The Hoboken Board of Education, at their meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 14, discussed the annual Electronic Violence and Vandalism Reporting System (EVVRS). The report breaks down incidents of violence in each public school district, as well as vandalism.
Board President Thomas Kluepfel also gave a president’s report on the goals of the district, including being prepared for higher enrollment and ensuring diversity.
The board also recognized the October students of the month as well as a district teacher.
District wide decrease in violence
The EVVRS is an electronic report submitted by the district to the New Jersey Department of Education every year on violence and vandalism. This report includes data on harassment intimidation and bullying (HIB), substance abuse offenses, and weapons offenses.
In the 2016 -2017 year there were three reported acts of violence, one reported incident of vandalism, one weapons offense, nine reported harassment intimidation and bullying offenses, and 10 reported substance abuse offenses. A total of 25 reported incidents. This is an overall decrease from the previous year, 2015-2016, which had a total of 33 reported incidents. That year there were 21 reported acts of violence, no reported acts of vandalism or weapons offenses, and nine reported incidents of harassment, intimidation, and bullying. There were also three reported confirmed substance abuse offenses.
Trustee Mark McNamara asked Superintendent Dr. Christine Johnson why there was a large increase in substance abuse reports, from three in 2015 to 2016 to 10 in 2016 to 2017.
“We have, as a school district, a full-time student assistance counselor also known as a SAC,” Johnson said. “It’s a form of a guidance counselor that focuses on substance abuse and also self inflicted injuries…Last year we just really had a focused concerted effort on ensuring and letting students know that the use of drugs and alcohol were not acceptable. We also did a lot of training with our staff to identify signs and symptoms and also any kind of characteristics. As a result of that the reports for the possibility for any kind of induced state were written, calculated, and students were then sent for testing.”
She said the state requires such a counselor.
Diversity and growth
Kluepfel said he, the superintendent, and head of facilities Tim Calligy met with the city’s planner to discuss the district’s enrollment and demographic trends, as well as the facilities challenges they will face if enrollment continues to grow.
According to Johnson, enrollment for kindergarten through 12th grade has grown from 1,776 in 2016 to 1,854 in 2017. She said she projects enrollment to continue to increase to 2,004 students in 2018, 2,154 students in 2019, nad 2,304 students in 2020.
As the city grows, more families have been staying in Hoboken instead of moving to the suburbs.
Kluepfel said the district is currently undergoing an analysis spearheaded by the superintendent and assistant superintendent at the request of the board’s Long-Range Facilities ad hoc Committee.
“This in-depth analysis examines not only the basic enrollment questions raised by the ad hoc committee but also includes racial balance and imbalance on a school by school basis,” he said. “Equal access to educational opportunities, diversity training for both staff and students, and hiring patterns in relation to diversity.”
He added that board members have requested additional data be included in the analysis such as quantitative data relating to student socioeconomic factors and special needs populations.
The data may be presented to the board at a meeting in December.
Assistant Superintendent Gerald Fitzhugh presented the district’s students of the month of October, awarding each a certificate.
Second grader Truman Pimsner was student of the month at Brandt Primary School. Sixth grader Arianna Marin was student of the month at Calabro School. At Connors, kindergarten student Annabelle Welch was awarded student of the month, and at Wallace, second grader Jake Ellis won student of the month.
Seventh grader Sanjna Samrai was the Hoboken Middle School student of the month and Senior Kianna Santiago was the Hoboken High School student of the month.
For the first time this month, the superintendent also recognized a teacher for his work in the district, Kevin Metcalfe.
“It’s the special recognition of one of our staff members,” said Johnson. “Every day in our schools, connections are made between and among staff members and students.”
Metcalfe is a Project Lead the Way science teacher at Connors Elementary School. He is a graduate student at Montclair State University.
According to Johnson, he organized all the project supplies for each school and set up the tanks for the eggs for the trout in the classroom project.
“It’s a great feeling to know that what you take passion in is getting recognized,” said Metcalfe. “Each day I have to push myself a little bit harder. I’ve had great role models, from administrations to board members I’ve worked hands-on with, but most importantly, my students.”
Marilyn Baer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.