HMS Quarterly Newsletter

Marking Period 2 - SY 2021/2022

A Message From the Newsletter Advisor, Ms. Episcopo

And just like that, we are halfway through the school year! This marking period, Newsletter students wanted to focus on improving their newsletter skills as well as embed student quotes and student voice in the quarterly newsletter. Students connected with the teachers at HMS to summarize the highlights of their courses for the marking period as well as interviewed students regarding their courses, activities, and events at HMS. On behalf of the Newsletter, we hope you enjoy reading the Marking Period 2, Quarterly Newsletter. - Ms. Episcopo, Newsletter Activity Club Advisor

MP 2 Events

Winter Concert

“The Winter Concert took place on January 26th, over a month after the original concert date. It was difficult to keep our songs intact, while also starting to work on new material for upcoming events and our Spring Concert, but our students did a stellar job. We practiced for the first time with all grades together on the morning of the concert and were able to adapt and adjust our balance to work as larger ensembles in band and chorus. I can't commend our young musicians enough on their focus during our weeks of preparation and their phenomenal performance at the concert". - Mr. Stasiak

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“HMS' String students performed at the District Winter Concert on Wednesday, January 26th, at Hoboken High School at 7 pm! Students performed "Somewhere In My Memory" from the movie, "Home Alone" in three parts, as well as "Polish Carol" and "Jingle Bells"! A clip of their performance is featured on Twitter!”- Ms. Monblatt

"It was a very new experience for me to be up there on stage, but I felt really proud of what my classmates and I accomplished. I thought we sounded really amazing." - Maxim Schissler

"I thought it was so beautiful and every performer worked so hard and did a fantastic job!" -Jose Marin

"I felt so proud of everyone's hard work and I loved sharing my love for the violin with everyone. As an eighth grader, who will graduate soon, it was an experience that meant a lot to me." -Anabelle Pena

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Teens Play

“During Marking Period 2, a group of students committed their time and hard work to this year's school play, Teen. This play is a vignette-style play about being a teenager written by Kristen Doherty. Cast members attended rehearsals to develop their characters and learn the blocking for each scene. During the process we faced several challenges. One such challenge was adapting to virtual rehearsals on Google Meet during the week back from break. The cast has come a long way from where we started and we are looking forward to performing for a live audience at the start of February” - Mr. Benson

The cast members made the following statements about the play:

Harper Clark: “It's a really fun experience and I like meeting new people. I play Mia and Riley. The play is about teen struggles and teen life”.

Vivian Allen: “This play is good for team bonding and everyone is on the stage at the same time, so we really have bonded and came together as a cast. I play four characters: Beauty, Liz, Mom, and Monica”.

Jake Stefura: “I have enjoyed being in the play”.

Charles Bird: “We would like to thank Kristen Doherty for piecing together an amazing play”.

Ryan Rivera: “This has been an amazing experience - from working with Mr. B, Ms. Gina, Ms. Brittany, and Ms. Miller, thank you for making this happen!”

Kevin Melendez: “I like to thank the writers of Teens for making this happen. Thank you to Ms. Miller at the high school and Mr. B for directing!”

Sophia Castiglione: “It’s been a fun experience and I recommend people joining the play if we have another!”

Gabriel Colon and Tyler Mara: “It’s been fun!”

Spirit Day Fridays

HMS Student Council organized a few Spirit Days throughout the marking period. It was great to see students' favorite sports teams, and conversations regarding teams’ success, competition, and abilities occurred! All and all, the best Spirit Day this marking period was the Festive Sweater Day! Many students wore creative, jolly and funny sweaters, which definitely set the mood for the holiday season. Thank you Student Council for organizing!

Sports Day: "Our sports day was very successful and fun. It was a very nice way to express our feelings for sports while taking a break from the normal dress code." -Jason Dale, 7th Grade Student Council President

Festive Sweater Day: "Everyone who participated wore wonderful sweaters! Thank you to everyone who participated and made the Spirit Day a success." -Jaxx Rosado, 8th Grade Student Council Member

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Family Art’s Night

On Sunday, December 12th, the Hoboken Public School District held a family and community event celebrating the Arts and Literacy Departments in grades Kindergarten through 12th.

“Mr. Della Fave, along with Jessica Fasolino, hosted the Literacy & Art Family Fun Night. It was a Winter Wonderland themed K to 12 family/community-based evening that celebrated Literacy & The Arts within our District. There were inflatable party stations, free catered food, live winter musical and sing along entertainment, story readings, a gingerbread house display, interactive arts and literacy tables, a jumbotron, and displays of student artwork as well as their own winter-themed compositions. It was a beautiful event with approximately 1,500 attendees throughout the course of the night. The lines moved smoothly, the crafts were constantly replenished, the hot chocolate was freely flowing, and parents were engaged in their child's art and writing” - Ms. Romester.

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Tiger Basketball

The Hoboken Middle School Basketball team is underway and we are excited to begin playing our first ever middle school basketball games. Under the direction of Shaun Kolmer, our Head Boys Basketball Coach, and our Head Girls Basketball Coach, John Gazerwitz, all teams have played at least one game so far this season. Coach Shaun Kolmer stated “The kids are thrilled to be a part of the first ever travel team on all levels. Games will continue through mid March”.

Boys' Basketball

6th Grade Boys Basketball:

Coach Mike Mincey stated the team beat Lyndhurst on 1/11/21 by a score of 58 to 32. Jake Ellis scored 21 points and had 8 rebounds in the win!

“I am on the 6th Grade Boys Basketball team. We had a good start to the season! We won two games, and we won by a lot in each game. The game against Lyndhurst was away and the game against Carlstadt was at home. We are playing very well as a team, and we have many great players! My favorite part of being on the team is it is one of the few opportunities I have to get to be around my friends and classmates at school and play the great game of basketball! Every practice we learn a lot from our coach and we improve more and more! (P.S., our uniforms are pretty nice too!)” - Cameron Daly, 6th Grade Team Member

7th and 8th Grade Boys Basketball:

Coach Marquis Hanberry stated “The team beat North Bergen on 1/15/22 by a score of 48 to 32. Jayel Johnson scored 26 points in the win and added 12 rebounds. Isaiah Blanks scored 10 points and had 5 rebounds. The team also played East Rutherford at Hoboken High School and won 68 to 32”

“The basketball season has been going very well. We had two games so far and we won both. I averaged 30 points each game. My favorite part being on my basketball team is that we all teach each other our mistakes so we can get better. We have a game this weekend. I hope we win!” - Jayel Johnson, 8th Grade Team Member

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Girls' Basketball

The HMS Girls Basketball team started their inaugural season back in December. Coach Cecily Evans and Coach Madeline Gonzalez have been working very hard with the team to develop their skills leading up to and and through the first few weeks of the season. In their opening game of the year, the girls lost to North Arlington by a score of 28-14. In their second contest, the HMS girls team fell to Rutherford 44-24. Samaya Blanks has been the leading scorer so far this season averaging 8 points a game.

Harper Clark, a 7th grade team player, stated that the team has won one game thus far!! Harper also said “I have not scored any points, but I have made a lot more friends and they help me when I don't understand something. It is definitely a learning experience but it's also really fun!” Another 7th grade team member, Evangeline Rawhauser, commented "I like that we are able to travel to different schools and compete against other towns. I also enjoy being able to play with my friends”. Outstanding job, lady Tigers!

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Exciting Accomplishments for HMS!

HMS Welcomes Mr. Tyrell Dortch as Youth Development Specialist!

HMS is very lucky to have Mr. Dortch and he has been such an asset to our school and community. Mr. Dortch has such a strong connection to Hoboken schools, the community, and the students. Mr. Dortch’s parents moved to Hoboken when they were young and they met at Hoboken High School in 1980. Mr. Dortch was born and raised in Hoboken. He stated, “I am in Hoboken all day, everyday!” Mr. Dortch commented that his favorite thing about Hoboken is how it is a melting pot of great people from different cultures, and most importantly, Hoboken feels like home and is a family. He appreciates all the love and positivity in this square mile town.

Mr. Dortch attended Calabro School, Brandt School, and graduated from Hoboken High School, where he was a star football player. He received a full scholarship to Michigan State University for football and played football for MSU from 2000-2004. In May of 2005, he graduated from Michigan State University with a Bachelor in Science in Family Studies.

After graduating, Mr. Dortch returned to his hometown and started coaching football at Hoboken High School. He is also a longtime Firefighter for the Hoboken Fire Department and has been affiliated with Hoboken Public Schools since 2008. Mr. Dortch has been committed to the students of Hoboken through his different roles within the district (i.e., Substitute Teacher, Mental Health Worker, Youth Advisor) in addition to coaching. Mr. Dortch stated that his favorite aspect of working at Hoboken Public Schools is connecting with the students and watching the different generations grow up and succeed. The kids of Hoboken have a special place in his heart.

As the Youth Development Specialist, Mr. Dortch is working directly with the administration and students at HMS to foster rules, ensure a safe environment, share positivity and motivation. His goal is to send positive messages to students and be a positive presence to them. Furthermore, Mr. Dortch is passionate about discussing the real-world, life lessons, and professions outside of sports with his students and players. Mr. Dortch stated, “I talk about life a lot and help the students make those connections”.

His favorite aspect about working at HMS is the community between the staff and faculty, and the camaraderie between the staff and faculty members. Mr. Dortch especially enjoys working directly with Mr. Ramos as Mr. Ramos was a huge role model to Mr. Dortch when he was in middle school. He stated, “Mr. Ramos was someone I looked up to. When I was in 8th grade, Mr. Ramos was a senior at Hoboken High School, and he was very athletic, but extremely humble and kind. He got a football scholarship and I thought it was the coolest thing in the world. Then, 5 years later, I received a football scholarship too”.

Mr. Dortch expressed that his favorite label is being a “girl dad” and his favorite thing to do outside of school is hanging out with his three daughters. He also enjoys eating at the restaurants in town, trying new foods, and looking for new places to dine. His favorite spot in town is Cafe Michelina. He said, “Good food, good prices!”

Mr. Dortch, thank you for being such a positive influence to the students of Hoboken. We appreciate you and all that you do!

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Teacher of the Year: Ms. Bruce

It is no surprise that Ms. Bruce was selected Teacher of the Year as the HMS community raves about her, her class, and her relationship with her colleagues and students.

Ms. Bruce stated: I am truly honored to have been chosen as this year's Hoboken Middle School Educator of the Year. I started my career in Hoboken 9 years ago, at Connors Elementary School. I have always taught 6th grade math so when the 6th graders were moved to Hoboken Middle School, I moved with them. It has been a privilege to be at HMS since nearly the beginning and watch the school reach its full potential. Although middle school can be a challenging time for children, I love being able to help guide my students during this transitional period in their lives. I particularly enjoy teaching 6th grade math because of how naturally the content material translates to situations outside the classroom”.

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Educator/Paraprofessional of the Year: Ms. Garcia

“I am beyond honored and grateful for receiving an award as the Educator/Paraprofessional of the Year. I have been a paraprofessional for over six years, and I look forward to continuing this journey due to my passion for helping students. I've worked with students who have difficulties, and it is gratifying that I am able to make positive differences in their lives. The students that I have worked with closely needed extra support, guidance, encouragement, and love. Working with children at the Hoboken Middle School has been a pleasure, and I will continue to be a positive role model/mentor to them, so that they are successful academically, emotionally, and socially. Thank you for choosing me for this award as it means so much to me, and I appreciate being recognized for my strong efforts and work ethic” - Ms. Garcia

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Marking Period 2 Student of the Month Awards



A Note From Mr. Ramos

Written by Tasha Fu and Raine Sayann, Newsletter Members

The STEAM Tank competition has officially begun. All three grade levels submitted their STEAM Tank video presentations. Last year's STEAM Tank competition was so amazing, and we hope to replicate its success this year as well!

Additionally, The HMS Basketball Team season has been practicing and having a great season, which is definitely a highlight of this marking period.

Lastly, staying healthy and respectful of the COVID rules at our school is important and necessary. Following the guidelines of washing our hands, wearing our masks properly, and keeping appropriate distances from each other is the way to continue the success of this school year.

A Note From Dr. Baskinger

“Marking Period 2 has been an exciting one for sure. Students in all grade levels busily worked on completing yet another novel in the Language Arts courses. Earlier this marking period, students in Language Arts and their hardworking teachers created incredible winter-themed writing pieces which were showcased at the Winter Wonderland Event. Students created poems, narratives, and art pieces at HMS! In Social Studies, students competed in the Elks Essay Contest which took place over the course of weeks in order for students to create truly passionate pieces of writing. Marking Period 2 also saw some Black History Month lessons and planning in all content areas. Departments are excited to keep working throughout the third marking period!” - Dr. Baskinger, Supervisor of Instruction, Student Achievement and Intervention Programs

A Note From Ms. Falcone

Written by Amelie Cademartori, Newsletter Member

Ms. Falcone mentioned that a major highlight for her this marking period was getting to know more students at HMS, especially the sixth graders. She is enjoying student check-ins, which enhanced her relationships with the students. Furthermore, this marking was very productive! On December 23rd, HMS participated in the second Student Development Day of the year. Our lessons included:

  • HMS Set Up for Success Volume I: This lesson provided an overview of the significance of executive functioning skills in middle school. Students practiced making daily checklists, and reflecting on their own time management.

  • HMS Set up for Success Volume II: This lesson provided an overview of the significance of motivation in middle school. Students reflected on times that they felt highly motivated, as well as how a lack of motivation may impact their academics and social-emotional learning.

  • Navigating Genesis: This lesson allowed students to practice navigating Genesis, so that they are able to check their grades and overall academic progress.

  • Fostering Respect in Our HMS Community: This lesson provided students with the opportunity to understand how respectful language and communication fosters a positive learning environment. Thank you to the HMS Equity Team for creating this impactful lesson!

Taryn Cannavale, a sixth grade student, stated “It was nice to be able to relax for a day and have fun.” The next student development day is on Thursday, Feb 17, 2022. Random Acts of Kindness Week will also occur in the third marking period!

The social-emotional program, Move this World, is also picking up momentum this marking period, especially the Power of Pause, which helps students refocus and reset in class. It is helpful to practice these skills in school since these skills can be applied at home as well. Sixth grade student, Violeta Martin, commented “I like how we learn about our emotions and how we can control them”. Students will continue to utilize this program throughout the second semester.

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What Did the 6th Grade Do During MP 2?


“The major highlight of the marking period, for me, was seeing how much my students have grown academically as well as socially and emotionally since September. Everyone is doing a wonderful job adapting to the routines and intricacies of middle school. Everyone has been so helpful to one another and are truly making me proud.This marking period we focused on the expressions and equations strand of the curriculum. We learned how to write and evaluate expressions, write and solve equations, and write and graph inequalities. We discovered independent and dependent variables and how tables, graphs, and equations are related. Students also enjoyed the class project we completed this marking period. Students were assigned a section from previously learned topics to create their own lessons. Students included videos, vocabulary, and examples in their lessons. Students taught their lessons to their peers. We are looking forward to another wonderful marking period and looking forward to our next topic, ratios and rates” - Ms. Bruce


Sixth grade student, India Magaletta, summarized what the 6th grade students completed during Marking Period Two: “We learned so much in 6th grade ELA during this marking period. We finished our personal narratives and we had a great time putting our personal experiences to paper. Another writing activity we had an amazing time with in Marking Period 2 was our paint chip poems! This activity had everyone create their own original poem based on a paint chip you might see in a home improvement store. This fun activity tied into our lessons on color connotations, which are the ideas and impressions that go with different colors, and we applied this strategy when reading the novel, A Christmas Carol, a classic story that helped put us in the holiday spirit! We also started our new novel: Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine. This fiction novel gives our class a new perspective on writing itself! However, Mockingbird isn’t the only concept we started in Marking Period 2. Our class is now learning all about feature articles. We learned what makes a feature article a feature article, and started brainstorming topics for our very own feature articles to be published next marking period!”- India Magaletta, 6th Grade

Science: Written by Amelie Cademartori, Newsletter Member

This second marking period students were very productive and covered multiple topics in Science. Some of the topics covered were: Earth’s Spheres, the Water Cycle, and the Rock Cycle. In addition, we continued our physics program with measuring the volume of rectangular and irregular objects. One student said, “I always look forward to working with my science group for lab days.” Next marking period, students will work on life’s classification and structure, as well as traits and inheritance. In physics, students will learn how to calculate and measure the density of irregular solids and fluids.

Social Studies:

“This marking period we really enjoyed our lesson on the Sons of Liberty. One aspect that I find interesting in particular is how our founding fathers were definitely not perfect people, and sometimes they definitely made irresponsible decisions. I was really happy with how our Google Slides project on the Winter Solstice turned out. I feel that students really enjoyed learning about all of the ancient civilizations and their traditions. I’m sure many of the students in class were surprised to learn how many of the ancient traditions still exist today woven into our current holiday traditions.This marking period we primarily learned about the reasons the Colonists eventually had to revolt against the British. The other topics that we have covered were: The Stamp Act, The Boston Massacre, and The Boston Tea Party, to name a few. These lessons explained, in the words of Connor Fletcher, why we had a “revolt against the English, and one of the steps that America gained for independence.” Our next topic is the Revolutionary War”- Mr. Debenedetto

Students really enjoy having Mr. Debenedetto for sixth grade Social Studies as he is very interested and passionate about history! Mr. Debenedetto’s class is engaging because he uses many different resources in his lessons. His student, Charlotte Peters, said “Social Studies is very fun and helps me learn about the past and helps me understand what it was like in different periods of time. Also, Social Studies helps me learn about my country”.

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What Did the 7th Grade Do During MP 2?


“Our 7th graders worked extremely hard this marking period. We completed my favorite concept to teach, proportional relationships. Students' connections between proportional relationships and ratios were very impressive, which supports why many students were successful with this topic. Furthermore, it was great hearing students’ connections between the curriculum and the real-world; hence, why this topic is my favorite to teach! Lastly, 7th grade students are excelling and taking advantage of the opportunities on iXL. Many students received certificate awards for their accomplishments this marking period. Way to go, 7th grade! I am looking forward to another wonderful semester together and I am excited to facilitate yet another exciting and relative topic, equations and inequalities!” - Ms. Episcopo

“I believe the most beneficial topic during this marking period was Topic 3, where students learned about how to analyze and solve percent problems. These types of problems are incredibly important to understand. We used real-life situations such as, finding sale prices of items, finding percent markup prices, and finding how to calculate a tip at a restaurant. These are skills students will need to know, if not currently, in the near future” - Ms. Murphy

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Our seventh graders spent Marking Period 2 in 1960s Tulsa, Oklahoma as we read The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. Throughout the reading of the novel, we focused on the development of characters, specifically the way in which the two gangs in the novel interact and change throughout the story. Students completed Dialectical Journals as they read, recording their personal reactions and connections to the reading. These journals helped spark discussion in class. During Writing Workshop, seventh grade authors worked through the writing process to craft their own Photo Essays; students generated ideas, collected and organized facts and photos, drafted their essays, and focused on specific revising and editing techniques to perfect their craft. Photo Essay topics included photobiographies on celebrities and athletes like Muhammad Ali and Matt LeBlanc, historical events such as the Boston Bombing and the Spanish Flu, as well as current issues like Animal Testing, Homophobia in Schools, Climate Change, and Cyrptocurrency. The final essays will be completed at the beginning of Marking Period 3, and we cannot wait to read them all!” - Ms. Painter

"In Marking Period 2, I liked reading the mentor photo essays because they helped us learn about photo essays so that we were able to write our own. I especially liked "When the Wolves Returned" because it gave us a lot of perspective on cause and effect relationships."- Benny Gabriel, 7th Grade Student

"My favorite part of The Outsiders was the poem "Nothing Gold Can Stay" because it reminded me of the Langston Hughes poem "Dreams." - Nikko Rodriguez, 7th Grade Student

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Science: Written by Raine Sayaan, Newsletter Members

Ms. McHugh’s Science class has been hard at work as they busied themselves with a multitude of activities during Marking Period 2. A major highlight was STEAM Tank, a competition in which students either created a new useful invention, or innovated an existing tool. Students also worked on and completed Unit 3: Cells to Organisms. Students started Unit 4 and learned about the structure of DNA. Students color coded a DNA molecule and used their interactive notebooks to record the parts of a molecule. Students are excited to start designing a patch for the SSEP project, another competition where the winning patch will be worn by an astronaut at the ISS (International Space Station). Stay curious as the winner will be announced next marking period!

7th grade student Benjamin Gabriel was eager to share about STEAM Tank, and made it well aware that STEAM TANK is the 7th grade fan favorite. He said, "STEAM Tank was fun and helpful because we were able to make an invention without hurting the environment”.

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Social Studies: Written by Raine Sayaan, Newsletter Member

In Ms. Bennett’s Social Studies class, students wrapped up their core concepts and began a new chapter in the United States of Canada. To explore Canada’s states, students worked on a State History Project where they researched historical places and people from their chosen state. In honor of February, also Black History Month, students started working on a Black History Month Project. Keep up the good work!

“I really enjoy having Ms. Bennett as my homeroom teacher and social studies as my first class of the day. We learned a lot over the past few months and have had a lot of time for group work, my personal favorite. I really enjoyed our project on current events, where we were able to create a slideshow presentation and present it to the class. We also had the opportunity of competing with writing assignments such as the Elks Lodge essay. Social Studies has been very eventful so far and I am excited for the assignments we have coming up”- Vivian Allen, 7th Grade Student.

What Did the 8th Grade Do During MP 2?

Math: Written by Tasha Fu and Sayaan, Newsletter Members

Ms. Quist’s Pre-AP Algebra class worked hard to complete their first, and longest, unit during Marking Period 2. Students focused on linear relationships and inequalities, which helped students solve equations and inequalities with a wide range of solutions. Students studied scatterplots and created lines of best fit. Students are continuing to study piecewise functions, which contain segments defined by different expressions. Students are looking forward to completing a Desmos project where students will recreate pictures on graphs using their knowledge of functions. Through week by week practice, students are becoming more comfortable with identifying unit measurements and perfect squares. Keep up the good work 8th graders!

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“So far this marking period in ELA, we finished reading Lord of the Flies by William Golding. Throughout reading, students worked to analyze the novel for the theme of savagery and civilization, as the novel is an allegory to WWII. 8th grade ELA students wrote poems about winter that were showcased at the Literacy & Art Family Fun Night held by the district in December. Students also began work on a new writing unit: Research Report. Students selected a topic that interested them, which they will spend time researching and note-taking in order to produce the final product of a research paper. Lastly, we began reading our third novel of the year, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. This book is my personal favorite that we read throughout the year” - Ms. Nodine

Eighth grade students really enjoyed the new writing unit and students' creativity and interests were reflected in their writing pieces. David Prince said, "I like that we get to be creative by picking our own research topics for this writing unit."

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This marking period, Ms. Rienzo replaced Mrs. Gentile as the 8th grade science teacher as Mrs. Gentile is on her maternity leave. Ms. Rienzo began the new year meeting with her new students in science and finishing up their unit on the Solar System. Students completed a Planet Research project in which they chose one inner planet and one outer planet to focus on. For the remainder of the marking period, students will be starting a new unit on Rocks, Minerals, and Fossils. Throughout the unit, students will engage in interactive labs, discussions, and group work.

Jose Figueroa, an 8th grade student, made the following statement about the Plant Research Project: “It was out of this world!”

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Social Studies: Written by Tasha Fu and Raine Sayaan, Newsletter Members

In Mr. Tall’s History class, students studied the Ancient Greeks and Romans. Students highlighted the Rise of the Republic in Athens, the Punic Wars, the Fall of the Republic in Rome, Rise of Christianity, and the Fall of Rome. Students enjoyed creating resumes for Julius and Octavius Caesar.

Ben Kamel, an 8th grade student, stated, “Mr. Tall’s class is the best class ever!” James McDonald, another 8th grade student, also raved about having Mr. Tall as his teacher and made the following comment: “I love Mr. Tall’s class because he doesn’t feel like my teacher but feels like my friend.”

What Did World Language Do During MP 2?

Spanish: Written by Sophia Lopez, Newsletter Member

This marking period, students created a comic strip using learned vocabulary. The Famous Person Project had students create a social networking page communicating to other countries a person's information and achievements. Students also were creative and innovative by building their interpretive, interpersonale, and presentational skills.

“This marking period in Spanish class, students discuss a variety of topics. We discussed Subject Pronouns, Verb "to be", Telling time, Numbers 1- 100, Definite and Indefinite Articles, Nouns, Articles, and Culture. Students really enjoyed the Spanish Famous Person Project. Students created a slide presentation with their assigned person. One of the tasks was to create a social networking page communicating out to other countries that person's information and achievements. Another creative project was the Comic strip. Students wrote a dialogue with a partner and it included a variety of topics. For example, greetings, leave takings, and feelings”. -Ms. Trinidad

8th grade student, Ariana Feola, spoke her praises about Spanish class. She said, “I have had many highlights during this marking period! One is, the many cool units and projects we got to complete in Spanish class this marking period :) We completed many cool projects!! For example, our Comic Strips and our Famous Person Project. I thought these were really fun to complete! Both projects gave me the chance to express myself through my writing :). My favorite lesson/topic was when we talked about family and cultural traditions! I liked how Ms. Trinidad went over that everybody celebrated holidays/certain days differently depending on what they believe. I connected and related this lesson a lot. :)” - Ariana Feola, 8th Grade Spanish Student

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Mandarin: Written By Tasha Fu and Raine Sayaan, Newsletter Members

Ms. Sha’s 6th grade classes learned how to express the day, year, and month in Mandarin. This led them to create more complex sentences, like how to express their birthdays and zodiac animals. They also learned how to ask other people for their birthdays and zodiac signs. In Unit 15, students identified the zodiac signs of their families and friends!

7th and 8th graders learned how to say the names of different classes. They also focused on new words that can help express whether a class is easy, difficult, interesting or boring. Students watched videos and completed worksheets comparing American school schedules to middle school schedules in China. Students completed this unit by becoming principals of their own schools and creating their dream school schedules using the Mandarin words learned. For Unit 16, students created a project around their daily routines. This helped students practice stating the time and activity in the order in which they complete them.

Towards the end of Marking Period 2 was Chinese New Year. This year is the year of the Tiger! Ms. Sha’s class completed an abundance of activities to engage the students in Chinese culture. They made tiger puppets and wrote Chinese couplets. Students learned how Chinese people celebrate their New Year and watched videos which informed students of the Chinese history of tigers. Students completed a poster based on the Chinese New Year. 8th grade student, Raine, stated:“The arts and crafts activities are the best!” Best Wishes for the New Year HMS!

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“I really enjoyed the lessons on creating New Year's Resolutions in French. Students chose resolutions they would like to try and wrote sentences explaining why the resolutions are important. Next, they made a mini-poster describing their resolutions in French. These resolutions are hung up around the classroom and remind us of our goals for the new year! I am excited to be completing our first Integrated Performance Assessment (IPA) with students. For this project, we spent an entire week focusing on different skills we have mastered: presentational writing, interpretive listening and reading, and presentational speaking. This was a great opportunity for students to appreciate their growing confidence and skills in French! I would have to say that my favorite topic from Marking Period 2, in addition to writing and speaking about our resolutions, is the topic of making social plans. Students learned how to invite each other to do various activities, such as going to the movies, and they learned how to both accept and decline invitations. This is a great real-world skill they can use if they travel and make friends with francophone speakers!” - Ms. Jette, French

Students expressed how engaging Ms. Jette’s French class is. It is evident that she is dedicated in her lesson plans and truly wants to make her class relative to students. Sixth grade French student, Rye Critelli, said “What I like about French class are all of the fun activities we do".

Sixth grade French student, Shaan Khanna, mentioned "I like learning about the culture of France".

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What Did We Do in Fine & Performing Arts During MP 2?

P.E. & Health: Written by Raine Sayaan, Newsletter Member

Students in Mr. Demaio’s gym class wrapped up Soccer and Floor Hockey! After winter break, students were eager to beat their previous fitness testing scores. Students completed the Shuttle Run and Wall Sit exercises. In the upcoming weeks, Mr. Demaio’s classes will begin the long-awaited, fan favorite unit-- Volleyball! Students will begin with learning the basic skills of volleyball, such as bumping, serving, and blocking. Then students will play full games where each student will get a chance to play each position. Good work athletes!

“Throughout the course of MP2, students in P.E. participated in a Floor Hockey Unit as well as the beginning of a Volleyball Unit. During floor hockey, students work on skills such as stick handling, puck handling, passing, shooting, and defensive strategies. Game play in floor hockey was great and very competitive! In Volleyball, students are practicing skills such as the forearm pass, set, and serve. Game play started this past week.Health classes in MP2 covered a variety of topics. 6th grade focused on Conflict Resolution, 7th grade studied Nutrition, and 8th grade learned about the Life Cycle”. - Mr. Gazerwitz

Nijel Colon, 8th Grade- "I enjoyed playing floor hockey. It gave us the experience of playing hockey in a fun and controlled setting."

Oliver Checkly, 7th Grade, "I enjoyed learning about how nutrition can affect our overall health.”

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Theater: Written by Charlotte Peters, Newsletter Member

This marking period in Pre- AP Theater we worked extensively with the musical West Side Story.We took a close look at the themes of the play as we discussed the role of the director. One major highlight of the marking period was when we worked in groups to create tableaux, or still images, to depict a scene from the musical. We did a few projects but the coolest project involved making a storyboard for one of the scenes. Some students created their story boards digitally. Ruby Henik, a sixth grade student, mentioned that these lessons on the West Side Story were lessons worth learning! Our next major project will have students create a plan for a dramaturgical lobby display. These displays are intended to educate audiences about the world of the play or provide an opportunity to experience something the characters of the play experience.

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Strings: Written by Raine Sayaan, Newsletter Member

Ms. Monblatt's String and Pre-AP Music students had a wonderful second marking period! Students learned seasonal pieces including Polish Carol, Somewhere In My Memory, and Jingle Bells in preparation for the District Concert, and started working on a new piece of music, "Minuet" by Bach after winter break. "Minuet" has two different violin parts, both melody and harmony, so students take turns performing each part in small duets with a partner. Students continue to analyze aspects of pieces including the clef, time signature, key signature, and rhythmic and melodic patterns, increasing their awareness and understanding of the piece. In Pre-AP Music, students reflected on how composers borrow music and themes from each other. Students had to find pieces to compare and contrast, evaluating if any material was something that composers borrowed in their own work. Students researched the pieces online, and analyzed the themes, music, and lyrics before determining if the borrowing seemed obvious and intentional, or camouflaged within the composition! The investigations ended with a class discussion that debated if any of this could be considered plagiarism. It is apparent that students not only enjoy string class because the activities are enjoyable, but the students really appreciate having Ms. Monblatt as their strings teacher. Elizabeth Bright, an 8th grade strings student, said “Ms. Monblatt’s class is my favorite class because playing the violin is so much fun!” - Elizabeth Bright, 8th Grade Student

Band: Written by Tasha Fu, Newsletter Member

Band students progressed well on their instruments throughout the second marking period. Some students opted to take on a secondary instrument that is related to their primary one, such as tenor, sax or mellophone. Others improved the range and tone quality of their main instrument. As musical analysts, Band students listened intently to their anchor works, noting expressive choices and how these impact the audiences’ reactions. At the end of the marking period, band students crafted their own melodies, and temulated the feelings and emotions of the anchor works studied.

“I think the progression of the song as we play and how we continue to get better is what I like, you can feel the improvements gradually adding on to the overall playing ability” - Axel Hultstrom, 8th Grade Student

“I enjoy band because it allows advancement when identifying rhythms, therefore allowing for a seamless transition into the practice of concert songs.” - Arjan Samurai, 8th Grade Student

Creative Writing:

“This marking period, creative writing focused on story telling from pictures and scriptwriting. Students wrote stories in a variety of genres, (horror, romance, sci-fi and drama) based off of one picture. Writers worked in a writer's room (aka small group) to create a "pitch" for a movie or TV show along with a short script ‘treatment’”. - Ms. Donnelly

Creative Writing allows students to apply their writing skills while being innovative, original, and expressive. Sixth grade student, Marly Larkin, said “I liked that we were able to use our imagination in the class and that we were able to express our imagination in our writing. Sophia Anderson, sixth grade student, stated she enjoyed the science-fiction genre as she wrote about an alien. Lastly, sixth grader, Everett Andrew, enjoyed the movie production project the most.


“One major highlight of this marking period would definitely be seeing my new students using their creativity to create great work. It's always a pleasure seeing students work hard towards their goals each period in Pre-AP Dance class. The first dance study creation is always my favorite because it gets my student's feet wet when it comes to performing. I enjoy seeing them get comfortable with the idea of Dance and the many aspects of it. Most students are surprised at what they can achieve when they are open minded and give things a true chance, especially in performance art. The short story narratives we studied in Learning Cycle 2 are my favorite lessons because not everyone is exploring and analyzing the same narrative and there are so many different ideas and perspectives from each one that make creating abstract movement more fun” - Ms. Mendoza

Neva Gold, a sixth grader, mentioned that in her analysis of one of the short stories, "It reminded me of the holidays and about a specific family member." This is what is great about performance art: you can infer inspiration from anywhere and it was great to see Neva tap into her personal life to help her along with her dissection of her assignment.

Art: Written by Sophia Lopez, Newsletter Member

Ms. Whelen and her artists had an amazing second marking period together. The self-portrait project was a huge highlight this marking period as students really shined with this project. The three main units were thinking about art as a source for inspiration, thinking about everyday objects as inspiration, and materials as inspiration. 8th grader, Jaxx Rosado, commented that “Art was very different and very inspiring. I did many things that I never have done in any other class that I thought were cool.”

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What Did Passport To Learning Do During MP 2?

“Hoboken Middle School Passport to Learning kicked off the new year with Glassroots Studio and their wonderful instructors, Erlea and Yazzie. The classes are awesome!! They took a tour of the studio, went over some important shop safety info, and then jumped right in and got our hands dirty! They spend the night flameworking, or “lampworking” as the cool kids call it - and end up with some really impressive glass objects.

All students continue to participate in their regular study hall period, where each student is able to complete their homework and get extra help. We also offer Chorus, Band, Chef it up cooking challenge and Junior Thespians for those who preferred the Fine Arts. For those who prefer an activity that requires more movement we are hosting Spin Class, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Rock Climbing, Cardio Kickboxing, or Table Tennis. Come join the fun!

It’s never too late to join Hoboken Middle School’s Passport to Learning after school enrichment program. If you’re interested in any of our fantastic courses please reach out to Mrs. Taglieri for more information” - Ms. Taglieri and Mr. Della Fave

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Clubs and Activities

Chorus: Written by Tashua Fu, Newsletter Member

During the second marking period, Chorus learned to sing three songs, "Carol of the Bells," "Noel, Noel," and "Have a Holly Jolly Christmas." Students learned to sustain a steady pitch and also extend their range and vocal endurance. The highlight of the marking period was a featured performance at the Winter Wonderland event on January 26th. The students of Chorus are looking forward to starting the music for their spring concert as well as a competition at Six Flags Great Adventure.

Student Council:

“This marking period in the Student Council Club, we worked on and distributed multiple acts of kindness. We helped out the Front Line Appreciation Group of Hoboken and Jersey City by coloring pages for their Sketches Socks and Sweets drive in December. We also held and participated in Spirit Fridays: Sports Day and Festive Sweater Day! HMS had a lot of fun dressing up for our Spirit Days!” -Ms. Nodine

National Juniors Honors Society:

“In NJHS, members began applying for the NJHS Outstanding Achievement Award (OAA) which recognizes 500 exceptional NJHS students across the nation with a prestigious award and $500. This monetary honor will be placed in a college savings account program and will prepare NJHS students for higher education. Hoboken Middle School's NJHS is excited to hopefully receive this recognition for its members. In addition to this, members of Pulchra Varietate are continuously joining forces with HMS Student Council and Advisor, Ms. Nodine, to collect for the Hoboken Shelter. Collections have included hygiene items, food, clothing, and coats” -Dr. Baskinger

Literacy Club: Written by Tasha Fu & Raine Sayaan, Newsletter Members

In Literacy Club, students can write what their hearts desire and write about their interests. They learn useful techniques and skills while being exposed to different forms of writing. Students wrote short stories, reviewed other short stories, and wrote fanfictions.8th grade member, Sihana Alaj, mentioned that “out of all the clubs I’ve been in, which is currently nine, this one is my favorite!”

GSA: Written by Sophia Lopez, Newsletter Member

A major highlight of this marking period was creating a video for the incoming 6th graders introducing the mission and activities of GSA at HMS. Members spent a few days educating others about pronouns and prefixes as well as spent time learning about other LGBTQ activists such as belle hooks. Something new that was introduced this marking period was a watching film series on LGBTQ issues. GSA member, Audin Turner, said "I like the fact that every time we have a meeting, it is a positive environment."

Academic Team: Written By Amelie Cademartori, Newsletter Member

This marking period has been very busy for the Academic Team! Students competed in both the Continental Math League and the National Current Events League. In the Continental Math League, students competed in two meets, with a few perfect scores. In the National Current Events League, students completed their second meet of four. Also, students worked on their Law Day contest Mock Trial scripts. These are being submitted, and if selected, members will present in front of a real judge! Also, students are preparing for their geography and math meet. Students are really enjoying it!

Best Buddies / Diversity Club:

Best Buddies / Diversity Club spent the second semester fostering stronger friendships, positivity, and generated more ways to improve our school environment. During our meetings, we focus on making new friendships and connecting with peers at HMS that are not in our classes. Our Pen Pal program is off to a fantastic start, as we wrote and received our first round of Pen Pal letters from our Pen Pals! This has been an enlightening experience for our students. If any student is interested in joining Best Buddies/ Diversity Club for the second semester, please let us know!

What do you like most about Best Buddies?

  • We talk about cool stuff and interesting things with our friends - Emahni C

  • I like best buddies because it's about making friends- Alex D.

  • I like best buddies because we can hangout with anyone from any grade - Idan

  • I like best buddies because I like meeting new people - Neve

  • I like best buddies because I like meeting new people and doing fun activities with friends - Shreya

  • I like best buddies because I like meeting new people that we do not see everyday - Gage

  • I like best buddies because it is a place you can be happy, relax, because sometimes schools feels really long, and Best Buddies helps me relax - Cameron

  • I like Best Buddies because I met new people that I did not meet before and met people that I have in common with - Jaxx

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