Not every student in the Hudson City School District has a desk at home, or a dedicated spot where they can do remote learning while the pandemic keeps them out of the classroom. According to Lisa Dolan, former teacher and literacy coach at HCSD, "Students need a space of their own, where they can focus, but they don't all have that. Some of them are propping their Chromebooks up on coolers. They deserve better. They need their own space, an environment that feels dedicated to learning."
The Hudson Literacy Fund, a 501(c)3 that supports literacy within the Hudson City School District, decided to accept the challenge and help by providing 100 free desks to students who need them. For the past week, teachers in virtual classes have been using the district's online learning environment to distribute signup forms so that any student who needs a desk can request one. The desks will be no-frills folding desks that can be stored away when not in use.
One hundred desks were made available through collaboration with Teresa Saunders, manager of Staples on Fairview Avenue. Partial funding comes from a grant from the Berkshire Taconic Fund, Fund for Columbia County, which is also funding 100 earbuds to go along with the desks. The balance of the funding is provided by the Hudson Literacy Fund. If more than 100 students need desks, a fundraising effort will be undertaken to provide them.
The 100 desks will be distributed to students on Friday, November 20, from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., and on Saturday, November 21, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., on the lawn in front of Montgomery C. Smith Elementary School. It's a good thing the lawn is a big expanse of open space, because a lot of people are expected to be present for the pick up, among them Assemblymember Didi Barrett, HCSD Superintendent Dr. Maria Suttmeier, Principal Mark Brenneman, Mayor Kamal Johnson, members of the Hudson Common Council, Hudson Literacy Fund board members, as well as parents and friends--all there, socially distanced, to help give kids their desks.