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Hudson’s robotics whiz kids win school board kudos


HUDSON–The upcoming school board elections, High School robotics team, High School play, and test opt outs received attention at the Hudson City School District (HCSD) Board of Education meeting Monday, May 8.

On Tuesday, May 16, the district will vote on three items:

• The proposed 2017-18 budget of $46,566,172 total, up 1.42% over the current budget; the property tax levy would be 2.19% higher

• The one open school board seat on the ballot; incumbent board President Carrie Otty is running unopposed

• A proposition that would donate a small parcel of land behind John L. Edwards Primary School (JLE) to the City of Hudson for a sidewalk.

At the May 8 meeting two Hudson High School extracurricular student groups appeared with their advisors and received recognition for their contributions to the district. The robotics team did the best it ever has in its 13 years since it began, team coach Jack Beyer reported. It made the semifinals in a competition in Suffern against teams from all over the world, including Turkey, Ecuador, Britain, Puerto Rico and New York City. The team also made the quarterfinals in the Tech Valley Regional competition in Suffern. For their achievements, each team member received a certificate to take any one 3-credit course at Hudson Valley Community College for free, valid anytime in his or her life. And those students who put in at least 60 hours for the team received a half credit in technology toward graduation.

For the competitions, the robotics team built a robotic machine that had to be able to do specified tasks, while keeping the machine within specified dimensions and spending no more than specified amounts of money. The robotics team brought its machine to the May 8 meeting and demonstrated how it moved, threw Whiffle balls and suspended itself from a horizontal pole.

Coach Beyer teaches Technology at the High School. Assistant Coach Bruce Buhler teaches technology at the Junior High School. Team members include Sharmin Akter, Abdula Badon, Monsur Choudhury, Jahid Hasan, Maraz Hossain, Miftahul Huq, Mohammed Jhliani, Aaron Li, Majed Murshed, Hasan Murti, Eric Pinkowski, Ravid Rahman, Ashraful Shamrat, Matthew Steils, Fariah Sultana, Esrat Sumayya and Tayjul Tonmay.

The cast of the High School student production of the musical “Footloose” received a certificate from the board. In addition to director Cory Moon, assistant director Lucy Rees and choreographer Betsy Rees, cast members included Mackenzie Alexander, Rebecca Allen, Angelina Baerga, Owen Berth, Michael Dolan, LeBron Frazier, Lauren Gower, Michael Green, Noah Hamm, Emma Hanley, Catalina Hart, Anneliese Ide, Sabrina Johnson, Autumn Kudlack, Elijah Kudlack, Elizabeth Meicht, Mary Meyer, Jordan Mignott, Kristen O’Connell, Caleigh Parmentier, Gillian Perry, Olivia Plaia, Gabriella Popow, Pierre Rice, Cora Rivenburg, Brian Rodriguez, Emily Spateholts, Matthew Steils, Noshim Tasnim, Rafia Tasnim, Damion Virgo, Kristen Ward, Kee’sha Woods and Kyla Woods.

Matthew Stiels, Ms. Rees pointed out, participated in both “Footloose” and the robotics team, while “keeping up with academics.”

The board also heard that students in the 3rd through 8th grades took state math assessment tests the previous week, and April Prestipino, HCSD’s coordinator of school improvement reported the percent participation. As with the previous year, in general, participation rates decreased with age. But 8th grade participation rates were affected because some 8th graders were excused from assessment tests to take the state Regents exam in algebra.

Percentage of Students Refusing to take Math Assessment Tests

Grade       2017     2016

3                3.5         9.3

4              16.7       11.4

5                8.5       17.4

6               20         25.2

7               28         29.4

8               45         32.7

Board member Linda Hopkins, a science teacher at Taconic Hills, said that to nudge her students to take the tests, she points out the number of tests she has to take as an adult.

Superintendent Dr. Maria L. Suttmeier commented, “We’re sandwiched in between districts that are big proponents of refusal. But the State has removed a lot of the reasons why people weren’t taking the tests. And the Troy district did a good job of keeping their refusal rates very low. People can’t opt out of state tests forever. To get a Regents diploma, you can’t opt out of Regents tests.”

Dr. Suttmeier also said that the Galvan Foundation has donated the $200,000 it had promised for the Athletic Field rebuild. The foundation asked only that the district provide updates on the progress of the project.

The HCSD Board will hold a special meeting at 9 p.m. Tuesday, May 16, at John L. Edwards Primary School as election results come in.

The board’s next regular meeting will take place Monday, May 22, at 7 p.m., at Hudson High School.

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