Hoboken teacher honored as Innovator
Some good new to report about Hoboken today…
NJCSA Honors Hoboken Teacher
Named State’s “Charter School Innovator of the Year”
“Chris Kunkel, a math teacher at the Hoboken Charter School, was honored at the New Jersey Charter Schools Association’s conference March 18 as “Charter School Innovator of the Year.”
“This is a wonderful award and I am honored to receive it,” he said.
Kunkel, who is also a middle school facilitator, developed the Academic Elective Program at the charter school located in Hoboken.
“He found a creative way to utilize existing resources to provide an exciting academic enrichment program around core subject areas and, at the same time, strengthen student interaction across grade levels,” said award presenter Wanda Garcia, associate director of the Rutgers-Camden Center for Strategic Urban Community Leadership and a member of the NJCSA board.
Garcia said the Academic Elective Program began with teachers developing coursework around areas of expertise and interest, while also taking into consideration student needs and interests.
Courses in the program include engineering, electronics, forensics, astronomy, poetry, public speaking, mock trial, current events, spooky literature and environmental awareness and action.
Read the rest after the jump…
(Chris Kunkel Honored, continued…)
So many teachers offered to participate that it was possible to offer a wide range of courses and keep class sizes below 10 students, while mixing together students of different ages, Garcia said.
“The program engages students in coursework that enriches their core studies, fosters relationship-building among students and faculty in a small-group setting, and exposes students to various careers,” she said. “This remarkable program is helping Hoboken Charter School’s students advance academically while enjoying their time doing so.”
The program that Kunkel started has also proved highly effective in helping retain students after fourth grade — a challenge for smaller schools with limited enrichment opportunities.
Kunkel’s program has received rave reviews among middle school students, faculty and parents, and its reputation is growing.
“Through the Academic Electives Program, Chris has brought new life into Hoboken’s middle school,” Garcia said.
Kunkel first entered the profession through the Teach for America program and has been a teacher for five years. He entered the field out of a commitment to quality education for all students, regardless of income level. He finds that charter schools provide a place for innovative teachings and a way to avoid much of the bureaucracy associated with public schools. He is a graduate of Millersville University in Pennsylvania, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in math and physics
Carlos Lejnieks, chairman of the NJCSA board, said Kunkel exemplifies the spirit and enthusiasm of the entire charter school community, adding that he is a shining example of all that can be accomplished.
The two-day conference in Long Branch, attended by hundreds of educators, parents and supporters of New Jersey’s growing charter school movement, spotlighted the many achievements of the state’s 68 charter schools and featured discussions among state and national leaders about how these schools are transforming public education.
The conference was also attended by notable New Jersey officials, each with a reputation for being at the forefront of education reform. Governor Chris Christie gave the keynote address and Education Commissioner Bret Schundler delivered a speech supporting charter schools. The NJCSA also honored former Governor Thomas H. Kean with the first-ever “Great Leaders in Education” award.