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Success at National History Day

1 day ago, no responses

submitted by mr. haskovec The Hudson 7th and 8th grade completed another fantastic year of National History Day.  All students in the 7th and 8th grade dug deep for primary resources that would help bring their project alive.  The students […]

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Explore UNI

1 week ago, no responses

This April, the entire eighth grade class spent a day out at University of Northern Iowa. Students met with admission counselors and learned about the unique programs and opportunities that UNI and other colleges offer. The eighth grade students were […]

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Girls Encouraged to Explore STEM Fields

1 week ago, no responses

A group of Hudson seventh grade girls went to the John Deere Tractor and Engine Museum to learn about engineering on Friday, April 22. The day was spent encouraging girls to think about the engineering field. Students were able to […]

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Hudson 6th Grade Math Bee Team Excels!

3 weeks ago, no responses

On Monday, April 11th, the Hudson 6th Grade Math Bee teams participated in the local competition.  28 teams and 135 students competed with each student taking 5 individual test rounds and 1 team test round.  Two Hudson teams will advance to the regional competition.  […]

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Hudson FFA to Host Motivational Speaker Amberley Snyder

1 month ago, no responses

HUDSON, Iowa – Hudson FFA will host motivational speaker and former Utah state FFA president Amberley Snyder on Thursday, April 21, 2016, at 9:30 a.m. in the Hudson High School Auditorium. Snyder – who has been recently featured on the […]

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FFA Earns Recognition at Sub-District Convention

1 month ago, no responses

Hudson FFA Members Earn Many Awards at Sub-District FFA Convention HUDSON, Iowa – Members of the Hudson FFA Chapter earned many prestigious awards at the Sub-District FFA Contest held at Hawkeye Community College on February 24. Maddie Herring received a […]

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Voss Blog Log

    Education in Iowa Public Schools

    Dr. Anthony D. Voss, Superintendent of Schools

    May is finally here! If you were as tired of the rainy and cloudy weather from last week as I was, the sunshine we have enjoyed this week is a welcome relief! We needed the rain, but I don't think I am alone in saying enough is enough! Hopefully farmers will be able to get their crops in the field! 

    I am not a 'count down to the last day of school' kind of guy, but wise enough to know that time is drawing near. It is really hard to believe we are in the final weeks of school! May is traditionally busy with track meets, concerts, and many other events that honor our teachers and students, so it really makes the days fly by! As we are bringing this year to a close, our work is quickly shifting to preparation for the start of the 2016-2017 school year. The board recently moved to expand our connected learning initiative to include grades 3-12, which is exciting for our young learners (and teachers)! We are also hoping to adopt a new math curriculum at the middle school. If all goes as expected I anticipate bringing that up for a vote at the May meeting. We have a few items of clarification that need to be ironed out, but are very hopeful we will be able to close that gap. 

    We are also wrapping up our hiring season. A decision will need to be made about the number of kindergarten sections we will offer next year, and if the numbers hold the way they are trending I will likely recommend three sections. This is always a very difficult decision because of the fluidity of our kindergarten enrollment! That is why it is so imperative to get your registration material submitted as soon as possible. So please, if you have a kindergartner that will be attending Hudson schools for the 2016-2017 school year, fill out the paperwork and submit it as soon as you possibly can. The quicker we know what our enrollment looks like the quicker we can make our final determination on section sizes! 

    By the time we get to the May board meeting I imagine all of our teacher leadership positions will be filled. That is great news because it looks like our teacher leadership system will be fully staffed up by the start of the next school year!  This is due in no small part to the work of our current teacher leaders and their collaboration with Mr. Schlatter to clearly define, articulate, and lay forth a plan of implementation for our model teachers. This is really a huge step forward for our system!

    This summer we have some exciting upgrades and improvements, the majority of our focus being on the elementary school attendance center. For starters we are planning to replace the remainder of the carpet throughout the building. The carpet in many of our elementary classrooms is wrinkled and in some places fraying. This will be a huge improvement in and of itself! We will also be finishing the renovation and remodeling of the restrooms on the first floor. This includes the restrooms in the kindergarten wing and in the first through fourth grade wing. These restrooms will mirror those in the fifth and sixth grade, so a much needed improvement!

    At the high school we are planning on some updates for the commons. The biggest difference will be in new furniture for the space and a new paint job. We are moving toward a more modern look and think we have something in mind the students will really enjoy. The carpet replacement theme will continue into the high school auditorium where we are planning on replacing all that as well. Mr. Dieken has been working with Mr. Lewis to design an 'Inquiry Space' room off the library in the high school that will host a myriad of experiential learning projects for our students. Although housed in the high school, the room is designed to be used for all grade levels. 

    There are a few projects scheduled for athletic facility upgrades as well. For starters, we will be replacing all the weight room equipment sometime around the first part of June. A big thank you for the work of the booster club and Mr. Wurzer on this project! The good news is that 75% of the funding for this project is coming from outside sources! The booster club wrote a Blackhawk gaming grant that paid for half the project, while the other half was split between the booster club and the school district. Everyone should be aware that we are evaluating new access, privileges, and accountability measures for the weight room. We are also looking forward to refinishing the competition gym floor, and hopefully very soon we will have grass growing and a fence around the hotel property!

    As is always the case, it will be a very busy summer as we make our plans to start the 2016-2017 school year! 
    Posted: May 4, 2016, 1:22 pm
    It has been a very busy hiring season at Hudson schools. Fortunately we are on the backside of this process! In the last month we have hired six new teachers, replacing seven that will not be returning for the 2016-2017 school year. Due to increasing enrollment, we have also hired a half-time science teacher in the middle school. Depending on kindergarten enrollment, we may need to hire an additional teacher there as well. As has been past practice we will let that trajectory continue to percolate until later in the summer. Right now we are projecting numbers in the low 50s, but it continues to be very fluid! 

    Four of six teaching positions that have been filled are at the elementary level. As you might imagine those positions were incredibly competitive. The candidate pool was very deep and rich with qualified applicants. The mere speculation that Hudson will have an open position for an elementary teacher can yield dozens of applications before we even have a chance to begin the process! Admittedly, because the volume of applications is so large it is impossible to interview every qualified candidate that crosses the desk of our hiring agents. Hiring of personnel at Hudson is delegated to the building principal or department head who will be charged with supervising and evaluating that employee. Our district conducts a very thorough and detailed process when it comes to the recruitment and selection of personnel.

    It starts with crafting the announcement of a vacancy. That announcement tells potential applicants what we are looking for in our teaching staff and what we value. After the position has been posted internally, it is posted externally on the employment page of our website

    After collecting applications, the goal is to narrow the pool down to about four candidates. This is accomplished by screening applicants for certain endorsements, checking references, and considering the amount of experience the candidate has. Too much experience can be as much of a deterrence as too little or no experience.

    When it comes to deciding which candidates will be invited to interview for our positions, the number and type of endorsements the candidate holds carry the most weight. Because of the importance we place on reading instruction in our district, a reading endorsement is considered the gold standard. Beyond that, candidates who hold special education endorsements or other content area endorsements are also incredibly valuable and key to getting an interview. Not only do these added endorsements provide a greater base of content knowledge and instructional strategies for our teaching staff, but they also provide greater flexibility in job assignments a few years down the road. Ironically, candidates who hold a Master's Degree in lieu of these endorsements oftentimes have less flexibility in job assignment.

    Once the slate of candidates is set, the hiring agent will discuss the candidates with those who will be colleagues of the new employee and the superintendent. An interview schedule is developed, and candidates are invited to the district to meet with the interview team. For teaching positions, this most commonly consists of the building principal and a team of teachers who will be working with the new teacher. Following the interview, the team discusses the strengths of the candidates and selects the person they think is the best fit for the district. However, the building principal or department head has the final say regarding who will be made an offer. Yet in the vast majority of cases, the building principal and teacher group concurs with the selection. Following reference and background checks, an official offer is made. 

    The following teachers have accepted offers of employment in the Hudson Community School District for the 2016-2017 academic year:
    1. Sarah Koch, (Hud '11) Special Education
    2. Sara Cartney, (Hud '10) Kindergarten
    3. Samantha Roelfs, Third Grade
    4. Kayleigh Cuvelier, Fifth/Sixth Grade (science emphasis)
    5. Nicole Davis, Instrumental Music
    6. Casey Tecklenburg, 7-12 Vocal Music
    7. Kate Thilges, Seventh/Eight Science (part-time)
    We'll be sure to share more about the background of these new teachers as the 2016-2017 school year draws closer. Be sure to check our website for more information as it becomes available. Now a little advice for the dreamers and job seekers out there! 

    License endorsements trump a Master's Degree most of the time. In many cases, an MA makes sense in the following circumstances: a specialized education job (i.e. guidance counselor, administrator, school psychologist, or college teacher). The MA can also be useful for those secondary instructors interested in teaching college level, concurrent enrollment courses--but be warned! This will only prove beneficial if your MA is in the content knowledge area of the college course you wish to teach. If you are determined to obtain an MA for the purposes of salary advancement, please 'get where you want to be' before starting and completing this work. 

    Research your potential employer! It is critical that job candidates understand and be able to speak to the core values and initiatives of the school district. In the case of Hudson, we are invested in teacher leadership and connected learning. We have also placed a heavy emphasis on reading and math the last three years. Candidates that can speak to these initiatives and articulate how they can help the district achieve their goals put themselves ahead of the competition.

    Manage your social media footprint! Candidates should be prepared to answer questions regarding their social media use. You should assume that you will be 'Googled'. Be very careful about what you post on your social media accounts. A fun picture from your days in college or on the weekend can be a disqualifying event. As an aside, if you don't have a social media footprint, this can have a negative impact as well. This is 2016! If you are not connected yourself, how can you contribute to our connected learning environment?

    To those who have successfully navigated the process, we welcome you to the Hudson Community School District! We can't wait to have you join our team and contribute to our students' success!





    Posted: April 27, 2016, 1:29 pm
    Guest Blog Post by Instructional Coach Mike Lewis

    In the Hudson district, the Clarity survey is taken annually by students, staff and parents. This survey measures the access to, proficiency with, and efficiency of technology in our schools. The wealth of information provided by this survey is immense, and impossible to summarize succinctly. Interested parties that would like to see all of the information may check out this link to see all the reports; I will attempt to give some highlights.
    The International Society of Technology in Education (ISTE) has laid out eleven standards, six for students and five for teachers, to measure the integration of technology into learning. The infographic below shows how the Clarity survey measures our progress as a district in each of these standards. We are Proficient or Advanced in six of the eleven, Emerging in five and Beginning in one. The data collection from the previous year indicated Proficient or better in five, Emerging in four, and Beginning in two. We clearly have improved in the ISTE standards in the last year, though there is definitely still work to be done.

    Our level of access to technology both in and out of school is outstanding, and has improved in the last year. 94% of our students have access to the Internet at home (up from 91%) last year, 91% have access to a device at home (up from 90%), and 68% share that device with others (down from 75%). This high degree of access outside the school allows students to interact with their learning in new ways that are not limited to the seven hours of the school day.

    We understand that, while technology can transform the learning that takes place in our schools, it is not a process that will happen overnight. Teachers and students alike need to adjust their way they are used to doing things, and that change is happening in our district. To see the growth that is happening in the way technology is changing how our students and teachers interact with their learning, we can use the SAMR model. Briefly, SAMR indicates whether technology is being used to do the same things that we would do without tech, or if the tech is allowing students to do things that are literally impossible without it. Thinking of it as a spectrum, the “R” end indicates teaching that is truly transformative, and the “S” end indicates activity that doesn’t really do anything different than could be done without the tech.

    November 2014

    November 2015

    These graphs indicate the progress that is being made, and the work that lies ahead. Note that the elementary is essentially unchanged - not surprising, since the access to technology at the elementary level is much more limited. The high school is largely unchanged as well, but note how the junior high has moved considerably to the “R” end of the spectrum. As teachers geared up for the increased access that the junior high students would have starting in Jan 2016, their instruction began to transform accordingly.

    It should be stated that the goal is not to get 100% of instruction to the “R” end of the SAMR spectrum. Students still do -  and will continue to - develop skills with writing, pencil-and-paper computations, hands-on activities that do not require technology. But as we understand that technology drives our world in greater ways every day, integrating that technology into our instruction is only that much more important.
    Posted: April 20, 2016, 3:33 pm