The Hudson School was founded in the fall of 1978 as an alternative to the available educational institutions in the local area. In 1992, following a plea from the students themselves, the Board of Trustees decided to expand the school to include high school for much the same reason the middle school was established: There were very few local secondary school choices with rigorous and broad humanities and arts programs, particularly for girls.
Since our inception, we have been committed to a need-blind admission policy. Located in Hoboken, NJ, The Hudson School accepts students from diverse economic and ethnic backgrounds based on their academic promise and intellectual curiosity, rather than their financial ability. We began with 18 middle school students in 1978 (of whom 12 received scholarships through the generosity of the Geraldine Dodge Foundation) and now include 180 students in grades 5 – 12. We continue to admit every qualified student for whom we have room and do whatever we can to help that child’s family meet the costs of sending their child to our school.
From the beginning, The Hudson School has steadfastly held to its mission of encouraging “courage, compassion, and commitment” in its students, providing a rigorous academic program to a diverse population of inner-city and suburban youth. We offer a broad and demanding college-preparatory program, including courses in art, music and drama, community service opportunities and strong personal guidance, setting the pattern for personal and academic achievement by providing special encouragement, age-appropriate learning opportunities and consistent support through high school. We maintain a low student-teacher ratio of 8:1 and deliver a curriculum that reflects high expectations for each learner. The Hudson School curriculum encompasses over one hundred fifty courses, including advanced placement courses. Overall, The Hudson School is a place where students find themselves among others who are excited about learning and supportive of intellectual risk-taking, and who value the importance of independent thinking, curiosity, and community service.
“Courage, Compassion and Commitment”
The Hudson School recognizes that the human mind has a natural affinity for thought, and given that children learn naturally, and given that children learn far more than they are taught, and given that they are living on an increasingly interdependent planet, the school accepts the responsibility of recognizing diverse learning styles and encouraging alternative approaches to learning. We seek out this responsibility in order to promote the development in our students of those skills and capabilities necessary for them to participate intellectually and creatively as responsive adults.
The school embraces the view that a creative and imaginative mind, a feeling of self-confidence and self-respect, and the ability to get along with others in one’s community may well be the best preparation for the future. To accomplish these goals, students must be firmly grounded in the discipline appropriate to their endeavors, they must develop the ability to express their ideas effectively, and they must know how to place those ideas within their social, cultural, or scientific contexts.
The Hudson School is a learning community where individual talents can be shared and celebrated in a relaxed, non-competitive environment. The school’s small size and lack of hierarchy provide opportunities for teachers to be creative, to collaborate and to experiment with curriculum design. There is a spirit of intellectual risk-taking for teachers and students as well as a continuous process of self-evaluation. Opportunities for improving methodology or expanding pedagogical skills are encouraged. The school is unique in this respect; it opens new windows on the world for its students as well as for its teachers. It constantly seeks to challenge ethnocentric views. It encourages scholarly pursuits and artistic expression while balancing western and non-western traditions, gender and minority studies and providing an open forum for dialogue and debate.
Because so much input is permitted on the part of the faculty, the school is not just governed by a specific written curriculum but also by local, national and international concerns and by the biases or interests of the instructors. Yet, in spite of the shifts in emphasis and attempts to address issues through different pieces of literature or the arts, for example, basic inherent values have remained in place since the school’s founding: high ethical standards, respect for individual differences, concern for the environment and support for what is special in each student and in each teacher. There is a milieu that nurtures the growth and potential not only of the student but also of the faculty, the parents and the community. Each person is given support and room to grow.
The Hudson School believes that coherence in the curriculum comes from the understanding and judgment that must inform all study. Therefore, schooling at The Hudson School is determined by the following emphases:
INQUIRY: logical thinking and critical analysis; developing a system to make responsible judgments.
LITERACY (writing, reading, speaking, listening): developing facility in the language as an expression of thinking, feeling and judging.
UNDERSTANDING NUMERICAL DATA: being able to respond to argument and positions that depend upon numbers and statistics.
HISTORICAL CONSCIOUSNESS: being able to impose order on the disorder of random events and facts; being able to recognize the sequential nature for human events as well as their complexity and ambiguity.
SCIENCE: being able to recognize that scientific concepts come from human intelligence and imagination; being able to form, test, validate, and accept provisional hypotheses.
FOREIGN LANGUAGE: developing facility in a second language as a comparative expression of thinking, feeling and judging, in order to create an awareness of other cultures and to become familiar with the relationship between language and culture, and between language and values.
VALUES: being able to make real choices and assume responsibilities for personal decisions.
STUDIES IN DEPTH: experiencing the joy of mastery; being able to gain control over a formal body of knowledge; integrating it and making some contribution to it.
ART: being able, by mastery of analogy — art, music, dance, drama, and performing arts — to explore and enlarge the meaning of being human; becoming disciplined in the use of colors, shapes, sounds, and movements through creativity to achieve the feel of life.
PHYSICAL EDUCATION: developing physical awareness and ability, working as part of a team for a mutual goal, setting personal goals in order to stretch and discover individual physical capabilities.
COMMUNITY SERVICE: At The Hudson School we firmly believe that one of the purposes of a good education is to prepare our graduates to use their skills and talents to better the world. In order to put human values and an other-centered world view into action, Hudson School students are challenged to participate in community service projects that fulfill community needs and exemplify the school’s motto: “Courage, Compassion, Commitment.”