Class of 2017 Celebrates Graduation

1 week ago, no responses

by Grace Jorgensen On Sunday, May 21st, 34 seniors graduated from Hudson High School. Although small in numbers, the class achieved many accomplishments. Two seniors committed to continuing their sport careers in Division I athletics, four led the Hudson Volleyball […]

Hudson Journalism Students Win State Accolades

1 week ago, no responses

The Hudson High School newspaper, THE PIRATE PRESS, has been named an All-Iowa News Team Finalist by the Iowa High School Press Association (IHSPA). This is the first year for this competition. The top five newspapers in Class A, Class […]

Seniors Honored at Annual Award Assembly

1 week ago, no responses

On May 10th at the Senior Awards Assembly, the Hudson Educational Fund awarded 39 scholarships to 21 deserving students for a total of $21,950. Thank you to our generous HEF donors who continue to impact the futures of so many […]

Pirate Term Right Around the Corner

2 weeks ago, no responses

Pirate Term is right around the corner.  Pirate term is concept based learning opportunity that takes place at the end of the school year (some of you may be familiar with May Term at the college level). Don’t mistake concept […]

Hudson FFA Students Field Questions to Sec. Agriculture, Sonny Perdue

3 weeks ago, no responses

 Local FFA members of Hudson had a rare and unique opportunity Monday afternoon to ask the nation’s new Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue questions during a virtual town hall meeting via the internet.  The Hudson chapter was among six groups of […]

Lions Club Peace Poster Winners Announced

3 weeks ago, no responses

Each year there is an international Peace Poster contest held by the Lions Club. Our Hudson chapter consistently has one of the higher numbers of entrants, thanks in part to Christy McNeal and the Hudson art program.  This year there […]

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Voss Blog Log

    Education in Iowa Public Schools

    Dr. Anthony D. Voss, Superintendent of Schools

    Good Afternoon to our Hudson Community Family.

    Welcome parents, guardians, grandparents, faculty, staff & guests.

    I would like to express sincere gratitude for all those involved who have worked hard through the years to make this day special for our graduates.

    Seniors Annie Klenk and Sam Strayer process into the gym
    for the graduation ceremony on May 21.
    (Photo by Retrospect)
    I am proud and honored to be here today as President of your Hudson School Board to share a message of encouragement in the celebration of our students as they move forward into their next journey.          

    It truly does take a community with unwavering commitment in their dedication to the success of our small town school.  A community of  businesses, the Parent Teacher Organization, the Hudson Education Fund, city leaders, churches, individual parents and coaches who give of their time, talents and financial resources to provide a solid foundation in preparing our youth for the future. 

    The guiding vision at every Board meeting is that “we create effective learning environments that result in the success for ALL students”.  Because of this ongoing commitment to our school district, Hudson has the highest graduation rate in the Cedar Valley!  This IS a very important investment made by our collective community toward YOUR future.  THANK YOU Hudson Community!

    You may have heard the saying that “The world is bigger than your won backyard”.  Well it is very true and those of you who have participated in the many co-curricular and extra curricular activities offered at Hudson have experienced this first hand.  Many of you have had experiences in local and State level events like National History Day, Music events, Athletics, Journalism and more.  In addition, some of you have had experiences at National competitions like our FFA participants who represent Iowa and the importance of agriculture in our community.  There have even been Global connections like that which Mr. Paulson’s Biology class had this year with the Tanzanian members of the Maasai tribe.

    Because of these many diverse opportunities you ARE PREPARED for your next great adventure in

    President Finn congratulates a student on receiving
    her diploma.
    (Photo by Retrospect)
    life whether that is 2 or 4 year college, Technical School, the Military or directly into the workforce, the world awaits your talents, skills, caring and compassion.

    You ARE PREPARED to continue Personal Developmentto understand the diverse world we live in and the complexities of a global society in local communities.

    You ARE PREPARED with a strong foundation to continue to build on your academic and social knowledge as a Critical Thinker. 

    You ARE PREPARED to Work Hard with that great Iowa work ethic that is sought out for by employers and should not be underestimated.

    You ARE PREPARED to inspire others by continued community engagement as a Contributing Citizen.  Connections matter where ever you go.

    Today you are High School Graduates PREPARED with an excellent foundation to grow where you are planted.  I challenge you to continue grow to the next level by making new connections in the communities that you encounter along the way. Engage in our ever growing global society. 

    Congratulations Class of 2017

    YOU are the precious Treasure and Pride of HUDSON–GO PIRATES!! 

    Posted: May 24, 2017, 12:35 pm
    Good afternoon! I would like to welcome all of our parents, grandparents, and other distinguished guests to Hudson. Today we celebrate an important milestone in the lives of these students sitting in front of me who make up the Hudson High School Class of 2017. Our time with these young people draws to a close today; and the finality of today’s ceremony brings with it a range of emotions.

    Seniors listen with anticipation at receiving diplomas.
    (Photo by Retrospect)
    We have watched you very closely over the course of your journey as students at Hudson. In fact, you may be among the most observed of our classes. Because of this, those assembled here today know you all quite well. Each step of your educational journey in this school has been carefully planned and orchestrated. When you were in 6th grade we began preparing for your arrival in the high school. We pondered such questions as what classes were we going to offer and who would teach them? How many sections of English and Math would we need? Everything was considered in an effort to answer the simple question: how could we make sure this class received our very best efforts? Our continual attention to this task obligated us to adjust our strategy in an effort to make sure you each got the very best education. So it is within that context, that today, it is my honor of delivering to you, your final lesson as a student at Hudson High School.

    Yes, this Class of 2017 is not one of our larger classes. But certainly the size of your class doesn't in any way diminish the magnitude of your accomplishments! For starters, we reiterate the obvious. Although small in numbers, the impact you have made on our school has been mighty. The benchmarks you have set and the accomplishments you have achieved have created memories and aspirations that your contemporaries will reach for in years to come. Now as you go out into the world and those experiences fade into cherished memories, my hope is that what you are most remembered for during your time as a student here is your strength of character. Because at the end of the day, we may not remember if you won the game, but we will remember how you made us feel, and that might be the most important lesson you learn as you leave here today.

    I recently read a New York Times column by Rebecca Sabky who is an admissions counselor for Dartmouth College. In this column, she describes how in her visits to high schools she is inundated with students who are seeking admission into this prestigious institution and how students fight for her attention while trying to get her to take their resume. She describes how students will sometimes follow her to her car in an effort to just get a little more exposure. Indeed, competition into this Ivy League school is fierce and admission is coveted. Each year, Rebecca reads some 2,000 applications from all around the world seeking to gain admission to the prominent institution. Many of them are indistinguishable from one another. They all contain the same gratuitous letters of recommendation from teachers, counselors, and principals. All at the top of their class. All model students with unblemished records of discipline. All involved in sports, music, drama, and art. All.....the same.

    Except, there was one very distinguishable letter of recommendation for a particular student. This letter was authored by one of the school custodians. In this recommendation, the custodian described a student who went out of his way to thank the janitors for their work. Who went out of his way to make sure that lights were turned off, and who 'tidied up' after classmates when no one was watching. This letter described the student as the only person who knew the name of every janitor in the school. The student was ultimately admitted to the school by a unanimous vote of the admissions committee. Indeed the lessons here are many. The power of the pen? The voice of the unheard? The strength of character? The ability to make yourself stand out from a crowd?

    Celebrating a milestone.
    (Photo by Retrospect)
    There is no doubt that there are some wickedly smart people sitting in front of me right now. I am even quite sure some of you have tremendous technical skills that will land you a great paying job or internship just a few weeks from now. But here is the deal: although you may be the smartest, most intellectual, or skilled person in your chosen field, if you aren't kind, compassionate, and pleasant to be around, this success will be short lived. We have taught you the skills needed to enter the workforce or be a successful college student. But the rest of it? It comes from the heart. 

    The fact is that today one chapter of your lives closes and another opens. From this day forward you will be asked to stand on your own two feet and take responsibility for your actions. 

    Now, as your superintendent, I am typically not as involved in your daily affairs as others. In most cases, our paths don't cross as frequently as they do with your teachers or principal. In the traditional paradigm, if our paths were to cross it was not for something very pleasant. But lucky for me, that standard does not exist within these halls. Because I do know you, and I know that, while incredibly bright, you also have heart. I know what you are capable of, and we will be quite proud in a few moments to call you alumni of Hudson Schools. Be kind. Be compassionate. Be generous.


    Posted: May 24, 2017, 12:35 pm
    Our teacher leadership system has become quite successful. Based on a system designed to strengthen instruction through embedded professional development, we are seeing results. Relentless in our effort to ensure professional development is connected to district initiatives that improve student outcomes in the areas of math, reading, and technology; the vast majority of our faculty have been exposed to and implemented research based instructional strategies into practice that we know work. The formula used for our model of delivery is quite simple and elegant. Without much elaboration, once a problem of practice has been identified and researched, professional development is delivered using a common workshop model on Wednesday afternoons during early dismissal. Those delivering professional development content may include consultants from the AEA, or our own instructional coaches and model teachers. Following the delivery of content, our teacher leadership team works with teachers on the implementation phase of the professional development to embed it into practice. 

    So when Mr. Schlatter came to me several months ago and said the teacher leadership team wanted to explore personalized professional development I was opposed. The concerns I had were many, but perhaps highest on the list was accountability and connection to district initiatives. In my mind, as soon as we completely turned the reigns over to individual teachers to figure out what they wanted their professional development to look like anarchy would reign! That's right, anarchy I say! But, he convinced me to keep an open mind, which I begrudgingly did. They could do their exploration, and I would *cough* keep an open mind. Anarchy!

    As the months went by I received regular updates from Mr. Schlatter about their study. While still not convinced, I gave him a list of non-negotiables. Among them were those mentioned above: we had to ensure accountability and a connection to district initiatives. He promised those guardrails would be part of the proposed model and shared that at some point the team would want to present their plan to me. Now, I wouldn't say that I was softening on my stance, but I could see they were very serious about this and, frankly as happy as I was with how professional development was going, wasn't naive enough to believe all was Utopia in the land of professional learning in our school district. So, where are those problems?

    If you read the opening paragraph again hopefully you will catch one of the most glaring; because I was very deliberate in my narrative: "The vast majority of our faculty....". You see it, right? Indeed, not all our teachers are exposed to the same professional development. For example, if you aren't a math teacher, the professional development we provided on number talks was likely irrelevant to your daily practice. In fact, there are swaths of faculty on a regular basis that not impacted by our professional development. Think about our specialists! Then there are the aspects of professional development that just are 'the way it is'. Oftentimes, and even justifiably so it is difficult to maintain a high attention and energy level during professional development. Why? Because teachers are pre-occupied with numerous other tasks that need to be completed. Lesson plans. Grades. Providing feedback to students. The list goes on. Indeed, I can remember as a teacher thinking that my time would be best spent one of the other numerous things that needed to be accomplished before I went home that night. 

    Nonetheless, I resisted a change. The model we used worked as well as any, and in my humble opinion better than most. It provided the framework to avoid.....anarchy.

    My perception changed about two weeks ago when the teacher leadership team pitched me their idea. Months in the planning, I could tell they were a bit nervous about how this would unfold. They had a tough task ahead of them and knew that I would ask difficult questions. They spoke eloquently about the positive attributes of the current professional development system, while arguing that we could, and should, do even better. They politely pointed out the flaws in our system and reminded me that teacher leadership was designed not only to strengthen instruction through embedded professional development, but to empower our teachers to be better and to strive for improvement. They contended that while a top down approach to professional development might garner compliance, a bottom up approach would meet the needs of all our teachers and truly take us to the next level. 

    The plan they put together that ultimately gained my approval not only put the fail-safes in place that I had insisted on, it takes the concept of our teacher leadership system to a much higher state of professional enlightenment. Further, it takes an existing model that had been exclusively used for personalized professional development in technology and adapts it across disciplines. This allows us here at Hudson to maintain our spirit of innovation and be on the cutting edge of practice! In addition, it assigns each teacher or group of teachers a coach that will guide them through the professional development of their choosing, ensuring they align to district priorities and the Iowa Professional Development Model. Finally, and perhaps the best part is the concluding activity: They will share what they have learned with their colleagues, creating a library of wealth and knowledge for all our practitioners. 

    The work these teacher leaders have done was impressive and exactly the kind of bold leadership that we embrace in our school district. They have put together an impressive plan. I can't wait to see how this unfolds next year. I am sold!

    Posted: May 17, 2017, 1:49 pm