HUDSON – The Hudson City School District (HCSD) is participating in a study on how to improve teacher morale and retention, with the support and guidance of the NoVo Foundation. Results so far suggest that HCSD teachers and paraprofessionals need to feel appreciated, according to Assistant Superintendent of School Improvement, Dr. April Prestipino, in a presentation August 23 and dialogues September 13 and 19.
On December 7, 2021, at a HCSD Schoolboard meeting, Wayne Kinney, science teacher and president of the Hudson Teachers Association, portrayed teachers as feeling “unsafe” and “disrespected” on the job, subject to verbal insults and occasionally physical attacks. In the spring of 2022, outgoing school board member Charles Parmentier, whose wife has taught in the HCSD for close to three decades, said teachers spend extra time and their own money preparing for their students but “are not appreciated.”
Now, Dr. Prestipino said, although the HCSD has not seen “a significant increase in the number of teachers who leave after they have started to work for us,” the district is “struggling to find teachers in hard-to-fill areas, [such as] Technology, Family & Consumer Science, Spanish, and Special Education.” Other school districts in Columbia County are also “experiencing similar struggles. Districts are competing for the same small pool of qualified applicants.”
This spring, the HCSD received a grant of $50,000 from NoVo to use between March 2022 and June 2023 in order to participate in the study. The study is part of a program whose two “key purposes” are to “collaborate with educators and school leaders to co-design solutions that will address root causes of decreased teacher morale” and to “develop an…understanding of the experiences and challenges” that confront classroom educators related to social/emotional dimensions, well-being, and Covid-19 effects. In total, the program includes 12 school districts and charter schools across the country. Read more…