HUDSON–Additional bus routes, My Brother’s Keeper, a new student representative, and musical instruments from the Elks Club dominated the Hudson City School District (HCSD) Board of Education meeting Monday, September 26.
The Board approved four additional buses for the district, effective Monday, October 2. As a result some children will arrive home earlier than before. Previously, some buses made two return-home runs, and children on the second run had to wait at school until their bus transported the children on the first run home. With the new buses, the district website alerts parents and guardians, these students will be home or at their stop “approximately 20 minutes earlier than they currently are.”
At the September 26 meeting district Superintendent Maria Suttmeier said that, for example, some students at John L. Edwards Primary School (JLE) whose classes end at 2:30 p.m. but whose bus home did not come until 3:20 will now arrive home earlier.
Michael Fulton, assistant director of the district’s after school program, gave a presentation about the program he runs under auspices of My Brother’s Keeper. The program currently includes 11 boys who are now in 8th grade. Mr. Fulton started it this past summer after the district received a grant for the program, which lasts through the summer of 2019. This summer’s session consisted of six weeks of activities and lessons, including: fitness, boxing, cooking, life skills, money management, social media etiquette, putting on a necktie, the Power of Peace (with Michael Arterberry), community service and field trips.
Community service took place at the Firemen’s Home and the Whittier Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Center, where the boys helped with landscaping. Field trips included Columbia Greene Community College, Columbia County Jail and amusement parks.
During the school year, Mr. Fulton said, “we have classes” for the students in the program, including one on Black History. In addition, Mr. Fulton plans to take the group “to help the little kids” at JLE. The program will continue through next summer, next school year and the following summer. Next summer “a new group of 10 will come in,” he said.
“I feel honored and privileged to be asked to develop this program,” said Mr. Fulton, who added, “We would love to offer it to all students. I hope we can get another grant” that will last into the future. In addition, the parents of two students in the group came to praise the effect it had had on their sons.
The September 26 session marked the first school board meeting attended by this year’s student representative, Noah Taylor. Noah, a senior, is president of the Student Council, is a member of the football, volleyball and track teams, and plays the trumpet and the trombone in the band. He said his favorite course is AP American History.
“We’d like to raise the spirit of all the students in the school,” he said.
Also at the meeting, Peter Merante, a trustee of Hudson Elks Club Lodge and past school board member, presented the district with 175 recorders for 4th graders. In celebration of the Elks Club’s 100th anniversary, the club is giving grants.
Dr. Suttmeier told the board, “Over the summer [Mr. Merante] came to me and said, ‘I have a $1,500 grant for you. What would you like?’” The decision was the recorders. This gift is “one less stress on kids and parents,” Dr. Suttmeier said.
Trish Almstead, music teacher at the Montgomery C. Smith Intermediate School, presented three fifth graders who played recorders for the audience. Ms. Almstead described the Recorder Karate program, where players work through increasingly harder pieces, and each time they master a certain milestone piece, they get a different colored “belt,” a yarn tassel to hang from their recorder. The students played the milestone for a brown belt, “Amazing Grace,” and that for a black belt, “Ode to Joy.” One student, upon his request, played an additional piece solo.
Mr. Merante said the owner of Musica, Rob Caldwell, was very cooperative in arranging the purchase of 160 recorders and threw in 15 extra for free, bringing the total to 175. “They were awesome,” said Mr. Caldwell, later reached by phone. “There’s a great recorder program.”
In other business at the September 26 meeting:
• Dr. Suttmeier said the half-day school closing September 26 because of the heat “doesn’t affect” the number of days the schools are counted as being open this year. “In June, we also have hot days, but we’re prepared for them,” she noted
• The superintendent said the Hudson City School District is “unlike any other” in the area, but “we’re overlooked.” One thing small city schools must do is “aggressively seek grants. We can’t rely only on” usual revenue sources,” she said
• Dr. Suttmeier announced she has a seat on the State Council of School Superintendents’ policy making body, the 58-member House of Delegates.
The next meeting of the Hudson City School District Board of Education is Monday, October 23 at 6:30 p.m. in the JLE cafeteria and not, as usual, at the high school. Before the meeting, at 6 p.m. there will be a curriculum workshop, also at JLE.