Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Benefits of a Small School

The other day I had the opportunity to visit with a youngster who was contemplating an open enrollment to a neighboring school district.  Whenever that happens, I like to take some time to find out what the reasons are in an attempt to see if there is something we can do to avoid this transfer.  If there is a problem that is occurring in the classroom, I want to see we can solve it, and if it has to do with a conflict with another student, we are going to fix that problem.  In this particular instance, the youngster was interested in taking some classes that we didn't currently have on our list of course offerings.  This person has pretty high aspirations for life beyond high school, and wants to make sure they have some specialized courses.  Luckily, I think we are going to be able to accommodate this person and offer those classes through Hawkeye, the PSEO program through UNI, or in some instances we may be able to offer them in an online venue.  The point that I was able to make with this person was that if there is a particular class being sought, I believe we can find a way at Hudson to accommodate that request.    I am optimistic that we will be successful. 

As our conversation progressed, mom and dad asked excellent questions, but one question they asked had to do with the benefits of a smaller school like Hudson as opposed to some of our much larger neighbors.  I was very happy and thankful to answer this question, because it has so much to do with the culture of our school!  In our school, we have the opportunity to know your children on a personal level.  You have the ability to visit with your child's teacher, principal, and even superintendent pretty much unannounced.  In fact, just today I had some parents drop in to see me about an issue.  I am not certain you can just drop in on the superintendent in larger districts.  Although I could be wrong... 

We know how your child learns, what makes them tick, and are able to respond to issues quickly, efficiently, and effectively.  In fact, in all my years in education I have never had the privilege of working in a system where 'issues' were handled so effectively and efficiently.  At our school, there is a very high level of accountability; because of that we are a very safe school.  Do you have that at a large school?  Perhaps so; we have very good schools in our area, but at Hudson it is just different, and in a good way.  It is part of our culture that makes us so appealing.  Our core purpose is to 'Create effective learning environments that result in success for all students'.  That statement comes up in our meetings with teachers and administrators more than you probably realize.  The benefits are almost too numerous to count! 

Finally, last night another example of the benefits of our school hit me while I was at the Winter Concert.  As I was looking at the students performing on stage I noticed something interesting, that I knew but didn't really pay that much attention to.  The performers on stage were the same group of kids I saw on the basketball court the Friday night before, or the wrestling meet next week, or selling the fruit for the FFA, or...

You get the picture.  At our school, students have the opportunity to be involved, and not in just one activity, but as many as they want.  These young people are having the ultimate high school experience.  It is our size that enables us to do that.  Everyone can have the opportunity to shine!

Well, that is about all for this edition.  It is likely that this will be my last blog entry until after the new year.  That being said, on behalf of the Board of Directors I would like to wish you a very safe and joyful holiday season.  We hope you have the opportunity to rest, relax and recharge.  I look forward to seeing you in the new year! 

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