Superintendent’s Conference Day Updates Staff on Initiatives, Strategies, Budget

Faculty members who attended Dr. Juliette Pennyman’s Superintendent’s Conference Day on March 15, 2024 received vital updates on a range of initiatives. 

First, Dr. Pennyman outlined her 125-Day Plan, explaining six components of her strategic vision for the school district’s future success: Strengthening the Instructional Core; Strengthening Instructional Leadership Capacity; Improving Data-Driven Practices; A Tiered Approach to School Support & Intervention; Promoting a Positive, Inclusive School Environment for all Stakeholders; and Increasing Monitoring & Accountability. She told faculty members, “You have what it takes to move our district to higher heights.” Other components of the program included: 

  • Support for Students: Attendees were updated on Hudson’s rollout of a New York State education initiative, Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) and its Branching Mind program. MTSS is a program designed to advance students’ success, encompassing social-emotional learning, academics, supporting linguistic diversity, behavioral support, and ensuring a culturally responsive and sustaining education. Branching Minds is data-driven software designed to build a path for every learner to receive a customized educational approach to improve student success. Branching Minds’ software is now being installed; it will first be implemented for grades kindergarten through eight.
  • Survey: District employees took the Panorama Survey, designed to identify positives and areas of potential within the district. “We value you; your voice matters,” said Dr. Tia Pressey, District Manager of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. “This survey helps identify strengths and opportunities so our teachers can be supported.”
  • Bluehawk Academy: Mollie Zucker, Associate Principal of Bluehawk Academy, outlined the strategic redesign in progress at the Academy. The program is for high school students who benefit from individualized attention that emphasizes their strengths and interests, all to prepare them for the real world. Initiatives include mentoring ninth and 10th graders to provide them with a strong start within the program, as well as long-term success through strong attendance, participation in community activities and college readiness and career exploration.
  • Budget Status: Chief Financial Officer Tabatha Biggane provided highlights of the district’s preliminary budget for 2024-25. She said she was optimistic the school district would have approximately $2.9 million in state funding restored. That reduction was specified in the district’s initial aid notification from the State Education Department. The District will learn its final state aid amount in April as the state budget is finalized. Overall, the school district is proposing a 2% tax levy increase. The budget will be more comprehensively outlined at the March 26 and April 9 Board of Education meetings. The public votes on the budget on May 21.
  • Technology: A technology update from Manager of Instructional Technology and Data Protection Officer Cheryl Rabinowitz outlined numerous initiatives from cybersecurity to infrastructure improvements to the debut of a Student Technology Crew at Hudson Senior High School. The presentation also included details about Hudson’s recent approval to participate in Verizon Innovative Learning. As part of its Digital Promise program, Hudson Senior High School and Hudson Junior High School students and faculty will receive free Chromebooks, and the district will benefit from enhanced internet access, funding to hire instructional technology coaches, and innovative science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) learning programs that advance students’ education and opportunities. “This is very much about access for all; there’s so much more we can do with the integration of this technology,” Dr. Pennyman said.