Dr. Maria Lagana Suttmeier, Superintendent
District Insights: The Virtue of School Libraries
(April 11, 2017) -- “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” — Dr. Seuss
School libraries, and libraries in general, give students the capability to do many things. Libraries can empower students to read more books and discover the world through reading. They give a sense of empowerment to young readers by offering children the chance to select books specific to their interests and reading levels.
In addition to offering an abundance of curriculum-based resources, school librarians provide a framework for teaching research skills and digital literacy. School libraries equip students with lifelong learning skills and the ability to retrieve and evaluate information, qualities that will help our students be successful in college and career.
Continue reading Superintendent Suttmeier's April 2017 column in the Register-Star >>
District Insights: Multiple Pathways to College & Career Readiness
(March 14, 2017) -- High school graduation is an event that marks a significant stage in a student’s life and it is often a primary focus of educators.
Although the Hudson City School District’s slogan is “Destination Graduation,” there is another measure beside graduation rate we use to determine if we are providing a successful education: College and career readiness.
Preparing all students for college and career is a primary responsibility and moral imperative for school districts across the nation.
Academic achievement is only part of a comprehensive education. School is an environment where students learn vital life skills related to behavior, communication, working in groups, self-discipline and persistence. These skills are essential to being a successful student and effective employee.
At the Hudson City School District, we offer a variety of opportunities and programs to help students develop the skills they need to succeed as college students, working professionals and active citizens. This is our overall mission in partnership with our families and our community.
Continue reading Superintendent Suttmeier's March 2017 column in the Register-Star >>
District Insights: Moving On Up
(February 14, 2017) -- The first step in the capital project was to move the sixth grade from the M.C. Smith Intermediate School into the Junior High School, which was completed prior to the start of the 2016-2017 school year.
Sixth grade students and teachers have adapted well to the new routines of departmentalized subject areas and transitions between classes. Although sixth-grade classrooms and lunch periods are separate from the seventh and eighth grades, students in all three grades gather in the library or play sports together in the gym before school starts. We are happy to see how quickly the sixth grade has been welcomed to the Junior High School community.
Other components of phase 1 that are moving forward are plans for the new track and athletic field facility, under roof improvements, traffic flow upgrades and renovations at the intermediate school in preparation for moving the second grade to the intermediate school this September.
We are happy to report phase 1 is on schedule and running at or below budget.
As we prepare for the second-grade transition, scheduled for September 2017, there are several points of consideration to ensure a smooth process. We have spoken with administrators and staff extensively so we are better able to address aspects of staffing, planning, safety and the logistics of moving an entire grade to another building.
Continue reading Superintendent Suttmeier's February 2017 column in the Register-Star >>
District Insights: Diversity and Bluehawk Pride
(December 13, 2016) -- As another calendar year comes to an end, we find ourselves naturally reflecting on the events of 2016, not only in the Hudson City School District and local community, but nationally and worldwide.
Many of us — not just educators — are heartbroken to see recent media reports of increased bullying and insensitive comments in schools across the nation. The frequency of these reports seems to be on the rise, even as many schools finished activities for National Bullying Prevention Month in October.
In light of these reports arising from other schools and communities, please be assured that the Hudson City School District and Board of Education are committed to providing an educational environment that promotes respect, dignity and equality that is free from all forms of harassment. These are important values in at HCSD.
Continue reading Superintendent Suttmeier's December 2016 column in the Register-Star >>
District Insights: The good and bad of Every Student Succeeds Act
(November 8, 2016) -- For nearly 50 years, the United States has exerted recurring efforts to design and implement an educational paradigm shift to raise the bar, close the achievement gaps and finally address the need to appropriately prepare all students for both college and career in the highly competitive 21st century. Most recently, in December, new legislation, the Every Student Succeeds Act, was passed to replace No Child Left Behind and it will affect every public school in the country. The act is set to take full effect in the 2017-18 school year.
Since the act is fairly new, it may take some time before the impact on our schools and students becomes clear. The most significant change we can expect is that states will have a larger role in holding schools accountable, thereby allowing for greater flexibility in school evaluations and setting goals for student achievement.
An initial review of the Every Student Succeeds Act reveals some good news and not so good news for schools across the country.
Read the rest of Superintendent Suttmeier's November 2016 column in the Register-Star >>
District Insights: Maintaining historic appearance, maximizing possibilities at MCSIS
(October 11, 2016) -- When planning began for our Capital Project earlier this year, we expected the typical design challenges. Our goal was to explore all options to be sure we selected the best design for our students. This was particularly true for the new primary wing addition to the historic M.C. Smith Intermediate School. Many in the community rightfully spoke out about the importance of maintaining the new addition’s architectural compatibility with the existing intermediate school.
Over the last several months, district administrators and the Board of Education have worked tirelessly with the architects to ensure the best possible building design that compliments the existing building and our academic programs while fitting within our financial means. One of our goals was to design an addition with a nearly seamless look next to the historic exterior of the intermediate school. However, soil samplings on the south side of the building revealed evidence of unstable soil. These results challenged the district and architects to formulate a more creative solution that would fit the district’s needs, both academically and financially.
After much deliberation, we were able to develop a design that offers a good compromise between structural and architectural integrity while providing a favorable academic program flow between the existing and new instructional spaces.
Read the rest of Superintendent Suttmeier's October 2016 column in the Register-Star >>
District Insights: Welcome back Bluehawks
(September 13, 2016) -- There is always a great sense of excitement and opportunity as we embark on a new school year. Thankfully, teaching is one of the rare professions where we get a clean slate every year and that brings hope and possibility. That is especially true this year. This is the first time in many years that we are opening our doors not designated by the state for anything. This year, we are truly beginning with a clean slate and for the first time in a long time we face the future unencumbered by negative labels.
Just as our championship athletic teams achieved their success through teamwork, this accomplishment was also a cooperative effort. It took a great deal of planning, determination and most of all, teamwork in every building at every level, as well as coordination with our community partners. We don’t want to talk only about the past or just about this school year, we want to focus on the next four years and beyond. We want to focus on our future as a district on the rise.
Read the rest of Superintendent Suttmeier's September 2016 column in the Register-Star >>
District Insights: Honoring students and teachers at Hudson CSD
(June 14, 2016) -- These last few weeks of June mark the culmination of what was perhaps the most eventful and unforgettable year the Hudson City School District has had in recent memory.
During the 2015-16 school year, we saw our Bluehawks earn three Patroon Conference championship titles (for boys and girls varsity basketball as well as boys varsity baseball), multiple school sports records broken and significant progress toward our Destination Graduation goals. And that is where we are now: graduation. It is a bittersweet time when we say goodbye to another class of Bluehawks, but not before celebrating student achievements and successes — of graduates and returning students.
This year, many Bluehawks participated in regional, state and national events in realms such as robotics, environmental science, art, all-county music and mock trial. Furthermore, numerous students received awards, honors and scholarships for their excellence in academics, leadership and community service.
Read the rest of Superintendent Suttmeier's June 2016 column in the Register-Star >>
District Insights: Helping voters understand the district budget
(May 10, 2016) -- Last month’s column highlighted the incredible volunteers who help support the Hudson City School District by donating their time and talents. Without our valuable community volunteers, many of our district’s programs and events would not be as successful as they are.
As we all know, the district cannot be supported by volunteers alone. Like most organizations, public schools require funding in order to operate efficiently. New York state’s public schools are primarily funded by a combination of state aid and community tax dollars. For this reason, it is vital to be open about the annual budget so our community can make informed decisions when casting votes on May 17.
Read the rest of Superintendent Suttmeier's May 2016 column in the Register-Star >>
District Insights: Volunteers help make it all possible
(April 19, 2016) -- April is National Volunteer Month and April 18-22 is Public School Volunteer Week.
This is a time to recognize volunteers — those who donate their time to benefit others. Our school district needs funding to operate, of course, but it also benefits from all the community volunteers that help make things possible by donating their time to support the district and its programs.
Read the rest of Superintendent Suttmeier's April 2016 column in the Register-Star >>
"Thank" You letter from Superintendent Suttmeier
The District was recently able to announce the great news that the Hudson City School District is no longer identified as a "Focus District" (more details in the Register-Star.)
Although addressed to parents/guardians, this "Thank You" letter from Superintendent Suttmeier really goes out to everyone. Coming off the "Focus List" is an accomplishment that would not have been possible without the hard work of our faculty, staff, students, parents and community partners!
District Insights: "Out of focus" and focusing on the future
(March 8, 2016) -- We are extremely proud to announce that as of January, the New York State Education Department has removed HCSD from the “Focus District” list. This means that HCSD, and each of its schools, has been given a designation of “Good Standing” from NYSED. For the first time in over a decade — 13 years, to be exact — not one single building in the district was identified as needing improvement or corrective action.
This is an extremely meaningful achievement. The hard work of our faculty, staff, students, parents and community partners cannot be overstated. We could not have accomplished this alone and we are grateful for the help from our faculty and community partners. Big strides have been made toward academic improvement at HCSD and the district coming “Out of Focus” is evidence that what we have been doing is beginning to work. Of course, school and district improvement is a process and this process is far from complete.
Read the full article >>
District Insights: Capital Project, part 2
(January 12, 2016) -- We are building upon our Destination Graduation goals with our Vision 2020 initiative. It is a declaration of where we need to be five years from now and will guide our efforts to support the learning and success of our students. Vision 2020 goes beyond curriculum and instruction to other factors of academic success, specifically the learning environment, extra-curricular opportunities and the social-emotional development of our students.
The proposed capital project that taxpayers are encouraged to vote for on Feb. 9 goes hand in hand with this initiative. We want our students to not only pass exams and receive diplomas, but to leave Hudson High School with a well-rounded education that prepares them for college, careers and the challenges of the real world. Read the full article >>
District Insights: HCSD looking at capital project improvements, additions
(December 8, 2015) -- As 2015 draws to a close, we are preparing to move forward toward Vision 2020.
If you recall my September column, Vision 2020 is designed to pull us toward the future of the Hudson City School District. It is where we need to be five years from now and there is clearly plenty of room to grow and improve. Since the start of the 2015-16 school year, steps have been taken to begin the development and implementation of a Vision 2020 strategic plan — one that will focus squarely on the continued improvement of learning opportunities for our students.
Over the summer, HCSD underwent its New York state-mandated five-year Building Condition Survey (BCS), which provided a list of recommended repair, maintenance and replacement projects, most of which fall under the “health and safety” or “structural” category. Our district is in a unique position to appropriate $1.5 million in past budgetary savings and take advantage of maturing bonds to fund the recommended BCS items totaling close to $9 million. Additionally, the district is interested in other upgrades to improve the overall quality of education and student experience. Read the full article >>
District Insights: Thankful for momentum and support
(November 11, 2015) -- Historically, the month of November is a time for expressing thanks for all we have been given. With the help and support of our families, friends and community partners, the Hudson City School District has many things to be thankful for this year.
We have been taking great strides toward our Destination Graduation goals for the past three years. The evidence is shown in our increased graduation rate (over 15 percent in three years*), reading levels, community involvement, event success and in our students’ Bluehawk pride. We have much more work ahead to raise student achievement to a level we can all be proud of, but we are thankful for the momentum we are gaining and the support we receive from the community. Read the full article >>
District Insights: The Board of Education
As a whole, the board of education of the Hudson City School District welcomes this opportunity to reach out to everyone in the community and provide a little insight into our purpose and function.
We have been given this opportunity, in our superintendent’s regular monthly column, to share what the board does and how we conduct the business of the Hudson City School District. Please take this opportunity to understand our roles and let us know your thoughts on how we can better work together to achieve the goals of the district.
District Insights: HCSD looks to future with Vision 2020
We acknowledge that our district must stretch itself beyond what we imagine possible and we should never settle for less. We are better today than we were yesterday and we will be even better tomorrow — our dimensions are being expanded by each step we take together toward Vision 2020. Read more...