It is my great privilege to kick off this school year, and my seventh Opening Day as Superintendent, at the Hudson City School District. I am so proud of the work we have been doing together to improve and enhance the academic outcomes, athletic opportunities and physical environments of our schools to benefit our community of Bluehawk learners.
This September is the beginning of a new era in the Hudson City School District. On Sept. 4, we opened the new school year at the Montgomery C. Smith Elementary School, which was renamed to reflect the addition of a K-1 wing. Our entire elementary community — pre-kindergarten through fifth grade — is now together under one roof at 102 Harry Howard Avenue.
As we move forward into this new chapter, we must not forget the generations who laid the foundation. Since it was built in the 1930s, the M.C. Smith School has reliably adapted to our district’s changing needs. It originally served as a high school and has since been home to Hudson students in all grade levels.
Change does not always come easily but it is often necessary for growth. The excitement of having our entire elementary community together under one roof helps to ease the challenges that inevitably come with change. Envisioning the collaborative teamwork and sharing of ideas across grade levels is inspiring. The idea of older students mentoring our youngest students is also inspiring. We are ready to embrace the inspirations and new opportunities that are waiting for us at every turn.
Last September, we opened the school year with an acrostic poem using the words Heroic, United, Diverse, Scholarship, Optimistic and Nurturing to represent HUDSON. We carried that into the new school year, putting special emphasis on the element of unity, as we come together as one elementary school for the first time in our district’s history.
We are three schools on two campuses, but we have one mission: to advance the social, emotional and academic development of our students in partnership with our community. We do all this to prepare our students for college, career and citizenship.
We recently revised our “Destination Graduation: Get on Board” tagline to include the importance of preparing all students for what lies beyond the high school experience. Whether a student chooses to join the military, attend college or go directly into the workforce, the ultimate goal for all students is to have a successful career. Therefore, the parallelism we will use to describe our mission as Bluehawk educators will be “Destination Graduation...to Occupation.”
I think we can all agree that we want to fully prepare our students for their futures, wherever they may lead. In order to prepare graduates for an uncertain future, we need to create atmospheres that develop important skills, where students feel safe, supported, loved and inspired. It is our responsibility to help create circumstances that allow students to discover the pathways that lead to rewarding occupations and fulfilling lives.
As we all know, words without actions will not get the job done. So, we will put our thoughts into words and our words into purposeful action steps that will move our district forward. We will do this by uncovering our strengths and infusing our district with a renewed sense of our priorities that will keep us on the right trajectory. We will continue to reexamine, refine and refocus our goals. In short, we will continuously work hard to rediscover our “why.”
There is always a great sense of excitement and opportunity with each new school year. We are thrilled to have our elementary family together in the same building this year. I hope you share my enthusiasm toward this new educational adventure of a unified PK-5 learning community and a stronger Hudson City School District. Look for information about a community open house later in the school year.
Onward to Destination Graduation...to Occupation!
Maria Suttmeier is the superintendent of the Hudson City School District. Her column appears monthly during the school year in the Register-Star.