Hudson adds faculty to teach English as a new language

HUDSON–Between 96 and 99% of Hudson City District students attended their schools in the week before the holiday break, Superintendent Dr. Maria L. Suttmeier told the District Board of Education at its meeting Monday, January 9. She indicated that the attendance rate was above average, which she sees as another sign of the district’s improvement.

The meeting also addressed retiring teachers, new teachers, English-learning students and the involvement of Bard College with the high school.

The board recognized three teachers who plan to retire this summer: Anne Curry, after 34 years with the district; Ellen Huemmer, 29 years; and Thomas Heeder, 19 years. Ms. Curry currently teaches universal pre-kindergarten at John L. Edwards Primary School (JLE), where she has also taught 2nd grade. Ms. Huemmer has taught elementary grades at Montgomery C. Smith Intermediate School; Mr. Heeder is a special education at the Junior High School.

“I’m very proud of the years of service I’ve given,” Ms. Curry told school board at the board’s the January 9 meeting. “I knew I was making a difference in the children’s lives. It was very joyful to work for this district.”

“I want to thank you,” Dr. Suttmeier told her.

Dr. Suttmeier and the board also presented Audrey Craft, a new reading specialist at JLE effective January 10. She was a teaching assistant for three years. Now, she said, “I’m ready to start a new journey.”

The number of mid-year new hires is “really unprecedented,” Coordinator of School Improvement April Prestipino reported. She reported her efforts to assure that the new teachers get the same mentoring and support as teachers who began at the beginning of the school year.

Ms. Prestipino also announced that several English as a New Language students had joined the district in the past few weeks. “We are pretty much where we were at the end of last year,” she said. However, she indicated, as of now there is enough existing staff to help the new students learn and function in English.

Bard College plans to expand its Early College-Hudson Initiative for High School students next year, Dr. Suttmeier announced. Students in the early college initiative take courses that earn both high school and college credit simultaneously, as well as college preparatory workshops. This school year the initiative has 15 seniors from Hudson and Germantown High Schools. It operates in Eleven Warren Street in Hudson, which also houses the Alternate Transition Program for getting high school credits. Next year, reported Dr. Suttmeier, the Bard program intends to include two classes—both juniors and seniors—and additional districts, from both Columbia County and across the river. Since Hudson serves as the Bard program’s “lead agency,” Hudson District students can attend the Bard program for free.

Bard has an additional connection with the Hudson City School District, Dr. Suttmeier said. Its students are tutoring Hudson High School students for Regents tests.

Also at the meeting:

• Ms. Prestipino said that students will still be allowed to take assessment tests with paper and pencil but some will “field test” taking the tests on computers. She will not know which grades will do so until later this year

• Dr. Suttmeier announced that the Physical Education department had received a small grant to purchase equipment for “cooperative games.”

The next meeting of the Hudson City School Board will take place Monday, January 23, at 7:00 pm, at the Hudson High School library.

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