Candidates for school board take on tough questions

Read more at Hudson Reporter – Agreeing to disagree Candidates for school board take on tough questions:
Natalia Ioffe is a Jersey City mom with kids in the schools. Her background is mortgage banking, international finance. Over the last three years she has served as president and vice president of the Parent Teachers Association at Public School 16, where she also does volunteer work.
“I’m running for this board because I believe every child deserves an opportunity to best education possible,” she said. “We have the ability to give them this opportunity.”

What is good about the district and what would each work with the superintendent to change?
Ioffe said she would like to promote positive reinforcements, using the meetings to highlight parent and teacher achievements and the things done well at school.
She said meetings need to be more informative, more concise and shorter.

Handling the heavy workload:
Most of the candidates said they could handle the heavy workload they will have to deal with if elected, agreeing that being prepared will speed up meetings.

Union and other endorsements
Ioffe, who had no endorsements agreed. “An endorsement should not mean ownership,” she said. “Whatever the board does should be about the children.”

The Charter School issue:
Most agreed that parents should have a choice where to educate their kids, but some felt charter schools have an impact on the overall budget and affect the quality of education in the regular public schools. Personally, I believe that all schools deserve our support, as long as they are doing their job in preparing children for the future.
Building More Schools / Addressing overcrowding:

An in-depth look into the School District’s $673,000,000 BUDGET:

***I want to point out that, for all the controversy & drama about the JCBOE Budget it can be viewed online at & Finance. There are also budget meetings that the BOE holds (open to the public) where the District’s Business Administrator goes over the document in detail. -NI

Respect and Communication at the BOE:


Serving Jersey City’s Children – Cornelia Bradford’s Legacy

By Natalia Ioffe

Cornelia Foster Bradford lived in Jersey City over a hundred years ago, at a time when it was simultaneously experiencing an urban development boom and an overwhelming immigrant population growth. It was a time when children of the poor immigrants had few opportunities other than joining the industrial workforce. A deeply conscientious and compassionate person, Cornelia F. Bradford dedicated herself to improving the lives of these children. One of her many initiatives included being instrumental in having an elementary school built in Downtown Jersey City, the school we now know as Public School No. 16 or “Cornelia F. Bradford School”.

As a teacher, social worker and humanitarian, Miss Bradford continuously sought to create opportunities for children of poor immigrants and to give them access to high quality education. She founded the “Whittier House” social settlement where, in addition to vital social services, volunteers and teachers provided kindergarten care and various after-school and after-work clubs, such as cooking, needlework, dancing, athletics, the “newsboys club” and many others. Cornelia F. Bradford’s tireless efforts, which included establishing the first free kindergarten in Jersey City, led her to become the first woman to serve on Jersey City Board of Education.

Fast forward to present day, and we see that Jersey City is once again experiencing a vigorous urban development and population growth. Continue reading “Serving Jersey City’s Children – Cornelia Bradford’s Legacy”

Effort of Empathy

At this year’s Jersey City Public Schools Symposium our keynote speaker, Dr. Joël Núñez spoke to the educators, students and parent leaders about the Fundamental Attribution Error:

When WE, or someone we determine to be applicably SIMILAR to us FAILS, we automatically attribute it to CIRCUMSTANCES. However, when someone we determine to be applicably DISSIMILAR to us FAILS – rather than attribute it to circumstances, we tend to attribute it to CHARACTER.

How easily do we dismiss and condemn to failure those who come from troubled and less fortunate circumstances!  Dr. Núñez rightly said to us that day,

WE (here in JERSEY CITY) do not possess the luxury of disowning our sons and daughters. 

If we find it in ourselves to believe in them, we will find the ability to help them succeed.


Background and Vision (10/10- HCA BOE Candidate Meet)

As a first generation immigrant, I went from struggling ESL student to graduating high school on an Honor Roll thanks to my teachers and parents.
A VISION and the inner drive to learn, grow, and succeed in life, is what we need to impart across the district in order to help our students to stay on course and persevere academically.
EQUIP, EMPOWER & CONNECT schools, parent groups and students for success.
Thank you to the Harsimus Cove Association for the opportunity to let us speak about our background and vision.

“Talking Politics” -JCBOE Candidates

Discussing School Budget and long term financial vision for Jersey City Public Schools with host Mia Scanga and fellow candidates.

***Correction – $61,000 revenue which my team (CPA of PS16) raised for our school in 2015-2016 comprises less than half of our school allocation for that year, which was a total of $148,822 (this number does not include contracted salary and benefits).

I believe that the only thing that can improve the financial situation of our school district is innovation and hard work.

The webinar I refer to in the video can be viewed by clicking HERE, or by visiting / training / webinars – May 3, 2016 “Maximize Your District’s Access to Alternative Revenue.”  This webinar proposes what our parent non-profit team has been doing for years, which is – build partnerships with community groups, educational groups, local businesses and corporations to create more low-cost and free enrichment opportunities for our students and improve fundraising. 

If we make this a district-wide effort all our schools will benefit tremendously.


JCBOE forum season begins

  • October 6 – night’s event is sponsored by the Hamilton Park Neighborhood Association. It is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. at School 37, 158 Erie St.
  • The Van Vorst Park Association is hosting a candidate meet-and-greet at the Barrow Mansion, 83 Wayne St., on Tuesday, Oct. 18 at 7:30 p.m.
  • The Historic Paulus Hook Association is hosting its own candidate forum at School 16, 96 Sussex St., on Thursday, Oct. 27 at 7 p.m.
  • The candidates have also been invited to a forum at the Lena Edwards Academic Charter School, 509 Bramhall Ave., on Friday, Oct. 28 at 6 p.m.