The four cornerstones of the Hoboken Charter School — academic, artistic, personal, and civic growth — are unified by two basic educational practices: learner-centered education and service learning. A learner-centered school is a place where teachers and students are committed to one another and share collectively in the school vision. It is a self-governing learning community where all decisions are seen in terms of the question, “What is best for learners?” Service learning provides students with a way to apply what they have learned in school in meaningful ways within their community. It also provides the community with needed services. Students feel useful and challenged, experience an increased sense of competence, hold more positive attitudes about the community, and have a greater sense of responsibility.
All students at the Hoboken Charter School take a rigorous academic program in the humanities and the sciences that meets and exceeds current New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards. This program is supported by the use of hands-on, inquiry-based learning, and computer technologies that extend the walls of the school and make student-driven exploration and research an integral component of each student’s academic experience. Instead of covering vast amounts of content only superficially, we are committed to the in-depth exploration of concepts and ideas. Instruction is focused on large interdisciplinary curricular themes. This approach is combined with intensive individual attention. Students are able to apply concepts from mathematics, science, social studies, and language arts during classroom activities as well as in real life. Students work collaboratively and independently to solve problems which integrate knowledge across content areas and which often have no best solution.
At the Hoboken Charter School students use the arts to make sense of their lives, their relationships, and their community. The arts offer students opportunities to make choices, judge relationships, develop interpretations, and develop a sophisticated aesthetic sense. Students are encouraged to express themselves through a wide variety of artistic media, including painting, drawing, sculpture, music, theater, and movement. Learning in the different media is keyed to the needs and desires of the individual student, who is given the necessary support to develop the ability to communicate effectively through the arts. Students learn from artists, musicians, actors, dancers, and writers working in the community and in museums, theaters, galleries, and studios.
The Hoboken Charter School places a significant emphasis on the physical, emotional, and psychological development of its students. In meeting individual challenges, students recognize their capacity for meeting and exceeding personal goals. They learn to receive and give positive criticism and to recognize its value in the development of ideas and relationships. Students learn reflective skills and recognize their value. Students are educated about their bodies and minds and taught how to maintain the health of both. They respect and understand others, including those of different cultural backgrounds, genders, ages, and economic levels.
Our emphasis on civic duty and responsibility helps students to recognize their importance as members of the Hoboken community. It also helps them to understand how their actions affect the life of the community and, by extension, the world. Our students recognize their potential as agents of change in these communities and understand what it means to be an active citizen in a democracy. Students discover a responsibility to others and a passion for justice and equality. Students identify community needs, develop plans for meeting these needs, participate in implementing these plans, and evaluate their efforts. These projects contribute to the community and provide students with opportunities to assume leadership roles.
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