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October 3, 2019

Thursday, October 3, 2019

October 3, 2019

Dear Parents,

Over the course of the first few weeks of school we have certainly hit the ground running.  Two Back to School Nights, the eighth-grade parent meeting, a Protecting God’s Children training with more than forty participants, the start of our afterschool activities, student council elections, school pictures, using the new park for recess, the volleyball parent meeting and the opening of our first MAP Growth testing window all helped September fly by.  Thank you for your patience with the myriad of forms and notices that have come home as we have transitioned to the new school year.  Thanks to our amazing Home and School Association officers, class moms and volunteers for getting the word out about all of the great things on the horizon at HCA.  Thanks to HSA President, Jenn Araneo, and the members of the Golf Outing Committee, for their hard work in putting this year’s event together.  The 12th annual HCA Golf Outing, scheduled for Monday, October 7th, at Forest Hill Field House, is shaping up to be our best outing ever!

Before we get to Monday’s outing, our students in grades 4-8 will attend Mass at St. Francis Church to celebrate the St. Francis’ Feast Day a day early on Thursday the 3rd and later that day, some of our great HSA moms and I will join schools from across Hoboken and the surrounding communities at the Hoboken Family Alliance All Schools Open House at Hoboken High School.  Thanks to Jenn Araneo, Donna Murphy, Grainne Malloy, Cara Guerra, Shweta Ghuge, Lara Garahan and Aphheka Saini for volunteering to tell prospective parents about our school.   On Friday morning Msgr. Mike Andreano, the Pastor of Ss. Peter and Paul Church, will stop by to bless our PreK to grade three students’ stuffed animals and pictures of their pets in celebration of the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi.  Later that afternoon, the teachers and I will attend Mass along with teachers and principals from the more than 90 schools across the Newark Archdiocese at the Basilica Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Newark.  This annual Mass, scheduled for 1:30PM will also feature a tribute to teachers and staff for reaching various milestones in their teaching careers.  I am pleased to inform you that eighth grade teacher, Maria Fusiak, will be recognized for 40 years of service!   Mrs. Fitzgibbons, who retired last spring will also be recognized for retiring after 38 years of service in Archdiocesan schools.  Please join me in thanking and congratulating Ms. Fusiak and Mrs. Fitzgibbons for their tireless work for the students at Hoboken Catholic Academy.  Please also be reminded that there will be a half day of school on Friday as a result.

Please join me in welcoming Mr. Peter Alves as our new Spanish teacher.  Mr. Alves is transitioning from a career in business to his first love, working with children.  Mr. Alves is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese and has spent several weeks working with Mrs. Alfano our Spanish substitute teacher.  I have been impressed with his work ethic and desire to provide our students with a great foundation in Spanish.  Mr. Alves is one of our amazing parents who many of you know as one of the basketball coaches here at HCA.

As you will recall from my welcome back letter and the letter sent home last week from Associate Superintendent of Schools, Barbara Dolan, the window for the fall administration of the MAP Growth Assessment for students in grades two to eight will run from September 30th through the end of October.  The test, unlike to fill in the bubbles standardized tests we are all used to, are taken by students on our MacBook computers.  The test is designed to be taken during class periods over a series of days to avoid disrupting the entire school for an entire week.  We have begun to administer the test and it is going very well.  Students in grades three and eight will complete all four sections of the test, (Reading, math, Language Arts and Science) by the end of this week.  Students in grades four and five will complete the math and language arts sections this week and the rest of the test next week.  Students in grade 2 will have completed the reading section this week and will take the math and language arts sections next week.  Grade two students are not tested in science as part of MAP Growth.  Students in grade 7 will complete the test next week and grade 6 will complete three sections next week and the Science section the following week.  Test data will be available to teachers as soon as the testing is complete.  Several teachers and I will attend a meeting on October 10th, regarding the various ways we can utilize the test data to inform instruction and maximize student growth.

The test will be administered again at the end of January into early February and a third time in May.  As a result, we will be able to chart student growth throughout the year and from year to year.  The teachers and I are excited about the potential this new testing format has to improve instruction and maximize student growth.  The results in May will be used to determine National Percentile Rankings for comparisons nationally and locally (Other Archdiocesan Schools) like was done with the Terra Nova and Iowa tests.  As soon as we learn more about analyzing the test data and sharing that information with you I will let you know.


Some dates to remember:


Monday, October 7                            12th Annual Golf Outing – Forest Hill Field House

Wednesday, October 9                       Basketball Coaches’ Meeting- 6:30PM

Monday, October 14                          Columbus Day-No School

Friday, October 18                              Progress Reports Trimester I

               Student Council Halloween Dance -6:30PM

Tuesday, October 22                          Parent/Teacher Conferences K-8 6:00-8:30PM

Wednesday, October 23                     Parent/Teacher Conferences K-8-1:00-3:00PM (Half Day)

Thursday, October 24                         HCA Open House 9:00AM-11:00AM

Friday, October 25                              RCAN Professional Development Day -No school students

Saturday, October 26                         HCA Open House 10:00AM -12:00PM

Thursday, October 31                         Halloween Parades (PK, K & Gr.1)-9:00AM

                                                                                             (Gr. 2, 3 & 4)-10:00 AM

                                                          Halloween Parties (PK and K- following the parade)

                                                                                           (Gr. 1-8) – 1:45PM

Friday, November 1                            All Saints Day Mass 10:00 St. Ann Church

                                                          Half Day – Teacher Professional Development

                                                          Current student re-registration begins


As always, thank you for your continued support and for sharing your beautiful children with us.


Matthew McGrath