Literacy Tool Boxes in the HPSD

Literacy Tool Boxes Are Being Filled in The Hoboken Public School District
Posted on 01/13/2023


Contact Information:

Hoboken Public School District

Christopher Munoz


[email protected]

RELEASE DATE: January 13, 2023

Literacy Tool Boxes Are Being Filled in The Hoboken Public School District

Primary Education teachers receive comprehensive Orton-Gillingham (OG) training.

Hoboken, NJ, January 13, 2023The Hoboken Public School District (HPS) has embarked on an initiative aimed at effectively meeting the foundational literacy needs of all learners. In partnership with the Institute for Multi-Sensory Education (IMSE), an organization accredited by the International Dyslexia Association, the district set its sights on providing comprehensive Orton-Gillingham (OG) training to all primary grade level teachers. Orton-Gillingham is a multi-sensory, structured, and sequential method used in reading instruction. 

This past fall, the school district completed its second phase of OG training facilitated by ISME, funded by the Hoboken Public Education Foundation, resulting in 100% of its K-2 teachers being trained in OG methodology. Additionally, the district has all of its reading specialists, K-5 special education teachers, a core group of special education resource room teachers, and one lead teacher in the 3rd, 4th and 5th grades in each of its elementary schools. The purpose of this is to ensure both powerful practice and the continuity of instruction in the upper elementary grades.

According to HPEF Co-Founders and Co-Presidents Jackie Dowd-Prince and Erica Gavin, “Our mission is to support the Hoboken Public School District by elevating and enhancing the public education experience through private funding.” They added, “being able to provide funding for such valuable training transforms our beliefs into action.”

The OG approach emphasizes highly explicit systematic teaching around phonological awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension skills.  Additionally, the approach is multi-sensory in nature, which ensures multiple learning pathways (auditory, visual, and kinesthetic) are activated as students are learning to read.

Teachers participated in 30 hours of training in order to prepare to utilize the OG methodology. Feedback has been extremely positive.  Literacy is the foundation of every child’s success story, both in the classroom and later in life.  Incorporating OG methods into Hoboken Public School District’s early literacy program has provided teachers with the critical tools needed to help each student most effectively learn to read. 
"The Hoboken Public Education Foundation is extremely proud to fund this important initiative in our schools, and we are so grateful for the opportunity to help make this dream a reality. But it's the teachers and staff involved who most deserve our gratitude for making literacy a priority for the benefit of all kids," said Jackie Dowd-Prince Co-Founder and Co-President.

“We are so proud of this partnership as it communicates to all stakeholders how vested we are in literacy success for all. The teachers have been actively involved in this professional development and implementation has been seamless. There is evidence of powerful literacy instruction across grade levels and across schools. This is not a one and done but rather a statement to proclaim how committed we are to students meeting grade level expectations. This vision is a community vision graciously funded by the HPEF in not only the training but in the purchasing of materials to drive implementation. It is a village!”, said Assistant Superintendent Sandra Rodriguez-Gomez.

The district’s next move is to assemble a cohort of literacy leaders with IMSE Instructor Certification. The cohort will consist of certified teachers with advanced degrees in educational fields of study and have already completed the IMSE Orton-Gillingham Training. The benefits of having IMSE Instructors across the district will allow for in-house training of newly hired teachers and to provide refresher training for existing staff. “Ultimately, the goal is to become an IMSE Orton-Gillingham Certified School District,” said Supervisor of Humanities Christy Gaudio. 

In addition to incorporating Orton-Gillingham, HPS has also implemented other tools related to literacy and early intervention at the elementary school level. For example, all K-2 teachers were trained in the use of the Developmental Reading Assessment 3 (DRA3), which identifies students who need additional foundational reading support before deficits occur. The DRA3 offers teachers the tools they need to observe and document students’ reading levels and helps to inform practice. Additionally, the district has introduced Fast ForWord; an online reading platform that uses a brain-based approach to target skills of phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, grammar, fluency, and comprehension. 

The Hoboken Public School District now exceeds the English Language Arts (ELA) state average on the New Jersey Student Learning Assessment and looks to continue its achievement climb. 

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