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Bridge Academy will open next month


HUDSON–The Bridge Academy, Apex, college readiness and 8th grade math tests highlighted the Hudson City Board of Education meeting Monday, January 13.

Superintendent Maria Suttmeier expressed optimism that the Bridge Academy, providing alternate education for specific high school students, will hold its first classes on February 3, the first day of the spring semester, three weeks away. The Bridge was to open last September, but legal technicalities and questions arose. Since then, however, the superintendent’s office and the state education commissioner’s office, have settled on an approach that will allow the program to begin.

The program is called the Alternative Transition Program (ATP) and is for 16-year-olds and some 17-year-olds who are “at least four credits short” of the number of credits that graduation-bound students are expected to have accumulated by their age or grade.

The Bridge Academy will also offer a special education program for Hudson High students who currently attend the day program at the Berkshire Union Free School in the Town of Canaan. These students will attend school at the academy in Hudson, avoiding the lengthy and costly commute to and from Canaan.

Bridge classes will be held in the red brick building at the corner of Warren and Fourth streets. Thomas Gavin, former principal of Hudson High School, will be the principal. The rest of the staff will come from Berkshire Union. These will include a day program coordinator, four duel-certified subject teachers, aids, and support staff.

At the meeting, school board member Joseph Carr asked whether the Warren Street building is ready for classes.

“Internal work has been done,” Ms. Suttmeier replied.

When Mr. Carr asked when he could go there and “take a peek,” Ms. Suttmeier said that the district would know more at the next board meeting in two weeks.

Twenty-five Hudson students “have been identified” and told they are eligible for the ATP. As of Monday’s meeting 20 of these students had decided to participate in ATP. A meeting for the students and their parents is scheduled for Thursday, January 16 at the Hudson High School Cafeteria.

Ms. Suttmeier hopes to expand the Bridge program to 14- and 15-year-olds deemed at risk of not graduating. “We’re charting new territory,” she said. “It’s never been done before.”

To help additional Hudson students graduate, the district also plans to offer Apex, an on-line credit-recovery program supported by Questar III BOCES, according to district Coordinator of School Improvement April Prestipino. Apex in the Hudson High School building will start February 3. The first class to use it will be Global Credit Recovery, a Global History class for students who did not master that subject well enough in a previous attempt. That class is envisioned as including both group lessons from the teacher and student self-paced Apex study under teacher supervision. If all goes well, Apex will be extended to other subjects.

Meanwhile, college-bound students have their own concerns. Atia Begh, vice president of the Student Council, serving Monday as Student Representative, proposed a mandatory high school course on how to handle college. It would include how to live in college and how to “save money” there. Atia said she and her friends had talked about this idea.

“College readiness” was also the subject of meetings superintendants have had with officials of Columbia-Greene Community College. According to Ms. Suttmeier, the Community College wants to reduce the proportion of its students “spinning tires” in remedial classes. One suggestion was to give high school juniors an equivalent of college freshman placement tests. The results would indicate whether they should take certain subjects in their senior year of high school in order to avoid having to take remedial classes in college.

Ms. Prestipino told the board that 8th graders in Accelerated Math faced three final exams until federal education officials, at the request of the state, clarified the situation. The result is that Accelerated Math students are required to take the Common Core Integrated Algebra test but are exempt from the regular Eighth Grade Math test. These students have the option of taking both the pre-Common Core Integrated Algebra test and the Common Core test. The school will use whichever score is higher.

Also at the meeting:

•Business Executive Robert Yusko reported that the buyer of the old Greenport school was scheduled to submit an escrow check and building plans by January 15. A town Planning Board meeting on the school is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. January 28 at Greenport Town Hall

•The board acknowledged the retirement of and wished well to: teachers Elisabeth Stippa (special education, JLE Primary School), Diana Praus (ESL), and Gordon Ringer (Music); guidance counselor Jay Aronson; and Head Custodian Harold Lonsdale. Ms. Stippa’s and Mr. Lonsdale’s retirements are effective January 31, the others June 30.

•Two Hudson High School sports teams received Scholar Athlete awards for achieving minimum composite grades. Their coaches presented certificates to those students present. The teams were:

Varsity Girls’ Soccer, coach Allison Blake, composite grade 90.099; players Alexandra Bartolotta, Lauren Bowes, Melis Chavez, Charissa Gardener, Jessica Mausolf, Alexis Peters, Katie Porreca, Rachel Ruark, Erica Scalera, Anya Stelcen, Brittany Varriale, Carolyn Weaver and Abigail Weinman.

Varsity Golf, coach Andrew Millar, composite grade 91.437; players Michael Bowes, Tyler Dellavechia, S. M. Huq, Zackery Keeler, Caelan Kohut, Eric Thornton and Noah Wurster.

The next board meeting will take place Monday January 27 at 7 p.m. at the High School library.


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