Hopatcong School District: 3-Year Summary – Review of 2021 – Positive Look Forward

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The following is an especially important update from the Borough of Hopatcong School District, as the current Superintendent recaps his 3-years in the district in preparation for his retirement. Both Superintendents took a look back on the last school year while looking forward to the next year, and a bright future.

Mr. Arthur DiBenedetto Superintendent Retires:

Starting as early as June 28, 2021, Mr. Arthur DiBenedetto the current superintendent of schools will step down and start a transition phase lasting until the end of summer. As he moves towards retirement, he recaps his last three years at the district, recounting the challenges and positive aspects that have taken place.

“In my 49 years as an educator, Hopatcong will always remain my favorite place to work. I thank the community for trusting me in leading the education of your kids.” Stated, Mr. Arthur DiBenedetto Superintendent.

Hudson Maxim School Sale:

The good news for the Hopatcong School District is that the final sale of the closed Hudson Maxim school will be finalized on Monday, 28, 2021. The building was sold for over $1.2M, with the buyer intending on using the building as a for-profit school for Chinese students from China that are studying in the US. The building will be an extension of the existing school(s) in Somerset, NJ, and used for High School aged students. The total number of students is expected to be low (~15) at the opening of the school.

Since the deal has not been finalized as of this article, the buyer has not submitted to the Hopatcong Land Use Board how they may redesign the building.

Improvements & Changes:

Mr. Joseph S. Piccirillo, the current Assistant Superintendent of schools who will step into the Superintendent’s role shortly updated the district on the following improvements.

  • Running Tracks Completed
  • New Tennis Courts & Community requested Pickle Ball nearing completion
  • New CTE Classes showing results – Two students test for direct certification to workforce
  • Football player gains a 4-year scholarship
  • College Courses available at a fraction of the cost
  • Graduation in 2020 during COVID in heavy rain
  • 2021 Spring Production of the Musical Grease – Driven by Students
  • Parking Lots are full at the schools throughout this summer, as many programs continue

Mr. Piccirillo concluded by talking about how easy it is to talk about the struggles of the district with State Aid Cuts and COVID. But the fact remains that the district has positive things occurring due to the grit of the community at large.

“While we have positive things occurring in the district, we understand that we still have to do better, and we understand that constant improvement is still in our soul.” Added, Mr. Arthur DiBenedetto Superintendent.

New HSD Assistant Superintendent Named:

The new Assistant Superintendent for the district is named as Johanna Ross. Principal. Passaic Public Schools has a strong background in CTE courses and students graduating with Associate Degrees through college offered courses. She is a champion of all kids regardless of their career path, Johanna will be joining the district officially starting in August 2021.

The New School Year:

The Superintendents discussed the next school year and what to expect from a COVID standpoint. The current cleaning procedures will continue to ensure students' health, the requirement of masks is still in Governor Murphy’s hands. The district has sent a letter of clarification to the governor, and they are still awaiting a response.  The new Superintendent Mr. Piccirillo made his position clear in the following statement.”

“We have to follow the Governor’s direction, but if they leave it up to the district, I will move to NOT REQUIRE masks. And make it completely up to the parent and the student.”

State Testing Restarts:

Mr. Piccirillo also wanted to inform parents and students that the New Jersey State testing will start again in the upcoming fall period. It will run from September – October in the new year as just a benchmark study. “This is not something to worry about, it is just designed to set up an initial baseline of where students are currently, what may have been lost, that could lead to further changes and adjustments.”

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