Middle School classes

Someone please explain SOAR and 21st century skills?. I have 5th grader and not understanding. I asked several teachers and didn’t get a clear answer they seemed just as confused. Is it new? Are they like study hall?. I know it’s only day 6 but wasn’t so impressed by new principals

ConcernedMSparent ConcernedMSparent
September 13th

Is 21st century skills an actual class? At the high school it’s a grading category. The teachers have to show how they are incorporating those skills into their classroom so the kids are graded on things like their use of technology. Every class has to include the component.

I too am confused with the two classes. My son has an IEP and was in SOAR with the music teacher 2bd period. I am also concerned with the overcrowded gym classes. My son said that he had at least 70 kids in this gym class. Then a day or two later they're mixed with another class of 6th graders. Used to love gym class but now he says you can't even get the ball. With all the chaos going on in the school with the new schedule, which doesn't seem to be working,she's trying to enforce a dress code of no one wearing shorts in the winter. Really.?

Lisa Hodierne Lisa Hodierne
September 14th

Yes it’s an actual period in addition to SOAR

ConcernedMSparent ConcernedMSparent
September 14th

well I must say back to school night was a whilrwind! I now completely understand why my 5th grader is coming home overwhelmed.
Soar has never been a study hall. I believe it’s a slot for band or chorus. Neither has started?
Gym definitely isn’t supposed to have over 85 kids in one class! I can’t imagine the mayhem!
I’m also confused about 21st century skills. They skipped it on the schedule last night.
I ll be emailing the school this afternoon. This is unacceptable.
The only bright side of last night were the teachers!

Middle school parent Middle school parent
September 14th

We signed up for an instrument but is band really everyday?

ConcernedMSparent ConcernedMSparent
September 14th

Apparently band is now everyday for the kids instead of every other day, with lessons to be given within the scheduled band period each day. My question is, how on earth are they supposed to give lessons to a few students with the rest of the band in the room? Is my kid just supposed to sit there while individual students receive lessons and vice versa? How do they expect the music teacher to both give a lesson and teach the rest of the class at the same time?? It doesn’t make any sense and the new principal isn’t giving any answers. I will be emailing the school (yet again) today.

Anyone going to meet with the principal? Attending PTA meetings? Asking for a conference with the teacher? Sometimes it's more helpful to go to the source.

I know a number of us have tried reaching out to the school/principal over these concerns, so you would think they would have at least addressed SOMETHING last night at back to school night. It was utter chaos and I didn’t get nearly enough time to speak to any one teacher because of the total disorganization. Back to school night should be the forum for all of that, and it was not, and as a working parent, it is difficult to take time off to go back and forth to meetings at the school when concerns should have been addressed up front. Obviously that will need to be my next route as I have no choice, because my child is beyond upset and overwhelmed at this whole new schedule and this needs to be addressed!!!!

If you want one on one with a teacher, request a conference. Back to school night is not for that. Teachers need to present their class not chat with individual parents. I do agree it was chaotic due to the inability to hear while being in the auditorium if it was time to move on to the next period.

I thought SOAR is a study hall. 21st century skills must be insignificant and just a filler if they did not bother to have it on last night's schedule. Mr. Thompson did address these classes at the parent meeting this past spring. It would have been helpful if the new staff addressed them at the presentation to refresh our minds or enlighten those who did not attend the spring time meeting. Getting on here acting all stressed won't help you or your child.

As an eigth grade parent, that was the worst back to school night ever!
I think that some of the female adults might not pass dress code since that was how the evening started. Doesn't the example start with the adults in the room? Mango, the fearless leader that he is DOES NOT get how to treat people with dignity and respect, let alone how to do what is best for the kids. So the only way to get rid of him is to vote out the school board members that renewed his contract or find a district that will take him. Yes, I have been to meetings, and conferences, all that other happy horse@#$%!
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH, this district is an embarassment.

old school old school
September 14th

Any employer will tell you that if you have underperforming employee, the warning is given to that employee to correct his/her action or performance. If said employee fails again - FIRE him/her.
You, the taxpayers, pay (rather hire) Mango (or any other "official") to perform specific duties. If he fails, we keep him... why? Why do you, parents, blindly trust this person?

I did reach out and no response yet

ConcernedMSparent ConcernedMSparent
September 14th

Old School, I agree with you. Was not sure how the superintendent receives the position or exactly what the board members do. I will be educating myself in the following days. When do we vote board members in and out, is it yearly? Not fond of Mr. Mango either. I really don't see him as a good fit for our kids and our district. I never have.

There is an excellent choice for principal right within our district. I don't see why he wouldn't of hired from "within". I am sure this person is very suitable for the position. I'm not sure about in New Jersey. But I do know of districts where people going up for school principal job actually have to present themselves before the parents in a group meeting as part of the interview process.

Lisa Hodierne Lisa Hodierne
September 14th

Ms. Hodierne, you may want to use a pseudonym going forward (like everyone else does). I'd hate for your son to get blowback from this, either from teachers, administrators or classmates.

And how is one person, Mr. Freeman, supposed to teach a whole band class and give individual lessons at the same time?! People that have been in band are now being excluded due to their schedules that the principal has put in place. What's next, no music, no art, just a whole lot of overcrowded gym classes?

Lisa Hodierne Lisa Hodierne
September 14th

A big reason Hackettstown is a great family community to live in, is the teachers, is the schools!
When my husband passed away a few years ago the school was there for us, the teachers were there for us, the community was there for us. Many of the teachers are residents of Hackettstown, our neighbors, our friends. We need to stand behind our children and our teachers.

Lisa Hodierne Lisa Hodierne
September 14th

Many parents reached out to me after the Middle School back to school night feeling more than frustrated, sad and confused. There’s a perpetual and increasing lack of professionalism in the school district’s administration. Current board members address this with praise and salary increases and I would be voice of change speaking for children, families, teachers and the taxpayers. I would put a new emphasis on improved educational outcomes and a safer environment.

Between the lawsuits, issues, mold and the fact that our kids aren’t getting the highest quality education in the county - this is why I decided to run.

And what do I mean by lawsuits. See the article here: https://www.nj.com/warren/index.ssf/2018/09/student_punished_for_calling_fictional_cop_pig_can.html

There was a professional way to handle this that wouldn’t have led to high cost litigation, potential costly legal settlements and an astronomical increase in the district’s insurance rates which takes away from money that should go to educating our children.

The school board elections are November 6. There are 4 candidates (myself, Shawn Burke, Amy Cochran and Gus Bordi) with 3 open spots. I am the only NEW candidate that is seeking to bring change, question complacency and put the emphasis back on our children and their education.

Please email me at: jlschlicher@gmail.com if you'd like to connect directly.

I'm also on Facebook if you search Jami Cavanagh or my website www.jamicavanagh.com

JamiCavanagh JamiCavanagh
September 14th

Also, the next board meeting is this coming Wednesday, September 19 and anyone who feels like they aren't being heard where they should be, should go to that meeting and express your concerns.

JamiCavanagh JamiCavanagh
September 14th

Please remember that the Director of Curriciulm is responsible for class changes- please reach out and ask... I’ll even make it easy to do so
Debra Grigoletti
908-852-2800 ext 230
Be careful how much you blame the new principals for everything. This is not Mr. Thompson, but give her a chance. The board hired her for a reason- let’s find out what it is. And as we give her a chance- please remember how wonderful the teachers are and how under appreciated they are. They’re what’s going to keep this together.

Jac’s mom Jac’s mom
September 14th

Impending disaster for Hackettstown schools!

The systematic errotion and dismantling of services delivered directly to our community's children has already negatively impacted their performance and joy in there experience of school. I personally know several families who have moves or are in process to do so because of the troublesome direction in which the district is moving. Morale in the buildings is atrocious. The administration runs the high school like a prison where all staff and many students seem to walk around dejected and hopeless of improvement of any kind. It is the most unhealthy workplace I have ever experienced. Not just to single out the high school but is the community aware the Mango's contract actually awards him bonuses for firing direct line staff who actually work with our kids. What was our brilliant minds on our board thinking. I guess they thinks it's a good idea to rob Peter (kids) to pay Paul (Mango) $30,000 in bonuses, for doing nothing other than taking resources away from mine and your children. Something is wrong here, very wrong. Its also a transparent way to get over on the superintendent salary cap. Does a glorified principal especially a corrupt one warrant such a salary? I have lots more but I'm tired of writing. Stay tuned...grass roots rising perhaps?

Told you so!

September 14th

The only silver lining to last nights mayhem...

OUR TEACHERS....who displayed professionalism and kindness and commitment to our kids and our school while having to deal firsthand with dismissive, unprofessional and misguided leaders. Thankful that they, at least, are modeling behaviors for our kids that the administrators clearly are not as was on full display last night.

I posted that in 2015!

September 14th

I just don't understand why a brand new principal would change the whole schedule so drastically before even spending a year at the district and seeing how their current schedule works. Why not get settled into her role first and then see where she can make changes? I get that the director of curriculum plays a part overall, but based on what I am hearing, the principal is the one that rearranged the whole schedule, and because she has a PE background, has pushed PE to the forefront, thus causing all of the arts (band/chorus,etc.) to suffer. There have never been issues before like this, and I have had more than one child go through the middle school over the past 5+ years. I will be attending the board meeting next week for sure.

September 14th

I was very excited about having new Principal, and looking forward to much needed change.! That was the worst first impression I have ever seen! Maybe we have too many friends and family working in the district. No one is able to speak truth to power.

old school old school
September 14th

First impression? First off, she introduced herself in the dark where no one could even see her. I get there was a presentation but maybe introduce yourself before the lights go out for the prez. Then the presentation was nothing but negative. "If your kid does this, this is the punishment..." I feel like it was all about how they will be punished. Nothing positive in her first impression to the parents. Agreed, it is not Mr. Thompson but she should understand that and not come it like the new sherif in town going to crack down on all of our little hoodlems.

I too was take back by the back to school date fiasco. The new principal is obviously not Mr. Thompson, but the entire slide presentation felt like an introduction onto Rikers Island. Nothing but point disciplinary charts and talks of in school and out of school suspensions. Surely how the school treats disciplinary issues should be on a one to one basis if and when the needs arrive. Not the best opening topic with so limited time.

Mango should be embarrassed not only by is creepy lingering around in the back the whole night, but for his choice in sport coat.

Jac's mom....it's not the classes that are the issue...it is the schedule and she is the one who created it. I understand there's a new law regarding gym time so needed to compensate for that but it is 150 minutes...they now go 200 minutes! She started with gym and made the schedule around that no realizing or caring about the impact on other classes

Concernedparent Concernedparent
September 14th

Actually the 150 minutes of Gym only applies to K-5 and doesn't go into affect until next year.

Concernedparent- where did you get that info from? Who confirmed it for you? Someone in the administration? Just curious

Jac’s mom Jac’s mom
September 14th

Yes someone in the school system.

There will be hiccups in any transition. Keep in mind Mr. Thompson and Mr. Beyer were not pushed out. They moved on. Give our new principals a chance to do their jobs The rules have not changed since Mr. Thompson was there regarding dress codes. All of the rules were already in place. Unless I'm missing something and they've created new discipline and dress codes?
It was the new assistant principal detailing the discipline. You'd think discipline would be prominent in everyone's mind with how much people complain about our youth!
They had just had an hour long meeting for 8th grade parents. Then all other parents arrive for rest of back to school agenda. It was crowded, hot and there was a time limit. I did think it was unfair for teachers to have seven minutes to explain their class. Most of that time was lost on people moving from class to class or being stuck in auditorium not knowing the period had changed over.
I guess it's just easier for some to be whiners and alarmists rather than think logically. Maybe for future back to school nights they can have a separate room for the parents that need their hands held through the process.

Concerned- I hope a lot of people step forward to get results and answers.

Jac’s mom Jac’s mom
September 14th

As a BOE member and President,

I invite everyone posting and reading to come to the next BOE meeting on Wednesday the 19th at 7:00 pm. Please introduce yourself and I will gladly shake your hand and welcome you to the meeting. There are two opportunities for the public to be heard at every meeting, the first opportunity deals only with items on the agenda and the second opportunity is for any and all comments. The BOE meeting is the proper forum to be recognized, heard and to address the people who can directly answer your questions. If you feel the need to respond to my post, please do so in person on the 19th or when you see me around town.

Come one come all, we have plenty of seats.

Mike Herbst

Mike Herbst Mike Herbst
September 14th

I don't think this is over reacting to change. One "golden rule" of teaching is to start with positive statements. That did not happen during either meeting.
Good Riddance to Thompson and Byer, they where both feckless when it came to making any meaningful change. And some of the teachers desperately need to update their pedagogy. The district has been in need of new leadership for a long time. Just look at the small list of issues above. Other than a vote of no confidence, which has to be raised by the teachers(that will never happen), the only option is to force the BOE to listen to the community. The meetings feel pointless, they get defensive and argumentative, so we have to vote them out.

Old school Old school
September 14th

The requirement of 150 minutes of Heath and Physical Education per week is not a new requirement. It is also required for Grades 1 - 12. Google Nj Physical Education requirements.

I will be interested in how the BOE meeting goes on the 19th. It sounds like a perfect opportunity to address your concerns as a parent with those in charge. Thankfully, my child graduated many years ago and I’m no longer a part of this but like reading about the changes in our school system. @mike herbst, I hope you get to shake hands with some of the parents that are very frustrated here and can answer their questions and concerns.

I definitely appreciate Mr. Herbst’s response and hope, that under his leadership, the intimidating, condescending, and disrespectful environment that Mr. Bordi created and continues to create with his mere presence at the table will be attenuated. I have been to many meetings and have often wanted to ask, respectfully, for the Board’s opinion on a number of matters; however, the manner in which Mr. Bordi repeatedly demeans and embarrasses those brave enough to take the microphone during the public comment period has kept me in my seat. I sincerely hope that town residents take to the polls on November 6th, relieve Mr. Bordi of his duties and give Mr. Herbst et al the opportunity to rebuild the trust between the Board and the school community.

Its a joke that Boe members want to shake hands, no you dont. As discussed the board meetings are a joke. Hey neighbor Boe member i have some questions for you. When you moved the line, did you shake my hand & ask me how i felt about it, i found out about it because a board member posted on fb. Better yet did you shake my kids hand(also your neighbor) and ask how the move went. Lets talk about mold neighbor, did you ask any teachers, parents or kids how that went? Or did you allow your super to berate those teachers when they asked about health concerns for themselves & kids? They are also your neighbors! Lastly, where you at btsn? I didnt see you ,cause i want to talk about the dangerous heat in that school. Oh maybe thats why you didnt come, its real hot in there and our kids have to try to behave and be properly dressed while they sweat & try to breathe.. Stop hiding behind your meetings, come shake my hand neighbor!

I remembered one more thing neighbor board member of mine. Have you ever been to a faculty/staff meeting that your super runs? Have you ever heard the way he speaks to them or about community members?

“Google Nj Physical Education requirements.”

Good comment and a followup question for anyone who might know:
How much of the curriculum is under local control?

X hours of this, y hours of that all mandated by the state or federal education entities. How much of what the BOE does is due to mandates coming from outside the district? Similarly, how much of the work done by the BOE and the district are due to “carrot-on-a-stick” enticements from external sources?

justintime justintime
September 15th

Every thread about ANYTHING in our schools turns into : Mango stinks, the principal stinks, the teachers stink, the curiculum stinks, the board stinks, etc! you all should really look at yourselves from an outsiders point of view, you are so predictable and present the perfect image of the helicopter parent! We're a week and a half into the school year, give the new administration a chance and please dont judge anything from back to school night, that is nothing more than a meet and greet! Always has been!

Deviljet, you assume that we are all in an outrage and not giving the new administration a chance, but year in and year out, there are the same issues, regardless of there being or not being a new administration, and frankly, we are all sick of it and at our breaking point. We, as parents of children in this district, have given the BOE and the administration the benefit of the doubt time and time again, and yet somehow they continue to fail our children and our schools. Also, if we all feel the same way about it, then why are we the ones that are predictable? If anything, the board and admin are the predictable ones, as they continue to do the wrong thing.

September 15th

Old school check your email

All I can say is that lucky for me this is the last year.
@the middle school. Then off to Warren Tech.

HtownMom2018-how are your children being failed? They learn, they do well on assessments, and move up in school. If you disagree, then you take control of their education, homeschool them and see if you can do better! So easy to criticize, and say how much he district has failed you, I’d love to see you do better!

Tripsy:: There are alot of people who home school there kids. Due to their own issues like anxiety social anxiety and what ever else. Our school system is not all that good. There are other schools that are well advanced in learning. People are expressing their feelings on how horrible she came off as a principal. My daughter also said there are way ro many kids in gym class.We all know she is not Mr.Thompson but first impression are the best ones. I did not go back to school I already got my first impression of her.. I have never had to sign a medical release form for my daughter's pediatric neurologist so they can talk to him. My kids have been in the school system since the age of 5.

Jill, it's your opinion that the school has failed, not mine and many others feel the same. Considering how much the school has to bend over backwards to accommodate, and then get told they've failed...I'd say the school is doing just fine. If the schools are failing you, then take over, homeschool your child so they can get what you think they should be getting.

So glad my last child is in the high school because the middle school does not sound like a very good environment for the children to learn. This is so sad!

goldenretriever4 goldenretriever4
September 16th

Tripsy. Did I say the school failed my child no. Am I saying anything about the teacher's No. Seriously they don't bend over back words for kids with accommodations half of them don't even follow the accommodations that they are supposed to. So don't put that out there until it happens to your child. So there are really no special accommodations for a IEP or a 504 they are basic. Would you like me to point some out to you.
Lets see Chuck break down assignments. Sit closer to the front. More time on homework or assignment. More time on test when needed. Basic so no one is going out of their way. Be able to leave the room if had to. So what are they bending over backwards for. So before you stick words in my mouth know facts.

goldenretriever4. Everyone does not like change. I have no problem with that. But come on 60 kids in a gym class. More kids in the band room that band room is not that big. SOAR = STUDY HALL all they do is read. My daughter will do her homework. Teacher being paid to babysit a extra class.

The difference between you Tripsy and me I use my real name not hide behind a computer with a fake name.


If you complain about a problem You are part of the problem Instead B#$%^$&^ and complaining be Proactive with a positive attitude

LittleRascal LittleRascal
September 16th

Jil! ... Go to a board of ed meeting - bring your concerns where they can be addressed. Try teaching a class for a few days, see how you do..

I don't have a problem. Who said I have a problem I don't.

And I do go to the meetings. And people who do speak get talked down to by the members. Been to many meeting. But when I do have a problem you will be the first to know. I will post it right on here.

I have to tell you that the people hired have zero education experience, especially the Middle School Vice Principal. Her experience? A Gym Teacher at Jefferson Township with no Middle School experience - that was the best hire out of 110 applicants, that Mango claimed there were? Why was Mr. Beyer not promoted to Middle School Principal since he was there under Mr. Thompson for several years? Mango needs to go as he hires horrible administrators and Bordi needs to be voted out as a Board Member when he is up for re-election.

September 17th

A whole lot of experts on here, but only 1 of you running for the school board.

If you don't like what you see, get involved. or at least show up and spout your venom in person. How are the board members or administrators supposed to know how each of you feel if you don't tell them?

Tim the Tool Man
September 17th

@Tim the Tool Man, as Beez stated earlier in this thread, and I must agree with them, "I have been to many meetings and have often wanted to ask, respectfully, for the Board’s opinion on a number of matters; however, the manner in which Mr. Bordi repeatedly demeans and embarrasses those brave enough to take the microphone during the public comment period has kept me in my seat." Truer words have never been spoken. I'm sure many have tried to or wanted to speak up. We must show up in droves, as perhaps strength in numbers will finally force the Board and Admin to listen.

September 17th

Bordi is a disgrace and a bully, I think enough people have had enough experiences with him. I'm surprised he's still there, didn't his kids graduate? I'm sure he guided his kids through all the wickets just like most of the BOE members do. These people need to be pounded every single time. Bordi is a key reason why Mango got the ability to ruin our schools. Dave Mango is a liar, bully and robbing the system blind with a general lack of knowledge and personal skills.

I think the BOE knows exactly what the tax payers think of them, guess what they don't care. I clearly remember the GM meeting when they tried to combine schools. The people showed up and pushed back hard. Mango looked like such a fool. Bordi was a silent puppet.

I am curious as to what Ms. Cavanagh would have done in dealing with the student filing the lawsuit?
What would have been the professional way to go about it to ensure the young lady would not bring forth charges?

Ms. Cavanagh has a good shot at becoming a new board member. I am inclined to vote for her. We do need change. My concern is if you're guided by whining parents that can't navigate through a basic back to school night. Especially when many of the answers to their questions can be found on the school website.

Where is the location of the highest quality education in the county?

Mold. Yes it was an issue. It was this season too for many local schools.
Is the problem with the formation of mold or the remediation?
Just curious on your stance. Many voters would like to know. Aside from the complaining parents, there are many in town that have concerns as well that may vote your way.

Jeez, Jill, you sure sound like you have a problem with the school. When someone says the school has failed them, I disagree. I didn't get nasty or say anything negative, but I disagree when people say the school has failed. Accommodations are in place, and if people aren't happy they should take matters into their own hands, do it themselves. So many critics, it seems the school can't do it right. Is it possible the children are getting a perfectly fine education, that something went right in school? The "basic" accommodations you mentioned ARE important. The school year has just started, with some changes yes; if they are so disturbing to you then contact the Principal with your concerns.

Im still trying to figure out where I said the school has fail my child? I never said that. My remark about accommodations to what you said. So I replied to that. But please tell me where I said the school has failed my child. I did not go back to school night. Been down that road with my first child. I know them all. So please explain to me what is disturbing to me. So stop spinning something I did not say. TRIPSY

@WGM - Mrs. Cavanagh here.. happy to address your questions and although I'd prefer to do this in-person so I know who I'm addressing, since I posted here and engaged in this way, happy to oblige.

RE - The lawsuit - I have no information outside of what is public, so I would be responding to allegations that she has made. Those allegations can be found here: https://www.njherald.com/20180316/hackettstown-student-files-discrimination-complaint

If what she is saying is true, I do believe there was a better way to engage with her. My husband is a police officer and I have more than the upmost respect for law enforcement. From the reports, she said it's important to have engaging conversations like this, but had been instructed not to speak about BLM because it is an "inflammatory topic."

Maybe we should be teaching and encouraging these types of conversations so that students can learn tolerance, understanding and acceptance -- not furthering more division among our community --



Yes - there was a much better, professional way to engage with her that could have become a teaching moment for her, the administration and the rest of our children.

JamiCavanagh JamiCavanagh
September 18th

RE: "being guided by whining parents"

If you mean the tax payers, parents, teachers, business leaders and the community that wants to see our schools better and are saddened by the actions of the administration, then sure-- let's call them that...

By very definition, a school board member "serves as a communications link between the community and the school system."


So I listen and engage with my neighbors and our community.

JamiCavanagh JamiCavanagh
September 18th

RE: Where is the location of the highest quality education in the county?


JamiCavanagh JamiCavanagh
September 18th

RE: mold

This is a very hot, personal topic for me. My oldest daughter spent last year in what our district's BA said was "ground zero"

The preventative measures that were taken with the dehumidifiers and air quality testing should have been in place when our children returned to school last Fall. Although, everything that has happened so far has been a band-aid until they can actually move forward with addressing the root cause.

We constantly received reports without any type of analysis. The reports gave fungal counts and air quality results with little-to-no analysis. Like, here's the hard numbers, but this is what this actually means... It was hard for parents to understand -- not because we are uneducated, but not everyone has a science degree.

Maybe the school did everything right, but parents would never know because the way in which all of the information was communicated. During something like that it's so key to over-communicate and that, for sure, didn't happen.

From being ingrained in our community you get a sense of the environment in which our teachers are working. Like folks mention above - there's a fear of speaking truth to power. Now I don't think anyone is out to hurt our children, but our schools should be a safe haven for our students AND those teachers that devote all of their being to teaching the kids. If they can't speak up -- or they do and it goes unheard -- that's not an environment I want my children in.

Jami Cavanagh Jami Cavanagh
September 18th

Thank you for your response Ms. Cavanagh.

In my opinion her parents should have been present during the initial meeting. However, I don't feel that a lawsuit is necessary. I wonder if the parents tried to approach, meet and discuss this with the head principal, superintendent or even the BOE before resorting to a lawsuit?

Using the term whining parents is based on many of the posts above. I was imagining people reaching out to you the night of back to school night as whiners. I guess it was the "feeling sad and confused" part that did not sit well with me. That sounded a bit drastic.

I agree about the mold or as they told us with the letters and robo calls "fungus". We are not all scientists, very true. That being said, I noticed many parents acting as if they were indeed experts on how things should have happened and or not happened. They usually fall into the aforementioned whiners category. Complainers with no basic common sense.

The link of comparison based on AP preparedness seems a bit weak to gage reality.
If 16 percent of 12th graders took the AP exams with 83 percent passing at HHS. 50 percent at NWR with a 75 percent passing rate. Is this the AP tests they pay around $100 to take to get college credits for? That does not take into account how many students are in the AP programs and might even have a 4.0 GPA yet they choose to not take the AP exams for college credits. A student may take a course to prepare for college for knowledge then excel at that course when in college.
HHS has a math proficiency of 37 percent vs NWR having 34 percent.
HHS has 51 percent reading proficiency vs NWR 58 percent.
NWR is grades 7-12 HHS 9-12
NWR enrollment 890 teacher ratio 11:1
HHS enrollment 921 teacher ratio 13:1
NWR economically disadvantaged is at 8 percent while HHS is at 15 percent. This is from the US news site from link for best Warren County school. A BOE member alluded to the fact that what was posted on the FB link was misleading. HHS and NWR seem quite similar in some regards. HHS had less students paying for the $100 AP exams? Maybe someone else has more reliable data?
Good luck, the BOE certainly needs new ideas. Thanks again.

I'd like to address the questions of the AP tests at HHS. When my children were at HHS, a dual credit program was created. Students who took AP classes could earn transferable college credits from WCCC upon successful completion of their classes at HHS.

A quick look at the HHS webpage shows 26 courses that are eligible for college credits this year. One of my children, when a student at HHS, took 4 AP classes and received college credits for them which were then accepted for credit in college. There was no need to sit for an expensive AP exam when college credits were already earned. (And, at least back then, AP tests didn't always result in actual credits....at some schools it was just for placement purposes).

HHS students can also benefit from the partnership that a previous BOE and Administration created with Centenary. HHS students can take college level courses, for credit, at a dramatically reduced tuition rate. Again....no need to take AP tests, as they are receiving actual transferable college credits.

Because of these partnerships created, again under a previous BOE and Administration, my child was able to complete a B.A. degree in three years instead of 4, saving us substantial $$. No AP tests were taken because 1) the expense wasn't necessary and 2) it wouldn't have any value added results.

I agree that if you just look at statistics, it looks like HHS falls behind other schools in students taking the AP exams. However, look behind the statistics, and you can see the reasons why.

summerrain1 summerrain1
September 19th

Thank you summerrain1 for explaining. The site shows percentages of students taking the test ( they must pay to take).
Getting information from sites that don't have a true whole picture can cause panic in parents of young children. Parents that are rightfully concerned that their children will be college ready after their time in HHS.
The problem with that is misinformation is spread. Aside from the school environment, parental guidance (sans the helicopters) can help a student to achieve in an AP program. Sometimes it's just the students innate ability, no matter their location, social status, etc. They will excel in whatever they do.
Many times parents that speak badly about their students time at HHS had an underachieving manner. Blaming the school because their child did not put forth the effort. The opportunity is there.

Summerrain1 well said.
My oldest daughter started Rutgers U with 15 credits from taking AP classes at The High School. She could have graduated in a little over 3 years, but chose the last 2 semesters to take on a paid internship. So she stretched it out a little. Which I'm glad for she got to enjoy the college experience. She now has a really good job.

My youngest daughter also took AP courses which enabled her to be accepted into various colleges for nursing. She is in her first year of college and the entrance exam she blew right through the math and English portions of the test. Thus allowing her to go right into her BA nursing major.

You get out of high school what you're willing to put into it.

On a side note since my daughter's were in 5th grade I never micro managed their education. They were on their own.... And their own voice...

Thank you Hackettstown High School for enabling my daughter's to have a bright future as adults.

I agree with you Jacqui that you get out of school what you put into it. My children all graduated from HHS with many college credits as a result of the dual credit program as well. This enabled all of them to take on another minor in college which has since propelled them all into the workforce within the last 3 years. My one child was able to actually dual major and graduate within 4 years.

sports fan sports fan
September 19th

Jami Cavanagh

Show me statistics of how many kids got sick in the last 20 years attending Hackettstown's schools. Once I see those statistics I may believe you otherwise you just watch to many Julia Roberts movies.. "Erin Brokovich" names a bell! and a full blown helicopter parent... Hackettstown schools are safe. Next complaint...

Jacqui, I tend to agree with your position that the likelihood of any student being harmed by mold is quite low. Look for the links I had posted in the previous thread for some good information:


This summary I found to be particularly good:


justintime justintime
September 19th


With all this rain and humidity this summer. I would like to test every student homes for mold that attend Hackettstown School District.. I'm pretty sure all their homes will test positive for mold...

Hi @Jacqui
Sounds like you’ve done a tremendous job with those kids and I totally agree that you get out what you put in— as with most things in life!

If anyone wasn’t able to attend the BOE meeting tonight they presented a lot of great information that addresses the initial intent of this post. If you weren’t able to attend, they usually post the videos the next day and I would encourage anyone concerned to view it if their questions or concerns weren’t already addressed.

Jami Cavanagh Jami Cavanagh
September 19th

Jami Cavanagh,

Nice way of bypassing my questions!

jacqui, she don't hear you the helicopter blades are too loud.

Jami Cavanagh is the classic helicopter parent who feeds off parking lot gossip. She will be elected to the BOE and push her armed security guard agenda- probably recommending her husband ,the not so liked PO, for the job!

September 20th

Jacqui are you Gus Bordi? Really you should be putting the pressure on Gus (Chris Christie) Bordi and David Mango and be grateful that Ms. Cavanaugh could be a breath of fresh air on a very bad Board of Ed.

Mariannefrombrooklyn - what a low class blow to Ms. Cavanaugh. You should be concerned with Gus Bordi and the board that enables David Mango, who hires Gym Teachers and Coaches with no experience to run schools, and not someone in Ms. Cavanaugh who will hold them accountable.

Grow a pair on go to a Board Meeting and question Bordi instead of a viable alternative in Ms. Cavanaugh.

September 20th

@jacqui - I don’t see any questions, but rather demands, statements and assumptions....

If you have a question for me, there’s probably a more thoughtful forum to address that and I would love to speak directly with you. I have repeatedly provided my contact information, so please do feel free to reach out.

The irony of those comments are that you obviously don’t know me or my husband.

I will address the helicopter parent comment though. If you actually knew me, you would know how far off that assumption is. I enjoy playing with my children and spending time with them, as do many parents of my generation. I held my daughter as she took her first and last breaths and what I took out of that experience is to be grateful for every moment that I have with my children, but the definition of a helicopter parent is not what I am...

At the core of my being I believe people should be kind, raise others up, demand better, question status quo and hold people accountable.

The division of things right now is very sad, as a community we should be good role models for our children - not sending personal attacks for no reason. My comments above are not personal attacks, but rather questioning different actions or status. I may have differing views on things than others, but I have a fundamental understanding that we are all also human and just trying to get by.

Oh and with my pushing the armed security agenda- yes, I believe that we should have armed officers in place for the safety of our children - I also believe in approaching the “safety” through other functions like increased mental heath support, ways to stop bullying, etc.

I haven’t heard the rumor that I want to get my husband in as an armed security, but I did hear about the BOE member saying that I was only pushing this to get my “cop” friends in... funny......

I won’t engage in further attacks, I’m happy to meet with anyone though if they would like to step out behind screen names. :)

Jami Cavanagh Jami Cavanagh
September 20th

I don’t hide behind screen names. Just an FYI the MS Principal I am one vote and have confidence in the 8 other board members who appointed her in a meeting that I was not even in attendance for. Nor am I part of the personnel committee.

What I find most disturbing is that at last nights meeting Not a single person commented on the math instructional time being well below other districts as the Director pointed out.

I'm not sure having armed security guards solve anything. Was nothing learned from Parkland? There was an armed security guard there. But he was a pussy and too afraid to enter the building and hid outside. No one remembers that?

I'm sure nepotism will take place, after all that's what the BOE is about. Gus needs to go for sure. He's nothing but a Mango lackey. Don't forget about the worthless Marybeth, now that there are no more duck runs, what does she do??

Bullying is what this BOE does best, purest example was at the GM meeting for school realignment. That blew up in their faces. No doubt fresh people need to come in, they realize that and that's why the push back.

@Gus Bordi - didn’t the director also say that they would be addressing and rectifying that? She was proactive in raising the issue and saying that they were looking into it.

That was actually something parents were discussing in the room, but seemed like something that would be more appropriate to follow up on to see how that’s been addressed now that they have seen the testing results, reviewed the time and are aware of the issue?

@Don - agree that the reaction of the Parkland Officer was the opposite of what they are trained to do and what you would expect someone do in that horrific situation. On the other side of that there have been SROs that have done exactly what they needed to do in stopping violence. Unfortunately, like any profession, you have bad players, but I don’t know that it’s fair to rule out that option based on that persons reaction. I would also have full confidence in HPD and their ability to identify an officer that would be properly trained in how to respond and have the wherewithal to do so. Having an SRO in place working with the current security team that we have who are all former LEO seems like an ideal scenario to me..

The HFEE also does some important work for our children, teachers and the community. While they don’t do the duck race, they do other fundraising activities so they can give out grants to teachers to enhance their classrooms. I was able to get involved in the foundation last school year, attend a meeting and we were able to raise money for those grants through a t-shirt fundraiser for field day and a kindness matters initiative over the summer that was where children were “sponsored” to do random acts of kindness in their community. I’ve also found those involved in that foundation to be selfless people volunteering their time to give back to the community. Same as those involved in the PTA and HEA.

Jami Cavanagh Jami Cavanagh
September 20th

Jami you certainly have my support as you represent a fresh change. I think that's all the residents want at this point. The board members and the super have "earned" the bad rap.

I have been to enough board meetings to see the bulling and talking down to by the members, especially Mango and Bordi. Herbts and Gratz no better. It seems like you had to have a certain good ol boy mentality to even fit in with that group. They went no bid on the over expensive football field that nobody gets to use. Then they lied about that and the maintenance costs. The sports program is off the rails in terms of cost, while they cut music and art. I think our kids sit on the floor of gym to have art, it's a joke.

There's been a turnover in football especially as parents are smartening up not wanting their children to be the next CT study. Yet we pump tons of tax dollars into that silly program. Make it pay to play all the way. Want to play football? Write a $500 check so your kid can play.

More importantly the BOE should have transparency and communication. Instead back door dealing and collusion and bullshit. Wishful thinking i'm sure, but I feel we can do so much better than the scum that's wasting away there now. I only wish Mango can get tossed. He's the root of the problem and the cancer for which our schools suffer. He plays GM against HT and visa versa, whichever hat he feels like putting on. All while laughing his $200K plus salary to the bank. He doesn't deserve even half that money. Hell he fled the county, wouldn't be surprised if he's seeking to corrupt a Morris county school somewhere. We can only hope.

Gus, you cant tell me what to be disturbed about. Dont worry we are going to get to instructional time, but first we have to tackle the list of crap you are leaving behind. The list is long friend, we have a lot of work to do thanks for that gift. As to all that must be fixed or "tweaked" its going to cost a lot of money to for all of it, NO ARMED GUARDS!! The money needs to be spent on other things first, not creating bunker style school.

@oldschool - you’ve probably already seen/taken this survey, but if not the district currently has a security survey live to get people’s input on their feelings as it relates to things like armed guards. It’s on the homepage, just have to scroll down a little..


Jami Cavanagh Jami Cavanagh
September 20th

Jami what are your views on the incompetent and inexperienced administrators the board of education approved who were not the most qualified and how will you fix that once on the board of ed since Chris Christie, I mean, Bordi, thinks he hired great administrators which is not the case

September 20th

Wow! Personally attacking people is not necessary.

I think Ms. Cavanagh means well and has good intentions. I also believe she does have some of the parking lot hens in her ear.
Once she can gage a true picture of the goings on, she may be able to put their minds at ease. Once they get past the panicky gloom and doom vibes.

While I am one of those Middle School parents that was extremely disappointed the other night at back to school. I was hoping for the Principal to some what redeem herself last night. Didn't happen. When being addressed by community members she had the most dismissive look on her face. She never answered the question. Reminded me of a politician. Watch the video if you didn't attend. At one point she actually throws her staff under the bus for how band lessons was an open discussion with her employees and apparently that's what they decided. That being said we have been extremely fortunate with the teachers my children have had through the years.

Next, I'd like to know....the people who are commenting about Jami. Do you know her?
I think it's unfair @mariannefrombrooklyn to make comments about her or her husband. She's volunteering, trying to make a difference and you people make statements about parking lot hens...She's listening to the community unlike others on the board. I'm 100% looking forward to change and Jami has my vote.

It's sad that we are trying to teach our children to be kind and we have adults that are afraid to speak because of certain board members.

There sure is a lot to get into here but the biggest take away for me is this...

There is one candidate who has been nothing but professional, approachable and transparent and another who has been the complete antithesis of that.

While I am not sure I support either candidates views 100%, I certainly appreciate Mrs. Cavanaghs restraint and delivery and those are traits I certainly want modeled for my children, not those displayed by her opponent.

My name is Michele Wehmeyer and currently serve on the Board. I have no children in the school system and have no personal agenda. I have lived in this town my entire life and felt it was time to give back to this community. I am a very educated woman and have quite a demanding job in the property management industry. With my experience I feel I bring a very positive contribution. I am not a puppet and make all of my decisions on the facts that are presented to me at the time. Not one person on this form has any idea with how the Board works or what is involved before we make a decision. Most of the time the decisions are very tough. My first priority is what is best for our students. Unfortunately sometimes other components come into play. For example money. I think you all are aware the districts state aid has been cut drastically for many years. I think everyone on this site will also agree that no one wanted to raise taxes to make up that money. So what happened? Teaching positions were cut. Programs were cut. Capital upgrades were not completed.

The personal attacks that the majority of people on this site continually post is very disheartening. Adults hiding behind a fake name. Cyber bullying I would call it. Isn't that what we are trying to teach our children is a very bad thing right now?

I am glad Jamie Cavaghn is running for the Board. She cares about the community and wants to get involved. She has come to many Board meetings and listened to presentations and asked questions. I am also very proud of all of the other Board members I have had the pleasure to serve with. They too care about the community and have put a tremendous amount of time and commitment into serving on the BOE. Before anyone else posts a negative comment on this forum, have you done the same? Why continue to post negative comments on this forum? Why not voice your opionions in a more adult manner say like at a Board Meeting? I know I am very interested in the community's feelings on all of the issues that the Board is faced with at the present time.

No need to respond to this post, I will not be entering into any type of debate with someone who hides behind a fake name. If you ever want to introduce yourself at a meeting and asked me a question, I would be more than happy to talk with you.

Good luck to Amy, Shaw, Gus and Jamie with the election.

Just fyi, many of us have volunteered our time, gone to Board meetings and tried to make a difference. Many times the board and Mango have made rude, sarcastic and nasty comments. If you would take a look at the tape from a board meeting when they were trying to move special services to Warren County (instead of in house) you will see how rude they are. Parents and teachers were speaking and Mango and Gus did not stop snickering and whispering. That is their standard.

lala1313, if you are a Htown parent then you are aware of the parking lot hens. In fact you might be one. The point was that Ms. Cavanagh may feel compelled to appease then. When I've been around the hen house it's a bunch of misinformation being spewed.
I was pro Ms. Cavanagh, thinking she can clearly advise these "sad and confused" parents once she becomes a board member and can explain things to parents better than the other board members have. She doesn't seem to be the type to yell or talk down to people like the others.

WGM. No, I’m not aware of the parking lot hens...You seem to be well informed so why don’t you set these Hens straight from spreading rumors- if that’s how you see it. I hear parents speaking of concern with good reason. Please explain these sad and confused parents? What are They misconstruing, I’m curious??


Seems like you are very stressed out my friend. Complaining and Bashing up and down I'm sure that you know animosity and High Blood Pressure do not go together

But you continue to bash the existence of the football program. Come to the game this Friday Night at Morrison Field to Protest the existence of Hackettstown Tiger Football. The Perfect Venue!! You can sit with Mr Mango and Mr Bordi ! They will save you a seat! Bring all your Supporters also !! Peace

LittleRascal LittleRascal
September 20th

@Don no such luck in Mango leaving the country.
But maybe Passaic County will offer him a job being he moved to way. Are we the taxpayers paying for his travel time and gas. Any members want to answer that one.

Mike Rolls Mike Rolls
September 20th

Does anyone know where the extra million in state aid our district received is being spent?


September 20th

lala1313, not sure if you were at back to school night? It was hectic and crazy due to trying to get quite a bit in on a time limited schedule.
Now maybe new middle school parents were the ones that reached out to Ms. Cavanagh that night. Claiming they were sad and confused.

Now, are you going to randomly reach out to someone running for the BOE that night or are these Mom friends venting and chatting because things did not go their way, they were stressed? Maybe some culture shock of moving on from elementary levels where you don't switch around at back to school night.

The OP was about answering the question about the study hall and skills course. I hope that Mom got her answers. I also hope bandmom's child can function in life now and they received their answers. It was all a bit too dramatic. The principal's page had the info about the schedule changes. School website does have info if one looks.

Valid concerns to one person might seem a bit off the wall to another. I think the way this thread started so dramatic lended itself to it's current trainwreck status.

They may have misconstrued what they thought back to school night was about. One parent on here was mad they had no time to chat with a teacher. Another parent on here was just mad in general although they did not attend BTSN. Haha! Yet still complained about it!!?

And don't forget resident08 whom is not a Htown resident yet knows all the teachers, principals, etc. and is really all knowing more than most for a nonresident. Ha!

Inquiring, not sure if it’s in this doc but the budget is always posted online:


justintime justintime
September 21st

WGM this will be my last post because my time is to precious for this. Just wanted to clarify that I have more than two kids in the district and I am far from a new MS parent. Seems like you make a lot of judgements. Maybe I can make an assumption of who you are and what your about.

lala1313 if you were one of the sad and confused, I apologize thinking you were a newbie.
Yes, I am judging the whole sad and confused part. Having concerns is warranted as I think we all have them. Being sad and confused about those concerns seemed a bit pathetic. Just my opinion. Time is precious for all. Have a great day!

This is my third back to school night in the middle school and I figured why not put my two cents in as well. The new principal and vice principal did not leave a good first impression. No introductions, no positive highlights for the year, every word completely negative. I did miss a few classes because I wasn’t able to hear the announcements from the auditorium. I never had an issue with this in the previous years. Unfortunately, the situation is what it is and there isn't much to be done.

I thought the teaching staff did a fantastic job and was impressed with most of them. I am not impressed with the amount of ELA homework coming home on a nightly basis but there isn’t much to be done about it other than try to better manage my child’s stress levels.

I have been to board meetings and based on the behavior I saw from some members, I would not have the courage to take the microphone. Hopefully some of the feedback being posted here from concerned parents is heard and acted upon.

Little Rascal, my blood pressure is perfect as my recent physical has shown. Now for my bashing, just looking at the consensus it appears my views are very much in line with the majority on this topic. I may add some flavor of sarcasm, but based on your response you don't like hearing the truth.

Again this board has earned their reputation. Where are all the tax payers coming out to defend them and the wonderful job they do? I'll wait and pop some popcorn.

The counterbalance to this is the amazing teaching staff we have in HT. They are dedicated and prove to be the silver lining.


concernedparent concernedparent
September 22nd

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