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How to Improve Our High School - Part 1


Guest IFC Harrison NJ
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Guest IFC Harrison NJ

With all the new housing, our new high school is “under-utilized,” according to Town Council President, Superintendent of Schools and real estate mogul, Jimmy Doran. Why is that?

Why do so many parents of high-achieving students fight for spots in magnet schools (like High Tech High School), or spend money above and beyond the outrageous taxes to send their children to private schools? We have a recognized sports program, our arts program has bounced back to win awards in competition, so what is the problem?

The answer lies in the academics. We don’t acknowledge and reward the best and the brightest students; we don’t adequately prepare them for the rigors of college.

In Kearny, students can take college level classes offered by Hudson County Community College. They take a placement test, take evening classes and can graduate from high school with up to 12 college credits. How’s that for a feeling of accomplishment and knowing you have the competence to succeed in college? What a relief to parents who didn’t have to pay full rate for 12 credits of college, and who know that their child has the proven ability to succeed and the confidence to face the challenges that await.

With empty classrooms, why doesn’t Harrison High School offer the same opportunity to our students? In fact the same adjunct professors (professors who are paid by the number of classes they teach) who teach in the evening at Kearny High School might jump at the opportunity to teach the last block period of the day at Harrison High School.

What are the benefits?

• Students who take the college placement exam at the end of sophomore year (10th grade) have objective feedback on college-readiness. They will know what they need to improve on before they can take advantage of the program.

• Students who are ready for college level work can take advantage of the program. We could offer it for free if we didn’t waste grants and stimulus money on “feel-good” programs of questionable merit. This would be attractive for parents who would otherwise send their children to private schools.

• Students who are underachieving would have role models to aspire to and a pathway to success that they can follow.

• As teaching positions become available, we would have access to talented teachers, who have advanced degrees in their fields, whom we might be able to entice into teaching in the public schools.

• Students would still be able to participate in extra-curricular activities.

Why hasn’t it been done, when it has been suggested over and over by our 4th Ward Candidate, Joanne O’Brien? Is it a failure of will or is it because they haven’t figured out how to make money off it themselves? Do they want to continue a cycle of dependence?

They refuse to say.

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I don't know why it's unbelievable. I have previously stated the same thing about the community center. The only difference is that the community center is going to be be up for sale in 2011 if McMole stays in his current position, and the voters/taxpayers stay in their positions, bent over.

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With all the new housing, our new high school is “under-utilized,” according to Town Council President, Superintendent of Schools and real estate mogul, Jimmy Doran. Why is that?

Why do so many parents of high-achieving students fight for spots in magnet schools (like High Tech High School), or spend money above and beyond the outrageous taxes to send their children to private schools? We have a recognized sports program, our arts program has bounced back to win awards in competition, so what is the problem?

The answer lies in the academics. We don’t acknowledge and reward the best and the brightest students; we don’t adequately prepare them for the rigors of college.

In Kearny, students can take college level classes offered by Hudson County Community College. They take a placement test, take evening classes and can graduate from high school with up to 12 college credits. How’s that for a feeling of accomplishment and knowing you have the competence to succeed in college? What a relief to parents who didn’t have to pay full rate for 12 credits of college, and who know that their child has the proven ability to succeed and the confidence to face the challenges that await.

With empty classrooms, why doesn’t Harrison High School offer the same opportunity to our students? In fact the same adjunct professors (professors who are paid by the number of classes they teach) who teach in the evening at Kearny High School might jump at the opportunity to teach the last block period of the day at Harrison High School.

What are the benefits?

• Students who take the college placement exam at the end of sophomore year (10th grade) have objective feedback on college-readiness. They will know what they need to improve on before they can take advantage of the program.

• Students who are ready for college level work can take advantage of the program. We could offer it for free if we didn’t waste grants and stimulus money on “feel-good” programs of questionable merit. This would be attractive for parents who would otherwise send their children to private schools.

• Students who are underachieving would have role models to aspire to and a pathway to success that they can follow.

• As teaching positions become available, we would have access to talented teachers, who have advanced degrees in their fields, whom we might be able to entice into teaching in the public schools.

• Students would still be able to participate in extra-curricular activities.

Why hasn’t it been done, when it has been suggested over and over by our 4th Ward Candidate, Joanne O’Brien? Is it a failure of will or is it because they haven’t figured out how to make money off it themselves? Do they want to continue a cycle of dependence?

They refuse to say.

This idea sounds absolutely amazing and I can not imagine anyone who would be against it.

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Guest Vertically Challenged

With all the new housing, our new high school is “under-utilized,” according to Town Council President, Superintendent of Schools and real estate mogul, Jimmy Doran. Why is that?

Why do so many parents of high-achieving students fight for spots in magnet schools (like High Tech High School), or spend money above and beyond the outrageous taxes to send their children to private schools? We have a recognized sports program, our arts program has bounced back to win awards in competition, so what is the problem?

The answer lies in the academics. We don’t acknowledge and reward the best and the brightest students; we don’t adequately prepare them for the rigors of college.

In Kearny, students can take college level classes offered by Hudson County Community College. They take a placement test, take evening classes and can graduate from high school with up to 12 college credits. How’s that for a feeling of accomplishment and knowing you have the competence to succeed in college? What a relief to parents who didn’t have to pay full rate for 12 credits of college, and who know that their child has the proven ability to succeed and the confidence to face the challenges that await.

With empty classrooms, why doesn’t Harrison High School offer the same opportunity to our students? In fact the same adjunct professors (professors who are paid by the number of classes they teach) who teach in the evening at Kearny High School might jump at the opportunity to teach the last block period of the day at Harrison High School.

What are the benefits?

• Students who take the college placement exam at the end of sophomore year (10th grade) have objective feedback on college-readiness. They will know what they need to improve on before they can take advantage of the program.

• Students who are ready for college level work can take advantage of the program. We could offer it for free if we didn’t waste grants and stimulus money on “feel-good” programs of questionable merit. This would be attractive for parents who would otherwise send their children to private schools.

• Students who are underachieving would have role models to aspire to and a pathway to success that they can follow.

• As teaching positions become available, we would have access to talented teachers, who have advanced degrees in their fields, whom we might be able to entice into teaching in the public schools.

• Students would still be able to participate in extra-curricular activities.

Why hasn’t it been done, when it has been suggested over and over by our 4th Ward Candidate, Joanne O’Brien? Is it a failure of will or is it because they haven’t figured out how to make money off it themselves? Do they want to continue a cycle of dependence?

They refuse to say.

One of the best ideas I've heard in a long time. Looking forward to the next suggestion.

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