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Hudson College:
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Grades JK TO Gr. 12 — Toronto, ON (Map)

Hudson College:

Leadership interview with Jeff Bavington, Hudson College

  • Name
    Jeff Bavington
  • Title

Jeff Bavington is the director of Hudson College in Toronto, as well as its co-founder. He is a passionate educator, but he says that was never his life’s plan. He saw the need for greater enrichment and care in the primary years as a new parent. That planted the seed for Hudson College. Today, he sees Hudson as a school that prides itself on itself on its focus on the individual student: their academic rigor, and what makes them unique. Jeff says parents who are new to Hudson College can expect a lot of communication, and kids who are happy to go to school.

Video Contents

Highlights from the interview

  • [What I love about my job] is interacting with children. Children are wonderful for so many reasons, but the wonderful energy they bring each day is at the top of the list. I love being a part of that and seeing that wonderful energy week after week, and month after month.

  • Hudson College was founded as a family school. My father is still here and helps out in the high school. My story is, I often say I didn’t want to be involved in education: I had eight educators in my family in total — both of my parents, [as well as] grandparents, aunts and uncles — and I always wanted to be in business for myself. But then an interesting thing happened: I became a dad. … My daughter was in Grade 1 when we opened Hudson College, which was originally going to be a Grade 7–12 co-ed preparatory school. I saw a real need for helping the individual child at a young primary age — with more focus on academics, and more personal attention to each student.

  • One of the Hudson College parents said to me last year, ‘you’re everything that a public school should be.’ I thought it was an inspired comment. That was the original intention of the school. What she meant by that was the level of care, the level of inclusiveness, the level of nourishment — looking at a child individually, asking what are their strengths, what are their weaknesses, and what can we, as Hudson College, do to help them academically, while enriching their whole experience with clubs and activities.

  • As we’ve grown now — we’re exactly 400 students this year [at Hudson College] — I think we’ve always kept that personal touch, even though we’re larger now: we’ve always been able, both as staff and students, not to be so large that we can’t look at the individual.

  • As we’ve grown now — we’re exactly 400 students this year [at Hudson College] — I think we’ve always kept that personal touch, even though we’re larger now: we’ve always been able, both as staff and students, not to be so large that we can’t look at the individual.

  • As we’ve grown now — we’re exactly 400 students this year [at Hudson College] — I think we’ve always kept that personal touch, even though we’re larger now: we’ve always been able, both as staff and students, not to be so large that we can’t look at the individual.

  • Parents send their children to Hudson College if they’re looking for a school that believes in balance. We consciously look at balance, and we do that both philosophically and practically. We operate on an elementary, eight-day schedule. Math and English may happen every day, because they form the core of the program, but all the other subjects, those will be balanced over the course of eight days, through the whole year.

  • Parents are drawn to Hudson College because we really look individually at a child. We look at their particular strengths, but then also look for where they need help. A good example is Math. We’ve seen that many students who come to us have gaps in Math. If you’re not learning the foundational elements of Math as a young student, there’s a compounding effect as you get to the older grades. So how can we correct that path?

  • Math is very tied to your self-esteem.  … What we’re trying to do at Hudson College is not about turning every child into a mathematician or an engineer. We know that math is going to be a skill that you need — you basically can’t drop Math in high school any longer — so we aim to get students feeling strong enough in mathematical skills that it doesn’t become a stigma for them later on.

  • Parents really appreciate the communication. I think it takes them a little aback at the beginning: the level, frequency and intensity of the communication they will get from the teacher’s administration at Hudson College. That’s something the parents end up really valuing. I think they see the real personality of each child’s teacher, and they get to know the individual as a human being, and not just their child’s teacher.

  • Another comment that seems to happen a lot is that ‘My kid gets out of bed and is excited to come to school. I don’t have to motivate them to get dressed, eat their breakfast, get all their belongings together, and get out the door.’ Hudson College students are happy.

  • Parents [tell us they] really appreciate the inclusivity and the diversity at Hudson College. We’re an excellent reflection of the city of Toronto, one of the most multicultural cities in the entire world, and we value that diversity and inclusiveness. It’s reflected in the student body, not only just in elementary school but also in high school too. And that’s a really rewarding part of what Hudson is all about.

  • The first part of our motto is ‘be yourself’. What it means is: we like who you are, there’s a reason why you’re here, you don’t have to pretend to be somebody else. Wake up with a positive attitude, come to a place where you’re valued for who you are as an individual, and be surrounded by friends and peers and teachers who value who you are.

  • The second part of our motto is ‘Be anything’. It means: who knows what students are going to do [as they grow up]? They can be anything. That’s the wonderful part of seeing children develop year over year. … It’s a wonderful journey that they go on, and we see it as a spectator: as someone who’s involved in helping them look at themselves, and finding what they’re excited about.

  • Hudson College has worked hard on that cultural continuity between the elementary part of the program and then the high school part of the program.

  • At Hudson College, we are big believers in constant communication. Parents are going to receive communication starting in the early years with an app called Seesaw. For Grade 2 and above, we rely heavily on Google Classroom. You’re going to get email communication as well, or you might get individual calls.

  • Hudson College’s goals in terms of school improvement are usually in terms of [curriculum]. … For example, Hudson College has a lot of budding scientists. We actively promote a very rigorous science curriculum. We want it to be extremely hands-on and experiential because we think students learn scientific principles best that way. I could see us hopefully developing larger robotics teams one day because we do robotics with them when they’re young.

  • We have a beautiful new artificial turf field out the back. … We belong to the [Small Schools Athletic Federation], as do many schools throughout Toronto. Continued growth in athletics would be our goal [in athletics]: to continue to evolve.

  • What Hudson College does really well as an educational institution is being ready for that most important grade, whatever grade it is [for your child]. We’re ready to help enrich them, help them excel, help them feel great about themselves, and build in areas socially and emotionally, so it makes them feel ready for that next great stage of their life.


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