Hudson board learns what students are learning

HUDSON–The Montgomery C. Smith Intermediate School (MCS), which this year houses second through fifth grades, held a curriculum workshop for the Hudson City School District (HCSD) Board of Education at the Board’s meeting Monday, November 27.

Literacy coach Bridget Smith had several students from one of her groups take turns reading a story aloud. The story had been adapted to mention specific places in Hudson. Two students played specific characters and read when these characters spoke in the story. The other students took turns reading the narration. This group included 4th and 5th graders.

“My goal is to give [my students] experience beyond what goes on in the classroom… to have them connect to the local community,” Ms. Smith said. This is her second year of teaching as a literacy specialist.

Associate Principal Ian MacCormack demonstrated a science lesson for second graders on the darkling beetle. It included arranging cutout pictures of the insect in order of life stage: egg, larva, meal worm, pupa, adult beetle; observing live, crawling adult darklings; examining them in more detail with a magnifying glass; and drawing parts of the adult, such as the abdomen and thorax. Every grade has a science lesson with “something live,” said Principal Mark Brenneman. “The kids love that.”

Writing teacher Laurie Campbell indicated that the most important result of her efforts is that students are writing. “The big challenge for teachers is to complete the instructions within 10 to 12 minutes,” so the students have most of the time to write, she said.

“They write for 40 minutes” at a time, said Mr. Brenneman, in lessons that take place every other day.

Ms. Campbell showed a 3rd grade lesson on reporting versus story telling. The writer should approach the latter with the attitude that “‘I’m the story teller. I have to put the reader in the story,’” She said.

Coordinator of School Improvement April Prestipino said, “It has been with pleasure” that she has seen how the teachers and kids are enthusiastic about these new programs.

Library Director Anna Skoda reported rearranging the library to hold more books. The district plans to close John L. Edwards Primary School (JLE) and move its students to MCS, as early as next September. That will require folding the contents of JLE’s library into the library at MCS.

Mr. Brenneman presented several “hot new children’s books” for the library.

MCS is going through a transition. In the 2015-16 school year it had 3rd through 6th grades. Last school year, the 6th grade move to the junior high, leaving MCS with three grades. This September, 2nd grade moved in from JLE, making MCS four grades again; this time 2 through 5.

A new addition is under construction for MCS to hold the grades that remain at JLE: pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, and first grade. MCS has had other grade configurations and additions in the past. Originally it was the high school.

Also at the meeting, district superintendent Maria L. Suttmeier spoke about setting a goal for the minimum percent of the students who participate in at least one extracurricular or community activity.

Also, the school board is looking for candidates to fill a vacant seat on the board until May 15, 2018. The selected individual will have the option of running in the May 2018 election to extend the position through June 30, 2019, according to the district website.

District residents interested in the board seat should send a letter of interest to Leslie Coons, Clerk of the Board, Hudson City School District, 215 Harry Howard Avenue, Hudson, NY 12534 and come to the board meeting Monday, December 18, at the High School library at 7 p.m.

The next meeting of the Hudson City School District Board of Education will be Monday, December 18 in the high school library. It will begin with a curriculum workshop at 6 p.m. followed by the meeting.

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