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A momentous time for Hudson schools

September 11, 2017 - 11:38 am Updated: September 11, 2017 - 11:47 am

This is a momentous time for us in Hudson. The approval of our Capital Project and 2017-18 budget gave us a clear, resounding message that we have people who believe in us, want to help us give our students the very best experience, and want to provide every Bluehawk with opportunities to soar into a successful future.

Just as the Capital Project is reinvigorating our campus, we too must reinvent ourselves and take the opportunity to refine what it truly means to be a Hudson Bluehawk. It sounds simple enough, but what does it really mean to be HUDSON? We can answer that question with the aid of an acrostic poem.

H - Heroic. The work Hudson educators do each school year is nothing short of Heroic. Most importantly, we do it together as a team. When faced with the challenges of a small city school district — poverty, homelessness, family incarceration, language barriers and vastly diverse backgrounds — we work with our community to courageously overcome obstacles and build bridges.

U - United. Despite our unique challenges and differences, we’re United for a common purpose. We think and behave as a PK-12 system and huddle up as team to ensure that our game plan provides children with the right foundation to succeed in school and in life. Together with our community, we find ways to provide a variety of opportunities to our students that enrich their educations.

D - Diverse. We see the Diversity of our school as our greatest strength. We’re a microcosm of the world population and we’re proud of it. Like all districts, we have a written curriculum to guide the content of academic programs; but at Hudson there’s also an unwritten curriculum that teaches our students how to co-exist and accept people from diverse backgrounds and world cultures.

S - Scholarship. Hudson educators are devoted to serious academic study and each student’s individual pursuit of knowledge and skills. The curriculum taught along with a variety of clubs and programs work together toward the common goal of graduating students ready for life. We are anchored by three primary developmental pillars: Academics, Arts and Athletics. These areas of focus support and reinforce each other through a variety of programs, systems and activities. Their relationships fortify our efforts to promote the social-emotional development of our students so each can achieve success across essential aspects of a well-rounded educational program.

O - Optimistic. We’re Optimistic and confident in the future of our students and our district. We’ve seen our share of difficult times, from academic results to financial stress, though we’ve been fortunate to enjoy some good times, too. Our scores are on a steady rise and we are able to budget wisely to provide the educational experiences our students deserve. We’re proud of our achievements; but like any winning team, we must continue to focus on improving our game.

N - Nurturing. We care deeply for our students and strongly encourage their growth, both within and outside of school. Our mission is to provide well-rounded academic and social experiences from the formative years to the high school years, giving each student unique opportunities to discover their specific talents and skills. We’re resolved to work with our community to do everything we can to advance the intellectual, social and emotional development of the students entrusted to our care so that they’re prepared for college, career and life.

Our mantra for the past five years has been “Destination Graduation,” but it does not end there. The Destination is not merely graduation. The ultimate Destination is what lies ahead for our students after graduation. While college is certainly a destination for many Bluehawks, the ultimate Destinations for all Bluehawks are career and citizenship. Therefore, we should think of Destination Graduation not as an end goal, but as a means to the ultimate goal of a rewarding occupation and a happy and fulfilling life.

It could be said that most school districts are Heroic, others no doubt United. Diversity is hardly unique to Hudson, and many districts have every reason to be Optimistic and Nurturing. At Hudson, we must use every one of these characteristics in our efforts to ensure our students’ dreams can be realized.

Dr. Maria Lagana Suttmeier is superintendent of the Hudson City School District.