SCOOP: NJ Education Department Abruptly Fires Only Latina Executive Superintendent For ‘Political’ ReasonsApril 6, 2022
O’NEILL: Camden Partners–Charter and District–Work Together To Improve Outcomes for Students with DisabilitiesApril 7, 2022
Students at Hoboken Dual Language Charter School (“HoLa”) are about to become the state’s first middle schoolers to sit for a college-level AP exam.
Beginning this spring, eighth grade students will graduate with an AP designation on their high school transcript. Upon successful completion of the AP exam, which students in eligible programs across the country will take on Wednesday, May 11, these students will qualify to begin high school with college credits already in hand.
“Our kids are ready to show that they’ve achieved college-level Spanish language skills,” said Jen Sargent, Executive Director of Hoboken Dual Language Charter School. “This is what’s possible when children enter an immersion environment from Kindergarten, and learn to read and write in both Spanish and English simultaneously.”
Because HoLa’s dual language program begins in Kindergarten, students develop high levels of bilingual proficiency by the time they reach 8th grade, and are prepared for the challenging content required of College Board approved coursework. Historically, AP classes are only available to high school students.
HoLa’s newly approved Advanced Placement Middle School curriculum was entirely developed by HoLa’s faculty and instructional leadership, an incredible accomplishment for a school that was chartered by the NJ Department of Education just eleven years ago. The New Jersey Department of Education has since designated HoLa as a Model Dual-Language Program, making HoLa a resource for schools both within New Jersey and nationwide who are looking to create a dual-language program.
“HoLa’s commitment to the Spanish language and culture makes their bilingual program a model for others across the country,” said Nuria Algar Pinilla, Education Advisor of the Education Office of the Consulate General of Spain. “We are so proud to continue collaborating with HoLa as we work together to promote bilingualism and cultural awareness.”
This trimester, 8th grade students will be reading Cuando Era Puertorriqueña by Esmeralda Santiago, then they will next move into a discussion of the Holocaust throuigh the novel Quien Cuenta Las Estrellas by Lois Lowry. They will use these novels to drive discussions and cultural analyses of social responsibility on a global scale. Students will draft essays and engage in authentic conversations with Spanish-speaking student counterparts in Spain, answering questions such as “What is our role in society as youths with a voice?” and “How can we advocate and foster change to prevent history from repeating itself?” Teachers will guide students as they read analytically, apply their learning in writing with revisions for technical accuracy, including grammar andstyle, and then engage in classroom discussions about the material and cultures – all in Spanish.
“This accomplishment by HoLa is consistent with decades of research demonstrating that immersion education is the most effective approach for developing high levels of bilingual proficiency among students from diverse language backgrounds,” said Jen Austin, Professor in the Spanish and Portuguese Studies Department at Rutgers University-Newark and one of HoLa’s original founders.“
Our teachers, staff, and administrators are among the most dedicated public school leaders in New Jersey,” said Nicole Cammarota, Board President of Hoboken Dual Language Charter School. “Taking AP coursework in high school is an achievement in itself, but studying AP level curriculum in middle school will give our students a sense of achievement and confidence that will prepare them for college and beyond.”
“Hoboken Dual Language Charter School is a model example of how quality, public education sets students up for long term success,” said Harry Lee, President and CEO of the New Jersey Public Charter Schools Association. “Being authorized to offer Advanced Placement classes in middle school is a remarkable achievement and we could not be more proud of the educators and administrators who have made this possible for our students.”
All exam fees will be waived for low income students who qualify for free or reduced lunch.