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School Leaders lay out what students and families can expect for this coming year


Whether it is a student’s first or last year in the Hastings on Hudson School District, a new year always produces new academic and social opportunities and challenges. As the last class to have their high school experience altered by the pandemic reaches their final year, I sat down with the district superintendent Dr. McKersie and High School principal Mr. Adipietro–who is entering his last year with the district–to find out what students, family, and faculty can expect for this coming school year.

“More of the same, I expect kids to be happy and learning,” is what Mr. A told me his initial thoughts are for the year. Dr. McKersie added saying that he hopes for and anticipates “a largely affirming positive year” full of “intellectual growth,” something he noted is a cornerstone of a Hastings education.

One continuing project that Dr. McKersie is particularly excited about for this coming year is the Portrait of a Hastings Learner (POHL), which began last year. “It will be our whole framework for guiding and shaping our district,” saying that it is a product “of us and from us.”
“Right now it is more of a vision and aspirational statement and this year it is unlikely to show up in classrooms, given that we are in a research and development phase for 18 month action plans,” said Dr. McKersie. While the program may not be initially as apparent this year, its impact will be seen and heard in years to come in the district.

Dr. McKersie and Mr. A emphasized their hope to introduce advisory programs to the highschool curriculum in the coming years, which is one of the goals of the POHL Project. Mr. A said it is one of the high school’s “main focuses.”

Dr. McKersie told me that the goal of the advisory program, which is one of the priority areas for 18 month action plans, would be to create “structured time where students and faculty can connect much more than they already do.” This would involve monthly meetings between students and a faculty member that would be catered to the particular students. A group of seniors could spend their meetings discussing the college process while a group of freshmen might spend time focusing on the transition to high school. Mr. A said that this would be “a place for students to get information they will not be getting in the classroom.” A pilot program is currently being tested in the seventh and eighth grade.

Mr. A, who has been working in the district for nearly 20 years, is entering his last year at Hastings, and he reflected on his retirement which he called “bittersweet.”

“This is my job, but I look at it a little bit deeper than that,” Mr. A said. “Knowing that I am leaving the school that I think is in better shape than I found it, I am proud of the things I have accomplished here.”

Mr. A also added that he believed it was “time for change for [him] on a personal level and for our community.” This upcoming hiring process, however, is one Mr. A is anxious for as he is “really invested in the well being of the schools here.” Mr. A hopes for a fresh, new perspective for the district.

As the class of 2024 closes out their final year in the Hastings School District, both Dr. McKersie and Mr. A had some messages they would like to share with them. Mr. A started off by saying: “It’s your year, enjoy it.” He believes that seniors should strive to “be leaders, stand up and don’t be innocent bystanders, step up for what is right, and most importantly have fun and savor the friendships and experiences you have.”

Dr. McKersie highlighted that students should recognize and hone in on the “importance of imagining and delivering” in all that they do through their studies and extracurriculars. As students experience their last months as high schoolers, Dr. McKersie believes they should consider the question: “What is it I imagine still wanting to do?”

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About the Contributor
Oscar Hayes, Managing Editor
Oscar is currently a senior at Hastings High School and has been writing for The Buzzer since freshman year. When he is not busy with his schoolwork, Oscar enjoys playing tennis and golf with friends, enjoying a good film, volunteering, and catching up on Knicks or Yankees games.

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