The start of a new year is the best time to look forward and get excited about the future. In Hudson Falls and throughout New York State, so much about the impact of COVID has us looking back. However, in my five months as Interim Superintendent I have worked with a passionate Board of Education, and observed committed faculty, staff, and principals and we are a district on-the-go!
2021 will not be without its challenges, however as we address these challenges we can also get excited about planning a renovation project, hiring a superintendent, developing a 2021-22 budget plan, and furthering the improvement of instructional and co-curricular programs.
In the months of January and February, the community will receive more information about a planned $16.7 million capital improvement project. This project is about making our schools future-ready with a focus on secure entryways in all buildings, additional safety, and security upgrades, enhanced air filtration systems, as well as getting maintenance systems up-to-code. The public vote will be held on February 23, 2021.
The Board of Education continues the work of finding a new superintendent. The Board will close applications in January and then review candidate resumes in February. In March, the Board will engage community input through the development of Advisory Committees that will meet candidates and provide feedback. The goal is to appoint a new superintendent in May with a start date in July 2021.
The school budget vote is May 18, 2021. With potential budget cuts looming due to NYS debt from COVID, we will need to work hard to meet the needs of our students. Budget planning in Hudson Falls starts in February and the process will be discussed publicly at our monthly Board of Education meetings leading up to the May vote.
Our instructional work across all schools and grade levels continues to be a top priority. Some examples of initiatives include reading and writing at grade levels Pre-K through 5 using the research and programs of the Columbia University Workshop program. Math has a solid program of instruction focused on problem-solving and we are well organized to implement the demanding, new NYS science standards. We also have an enhanced focus on social-emotional learning for student success!
The best schools engage in long-range planning to support faculty in understanding the standards, building calendars of learning tasks, and then providing students with teaching, feedback, and supplemental support to promote the learning of all. HFCSD is in the process of refining and creating all of these systems for success.
Finally, I will be sending a note on January 14th with details about the next stages of reopening plans.
Dr. Jon Hunter, Interim Superintendent