Q&A with Michelle Gow, Director of Admissions at Hudson College

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Hudson College is a co-educational, non-denominational private school that offers a balanced curriculum. We’re dedicated to helping develop the whole child—academically, socially, and emotionally—in a safe and nurturing environment. Our goal is to challenge every student to reach their maximum potential and to equip every student with the skills and values they need to attain personal and academic suc- cess. We understand that all students have their own unique stories, distinct viewpoints and ideas, interests, family backgrounds, challenges and ambitions, and we value and celebrate everyone’s individuality. Above all, Hudson encourages students to do one thing: be yourself.

How did Hudson College adapt when pandemic shutdowns hit Canada this spring?

We immediately shifted to an online learning model, with our main focus being consistency: consistency of direct, daily instruction, progress across the curriculum, and social interaction (virtually, of course). Our teachers went above and beyond to minimize the disruption to learning, also taking into account students’ mental health and well-being. Hudson has always offered a very supportive environment, so our staff rose to the occasion, responded to family feedback, and provided understanding and positive solutions during a really uncertain time. Our high school students already had laptops (we provide Chromebooks at the beginning of Grade 9), and we were using Google Classroom or Seesaw in most grades, so the transition was pretty seamless. For our Kindie students—who need a more hands-on approach—we guided parents to focus on core areas in math and language, which kept everyone on track.

How has Hudson College prepared for the new school year?

We upgraded our network and offered families the option of synchronous online learning in two-week blocks, but the vast majority of students have returned to school five days a week. We’re lucky to have large, well-ventilated classrooms and our high school classes have 16 or fewer students, so we were always planning on a full-time start with plenty of precautions. We also recently completed a new outdoor artificial turf field, so students can safely enjoy some fresh air and their “new normal” cohorted recess.

What health and safety supports is Hudson College providing its students?

We hired additional cleaning staff to continuously sanitize surfaces throughout the day and complete a deep sanitization after everyone leaves. We’ve placed hand sanitizer dispensers in every room, introduced staggered entry and exit times to maintain cohorts, and everyone is required to wear masks. Our teachers continually educate students about safety measures—proper hand-washing, not sharing personal items, correct mask use, and gentle reminders to keep up social distancing.

What makes Hudson College unique as an educational institution?

Our school’s motto is Be Yourself, Be Anything and we reinforce this in all that we do. We aren’t interested in shaping kids to be one specific way; our philosophy is about educating the individual and ensuring they have strong foundational and interpersonal skills, with every possible opportunity to explore and choose their own path.

You can feel a sense of warmth and inclusion as soon as you walk in the school, especially now. Many students see Hudson as almost like a second home, and they were so excited to come back. It’s a delight to support them as they grow into young adults, ready for all kinds of new challenges.

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