Other districts’ kids enlarge Hudson’s summer program

HUDSON–Summer programs, new staff and college supplies received attention at the Hudson City School District (HCSD) Board of Education meeting Monday, July 23.

The District’s Summer School program has 263 students this year, including 27 from other districts, reported district Superintendent Maria L. Suttmeier. That’s higher than the number of other-district students who attended HCSD summer school in the recent past: there were 12 in 2017, 15 in 2016, 16 in 2015.

Board member Linda Hopkins remarked that this year the Taconic Hills School District, where she teaches, has no summer school.

Of the 263 summer students, some take one class, some more than one class, and about 200 are preparing for a Regents test, Dr. Suttmeier said. Robert La Casse, associate principal of Hudson High School “runs summer school well,” she said.

Camp Invention, a week-long program where children going into 3rd through 5th grades think up technological and creative solutions to problems their counselors pose, recently completed a session for HCSD with about 45 students. “I want our kids to have the same opportunities as students in suburban schools,” Dr. Suttmeier said. Programs like “Camp Invention create the opportunities. [And] it was incredible to see the kids smiling and excited.”

Also at the meeting the board welcomed Lisa Ruud to the new position of Second Associate Principal of Montgomery C. Smith Elementary School (MCS). In this position, she joins MCS Principal Mark Brenneman and Associate Principal Ian MacCormack. This September MCS will begin its first year enlarged, serving pre-kindergarten through 5th grade. Last year it had 2nd through 5th grade.

Ms. Ruud grew up in Buffalo and has a master’s degree in Curriculum Development and Instructional Technology from the University of Albany, where she is working on a PhD. Previously she taught art (kindergarten through 12th grade) in the Jefferson Central and Cairo-Durham school districts, worked at the Northeastern Regional Information Center and served as Administrator for Integration of Technology at the Berne-Knox-Westerloo school district. She lives in Delmar.

Ms. Ruud said that when she walked into the MCS, she felt, “I’m home!” In addition, she said. “the school has a population I love, love, love to work with.”

The board also welcomed Renée Marois to the district as a 2nd grade teacher. Ms. Marois, from Waterveliet, taught in Harlem for four years and taught in Brooklyn for nine years.

Beth Barnes, already an HCSD teacher, appeared at the meeting in recognition of her new position as elementary school math coach. “I’m very excited about the position,” she said. “There’s a lot at stake with math.”

“She has a vision about math,” said Dr. Suttmeier. “She talked about making it exciting for the students. “

Board President Carrie Otty spoke about the new College Possible program, which gives students about to enter college refrigerators, fans, detergent, pillows, stationary and other needed or expected items. This year 10 college-bound Hudson graduates–selected “by need” in consultation with guidance counselors and social workers—received these supplies through College Possible. Some supplies were donated, others bought with raised funds. Ms. Otty works for Farm Credit, which each year raises money for a community cause. This year, at Ms. Otty’s suggestion, it chose College Possible.

Dr. Suttmeier said, “More and more of our students are going to college. But they aren’t ready. They’re ready academically, but not social/emotionally.” College Possible supplies, she indicated, help put students who might not be able to afford the them on a more level playing field with their peers.

Also at the meeting, Dr. Suttmeier:

• Observed that John L. Edwards (JLE) school property, site of the recently vacated primary school, “is humming” this summer with activities such as Camp Invention and Project Harmony

• Spoke about the SUNY Albany’s NYKids study identifying what distinguishes “odds-beating” districts from the “typically performing” HCSD, and implied that that information would lead to action. “I think we’re on the cusp of becoming an odds-beating district,” Dr. Suttmeier said. “We’ve come a long way considering what we were before and what we are now. Mr. Brenneman says, ‘to get an odds-beating high school, we need an odds-beating elementary school.’” With the closing of JLE and enlarging of MCS, “Mr. Brenneman is leading a brand new school. And I am running a brand new district. Let’s reinvent ourselves!” she said.

The next meeting of the HCSD Board of Education is Monday, August 13, at 6:30 p.m., at the Hudson Junior High Library.

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