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Hudson asks: How cold is too cold for recess?


HUDSON–Cold weather recess and the Bridge Academy were on the agenda at the Monday, March 10 meeting of the Hudson City School District Board of Education.

Currently children stay inside for recess if the wind chill temperature chill falls under 20 or 32 degrees Fahrenheit depending on the school. The administration has proposed a uniform 20-degree cutoff for all district schools.

“I would like it to stay 32,” said school board President Kelly Frank.

District Superintendent Maria Suttmeier said that some students lack adequate winter clothes. “Is 20 degrees appropriate for our students?” she asked.

But board Vice President Tiffany Hamilton said, “After a long time inside, [the children] are climbing the wall.” She suggested seeing recess as part of a “wellness program.” When it takes place inside, she asked, at least “can they have physical activity?”

Ms. Suttmeier noted that some buildings lacked space for indoor recess exercise. When the Primary School recess is inside and its multipurpose room is occupied, she acknowledged, the children end up in the library watching educational videos.

Ms. Suttmeier said that each day either all of the children must go outside or all must stay inside for recess. Holding recess in two places at the same time would require having more staff on recess duty, which is impossible. She also pointed out differences between the schools in student age, outdoor facilities and plowing policy. Currently the Primary School’s playground is not plowed although an Intermediate School outdoor athletic court is.

The board also heard this week that the Bridge Academy—with high school students from the Hudson and Catskill Districts and staff from the Berkshire Union Free School District (BUFSD)—has been running for a month. BUFSD superintendent Bruce Potter said that based on his own and Bridge staff observations, “The kids seem excited to be there, ” that “help out without being asked.”

“It’s been great,” he said.

Currently the Bridge has 44 students. Of these, 28 are from Hudson, with 22 of them in the Alternate Transition Program; 8 are from special education day school

Board member Jeri Chapman asked if the Bridge had plans to identify its building on Warren Street. Mr. Potter responded that a banner is ready, and the academy has inquired about how to erect it to comply with regulations. He also reminded those present that the lease on the building lasts only through June 2015. He is working with the Galvan Initiatives Foundation to identify a “larger, more flexible location” for the academy “within the city limits.”

In other business this week the board:

Congratulated the 14-member boys’ modified basketball team, which finished this year’s 14-game season undefeated. The team members are: Gabe Barrientos, Nicholas Benschop, Nicholas Bernockie, Rick Carius, Nytrell Franklin, Damon Gordon, Dayquan Griffin, Jaylen Hartfield, Jordan Howard, Ian Hutchings, Brenden Nicholson, Jeremy Ramirez, Joshua Ramirez, and Matthew Sweet. From the background came a call, “On to next year!”

Acknowledged the retirements, effective June 30, of Helen Hom, special education teacher at the High School, with 10.3 years of service; and Kay Lisajo, speech therapist at the junior high, with 12 years of service

Heard High School Principal Antonio Abitabile announce that –much to the joy of students—Michael Arterberry, executive director of the Youth Voice Center, has accepted the invitation to speak at graduation. Mr. Arterberry has been running Power of Peace Workshops for High School students and teachers. Meeting attendees said people come out of these workshops transformed positively. William Glasser, student representative to the Board, reported that the next Power of Peace Workshop will take place March 18 and 19.

Announced that this year three of seven seats on the board are up for election. Two slots will be for five-year terms, one for a one-year term. Nomination petitions are available at the board clerk’s office at Hudson High School. Completed petitions must be returned to the clerk by April 30 at 5 p.m.

Heard district Business Executive Robert Yusko said the state Department of Transportation wants a study on how the proposed conversion of the Greenport School building to apartments will affect traffic patterns.

The next Board meeting will be March 24 at the High School Library. A 6 p.m. Budget Workshop will precede the regular 7 p.m. meeting. On March 26, the board will hold a Community Conversation on the budget proposal at the John L. Edwards Primary School.

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