Maria Suttmeier, Superintendent
District Insights: Balancing a budget during an economic storm
Rising costs, declining revenues and a New York state budget crisis have made building a sound spending plan that not only meets the needs of our students, but that also meets the needs and expectations of our taxpayers, more difficult than ever. Read more...
District Insights: How you can help advocate for your school district
Before I begin to speak about the challenges school districts are facing and ask for your help to advocate for the education of our children, I would like to clarify the somewhat misleading information that appeared in this paper last week. The headline read, “HCSD may close JLE School” and the article failed to provide the context and content of the discussion, including the timing and conditions under which this would, if ever, happen. Read more...
District Insights: Focus on the future
According to American author, Oliver Wendell Holmes, “The great thing in the world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving.”
Along with many districts across New York state, the Hudson City School District stands as a district in “Focus” status. This state designation is based on a lower than average graduation rate over time. The work to increase the number of students who graduate ready for college and career does not begin in high school but rather in the early years. Therefore, the district has chosen to charge all schools with improving curriculum and instruction to better align our efforts and raise the standard for the pre-K through 12 walk to graduation day. Read more...
District Insights: Some insight into the budget
For the last four years, the Hudson City School District along with all public schools in upstate New York has received less state aid each year. Consequently, the district has had record-breaking layoffs of teachers and staff as well as cuts in programs.
If New York state continues to cut state aid to public schools, the district will be forced to make deeper cuts over the next several years. We cannot depend on our local taxpayers to offset the budget deficit each year. There will come a time when we are no longer able to function with the basic academic integrity needed to provide a well-rounded education to our students. The district has been working diligently on doing the right work to improve the academic and financial status of the district, but there is just so far we can go on the resources we receive from the state. Read more...
District Insights: Spirit of giving shines at HCSD
Besides the Thanksgiving holiday, this month has two scheduled half days of student attendance on Nov. 15 and 21. The first quarter report cards will be distributed during the afternoon of Nov. 15. Parents are invited and strongly encouraged to meet with teachers on the afternoon of the 15th to discuss the progress of their children. When schools and families work together, students prosper. Please contact the main office of the building your child attends to schedule a meeting. The afternoon of Nov. 21 is designed to provide teachers with special training opportunities to help them meet the needs of all students in their classrooms. Read more...
Letter to the Editor, Register-Star
I would like to extend a sincere thank you to all who helped to make opening day 2012 so special as Hudson City School District faculty and staff returned to school on September 5th. Read more...
Superintendent Suttmeier's Opening Day Letter
Summer 2012 is quickly disappearing with the promise of Opening Day 2012 on the horizon! I am honored to lead this district and grateful to have such dedicated staff to work with. I am confident that together, we can move this district in a positive direction. In fact, I know we can!
Message from the Superintendent: National Bullying Prevention Month
Parents of children who are bullied at school feel an immediate need to take action that will make the behavior stop. A phone call to school is one of the first steps parents take to seek a resolution that will end the bullying behavior. The prevalence of bullying in our schools and society make it an issue that most families, communities and schools must eventually confront. Schools and communities must find ways to resolve issues, change behavior patterns and increase education and awareness of bullying and bullying prevention strategies.
The Hudson City School District Board of Education adopted a Student Bullying Prevention and Intervention Policy prior to the start of the current school year. The New York State mandated policy states that the district is “committed to providing an educational and working environment that promotes respect, dignity and equality.” The school district’s administration, faculty and staff seek to partner with parents and community to resolve all incidents of bullying and proactively develop programs that will assist in better understanding the impact of bullying on the target, participants and those who are witness to such acts – the bystanders.
Parents are encouraged to ask their children questions everyday about school activities and lessons. There is much to be learned by listening to children as they retell their school day experiences and interactions with classmates, teachers and school staff. A daily conversation about school in general will create opportunities for children to tell parents about bullying incidents that they might have otherwise kept to themselves. Parents should immediately contact the building principal to share any information about bullying to begin the process of resolving the issue and ending the bullying behavior. It is important that the parents and administrators act as partners in creating open communication that will assist in understanding and resolving conflicts. Additionally, parents and school staff must work together to help students understand that they are not alone when faced with bullying and will be supported when they share incidents of bullying behaviors with adults.
The Hudson City School District is committed to creating a culture of tolerance and consideration for others. An example of that commitment is “The Bystander Project” that is currently underway at the M.C. Smith Intermediate School. Administration, including the Superintendent of Schools, faculty, staff and students read James Preller’s novel Bystander, a fictional portrayal of authentic, young voices in a middle school environment facing and dealing with issues of bullying. Students have been involved in learning experiences designed to raise their awareness of bullying, explore what bullying is and develop a common vocabulary about bullying to include such words as bystander, or one who witnesses bullying and says or does nothing. In his novel, James Preller cites Martin Luther King, Jr.’s reference to “the appalling silence” when describing the unspoken involvement of the witness during bullying incidents.
The Bystander Project culminates in an exciting collaboration of the Hudson City School District’s Arts and Humanities Fund, the Taconic Community Foundation, the Concrete Temple Theatre and the M.C. Smith Intermediate School students’ presentation of a theatrical adaptation of James Preller’s Bystander performed for the students and community. The Bystander Project’s mission is to promote a culture that does not tolerate bullying and is a part of National Bullying Prevention Month.