Mayor, New Jersey Department of Education, Hoboken City Council and Hoboken Superintendent Join in Celebrating HoLa Charter School Award
Left to Right: Barbara Martinez, HoLa Board President; Julie Blunt, NJDOE; Ravi Bhalla, Hoboken Mayor; Dr. Christine Johnson, Hoboken District Superintendent; Jennifer Sargent, HoLa Executive Director; Emily Jabbour, Hoboken Councilperson; Mike Defusco, Hoboken Councilperson.
HOBOKEN, NJ (April 27, 2018)—The Hoboken Dual Language Charter School celebrated its “model program” award at an assembly this morning that featured speeches by Mayor Ravi Bhalla, city council members as well as the Hoboken District Superintendent, Dr. Christine Johnson.
“We’re here to celebrate what HoLa has accomplished through the years,” said Mayor Ravi Bhalla.”When we look at Hoboken, we always want to be ahead of the curve and be an example, and HoLa is leading the way,” the Mayor said. He also made note of the presence of Hoboken Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Christine Johnson.
“I think Dr. Johnson’s presence shows that we as a community have turned the page and we are coming together to work together,” the Mayor said as HoLa parents burst into applause. “There are great things happening in the district schools, great things happening in the charter schools and what really matters is that we start having a conversation and continue that conversation so that we are working together, because at the end of the day we are one community. We can all learn from each other and I’m so proud that Hola in its own distinct way is not only a model for Hoboken but for the entire state of New Jersey.”
Last week the New Jersey Department of Education named HoLa a Dual Language Model Program. HoLa was one of only 5 schools in the state of New Jersey to receive the designation, and the only charter school in the state. As a Dual Language Model Program, the NJ DOE said that HoLa will serve as a “resource for other districts in the state and enable educators to witness firsthand exemplary practices in dual language instruction and assessment.” The award followed a rigorous application process that included a full-day site visit by DOE officials and interviews with students, parents, teachers and administrators.
At the assembly, Dr. Johnson said “one of the most powerful things we can do as human beings is recognize the strengths and accomplishments in others; I think it’s good for the soul and for community building, and great for education. On this very special day and beyond, I feel great about celebrating your accomplishments and know that I’m personally very proud of the things you’ve accomplished and all the work of Ms. Sargent and her staff.”
Jennifer Sargent, HoLa’s Executive Director and lead founder of the school said that “it is incredibly meaningful to all of us here at HoLa to have representatives from the state, the county, the city and our local district schools here together in one place to celebrate along with us. This really is an inspiring glimpse of what public education can look like–coming together in support of all of our students: those here are HoLa, in our neighboring schools throughout Hoboken and across the state.”
She also led all of the students, families and elected officials in a long standing ovation for the teachers of the school, “who are the backbone of the success that HoLa has demonstrated.”
City Councilmembers Mike DeFusco and Emily Jabbour also attended and spoke at the event.
“What you’re learning is not just a second language,” DeFusco said to the students. “You’re learning about how to be global citizens of this world. And as you look around and see all the disagreements going around, in Hoboken, in this country and this world, it comes from a lack of understanding of one another. When you are learning a second language, you’re learning how to communicate on a global level,” he said.
Councilwoman Jabbour said she was planning a meeting of all school leaders in the city to keep collaborative conversations between schools going—so that schools can learn from each other for the benefit of all of Hoboken’s children.