Elysian Charter School of Hoboken
Elysian Charter School of Hoboken
Harry Laub, Ph.D., Director
Elysian Charter School
Weekly Newsletter

A Positively Different Public School

March 12, 2018                  Vol. 13  Issue 25
The school newsletter is sent out on Mondays.  When there is a holiday, the newsletter is sent the following day. 
Please note:  Send news to deb.rosner@ecsnj.org by 9:00 AM on Mondays.

Harry's Corner

The following article was published in District Administration, March 7, 2018.  Throughout the country schools are struggling with the most effective ways to encourage learning at home.  There is now a trend, in many schools, to modify the type of homework given or to even eliminate it completely.  The focus at home then, is to encourage more independent and family reading and conducting activities that cannot be completed in school.  The discussion below provides an interesting point of view. 

Homework overhaul in schools

Along with reducing stress, districts seek to give more purposeful assignments based on students’ needs and interests

Matt Zalaznick
Many elementary school students in Marion County Public Schools spend more than 20 minutes per night reading with family members. Parents in the central Florida district also report their children feel less stressed this school year, which has led to more robust and relaxed family time, Superintendent Heidi Maier says.
In class, teachers lead more vibrant conversations—particularly about the books students choose to read at home—and a marked improvement in vocabulary.
How did Maier and her team of educators achieve this? They eliminated homework in elementary school.
“We no longer have the rote worksheets and endless math problems—the research says this stuff doesn’t result in academic gains,” she says. “What does result in academic gains is reading aloud 20 minutes a night, which also builds bonds between the child and family member when they talk about what book to read.”
The changes in Marion County—which has concurrently scaled back assessments to give teachers more in-class instruction time—reflect a wider shift away from homework at all levels of K12.
And when it comes to the homework that’s still assigned, educators are re-envisioning its academic purpose as districts everywhere try to drive academic gains but reduce stress. There is also a push to give students more time for family, friends and extracurricular activities.
It may be hard to find the exact data that shows either boosts or declines in student performance due to cutbacks in homework, says Cathy Vatterott, a professor of education at University of Missouri-St. Louis and author of Rethinking Homework (ASCD, 2009).
“When schools pull back on homework, we’re not seeing negative impacts,” says Vatterott, who is preparing an updated edition of her book. “Schools are saying kids are more engaged, more curious, and that they have more time to think about learning and to enjoy learning.”
Work that can only be done at home
One force behind the shift is the age-old question about who’s actually doing the homework, particularly when it involves younger students.
“We tried to be honest about how much homework is legitimately done by students versus their parents,” says Matt Townsley, the director of instruction and technology at Solon Community School District in Iowa. “How much of doing homework is just the parent sitting there finding the right answer?”
At the same time, some parents still consider homework an essential part of learning. That’s why, starting in the 2017-18 school year, Solon’s elementary school teachers now give homework suggestions instead of requirements. The recommendations are based on each student’s learning needs, Townsley says.
This philosophy, which includes encouraging all elementary school students to read every night, was a natural outcome of the district’s shift in 2012 to standards-based grading.
“We have no weekly homework expectations,” Townsley says. “Students may be asked to do something like interview their parents—something that can be done only at home. We’re not asking them to just practice more of what they’re doing during the day.”
At Solon High School, homework no longer counts toward a student’s final grade. The district didn’t want students to be able to pad their grades simply by consistently turning assignments in on time or completing extra credit, Townsley says.
When parents demand more homework, teachers will provide resources, such as websites where students can practice specific skills. “We believe that a student’s grade should be based on what they learned, not a combination of how much they’ve learned and how much they’ve done,” he says.
Beyond the test scores
There are two key reasons that Beechwood Independent Schools, a high-performing district in Kentucky, left homework out of a new series of grade 5 through 8 seminar courses designed to develop students’ creativity, critical thinking and other workforce skills, says Superintendent Mike S. Stacy.
“One hundred percent of the work happens during the school day because it’s a collaboration between students,” Stacy says. “Plus, we want to see their thought processes at work. We want to have it happen in front of our eyes where we can guide the kids as opposed to just sending work home where we have no idea who’s doing it.”
The tech-heavy seminar classes require students to solve real-world and local problems in engineering, business, information technology, communications and other subjects. One group of students, for instance, has been working with officials in their home city of Fort Mitchell to design solutions to traffic problems.
“We’re expecting to impact quality in certain areas that may have nothing to do with an ACT or state test score—it’s to create a person who is successful in business or industry,” Stacy says.
Stacy next hopes to bring the reduced homework philosophy to traditional courses such as algebra and AP history. “We were starting to see only compliance coming from homework, as opposed to real added value,” Stacy says. “We don’t want to be asking kids to do an enormous amount of work at home if there’s no return on the investment.”
Personalized homework
Not all students go home to an environment that’s conducive to doing homework, and not all children get help from family, says Beth Nelson, director of teaching and learning and technology at Norfolk Public Schools in Nebraska. The district reduced homework with an eye toward equity.
Any assignments sent home will cover topics already taught in class, meaning homework will never require students to tackle new concepts, she says. “Even though rigor is a concern, that is something we feel wholeheartedly needs to occur during the day with the instructional leader in the classroom,” Nelson says.
The district also hopes to reduce family stress, she adds. “Families need time at the dinner table, they need time to strengthen their relationships,” she says. “We think that much of the behavior we deal with during the day could be avoided if families were allowed a little more time at night to be a family.”
The district also wants more moderation and purpose when it comes to older students, who do benefit from some amount of homework. “We want to shift from giving everybody the same kind of homework to a true differentiation based on what a student’s learning needs are so they work on what they need to work on,” Nelson says.
Who owns students’ time?
In a similar vein, students at Design39Campus, a K8 school in Poway USD near San Diego, get to design their own homework based on their interests and learning goals.
For example, students have programmed websites, have written about their digital photographs, and have kept wellness journals about time spent outside, Principal Joseph Erpelding says. The school calls its philosophy “HELO,” or “home extended learning opportunities.”
Along with regular reading and vocabulary-building, teachers want students to have plenty of time to practice math facts in the real world, such as by helping parents keep a budget at the grocery store. Homework is never graded, and never assigned over weekends or breaks.
The school’s first cohort of eighth-graders recently moved on to high school, and are outperforming their classmates by as much as 10 percent in reading and math, Erpelding adds.
For some educators, such as Ginna Guiang-Myers, director of curriculum at Eureka USD in Northern California, the homework question comes down to who directs students’ activities outside the class.
“Who owns that time after school? Do educators have claim on that time?” asks Guiang-Myers, whose K8 district will finalize a revised homework policy this spring after parents lobbied for a reduction. “Parents may say, ‘You already have eight hours of my child every day. Do you have a right to claim the others?’”
21ST Annual Elysian Meeting
Board Member Election
Tuesday, March 13th  2018
Starting at 6:00 pm

Come join us & celebrate Elysian’s accomplishments during the last year.

Traditionally, we have always held a pot-luck supper to both meet & greet new and old friends and to eat while votes are being counted.

IMPORTANT! This is the most important event of the year - we need as many people as possible to attend so that we meet the quorum.  If we do not make the quorum, the meeting will have to take place again.  Please plan to stay until the results are in.  We need to maintain a quorum in the event that a vote is needed again. This meeting will not officially begin until a quorum is reached, so please try to arrive as early as you can!   
In order to cover all food categories for the pot luck, families please bring the following:

Kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, 3rd & 4th grades – Entrees

5th -- 6th   grades – Appetizers & Salads

7th – 8th grades – Desserts

Water, plates, utensils, serving spoons & napkins will be provided

(Due to a lack of preparation areas, please bring food that is cut and ready to serve!)


  • Childcare (all ages) will be provided upstairs (3rd Floor) by Francine & Brenda.
  • Please call 201-876-0102 or email susan.gilbertson@ecsnj.org to reserve childcare.
  • $5 per child payable upstairs the day of the event.
  • Pizza dinner will be served to all kids.
  • Drop kids off upstairs before coming downstairs please, this is an adult event.

Main Office


Vote Counting provided by Jaclyn Cherubini – Hoboken Clergy Coalition

Please donate to our Paper Goods Drive for the Hoboken Homeless Shelter.
Make checks payable to:  ECS (or Elysian Charter School)

4th Graders - Coat Check Fundraiser During The
Annual Meeting!
All monies raised goes towards lowering costs for their field trip in the spring.

Paper Goods Drive for the Hoboken Shelter
     For many years, our school was next door to the Hoboken Homeless Shelter.  Over the years, we did many drives on their behalf.  They are still in our thoughts, even though we are now uptown.   Every year, Jaclyn Cherubini, the director of the Shelter, volunteers her services to help us administer the vote counting for our board candidates during our Annual Meeting.   This helps Elysian to ensure community transparency and oversight on one of the most fundamental aspects of public education.
We asked Jaclyn how we could help and she suggested that the Shelter is always in dire need of paper goods.  They especially need forks. Rather than having them grapple with assorted sizes of small household size packages, we thought that   Elysian could purchase large cases of these supplies through our vendor, Karson Food Service.  Here is a list of the cost per case.  Anyone choosing to donate funds toward the purchase of goods can write a check to Elysian Charter School (ECS).  Please note if there is a specific item you are sponsoring or just for the fund.  Please contact Susan.Gilbertson@ecsnj.org with any questions.  
           Here is a list of case sizes and prices:         
9” paper plates – regular – 1000 ct. - $19.85
9” paper plates – pulp (like Chinet) – 500 ct. - $50.88
6” paper plates, small - 1000 ct. -  $12.70
Case of plastic cereal bowls – 1000 ct. - $48.94
Case of 5 oz plastic cups – 2500 ct. - $46.75
Case of coffee cups – 8 oz paper  1000 ct. - $56.49
Case of plastic forks – 1000 ct. - $12.24
Case of plastic knives – 1000 ct. -  $12.24
Case of plastic soup spoons – 1000 ct. - $12.24
Napkins – 12 units of 500 ct. - $38.39

Case of paper towels – 30 rolls -  $48.79

March Against Gun Violence

Elysian Middle School students (grades 6, 7 and 8) will participate in the March 14 protests against gun violence.  They will march carrying signs and placards expressing their opinions on gun violence.  Parents have been informed of the activities and have been invited to participate.
A Big Thank You To The Friends Of Elysian! 
They are key to the success of our school.  Their support ensures that our students have a wonderful place to go to school and all of the material that they need. Especial kudos go to Jenifer Semenza and the entire auction team for all of the work they did in planning and organizing the gala and auction.  And a shout out to the McCue family for donating the space for the party. And a HUGE thank you to everyone who donated and purchased items that help all of the children to have a great year.
Save The Date
Public Charter School Parent Action Day
With a new governor our voices need to be heard.  We are currently frozen at the budget that we had in 2008.  The more we speak up, the more we can gain!
The New Jersey Charter School Association will be sponsoring Public Charter School Parent Action Day. Please see the information below.  If you are interested in attending please let Diane DeSombre (diane.desombre@ecsnj.org) know.  She will pass along more information as it becomes available.  
 What:             A Rally to Celebrate Public Charter Schools 
When:              Monday, March 26th
Where:            Trenton- Steps of the State House Annex 
Who:                Parents, Educators & Supporters
Join us in Trenton to help celebrate the positive role of charter schools in public education.  On March 26th, we are bringing together all members of New Jersey’s charter school family to tell lawmakers our story, celebrate the success of our schools and students, and ask for fair funding for ALL schools. Please join us for this day of charter school pride in what our schools and our families have achieved.
Elysian Advisory Grievance Committee
The Board has established an Advisory Grievance Committee consisting of both parents and staff.  The purpose of the Grievance Committee is to investigate concerns that arise that cannot be resolved by meetings with the classroom teacher and/or the school administration. The Advisory Grievance Committee will make a non-binding recommendation to the Board of Trustees.
The Advisory Grievance Committee consists of three members, selected by the membership of the Elysian Charter School. At our annual meeting we will be voting on the members of the Grievance Committee.  The three candidates are as follows:
-Paul Jung, parent and former Board Member
-Ann Murphy, parent and the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies and an Associate Professor of Management at the School of Business at Stevens Institute of Technology
-Angela Dunckley, kindergarten teacher at Elysian
There will be a separate ballot at the March 13th Annual Meeting to elect the members of the Grievance Committee.
Basketball Practices
Grade 5: Fridays: 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Grade 6: Mondays: 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM  (Including Intramural Game)
Grade 8: Thursdays: 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Children waiting for a practice to begin will be able to attend Aftercare at no cost.  Any child attending Aftercare must start right at the end of the school day and may not leave the school building and then return.
***Games will be listed in the calendar below***
8th Grade Basketball
Change of Schedule
The Hoboken Recreation Department has just informed us that
  • Monday's semi-final game has been postponed.
  • It has been rescheduled for Tuesday, March 13th at 5:30 p.m. in the Multipurpose Center.

Save the date:  If we make the Championship Game, it will be played on Friday at 6:00 p.m. in the Multipurpose Center.

This Week's Homework Help and Enrichment Clubs


     Homework Help - 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
     Guitar - 3:00 - 4:00 PM
     Mosaic - 3:00 - 4:00 PM
     Debate - 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
     Mad Science - 3:00 - 4:00 PM
     Dancing with Derrick - 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
     *Baking - 3:00 PM - 4:30 PM 
     Anime - 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
     Dancing with Derrick - 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Wednesdays                                                            Wednesdays 1/2 Days
     Karate - 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM                                 Karate - 12:45  PM - 1:45 PM
     Movie Club - 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM                        Movie Club - 12:45 PM - 1:45 PM
     Lego Bricks - 3:00 - 4:00 PM                               Lego Bricks - 12:45 PM - 1:45 PM
     Chess - 3:00 - 4:30 PM                                         Chess - 12:45 PM - 2:15PM
     Homework Help - 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
     Magic Club - 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
     Gravity - 3:00 - 4:00 PM
     Lego Bricks - 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

   *Baking Club Make up class on  3-13-18 and 3-20-18 will be 1 1/2 hours each 
Notes From The Nurses Office
Please be sure that you or your emergency contact may be reached during the day in case your child gets sick at school. We have had several children with a fever and we were unable to reach anyone.
If your child has a fever, or if you think that your child may be getting a fever, please keep your child home.  It is uncomfortable for the child to be in school if he/she is not feeling well.  It also spreads germs to other children and staff.
Please be sure to call the school if your child is absent.  You may leave a message on our answering machine at any time.  Our number is 201-876-0102.
If you would like to speak with me, I am available. Call the school phone number 201-876-0102 or email me at nurse@ecsnj.org
Diane DeSombre, RN

Double Stroller

There has been a very nice double stroller attached to the handrail in the downstairs lobby for quite a while. If it is yours, please remove it asap.
If it not removed by the Annual Meeting, we will cut the lock and give it to charity.
      Elysian Collects Box Tops and LABELS for Education
         Look for the container near Deb's desk in the office!  Thank you!

Lost and Found Update

Items left in the Lost and Found will be packed up and sent to charity after the Annual Meeting.

Important Notice

If there are any changes in your child's emergency contact information, for example, if you moved to a new address, or have addtional email addresses, or updating your child's pickup information, you must contact the Office@ecsnj.org.
As per state law, we no longer publish the exact location of trips for security reasons.
Please read the calendar weekly, as changes are updated regul
    Please see above under "This Week's Basketball Practices" for grades, dates and times of practices.
    Tuesday, March 13
    • Elysian Annual Meeting - 6:00 PM, Gym
    • Semi-Final Game - Elysian 8 White, 5:30 PM, Multi, 
      ...if they win, Champion game will be played on Friday, March 16, 6:00 PM, Multi
    • Game - Elysian Charter 5 vs. Wallace Black 5, 6:45 PM, Wallace
    Wednesday, March 14
    • 1/2 Day, 12:30 PM dismissal, Staff Development
    Monday, March 19
    • Game - All Saints 5 vs. Elysian Charter 5, 6:45 PM, Wallace
    • Game - All Saints 6 vs. Elysian Charter 6, 7:45 PM, Wallace
    Wednesday, March 21
    • Game - Elysian Charter 5 vs. Wallace Grey 5, 7:45 PM, Wallace
    Monday, March 26
    • Board Meeting, 7:00 PM
    Tuesday, March 27
    • 6th Grade Trip - 8:00 AM - 2:30 PM
    Thursday, March 29
    • 1/2 Day, 12:30 PM dismissal
    Friday, March 30 - Friday, April 6
    • Spring Break - Elysian Closed
    Friday, April 13
    • Community Meeting, 8:45 AM, Gym
    Monday April 16 - Friday April 20
    • Parent/Teacher Conferences
    Wednesday April 18
    • 1/2 Day, 12:30 PM dismissal, Aftercare until 6:00 PM
    Monday, April 23
    • Board Meeting, 7:00 PM

    1460 Garden Street, Hoboken, NJ 07030
    Harry Laub, Ph.D., Director | harry.laub@ecsnj.org | Phone:201.876.0102 | Fax:201.876.9576
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