Board of Ed response to WSJ article

Hoboken Board of Education member Irene Sobolov responds to the Wall Street Journal article dated 8/28/12 that listed Hoboken as the #1 least attractive school district in the United States. You can read more here.


I have to admit, I was shocked when I saw the article. I was actually flabbergasted when I saw the methodology used by the original analyst from Trulia in labeling ten school districts the “Least Attractive” in the nation!  Both the Trulia and the WSJ analysts are presumably experts in the field of real estate yet both took a single demographic statistic to come to this conclusion.

It brought to mind the hundreds of discussions I have had on Hobokemoms or in the parks about choosing a school and/or living in Hoboken.  It is a very personal choice with many factors involved, not the least of which is a gut reaction, because some of it is often visceral. Which is why I have always recommended taking a tour of the schools, you will know the right fit for your family.

I think they same can be said for the choice to move out. Schools may be a factor, but it often has to do with wanting more room, affordability, commute time, and where you grew up. So many of Hoboken’s new residents love Hoboken but want their child to have the same experiences they had when they grew up.  I understand that which is why I never even thought to leave. I grew up in Hoboken and want my children to have that experience. Top of my list would be walkability, the independence my children enjoy, the diversity of their friends and my family close by. Others may want the lawn or the driveway that would never make it to my list.  For two nationally respected organizations to ignore these factors when making such a bold assertion as “Least Attractive” district in the NATION is beyond my comprehension.

The same factors can come into play when choosing a school. What is the right fit?  Hoboken is a city. Hoboken schools are urban schools. When making a decision to stay or move, the first decision is whether this is the type of school experience you want for your child. Certainly Hoboken High School will never be an option if someone is truly looking to replicate their own suburban experience.  It will never have a large campus feel with five practice fields and student parking.

But as an urban high school, Hoboken High has a great deal to offer! The staff is dedicated and energetic, the facilities clean, bright and up-to-date and the student body is a wonderful mix both ethnically and socioeconomically. Hoboken High School has a small student population (appox 700) yet offers a huge variety of courses, clubs and sports.  For example:

New AP courses

New Dual college credit classes

New Culinary Arts program with new commercial kitchen and café

Strong Arts – Theater, TV/Media  Production, Fine Arts, Band and Instrumental, Dance

Laptop Program for every 7th – 10 grader

Student EMT Program with their own ambulance

Full Construction Shop

Full Cosmetology Program

Over 25 clubs including Sierra Club, French, Hispanic or Italian, Engineering and the Harvard Model Congress

Winning Athletic Program

Student Based Youth Center

Is everything perfect? Of course not. But the district is working hard to identify and address any concerns. Recently the school year and class day were increased and the high school scheduling was changed to allow high performing students more flexibility and academically challenged students with additional instruction time.

Tutoring is available every day to those who need it or those who just want a little extra help. This year the PSAT’s will be administered to every student as another assessment tool.

The High School has seen an increase in interest and enrollment recently and will continue to offer programs to fit the diverse needs of the students whether they need some additional assistance or they receive a full, four year scholarship to Wharton School of Business like this year’s Valedictorian.

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Kathy Zucker

Author: Kathy Zucker

Mom of 3. Accidental entrepreneur. Fencer. New York Life Shorty Award #KeepGoodGoing winner & judge. Helping parents & kids get to work since 2010 as Metro Moms Network CEO.

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  1. Thank you Kathy for your response to the WSJ article. My husband and I love Hoboken and have also decided to raise our family here. We believe that Hoboken has been changing for the better and the WSJ article was a stab in the heart. Every where your look you can see that Hoboken is a desirable place to live and have a family.

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