girls on chair reading together School leaders and community members hold a red ribbon at the opening ceremony of new primary wing group holds banner in front of solar panels New track and athletic field with Catskill Mountains in background aerial view of new driveway and traffic pattern A cameraman films afterschool students making pizza at a farm

5th grade "Reading Buddies" visit pre-kindergarten classes.

The community was invited to a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of the new primary wing at M.C. Smith Elementary School. (Photo: Lance Wheeler)

Students in the new Alternative Energy course helped unveil a solar array behind Hudson Jr./Sr. High School, built in partnership with the state-sponsored K-Solar Program and NY Power Authority. (Photo: NYPA)

The new Bluehawk Sports Complex, with stunning views of the Hudson River and Catskill Mountains.

Please be advised of traffic pattern changes at the intersection of Harry Howard Avenue & Joslen Boulevard. Click here for more details.

The Hudson Bluehawk Nation Afterschool Program was selected to be featured in a documentary by the the National Association of Elementary School Principals.

CALENDAR

DISTRICT NEWS

New York State Assessments for Grades 3-8

March 29, 2019

Dear Bluehawk Parent/Guardian,

As we get closer to the New York State exams for students in Grades 3-8, we want to share some reminders, changes and notes about the state exams for English Language Arts (ELA) and Math. This letter also explains how the exam results are used to benefit our students. The dates for state exams for students in Grades 3-8 are as follows:

  • ELA exam scheduled for April 2 & 3, 2019 (paper-based due to recent ongoing interruptions in our internet service)
  • Math exam scheduled for May 1 & 2, 2019

We are changing our approach to test participation so that we can gather the information necessary to make appropriate programmatic decisions on behalf of your child. When students do not  take the state exams, it limits our ability to adjust the curriculum and/or instruction to meet individual student needs in a timely manner and budget accordingly. Therefore, on state exam days all students in Grades 3-8 will participate in assessment activities, either the 2019 state exam or a similar in-house exam which will be used internally for academic programming and planning purposes. Neither of these assessments impact your student’s academic record, however they do have an impact on programming and the supports in place to help ensure your child’s academic success.

We understand and respect the concerns you had about state exams in past years. In fact, parent and educator concerns were a driving force behind many recent changes to the state testing program.

Recent improvements include:

  • Fewer test questions: Tests are shorter with fewer questions in both ELA and Math.
  • Untimed tests: Students have as much time as needed to finish at their own pace.
  • Teacher involvement: The state increased the number of teachers who review test questions to ensure that tests are age-appropriate and a fair and accurate measure of the standards taught in classrooms.
  • Accommodations: Certain students with disabilities may have the ELA exam read aloud to them if that accommodation is on their Individual Education Plan (IEP).
  • Results not tied to evaluations: Test results are no longer used to evaluate teachers or principals.

The Hudson City School District uses assessment results in several ways:  

  • Supports: Test results help identify students who may need extra supports to ensure academic success (e.g., more support in math/reading/writing classes).
  • Preparation: Tests can prepare students for future exams required for high school graduation or college entry (such as the SAT, ACT, or New York State Regents exams).
  • Improvements: Tests provide a measure of our instructional programs so we can strengthen and improve content areas as needed.

Although we use state exam results to help measure the effectiveness of classroom instruction, they are not the only measure. We use many measures to determine how our schools are performing. It is important to note, however, that NYS exams are the only way we can compare Hudson to other schools across the state. Without these results, it is difficult to know where we stand compared to other NYS schools and effectively improve our practices.

Furthermore, it is vital for students to build strong test-taking skills early on so they'll be ready to meet challenges every step of the way. We aim to reduce test anxiety by helping students understand that tests are simply a part of their education. We do not “teach to the test.” Instead, we use strategies within classroom instruction to prepare students for test-taking in general, which should help them feel more comfortable when taking future tests such as NYS Regents exams, college exams, or even the driver’s license test.

We respectfully encourage you to have your child participate in the state testing program for all of the reasons explained above. As noted above, the programming for all students on April 2 & 3 and May 1 & 2 will be either the state exam or a comparable district exam.

We take great pride in the progress the Hudson City School District has made over recent years. We look forward to continuing to provide a learning environment that advances the intellectual, social and emotional development of our students so they are prepared for college, career and citizenship. If you have any questions, please contact your child’s principal.

Sincerely,

Dr. Maria Lagana Suttmeier
Superintendent of Schools

Click here to download this letter as a PDF.