazing and the college athletes really connected with our students. The dunk contest was pretty awesome as well.

The busy week ends with our first Home and School Association fundraiser on Saturday, September 27th, at Stevens Park, across from Ss Peter and Paul Church, starting at noon. The Kid’s Village will feature a Bounce House, carnival games, face painting, cotton candy and an obstacle course and is sponsored by Hoboken Catholic’s HSA. Our program will be part of Ss Peter and Paul’s annual Oktoberfest celebration, which runs both Saturday and Sunday. Volunteers are still needed, so please email our HSA officers at hcahomeandschoolassociation@gmail.com to sign up.

Our wonderful HSA will also man a table at the Hoboken Arts and Music Festival on Sunday, the 28th. We will be located on Washington, down near First Street. Please contact Mariann Bloor if you can lend a hand manning our booth and stop by if you can on Sunday.

We wrap-up September on Tuesday the 30th when the HSA will welcome all of our parents to a Parents Back to School Social in the gym that evening. Details will be provided in the weeks ahead.

I’m excited about what this school year promises. Thank you for your support and your patience as we continue to move our school forward. We have accomplished a great deal, but still have much work to do. I am certain that together we can provide your children all the tools they will need to be successful in school and beyond in an atmosphere that permeates the message God’s love for us all.

God bless you and thanks again.

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal

September 4, 2014
Dear Parents and Guardians,

Welcome back! A school building can be a lonely place in the summer so I am thrilled to welcome our amazing students back to begin the 2014-2015 school year. Welcome to all of our first time students and their families as well. You will soon discover that Hoboken Catholic Academy is a special place. The teachers and staff have worked hard to ready their classrooms and the entire school for this big day and will create a warm and wonderful learning environment throughout the year. Our incredibly supportive parents provide not only the strong foundation so critical to their child’s academic success, but readily help at school when called upon to do so. Please get involved. Our Home and School Association has an array of activities planned and does an amazing job in making our school the special place that it is. We are indeed blessed.

Thank you to all who attended our AM Assembly this morning. Unfortunately, some parents were given misinformation and were not allowed into the gym. For this I am very sorry. As a result, any parent who was turned away today is welcome to be with us for tomorrow’s AM Assembly. I assure you that each AM Assembly is special so please join us if you can. In addition, all parents are invited to attend our first, First Friday Mass tomorrow at 10:00 AM at St. Ann’s Church and to be with us again for AM Assembly in the gym on September 11th, for our 9-11 Remembrance Prayer Service. Parents will be invited to attend Masses and Prayer Services throughout the year so keep an eye on the calendar.

Please refer to our website often. It contains a wealth of information about our school with helpful links to other sites. Important dates are updated weekly and I will continue to include my Principal’s letter to provide information and share the good news about our school. This year we will include a photo gallery to share the great things going on here each day. You can follow us on Facebook and Twitter. The links are on the HSA section of our site.

The teachers are in the process of updating their web pages and all should be completed by the end of the week. We will continue our Virtual Backpack on Thursdays, but will occasionally send home certain information via kid-mail as well. Thank you to everyone who has completed the online forms. For those who have not, please do not hesitate to call the school office if you have questions. It is important that we have accurate contact information right away, so please complete the online forms as soon as possible. As I mentioned previously, we are moving to a new company for our emergency phone call system. The new company is called School Reach and anyone who has completed their emergency contact information online is in the system. Once we have all families registered we will do a test call.

We welcome two new staff members to our school family. Ms. Ricci Ann Di Girolamo will join Ms. Koziol in second grade and Mrs. Marge Stauber is our new School Nurse. Ms. Di Girolamo is a graduate of William Paterson University and holds NJ certification as an Elementary School Teacher Grades K-6 with a Science endorsement for Grades 5-8. She will work closely with Ms. Koziol to deliver an outstanding second grade program. Mrs. Stauber will be employed jointly by Catapult and Hoboken Catholic Academy and will be our fulltime nurse. Please join me in wishing them well as they begin their journey with us.

Last year the students met my reading challenge and read over 1.4 million minutes. As a result, this year’s challenge is to surpass 1.5 million minutes. Reading calendars for September will go home today. Remember, if reading for pleasure is important to you, it will be important to your child. Please read to your children, even after they are able to read on their own. Include the minutes you read to your children or read together on their monthly calendar. Over the summer, those students who read five books and completed five book reports will earn a free dress down day! Thanks in advance for continuing to support our reading initiative.

As our September calendar suggests we have hit full stride already. In the weeks ahead we will host two Back to School Nights, a Back to School Parent Social, meet with 8th grade parents, hold a Protecting God’s Children training, have a Home and School Association meeting and our first HSA fund raiser as well as our second free basketball clinic to be provided by the Men’s and Women’s Basketball Teams from St. Peter’s University. In addition, we will convene our Ad hoc committee to develop a fund raising fee structure.

School pictures will be taken on September 25th so all students should come to school dressed in their school uniforms. Students who have gym that day should bring their gym clothes with them in a bag so they can change for gym class.

Thank you for staying on top of all that will happen this month and in the months ahead. It truly is wonderful to be with your children each day. I look forward to another great year and know that with the Lord’s help we will all do our part to make it so.

God bless you and thank you again for all that you do.

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal

August 18, 2014
2014 TerraNova Test Scores

Dear Parents and Guardians,

I hope you all are enjoying this beautiful summer and are guiding your children through their math packets and their selections from the reading lists. Remember, five book reports earn a free dress down day! So remind your children keep reading.

As you know we have been pretty busy at school throughout the summer and much has been accomplished.

The security camera installation is complete and the new system should be up and running by the end of this week. The wiring for the PA system is done and the volume is dramatically improved. The new game lines on the blacktop in the inner courtyard are in place and look great. All of the new computers and computer carts are in and are being configured for student use.

Teachers have participated in training, which will continue to move our school toward the implementation of a comprehensive integrated writing program, K-8. The summer sessions will be followed by imbedded training in which our staff developer, Dr. Kathleen Sleezer, will work directly with teachers in their classrooms throughout the upcoming school year. In addition, training in how to best infuse technology into all curricular areas for teachers in Pre-K through grade eight will take place next week. Finally, training in the use of the new Smart Tables in Pre-K and Kindergarten is slated for August 25th.

Please note that your child’s class assignment for September is included on the mailing label of the envelope containing your address.

Please also note that we have posted our school’s Terra Nova Scores and summary from last spring on our website. Overall we are pleased with the results, considering the new testing format, however, there is always room for growth. In fact, for the second year in a row we are just shy of the cut-off for National Blue Ribbon School eligibility. (1 percentage point in math at one grade level and 2 percentage points in reading in another) The teachers and I have reviewed the results and have developed plans to address several areas needing improvement. We will continue to work hard to move our school forward.

We have changed the Pre-K parent orientation date to Thursday, August 28th due to a scheduling conflict. The program will include an overview by the teachers in the gym starting at 9:30 AM, followed by an opportunity to visit the Pre-K classrooms and tour the school. We will have some older students on hand to color with and read to the little ones in the gym and representatives from the Home and School Association will be on hand to answer questions and lend their support.

The Ad hoc committee asked to examine fundraising /HSA fee options has been formed and will be meeting in early September and the all call to alumni of Hoboken’s Catholic Schools over the years has been on our website and will be included in the church bulletins in September. The alumni committee will be formed and activities planned once the school year begins.

We have hired four new teachers and ask you to join us in welcoming them to our HCA family.

Mrs. Katherine Better joins us as a part-time computer teacher. She will provide computer instruction one day per week for all classes in grades one to three. Ms. Cordova will do the same for grades four to eight. Mrs. Better holds a BS in Computer Science at NJCU with a minor in Mathematics. She holds an Elementary School Teaching Certificate and was the assistant Computer Lab Supervisor while at New Jersey City State University. She has served as a computer instructor and has had several long-term substitute assignments in the North Bergen Schools. She brings a strong computer background and elementary teaching experience to the position as well as a desire to make a difference for our students. Mrs. Better ran in our 5K Race last spring and is anxious to, please excuse the pun, “hit the ground running in September!”

Mrs. Candice Ramdath will teach fourth grade. Ms. Ramdath has a BS in Special Studies from St. Frances College and a Masters Degree in Childhood Education from Long Island University. She holds teaching certificates in both New York and New Jersey and has taught in public and Catholic Schools in both states. While teaching in New York, Ms. Ramdath served as a math and literacy coach, helping other teachers deliver effective instruction. Most recently, she served as a long-term substitute at Our Lady of Mercy Academy in Park Ridge, NJ where she taught mathematics in grades 6, 7 and 8.

Ms. Diana Gerges will be our new fifth grade homeroom teacher and will teach math to students in grades 5-8. Ms. Gerges holds New Jersey certification and taught at Primary Prep in Jersey City and most recently taught middle school math at the Greater Newark Charter School before it closed last spring. Ms. Gerges has a masters Degree in Applied Behavioral Analysis and is currently enrolled in a Doctoral Program at St. Peters University.

Mrs. Erin Esteves has come full circle. She will teach science in grades five to eight and will serve as our seventh grade homeroom teacher. Mrs. Esteves is not new to Hoboken Catholic, yet I’m sure no one knows who she is. In fact, she knows the school better than most. You see, Mrs. Esteves was the senior scientist from the environmental company that oversaw the clean up of HCA following Super Storm Sandy! She conducted soil and water tests during the clean up and spent several months at HCA making sure the school was safe to reopen. Following her ten years as an environmental scientist working in the field, Mrs. Esteves decided to change careers and has become certified to teach in New Jersey. She brings real world experience and a passion for science to our school and we welcome her to the family.

Following the very successful first year of our Prep Connection, we will expand the program beyond tutoring to include preparation for academic competitions through the Continental Math League. The students from St. Peters elite Ignatian Scholars Program will coach our academic teams after school in preparation for the written tests in several content areas. Some of our teachers will oversee the program and middle school teams will be created once the school year begins. More details will follow once we get back to work in September.

Last year we also developed an incredibly successful partnership with the St. Peters University Men’s and Women’s Basketball Programs. In the spring the players and coaches from both teams conducted a free clinic for our student athletes. It was an amazing night and the college players taught our kids a great deal. I am thrilled to announce that we will have another clinic this year, but will do so in late September, prior to the start of the basketball season. The date for the clinic is being worked out so more information will follow. In addition, once St. Peters’ teams begin their basketball season, they will host a special “Hoboken Catholic Academy Day,” when both the women’s and men’s teams are home. There is a possibility our players may play abbreviated games on the main court at halftime of the respective games! So stay tuned.

The classrooms have been scrubbed clean and teachers have begun to get them ready. Books and supplies are coming in and soon the bulletin boards and hallways will offer welcoming messages of thanksgiving for the blessing of a new school year.

I have attached some pertinent information regarding the opening of school and procedures moving forward.

Please stay safe and enjoy time with your families over the last few weeks of summer. We are thrilled to welcome you all to what I’m sure will be a great school year.

God bless you and thank you for entrusting your children to our care.

Matthew McGrath
Principal


                        Important Information for the Opening of School

Opening of School
School begins on Thursday, September 4th for students in Kindergarten through Grade 8. Full day sessions (8:15 a.m. – 2:50 p.m.) begin on that day. Parents must provide a bag lunch both days, September 4th and 5th.

School Uniforms
All children are expected to be in the proper school uniform on the first day of class. See school uniform policy below.

Summer Reading Lists and Math Skills
Please be sure that your child is reading the books on the Summer Reading List (for children entering grades 2-8). In addition, please be sure that your child is reviewing and practicing Math skills during the summer by using the Summer Math booklet and at your direction.

Morning Arrival Grades K-8
For morning arrival students may enter the building beginning at 8:00 a.m. through the courtyard entrance off Madison Street, or through the doors by the Gym on 7th Street. All students in Kindergarten through Grade 8 report directly to their class line in the Gym. Students arriving after that time must enter by way of the door by the Office and pick up a late slip. Parents are welcome to join us for the Morning Assembly on the first day of school, but thereafter, parents should leave after dropping off their child. Parents will be invited to attend Prayer Services throughout the year during AM assembly. The first such prayer service will be on Thursday, September 11th. All are welcome to attend.

Tardiness
Please note that it is expected that all students arrive on time for AM assembly. Only in extreme cases should any student in grades K-8 be late.

Dismissal Procedures
Dismissal takes place between 2:30 and 2:50 p.m. Students in Pre-Kindergarten 3 will be dismissed from the main entrance on 7th Street at 2:30. Students in Pre-Kindergarten 4 dismiss through the 7th Street doors near the Gym at 2:30 p.m. Students in grades Kindergarten through Grade 1 dismiss at the school yard on Madison Street at 2:45. Students in Grades 2 and 4 will be dismissed from the main entrance on 7th Street at 2:45. Students in Grades 3 dismiss through the 7th Street doors near the Gym at 2:45 p.m. Grades 5 through 8 dismiss through the 7th Street doors near the Gym at 2:50 p.m.

(Pre-K3 and Pre-K4 children who are only attending for a half day session will be dismissed at 11:20 a.m. through the 7th Street doors near the Office.)

***When dropping off or picking up your child please make sure you do not leave your car blocking traffic, driveway, or other parked cars.

Morning Care & After Care Program
The Morning Care and After Care programs begin on Monday, September 8th. Morning Care is available from 7:00-8:00 a.m. at $4.00 per day. After Care is available from dismissal until 6:00 p.m. at $5.00 per half hour or part of a half hour. Enrollment Forms and payment information for the Morning Care and After Care program will be sent home on the first day of school.

Tuition Payments
Hoboken Catholic Academy uses SMART Tuition Management for the collection of tuition. The first tuition payment is due in July. Your tuition payments must be up to date in order for your child to begin school in September.

Returned Check Policy
A fee of $100 will be assessed for a returned check.

Volunteer Requirements
All parent/guardian volunteers must submit the following to the school office:

      1. Protecting God’s Children Workshop schedule:
          • Wednesday, Sept. 24th, 6:00 p.m.

          Please register at http://www.rcan.org/charter/index.htm
      2. Volunteer Application Form
      3. Acknowledgment of Compliance with the Policies on Professional and
        Ministerial Conduct


UNIFORM POLICY

UNIFORM: EVERY student must be in the proper uniform at ALL times. Parents are asked to cooperate with the school uniform rules. Detention will be given for violation of school uniform policy.

Uniforms must be purchased through Flynn & O’Hara at www.flynnohara.com, Lobel’s Uniform Outfitters located at 5819 Bergenline Ave. in West New York, NJ.

(PLEASE LABEL ALL PARTS OF THE UNIFORM WITH THE CHILD’S NAME.)

BOYS (Pre-K – Grade 5) Grey flannel pants, white or burgundy polo shirt or white oxford shirt with tie, grey socks and belt, burgundy cardigan. Also available: burgundy turtleneck, grey shorts.

GIRLS (Pre-K –Grade 3) Burgundy/grey plaid jumper or grey pants, white or burgundy polo shirt or white blouse, burgundy, white or grey socks or tights, burgundy cardigan. Also available: burgundy turtleneck, grey shorts.

GIRLS (GRADES 4 - 5) Burgundy/grey plaid skirt or grey pants, white or burgundy polo shirt or white blouse, burgundy, white or grey socks or tights, burgundy cardigan.
Also available: burgundy turtleneck, grey shorts.

BOYS (Grades 6-8) Grey flannel pants, white oxford shirt with tie, grey socks and belt, burgundy cardigan.

GIRLS (GRADES 6 - 8) Burgundy/grey plaid skirt, white oxford blouse with tie, burgundy, white or grey socks or tights, burgundy cardigan.

SCHOOL SHOES - (ALL GRADES) Students are required to wear dark colored low-heeled, rubber-soled shoes. Shoes must have closed backs. Sneaker type shoes and boots are not permitted. Shoes with laces must be tied at all times. For safety purposes no ballerina flats or smooth-soled shoes are allowed.

GYM UNIFORM - (ALL GRADES) Grey mesh gym shorts, a burgundy T-shirt with school logo, and clean sneakers are to be worn by students on their assigned Gym day from September until early November and from late April until the closing of school. (Consult monthly calendar for exact dates.) A burgundy sweat suit with school logo and clean sneakers are to be worn on the student’s assigned gym days for the remainder of the school year.
No jewelry should be worn on Gym days

Uniforms should be neat, clean and worn properly at all times. Shirts are to be tucked in at all times. Uniform shirts, pants and skirts should be the proper size and length.
GIRL’S SKIRTS AND JUMPERS SHOULD BE KNEE-LENGTH.


GENERAL GROOMING REQUIREMENTS

      • Hairstyles, as well as hair adornments for girls, should be simple. Hair
      coloring is not permitted. Hair dye, highlights, streaking not permitted.
      • If a girl has long hair, we strongly suggest it be worn in a braid or pony tail.
      • Boy’s hair length should not be below the shirt collar. Mohawks and logos
      cut into the hair are not permitted.
      • Boys and girls fingernails should be kept clean and well trimmed. No nail
      polish, acrylic gels or tips.
      • Make-up is not to be worn in school.
      • Girls may wear small earrings to school. Large hoops and dangling earrings
      are not permitted.
      • Boys are not permitted to wear earrings.

DRESS CODE FOR NON-UNIFORM DAYS:
The following guidelines are to be followed in choosing proper attire for days on which students are excused from wearing the school uniform. Students should dress modestly. The following items are NOT permitted:

      • Pants worn below the waistline
      • Shirts that go above the waistline
      • Low cut tops
      • Bare shoulders (no tank tops)
      • Shorts or skirts that are too short or too form fitting
      • High-heeled or open-back shoes, flip flops
      • Clothing with offensive or inappropriate words, symbols or graphics

Students who are inappropriately dressed will be required to call a parent/guardian and have them bring the school uniform to school for the child to change into.

August 4, 2014
Dear Parents and Guardians,

We received some good news on Friday, August 1st, which was highlighted on NJ.com and in an article in The Jersey Journal, both of which I have attached. We learned that FEMA has awarded Hoboken Catholic Academy approximately $1.2 million in Super Storm Sandy related compensation. As you are aware, under the direction of Archbishop Myers, The Newark Archdiocese completed the extensive cleanup and repairs needed for our school to reopen last September. The total cost of the project was $2 million. A generous donation of over $300,000 was also received from The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and insurance claims are still pending. The news from FEMA comes after about 18 months of data submission, meetings and constant vigilance from Mr. Steve Belloise and his colleagues at the Archdiocesan Office of Property Management. The hard work on the part of Mrs. Perry and the HCA office staff and Fr. Alex Santora, immediately following the disaster and the painstaking detail of reports they submitted have contributed greatly to this award as well. We thank them all!

Please stay safe and enjoy your families.

Yours in Christ,

Matthew McGrath
Principal

Link: Hoboken Catholic Academy to get $1.2M in federal Sandy relief funds

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
                             French
Tuesday              Young Rembrandts Art
Wednesday          Performing Arts Studio –Dance
                            Karate
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

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal

June 4, 2014
Dear Parents and Guardians,

It is hard to believe that the 2013-2014 school year is coming to a close. It has been a very good school year. On Saturday 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 7th. 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 2014

                                    Francis Corrado*
                                    Andrew DeArmas*
                                    Johnathon Geruso
                                    Matthew Goodman*
                                    Marina Hanna
                                    Vincent Kenney*
                                    Rachel Malkowski*
                                    Taylor Matos*
                                    Seth McLaughlin*
                                    Isabella Pedrera*
                                    Devin Shelmety*
                                    Dylan Shelmety*
                                    Kimberly Servello*
                                    Sebastian Torres*
                                    Khadim Toure*

I mentioned above that it has been a very good year. I am proud of our teachers, students and incredibly supportive parents for all we have accomplished. As we begin to look toward next year, the teachers and I have already identified areas we will address moving forward. As indicated in a previous letter we will address some safety issues over the summer including upgrading our PA and security camera systems. We will install game lines in the courtyard play area for students to use for recess and outside PE classes. We will upgrade our computer program to include new Mac Books for the two mobile laptop carts and add Smart Tables in our Pre-K and Kindergarten classes. We will also expand our computer instruction to include a computer class one day per week for all students in grades 1-8. Teachers will receive training over the summer to expand our use of the Smart Boards already in each classroom and the Mac Books in all curricular areas.

The teachers have taken part in a yearlong series of workshops to develop an integrated writing program for grades 1-8. We will continue that training over the summer and throughout the next school year, while we begin to implement the program. This training and curriculum development will coincide with the Archdiocesan emphasis on curriculum mapping in the area of Language Arts Literacy. The eventual goal is for there to be a consistent, spiraling Language Arts Curriculum emphasizing student writing, articulated throughout the grades to best prepare students for high school and beyond.

In the area of mathematics you will see a very different Summer Math Packet this year than you have seen in the past. The packet will be a comprehensive review of the math covered in the grade the children are exiting. Included in the packets for the older students will be multiple pages of graph paper to be used to complete the open-ended word problems. Children will not only be graded on the answer they come up with, but will be assessed on how they came up with their answer. They must show all work. This will be a perfect segue to our “Problem of the Day” initiative to begin in September. Students in all classes in grades 1-8 will do an open- ended math problem each day. They will not only have to show their work, but they will have to explain in writing, the steps they followed in solving the problem. Teachers will go over the problems with students, highlighting different ways to solve the same problem. Each student will maintain a math journal to house the problems of the day.

We will continue our reading initiative with a new reading minute target, to be determined after our Reading Assembly tomorrow. Speaking of the Reading Assembly, as promised I will be dressed as a famous character from a book the students voted on over the last few weeks. I’m sure you will hear all about it after school on Thursday. Lois Gross, the Children’s Librarian from the Hoboken Public Library will be on hand to tell us about their summer reading program. We will also unveil our own summer reading initiative that will be linked to our Summer Reading Lists.

I am thrilled at all were able to do together this year. The Home and School Association officers and volunteers planned and executed incredibly successful fundraising events. The 5K Run/Walk, held last Saturday, was an amazing event! There were 475 runners, many of whom were our own parents and students. The Kid Dash saw more than 60 of our little ones take part and receive medals. Through sponsors and participants, the 5K raised over $30,000! Thanks to Monica De Falco and all who helped her make the annual 5K Race so successful.

We had a great Home and School Association meeting on May 7th. The parents who attended offered some excellent suggestions as to how we can better get the word out about all of the great things going on at HCA. As a result, we are entering the world of Social Media have created Hoboken Catholic Academy Facebook and Twitter accounts. Some of our great parents have stepped up to get these pages up and running. So, please follow us on Facebook at Hoboken Catholic Academy and on Twitter at @OfficialHCAPage. Additionally, we will make sure to utilize the local papers and the Hoboken Family Alliance to provide press releases and information about what we have going on, on a regular basis. It was agreed at the meeting that we need to spread the word about our school beyond our own website.

In addition, we talked about the continuing struggle to get all of our families involved in our fundraising efforts. We talked about what is done by other Catholic schools in the area and discussed options for our school next year and beyond. Currently we have four major fundraisers and several smaller ones. There have been multiple opportunities for families to take part and do their fair share. Yet, less than 50% of our families have participated in our programs thus far this year.

This problem is not unique to Hoboken Catholic.

That explains the solution many of our neighboring schools have employed. In addition to their school’s fundraising efforts, in every school we surveyed except one, each family is assessed a Fundraising and/or a HSA Fee. In those schools the fees range from $200 to $600 each year per family. In addition, several also require participation in one or more fundraisers. Several allow families to opt out of all fundraising for a $300-$500 fee.

The reality is, we cannot sustain the current imbalance. It is not fair for less than half of our families to foot the fundraising bill for the entire school. Everyone is busy. No one wants to pay additional money. We need everyone to participate.

To that end we are going to do a couple of things.

First and most importantly we must thank all of our parents who have organized, sponsored or participated in the Golf Outing, the Texas Hold ‘Em Poker Night, the Silent Auction and the 5K Run/Walk. Thanks to everyone who bought raffle tickets and Entertainment Books or who participated in our Scripps program. Thanks to our class moms and anyone who volunteered at the Kid’s Festival at Ss Peter and Paul in the fall, the Santa’s Breakfast and Workshop, the Scholastic Book Fairs, the Easter Egg Hunt and the rest of our events. Through your efforts we raised over $90,000. This is a lot of money. We are blessed to have the dedicated people that we do who worked so tirelessly to raise this kind of money. Just imagine what we will be able to do when everyone participates!

To that end, we will pull together an Ad hoc committee comprised of parents, staff members and a representative of the school’s Advisory Board. They will be charged with the task of developing a plan to insure that all parents participate in fundraising, while not overburdening those who already do so much. Simultaneously, we will restructure our Home and School Association format to bring more parents into leadership positions, thus maximizing untapped talent. We will look to revise the structure of the organization to be more inclusive, reaching out to parents who have not taken part thus far and provide opportunities to those who want to do more.

As I have stated many times, I am thrilled to be your Principal and I am truly excited about the future of our school. We have accomplished a great deal this year, but there is still much work to be done. So, rest up and brace yourselves, the best is yet to come.

Thank you and God bless you.

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal

May 27, 2014
Dear Parents and Guardians,

We learned earlier today that a former Hoboken Catholic Academy teacher and current administrator and basketball coach at Elysian Charter School, Mr. John Mercado has been arrested and charged with child molestation. Mr. Mercado taught computers at HCA from 1998-2004 according to news accounts. I do not have any other information at this time and will provide appropriate information when it becomes available. Please understand, however that because this is a criminal investigation I will not be at liberty to discuss specifics of the case. We will cooperate fully with the office of the Hudson County Prosecutor and the Office of Child and Youth Protection of the Archdiocese of Newark.

Thank you for your patience as we navigate these trying times. Please keep the children and families of anyone involved in this terrible situation in your prayers.

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal

May 13, 2014
Dear Parents and Guardians,

Over the last several months I have reviewed our computer/technology program as well as our security systems. As a result of that review I have determined that there need to be significant changes come September.

Currently our security cameras cover the main entry door and the lower level corridors. They are real time only and have no recording capability. There is no camera on the second floor, nor are there any cameras for the inner courtyard entry door, the trailers or on the gym entry door on 7th Street. We need to upgrade this system.

Our PA system is inadequate. We need a new control panel, to replace wiring and increase the number of speakers throughout the building, particularly in the gym. In the event of an emergency, I must be certain that everyone in the building can hear an announcement.

In the area of educational technology, there are several areas needing to be addressed. We need to increase the amount of computer instruction at all grade levels, provide age appropriate hardware and software for our youngest students and provide teacher training on an ongoing basis.

As a result, we will include Smart Tables in each of our Pre-K and Kindergarten classrooms. These devices will allow for a hands-on computer access and instruction for our youngest students. This will supplement the Smart Board already in place in each classroom which teachers utilize daily.

Students in grades 1-3 will also receive direct computer instruction from our computer teacher, Mrs. Cordova, as well as well as technology infused instruction throughout the curriculum utilizing their Smart Boards and Mac Books from one of the mobile labs by their classroom teacher.

Students in grades 4-8 will receive direct computer instruction from our computer teacher, Mrs. Cordova utilizing Mac Books from one of the two mobile laptop carts on a weekly basis. In addition, teachers will continue to infuse technology into their content areas using their Smart Boards as well as Mac Books from the mobile computer labs.

Teachers will receive training this summer and beyond to help them maximize student understanding and utilization of technology for learning.

During the summer we will upgrade our two mobile computer labs with 60 new Mac Books.

We have been in contact with our Apple service provider to update our server to maximize Internet access, computer speed and memory, and have taken steps to maximize our school’s Wi-Fi capabilities so there is strong Internet access throughout the building. We have an ongoing website maintenance program in place and will continue to pay for this service.

These changes and enhancements to our technology program are critical to providing our students with a comprehensive education to prepare them for high school and beyond. Upgrading our PA System and security cameras is necessary for student safety.

Unfortunately, these upgrades, enhancements, ongoing support and systems maintenance come at a price.

In order to provide this increased level of security and technology and allow for an ongoing support program we will implement an annual $200 per student technology/security fee beginning in the 2014-2015 school year. The fee will be added to your Smart Tuition Account.

I regret that this information was not available at the time of initial application and re-registration, but the technology and security systems review took longer than anticipated.

Hoboken Catholic Academy is a wonderful school. I am pleased with all we have been able to accomplish this year and I’m proud of our students and staff. I am excited about our future and look forward to continuing to work with you to make our school great!

Thank you and God bless you,

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal

April 30, 2014
Dear Parents and Guardians,
Welcome back! It was great to see your wonderful children after their week off and we hit the ground running on what is going to be a sprint to the finish line in June. There is a lot to be done. Check the calendars for May and June for details and hold on to your hats!

It is my extreme pleasure to inform you that third grade teacher, Mrs. Angela Bernardo, has been named the Parochial School Teacher of the Year by the New Jersey Knights of Columbus! She will be recognized at New Jersey Knights of Columbus Convention in Wildwood, NJ on May 17th. In the notification email we received, Robert L Wright, Chairman of the New Jersey Knights of Columbus CCD and Parochial Teacher of the Year Award wrote, “Her stellar career over 20 years of engaging her students to put their faith in action makes her an outstanding representative of all of the Parochial School Teachers and the very important work they do.” We agree!

I am also pleased to inform you that just prior to the break, we had thirty of our student athletes participate in a basketball clinic here at HCA, which was conducted by the St. Peter’s University Men’s and Women’s basketball players and coaches. More than thirty gifted college athletes and several assistant coaches conducted drills for almost two hours for our students. They finished off the night with an amazing dunk contest and a game of “Knockout,” which included our students and their college instructors. A special thank you goes out to Coach Serge Clement, who worked with me in putting the night together. We have already started talking about next year’s clinic. In addition, Coach Matt Henry, another men’s coach on hand that night, indicated that St. Peters would like to sponsor a special Hoboken Catholic Academy Night at one of their home games next season! Stay tuned.

On Sunday, May 4th, the HCA Choir, under the direction of music teacher, Ms. Laurie Campana, will sing at the 10:30 Mass at St. Ann’s Church. Also, a banner, created by our Campus Ministry students proclaiming, “Christ Has Risen,” has been hung across the front of the balcony at the church in celebration of Easter. If you are able, please join us for Mass that day. As you know, the choir is outstanding and there is no better way to celebrate God’s love than to share our gifts with others.

The Home and School Association’s Silent Auction is just days away and the 5K Race will be here before you know it. A lot of hard work has gone into each event and I’d like to thank the officers and class moms and everyone who has helped to put the prizes together and chase down sponsors for both fundraisers. Like the golf outing and our first Texas Hold’Em poker tournament, several people really stepped up to make the fundraisers successful. Thank you all. These functions as well as the other smaller fundraisers have all been successful and we are well positioned for a great silent auction and another fabulous 5K race.

When the dust settles in June and we assess how well we did in meeting our fundraising target, hopefully we will reach our goal. I am in awe of the amount of work that goes into pulling off a successful fundraiser and I have to wonder, shouldn’t all of this hard work do more than satisfy a line in our operating budget? What about funding a library or improving our air conditioning capabilities, especially on the 2nd floor, or upgrading our play area for recess, or any one of many other enhancements people have spoken to me about since I began last summer?

We are going to talk about this very topic at the next Home and School Association meeting on Wednesday, May 7th, at 7:00 in our gym. I will do a brief presentation and we will discuss some options for next year and beyond. Please come out that night to be part of the conversation. As I said previously, I am excited about the future of Hoboken Catholic Academy. I am proud of what has been accomplished this year and know that together we can take our school to the next level. Lets get it started next week!

God bless you and thank you for your continued support.

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal

April 15, 2014
Dear Parents and Guardians,

Greetings Everyone!

The Silent Auction is upon us!

As we all prepare to take a breath following the worst winter in recent memory and enjoy our Easter recess, please be reminded that one of our major fundraisers will take place the Friday of the week we return. The Silent Auction, will be held on Friday, May 2nd on the campus of Stevens Institute. The venue boasts a majestic panoramic view of the New York skyline and for many will be within walking distance from their homes. The folks at Stevens have secured on-site parking for us that evening as well.

Tickets are still available and I encourage all of you who have not purchased tickets already, to please do so now. The deadline for ordering tickets is April 21st. You see, with the timing of the break we will be back only one day when we have to provide a final head count. So to help facilitate an accurate count, please complete and return the form at the bottom of this letter with your child tomorrow.

Naturally, if you choose, you can send your payment along with the number of people who will attend.

Thank you and have a blessed Easter and a wonderful Easter break.

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal

Link: Spring Auction Reminder

April 9, 2014
Dear Parents and Guardians,

I am thrilled to announce that the students of Hoboken Catholic Academy have surpassed the 1,000,000-minute total in our Principal’s Reading Challenge! As of the end of March, students have read 1,145,771 minutes, and we still have two and one half months to go. There will be a special Reading Assembly on June 5th to celebrate the final minute total, set our goal for next year and kick off our Summer Reading Program. On that day, as promised, I will dress like a book character voted on by the students.

Students will each offer a suggestion and we will determine their top ten choices. Students will then vote for one of the ten choices. The identity of the character receiving the most votes will not be revealed to the students until the assembly.

So, talk to your sons and daughters about the characters from the books they have read or you have read together. In a couple of weeks we will ask for the name of the character they want me to become. Most importantly, keep encouraging your children to read. Remember, if reading is important to you it will be important to your children!

A special thank you goes out to Monsignor Robert Meyers, who celebrated our First Friday Mass on the 4th. During the Mass Fr. Bob also presided over the Eighth Grade Ring Ceremony. The Mass and Ring Ceremony were wonderful and it was great to see the smiles on the faces of our outstanding eighth graders and their proud parents. We are indeed blessed to have such a great group of young men and women setting an example for the rest of the school. They continue to make us proud in everything that they do.

The Home and School Association is working hard on a couple of major fundraising projects and celebrating a very successful Easter Egg Hunt at a soggy Elysian Park this past Saturday.

Over 100 children participated in the Easter Egg Hunt and found over 1300 treat filled eggs scattered around the park. Thanks to Mrs. Bloor for running the show and her brother, who had really long ears and a great attitude. Thanks as well to everyone who donated eggs and/or helped in any way. Thanks to eighth graders, Matt Goodman and Kim Servello for their help throughout the morning.

The plans for the Silent Auction and 5K Race are in full swing and we are hopeful that our two biggest fundraisers will be as successful as they have been in the past. Please check out the details for each on the virtual backpack. There is still plenty to do and several ways to help and participate if you have not signed on already. The Silent Auction will be on Friday, May 2nd and the Race will be Saturday, May 31th. Please note that the race start time is 9:00 AM. There will be a kids’ dash at 10:15 and a special post race party at Texas Arizona for anyone who raises $100. Details about how to set up a fundraising page are included on the HSA link as well as the virtual backpack on our website.

During the course of my first year at Hoboken Catholic I have been impressed by the hard work and dedication of the parents who volunteer to make our school great. The class moms, the coaches, the HSA officers and everyone who has worked hard to help us reach our fundraising goal have all shone such selfless commitment to our success. What I have come to realize, however, is that no matter how hard these fine people work and no matter how successful our projects are, we are chasing a number that does little more than maintain the status quo. Because all of the money raised through fundraising goes toward our operating budget, we are not able to work toward creating a school media center or other enhancements to our school.

The leadership of the Home and school Association and I have had several discussions about this topic and I talked about it at the last HSA meeting. We have taken a look at all of the Catholic elementary schools in our area as well as some in other counties to compare our fundraising strategies to theirs. What we found was significant. All but one other school assesses their families with a per student fundraising fee in conjunction with major events like our Silent Auction and 5K Race. The school that does not, has a tuition rate $2,000 higher than ours.

As a result, I invite you to attend the next HSA meeting on May 7th, at 7:00 in our gym to further discuss our options for September. I will outline a plan moving forward that will allow us to meet our fundraising goal to support our operating budget as well as help us dedicate funding for improvements to our school. Please join us on the May 7th, to take part in the discussion.

Thank you and God bless you. I am excited for the future of Hoboken Catholic Academy. I am certain that together we can make an excellent school even better!

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal

March 27, 2014
Dear Parents and Guardians,

This past Sunday I had the honor of attending a very special Mass at St. Francis Church, here in Hoboken, at which time Fr. Chris Panlilio was installed as Pastor of St. Francis Parish. The Mass was celebrated by the Regional Bishop for Hudson County, Most Reverend Thomas A. Donato and the little church was packed. The music was beautiful and our good friend Fr. Chris was humble and gracious in accepting the well-deserved honor. Please join me in congratulating Fr. Chris and in wishing everyone in St. Francis’ Parish the continued blessings of Almighty God as they continue their journey together!

As we gear up for the home stretch, it is clear that we will all be very busy. I have been talking about the start of the major league baseball season since January and it is finally here! To celebrate opening day for the Mets and Yankees, we will have a special $2.00 Baseball Dress Down Day on Monday, March 31st. I will be wearing my Tom Seaver jersey like I did back in the fall. Hopefully this time Finn and I won’t be the only ones wearing Mets gear.

The Home and School Association will meet on Wednesday, April 2nd, at 1:45 and 7:00. Please come to one of the meetings if you are able. The agenda, I’m sure will be packed with opportunities for parents to lend a hand at the Easter Egg Hunt (4/5/14), the Silent Auction (5/2/14) and the 5K Race (5/30/14). Especially for those parents who have been unable to chip-in in the past these three events provide the perfect opportunity to get involved.

Monsignor Robert Meyers will celebrate our First Friday Mass at St. Ann’s Church on Friday, April 4th. Our eighth graders will receive their class rings in a special ceremony during the 10:00AM Mass. This day marks the first of many important days for our oldest students as they prepare to move on to high school. Eighth grade parents are cordially invited to attend the Mass and sit behind their children to help celebrate this wonderful milestone for their sons and daughters. The Mass is open to all of our parents as well. Please join us if you can.

In an effort to say thank you to some pretty amazing young men and women we will hold a special $2.00 Dress Down Day on April 10th. The money collected that day will help defray the cost of the eighth grade trip. Please help us say thank you to these beautiful kids and their parents for representing our school so well in all that they do.

HCA will host the Hoboken Rotary Fourth Grade Spelling Bee on Thursday, April 10th at 7:00PM. Our fourth graders will compete in the days ahead to see who will represent our school at the event. I know they will try their best and whoever represents our school will make us proud!

In preparation for Easter our sixth, seventh and eighth grade classes along with our choir will present the Passion Of Our Lord And Savior, Jesus Christ, on April 14th. They will perform for the rest of the school in the morning and for our parents at 7:00 that evening. Information about tickets for the event will be sent home, as we get closer to the day.

I am thrilled to announce that St. Peter’s University Assistant Men’s Basketball Coach, Serge Clement, and some of the Peacock players will conduct a free basketball clinic for our boys and girls who played on our JV and Varsity basketball teams on Wednesday, April 16th from 6:00 to 8:00 PM. They will conduct basketball drills and help our young athletes hone their basketball skills. Mr. Tallarida will distribute permission slips, as the day gets closer.

Please be reminded that the last day of school before the Easter recess will be April 17th, Holy Thursday. This day was added back to the calendar because of the excessive snow days needed earlier. Students are invited to kick off their vacation that day with a special $2.00 Dress Down Day. This day will be a half-day with no aftercare available.

Things will really heat up when we return from Easter Break. I’ll save that breakdown for my next letter.

As always, thank you and God bless you. HCA is wonderful place because of your children. Thanks for doing such a great job as parents.

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal

March 19, 2014
Dear Parents and Guardians,

I have included an invitation from Fr. Alex on behalf of the Pastors from our sponsoring parishes for the Lenten Penance Service at Our Lady of Grace Church on Monday, March 24th at 7:30 PM. Please read the letter posted in our virtual backpack, and please join us on the 23rd if you can.

I have also included a list of all of our students who have earned First and Second Honors for the second trimester. The students were recognized during AM Assembly and it is my pleasure to recognize them on our website.

I am also proud to announce that fifth grade student Aramchan Lee won the Marist High School Fifth Grade Spelling Bee on Tuesday the 19th. Congratulations as well go to Aarya Mehta, who placed fifth in the competition. The annual event at Marist High School includes fifth graders from Catholic Schools in Hudson County. The competition was stiff, but our students did exceptionally well, making their teacher, Mr. Petagno, their parents and all of us at HCA very proud!

Our Youth Ministry Group is working hard on the banner we will display at St. Ann’s Church for Easter. The Banner will highlight some of the great service projects the group has completed and advertise the ones still to come. Thanks to their hard work and your generosity, the Youth Ministry students have collected hundreds of pounds of clothing, which will be donated to the Hoboken Homeless Shelter and the Thrift Shop at St. Lucy’s Church in Jersey City. In addition bags of food will be donated to the Food Pantry at Our Lady of Grace Church. After the holidays, sadly, food pantries are depleted. We will collect food through this Friday to hopefully add to what has already been sent in.

The next project will be a baby clothes and food drive to benefit the In Jesus’ Name Program at Our Lady of Grace Church. Collections will begin in the next few weeks. Preparation has also begun for their final project of the year. Stay tuned for details in the weeks ahead.

The National Junior Honor Society has completed their Penny and a Prayer Lenten collection. Our students and their families have been incredibly generous in their donations to support Catholic Missions. The have raised over $3,000! This money will go a long way in helping our missionaries spread the miracle of God’s love to people in need all over the world.

Finally, we had our session of the Prep Connection and it was amazing. Seven members of the prestigious Ignatian Scholars program spent about forty minutes tutoring ten of our students afterschool on Tuesday. Mr. Juan Arteaga, Prep’s Dean of Students, who oversees the scholars program traveled with the young men via Light Rail from Prep to supervise his students. Ms. Najmi coordinated the program from our end and I could not be more pleased with the program’s first day and am excited for it’s potential. The group will meet every Tuesday through mid-May and students will be tutored in areas identified by their teachers and will have some time to get their homework done as well. We will look to expand the program next fall to include more tutors and an enrichment component. Stay tuned.

Thank you as always for your continued support of all that we do at HCA. Thank you in advance for supporting our Silent Auction and 5K Race. God bless you and your beautiful children.

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal

March 12, 2014
Dear Parents and Guardians,

I am happy to report that for the first time since before Christmas, our Pre-K, Kindergarten, and Grades 1 and 2 students went outside to play at recess today! Unfortunately, there is still too much snow on the street and curb on 7th Street for the older kids to get outside. We are all hopeful that the return to cold weather forecast for Thursday will be brief and we can finally begin to put this winter behind us.

TerraNova testing is in full swing and all of our students in grades two to eight are working hard. Thanks for making sure your children are well rested and well nourished each day.

Congratulations to our eighth graders. As I have shared previously, these wonderful students have been accepted by all of the Catholic high schools they’ve applied and have been offered $50,000 in scholarship money. Most of our students have chosen which high school they will attend in the fall. As soon as they all make their final decision we will proudly post their selections.

Our students have been reading up a storm and have inched ever so close to our 1,000,000-minute goal. Through the end of February our students have read well over 950,000 minutes. It appears that we will crack the 1,000,000 mark this month, however, we will not stop there. This year’s final total will set the bar for next year’s challenge. Congratulations to all of our students for the amount of time they spend reading outside of school and to each of you for encouraging them to do so. The sky is indeed the limit! The class-by-class totals are in the virtual backpack. Special recognition goes out to our sixth grade students. As you will see, Ms. Girovasi’s kids read an average of over one hour per night. Also making a strong showing, our third and fourth graders are reading just under forty minutes per night. Please continue to emphasize the importance of reading with your children. I am certain that it will pay dividends in the future.

As we continue along our Lenten journey, students will visit St. Ann’s each Friday afternoon to pray the Stations of the Cross. Please remember that all of our families are invited to attend the Lenten Penance Service at Our Lady of Grace Church on Monday evening, March 24th at 7:30 PM. Please help us to continue to provide a solid foundation for our young people in the blessings of our faith and in recognizing the miracle of God’s love.

We have included important fundraising information in the virtual backpack. Please take the time to review what is posted about the Scrips Program as well as the Silent Auction. Remember, fundraising does not fund extras. It represents a significant part of our operating budget. It is important that all of our families participate to make our fundraising program successful. To those of you who have organized and/or taken part in the various programs and events thus far this year, thank you. If you have been unable to participate or contribute thus far please know that we need you to do so. It is not too late. If you need help deciding how, please reach out to your class mother or to one of the Home and School Association officers. Their contact information is on the website. You can always call the school’s office and we will gladly help you find the contact information you need. Remember, our fundraising goal equates to about $300 per student. In order for us to reach that goal this year we will need the Silent Auction and the 5K Race to match or exceed the amounts raised in previous years. Please do what you can to help make these events successful.

Finally, baseball’s opening day is less than three weeks away. Spring flowers and warm weather can’t be to far behind. Thanks for your patience and your perseverance and for sending us such great kids. God bless you all.

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal

March 4, 2014
Dear Parents and Guardians,

Our first ever Texas Hold’ Em tournament is in the books and it was a big success. Thanks to Mike Tennaro and his committee for all of their hard work in making this event so successful. Thanks as well to all of the donors and volunteers and everyone who purchased 50/50 tickets and/or came out to enjoy the game or just the company. The program for the evening, which includes the committee members and a listing of all of the donors, is in the Virtual Backpack. Please remember to support the companies that support our school.

TerraNova testing will begin on Monday, March 10th and continue through Friday, the 14th. It is important that students come to school, well rested and well nourished and ready to do their best. Thanks for giving our students the best chance for success.

Our Campus Ministry students will continue their food and clothing drives over the next few weeks. The winter clothing drive will conclude on Friday, March 14th and the food will be collected through Friday, March 21st. Thank you to all who have contributed thus far and in advance for those of you who will do so in the days ahead. The severe winter has only added to the misery of the less fortunate in our community and your generosity could not have come at a better time.

I’m sure you will agree that we dodged a bullet on Monday when we received only a dusting from the latest storm to barrel into our area. The long range forecast calls for a gradual rise in temperatures and no major storms on the horizon. Hopefully you have heard the last of way too many weather related Honeywell notifications. To date, we will make the following calendar adjustments to make up the days lost to snow. Because we had only two snow days built into the calendar, we will have to add four days back to the calendar. They are as follows:

        1. March 21 will be a full day for both students and teachers.
        2. May 23 will be a half-day for students and a full day for
            professional development for teachers.
        3. April 17th (Holy Thursday) will be a half-day for both
            students and teachers. April 16th will now be a full day of school for all.
        4. The last day of school for students will be June 19th. It will be a half-day.

Also, the Archdiocesan Professional Development Day originally scheduled for February 13th has been moved to May 6th. Students will have no school on that day.

As we begin to look at options for next year’s school calendar, please know that I am not inclined to include a full week off in February. We will look to include a long Presidents’ Day weekend, but not a full week. This will allow us to finish earlier in June and provide more options for adding days back to the calendar should we have another severe winter.

Finally, all of our families are reminded that there will be a Lenten Penance Service at Our Lady of Grace Church on Monday evening, March 24th at 7:30PM. Please join us that evening if you are able.

Lets have a great week!

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal

February 26, 2014
Dear Parents and Guardians,

As you are aware, next Wednesday, March 5th is Ash Wednesday. There will be a Lenten Prayer Service at 1:45 in St. Ann’s Church for our students on that day. Students will receive ashes at that time. We will attend First Friday Mass on Friday morning at 10:00, also at St. Ann’s Church. Fr. Remo will be the Celebrant and our eighth graders will do the readings and present the gifts. Parents are certainly welcome to attend. Friday, March 7th will be a half-day for students. Our students will pray the Stations of the Cross at St. Ann’s each succeeding Friday afternoon throughout the Lenten Season.

All of our families are invited to Our Lady of Grace Church for the Lenten Penance Service on Monday, March 24th at 7:30 PM. This will be a wonderful opportunity for our HCA family to come together to help our children better understand the miracle of God’s love for us all.

Congratulations to sixth grader, Veeran Nagpaul, for placing fifth in the Hudson County Spelling Bee! Veeran went up against sixth, seventh and eighth grade students from public, private and parochial schools from throughout Hudson County and represented our school in fine fashion.

The January reading totals are in and the students are getting close to our One Million Minute goal. Our school-wide total through January is 781, 991 minutes! Congratulations to our sixth graders in Ms. Girovasi’s class who have a year-to date total of 158,212 minutes. Sixth graders read an average of 49 minutes per night, also tops in the school. Mrs. Bernardo’s third grade students have read an average of 32 minutes per night and Mrs. Fasanella’s fourth graders average 27 minutes per night as well. Congratulations to all of these students and to all of our HCA students for getting so close to our reading goal. Thanks as well go out to all of our parents for helping us to emphasize the importance of reading with your children.

Terra Nova testing will take place during the week of March 10th. Please be sure to have your children arrive to school on time and well rested from a good night’s sleep and make sure they have a good breakfast to start each day. Students in grades 2-8 will be tested each morning from Monday, March 10th through Friday, the 14th.

I am happy to announce that during the February break, we had new locks installed on all of our classroom doors in the main building. All classroom doors will be locked while school is in session, adding an additional layer of security for our students.

Our Youth Ministry group is collecting winter clothing for the Hoboken Homeless Shelter and non-perishable food items for the In Jesus’ Name Food Bank at Our Lady of Grace Church. The children have spread the word with their schoolmates and donations have been coming in. Thanks to those who have helped thus far and thanks in advance to those who will send in food or clothing in the days ahead.

Remember, the HSA sponsored Texas Hold’ Em Poker Tournament fundraiser will take place this Friday evening. There are still seats available for any parent or friend of HCA who wants to play in the tournament, as well as for those who just want to socialize or help out. Please check the virtual backpack for details.

Finally, spring training has begun! The days are getting longer and Daylight Savings Time will begin on March 9th. Hopefully, we have seen our last Polar Vortex (something I never heard of before this winter) for a while and before too much longer, the kids will actually be able to play outside. Thank you for your patience as we navigate the final weeks of winter. I will make sure to summarize all of the calendar changes in the coming weeks so we are all on the same page.

Have a great week!

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal

February 12, 2014
Dear Parents and Guardians,

As I write this letter I am looking at the latest forecast for yet another significant snowfall, predicted for Thursday the 13th. Enough already. If we wind up having to close, we will have a half-day of school on Friday, May 23rd to make up the day. We have to have a one-session day because we have already contracted with a company for the professional development sessions to be cancelled on March 21st, the first day added back to the calendar after Friday’s storm. Hopefully when we return after the break we will see an early end to this relentless winter.

The severe winter has not only taxed our school calendar, but also our collective well-being. Recognizing this, the students who are part of our Campus Ministry Program will begin two very important programs. They will run two collections simultaneously to address two areas of critical need in our community. They will collect non-perishable food for the In Jesus’ Name Food Bank at Our Lady of Grace Church, and gently worn or new winter clothing for the Hoboken Homeless Shelter.

After the holidays, food pantries see a decline in contributions and the severe winter has depleted stores of warm clothing for the homeless and the poor. Our sixth, seventh and eighth grade Youth Ministry participants have created two separate teams, with clearly defined roles to work on each project. Their spokespeople have spoken to the student body and they have hung posters around the building. Thanks in advance for helping our young people walk with Christ, in making things a little better for those less fortunate.

We will be meeting with the student tutors from St. Peters Prep later this week and will begin the Prep Connection during the week of March 3rd. Letters for eligible students will be going out shortly. Stay tuned.

When we get back on the 24th, the countdown will begin in earnest for our first ever Texas Hold’ Em Poker Tournament. There are sponsorships and plenty of seats still available. We need players and volunteers to help out that night. Please check the virtual backpack for all the details and contact information.

Re-registration is in full swing. If you have not done so already, please re-register now. Remember the deadline is February 14th.

Please enjoy the upcoming Winter Recess. Stay warm and enjoy your children. God bless you and thank you for your continued support.

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal

February 6, 2014
Dear Parents and Guardians,

As you know we have already had four school closings due to snow. In an effort to help everyone refocus on instruction there will be some changes to the school calendar. Those changes thus far will be outlined below. Hopefully, we will not need to make any additional changes, but will do so should it become necessary.

          1. There fill be a full day of school on Friday, February 7th.
          We will have a $2 dress-down day for all students and teachers
          to kick-off our school’s participation in the American Heart Association’s
          Hoops for Hearts Program. All are asked to wear something “red,”
          to show support for heart health. Lunch will be available.

          2. Parent/Teacher conferences will take place as scheduled on
          February 12th. There will be a full day of school that day.

          3. The Archdiocesan Professional Development Day scheduled
          for Thursday, February 13th has been moved to May 6th.
          There will be a full day of school on February 13th.
          Lunch will be available.

          4. There will be no school for students on May 6th.

          5. The full-day professional development day for teachers
          scheduled for March 21st has been cancelled. This day will
          replace yesterday’s snow day. There will be a full day of school
          for students and staff that day. Lunch will be available.

Because we will now serve lunch on Friday this week and Thursday next week, a special order form for those two days only will be sent home today. If you wish to have your child purchase lunch on either or both days, please complete the form and send it to school tomorrow with your payment. We will make any adjustments for parents who are entitled to a credit at that time.

Thank you for your patience as we try to navigate through this snow-filled winter. As I reminded the students this morning, pitchers and catchers will report to spring training in 9 days! Hope does indeed spring eternal.

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal

February 4, 2014
Dear Parents and Guardians,

I can’t wait for winter to be over! Unfortunately if we believe the groundhog, things are not going to get better any time soon. With our last storm, as I’m sure you have surmised, we had a problem with the Honeywell notification system. The first notice to go out to your phones was delayed over an hour. Thinking we made an error on our end, we resubmitted the announcement several times. That is why you received four phone messages, with the first not arriving until around 6:30AM. Apparently, we were not the only school to experience a problem. There were issues throughout New Jersey. I spoke with a Honeywell representative who indicated that the problem has been resolved. In any event we are working on a back-up notification strategy in the event the system is delayed again.

With the three snow days built into the calendar already used, and the prospect of more bad weather on the horizon, we must be prepared to add some days back to the school calendar.

The first day we will add should it become necessary, will be Friday, March 21st, which is scheduled as a professional development day for teachers. Students and staff will have a full day of school that day. If an additional day is required, we will use Friday, May 23rd, which will be a half-day for students and a full day for teachers with professional development activities in the afternoon. Beyond that, should it become necessary, we will add days in June.

Catholic Schools Week is in our rear view mirror and what a week it was. Thank you to all of our parent volunteers who worked at the open house (s), Career Day and the All Sports Pep Rally. Thanks as well to everyone who attended our Reading Nights and the Volleyball Tournament. Our teachers went above and beyond as well, giving their all on the volleyball court, lending their support at the Reading Nights and sharing their classrooms during the Saturday Open House. The windows and hallways were covered with student school work and beautiful art projects and our seventh and eighth graders served as math teachers one afternoon in all of the other classes. (I’ve offered jobs to several students). Mr. T coordinated all of our grade level tournaments in the gym as well as the volleyball games. Students performed well and had fun in the process.

The week began with a beautiful Prayer Service on Monday, with students from grades- 4 to 8 leading the way. The Religion Bee ended with an epic battle between sixth grader Dylan Penafiel and third grader, Sean Swiatek. The final two contestants went back and forth, alternating correct answers, for about twenty minutes! Finally, Dylan prevailed and is congratulated, however, both boys put on an amazing show and have a lot to be proud of. We had a special Mass, offered by Fr. Chris at St. Ann’s on Friday. Our third graders did a great job with the readings and presenting the gifts, which included the Holy Bible to symbolize Faith, a microscope for Knowledge and a globe to highlight Service – the theme for Catholic Schools Week. Mrs. Bernardo had her students well prepared and as usual, the singing was spectacular.

We put our best foot forward at the Open Houses with displays in the gym highlighting the great things going on here at HCA, particularly the schools to which our eighth graders have been accepted. The stars of the week, however, were the members of the HCA Choir. The choir, under the direction of Ms. Campana with help from Mrs. Bernardo, performed at both Open Houses and absolutely rocked the house! Their hard work and dedication as well as their incredible talent provided our prospective families with a wonderful welcome to our school. Well done!

Parent teacher conferences are scheduled for February 12th, from 6:00 to 8:30 PM. After observing conferences in the fall and speaking with teachers and some parents, we will implement the following procedural changes:

The four middle school teachers, Ms. Fusiak, Ms. D’Alto, Ms. Wilms and Ms. Girovasi will meet with parents in the gym. This change will hopefully allow a better flow for middle school parents and cut down on wait time between conferences. Special area teachers will also be in the gym. Teachers at all grade levels will reach out to parents to schedule appointments. Some parents may choose to have a phone conference in lieu of an actual visit. Some parents may feel they will need more time than the ten minutes allotted for each conference. Teachers will schedule a conference with these parents on another day. As in the past, teachers will try to accommodate your schedules and will meet with parents before and after school on other days that week.

All teachers will attend an Archdiocesan professional development day on February 13th. There will be no school for students that day.

There are several upcoming programs and events that we are all looking forward to.

The Physical Education Department (Mr. T) and the National Junior Honor Society, in conjunction with the American Heart Association, will run our Hoops for Hearts Program. The program is designed to raise awareness about the importance of heart-healthy habits, and raise money to help the American Heart Association continue their important work. We will kick-off the program on Friday, February 7th with “Wear Red Day,” for all students and staff. Stay tuned for dates and the program’s particulars.

Ms. Najmi and Ms. LaMastro will coordinate our St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital Math-o-thon. Please check the Virtual Backpack for particulars. An information packet and permission slip will be sent home later this week.

Our Campus Ministry will sponsor a Winter Clothing Drive to benefit Hoboken’s Homeless Shelter and a Food Drive for the Good Council-Right to Life Center at OLG. Students are preparing posters and will be making announcements during AM Assembly and in the classes.

Check the virtual backpack this week and next for more details about all four programs.

Finally, calling all dads, and anyone else who would like to get together with friends to play cards for a good cause. The Home and School Association is sponsoring our first ever, Texas Hold’ Em Tournament on February 28th in the school’s gymnasium. Thanks to Mr. Tennaro and his committee for putting the night together. It is really shaping up to be a great night for all who will participate and a big fundraiser for our school. Please see the details in the virtual backpack. We still need sponsors, players and volunteers to help out that night, so please join us on February 28th for what I’m sure will be great fun and quite profitable if you are one of the lucky ones!

As you can see, there are many great things happening at HCA. Thank you for all of your help and support in making our school the special place that it is. Thank you for sending us such great kids and for working with us to give them the best education we can.

Pray for an early spring!

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal

January 28, 2014
Dear Parents and Guardians,

Catholic Schools Week has arrived! So have our eighth graders’ high school acceptance letters and both are spectacular!

First, thank you to all of our parents who spoke about our school at the Masses on Sunday and those who told our children about their various professions during Career Day on Monday. The kids’ crazy hats and socks are great and the seventh and eighth grade “Math Teachers” have done us all proud.

The rest of the week’s activities should be special as well, and will be highlighted by our two Open Houses on Thursday and Saturday. Thanks to all of our parent and student volunteers for helping us spread the word about our school. The Choir will provide a grand finale to each session and have been working hard in preparation for their performances.

The members of our faculty volleyball team, called “Serve the Lord,” boast some pretty impressive credentials – which I have included. I only hope we play up to the hype. The Family Reading Nights will provide a great opportunity for families to spend time together in the gym to continue to emphasize the importance of reading for pleasure.

Mass on Friday will be moved to 11:00AM to accommodate a 10:00 funeral, so we will adjust the lunch schedule, prior to the All Sports Pep Rally that afternoon.

Thank you all for helping us celebrate Catholic Schools Week and for making our Catholic school the warm and wonderful school that it is.
Now, about those eighth graders - Wow! Our students have been accepted into all of the schools they listed as choices for September.

The schools include St. Peters Prep, Hudson Catholic HS, St. Dominic’s Academy, Paramus Catholic, Xavier (NYC), Notre Dame Academy (NYC), McNair Academic, Queen of Peace, St. Mary’s (Rutherford), and St. Anthony’s High Schools. Students have been awarded just under $50,000 in scholarship money and are testimony to hard work and commitment.

Please join me in congratulating all of our eighth graders, their parents and their teachers, as well as praying for them as they decide on which school to attend. I know that these fantastic young men and women will continue to make us proud, no matter what school they choose.

Finally, as a reminder, please note that the time for re-registration has begun and will run through February 14th. Please refer to our website for details.

Thank you and congratulations to all of our families for choosing Catholic education and Hoboken Catholic Academy in particular. We are indeed blessed to work with your children each day and recognize and appreciate the faith you have placed in us. Together we will continue to make our school the excellent first stop on your child’s educational journey that our eighth graders have demonstrated it to be.

God bless you.

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal

January 15, 2014
Dear Parents and Guardians,

As we prepare for our Catholic Schools Week Celebration we need your help. One of the special activities we have planned is to highlight various careers and to share what our parents do with our students. That will take place on Monday the 27th between 9:00 and 11:00 AM. In the past, this has been done class by class. So, by now, the older students have already learned about the careers of all of their classmates’ parents.

As a result, we are changing the format so that all of our presenters will spend time with several classes in addition to their child’s. This will allow us to avoid redundancy and make sure to expose our students to a wide range of career options.

This is where you come in. We have a couple of presenters lined up, but we still need some more moms and dads to join us to talk about their careers with our students. We need our presenters to rotate through four to six 20 minute sessions. This will be determined by the number of parents who sign-up. In each setting parents will tell the students what they do, describe what their job entails, talk about the education needed for the job, share some anecdotes and answer student questions.

If you are able to join us on the 27th, please email the school at info@hobokencatholic.org by Tuesday, January 21, 2014 so we can set up a schedule. This is a great opportunity for our students to learn about different careers they may wish to one day pursue, and the importance of doing well in school to provide them the opportunity to do so.

We have added some specialty days for Catholic Schools Week as well.

Monday will be “Pajama Day,” for students in grades PK-3 and a “School Color Dress Down Day” for students in grades 4-8 and all staff.

Tuesday will be “Crazy Hat and Socks Day,” for all students and staff.

Wednesday will be “Sports Jersey or Shirt Day” for all students and staff.

Thursday is “Open House Day,” so students must be in uniform. Parents are cordially invited to visit with us for the Open House. The Choir will perform at 11:30.

Friday will have Mass in the morning and an “All Sports Pep Rally” in the afternoon. All students on a team should wear their uniform shirt that day. The rest of the students should wear their school uniforms.

Saturday will bring our final Open House. Student guides and choir members should dress in their school uniforms. Community service hours will be awarded to any student volunteers needing them. All parents are welcome to attend. The Choir will perform at 11:30.

Finally, over the course of a school year, a number of children transfer out of our school. This year has been no exception. When a child transfers before the full tuition is paid, the shortfall in projected revenue poses a serious problem. We are able to recoup some of the money through the withdrawal fee, but because of the way the placement fee ($500.00 for new students and $150.00 for returning students) is currently applied to tuition payments, parents who remove their children at some point during the school year recoup some or all of that money. As a result, the term “non-refundable,” is not accurate.

As a result, we will change our procedures as follows:

Placement fees will be refunded as a “tuition rebate” via check in June, should the final tuition payment in April be made. If a child transfers prior to April 20th, the placement fee will not be refunded.

In addition, there will be no tuition refunded if a student transfers after December 31st. Currently the date is March 31st.

These two changes will help us better manage our finances and help keep our tuition rates from increasing beyond the current pace.

As always, thank you for your continued support. Thank you for choosing Catholic education and for choosing Hoboken Catholic Academy.

May God bless you and your beautiful children.

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal

January 8, 2014
Dear Parents and Guardians,

Happy New Year! I hope that you had a wonderful Christmas and were able to spend time relaxing with family and friends.

A heart felt thank you goes out to everyone who participated in the Student Council’s Christmas Phone Cards for Troops Program. We sold 739 phone cards and have sent them to Afghanistan through the USO. I want to congratulate Mrs. Ferrara’s and Miss Gravina’s classes for selling the most cards. They each sold 221 cards! Both classes will be treated to a pizza party later this month for their efforts. In fact, two students in particular, with the help of their parents accounted for over 400 of those cards! A special thank you goes to Teagan and Charlie O’Connell in the PK4 and kindergarten classes respectively, and their parents, Julianne and John for helping to make this program so successful. In addition to helping to make things a little better for our brave soldiers, we raised over $1,400 for our school. Outstanding!

Now that we have returned to school, the weather has not treated us too well. With our first snow day and bone chilling temperatures during our first week back we are all counting the days until spring. Our kids are great. The cold weather outside has done nothing to slow them down in their classes. Everyone has settled into their academic routines and students are working hard. We are nearing the mid-point of the second trimester and Progress reports will be going out on January 17th.

Our Title I after school program through the Catapult Learning in the areas of reading and math will begin on January 13th. Catapult has hired our own teachers to work with the children so I am sure the program will be beneficial to all who will participate.

I am also pleased to announce that the second phase of our afterschool remedial program will also begin shortly. The “Prep Connection” will serve students identified for remedial support by their teachers who are not eligible for the Title I program. Students from the Ignatian Scholars Program at St. Peters Prep will join us after school to help our students in reading and math. Ms. Najmi, our math support teacher, will oversee the program, and work closely with our classroom teachers in providing materials and assignments for the tutors to utilize with our students.

Catholic Schools Week will run from Sunday, January 26 to Saturday, February 1st. We will host two open houses during Catholic Schools Week on Thursday, January 30th and Saturday, February 1st, both from 10:00AM to 12:00PM and invite all to attend. We will accept applications for new students at that time and prospective parents will be able to visit with us as we celebrate our Catholic School heritage. Our Choir, under Ms. Campana’s direction, will perform on both days and our wonderful older students will serve as tour guides. As you can see in the schedule of activities for the week included in the virtual backpack, there will be much going on and much to celebrate during Catholic Schools Week!

Thank you for your continued support of our school and for choosing Catholic Education for your children. God bless you all.

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal

December 18, 2013
Dear Parents/Guardians,

December has been a great month at Hoboken Catholic Academy, except for the weather. Not only did we have our first two bouts of snow, we have experienced some very cold days and nights. One night in particular was terribly cold. Unfortunately, it was the night of our evening Christmas Concert. Parents and guests had to stand outside too long before we opened the doors for the concert. For that I am very sorry.

The children performed beautifully at the concert, but I think we can do a better job when the program ends in connecting children with their parents to go home.

Obviously I can’t undue what happened that evening, but moving forward there will be changes. First, if students are directed to be here at 6:30, parents and guests will be admitted at 6:35. Those times will be made known in advance so people can plan accordingly. Next, we will come up with a plan to make the end of the evening more orderly, allowing for a better, more organized exit. We have already discussed some options and I am certain that things will be better in the future.

The last day for students before Christmas recess will be a half-day on Monday, December 23rd. Students are invited to dress down that day and are welcome to wear red or green. Remember to encourage your children to read over the break. The minutes count triple during vacation time! We will distribute the January Reading calendars after the break, so students should include their minutes for January 1st on the December calendar.

When we return in January, we will attend First Friday Mass on January 3rd, at St. Ann’s Church at 10:00AM. Students will have a half-day of school and the teachers will take part in professional development training. On Monday, January 6th, third grader, Vito Zarrillo, will be “Principal for a Day!” Mr. Zarrillo, as he will be called that day, won this honor at the PTA’s Silent Auction last spring. He will shadow me throughout the day and assume many of my daily responsibilities. I sure hope he doesn’t make too many changes.

Catholic Schools Week will begin on Sunday, January 26th and conclude with an Open House on Saturday, February 1st. A number of activities are planned and we will highlight what makes our Catholic School special. Stay tuned!

When the calendar begins to roll into the New Year, the business end of Catholic education takes center stage as well. The application process for the 2014-2015 school year will begin the week following Christmas, when parishioners from our sponsoring parishes will be to apply for the first time. Applications for siblings of current students will be accepted at this time as well and will likewise be given priority status. The forms will be available on our website starting on December 26th and the application timeline will be spelled out as well. The window for parishioner and sibling priority application closes on Friday, January 24th. If application is received after that date they will no longer have priority status. Non-parishioners can begin the application process during Catholic Schools Week, starting on January 26th.

Re-registration forms for current students will be sent home during the week of January 13th and the deadline for re-registration will be February 14th.

Please note that the deadlines are steadfast and will be strictly adhered to. If a current student is re-registered after the February 14th deadline we cannot guarantee placement.

The tuition rate for the upcoming school year will increase across the board by 4%. That equates to a $198 increase for parishioners with one child and a $236 increase for non-parishioners. The rate change is necessary to keep pace with increases in salaries, health benefit costs and other operating expenses. We will continue to include the parishioner discount as well as the multiple child discount for parishioners, for the 2014-2015 school year. As you are aware, tuitions cover just under 85% of our total per-pupil costs and we rely on fundraising and contributions to make up the difference. The Home and School Association has done a phenomenal job in the past and I thank all of you for supporting all of our fundraising activities thus far and in advance for continuing your support in the future.

Finally, on behalf of the faculty and staff at Hoboken Catholic Academy, please accept my best wishes for a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year. As always, thank you for sharing your children with us and for making our school the wonderful place that it is.

God bless you.

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal

December 4, 2013
Dear Parents/Guardians,

December is here and the classes are busily preparing for their Christmas programs. The Home and School Association is working hard on a couple of fronts as well. Breakfast with Santa and the Holiday Shop are less than two weeks away and the Scrip program is beginning to take flight. Please keep us in mind if you give store gift cards as Christmas gifts. Remember, if you purchase them through our Home and School Association, you will help us raise money for our school without spending any more than the face value of the gift card!

Speaking of gift cards, the Student Council’s “Christmas Gift Cards for Troops Program” has gotten an outstanding response thus far. Thanks to all who have taken part in the program. Our school’s contribution will be made through the USO and their “Operation Phone Home.” Please know that it is not too late to help us reach our goal of 1000 cards. The order forms can be printed from our website and the program will run through December 16th. In addition, the HSA will have tables set up in the gym at each of the concerts, and Breakfast with Santa for people to purchase gift cards and phone cards for our soldiers.

Throughout the year we have tried to limit the amount of paper we send home and have made excellent progress in this area. Over the last few weeks, however, we have sent home a number of flyers about our various fundraising activities and our upcoming concerts and events. To make matters worse, we have sent home a number of items all at once. Unfortunately, because of Thanksgiving being so late in the month and the dates the various events were scheduled in December, it was necessary to send things out together. I apologize for any inconvenience the volume of printed materials sent home as of late has caused and assure you that we will take great care in scheduling events in the future. Hopefully, with Thanksgiving a week earlier next year and some better planning we can avoid the rush of paper you have endured lately.

As you are aware, because of limited seating and adherence to the Fire Code, the number of tickets parents can purchase to the three Christmas concerts is limited. It is imperative that you bring your ticket with you for entry to each event. The number of tickets provided allows for the maximum number of people in the gym to be in compliance with the City of Hoboken Fire Code. If we have any additional people in attendance we will be in violation of the code and subject to a hefty fine and the Fire Department officials shutting down the program, not to mention putting everyone in the gym, including the children, at risk. I will not allow this to occur. Consequently, anyone who has purchased a ticket but does not have it with them will have to wait to be seated until all of those holding tickets have been admitted. Please know that our goal is not to inconvenience anyone, but rather to insure that all parents have an opportunity to enjoy our programs and that our children and everyone else who enters this school is safe.

Thank you in advance for helping to make our concerts and HSA sponsored programs wonderful memories for you and your children. Thanks as well for helping to keep our children safe.

God bless you.

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal

November 27, 2013
Dear Parents/Guardians,

As you are aware, we are blessed with outstanding eighth grade students who have become an integral part of our pre-schoolers’ lives here at Hoboken Catholic. Since September our oldest students start each day by walking our little ones to their classes and spending time with them as they settle in for the day. On days we can’t use the gym for lunch, the eighth graders assist the cafeteria staff in delivering lunches to the Pre-K classrooms. It has been a great thing to see and I could not be prouder of our “big kids!”

We will continue to foster those special connections between students. The next installment should also help some of our parents, particularly on the cold winter mornings that will no doubt confront us in the months ahead.

As you know, I greet Kindergarten through grade 8 students each morning when they enter the building on 7th Street. I also wave to some pre-schoolers who continue past that entrance with their parents on their way around the building to the courtyard entrance. I’d like to implement a change that will allow pre-K students to enter the building through the gym entrance as well, by having our outstanding seventh grade students walk them to class.

Over the next several days, like we did with the eighth graders, the seventh grade students will spend some time in the pre-K classes so the little ones get to know them. Starting on Monday, December 9th, the seventh graders will join me in the hallway outside the gym each morning. Parents of preschool students who first drop off an older sibling at the gym entrance or who just walk that way to school will now have the option of dropping off their four year old at the 7th Street entrance where our seventh graders will greet them, then escort them to their class.

In addition, to help keep our youngest students out of the cold, parents of three-year-old students who drop off an older student will be permitted to enter the building at the gym entrance as well and walk with their child, through the building, to Mrs. Foley’s class.

Thanks in advance for your patience as we work through these changes.

Thank you to all of our families who have purchased ATT phone cards for our brave soldiers serving in Afghanistan through the HCA Student Council’s “Christmas Phone Cards for Troops Program”. I am thrilled to report that we have sold over 300 cards so far, with two weeks still to go. It is certainly not too late to take part. Remember, the class who buys the most cards wins a pizza party! More importantly, however, it is a great way to say “thank you” to the men and women who protect us and keep us safe.

Keep reading. This holiday weekend also brings November to a close. Our students have gotten off to a great start in the Million Minutes of Reading Challenge and they are well on their way to meeting our goal. November calendars will be collected on Monday and the minutes will be tabulated next week. December calendars will come home today. Please remind your children that minutes read this weekend count as “triple minutes,” so when they get tired of turkey and football, a good book is a great option.

Finally, on behalf of the teachers and staff at Hoboken Catholic Academy, please accept my sincerest best wishes for a wonderful, blessed Thanksgiving. As I have said many times, we are all blessed to be able to spend each day with your children. Thank you for sharing them with us and for all of your support.

May God bless you all!

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal

November 20, 2013
Dear Parents/Guardians,

As I’m sure you know by now, I sent out a Honeywell phone message yesterday alerting you to the road closures that will impact our school over the next couple of days. In addition to the corner work that will be done now, in the spring, Madison Street will be repaved. I will provide information in advance of the start date when it becomes available to me. I suspect that notification will come sometime in March. In the meantime, please keep in mind that 7th St. will be closed on Thursday and Friday from 8:30 AM to 2:45 PM, so you can make any adjustments to your routine that are necessary as a result.

Thank you for those of you who have contributed to the Student Council food drive. Twelve large boxes of food have been collected and will be given to a local food pantry. Thank you for helping our students know that as Catholic’s we are expected to help those less fortunate than ourselves and that collectively we can do great things.

Thank you as well to those of you who have already taken part in our Christmas Phone Cards for Troops Program. The Student Council, under the direction of Ms. Wilms, has taken on this worthwhile project and hopes to send 1000 ATT Phone Cards to our brave service men and women serving in Afghanistan. If you have not done so already, please take a look at the information and order form located on our Student Council Link, and in the Virtual Backpack on our Home Page. We encourage you to do what you can to support this worthwhile program.

I know I don’t have to remind you that Thanksgiving is just a week away and Christmas is right around the corner. What I would like to do, however is remind you of all of the wonderful programs the holidays will bring to our school. First, our Pre-K and kindergarten classes will present their Thanksgiving Assembly Program on Tuesday, November 26th at 9:00 AM. Parents are cordially invited to attend. Because of the limited seating capacity in the gym, each family will be able to purchase 2 tickets, at $3.00 each, for the event.

Students will pause on Wednesday the 27th for a Thanksgiving Prayer Service during our AM Assembly to thank God for the many blessings we enjoy. Wednesday will be a half day of school to begin the long Thanksgiving weekend.

In December, we will have three Christmas Programs. The Pre-K program will take place at 10:00 AM in the gym on Tuesday, December 10th. The Kindergarten through grade two program will be on Wednesday the 11th, also at 10:00 AM. The program, featuring students in grades three to eight will take place on Thursday evening, December 12th at 7:00 PM. Tickets for each of the Christmas programs will be $2.00. Because of seating capacity guidelines and the number of students in each program, the number of tickets available for each child will be 5 for the Pre-K Program and 3 for both the K-2 and 3-8 programs.

The Home and School Association’s Santa Breakfast will take place on Sunday the 15th and run from 10:00AM through 1:00 PM and the Holiday Shop will begin at the breakfast and run through 12:00 PM on Wednesday, the 18th. The Home and School Association will provide more information about these events in the weeks ahead.

Finally, the last pieces of the puzzle in the aftermath of Super Storm Sandy should be filled in over the next few weeks. The curtains for the stage have been ordered and we are hopeful that they will be in place prior to the Christmas programs. Padding on the corner of the PE/Music Office in the gym has been installed and the adjustable backboards needed for the JV and freshman basketball teams are here and are being assembled as I write this letter. The new sound system for the gym has been ordered and should be in place for the Christmas programs as well.

As you can tell, it’s easy to get caught up in all of the stuff that fills our days. It’s easy, sometimes to loose sight of what is really important. As we inch closer to Thanksgiving and the wonderful Christmas season, please take the time to enjoy your children and join us in being thankful for all of the blessings God has provided. We are all blessed to be part of the Hoboken Catholic Academy family and I thank all of you for your continued support.

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal

November 13, 2013
Dear Parents/Guardians,

We have completed our first month in the 1,000,000 Minutes of Reading Challenge and the results are fantastic! The class and school-wide totals have been shared with the students during our AM Assembly on Wednesday. The children read a total of 178,497 minutes in October! A large “Reading Thermometer,” stretching almost to the ceiling in the gym will be used to track our progress each month toward our 1,000,000-minute goal. We congratulate the students in Ms. Girovasi’s sixth grade class for the highest per pupil average – 48 minutes per day –outstanding! Not to be outdone, Ms. Wilm’s seventh graders averaged 37 minutes per night and Mrs. Bernardo’s third grade class came in at 33 minutes per pupil, per day. In fact, our third graders had the highest minute total at 32,047. Rounding out the top four classes, congratulations to Mrs. Fasanella’s fourth graders for reading an average of 25 minutes per day.

I am proud of all of our students and I have included a class-by-class breakdown on our website and encourage them to keep the momentum going. The sky is indeed the limit! Thanks go out to Mrs. Cabrera and Miss Najmi for compiling all of the minutes. Thanks as well to Mrs. Albunia and Mr. Francisco for getting the thermometer up on the gym wall. Most importantly, thanks to all of you for emphasizing reading at home. Together we can help develop life-long readers and provide our children with the best opportunity for success.

On another note, we have been notified by the City of Hoboken that corner and road work has been scheduled that will impact our school’s arrival and departure access. The scope of the work includes several streets in the area, with a section of Madison Street, from 5th to 8th, impacting us directly. The concrete work on the corners is tentatively scheduled to start during the week of November 18th. Each of the corner sections will be removed and replaced. The street will also be milled and repaved. During the time crews are working on the corners and the street, the road will be closed to traffic. As soon as a more specific timeline is established and more details are available, I will let you know.

Lifetouch, our school picture company, was here yesterday for individual retakes. As I’m sure you are aware, the class photos that were sent home previously have our school’s name as Hoboken Catholic School. In addition, several of the pictures were not of good quality, with the students in the front row awash in light. As a result, Lifetouch will redo our class pictures for all classes from PreK3 through grade 6. The seventh and eighth grade class pictures were of fine quality and will be reprinted with the correct school name. The new date for class picture retakes is Wednesday, November 20th. Children in grades Pk3-Gr. 6 should wear their uniforms that day and bring gym clothes to change into if they are scheduled for gym on Wednesday. Naturally, there will be no additional cost to you.

Thank you to all of the families who have begun using the Scrip program to purchase gift cards from us. We are working through some procedural issues to align the program with our Archdiocesan bookkeeping requirements. Thanks to Mrs. Maglia and Mrs. Samuelson for their hard work and patience as we work out all the kinks. In the meantime, please continue to purchase gift cards for grocery and holiday shopping and we will keep you posted if there are any procedural changes.

Finally, I have attached the information regarding our Student Council’s “Christmas Phone Cards for Troops” initiative. Please support this worthwhile endeavor to say thank you to our brave service men and women on deployment in Afghanistan, while raising funds for our school.

As always, we thank God for the many blessings He has provided us, especially the opportunity to work with your children.

Have a great week!

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal

November 6, 2013
Dear Parents/Guardians,

I am happy to inform you that we will reinstitute our Youth Ministry Program for 6th, 7th and 8th grade students, on Wednesdays after school, beginning on November 20, 2013. Sign-up information will be shared with the students shortly and a summary of what the program will entail will also be provided.

We are blessed to have two first year seminarians who will oversee the program this year. The two young men, Mr. Phillip Micele and Mr. Sebastian Valencia, are preparing for the priesthood at the Immaculate Conception Seminary at Seton Hall University and have been assigned to work with Fr. Alex at Our Lady of Grace Church, one day per week. Fr. Alex has graciously agreed to have them work with our students as part of their program. Mr. Micele and Mr. Valencia will work closely with the middle school teachers and myself to plan and deliver a program that promotes spirituality and service to reinforce the Catholic values learned in your homes and here at Hoboken Catholic Academy.

Mr. Phillip Micele grew up in Westfield, NJ and attended Westfield High School. He graduated from Boston College with a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and Theology before entering the Immaculate Conception Seminary at Seton Hall University. Mr. Micele, a Yankee and NY Giant fan, is excited to be part of our school. As a wonderful aside, Mr. Micele had the distinction of being on the altar during yesterday’s Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark, to welcome Archbishop Hebda to our diocese. In fact, Archbishop Myers made a point to thank the seminarians for their participation in the Mass and it was great to see Mr. Micele in such a prominent role.

Mr. Sebastian Valencia is a native of Antioquia, Columbia. As a high school senior, Mr. Valencia became involved with a program through the Seminary of Medellin. Through that program and contacts he made there he began his relationship with the Archdiocese of Newark. He then attended Saint Andrew’s College Seminary in Colombia, where he earned his Bachelor’s degree in Catholic Theology. Upon graduation, he came to New Jersey to begin his formal training at the Immaculate Conception Seminary. Mr. Valencia is congratulated as well for his participation in yesterday’s celebration in Newark. He served on the altar as well as a torch bearer.

Both men have met with the teachers and students and are anxious to share their experiences with our students and to work with our teachers and myself to help us provide an outstanding Youth Ministry Program. Please join me in welcoming them to our school community.

As you are aware, our Student Council is in the midst of a food drive, coordinated through Catholic Charities, to support our local food pantries. Thank you to all who have sent in food thus far and thanks in advance for those who will in the future. The drive will go on through November 22nd and we encourage everyone to participate in this worthwhile endeavor.

The Student Council’s next project is one I am particularly excited about.

Our nation is blessed with brave men and women who leave their families and go into harms way without reservation to keep us safe and protect our democratic way of life. Many service men and women serve in hostile lands that are far away and unfortunately for many of us, out of mind as well. It is important for our children to know about the sacrifices our service men and women make on our behalf and the impact their deployments have on their families.

Therefore we will honor our brave soldiers and thank them for keeping us safe by giving them an opportunity to get a little closer to home for the holidays. Our student council, under the direction of Ms. Wilms will collect phone cards to be sent to our brave soldiers serving in Afghanistan, just in time for Christmas. Each 125- minute ATT phone card can be purchased through our school’s Scrip Program at a cost of $9.50 per card. Because the cards will be purchased through us, the school will receive 20% of the cost of each card from ATT. So in addition to doing something great for our brave soldiers, we will raise money for your school! More information will be coming your way shortly.

Finally, thanks to Mrs. Perry and the students who were interviewed last week on Pix 11 on the anniversary of Super Storm Sandy. Both Mrs. Perry and eighth grader Frank Corrado did a great job in answering Ms. Castro’s questions. Thanks to students Olivia Maryanski and Calvin Flett, PK3 Teacher, Eileen Foley, HSA President, Monica De Falco, and parents Roger Corrado and Mr. Flett for being on hand that morning as well.

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal

October 30, 2013
Dear Parents/Guardians,

The air is getting cooler, the days are getting shorter and we are down to the final game or two of the World Series. It could mean only one thing. Fall is in full swing and as much as we want to cling to the last remnants of summer, it’s time to put the kid’s uniform shorts away until the spring! So, starting Monday, November 4th all students must be dressed in winter uniforms and may wear HCA sweat pants on gym days. Thanks in advance for convincing your children that they have to put the shorts away until next spring.

I have been asked to clarify some misconceptions about the upcoming blessing of First Communion, for second graders and Confirmation for eighth graders. As you know, we are a co-sponsored Catholic School. The parishes of St. Ann’s, Ss Peter and Paul, St. Francis, Our Lady of Grace/St. Josephs and St. Lawrence in Weehawken sponsor our school. Our second, graders, as part of our religion classes, are taught about the blessed sacraments of First Penance and First Holy Eucharist, and our older students prepare for Confirmation. Neither group, however, will receive these sacraments in the spring as a group at Hoboken Catholic Academy. Most will receive the sacraments as part of the group from their home parish at their parish church. I say most, because Confirmation can take place in either eighth or ninth grade, depending on the parish.

As a result, parents must make certain that they are registered parishioners, attend Mass on Sundays and make regular contributions via check or electronically to their respective church. The same holds true for parishioners of other parishes not included in the co-sponsorship. Parents should contact their parish office for details about the First Holy Communion or Confirmation programs at their church. Please know, however, we will work with the parishes to insure that our students are prepared for these wonderful milestones in their lives and like you are thrilled to be part of the process.

Each year we are required to conduct one fire drill and one school safety drill per month. Thus far we have completed two fire drills and two “lock-down” drills and the students have performed perfectly each time. We will continue to emphasize student safety and as required, will conduct these drills monthly.

In another way we work together to keep our children safe, our teachers will conduct lessons from the Archdiocesan program “Touching Safety,” on November 25th and 26th. An overview of the program for grades K-8 is included today in the Virtual Backpack. The program is designed to help students understand the difference between appropriate and inappropriate touching in an effort to prevent sexual abuse. Because some parents may wish to not have their child take part in this two-day program, we have provided an “opt out” form to be printed from the virtual backpack. After printing the form at home, parents must sign the form and return it to school. If we do not receive your request to exclude your child, he or she will take part in the classes along with the other students. As stated earlier, the program will be taught on November 25th and 26th in religion class.

Finally, we are required to provide annual notification that we are in compliance with the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA). What that simply means is that an initial inspection for the presence of asbestos containing materials was completed in the past and an Asbestos Management Plan was developed and is on file. It is available for review in the school office. As required by the US Environmental Protection Agency additional inspections every six months are conducted by properly accredited staff of the Archdiocese of Newark. Particularly in light of all of the work done in our school over the last few months, please know that we are in complete compliance.

As always, thank you, and may God bless you for your continued support.

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal

October 25, 2013
Dear Parents/Guardians,

Happy Halloween!

Parents of students in Pre K and Kindergarten are cordially invited to attend their child’s Halloween Parade in our gymnasium on Thursday, October 31st at 10:00 AM.

Parents of students in grades 1-5 are invited to the gym at 1:00PM for their child’s Halloween parade.

Chairs for parents will be set up around the perimeter of the gym and at 10:00 AM the little ones will circle the gym, just inside the thick red line surrounding the basketball court. We have invited our sixth; seventh and eighth grade students to enjoy the show as well and they will be seated in the bleachers. I know the eighth graders are anxious to see their little friends from the PK classes in costume and I’m sure there will be plenty of smiles all around. At the conclusion of the parade, parents will be asked to exit through the gym doors on 7th Street while the children return to their rooms for their class parties.

After the condensed lunch periods, students in grades 1-5 will have their parade in the gym. The parade will take place at 1:00 and like earlier in the day, 6th, 7th and 8th graders will watch the parade from the bleachers and parents will be seated around the perimeter of the gym. At the conclusion of the parade, parents will exit through the gym doors onto 7th Street and all of the students will head to their classes for their class parties.

Thanks in advance to the class moms for taking care of all of the preparations and for setting up for the class parties. To say that the children are excited would be an understatement!

Remember, parents are not permitted to go to the classrooms and no parent may leave with their child from the gym. If you wish to take your child home, and I hope you don’t, he or she must be signed out in the office.

All students will be dismissed at the regular time.

Finally, when you take your children trick-or treating, please be safe. You will be in my prayers.

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal

October 23, 2013
Dear Parents/Guardians,

The Golf Outing was a smash hit! Sixty-eight golfers enjoyed a perfect autumn day, a friendly course, good food and some great prizes. Donna Casper is amazing. For the last six years she has run the golf outing and this year’s addition was perfect. Sadly, this was Donna’s swan song as the chairperson as she will move on when her son graduates in the spring. I will not embarrass her – yet, by speaking about all that she does around here and how much she will be missed – but I will at some point. For now, however, I’ll just thank Donna, along with Mike Tenaro and Roger Corrado, who assisted her, for doing such a great job. Mike will take over next year as the chairperson and certainly has big shoes to fill. Thanks to all who participated, contributed and/or worked behind the scenes to make this year’s event so successful.

The first major fundraiser is in the books and we are off to a great start.

Speaking of fundraising, few words cause such dread and consternation for the parents of school age children as this one. Yet for those of us in Catholic schools, fundraising is a necessary evil. You see, unlike our counterparts in public school, our fundraising does not just provide extras. Our fundraising dollars become part of our operating budget and are necessary to keep our tuition rates from rising higher than they already are. The leadership of the Home and School Association and I met over the summer to plan the fund raising activities for the year. They shared with me that parents have been frustrated over the years with fundraising flyers coming home almost weekly. We agreed at that time to focus on big-ticket fundraisers and hopefully limit some of the smaller ones throughout the school year.

As a result, thanks to Carrie Gallaway-Maglia’s hard work and perseverance we have enrolled in the Great Lakes Scrips Program. The HSA has sent out information about the program and the class moms have been brought up to speed at their organizational meeting last week. They will be reaching out to all of you to hopefully bring you onboard as well. Please read what Carrie has posted on the HSA webpage and take the time to get to understand how the program works.

You see, the Scrips Program has the potential to generate tens of thousands of dollars for our school, thus eliminating the need for some of the smaller fundraisers. The best part is that we can generate a tremendous amount of money without having any of you spend an additional dime for fundraising. All we have to do is shop for groceries like we always do. The only added step is to purchase gift cards from our school to do so. That’s it. It’s that simple.

Both Shoprite and A&P are participants. Whole Foods is also part of the program. If you shop at any of these stores you can participate without having to buy candy, wrapping paper or whatever else we have sold in the past.

This next part is what sold me!

We have 200 families here at HCA. Assuming that those 200 families eat, clean their homes, store things and do so each week, they probably spend $150-$200 per week at the Shoprite, A&P, and/or Whole Foods. If those 200 families participate in our Scrips program and purchase their supermarket gift cards for these stores from us, and do so for 30 weeks ……. here it comes ……. we will generate between $36,000 and $48,000 of profit for Hoboken Catholic Academy! If those same families participate for 40 weeks, we will see a profit of between $48,000 and $64,000!

You see Shoprite and A&P will pay us 4% of the total sales from cards purchased through us. We will see 3% from Whole Foods. You do not have to make a donation. You do not have to buy anything from us. Your children do not have to go to your neighbors and your relatives, hawking wrapping paper or other items. All you have to do is what you will do any way- shop for groceries.

Please give it a try. Check the website to see how to purchase cards. We have provided two options. Do not hesitate to contact Carrie Gallaway - Maglia or Laura Samuelson at the numbers listed there if you have any questions.

As you will see on the order form there are a number of other participating stores, and you can certainly purchase cards through us for any or all of them. We will make money from any participating store. The big money, however, will be generated by weekly purchases at the supermarkets.

Once we get this phase off the ground, the HSA will include gift card purchases for the holidays for a whole range of popular stores. We will receive a higher percentage from some of the popular clothing and accessories stores (as high as 18%) so we will certainly encourage their use.

Thank you to Monica DeFalco, Carrie Gallaway-Maglia and the other HSA officers, Julianne O’Connell, Donna Casper and Shannon Swaitek for their hard work in getting us off to a great start this year. Thanks as well to all of the class moms for giving their time to make this year special for our students. Finally, thanks to all of you in advance, for turning the Great Lakes Scrips Program into a major fundraiser for our school. The potential for this program is awesome.

As we transition into this new program, we will continue to take part in some of the traditional fund raising activities that have been successful in the past. By the time you read this letter, the Kidstuff Coupon Books will most likely already have gone home with your children. They are loaded with coupons for many of the things we do with our children and as the flyer indicates, using just a few coupons will allow you to recoup the cost of the book. Please consider purchasing the book. The more we sell, the more money we generate for HCA. Remember, if you choose not to purchase the Kidstuff Coupon Book, please return it to school so we can return it to the company.

Thanks in advance for your attendance at our Parent/Teacher conferences. We are at the midpoint of the first trimester and your children are working hard on their studies. The partnership between home and school is critical to your child’s success in school. We take it as seriously as you do and value the opportunity to meet and discuss your child’s progress. Please continue to take an active role in your child’s schooling. Stay abreast of what is going on at school through our website. Reach out to your child’s teacher should the need arise. Get involved with the HSA and participate in our fundraisers. If you are able, please join us at Mass on First Fridays at St. Ann’s and for the Living Rosary on October 29th, also at St. Ann’s. There is something that is quite wonderful about the sound of children singing in church. It will be worth the effort to join us if you can.

There is a lot going on at Hoboken Catholic. We thank you for your support and your patience as we roll out new programs. We thank you as well for sharing your beautiful children with us.

God bless you.

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal

October 16, 2013
Dear Parents/Guardians,

On Friday, October 11th, we were blessed to have Bishop Donato celebrate Mass for our kindergarten through grade 8 students at St. Ann’s Church. Fr. Remo assisted the Bishop and our students were outstanding. Ms. Wilms and her seventh grade students planned our involvement and everyone performed beautifully. Our chorus, under the direction of Ms. Campana, led the student body in singing all of the songs and responses. The music was great and our students could not have been better. You should all be proud of their efforts. I certainly am!

As you are aware, progress reports for the first trimester were supposed to be sent home today. Unfortunately, we have encountered a minor technical glitch with the reporting program that has delayed the process. We have worked through the difficulty and the reports will be sent out on Tuesday, October 22nd. I apologize for the delay and thank you for your patience.

As we approach the midpoint of the first trimester a number of parents have asked about the possibility of instituting an afterschool, tutoring program here at Hoboken Catholic Academy.

I am happy to report that we will begin a multilevel program shortly, beginning with students who are Hoboken residents in the areas of language arts, reading and mathematics. We are able to provide this service using Title I funds for non-public schools from the NCLB Grant, which is administered by the Hoboken Board of Education. Because of this funding source we are limited in who can receive services through this program. Our Title I Afterschool Program will be administered by Catapult, the same company that delivers our supplemental and basic skills programs during the school day.

Over the next few days, teachers will contact parents whose children are eligible for the program. We will create a schedule and begin the afterschool sessions as soon as we finalize numbers and Catapult provides the teachers to staff the program. Because the funding is provided there will be no cost to parents.

For students, not eligible for this program because they are not Hoboken residents, we will institute another tutoring program, utilizing gifted high school and college students under the direction of our staff. The logistics of that program are being worked out and more information will be forthcoming. We hope to have both programs up and running in early November.

Finally, as the days get shorter and the leaves begin to fall we need to remind our children to be extra vigilant while crossing streets and playing outside in the late afternoon. Wet leaves can be slippery and as it gets darker earlier, motorists will have a tougher time stopping and seeing little ones crossing streets. Our teachers will reinforce your teachings in class and together we will help to keep our children safe.

Lets have a great week!

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal

October 9, 2013
Dear Parents/Guardians,

I am happy to announce that the plumbers have completed the repairs (which were minimal) to the heat and hot water pipes in the gym. We have heat and running water to the office bathrooms. Thanks for your patience and understanding during the days the gym was not available.

We thank Fr. Alex for visiting with our PK through grade 3 students last Thursday to bless their stuffed animals and pictures of their pets, in celebration of the Feast of St. Francis. It was wonderful to see the children’s enthusiastic response to all of Fr. Alex’s questions and how pleased he was to be with our students.

Last Friday, October 4th, was a beautiful autumn day and marked the Feast of St. Francis. Our students in grades 4-8 walked over to St. Francis Church where Fr. Chris celebrated Mass for us. The Mass was beautiful and the children did a great job with the music and with the parts of the Mass. Thank you for helping them understand the importance the Holy Mass as well as regular attendance each Sunday. Thank you as well for helping them understand the important role saints like St. Francis have played in helping to define our faith. Our teachers reinforce these teachings every day and did a great job in setting up the Mass, preparing our readers and alter servers and rehearsing the songs. The traditions of our faith learned at HCA will travel with our children for the rest of their lives. It is a pleasure to witness the journey.

Please be reminded that the annual HCA Golf Outing is scheduled for October 18th at the Meadows Golf Club in Lincoln Park, NJ. There is still time to register to play or sponsor a hole. If you are interested in donating a prize for the Awards Dinner, please contact Donna Casper in the school office at (201) 963-9535. Also, please return the sold 50-50 chances sent home to each family, along with the money in a clearly labeled envelope to the school office. Remember, the Golf Outing is the first major fundraiser for the year and a solid showing that day will set the tone for a great year!

We are anxious to welcome Bishop Donato to St. Ann’s Church this coming Friday at 10:00 for Holy Mass. Students in grades K-8 will attend and parents are welcome to join us.

The annual Halloween celebration will take place on Thursday, October 31st. Students in grades PK through grade 5 will be permitted to wear costumes that day. We are requesting that each child who participates contribute $2.00 to the school. Middle school students in grades 6-7 & 8 will be permitted to “dress down” that day as well, and are encouraged to wear orange and black –but no costumes, for the $2 Dress Down Fee.

Pre-K classes will have their party during their morning snack time so we do not exclude the little ones who leave at noon. Before lunch, they will march around the first floor in costume for the older students to see as they stand in the hallway outside their classes. After lunch, the students in grades 6-7 & 8 will be seated in the center of the gym, to watch the students in grades K-5 parade around them in their costumes. All students in grades K-8 will then return to their classes for their Halloween parties. Thanks to all who have volunteered to be class moms for your hard work in coordinating the Halloween parties with the classroom teachers.

Finally, thank you to all of our parents for remembering to check the virtual backpack each week. We have estimated that through our paperless efforts we will not send over 120,000 pieces of paper home this year! As the students’ Green Apple Day posters and projects remind us, we are all responsible to protect our world for future generations. We are off to a great start!

God bless you and your families. Have a great week!

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal

October 4, 2013
Dear Parents/Guardians,

In preparation for the heating season, plumbers will be in our school today and tomorrow to test the lines for the heating units in the gym. As you know, all of the lines throughout the rest of the building have been tested and repaired as needed and are all, good to go. The gym is the final area to be tested. Should there need to be any repairs, students will not use the gym for a few days until the repairs are complete. As a result we will not have AM Assembly in the gym and PE classes will be held in the inner courtyard or the classrooms if it rains. Students will eat lunch in their classrooms, but will have recess as usual. Volleyball practice will be cancelled for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday next week, and Mr. Tallerida will keep the coaches and players informed should we be able to get back into the gym any sooner.

Thank you in advance for your understanding as we make the necessary adjustments to complete this test and any necessary repairs prior to the start of the heating season.

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal

October 2, 2013
Dear Parents/Guardians,

Thank you to all of our moms and dads who joined us last week for Back To School Night, our Welcome Home Celebration, the parents Back to School Social and the Kids’ Festival at the Ss Peter and Paul Church’s Oktoberfest. Each event was a tremendous success and as usual the children stole the show at every turn! Thanks to the eighth graders who helped our HSA moms at the Kids’ festival. They did a great job.

Thanks to the teachers and staff at HCA for preparing the children so well for the Welcome Home Celebration. The student’s behavior was perfect and their singing was joyful and angelic. Thank you as well to Ms. Cordova and the office staff for taking care of the “behind the scenes” preparations for the day and to Mr. D’Angelo for producing the video and getting it onto the screen. It was indeed a team effort.

We still need some class mothers in the following classes:

Ms. Blaney - PK4 (1)
Mrs. Salib - Kindergarten (2)
Mrs. Peterson - Grade 1 (2)
Mrs. Fitzgibbons - Grade 1 (2)
Ms. La Mastro - Grade 2 (1)
Mrs. Bernardo - Grade 3 (1)
Mr. Petagno - Grade 5 (2)
Ms. Wilms - Grade 7 (2)

If you would like to help, please complete the attached form and send it in to the school office.

Also, please visit our Afterschool Program link to see the clubs available after school. It is not too late to register. Likewise, it is not too late to register for the Golf Outing, slated for October 18th, to play or sponsor a hole. Please support the HSA in our first major fundraiser of the year.

Looking ahead, we have much to do. We will welcome our Pre-K parents on the 2nd for their Back To School Night, which will be highlighted by a video presentation. It would probably be a good idea to bring some tissues, just in case.

October is Fire Prevention Month and our students will participate in the Fire prevention bureau’s annual poster contest. This year’s theme is “Preventing Kitchen Fires.” Students will also take part in an assembly program presented by the Hoboken Fire Department.

Students will begin the Million Minutes of Reading Challenge this month and we encourage all of you to join us in emphasizing the importance of reading. We will track progress by class as well as the whole school throughout the year on our website and on a wall in the gym. In the upcoming weeks we will begin our partnership with to the Hoboken Public Library and further highlight the connection between reading and success in school. More information will follow.

Fr. Alex will bless our Pre-K-grade 3 students’ stuffed animals on Thursday and our older children will attend Mass on Friday at St. Francis Church to be celebrated by Fr. Chris, for the Feast of St. Francis. Remember, Friday the 4th is a half-day of school.

The Hoboken Family Alliance will host an open house for all of the area schools on Thursday, October 10th at Hoboken HS at 5:00 PM. We will have representatives there to share information about our school and answer any questions from attendees.

Next Friday, the 11th, we will walk over to St. Ann’s Church for Mass with Bishop Donato. The service will begin at 10:00 and parents are welcome to attend.
There will be no school in recognition of Columbus Day on the 14th and Progress Reports will go out on the 17th. Parent/Teacher conferences will take place on the 23rd, from 6:00-8:00 PM.

There will be no school for students on the 24th while teachers take part in professional development activities.

Finally, there will be Halloween activities on the 31st and more details will be available as the big day approaches.

As you can see, October will be a busy month.Thanks in advance for keeping your children focused on their studies and for supporting what we do here at Hoboken Catholic Academy.

God bless you.

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal

September 24, 2013
Dear Parents/Guardians,

Wow, what a week! As you are aware, we are busily preparing not only for our Welcome Home Celebration with Archbishop Myers, but K-8 Back to School Night, School Pictures, the Parents’ Back to School Social and the Ss Peter and Paul Oktoberfest- where our HSA and eighth grade volunteers will run the Kids Park. Needless to say we will all need a nap on Sunday.

There seems to be some confusion about Friday, September 27th. On the original school calendar that went home in June, this day was designated as a professional development for the teachers, while students would be off. Because of a mix-up with the Archdiocesan professional development calendar we needed to make some adjustments, which I pointed out in a letter back in July when we posted the revised calendar. As a result, teachers will not take part in professional development activities that day and there will be a full day of school for students. I apologize for the mix-up, but reiterate there will be school on Friday, September 27th.

In celebration of the Feast of St. Francis, students in Pre-K through grade 3 will have their stuffed animals and pictures of their pets blessed by Father Alex on Thursday, October 3rd in our gymnasium following AM Assembly. On the morning of October 4th, the Feast Day, students in grades 4-8 will walk to St. Francis Church for Mass at 10:00, to be celebrated by Father Chris. Remember, students have a half-day on the 4th, so there will be a 12:00 dismissal for students K-8 with our pre-K students being dismissed at 11:50.

The following Friday, October 11th, students in grade Kindergarten through grade 8 will attend Mass in St. Ann’s Church, also at 10:00, to be celebrated by Bishop Donato. Parents are certainly welcome to attend and we thank Bishop Donato in advance, for taking the time to be with us that day! There will be a full day of school for students that day.

The Home and School Association Annual Golf Outing will take place on Friday, October 18th. Please remember that the golf outing is one of our major fundraisers and a big turn out will go a long way in setting the tone for the rest of the year. Rumor has it that the new principal was seen at Sports Authority, stocking up on golf balls – he tends to loose quite a few when he plays- and he just might take part. Please see our website for details. It is not too late to sponsor a hole or sign up to play. Folks will be on hand at Back to School Night this week and Pre-K Back to School Night on October 2nd, with details and sign-up sheets.

The students at Hoboken Catholic Academy will embark on two worthwhile initiatives in the weeks ahead. The first, coordinated by our Student Council, will be part of the Green Apple Day of Service, highlighting environmental causes and promoting things we can do to help preserve our resources. Our students in grades K-4 will create posters, while our older students will create art projects using items that are typically discarded. Projects and posters will be on display in our gym on Wednesday, October 9th. We will put plenty of pictures on our website and look forward to some creative ideas from our students.

During the month of October, students will also participate in this year’s Fire Safety Poster Contest, sponsored by The New Jersey Division of Fire Safety and the New Jersey Fire Prevention and Protection Association. This year’s theme is “Prevent Kitchen Fires.”

The next project the Student Council will take on will be a food drive to support local food pantries prior to Thanksgiving. More details will be available shortly.

Thank you for your continued support and for sending such great kids to our school. May God bless you and your families and the entire Hoboken Catholic Academy community.

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal

September 17, 2013
Dear Parents/Guardians,

I am happy to report that we have rescheduled the Hoboken Catholic Academy Welcome Home Celebration. Archbishop Myers will visit our school on Thursday, September 26th at 1:30PM and our celebration will take place at that time in our gymnasium. Students in Kindergarten through grade eight will take part in the ceremony and you are cordially invited to attend. A small reception for parents and guests will take place following the program. Thanks to our Home and School Association for taking care of the reception. Student lunch periods will be adjusted and PE classes will take place in the classrooms that day. Students will follow our normal dismissal procedures at the end of the day.

Ms. Fusiak and I will meet with parents of eighth graders on the evening of September 18th, to review the procedures for the COOP Exam and go over some details about graduation.

Ms. Cordova will conduct a Protecting God’s Children Training session here at HCA also on Wednesday, September 18th, at 6:00PM. All parents who plan to volunteer at the school must go through this program. If you have not done so already, you can register at RCAN.org (Archdiocesan website)

Back to School Night for parents of children in grades Kindergarten through grade 8 will take place on Wednesday evening, September 25th. We have changed the format that has been in use previously to better accommodate parents of multiple children and parents of middle school students. Please refer to the attached Back to School Night Procedures and Middle School Schedule.

If you have any questions about the new format, do not hesitate to call me.

The Home and School Association officers will be on hand to sell gently used uniforms and to solicit volunteers for upcoming programs and events. Information about the Annual Golf Outing will also be made available.

The Pre-K Back to School Night will take place the following week on October 2nd at 6:15PM. Teachers will send home more information as the day approaches.

We have continued our quest to reduce the amount of paper we send home and are making good progress. Parents are reminded to check the Virtual Backpack every Wednesday for flyers and important information. We will, however, continue to send home a hard copy of the lunch menu. Because it also serves as the order form and parents send it in along with the money for the month, we must continue to follow the same procedure used in the past.

Finally, beginning on October 1st, we will embark upon a school-wide reading initiative entitled The Principal’s One Million Minutes of Reading Challenge. Attached is the flyer outlining the program. The ultimate goal is to promote reading for pleasure and family reading time. More information will follow, as we get closer to October.

Thank you for sharing your children with us. May God bless them and continue to watch over them as we make our way through the school year.

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal
Back to School Night Schedule      One Million of Minutes Reading Challenge

September 12, 2013
Dear Parents/Guardians,

There is certainly a lot going on at Hoboken Catholic Academy and it is great that the students have hit the ground running upon their return to school. Classes have begun and students are working hard on their studies. Our revised lunch/recess program is working well and students have enjoyed their first Taco Tuesday, Pasta Wednesday and Chicken Stir Fry Thursday. We are all anxious for Pizza Friday!

Our eighth graders have been spending time with our Pre-K students during their arrival time. Some great connections are being made and those connections will help our little ones adjust to the new arrival procedures over the next few weeks.

We have several students who have been having difficulty getting to school on time. Please make sure to have your children here for Morning Assembly. It is important that all students are present for the Assembly each day to share in Morning Prayer, the Pledge of Allegiance and to hear our announcements. I will be contacting parents shortly should the problem continue.

The students participated in a moving Prayer service on 9/11 during Morning Assembly to commemorate that solemn day and preparations are underway for our Welcome Home Celebration, which will be rescheduled. As soon as we have a new date, I will let you know.

Each day we are reminded of God’s goodness when we welcome your children to our school. Their smiles and laughter brighten each classroom and hallway and help us all know the wonder of God’s love.

Thank you, and God bless you.

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal

September 11, 2013
Dear Parents/Guardians,

I am happy to report that Archbishop Myers will visit our school on Monday, September 16, 2013. We have been informed that because of his busy schedule he will arrive at 8:00 AM. As a result, all students in grades Kindergarten through grade eight must report to school that day at 7:45AM. Students will go directly to their classes at that time to drop off their backpacks. Their teachers will then take them to the gym where the classes will assemble for our Welcome Home Celebration. Parents are invited to attend and can go directly to the gym after they drop-off their children. Following the program there will be a small reception for parents and guests provided by our Home and School Association.

Over the course of the months following Hurricane Sandy, right up to the present, there have been countless people working diligently to bring us to this day of celebration. Because of the commitment of the part of Archbishop Myers to the reopening of Hoboken Catholic Academy, and the hard work and support of the Archdiocesan staff we were able to complete the multiple construction projects and pass all of our environmental tests this past summer. I am thrilled that they will join with us to mark this momentous occasion.

Thank you in advance for getting your children to school early on the 16th. I hope that you will be able to join us on this special day.

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal

September 4, 2013
Dear Parents/Guardians,

What a glorious day! Typically the first day of school is special, but here at Hoboken Catholic Academy, our first day was one of tremendous significance. Your children are finally home! Thanks to all of our moms and dads for helping to make our arrival time so positive. The children were all escorted to their new classes and they settled in right away. We will follow the same procedure for the rest of the week and will begin Morning Assembly in the gym on Monday, September 9th. All are invited to join us on Monday when we will use our new gym for the first time.

I had the pleasure of visiting all of the classes today and can’t tell you how happy I was to finally welcome your children to our school. They are beautiful and I can’t wait to get to know them. Our eighth graders did an amazing job in helping to get the little ones to their classes and I am anxious to give them more opportunities to be of service to the school. I know they will continue to make us proud.

The building looks great and the teachers have their classrooms and the hallways looking fantastic. They too are thrilled to be home and together we are anxious to make this a special year for our students and their families.

There are several forms that have gone home in the past, which you then completed and returned to school. As I have indicated previously, we are moving to an online form system. The Online Membership Form was sent home with your child today for you to complete and send in with your child tomorrow. That information will then be entered into our system, giving you access to our Online Form System.

The first forms that you will complete online will be the Emergency Information Form and registration for Before Care and After Care. Please note that aside from the reduction in the amount of paper we will send home there are several other positive aspects to the new system. For example, families with multiple children in the school will only have to enter the family information one time on the Emergency Form. Moving forward we hope to reduce the amount of redundancy on other forms as well. In addition, once we have an up-to-date email database, which will occur when you return the Online Membership Form, we will eliminate the need to use the Honeywell System for routine notifications. Information will be emailed to you and we will only use the Honeywell System for emergencies.

There will be a Welcome Home Celebration and planning for the event is in the works. As soon as we have a date, I will let you know.

Finally, I thank God for the blessing of a new school year and all the hope and promise it brings. I thank Him as well for bringing us home.

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal

August 30, 2013
Dear Parents/Guardians,

As we count down the final days of summer I am thrilled to report that we have cleared the final hurdle to open for the 2013-2014 school year-on time. As we anticipated, the code officials from the city have approved all of the work that has been done and we are set to open on Wednesday, September 4th!

There is some additional work to be done, specifically the replacement of three exterior doors, some additional plumbing repairs in the gym and the sealing of the blacktop in the inner courtyard that will be completed over the next few Saturdays. The finishing of the gym floor will be completed over the weekend and the floor will need several days to cure, so it will not be ready for the first week of school. As a result, all students will report directly to their classrooms on the 4th, 5th and 6th of September. Our first AM Assembly in the gym will be Monday, September 9th and parents are invited to attend. I am certain that when you see the new gym floor, you will agree that it was worth the wait!

We have much to be thankful for. Plans have begun for our “Welcome Home Celebration,” and more information will be posted shortly.

Finally, we thank the Lord that the rebirth of Hoboken Catholic Academy is finally upon us. It will be a wonderful school year!

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal

August 20, 2013
Dear Parents,

Welcome home! It gives me great pleasure to write those words and welcome you and your children back to Hoboken Catholic Academy for the 2013-2014 school year. To say it has been a busy summer would be an understatement of epic proportions. What has transpired since I took over on July 1st at HCA has been truly incredible.

The stage in the gym that sagged close to six inches in some spots is now level. The space between the soil and the foundation has been filled in to prevent any additional settling, and the framing beneath the stage has been reinforced and is secure. The framing for the protective padding on the front of the stage is complete and the custom pads have been ordered. The curtains on the stage and those to divide the gym have also been ordered. The stage walls will be painted later this week.

The air and mold testing has been completed and along with the soil and water testing, the results are in line with DEP standards. We have passed every test! As soon as we receive the final clearance letters they will be posted on our website.

The installation of floor tiles in several classrooms and the area outside the gym will be completed this week. The gym floor will be finished next week.

The small group instruction room (Rubbermaid shed) in the corner of the gym has been replaced with a permanent structure and will be painted later this week.

As was indicated in my previous letter, the plumbing work needing to be done was extensive. All work in the main building will be completed prior to the start of school. There may be some work in the gym and the PE office needing to be completed after school starts. This will not delay the opening of school and will be scheduled on weekends and evenings should it become necessary.

The inner courtyard will be cleaned and sealed prior to the start of school. A concrete slab has been installed and sits beneath the custodial shed that stores rock salt and other supplies. The blacktop section near the courtyard entry gate and around the drain have been repaired.

Entry doors leading to the boiler room and the school near the Pre-K classrooms will be replaced. New railings in the boiler room and on the steps outside the room will also be installed. None of these projects, should they not be completed prior to the start of school, will impact instruction. Work will be done after hours and on weekends.

New classroom blinds have been purchased to replace all of the black, mesh blinds in several classes. The new blinds will be the same as the honey combed, cream- colored blinds that work so well in the other classes. The window treatments will now be consistent throughout the building and hopefully will help on hot, sunny days in September and in the spring.

In preparation for the start of school we have hired a professional cleaning company to clean and sanitize our entire kitchen. All surfaces, including the floors, the hood, all traps and vents in the kitchen and on the roof will be serviced. The walk-in closet and refrigerator will also be cleaned. Our custodial staff cleaned all racks, pots, trays and utensils and we have replaced all paper, plastic and Styrofoam products left over from last year.

As you probably have noticed, we are transitioning to the new website. Our goal is to provide all of you as well as the public at large a comprehensive, user-friendly source of information about HCA and provide links to other sites important to all of us. The teachers’ web pages will have a consistent format and will be updated regularly. The virtual backpack and online forms will dramatically reduce the amount of paper and ink we use, while allowing us to store and route forms and information electronically. As I indicated earlier however, our site is a work in progress, so we appreciate your patience.

We have hired several new staff members and ask you to join us in welcoming them to our HCA family. Anne Blaney is a recent graduate of St. Peters University. She graduated Cum Laude with a degree in Elementary Education and will serve as Mrs. Cassanova’s maternity leave replacement in the Pre-K 4 class. Miss Blaney will work closely with Mrs. Ferrara, also in Pre-K 4, to provide her young students with an excellent start to the school year.

Ms. Shelia Najmi will serve as a math support teacher and will work with teachers in grades 1-5, co-teaching and working with small groups of students. Ms. Najmi is a graduate of NJIT with a BS in Chemistry. She holds NJ Department of Education Certificates of Eligibility in Elementary Education and Middle School Mathematics. Ms. Najmi taught mathematics at Holy Family Academy in Bayonne last year and became available to us because Holy Family closed its doors in June.

Jacqueline Washington will join us in September as our new cook. Ms. Washington is a graduate of the Hudson County Community College Culinary Arts School and has worked in various restaurants and catering establishments in the area. Most notably, she has assisted Chef Paul Dillon from the college. Chef Dillon’s cooking shows have aired on local cable stations. Ms. Washington received an excellent recommendation from her teacher at HCCC. She holds Serve Safe Certification and is anxious to help provide nutritious lunches for our students.

We have contracted with Cahill Cleaning Services to provide our evening custodial coverage. I am impressed by the level of service provided thus far and am confident that moving forward, we will all be pleased with the cleanliness of the school building. Mr. Cahill and his staff will work closely with Mr. Arriaza and me to provide excellent service to the school.

I understand that the timing of some of the traditional notification letters has been delayed this year. For that I apologize. Unfortunately, because of the nature of construction projects and environmental testing, we were displaced on occasion and were uncertain about important dates moving forward. Consequently, the letters were delayed. In the future, we will make sure to establish and maintain a consistent system for the timely dissemination of important information. At the conclusion of this letter I have included a listing of pertinent information regarding the opening of school and procedures moving forward.

Class lists for grades Pre-K4, Kindergarten, Grade 1 and Grade 2 are complete.
Pre-K parents will be given their child’s class assignment at their orientation program on August 20th. Parents of children in grades kindergarten, 1 and 2 will receive class assignments via US mail early next week.

Finally, with students being displaced so early in the year because of Hurricane Sandy, the Pre-K 4 students had a very brief period of acclamation at the HCA site. The students and their parents did not have the luxury of an entire year to prepare for the transition to Kindergarten. To help ease the transition back to this school building, we will hold a Kindergarten Visitation program on Thursday, August 29th at 10:00 AM for Ms. Gravina’s students and 11:00 AM for Ms. Salib’s class. The teachers and their aides will be on hand and the children will be able to visit the classrooms and tour the school. Hopefully we will be able to ease the transition back to our school for our Kindergarteners and their parents.

Thank you and as always, may God bless you and your families. Let’s have a great school year!

Sincerely,
Matthew McGrath
Principal

Important Information for the Opening of School

Opening of School
School begins on Wednesday, September 4th for students in Kindergarten through Grade 8. Dismissal is at 12:00 p.m. on Wednesday Sept.4th, Thursday, Sept.5th and Friday, Sept.6th. Full day session (8:15 a.m. – 2:50 p.m.) begins on Monday, September 9th.

School Uniforms
All children are expected to be in the proper school uniform on the first day of class.
See attached school uniform policy.

Summer Reading Lists and Math Skills
Please be sure that your child is reading the books on the Summer Reading List (for children entering grades 2-8). In addition, please be sure that your child is reviewing and practicing Math skills during the summer either using the Summer Math booklet or at your direction.

Morning Arrival Grades K-8
For morning arrival students may enter the building beginning at 8:00 a.m. through the doors by the Gym on 7th Street or through the court yard (The only students who will enter through the doors closest to the gate on Madison Street will be Pre-K students. All other students must walk past the modulars and enter near the Gym). All students in Kindergarten through Grade 8 report directly to their class line in the Gym. Students arriving after that time must enter by way of the door by the Office and pick up a late slip. Parents are welcome to join us for the Morning Assembly on the first day of school, but thereafter, parents should leave after dropping off their child.

Tardiness
Please note that it is expected that all students arrive on time for AM assembly. Only in extreme cases should any student in grades K-8 be late.

Dismissal Procedures
Dismissal takes place between 2:30 and 2:50 p.m. Students in Pre-Kindergarten 3 will be dismissed from the main entrance on 7th Street at 2:30. Students in Pre-Kindergarten 4 dismiss through the 7th Street doors near the Gym at 2:30 p.m. Students in grades Kindergarten through Grade 1 dismiss at the school yard on Madison Street at 2:45. Students in Grades 2 and 3 will be dismissed from the main entrance on 7th Street at 2:45. Students in Grades 4 through 8 dismiss through the 7th Street doors near the Gym at 2:50 p.m.

(Pre-K3 and Pre-K4 children who are only attending for a half day session will be dismissed at 11:20 a.m. through the 7th Street doors near the Office.)

***When dropping off or picking up your child please make sure you do not leave your car blocking traffic, driveway, or other parked cars.

Morning Care & After Care Program
The Morning Care and After Care programs begin on Monday, September 9th. Morning Care is available from 7:00-8:00 a.m. at $4.00 per day. After Care is available from dismissal until 6:00 p.m. at $5.00 per half hour or part of a half hour. Enrollment Forms and payment information for the Morning Care and After Care program will be available online next week.

Tuition Payments
Hoboken Catholic Academy uses SMART Tuition Management for the collection of tuition. The first tuition payment is due in July. Your tuition payments must be up to date in order for your child to begin school in September.

Volunteer Requirements
All parent/guardian volunteers must submit the following to the school office:
1. Protecting God’s Children Certificate

Protecting God’s Children Workshop schedule:
• Wednesday, Sept. 4th, 1:00-3:00 p.m. at the school gym
• Wednesday, Sept. 18th, 6:00-9:00 p.m. at the school gym
Please register at http://www.rcan.org/charter/index.htm

2. Volunteer Application Form
3. Acknowledgment of Compliance with the Policies on Professional and Ministerial Conduct

UNIFORM POLICY
UNIFORM: EVERY student must be in the proper uniform at ALL times. Parents are asked to cooperate with the school uniform rules. Detention will be given for violation of school uniform policy.

Uniforms must be purchased through Flynn & O’Hara at www.flynnohara.com, Lobel’s Uniform Outfitters located at 5819 Bergenline Ave. in West New York, NJ.

(PLEASE LABEL ALL PARTS OF THE UNIFORM WITH THE CHILD’S NAME.)

BOYS (Pre-K – Grade 5) Grey flannel pants, white or burgundy polo shirt or white oxford shirt with tie, grey socks and belt, burgundy cardigan. Also available: burgundy turtleneck, grey shorts.

GIRLS (Pre-K –Grade 3) Burgundy/grey plaid jumper or grey pants, white or burgundy polo shirt or white blouse, burgundy, white or grey socks or tights, burgundy cardigan. Also available: burgundy turtleneck, grey shorts.

GIRLS (GRADES 4 - 5) Burgundy/grey plaid skirt or grey pants, white or burgundy polo shirt or white blouse, burgundy, white or grey socks or tights, burgundy cardigan.
Also available: burgundy turtleneck, grey shorts.

BOYS (Grades 6-8) Grey flannel pants, white oxford shirt with tie, grey socks and belt, burgundy cardigan.
GIRLS (GRADES 6 - 8) Burgundy/grey plaid skirt, white oxford blouse with tie, burgundy, white or grey socks or tights, burgundy cardigan.

SCHOOL SHOES - (ALL GRADES) Students are required to wear dark colored low-heeled, rubber-soled shoes. Shoes must have closed backs. Sneaker type shoes and boots are not permitted. Shoes with laces must be tied at all times. For safety purposes no ballerina flats or smooth-soled shoes are allowed.

GYM UNIFORM - (ALL GRADES) Grey mesh gym shorts, a burgundy T-shirt with school logo, and clean sneakers are to be worn by students on their assigned Gym day from September until early November and from late April until the closing of school. (Consult monthly calendar for exact dates.) A burgundy sweat suit with school logo and clean sneakers are to be worn on the student’s assigned gym days for the remainder of the school year.
No jewelry should be worn on Gym days

Uniforms should be neat, clean and worn properly at all times. Shirts are to be tucked in at all times. Uniform shirts, pants and skirts should be the proper size and length.
GIRL’S SKIRTS AND JUMPERS SHOULD BE KNEE-LENGTH.

GENERAL GROOMING REQUIREMENTS
• Hairstyles, as well as hair adornments for girls, should be simple. Hair coloring is not permitted. Hair dye, highlights, streaking not permitted.
• If a girl has long hair, we strongly suggest it be worn in a braid or pony tail.
• Boy’s hair length should not be below the shirt collar.
• Boys and girls fingernails should be kept clean and well trimmed. No nail polish, acrylic gels or tips.
• Make-up is not to be worn in school.
• Girls may wear small earrings to school. Large hoops and dangling earrings are not permitted.
• Boys are not permitted to wear earrings.

DRESS CODE FOR NON-UNIFORM DAYS: The following guidelines are to be followed in choosing proper attire for days on which students are excused from wearing the school uniform. Students should dress modestly. The following items are NOT permitted:

• Pants worn below the waistline
• Shirts that go above the waistline
• Low cut tops
• Bare shoulders (no tank tops)
• Shorts or skirts that are too short or too form fitting
• High-heeled or open-back shoes, flip flops
• Clothing with offensive or inappropriate words, symbols or graphics

Students who are inappropriately dressed will be required to call a parent/guardian and have them bring the school uniform to school for the child to change into.

Principal's Messages

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

MyCSSMenu Save Document