Hudson district proceeds with grade reshuffling plan

HUDSON–Plans for moving second grade from John L. Edwards Primary School (JLE) to the Montgomery C. Smith Intermediate School (MCS) this September and possibilities for diversifying the teaching staff of the Hudson City School District received attention at that Board of Education meeting April 25.

Preparations for the move are in full swing, district Superintendent Maria L. Suttmeier reported. Administrators and teachers from both schools meet and talk frequently with each other in an effort to make the transition as smooth as possible. The MCS building on Harry Howard Avenue opened in 1937 and held the High School from then until 1972. Since then it has been used for a variety of middle and intermediate grades, but the youngest grade it has ever held is 3rd. Currently, MCS serves 3rd through 5th grades, which will stay there when 2nd grade joins them. Dr. Suttmeier said this will require more adjustments than moving 6th grade to the Junior High did last September, because of how physically small 2nd graders can be.

Some teachers and staff will be moving with the 2nd graders. “I’ve looked at the new 2nd grade classrooms [in MCS,] and they’ve been done nicely,” said April Prestipino, coordinator of school improvement.

For students remaining at JLE next September, mainly kindergarteners and 1st graders, school times will change, Dr. Suttmeier said. The new times will be: breakfast at 7:15 a.m.; official school time is 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Board member Linda Hopkins called attention to parents with children in more than one school building and the need for drop off and pick up times to accommodate them.

Dr. Suttmeier also reported that she had met with Steven Spicer, Principal of JLE, and “asked to work with him on hiring a more diverse staff.” Mr. Spicer has been offering to help the district achieve its diversity goals. “We want choice,” Dr. Suttmeier said. “We don’t want to draw from one pool of people from one cultural background. We want to throw the net wider so that we have more choices. Number one is still we want qualified, certified people. And there is still a preferred hiring list,” she said, referring to people laid off as part of previous staff cuts. If changes to the hiring process seem appropriate, Dr. Suttmeier assured the board, she will first notify them of the changes.

Also at the meeting:

• Dr. Suttmeier announced that ground was broken for new construction on the athletic field April 24

• The board voted four people to serve on the Questar III BOCES (Board of Cooperative Educational Services) for three-year terms from July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2020. These candidates are Mary Dowd Daly of Hudson, Joseph Garland of Coxsackie (Coxsackie-Athens Central School District), John C. Hill of Valley Falls (Hoosic Valley Central School District), and Marilyn Noonan of Catskill (Catskill Central School District). Questar III serves all the public school districts in Columbia County and many of the districts in Greene and Rensselaer counties.

The Hudson Board of Education met Monday, May 8 at 7 p.m. at the High School library.

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