In touch with the past…preparing for the future

History

In 1979, Mustard Seed School opened its doors to 16 students at the Martha Institute in Hoboken on 6th Street and Park Avenue. The first classes existed in a non-graded setting with a heavy academic emphasis that also integrated arts, faith and service. From its inception, the school was created to serve a diverse community, especially those students who had the fewest options. The school has grown and flourished since those early days and changed location to accommodate growth. One class has turned into 16 classes serving over 270 PK3-8th grade students. Our core values remain the same: outstanding education integrating academics, arts, faith and service; celebrating each child; available to all.

The school has had many exciting events and accomplishments. Browse the timeline below for a few highlights.

Timeline

2016

  • Mustard Seed is accredited through the New Jersey Association of Independent Schools (NJAIS)

2015

  • Mustard Seed embarks on a $3M endowment campaign, Together for Tomorrow. Two additional chairs are endowed: The Agnes and Peter Steenland Memorial Chair for Professional Development and The Coleman Fung Chair for Creativity and Design. 

2014

  • Teachers Melissa McCallihan and Clara Buckley present “Full STEAM Ahead,” a workshop about Mustard Seed’s STEAM program at the National Science Teachers Conference in Boston.

2013

  • Coleman Fung Chair for Mathematics Gary Lawrence and Mustard Seed students present at the New York State Teachers of Mathematics conference in Buffalo, NY

2012

2011

  • MSS documentary A Shared Space: Learning from the Mustard Seed School wins two bronze Telly awards.
  • An international search leads to the hiring of Mustard Seed’s third Head of School, Thomas Postema.
  • Hoboken Historical Museum highlights student artwork in Shared Stitches: Quilts by Mustard Seed Students exhibit
  • Hoboken resident awarded Graham & Dodd, Murray, Greenwald Prize for Outstanding Contribution to the Field of Value Investing, donates $50,000 prize to Mustard Seed School for technology.  The gift launches the laptop program in the Upper School.

2010

  • Teachers Sam Choi and Melissa McCallihan chosen to participate in the Stevens Institute PISA2 program
  • Mustard Seed School students tape PBS Special with famed American folk singer Peter Yarrow.

2009

  • The school celebrates its 30th Birthday. Governor Jon S. Corzine joins the Mustard Seed community for a celebration.

2008

  • Grades 6,7,8 sing at the Apollo theatre as a part of the Carnegie Hall program, “Perelman American Roots.”
  • STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics)  program for grades four and five begins

2007

  • Coleman Fung establishes the Endowed Chairs for Math and Music.
  • School receives Markowitz Book Award from the Museum of Jewish Heritage.

2005

  • The Advisory Council, Mustard Seed’s annual “think tank”, gathers for the first time.

2004

  • Between Memory and Vision published. The book features Mustard Seed School in a chapter about faith-based schooling.
  • Internship program begins with Covenant College.  Every other year, teacher interns come to work and learn alongside Mustard Seed teachers for a month in the spring.

2000

  • Teacher Dee Mingey receives the Christa McAuliffe Fellowship, enabling her to author a manual on the school’s innovative Shared Space.
  • Christine Metzger joins Mustard Seed as the second Head of School

1999

  • Choir sings at Tree Lighting Ceremony at Lincoln Center.

1998

  • Founding Head of School Lawrence Litman leaves Mustard Seed after 19 years of extraordinary service.

1996

  • Book published, From Candy Sales to Committed Donors: A Guide to Financing Christian Schooling. Mustard Seed cited as an example.
  • Students perform three Carnegie Hall concerts and at Kennedy Center as part of a benefit concert for Bosnia.

1993

  • Choir performs on PBS with Peter, Paul and Mary.

1992

  • Education consultants in Denmark fly Larry and Joan Litman to their country to teach Danish educators how to serve immigrant students.
  • Arkansas Governor and Presidential Candidate William Clinton visits the school and holds press conference.

1988

  • The US Department of Education distinguishes Mustard Seed as a “Blue Ribbon” Elementary School.

1986-89

  • Larry Litman and Shanna Pargellis participate in conferences resulting in the publication of the book 12 Affirmations: Reformed Christian Schooling for the 21st Century.

1985

  • Students win art contest through the Hungarian Peace Council. Art is displayed at the Hungarian Peace Consulate in Budapest, East Germany (NATO peace conference) and at the United Nations.

1979

  • Mustard Seed opens with 16 students.  Larry Litman is the Head of School and teaches 3rd-5th Grade.  Shanna Pargellis (then Shanna Klein Horsman) teaches K-2. Joan Litman is the third faculty member, launching the school’s award-winning music program in the Kodály tradition.
  • A group of pastors, inspired by a documentary on the Dawn Treader School (Paterson, NJ), decide to address the education crisis in Hudson County by opening a Christian School in Hoboken.  They recruit Lawrence Litman of San Clemente, CA, to launch the school. Larry; his wife, Joan; and children, Emily and Peter, pack the car and drive across the country to open the school.