Education Foundation Awards Over $12,600 in Star Grants

Recipients of the Education Foundation Star Grants.

Among the educators and program partners earning grants from the Education Foundation of Hudson were, from left, Dan Bell (St. Patrick School principal), Amanda Fedor (St. Patrick School), Tracy Metz (Willow River Elementary School), Stephanie Chuckel (Willow River Elementary School), Traci Wolfe (River Crest Elementary School), and Samantha Thrane (River Crest Elementary School).

The Education Foundation of Hudson awarded Star Grants in November for innovative classroom projects and curriculum training. The grants totaled $12,622.77 for five projects involving several educators and touching many schools in Hudson.

Foundation Board President Lynn Krueger, and other board members, presented the awards during ceremonies at Hudson High School on November 30, 2023. Krueger told recipients that the foundation and community are proud of the educators’ efforts to bring innovative ideas to the classrooms of local schools.

Grant recipients are listed below.

  • ELL communication iPads submitted by Samantha Thrane from River Crest Elementary School. The program will impact all non-English speaking students at Hudson elementary schools. English language learners (ELL) will have access to iPads that are able to translate both speech and printed words from their native language to English, or vice versa. Hudson elementary schools currently have 71 ELL students at various English speaking levels. The books assist both students and parents as they learn English. The foundation awarded $3,989.85.
  • One School, One Book submitted by Traci Wolfe from River Crest Elementary School. The proposal will provide every student and classroom with one book to help build a sense of community amongst their peers and provide a connection of home and school communication. The foundation awarded $2,634.
  • Hudson High School tech education equipment submitted by Dan Weiland. The program is designed to provide updated equipment for the STEM lab. It will be geared toward electronic engineering testing equipment and 3D design materials. The foundation awarded $2,616.
  • Building peer communication via Augmentative Alternative Communication submitted by Stephanie Chukel and Tracy Metz from Willow River Elementary School. The equipment will be used by students with complex communication needs. The equipment will help students with AAC to increase social and academic interactions. The foundation awarded $2201.92.
  • Sensory room materials written by Amanda Fedor from St. Patrick’s School. The materials will be added to an already existing sensory room at the school where students with certain needs can deal with stress or other issues. The room has become useful in assisting the counseling department at the school. The foundation awarded $1,181.

The foundation, founded in 1990, is a private organization established to strengthen community participation in local schools and inspire both teachers and students. With November’s grants ($12, 622.77), the foundation has funded just over $2,100,00 in local education projects and awards since the organization’s inception.

In addition to Krueger, current Foundation board members are Dr. Ron Berth, Jodell Krause, Doug Stohlberg, Joan Thompson, John Kramer, Heidi Gilbert, and Scott Snyder. Thompson recently announced that she will be retiring from the board at the end of this year (2023). Steven Keller is the organization’s volunteer executive director.

Learn more about the Education Foundation at: https://hudsonraiders.org/educationfoundation/

Hudson School District Ranks in Top 10% of WI K-12 Schools

Hudson School District Ranked in top 10% of WI Schools.

Hudson School District Ranks in Top 10% of All Wisconsin K-12 Schools

The Hudson School District received good news on the Wisconsin School State Report Card and from the US News & World Report school rankings. The District attained the “Exceeds Expectations” rating from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI). The District’s overall report card rating places Hudson in the top 10% of all K-12 districts in Wisconsin. Additionally, this is the highest school district rating in CESA 11 and in the Big Rivers athletic conference. 

Hudson had the highest School Report Card score in comparison to neighboring school districts.

  • Hudson – 75.9
  • St. Croix Central – 73.5
  • Somerset – 72.4
  • River Falls – 70.8
  • New Richmond – 66.1

The Hudson School District also learned two Hudson elementary schools rank in the top 20 elementary schools in Wisconsin on the US News and World Report’s annual school ranking. Houlton Elementary School ranked 7th and North Hudson Elementary School ranked 20th. There are over 1,200 public elementary schools in the state.

Hudson High School ranked 44th out of 514 Wisconsin high schools. In a review of neighboring high school district rankings, Hudson is the only area high school ranked in the top fifty. Hudson also performed well in comparison to Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan area high schools with a #25 ranking. 

  • Hudson – 44
  • St. Croix Central – 63
  • River Falls – 78
  • New Richmond – 90
  • Somerset – 209

The US News and World Report’s ranking is widely regarded as a benchmark for assessing the quality of education across the nation. The Hudson School District rankings are a testament to its continuous dedication to providing a high-quality learning environment for its students.

Key highlights contributing to the Hudson School District’s success include:

  1. Academic Excellence: The District has consistently demonstrated high academic standards, with students achieving notable success in standardized testing and advanced placement courses.Recently, Hudson High School received Advanced Placement Honor Roll recognition for delivering successful results while expanding access for students. Based on the 2023 test score data, Hudson High School earned Gold Level recognition. This is the second highest accomplishment for schools nationwide and puts Hudson in the top 1,700 schools in the nation. 
  2. Academic and Extra-Curricular Opportunities: Hudson High School offers a wide variety of college level courses during the school day – over 20 Advanced Placement courses, 11 Project Lead the Way courses, and 27 dual credit courses in partnership with University of Wisconsin – River Falls, and Northwood Technical College. Outside the school day, Hudson students can participate in 18 athletic teams, over 10 competitive extracurricular activities, and over 10 non-competitive extracurricular activities. 
  3. Instructional Excellence: District instruction is data driven. School teaching teams review standardized test scores and other measures to guide instruction for improved student learning outcomes. Emphasis has been placed on teacher support with veteran teachers mentoring and supporting new teachers. The District fosters a culture of high expectations with high levels of support. 
  4. Student Achievement: Hudson School District’s students consistently excel in various academic, extracurricular, and leadership activities, showcasing the District’s commitment to nurturing individuals with a wide range of skills and abilities. The District recognizes the importance of family engagement in the academic success of students. Teachers and staff work hard to partner with families to maximize the learning potential of all students.
  5. Community Engagement: The strong partnership between the District and the local community plays a crucial role in supporting student success. Collaborative efforts ensure students receive a well-rounded education and support beyond the classroom.

Superintendent Nick Ouellette expressed gratitude for the hard work and dedication of the District’s educators, staff, students, and the entire community. “Our School Report Card and the US News & World Report recognition is a result of the collective efforts of our exceptional staff, supportive families, and engaged students. We are very proud of this achievement and remain committed to providing the best education in the region and the state.”

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Congratulations to our Hudson Music Departments!

Best Communities for Music Education Award

Congratulations to our Hudson School District Music Departments for being recognized as a NAMM 2023 Best Communities for Music Education District. This the 13th consecutive year that Hudson has received this award! #WeAreRaiderProud

Middle School music staff standing with their awards.

Board of Education and music faculty with their awards.

Education Foundation Star Grants Awarded

Education Foundation Star Grant Recipients

Pictured above from left, Caroline Wolf, Katy Cook, Samantha Thrane, Melissa Miller, Susan Erickson, and Anita Horne.

The Education Foundation of Hudson awarded Star Grants in May for innovative classroom projects and curriculum training. The foundation awarded grants totaling over $21,000 for seven projects involving several educators and touching many schools in Hudson.

Foundation Board President Lynn Krueger, and other board members, presented the awards during ceremonies at Hudson High School on May 11. He told recipients that the foundation and community are proud of the educators’ efforts to bring innovative ideas to the classrooms of local schools.

Grant recipients are listed below.

  • ELL Traveling Library submitted by Samantha Thrane, with help from Melissa Miller, from River Crest Elementary School. The program will impact all Hudson elementary schools. English Language Learners (ELL) will have access to books that feature both their native language and English side-by-side. Hudson currently has students with 14 different native languages. The books assist both students and parents as they learn English. The foundation awarded $3,048.37.
  • Flex Farm Hydroponic System submitted by Leslie Bleskachek from Hudson High School. The proposal would expose students to emerging technology in agriculture, food science and plant science. The technology allows the growth of greens indoors without the use of soil. The foundation awarded $1,820.
  • Empty Bowls Service Learning Project submitted by Katy Cook, Melissa Johnson, Teri Hagar and Jodi Youngman from Hudson Prairie Elementary School. The program will combine math, art and community service. Students will create ceramic bowls, learn about hunger in the community and raise funds to help those in need. The foundation awarded $5,914.21.
  • Digital Storytelling submitted by Caroline Wolf from River Crest Elementary School. The goal of the project is to promote and listen to reading and still involve technology among kindergarten students. Storytelling will be done with electronics combined with kid-friendly buttons, figurines and different voices. The foundation awarded $2,039.55.
  • Inclusive outdoor classroom submitted by Anita Horne with help from Susan Erickson at River Crest Elementary School. The program involves providing improved inclusivity of the early childhood outdoor classroom. Plans call for a shelter and rubberized surface. The foundation awarded $3,000. The plan calls for additional funding from other sources before construction begins.
  • Digital Mixer submitted by Tricia Piper from St. Patrick’s School. The program involves purchasing equipment for a sensory room at the school. It will give the school the opportunity to deal with students who have certain needs. The foundation awarded $1,860.

In addition to Krueger, current Foundation board members are Dr. Ron Berth, Jodell Krause, Doug Stohlberg, Joan Thompson, John Kramer, Heidi Gilbert, and Scott Snyder. Steven Keller is the organization’s volunteer executive director.

Star Grants offer financial support for innovative classroom projects and also projects furthering the education of teachers — all items that would not typically be funded in the normal budgeting process. The foundation awards Star Grants twice each year. Application deadlines are November 1 and April 1. The foundation also selects winners of the Star Excellence Award each year. The award is presented to outstanding educators in the spring. Those individuals are nominated by the public and nominations are due April 1 of each year.

The foundation, founded in 1990, is a private organization established to strengthen community participation in local schools and inspire both teachers and students. With the May grants, the foundation has funded just under $2,000,000 in local education projects and awards since the organization’s inception.

The foundation is funded by private donations, mostly coming from local and area businesses, individuals, and foundations.

April 4th Referendum Facts

Vote April 4

The Hudson School District has a long history of being fiscally responsible and committed to maximizing the community’s investment. This referendum reflects the compromises made based on community feedback. We believe this plan is good for our kids, staff, and community. 

The Hudson School District has two questions on the ballot.

Question #1 would allow the Board of Education to exceed the annual revenue limit by $8 million. This question is in response to increased operational costs and expenses related to retaining an exceptional workforce. At the same time, the School District has experienced lower student enrollment and stagnant state funding. 

Question #2 is for capital maintenance not to exceed $29 million to pay for the costs of facility improvements at EP Rock and North Hudson Elementary Schools and Hudson Middle School. 

The decision to go to referendum for the three schools identified in Question #2 resulted from a three-year planning process that included research and feedback from a Facility Task Force, a community-wide feedback survey, and facility planning interviews with school principals, facility and grounds staff, and other administrators. The Board of Education has communicated that maintenance needs exist at other schools, some of which can be completed through the District’s annual maintenance budget of approximately $2 million and others are dependent on enrollment trends over the next three years. The Board is committed to addressing any emergency maintenance needs or unsafe conditions should they arise at any of the District’s facilities. Safety of students and staff is always a priority. 

The referendum addresses needs at multiple buildings. In addition to replacing aging infrastructure, the District would invest in safety and security in both elementary buildings with secured entrances, fire sprinkler systems, and updated fire alarm systems. The changes to flooring will reduce ongoing operating costs as we move away from products that require waxing and stripping every summer. 

Our classrooms do not resemble 1950’s era learning spaces. They have been updated with technology and furniture to help meet the needs of our kids. We currently do project-based and collaborative learning in all of our elementary schools.The amenities in the EP Rock and North Hudson classrooms are similar to River Crest. However, the ancillary spaces adjacent to classrooms as seen at River Crest and Hudson Prairie will not be added to this project. 

The updated electrical services are not just for chilled water plants but are also necessary to bring our older buildings up to today’s standards. We do not have final calculations on the savings because this is part of the building design process. We will evaluate multiple options to find the most cost-effective and efficient solution for our buildings. Without a complete design and modeling of the systems, it would be very difficult to provide information about the costs or savings of the cooling systems. We do know switching to LED lighting in our buildings will save on energy costs. Again, we cannot make any definitive statements about overall energy consumption until the new systems have been designed. 

The School District and Board of Education have worked to be transparent in this process. Information and documents from the three years of planning are posted on the School District website under the “April 4th Operations & Facilities Referendum.” Documents include a 10-year facility plan developed by Wold Architects, Facility Task Force Final Report, an Enrollment Projection Study completed by the UW-Madison Applied Population Laboratory, and the progression of options that led to the final referendum questions. 

Our community engagement process began three years ago. There have been regular updates at the Board of Education meetings throughout this time. Families and staff have received regular email updates. Parent meetings and building forums were held, and opportunities were provided for questions and answers. Quarterly community newsletters have been sent to all residents and included information on the Board’s progress in developing their 10-year facility plan and decisions on establishing priorities. Following the community-wide feedback survey, the Board of Education did additional research, held more community meetings, confirmed enrollment trends, and only then used all the feedback and information gathered to develop their referendum questions. Most recently, the School District hosted three in-person and virtual community meetings to answer questions about the referendum. 

Again, this referendum reflects the compromises made based on community feedback. We believe this plan is good for our kids, staff, and community. 


To learn more about the April 4th referendum and the planning process click here.

Please vote and don’t forget to look at both sides of your ballot.

Voting information can be found at myvote.wi.gov

Did you know?

Two students tending to a large potato plant.

North Hudson Elementary 3rd grade students partnered with the Wisconsin Potato Growers Auxiliary to learn about the Wisconsin potato industry. Did you know that Wisconsin is the 3rd largest producer of potatoes in the United States? Additionally, students learned healthy nutrition facts about potatoes.

April 4th Referendum Community Meetings

Hudson Schools Referendum Information Sessions

Learn more about the April 4th referendum questions by joining one of the upcoming Community Information Presentations:

  • March 21 Virtual presentation via Zoom; 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM (click here)
  • March 23 at North Hudson Elementary School Media Center; 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM (510 Lemon St. N.)

Questions #1 — Resolution to exceed the revenue cap commencing with the 2023-2024 school year in an amount of $8 million each year on a recurring basis for the purpose of paying District operations, maintenance, and staffing costs.

Questions #2 — Resolution authorizing issuance of general obligation bonds in the amount not to exceed $29,000,000 for the facility and grounds improvements to the EP Rock and North Hudson Elementary Schools and the Hudson Middle School, and equipment acquisition related to said projects.

Additional information is available by click here.

 

Meet the School Board Candidates

School Board Candidates Forum

On Tuesday evening (March 7, 2023), the Willow River and Houlton Parent Groups hosted a School Board Candidates Forum. Take a moment to watch the video and get to know the candidates. The School Board election is April 4th. There are two positions up for election this spring. Click here to view the forum.

 

Winter Weather Alert

We have all experienced the unpredictability of winter storms this season. The Hudson School District is closely monitoring the weather for Wednesday and Thursday. At this time, we are holding on making a decision on any school closures until we have a clear idea on the actual amount of snow in our community. We know other school districts have made the decision to close school in advance of the storm. We feel it is in the best interest of our kids and staff to wait to make the determination until the storm actually arrives.

We want families to plan and have as much advance notice as possible of any changes to the school day. A decision to close schools on Wednesday will be sent to families and staff no later than 5:00 A.M. Wednesday, but may be made yet this evening. If school is held on Wednesday, we will have 3-hour early release. This means:

  • NO morning or afternoon 4K or early childhood services. 
  • School Age Care families should plan to pick up their children within 1 hour of school closing. 
  • No after school activities, practices, or events. 
  • The Raider Fitness Center will be closed. 
  • Families with inclement weather routes should use their alternate pick up and drop off locations.

Based on the storm predictions for Wednesday afternoon into Thursday, we will likely be closed on Thursday. We may also experience a delay or closure on Friday depending on blowing and drifting snow.

What does this mean for making up lost instructional time? 

If there is a school closure for a full day, we will need to make up instructional time. The School District will add 10 minutes to the school day. It has not been determined if this additional time would be at the start of the day, end of the day, or a combination of both (details will be sent to families and staff by Friday). The High School will no longer have Wednesday early release days. Both the additional minutes to the day and the removal of the High School Wednesday early release days would start on Monday, February 27, 2023.

In the event there are no additional snow days, with the added minutes to the day, we could potentially have the last day for students be June 8, 2023.

Families and staff will be notified if there are any changes to the above plan.

Board Approves Capital & Operational Referendum Questions for April 4th

Capital Maintenance and Declining Student Enrollment

2023 April 4th Referendum Community Meetings

  • February 9, 2023 at EP Rock Elementary School Media Center; 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM
  • February 22, 2023 at Hudson Middle School Choir Room; 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM
  • March 23, 2023 at North Hudson Elementary School Media Center; 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM

The Board of Education took action and approved two questions for the April 4th spring election.

Facility Planning Reports & News

A complete list of meetings and documents regarding Facilities Maintenance can be found by clicking here.