Test Dates Announced for AEP and Infinity Institute Applicants for the 2022-2023 School Year

Jersey City Public Schools announced that April 2, 2022 and April 9, 2022 will be the two OLSAT test dates for students applying to Infinity Institute or to the AEP program. Testing will be at the same location as in previous years: Franklin L. Williams MS#7, 222 Laidlaw Avenue.

Public school students have received or will receive information about the program via their school guidance counselor. Families of students who have not received information about the application process and test dates are advised to have their student’s guidance counselor contact Ellen Ruane at eruane@jcboe.org or call (201-915-6209).

Similar testing information about the 2022-2023 AEP program and Infinity Institute was also announced earlier this week.

PS 16 and PS 5 Rank Among Top 7% of New Jersey Elementary Schools

Cornelia F. Bradford appeared near the top of another list of the best schools in New Jersey, as ranked by U.S. News and World Report. The school serves 812 students, and 92% of students scored at or above proficiency in both reading and math. However, only 11% of the student population is economically disadvantaged, as the school is located in the expensive Paulus Hook neighborhood of downtown Jersey City. Over 50% of the student population is Asian, 26% are White, 10% are Hispanic, and 6% are Black. As the school has ranked highly on various top schools lists, it has attracted quite a few students, creating an overcrowding problem that was partially addressed by the addition of a new school building this year.

The next best ranked elementary school in the district was PS 5, Dr. Michael Conti School, which placed 84th in the state among 1370 elementary schools, putting it in the 93rd percentile. (Although the school serves K-8, the U.S. News and World Report ranked the school as both an elementary school and a middle school independently.) In contrast to PS 16, PS 5’s student population is economically and racially more diverse, with 50% of students considered to be economically disadvantaged. Of the students, 40% are Hispanic, 23% are Asian, 16% are White, and 14% are Black.

Both schools performed “Well Above Expectations” even after adjusting for their racial and economic diversity. In other words, students in these schools performed better than what the publication would have expected based on the racial and economic makeup of their students.

Find out where your school ranked here.

October 2021 Holidays for Jersey City Public Schools

As September comes to a close, here’s your reminder for October’s school holidays for Jersey City Public Schools:

  • Wednesday, October 6, 2021 – Professional Development (No Classes for Students)
  • Monday, October 11, 2021 – Columbus Day (District Closed)

Check out our Jersey City Public School Calendar page for more information on the 2021-2022 holiday calendar.

PSAT 8/9 Test Dates and Info Session Announced for Students Applying to McNair or Infinity

Jersey City Public School District announced today that there will be an information session on Friday September 24, 2021 regarding the PSAT 8/9 test, now scheduled for Saturday, October 16, 2021 at MS #7 (click for more information). Students interested in applying to McNair Academic High School or Infinity Institute should attend.

Top 10 Reasons to Feel Good about Going Back to School in Jersey City, Despite Concerns about COVID-19

  1. Not a COVID-19 hot spot: The northeastern part of the United States, including New Jersey, is not a major COVID-19 hot spot. Fortunately, Jersey City has been largely spared the major uptick in hospitalizations seen in much of the south, from Texas to Florida.
  2. COVID-19 infections are generally mild for most children: Hospitalization and death continues to be significantly lower in the school age population, according to CDC data.
  3. Delta: While the SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant has proven to be highly transmissible, the Delta variant has not shown to be more severe in children and adolescents (as indicated by the hospitalization rates before and after the Delta variant dominated infections).
  4. Reducing risk: Schools in New Jersey are largely following the latest guidance that will reduce transmission and severe outcomes in children and adolescents: encouraging vaccination and universal masking in schools and other indoor spaces
  5. Teachers are vaccinated or tested: New Jersey Governor Murphy signed an executive order requiring teachers of preschoolers to 12th grade students to be vaccinated or regularly tested. The law will strengthen protections for teachers and students alike.
  6. Vaccinations: Hudson County is 62% fully vaccinated (72% of people ages 12+), versus a national average of 53% overall (62% of people ages 12+). Vaccinations have been shown to prevent illness, to reduce the severity of COVID-19 symptoms when rare breakthrough infections do happen, and to decrease transmission. Hospitalization rates were shown to be 10 times higher among unvaccinated adolescents than among fully vaccinated adolescents. “The vast majority of hospitalization and death caused by COVID-19 are in unvaccinated people,” according to the CDC. And the chances of a breakthrough infection in New Jersey are likely around 1 in 10,000.
  7. Avoiding Learning Loss: Many students fell behind during the virtual learning months since the start of the pandemic, and this learning loss disproportionately affected Blacks, Hispanics, low-income households, and urban students.
  8. Improving Mental Health: Parents reported an increase in a variety of clinical mental health conditions in their children during the pandemic. In-person learning will likely mitigate these conditions of anxiety, depression, social withdrawal, social isolation, lethargy, and irrational fear.
  9. Return to Work: Reopening Jersey City schools to full-time in-person learning will enable parents to return to work. Many parents left the workforce to care for children during the pandemic, and this childcare responsibility was disproportionately assumed by women. The reopening of schools will enable women to reenter the workforce if they choose that as the best option for them and their families.
  10. It’s fun! So many students are happy to have the privilege to go back to school with all of their friends, rather than begrudgingly return to the obligation of school after an enjoyable summer. The kids will enjoy the social interaction with a fresh look on the experience.

Opinion: Let the PS 16 Schoolchildren Play Safely in Paulus Hook’s Four Corners Park

The contested southwest corner of Four Corners Park sits largely empty over Labor Day weekend on the morning of Sunday, September 5, 2021.

If you have ever walked by Grand St. and Washington St. during morning drop-off, mid-day recess, or in the afternoon after school, you have seen the scores of children playing in the only functional corner of Four Corners Park. The adjacent school, Cornelia F. Bradford Elementary School (PS 16), lacks an outdoor space, and its students need a large, safe place to play. Fortunately, this corner has provided this opportunity for years, and during school hours, it makes sense that the school should have exclusive use of this space. In the evenings, weekends, holidays, and summers, the space can be used by the entire community.

Our children recently graduated from PS 16, where they benefited enormously from the wide open, mostly flat space that allowed them to play soccer, tag, and football during recess, along with their classmates. Allowing the school the exclusive use of the space during school hours will ensure that hundreds of students will continue to enjoy this space safely on a daily basis for regular exercise. And the reality is that the vast majority of the child-hours spent in this park is indeed because of the school. During school hours, other children have access to a number of nearby parks and open spaces:

  • General Nathanael Greene Park by Essex Street Light Rail Station
  • Morris Canal Park
  • Morris Canal Square Park by the Marin Boulevard Light Rail Station
  • Korean War Veterans Memorial
  • Van Vorst Park

The Historic Paulus Hook Association (HPHA) opposes the exclusive use of this portion of the park by the school. To its credit, the HPHA has led various efforts in an attempt to improve the park; however, we have been disappointed by the results of these efforts. The introduction of the playgrounds was certainly an improvement, but the additional landscaping and impractical fencing also reduced the limited functional open space for sports and games of tag. The community already had three corners of landscaped, unusable park space, and the modifications further restricted the space in the most popular corner of the small park. Why has the southwest corner of the park always been the subject of discussion and dispute? Because this corner was the Four Corners Park’s only flat, open space that could be used for free play.

Instead of opposing the efforts of the school and the PS 16 Concerned Parents Association (CPA) to make extensive use of this open space, the HPHA should concentrate its advocacy on transforming the other three landscaped corners of the park into a more functional space for the community. The rest of the Four Corners Park is underutilized and could benefit from additional play spaces. Additionally, the HPHA can continue its work to improve the community’s use of the space near the Korean War Veterans Memorial, which is currently poorly used primarily as a parking lot. The paved entrance to the memorial has often served as a play space for the neighborhood, and with a little extra protection from cars, it could better serve the children of Paulus Hook.

But the HPHA does importantly highlight something we can all agree on: the need for school buildings with more classrooms, potable water, and safe play spaces. Perhaps we can build consensus around this demand and redirect the efforts of the various neighborhood groups toward this common goal.

PSAT Prep Classes Now Available

Parents looking to prepare their children for the PSAT 8/9, as required by McNair Academic High School and Infinity Institute, can sign up here for virtual PSAT Language Arts prep and in-person PSAT Math prep at Hudson County Community College.

The classes will run on various days between September 7, 2021 and September 18, 2021. Target audience is 8th graders, so we presume the class will focus primarily on PSAT 8/9 material. Instructors will focus on test-taking strategies and will use sample tests in class.