HUDSON—Summer school and evolving requirements received attention at the Hudson City School District (HCSD) Board of Education meetings April 13 and 20.
The district is expanding summer school to serve kindergarten through 12th grade, Superintendent Maria L. Suttmeier and Assistant Superintendent of School Improvement April Prestipino announced. In recent years, it has served only 6th through 12th grade. But now, more students in all grades need to make up for the past year’s “learning loss” and get set for the next grade, Dr. Suttmeier said. With the increased summer enrollment, the district will provide buses to summer school.
Even in the regular school year, Business Administrator Jesse Boehme reported the need to increase bus runs, telling the board, “we’re bringing in more” junior and senior high school students. Eleventh and twelfth graders now have the option of coming to school in person twice a week. And Dr. Suttmeier has reported that about 50 junior high students who were judged insufficiently responsive have started coming in four days a week.
Board member Sage Carter reported that the district is considering the implications of the new physical distancing protocol: three feet for children in classrooms, but still six feet on buses and in the cafeteria.
Athletic fields are being prepared for use. And the high school swim team has used the high school pool, but there is no date yet for opening the pool to the public.
‘I’m thankful we have gotten to this point…’
Supt. Maria L. Suttmeier
Hudson City School District
Standard assessment testing will take place, but the tests will last only one instead of two days, Dr. Prestipino told the board. Different students will take the same test on different days, according to when they usually come to school in person. Some of the 100% online students have registered to take assessment tests in person and will do so on Wednesdays, when normally no student is in the school building. The district applied to the federal government for a waiver from the 3rd through 8th grade tests but was unsuccessful, Dr. Prestipino reported.
Dr. Suttmeier said the plan for operating the school next year will be guided by the re-opening plan for this year, which many people had formulated last summer. “I’m thankful we have gotten to this point, after coming from a year that has been the most challenging in my career—30 years in education.”
Also at the meetings:
* Superintendent Suttmeier announced James Mort, Jr., an English as a New Language teacher and a swimming coach, has received tenure. “It’s good when a teacher makes a connection with students in the classroom, but it’s really great when a teacher also makes a connection with students out of the classroom,” Dr. Suttmeier said
* The superintendent also announced that Willette Jones, vice president of the board, received a Certificate of Board Mastery from the New York State School Boards Association, for completing enough hours of workshops
* Dr. Suttmeier said she would meet with the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office to discuss body cameras worn by school resource officers. County deputies began wearing these cameras in March. The 2021-22 Academic Plan for next year calls for three safety officers and two school resource officers
* Mr. Boehme said he was working on a “corrective action plan” for IT, which a state audit found “inadequately secured against unauthorized use, access, and loss.” Mr. Boehme said he should present the plan within 90 days
* Ms. Carter reported that the district has been gathering pictures, memorabilia and archives from the John L. Edwards building, which served as a school from 1964 to 2018. The district has agreed to sell the building to Adirondack Community Development, LLC, which plans to reconstruct it for housing, though several steps are necessary before the sale goes through
* Dr. Suttmeier said that some former students of the Warren Street Academy (also known as “the Bridge”) had been transferred to a Questar III BOCES alternate learning program. The Warren Street Academy operated from 2014 to 2020, providing high school students a way to earn credit toward graduation by alternate means
* On April 20, HCSD Board approved the Questar III BOCES proposed administrative budget of $5.4 million and nominated for the BOCES Board: Mark Mann of Rensselaer, Mary Marro-Giroux of Troy and Frank Zwack of Stephentown.
The next meeting of the HCSD Board of Education is Tuesday, May 4, at 6:30 p.m. at Hudson High School.