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Superintendent Responds to Ranking: 'The High School is a Much Different Place'

Hoboken's Superintendent of Schools responds to NJ Monthly's new rankings, in which Hoboken came in on number 298.

The Hoboken High School has gotten better , said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Mark Toback in a phone interview on Wednesday.

NJ Monhtly released its new rankings—based on data from the 2010-2011 school year—on Tuesday and Hoboken High dropped significantly since the last time the study was done.

Whereas in 2010 Hoboken was number 187 out of 328, this time around Hoboken High comes in at number 298.

"Things have changed," Toback said. "The Hoboken High School represented (in the ranking) isn't the high school that exists today."

Some things changed since the 2010-2011 school year, Toback said. For example, the school now offers Advanced Placement classes. Toback started his tenure as Hoboken's superintendent at the beginning of the 2011-2012 school year.

Toback said also that test scores have gotten better since two years ago. Back then, Toback said, not all the students were tested because so-called "retained tenth graders" weren't being tested. Now, Toback continued, all students are being tested.

The 2010-2011 school year was also the first year in which the students from the alternative high school—Demarest—were incorporated into the high school.

That may also have affected the overall performance, Toback said.

Mostly, though, Toback said he is looking ahead.

"I am concerned about making the school a better place now," he said. "We have made progress with our graduation rate." (The High School's graduation is one percentage point behind the state average, Toback said)

"The high school is a much different place," Toback said. But, he added, "we have a lot of work to do in the upcoming year."

franksinatra August 25, 2012 at 03:48 AM
"Also when Olhaus left your side said the theater program was doomed, yet it is thriving under Ms. Miller." a quick response, Scott -- Toback and Kids First have canceled the fall play this coming year because Miller couldn't handle it. The district will do only two plays. Yes, the program doesn't quite seem like it's thriving.
franksinatra August 25, 2012 at 04:28 AM
PP -- your conspiracy theory gets more and more fanciful the more you talk about it. kids who could've gotten promoted to 11th grade were held back to boost 11th grade test scores and then did so well they were skipped right into 12th grade??? and this had been going on since 2002??? and everyone kept quiet about it, not a peep from from parents, students, administrators, teachers, guidance counselors, etc.??? everyone was in on it and no one ever complained at a board meeting, to the press, to anyone? and only you know about this giant conspiracy that over the course of 8 years must have involved hundreds of students and parents (enough each year to raise the test scores enough to make this scam worthwhile)???? even if they were all able to pull this off and the scores were artificially higher from 02 to 09, so what? what accounts for our ranking just 30 spots from the bottom?
CuriousGal August 25, 2012 at 05:20 AM
franksinatra- Scott also said that the high school was "doing great"-- 3 months later we find the High School is now among the bottom 50 high schools in the state of NJ. Scott is a cheerleader, his opinions are not to be taken as anything approaching objectivity. Scott says that the Theater program under the new director is "thriving"-- maybe Scott would like to point out the NY Times article Ms. Miller has inspired ? Maybe Scott would like to point out the statewide awards the theater program has won? Maybe Scott would like to point out the revenue generated by our current program vs. the last 3 years under Ms. Ohaus? Maybe Scott would like to count the number of students involved with the theater program for the past 2 school years vs. the previous 2 years. Maybe Scott would like to share his definition of "thriving" or is this simply a cheerleading term?
tburns August 25, 2012 at 04:25 PM
Journey, I have not denied that I am Abraham Lincoln, either, but that doesn't make it so. Defending enrollment numbers or audit reports from 3 superintendents ago, is exactly where Kids First devotees wish to take any discussion. And why would that be...hmmm...let's see. Perhaps because their own stewardship of the public schools has been such a TRAVESTY. Hiring friends of the Carpetbaggers that they put in charge of educating Hoboken children, spending more and getting worse results...I wonder how the mother of that child left on the bus feels about an old audit or how the relatives of the girls who got groped at HHS are going to vote. Kids First is all about power - and they have spread false allegations to gain and maintain it. Despite the obvious, there are still gullible people who support them.
CuriousGal August 30, 2012 at 04:22 PM
Today we learn that the Zimmer supported Kids First majority Hoboken School District is the LEAST ATTRACTIVE DISTRICT in the United States. Who says that? Not any enemies of Dawn. Not any anonymous bloggers. No, the Wall Street Journal says it: http://blogs.wsj.com/developments/2012/08/28/biggest-back-to-school-purchase-a-new-home/ Tough week. NJ Monthly notes an over 100 place drop in state rankings for the high school and the Wall Street Journal calls us the least attractive school district in the USA. Thankfully we have Dr. Toback and Scotty to tell us everything is on track and AOK.

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