Hudson students pursue more contact with peers

HUDSON–A county-wide student council meeting, student and teacher recognition, getting out the budget vote, pool parties, and AVID teaching were among the topics addressed at the Hudson City School District (HCSD) Board of Education meeting January 14.

Student Representative Kyle Ublacker reported the success of the Columbia County Student Councils meeting January 9 at Columbia-Greene Community College. Student councils from the Germantown, Hudson, New Lebanon and Taconic Hills districts participated. Neil Howard, superintendent of the Taconic Hills district,” guided most of the meeting,” Kyle said. The students suggested holding a county-wide homecoming dance and having inter-district extracurricular clubs. They plan to meet again.

The New York State Sportswriters Association recognized junior Joshua Wallace and senior Spencer Goldstein for excellence on Hudson High’s football team and Athletic Director Derek Reardon presented the two athletes. They “had a great season,” he said.

Schools Superintendent Maria L. Suttmeier said that academic achievement is great but athletic achievement is too, because it makes the district “more rounded.” Both students have college aspirations, Mr. Reardon said. Joshua, a running back, said that for now, “I just want to be a regular student.” Spencer, a linebacker, said that for college “right now I have six options. I’m leaning towards Union, because I visited the campus and liked it.” In addition to playing football there, he said he may “study science and chemistry, because I like my chemistry class.”

News Channel 13 designated HCSD band director Scott Vorwald as teacher of the year, Kyle Ublacker reported. The student council nominated him. Before Mr. Vorwald came, high school band membership was in the 50s; now it is over 100, Kyle observed. Before, the band was playing level 1 music; now it is playing level 4 or 5 music.

In other business this week:

• The board announced the retirement of Anna Barletta after 20 years teaching foreign languages and Deborah McSherry after 26 years as a speech therapist. Ms. McSherry read a farewell statement, saying that “being part of the Hudson Bluehawk family has truly been a joyful venture” and citing the schools in the district where she worked and praising those she worked with.

“My proudest achievement was writing the grant…that garnered the universal pre-kindergarten program,” Ms. McSherry said. “I wish everyone here many years of continued prosperity…. Go Bluehawks!”

• Dr. Suttmeier introduced Juan Contreras as a new math teacher at Montgomery C. Smith Elementary School. She said the thing that stood out in his interview was his “enthusiasm for teaching math and especially for students to learn and enjoy math”

• Business Administrator Sharifa Carbon discussed ideas to increase the number of district residents who vote on the school budget. Suggestions for increasing turnout included banners across Fairview and Worth avenues and concerts or other events near the voting site that would draw parents. Dr. Suttmeier expressed disappointment that an exit survey revealed the majority of people who voted on the school budget “were not parents”

• On some days when school is not in session, the public can rent the high school pool for parties. This usually means also renting the small cafeteria for refreshments. But lately, Dr. Suttmeier announced, these parties have gotten larger, and “seem to be getting out of control.” For one recent such party, somebody brought in a fog machine without permission. It set off a fire alarm, and the fire department responded. Now Dr. Suttmeier and Grounds Superintendent George Keeler are considering restricting pool parties to the pool only. That will mean no on-site refreshments, because food is not allowed in the pool. They have placed a call to the Taconic Hills School District to learn that district’s pool use policy

• April Prestipino, assistant superintendent for school improvement, presented the Advancement via Individual Determination (AVID) system–a style of teaching and learning designed to prepare students for both college and 21st century global adulthood. It teaches “organization of physical materials, mind, and thoughts.” Lessons are “sequential and progressive,” which each “building on the one before.” The HCSD hopes to introduce AVID next school year for all 5th and 6th grade classes and an elective class in 7th grade.

Ms. Prestipino noted that the HCSD has increased the number of its students who enter college but it still needs to prepare them for staying in college into the second year.

The next meeting of the HCSD Board of Education will take place Monday, January 28, at 6:30 pm, at the Hudson High School library.

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