February 17, 2017
Dear Hudson CSD Families,
As you are aware, the capital improvement project that was approved by district voters last February involves grade redistribution as we move toward a two-campus school district. We want to keep you informed every step of the way so you know what to expect as M.C. Smith Intermediate School (MCSIS) becomes a pre-kindergarten through Grade 5 building.
Grade 2 Transition to MCSIS
At a public hearing held on January 23, the Board of Education officially adopted the resolution to relocate Grade 2 to MCSIS. As we prepare for the Grade 2 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 that we are better able to address aspects of staffing, planning, safety and the logistics of moving PK-Grade 2 to another building.
Staffing considerations for the Grade 2 transition are an important piece in this phase of the project. The amount and types of support staff (e.g., classroom aides, reading specialists, speech therapists, counselors, etc.) will remain the same. Teachers of special subjects (such as art, library, physical education and music) will be shared between buildings so that incoming second grade students will not miss out on anything. Our goal is to provide the same resources to Grade 2 staff and students that were available to them at John L. Edwards Primary School (JLE).
Maintaining Safe Daily Routines
We also want to maintain consistency in daily routines for the younger students transitioning to MCSIS this fall. Grades 2-5 will have separate lunch/recess periods with their respective grade levels, as well as age-appropriate playground spaces and equipment.
Additionally, MCSIS principal, Mark Brenneman, will observe the routines and procedures that currently work at JLE (e.g., arrival/dismissal) so he can work with the JLE teachers and staff to develop a plan for the continued safety of our students. The safety and security of our students is a top priority, and this will not change as MCSIS becomes a PK-5 building.
After Grade 2 relocates to MCSIS, pre-k through Grade 1 will remain at JLE for one more school year. Buildings and Grounds is working with Principal Spicer to rearrange rooms in order to maintain close proximity rather than having classrooms spread throughout the building.
In an effort to keep the transportation element of the grade reconfiguration as stress-free as possible for our students, the majority of changes to bus routes and procedures will take effect in the 2017-18 school year to best prepare for the eventual move of Grades PK-1 (rather than initiating core transportation changes twice).
Therefore, we are working with the Transportation Department to discuss existing district-wide transportation procedures and the need for changes/improvements (such as additional bus runs, logistical and crowding issues or minor adjustments to arrival/dismissal times). While we will continue to run bus routes with mixed ages, as they currently operate, we will be closely examining each one individually and making improvements as needed. More information will be forthcoming as it becomes available.
Renovations for Grade 2 Wing
We are on schedule to complete the newly renovated rooms for Grade 2 by the end of this school year and we will schedule a tour of these rooms sometime in late spring.
Orientation to Welcome Grade 2 to MCSIS
Mr. Brenneman is working on a plan for a student and parent/guardian orientation as he and MCSIS staff prepare to welcome Grade 2 to the building. MCSIS staff and members of the current second grade team are excited to begin the journey of forming one culture of learning that puts the children of Hudson first. We are certain the feeling will be similar when PK-1 students and remaining JLE staff get ready to join the MCSIS community next fall.
Looking Ahead to PK-1 Transition in 2018
The Grade 2 transition is our primary focus of attention at the moment, but we also have an eye on the transition of PK-1 in September 2018. Parents/guardians of current JLE students will have an opportunity to speak directly with district staff about the upcoming transitions at the JLE parent/teacher conference night on Thursday, March 30, 2017 starting at 6 p.m. We will be available in the JLE cafetorium during this time and welcome the opportunity to discuss the project and answer any questions that families have.
It is an exciting time in the Hudson City School District as we begin to merge two buildings to make one community. There are many components to a successful transition and we are thankful to all who have been involved in this process as the district continues to work toward enhancing the educational experience of all our students.
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