Noise at Hudson school is welcome sound


HUDSON—A new student representative, school departure delays and upbeat reports from the first days of school received attention at the Hudson City School District Board of Education meeting September 21.

Jacob Hromada, a Hudson High School senior, attended his first meeting as this year’s student representative to the board. Jacob is head of the Student Council, captain of the football team, and on the National Honor Society.

The end of the school day consumes time for many people. Dismissal for the Montgomery C. Smith Elementary School (MCS) is at 2:40, and everybody should be out by 3:05 said Principal Mark Brenneman. But from the audience, Dylan McGee of Hudson said he takes off from work to get his car in the pick-up line by 2:05, and it still can take him an hour to get his kindergartner home.

“We appreciate what you’re going through,” said Superintendent Maria L. Suttmeier. MCS has over 800 students who need to be dismissed, while being kept three feet apart.

‘I’m glad the place is busy.’

Robert LaCasse, principal

Hudson High School

“I know it isn’t easy,” said Mr. McGee. He said he has noticed aides “getting abuse.”

Mr. Brenneman said buses should come to his school at 2:50. But they go to the high school first. And one day it took them half an hour to get from the high school to MCS, because of a funeral between them at the Elks Club. High school dismissal is at 2:37 p.m.

Dr. Suttmeier added, “We’re encouraging parents to drive children to school to reduce congestion on the buses.” When asked how that preference affects congestion on the roads, she replied, “We have that under control, with the help of law enforcement and an arrival/dismissal system that is moving vehicles through within a reasonable time frame.”

Jacob Hromada, the new student representative speaks to the Hudson Board of Education. Photo by Jeanette Wolfberg

Asked how the more-vehicle preference relates to the district’s carbon footprint, Dr. Suttmeier pointed out that with more bus riders, the district would most likely need to add another bus, “which is a great carbon concern.” However, she also reported, “We have many who can and do walk their children to and from school.”

The district’s three building principals reported students beginning the school year bursting with energy, happy to return to the in-person model. “It was great to have the kids back and not be dealing with virtual issues,” said Mr. Brenneman. His school, which has assigned students to “houses,” held house games.

Derek Reardon, principal of the junior high, reported holding a field day the second day of school. “We felt strongly about having a day of activities,” where teachers and students got to know each other,” he said.

Robert LaCasse, principal of Hudson High School, reported, “Last year the kids were very quiet. But now we’re hearing noises that are usual in a high school. I’m glad the place is busy.” And after a year of no clubs, “this year I challenge the students to find their passion.”

Jacob Hromada described students looking forward to for-fun field days and said that students who did not do well in virtual school welcome in-person classes.

Academically, Mr. Brenneman reported teachers are “excited” by the new ELA (English Language Arts) program, CKLA. He also spoke of aligning the math curriculum so that students starting the same grade know the same things.

Mr. Reardon reported returning to 40-minute periods instead of block pads. Last year, he said, “we lost 200 minutes of instruction.”

Mr. LaCasse said, “We’re happy to get back to nine periods.” The math lab teacher is back to running the lab and not tied up in teaching classes. He also said, “We have students who have not taken an exam in two years,” and they could need help rebuilding test taking skills.

Also at the meeting:

• Board President Carrie Otty said the current deadline to apply to succeed Dr. Suttmeier when she retires in January is October 22. As of the meeting, the HCSD was waiting for Questar III BOCES to finalize a brochure announcing the open superintendent position and its qualifications

• Board member Sage Carter reported two recent uses of the John L. Edwards, the now-closed school building. It stored furniture, some of which the maintenance staff moved back into active schools this summer as social distances for children decreased. And it was scouted as a possible location for a movie, though it probably will not be picked

• Business Administrator Jesse Boehme announced that Food Services will use an emergency cost reimbursement of $45,000 “to buy fresh fruits and vegetables.” The HCSD now buys its food through Capital Region BOCES, which participates in a farm-to-school program.

The next meeting of the HCSD Board of Education will take place Tuesday, October 5, at 6 p.m. at Hudson High School.

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