All posts by Wayne Woolridge

November Superintendent Report

Superintendent’s Report – November 2017

On Saturday, October 28th, the Hinsdale School Board held a ground-breaking ceremony for the new Hinsdale Elementary School addition/renovation project.  Hinsdale student Chase Anderson led those present in the “Pledge of Allegiance.” Honored speakers for the event included the following: New Hampshire Commissioner of Education Frank Edelblut, Hinsdale School Board Chair Holly Kennedy, and Hinsdale Building Improvement Committee Chair James O’Malley.  I also spoke at the ceremony.  The event concluded with all five Hinsdale School Board members, as well as Hinsdale Schools supporter Smokey Smith, taking a ceremonial first shovel full of dirt to mark the first step towards the construction of an our elementary school addition and the renovation of the existing first floor of Hinsdale Elementary School.  The project is scheduled for completion in late August of 2018.

We are beginning to make progress towards the recently adopted 2017-2018 Hinsdale School Board Goals.

2017-2018 Hinsdale School Board Goals

  1. Curriculum and Instruction 
  • Ensure that all students receive guidance regarding post-secondary education or career options. 
  • Provide students with educational opportunities and learning based upon the student’s unique needs, interests and learning styles. 
  • Maintain continuity in instruction between the school buildings. 

We are already working on college admission with those seniors who have expressed an interest in admission to a two year or a four year college. To date about half of the members of the Hinsdale Senior Class have applied to a college. We have already had representatives from ten colleges visit Hinsdale High School.

In addition, many of our students are earning certifications as a result of their Extended Learning Opportunity work and their work at the Windham Regional Career Center. One member of the Hinsdale Senior Class has accumulated seven certifications.

We continue to work on the development of performance based assessments. These assessments will better engage our students, especially those students with unique needs, interests, and learning styles.   In addition to our work on performance assessments we are working hard to develop a more responsive learning system which is founded on the Professional Learning Community model.

  1. Communication 
  • Internal 
  • Twice yearly school board tours of all school buildings. 
  • External 
  • Maintain communication to promote a collaborative relationship with the community through a continued commitment to holding a minimum of two forums and maintaining a presence in other committees, boards and community events in town. 
  • Improve relationships with town governing bodies. 

The Hinsdale School Board ground-breaking ceremony was a great recent example of communication between the Board and the public. In addition to those members of the public who were part of the celebration our Director of Technology, Deborah Trabucco, tweeted a group of photos viewed by many more Hinsdale residents. The photos were taken at the event by Ann Diorio.

The administration is recommending two forums this school year, one for HES parents and one for KMHS parents. Our school leaders wish to discuss the move to a competency based education model. We would like an opportunity to receive input in regards to the expected profile of a Hinsdale fifth grade graduate and a Hinsdale High School graduate.

  1. Culture 
  • Promote an atmosphere that supports a forward-thinking, professional learning community. 
  • Ensure clear behavioral expectations are communicated and followed up on regularly.  
  • Support and promote anti-bullying practices and ensure policies are being followed. 
  • Superintendent will spot check the bullying logs and report monthly to the board. 

We are continuing to strengthen our Professional Learning Community culture. Staff in both buildings are frequently meeting as PLC teams. In addition to work related to curriculum and instruction, our staff PLC teams are beginning to develop performance assessments.

We are in the second year of the implementation of our new social/emotional learning curriculum. We plan to have a summary related to the second year of the implementation of the Hinsdale SEL program available for the Board by the end of this school year.

We have seen a decline in the incidents of bullying as compared to last year at this time. At present, we have had two reports of bullying at HES and no reports of bullying at HMHS since our last Board meeting.

 

  1. Personnel 
  • Support initiatives to recruit and retain professional, high-quality staff that are innovative, dynamic and dedicated to the success of all students. 
  • Promote an atmosphere that supports an inclusive, professional learning community. 

 

We hired qualified individuals to fill all our openings this year. Each teacher hired has a mentor who will work with them throughout the year.  In addition, we have used grant funds to bring in a retired education professor from Brown University to work for several hours each month with some of our teachers.

We have made a concerted effort to create a more supportive and inclusive environment grounded in the Professional Learning Community model.

  1. Financial 
  • Search for ways to conduct business in the most efficient and effective manner. 
  • Work with the Administration to proactively monitor the fund balance 
  • Annual review of eligibility for the free lunch program under the federal Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. 
  • Maintain ongoing communication with the Budget Committee regarding any potential changes in funding. 
  • Receive detailed backup information for the budget. 
  • Warrant article to rebuild the maintenance fund. 
  • Formulate a written facilities capital improvement plan.  

 

Our Business Administrator changed the way the 2018/2019 budget is displayed in an attempt to make the budget easier to review by the Hinsdale Budget Committee and by the Board.

We continue to work to get all our parents to turn in the paperwork that would determine eligibility for free/reduced lunch. We anticipate that our adequacy funding from the State will be down this year.  I expect some of the reduction will be a result of declining numbers of parents completing the paperwork that determines free/reduced lunch eligibility.

We have recently formed a more formal Facilities Committee. Sean Leary was elected Facilities Committee Chair at our last meeting and it was determined that the committee would meet on the third Friday each month at 2:15.  The committee hopes to create a capital improvement plan to recommend to the Board during this school year.

  1. Security 
  • Continue to review security audit information and move forward, in a fiscally responsible manner,  to ensure our building are secure and our students are safe. 
  • Formulate a written security plan.

  

Tom O’Connor, Tom Ronning, Joe Boggio, Officer D’Allesandro and I recently met to discuss the first steps in writing a grant that, if approved, would fund some of the recommendations of the 2016 Hinsdale Schools Security Audit.

We have scheduled a table top drill for our building administrators. Board members are invited.

 

  1. Technology 
  • Continue to align the district budget to support the 5-year plan of the District Technology Committee. 
  • Formulate a written technology capital improvement plan.   

 

The first year implementation of our five-year technology plan is going well. The students have been very engaged as they use their laptops in the learning process.

Our Director of Technology is currently working with our sixth grade teachers to help them become better prepared to use technology in their instruction. Our sixth grade teachers are scheduled to receive incoming students in 2018 who will have had an entire year of using their laptops as an important part of the learning environment.

Superintendent’s Report – October 2017

We are beginning to receive the revenue needed to begin our Hinsdale Elementary School addition/renovation project. We have already deposited $1,800,000 in building aid from the State. In addition an “up to” $450,000 is promised by the State at the completion of our badly needed Hinsdale Elementary School addition/renovation project.  Our Business Administrator is also working on an application for a bond of $1,500,000 to be presented to the bond bank in early November.

We expect to complete the project prior the start of the 2018/2019 school year. We have many individuals and groups to thank for this needed facility improvement including the following: our voters at our 2017 District Meeting, Hinsdale School Board, New Hampshire Board of Education, Governor Sununu, New Hampshire Legislature, and the 2016-2017 Hinsdale School District’s Building Improvement Committee. The Building Improvement Committee members included: Jim O’Malley-Chair, Steve Fecto-Vice Chair, James MacDonell, Joe Boggio, Sean Leary, Deb Carrier, Shawn Lee, Courtney Hodge, April Anderson, Kaylah Hemlow, and Tom O’Connor. I would also like to thank the New Hampshire Department of Education Chief Engineer Amy Clark, New Hampshire Commissioner of Education Frank Edleblut, Hinsdale resident Smoky Smith, former State Senator Molly Kelly, current State Senator Jay Kahn, State Representative Mike Abbott, and Hinsdale resident Kathy Bean.

The Hinsdale School Board is planning a ground breaking ceremony for the project in the near future.

On Thursday, October 3rd, a newly appointed subcommittee of BIC met with our lead architects and our construction manager. We are still working on an exact timeline but the construction team plans to begin clearing the building site and constructing an access road this fall.  The completion date for the addition is scheduled for August 20th of 2018, and the renovation is scheduled to be completed prior the start of the 2018/2019 school year.

Our Director of Technology, Deborah Trabucco, intends to tweet project updates through the completion of the project.

On October 3rd Hinsdale School District was awarded a Small, Rural School Achievement (SRSA) formula grant of $15,000.  Our Business Administrator and our Director of Curriculum and Instruction did the complicated work needed to secure these funds.

The Hinsdale Administrative Team adopted the following norms for our 2017-2018 meetings. The agreed on norms are as follows:

“We will work together as a community that values consensus rather than majority rule.

We will be fully present at the meeting by becoming familiar with materials before we arrive and by being attentive to behaviors which affect physical and mental engagement.

We will invite and welcome the contributions of every member and listen to each other.

We will be involved to our individual level of comfort.  Each of us is responsible for airing disagreements during the meeting rather than carrying those disagreements outside the meeting.

We will operate in a collegial and friendly atmosphere.

We will use humor as appropriate to help us work better together.

We will keep confidential our discussions, comments, and deliberations.

We will be responsible for examining all points of view before a consensus is accepted.

We will be guided by the Hinsdale School District goals.”

The Hinsdale School Board recently adopted Board Goals for the 2017-2018 school year. My Superintendent report for the remaining of the 2017-2018 school year will focus on the progress made towards the completion of the 2017-2018 Board Goals. The goals are as follows:

 

2017-2018 Hinsdale School Board Goals

  1. Curriculum and Instruction
  • Ensure that all students receive guidance regarding post-secondary education or career options.
  • Provide students with educational opportunities and learning based upon the student’s unique needs, interests and learning styles.
  • Maintain continuity in instruction between the school buildings.
  1. Communication
  • Internal
  • Twice yearly school board tours of all school buildings.
  • External
  • Maintain communication to promote a collaborative relationship with the community through a continued commitment to holding a minimum of two forums and maintaining a presence in other committees, boards and community events in town.
  • Improve relationships with town governing bodies.
  1. Culture
  • Promote an atmosphere that supports a forward-thinking, professional learning community.
  • Ensure clear behavioral expectations are communicated and followed up on regularly.
  • Support and promote anti-bullying practices and ensure policies are being followed.
  • Superintendent will spot check the bullying logs and report monthly to the board.
  1. Personnel
  • Support initiatives to recruit and retain professional, high-quality staff that are innovative, dynamic and dedicated to the success of all students.
  • Promote an atmosphere that supports an inclusive, professional learning community.
  1. Financial
  • Search for ways to conduct business in the most efficient and effective manner.
  • Work with the Administration to proactively monitor the fund balance
  • Annual review of eligibility for the free lunch program under the federal Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act.
  • Maintain ongoing communication with the Budget Committee regarding any potential changes in funding.
  • Receive detailed backup information for the budget.
  • Warrant article to rebuild the maintenance fund.
  • Formulate a written facilities capital improvement plan.
  1. Security
  • Continue to review security audit information and move forward, in a fiscally responsible manner,  to ensure our building are secure and our students are safe.
  • Formulate a written security plan.
  1. Technology
  • Continue to align the district budget to support the 5-year plan of the Future Technology Committee.
  • Formulate a written technology capital improvement plan.

September Superintendent’s Report

Superintendent’s Report – September 2017

We are off to a great start for the 2017-2018 school year. We began on August 22nd with two days of training for our new teaching staff. We followed our two days of new teacher training with two days of professional development for all teachers.  Most Hinsdale students returned to our schools on Tuesday, August 29th. Our first day for kindergarten students was Tuesday, September 5th.  Our first day for incoming preschool students was Monday, September 11th.

Parents and students seem to be happy with the placements made by staff and administration for the 2017/2018 school year.  We are indeed fortunate to have the current level of parent support for our schools. We are working hard to prove that their faith in us is justified.  Our first PTSA meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, September 12th at 7:00 pm. All our new middle school and high school teachers plan to be there.  Our first Hinsdale Elementary School PTA meeting is scheduled for Thursday, September 14th at 6:00.

Buses typically run late during the first few days of school but his year but that was not our experience. From the very first day our buses ran on time.

As we begin the new school year we are fortunate that the condition of the grass on our fields is excellent. However, as expected we will still have to reseed and recondition our southern soccer field at the conclusion of the season.

Our new athletic director, Sam Kilee reports that fall sports are off to a great start. We began the season with 15 boys on the boys’ varsity soccer team. We started with 18 girls on the girls’ varsity soccer team. This year each of the two teams are scheduled to play the same number of home games. Mr. Kilee has met with the Hinsdale Recreation Department Director and is working hard to strengthen the relationship between the two programs.

The Hinsdale Elementary School Building Improvement Committee has met once since our August Board meeting. During that meeting the members of the Building Improvement Committee voted to recommend to the Board an area construction manager to oversee the construction process of the new addition to our elementary school as well as the renovation of the first floor. A subcommittee of our Building Improvement Committee interviewed three finalists and have a determined the best match for our needs.

In late June we were informed that State funds were approved by the Legislature for our elementary addition/renovation project. A few days later Governor Sununu signed the State budget. The Hinsdale Elementary School project was the only school building aid project approved by the New Hampshire Department of Education and by the Legislature this session. At this time the State funds have yet to be transferred into our account but we anticipate the funds will be transferred by the end of the month.

We recently received the results of our annual Youth Risk Behavior Survey. Almost all high school students in New Hampshire take this survey. The survey is part of data collected each year by the CDC. More than 80 percent of our high school students took the volunteer survey last year.  We now have Youth Risk Behavior Survey data comparing the New Hampshire student population with our Hinsdale High School student population from 2007 to the present.  Among the positive trend lines included a significant drop in the use of alcohol by our high school students.  Our school counselors will analyze the data and then the data will be shared with the staff. Data points include: vehicle and bicycle safety, alcohol use, bullying, fighting, marijuana use, heroin and other hard drug use, other health risks like poor sleep habits, physical inactivity and unhealthy dietary behaviors, dating violence, students who felt sad or hopeless, and tobacco use.

I am proud of the work of our technology team has done to successfully roll out “Office 365.” At the same time the technology team rolled out Office 365 they also developed an excellent roll out plan for our one-to-one five year technology plan. Our Director of Technology, Deborah Trabucco, will lead a conversation with parents of the students who are scheduled to be assigned a laptop this month, on Tuesday, September 12, at 6:00 pm.

August Superintendent

Superintendent’s Report – August 2017

As of Wednesday, August 9th, we have hired 14 new staff members and are almost fully staffed for the 2017-2018 school year.  We believe our new hires will be a great addition to our strong team of educators in the Hinsdale School District.

Our new staff begin on Tuesday, August 22nd at 8:30 am in the SAU conference room, with a welcome by administration and those Board members who are able to attend, followed by two days of training.

We are providing a continental breakfast in the HMHS cafeteria for all staff from 7:45-8:15 am on Thursday, August 24th, and we will welcome all staff in the HES gym at 8:30.  Our first day for students is scheduled for Tuesday, August 29th.

Numerous Hinsdale staff members participated in professional development workshops over the summer. In early August a team from Hinsdale Elementary School attended the New Hampshire Educator’s Summer Summit at the University of New Hampshire. Major strands included: “teaching for the future” and “how to improve literacy from birth to age eight.”  In July a team of educators from Hinsdale Middle/High School attended the Competency-Based Learning Conference in Nashua, New Hampshire. The major stands included “personalized learning including extended learning opportunities,” and PACE – (performance assessment of competency education).”  PACE for New Hampshire schools is an approved accountability system by the U.S. Department of Education. PACE is a “learning system designed to capitalize on the latest advances in understanding of how people learn. The goal is to structure learning opportunities that allow students to grapple with gaining meaningful knowledge and skills at a depth of understanding that they can transfer to new real-world situations.”

The Hinsdale Elementary School Building Improvement Committee has met seven times since our June Board meeting. In addition to our regular meetings several BIC members, as well as Facilities Committee member Sean Leary, met with the new Hinsdale Fire Chief on Wednesday, July 12th.  As a result of the recommendations made by our new Fire Chief at that meeting we have asked our architect to include a gravel road from the employee parking lot on the south side of the elementary school to the north side of our proposed addition.

In late June we were informed that State funds were approved by the Legislature for our elementary addition/renovation project. A few days later Governor Sununu signed the State budget. The Hinsdale Elementary School project was the only school building aid project approved by the New Hampshire Department of Education and by the Legislature this session.

I would like to thank the Hinsdale School Board for supporting the recommendations made by the administration and by the Hinsdale Building Improvement Committee. I am appreciative of the hard work demonstrated by each individual on the 2016/2017 Hinsdale School District’s Building Improvement Committee. Those members include: Jim O’Malley-Chair, Steve Fecto-Vice Chair, James MacDonell, Joe Boggio, Sean Leary, Deb Carrier, Shawn Lee, Courtney Hodge, April Anderson, Kaylah Hemlow, Tom O’Connor, and Wayne Woolridge.

I would like to thank the New Hampshire School Board for unanimously approving our project, and the New Hampshire Department of Education Chief Engineer Amy Clark for helping though the application process. I would also like to thank Commissioner Edleblut for visiting our schools.  He is a strong advocate of the Hinsdale personalized learning competency-based program.

Without the strong support of voters at the Annual District Meeting we would not have been able to garner the necessary support from the legislature. We also received strong support from outgoing New Hampshire Senator Molly Kelly, current State Senator Jay Kahn, and State Representative Mike Abbott.

Finally, I would like to thank Hinsdale resident Smokey Smith for helping us secure the necessary land to make this project possible.

The New Hampshire Legislature passed several bills this session that will impact Hinsdale School District. Bills passed into law this session include the following:

 SB 101 An act relative to enrollment eligibility for regional career and technical education programs and relative to high school students participating in New Hampshire’s dual and concurrent enrollment program. This bill reduces the prerequisite for enrollment in a regional career and technical education center from having attended high school for 2 years to 1 year. The bill also establishes a Dual and Concurrent Enrollment Program, which will allow high school students to earn both high school and college credit for certain courses taught either at a high school or at a community college. When the course is taken at a community college, the state will pay a fixed tuition to the Community College System upon the student’s successful completion of the course. The law requires high schools to notify students and parents about the program. The Department of Education and the Community College System of New Hampshire are required to develop a model enrollment agreement and guidelines.

SB 45 An act requiring a course in civics for high school graduation. SB 45 amends

RSA 189:11 to require that a civics course shall be required for high school graduation. SB 45 also lists nine components or criteria that must be part of the civics curriculum. SB 45 becomes effective August 7, 2017.

SB 43 An act relative to non-academic surveys administered by a public school to its students. SB 43 amends RSA 186:11, IX-d to state that no student shall be required to volunteer for or submit to a nonacademic survey or questionnaire without written consent of a parent or legal guardian. SB 43 also creates an exception to the prior written consent requirement for the youth risk behavior survey developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

HB 233 An act relative to the submission of school emergency response plans. This bill requires: (1) a site-specific emergency response plan for each school; (2) that the plan be reviewed annually; and (3) that by September 1st of each year, the district submit to the NHDOE either an updated plan or a report that the plan was reviewed and is unchanged.

HB 275 An act prohibiting the inclusion of statewide assessment results in a student’s transcript without consent. This bill amends RSA 193-C:6 to provide that a student’s statewide assessment results shall not be a part of a student’s transcript.

An act relative to documenting the improvement of non-proficient readers. This bill amends RSA 193-C:3, IV(i) – the statewide assessment program goals – for third grade pupils and requires a school district to submit documentation to the department of education showing that the district has implemented a reading instructional program for third grade pupils who tested as “not proficient” on the reading component of either the statewide or locally-administered assessment.

HB 216 An act relative to educational assignments for pupils who have been suspended. This bill amends RSA 193:13, I(a) and now requires a school to make educational assignments available to the suspended pupil during the period of suspension.  Though not specifically defined, “educational assignments” is intended to mean coursework and access to curricular offerings.

HB 166 An act relative to assessments administered to pupils in grades 3 through 8. This bill amends the schedule for a school district to administer the statewide assessment and requires a school district to develop and administer an assessment in those years in which the statewide assessment is not administered. HB 166 amends RSA 193-C:6 by removing the provision that students in grades 3 through

8 taken an annual statewide assessment test. Students will now take the statewide assessment test once in elementary school, once in middle school, and once in high school. In years that a school district does not administer the statewide assessment test, the school district will be required to administer a locally developed or other standardized assessment test.

HB 103 An act relative to school district policies regarding objectionable course material. HB 103 amends RSA 186:11, IX-c to now require that the school board policy relative to “objectionable course material”: (1) provide parents and legal guardians not less than 2 weeks advance notice of curriculum course material used for instruction of human sexuality or human sexual education; (2) address the method of delivering notification to a parent or legal guardian; and (3) to the extent practicable, a school district shall make curriculum course materials available to parents or legal guardians for review upon request.

HB 556 An act requiring schools to post the state telephone numbers to report child abuse and relative to criminal history records checks of school employees and volunteers. HB 556 requires each school and chartered public school to post a sign containing information on how to report child abuse or neglect to the New

Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, Division for Children,

Youth, and Families (“DCYF”). HB 556 also amends the requirements for criminal history records checks of school employees, volunteers, contractors, employees of contractors, and other educational staff.

With respect to posting the child abuse hotline information, HB 556 creates a new statute, RSA 189:72, which requires school districts to post a sign in each school in an area that is readily accessible to students. The sign is to be provided in electronic or printed form by DCYF and will contains the telephone number of the state child abuse hotline, as well as the pertinent website.

With respect to criminal background checks, HB 556 amends RSA 189:13-a, relative to criminal background checks. There are four significant changes that may impact school board policies and administrative practices relative to criminal background checks. First, Superintendents will receive more information. In place of a statement of the presence or absence of disqualifying convictions or a charge pending disposition of a disqualifying offence, Superintendents will receive a report on the criminal history records check conducted through state records and through the Federal Bureau of Investigation database that will include any misdemeanors and/or felony convictions and any charges pending disposition for any disqualifying crimes listed in paragraph RSA 189:13-a, V. The law continues to allow only the Superintendent to view the report. Following School Board policy, the Superintendent will have to determine whether a conviction for an offense which is not on the list of disqualifying offenses in statute, should nonetheless disqualify the applicant.

Second, the school board shall adopt a policy relative to hiring practices based on the results of the criminal history records check. Such policy may include language stating that any person who has been convicted of any misdemeanor or any of a list of misdemeanors may not be hired. Such policy may also include language stating that any person who has been convicted of any felony, or any of a list of felonies, shall not be hired. The change to law recognizes that in some cases there is evidence of conduct that, were sufficient evidence available, would result in a conviction for an offense that is made disqualifying by law, but that as a result of the character of available evidence the case may result only in a conviction for a lesser offense. A criminal conviction requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt while most employment decisions require only that it be more likely than not that disqualifying conduct occurred. This difference in the standard of proof means that even where the individual was not convicted of the more serious crime, in some cases it will still be proper to disqualify the applicant.

Furthermore, some offenses not included in the statutory list of disqualifying offenses give rise to significant cause to find an applicant unsuitable. School

Districts will have greater access to information and greater local discretion as to what offenses and circumstances will be disqualifying. Federal antidiscrimination law still requires that the reason for treating an offense as disqualifying be job related for the position and consistent with business necessity.

Third, the District is required to conduct criminal history record checks for student teachers and interns, before the individual is placed, notwithstanding that the institution of higher education that individual is attending is also required to conduct a criminal history record check upon the individual’s enrollment.

Fourth, the law now also requires the District to conduct the criminal history record check on all individuals contracting with the District to provide services directly to students and for the employees of contractors who will be assigned within the District to provide services to students. The means that the District itself must conduct the criminal history records check on cafeteria workers, school bus drivers, custodial personnel or any other service provider who provides services directly to students, even though the individual is a contractor or employee of a contractor. For employees of a contractor, for example a school bus driver, it will no longer be adequate for the contracted school bus operator to just certify to the District that the driver’s criminal history record was checked and does not contain any disqualifying convictions or pending charges.

April Superintendent Report

Superintendent’s Report – April 2017

We continue to make progress toward our annual Board goals.

2016-2017 Hinsdale School Board Goals

Goal 1: Curriculum and Instruction

  • Ensure that all students receive guidance regarding post-secondary education or career options.
  • Provide students with educational opportunities and learning based upon the student’s unique needs, interests and learning styles.
  • Maintain continuity in instruction between the school buildings
  • Set up an end of year review with the new curriculum coordinator.

More than 80% of the members of our senior class have been admitted to college for 2018-19. Largely as a result of our extended learning opportunity program graduating Hinsdale students should be better prepared for college and career than most graduating seniors in our area and across the United States.

We have made significant progress in regards to empowering our students to determine their individual educational pathways. On March 29th the New Hampshire Deputy Commissioner and the Director of the New Hampshire Career and Technical Centers, met with Ann Freitag, Karen Thompson, Karen Craig, and myself, to speak with us about becoming the pilot “Pathway District” for New Hampshire. If we commit to becoming a Pathway District we would be mostly committing to the formalization of what we are already doing, through our commitment to our Extended Learning Opportunity program and our commitment to the creation of an individualized education plan for each student.  By becoming a Pathway District we would be increasing the likelihood that our grant applications would be successful and at the same time increase our likelihood of attracting new revenue streams.  Many national organizations, such as the “Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation” have agreed to support the New Hampshire effort to develop pathway districts.

We are continuing to work on the coordination of our curriculum between buildings. Recently HMHS teachers met with elementary teachers to talk about new math support materials being considered for our elementary school students. Soon after that meeting the elementary teachers selected the “Bridges” support math materials. We are planning several days of professional development for the teachers who will be using the new math support materials.

We are also creating technology related workshop opportunities for our grade five and grade nine teachers. We hope these common work experiences with increase the level of continuity of instruction between school buildings.

In addition, we are working to improve the continuity of instruction between our school buildings in the areas of music and writing.

Our new curriculum coordinator is preparing a presentation in open session for the Board meeting scheduled on May 10th.  She will share her observations and make suggestions for future direction shifts.

Goal 2: Communication

    • Maintain communication to promote a collaborative relationship with the community through a continued commitment to holding regular community forums and maintaining a presence in other committees, boards and community events in town.
    • Improve relationships with town governing bodies

The best evidence of our effort to promote a collaborative relationship with the community is the 93% affirmative bond vote on a secret ballot. In addition, the District operating budget was approved by the Hinsdale Budget Committee and the District voters by a wide margin.

Goal 3: Culture

  • Promote an atmosphere that supports a forward-thinking, professional learning community.
  • Support and promote anti-bullying practices and ensure policies are being followed.
  • Superintendent will spot check the bullying logs and report regularly to the board.

I have reviewed the major components of the Professional Learning Community model with all teachers and emphasized the value of using PLC’s to accomplish our district goals.

District staff have worked hard to create structures that will reduce the likelihood that bullying occurs in our schools. Most notably the implementation this year of our new social emotional curriculum should result in a reduction of incidents of bullying in our schools.  We have a presentation planned for our June Board meeting that will serve to outline our new social curriculum program, speak to the progress of implementation, and give the Board an opportunity to ask questions and provide input.

We have had two reports of alleged bullying since our last Board meeting.

Goal 4: Personnel

  • Support initiatives to recruit and retain professional, high-quality staff that are innovative, dynamic and dedicated to the success of all students.

We have advertised earlier than usual for our anticipated openings for the 2017/2018 school year. We have also worked to improve our nomination process. For example, this year we will be especially looking for staff members who have areas of strength that line up with District and building goals.

Passing the bond article and the operating budget article, each with a strong majority, should help convince our staff that our community appreciates their work. Hopefully, that demonstration of appreciation will result in increased staff retention.

Goal 5: Finance

  • Search for ways to conduct business in the most efficient and effective manner
  • Work with the Administration to proactively monitor the fund balance
  • Annual review of eligibility for the free lunch program under the federal Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act.
  • Maintain ongoing communication with the Budget Committee regarding any potential changes in funding.
  • Receive detailed backup information for the budget.
  • Warrant article to rebuild the maintenance fund.

There were no negative findings in our recent District audit.

We continue to closely monitor our fund balance and at this time anticipate a significant surplus.

We are working with our Governor’s Office, our State Senator, State Representatives, and the New Hampshire Department of Education to increase revenues for Hinsdale. There are several bills that seem to have some traction and would significantly add to our anticipated revenue. The most significant funding source is the approximately $2,100,000 that the district would receive in the form of state building aid or in the form of a revitalization grant to be used to support our HES renovation/addition project.

Another significant funding possibility is a bill that would add about $1,800 annually for each of our kindergarten students. Currently we have 58 students in kindergarten.  At present we receive from the State about $3,600 per student in grades 1-12 and $1,800 per student in kindergarten.

The New Hampshire Department of Education recently presented the District with a $25,000 grant for professional development and materials. We are also working to attract revenue streams associated with our pilot New Hampshire Pathway District status.

Goal 6: Safety

  • Continue to review security audit information and move forward, in a fiscally responsible manner, to ensure our buildings are secure and our students are safe.

School administrators are meeting with Officer D’Allesandro on April 13th to take part in a table top drill.  The drill will serve as an assessment of our current level of preparedness.

Goal 7: Technology

  • Align the district budget to support the 5-year plan recommended by the Hinsdale District Technology Committee.

Several Hinsdale staff members are presenting technology workshops to other staff members during our May 26th District workshop day.  Technology related workshop topics include: OneNote, Yammer, and Digital Resources.  Next year’s grade five and grade nine teachers will participate in at least one of the technology sessions to help them prepare for the implementation of our grade five and grade nine individual device initiative.  We are also planning summer technology related workshops for our grade five and grade nine teachers.

Superintendent’s Report – November

Superintendent’s Report –November 2016

We have already made progress toward our new Board goals.

2016-2017 Hinsdale School Board Goals

  1. Curriculum and Instruction
  • Ensure that all students receive guidance regarding post-secondary education or career options.
  • Provide students with educational opportunities and learning based upon the student’s unique needs, interests and learning styles.
  • Maintain continuity in instruction between the school buildings
  • Set up an end of year review with the new curriculum coordinator.

We may have one of the best, if not the best, extended learning opportunity program in New Hampshire. Certainly the extending learning opportunity program is an excellent way to provide college and career guidance as well as to provide educational opportunities and learning based upon the student’s unique needs, interests and learning styles. The statewide director of ELO programs and a film producer met with our ELO director, our director of curriculum and instruction and myself at central office on Friday, October 28th. After a two hour meeting at central office the film producer described a plan to create a documentary that would feature the Hinsdale ELO program. The producer has recently completed a documentary that chronicled six years of the lives of individuals from a refugee camp in Nepal to their inclusion in various communities in the United States and Europe. I believe all our students at HMHS will benefit from the focus and attention we would receive though this process.

Our director of curriculum and instruction intends to provide a summary report to the Board in May. She will also give an oral report to the Board in May and answer questions raised by Board members.

  1. Communication
  • Internal
  • Periodic school board tours of all school buildings
  • Work with Administration to maintain the momentum from the community forums, current social media presence and other initiatives
  • External
  • Maintain communication to promote a collaborative relationship with the community through a continued commitment to holding regular community forums and maintaining a presence in other committees, boards and community events in town.
  • Improve relationships with town governing bodies.
  • I will arrange a tour of the school buildings at the request of the Board. One option for a building tour would be a tour of the buildings just prior to the HES holiday concert on Wednesday, December 21st.  An option for a Board tour while school is in session would be just prior to a Facilities Committee meeting.  The Facilities Committee typically meets at 2:15 on the last Friday of each month.

We recently linked our newly developed Building Improvement Committee information to our Hinsdale Elementary School website. The HES Building Improvement Committee met on October 25th and is scheduled to next meet on November 18th. We will post the minutes from that meeting as soon as possible.

In an effort to maintain communication and to promote a collaborative relationship with the community I attended the senior final home soccer games on Friday, October 21st.  Also, I spent most workday mornings and afternoons this past month in front of the elementary school at bus arrival times and bus departure times. By being out in front of the school at student drop off and student pick up times I add an element of safety, in addition to being visible and accessible to parents.

I led the Hinsdale Parent/Child 4th and 5th grade book club on Monday, November 7th.  The students and parents enjoyed the book, “The One and Only Ivan.”  The Newberry Award winning book is based on a true story of an easygoing gorilla who lived in a shopping mall in Washington State for 27 years before being transferred to a zoo in Atlanta where he passed away in 2012 at the age of 50. Ivan is the gorilla made famous for his paintings which he signed with his thumbprint.

  1. Culture
  • Promote an atmosphere that supports a forward-thinking, professional learning community.
  • Support and promote anti-bullying practices and ensure policies are being followed.
  • Superintendent will spot check the bullying logs and report regularly to the board.

We are continuing to work hard to improve our professional learning communities. Staff members are meeting frequently in results orientated meetings using student data as the focus point.

HMHS administration held a meeting with parents on October 12th to discuss bullying procedures and to communicate the steps we have taken recently to eliminate bullying at HMHS. As of November 2nd we have had one case of confirmed bullying and five investigations into alleged bullying during the 2016-2017 school year.

  1. Personnel
  • Support initiatives to recruit and retain professional, high-quality staff that are innovative, dynamic and dedicated to the success of all students.

We continue to support our mentoring program for existing new staff. We have assigned our director of curriculum and instruction to serve on the interview teams for all prospective new teachers in order to assist in the selection process.

  1. Financial
  • Search for ways to conduct business in the most efficient and effective manner
  • Work with the Administration to proactively monitor the fund balance
  • Annual review of eligibility for the free lunch program under the federal Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act.
  • Maintain ongoing communication with the Budget Committee regarding any potential changes in funding.
  • Receive detailed backup information for the budget.
  • Warrant article to rebuild the maintenance fund.

I met with the HES PTA and the HMHS PTSA in September to review the guidelines for federal free and reduced lunch participation. This year both Hinsdale Elementary School and Hinsdale Middle School have exceeded the 50% threshold in regards to eligibility for the free or reduced lunch program under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. Our middle school eligibility increased from 41% in October of 2015 to 51% in October of 2016.

The administration has created a proposed 2017/2018 budget. We presented the FY 2018 budget to the Board on November 2nd.  The Business Administrator and I will be in attendance when the Budget Committee meets on November 16th to discuss competing demands for town resources.

  1. Security
  • Continue to review security audit information and move forward, in a fiscally responsible manner, to ensure our building are secure and our students are safe.

We have a representative from Cheshire Glass scheduled to meet with us during our January Facilities Committee meeting to discuss safety enhancements that were recommended in our Safety Audit report in May of 2016.

  1. Technology
  • Align the district budget to support the 5-year plan of the Future Technology Committee.

The administration has included the proposed expenditures in the administration budget needed to implement the first year in the five year Board approved technology plan.

Superintendent’s Report – June 2016

Superintendent’s Report – June 2016

We are continuing to take steps to meet the recommendations outlined in our recent Homeland Security Audit. Since our last Board meeting our School Resource Officer D’Alessandro has completed a grant for two emergency radios.  We hope to have the radios by September 1st. We are also moving ahead towards the purchase of two high resolution exterior cameras that will allow us to more closely monitor the front entrance of both school buildings. In addition, we hope to purchase front door safety film that would be installed over the summer.

The Hinsdale Elementary School Building Improvement Committee has met twice since our last Board meeting. In addition several subcommittees have met. The HES Building Improvement Committee subcommittees include the following:

Finance: James MacDonell, Courtney Hodge, Tom O’Connor, Kaylah Hemlow, Sean Leary

Public Relations: April Anderson, Steve Fecto, Courtney Hodge, Kaylah Hemlow, Sean Leary

Curriculum: Deb Carrier, Joe Boggio

Facilities: Shawn Lee, James MacDonell, James O’Malley, Sean Leary, Wayne Woolridge

The HES Building Improvement Committee and the subcommittees plan to meet over the summer with a goal to provide a detailed progress report to the Board at the August 17th Board meeting.

 The HES Building Improvement Committee members include the following: Sean Leary, Jim O’Malley, James MacDonell, Joe Boggio, Steve Fecto, Deb Carrier, Shawn Lee, Courtney Hodge, April Anderson, Kaylah Hemlow, Tom O’Connor, and Wayne Woolridge.

The NH Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) recently e-mailed letters and information packets to all SAUs, regarding to the potential occurrence of lead in school drinking water systems. NHDES is encouraging schools to test water from regularly used taps for lead that may be leaching from internal plumbing and fixtures and review their plumbing network to ensure high-risk lead components have been identified and removed. At our May 27th Facility and Maintenance Committee meeting we met with Hinsdale Water Department Superintendent Dennis Nadeau.  Mr. Nadeau manages all tests of our school district water.  Our water assessments are up to date but Mr. Nadeau plans to test again over the summer so we can send a letter of assurance home to our families in our opening of school parent packet in late August.

We are making progress toward writing a grant that would better support our high school students preparing for careers, as well as provide support for adults in town who are unemployed or underemployed. Our Extended Learning Coordinator Karen Thompson and I spoke to the Hinsdale Board of Selectmen on May 23rd. The Hinsdale Board of Selectmen voted to unanimously support our initial effort to secure funds through the Workforce Development Act to provide support for adults in town who are unemployed or underemployed and to help our high school students improve their career preparation by increasing the enrollment of our graduates in credentialing and post-secondary education and by increasing job placements among participating business partners.

We continue to make progress towards achieving our Board goals.

  1. Goal: Develop a strategic plan, based on data, to address the long range needs of the district.

The HES Building Improvement Committee is in the process of creating a long range plan that if approved by the Board and the community would meet current needs and hopefully meet future code requirements and future enrollment demands.

  1. Goal: Develop and support initiatives to recruit and retain professional, highly qualified staff who are innovative, dynamic and dedicated to the success of all students.

Our district hires for 2016-2017 are outstanding. The hiring committees did a wonderful job.

  1. Goal: Provide a continuum of instruction at all ability levels, preschool through grade 12.

Principal Boggio, and the three teachers scheduled to teach in multi-age classrooms next year, completed several outside visitations where they saw multi-age classrooms in action and talked to area teachers who currently teach in multi-age classroom settings. By all reports the visits were successful.

With the addition of multi-age classrooms we should be able to more effectively manage our space restrictions for another year and at the same time increase our capacity to provide a continuum of instruction at Hinsdale Elementary School.

  1. Goal: Develop a budget and a technology plan that supports all aspects of the district. 

The Director of Technology has formed a task force that will be charged with a comprehensive review of our use of technology within the district. The task force will meet over the summer and intends to create a plan to present to the Board next fall.  The following staff are task force members: Donna Foster, Laura Bradley, Ally Mangan, Victoria Davis, Jodie Holmquist, Sarah Greene, Kristina Raymond, Justin Therieau, and Debbie Child Trabucco.

  1. Goal: Promote an atmosphere that supports a forward-thinking, professional learning community through ongoing, open communication and a culture of openness between the board, administration, staff, students, parents and the community.

Since our May Board meeting I have continued to build connections with the school community.  First, I have posted my June Board Report as a blog under the Superintendent section on the Hinsdale School District Web Site. I had previously posted my March, April, and May reports as well as my annual report.

In addition, I attended several Extended Learning Opportunity presentations, meeting parents at each presentation. I met with the Hinsdale Select Board. I attended our Memorial Day celebration. I spoke briefly at the Yearbook Assembly. I attended the Spring Concert. I applauded the seniors while managing traffic at the Senior Walk. I attended the Senior Awards and Graduation. I spoke to families at the First Grade Luncheon and grilled several hundred hot dogs. I also attended the Fifth Grade Graduation and met many parents while doing morning bus duty at our elementary school.

Superintendent Blog – May 2016

Superintendent Report – May 2016

On Thursday, May 12, all New Hampshire House and Senate Bills are to be acted upon. Any bills that are in conflict will require a Committee of Conference to resolve the differences. Hopefully the bill to provide building aid funds for schools, with fire safety issues as identified by the Fire Marshall, will be passed by both the House and the Senate and then signed by Governor Hassan.

We are making progress toward writing a grant that would support our high school students preparing for careers, as well as provide support for adults in town who are unemployed or underemployed. The grant, if approved by the Hinsdale School Board, the Hinsdale Board of Selectmen, and funded through the Workforce Development Act would help our high school students improve their career preparation by increasing the enrollment of our graduates in credentialing and post-secondary education and by increasing job placements among participating business partners.  I have spoken with Principal Freitag, ELO Coordinator Karen Thompson, Director of Technology Debbie Trabucco, Hinsdale Business Administrator Tom O’Connor, Hinsdale High School counselor Paula Brault, Town Administrator Jill Collins, and Brattleboro Development Young Professionals Coordinator Alex Beck. Alex Beck manages a grant in Windham County similar to the grant we are writing.  The Vermont grant is called, “Fast Tracks to Success, Career Awareness and Planning in Windham County.” The objectives of the Windham County grant are as follows:

  • Increase in workforce participation from program participants
  • Increase in credentialing and post-secondary education
  • Increase in average earnings of program participants
  • Increase in job placements within participating business partners.In addition, I am scheduled to speak to the Hinsdale Board of Selectmen on May 23rd. I have also spoken with a least one representative from the New Hampshire Department of Employment Security, the New Hampshire Department of Labor, the New Hampshire Department of Resource and Economic Development, and the Southwest Regional Planning Commission.The HES Building Improvement Committee met for the first time on May 10th. We discussed our mission and took a tour of the Hinsdale Elementary School. Principal Boggio also outlined issues the school is facing as a result of changes in the fire code and increasing enrollment. Members on the HES Building Improvement Committee include the following: Sean Leary, Jim O’Malley, James MacDonell, Joe Boggio, Steve Fecto, Deb Carrier, Shawn Lee, Courtney Hodge, April Anderson, Kaylah Hemlow, Tom O’Connor, and Wayne Woolridge. We continue to make progress towards achieving our Board goals.
  1. Goal: Develop a strategic plan, based on data, to address the long range needs of the district.

At our April 29th Facility and Maintenance Committee meeting we meet with two representatives from Eversouce Power and the vice president of Standard Power concerning the long and short term power needs of the district. We also spoke to the Eversource representatives concerning issues related to power quality. There were several possible solutions to current issues discussed with several next steps outlined. Power source options discussed including fossil fuel generated options, New Hampshire hydro power and solar options.

  1. Goal: Develop and support initiatives to recruit and retain professional, highly qualified staff who are innovative, dynamic and dedicated to the success of all students.

 

Certainly our new three-year community approved contract should make our district more attractive to area candidates. In addition we are supporting an amazing array of high quality professional development opportunities that should improve the quality of our staff.

  1. Goal: Provide a continuum of instruction at all ability levels, preschool through grade 12.

Director or Curriculum and Instruction Susan Taft and Principal Boggio have set up several outside visitations where the three teachers scheduled to teach in multi-age classrooms next year will be able to see such classrooms in action and talk to area teachers who currently teach in multi-age classroom settings. With the addition of multi-age classrooms we should be able to more effectively manage our space restrictions for another year and at the same time increase our capacity to provide a continuum of instruction at Hinsdale Elementary School.

  1. Goal: Develop a budget and a technology plan that supports all aspects of the district. 

The Director of Technology has formed a task force that will be charged with a comprehensive review of our use of technology within the district. The task force will meet over the summer and intends to create a plan to present to the Board next fall.  The following staff are task force members: Donna Foster, Laura Bradley, Ally Mangan, Victoria Davis, Jodie Holmquist, Sarah Greene, Kristina Raymond, Justin Therieau, and Debbie Child Trabucco.

  1. Goal: Promote an atmosphere that supports a forward-thinking, professional learning community through ongoing, open communication and a culture of openness between the board, administration, staff, students, parents and the community.

I have posted my March, April and May Board Report as well as my District Annual Report as a blog under the Superintendent section on the District web site.

Our Safe Routes to School program had a successful kick-off. Our Walk and Bike to School Day occurred on Wednesday, May 4th with about 100 students participating.  We hope to have another Walk and Bike to School Day in the fall.  As a next step the Southwest Regional Planning Commission Safe Routes to Schools staff will conduct traffic studies on Brattleboro Road, School Street, and Prospect Street sometime in May or June.

To get to know the community better I attended the HHMS Variety Show on Saturday, April 30th.  The Variety Show was held in the gym, lasted three hours, and included 35 acts.  The talent demonstrated at the Variety Show was truly amazing. I am impressed by the high quality of the Hinsdale after school programs.

April Superintendent Report

Superintendent Report – April 2016

I would like to thank all the voters who came to the District Meeting on March 12th and supported our annual budget.  I am proud to work for a community that supports our young people.  Given very few of our students are eligible to vote, our students are dependent on forward thinking community members who understand the significance of education and who will come to the Annual District Meeting to show their support.

Certainly the loss of jobs related to the closing of Vermont Yankee will have an impact on the ability of our graduates to find work in the area. In order to help our graduates find good jobs and/or create good jobs in the area we are writing a grant that, if approved by the Hinsdale Board and the federal government, would help our high school students improve their career preparation by increasing the enrollment of our graduates in credentialing and post-secondary education and by increasing job placements among participating business partners.  There would also be a strand that would focus on the skills needed to start a successful business.  Karen Thompson is working with an area grant writer to determine the best way to structure the grant application. Fred Bramante, who was the longest serving member of the New Hampshire Board of Education, has agreed to write a letter of support as part of our grant application.

Fred Bramante visited with our ELO students and spoke to the HMHS staff on April 5th. Mr. Bramante, a former State Board of Education Board Chair, is one of the foremost experts on competency based learning in the United States.  Mr. Bramante spent three hours with us. During that time he met with administrators and with students who are involved in the ELO program. He also spoke with the HMHS staff.  There was no charge to the District.

One bill being discussed in the New Hampshire House requires all high school students to take a half-credit course in civics. The content of the course must cover at a minimum: the duties and responsibilities of a citizen, opportunities of citizen participation and involvement in the governmental process, the structure and operation of government, the constitutional basis of our government, and the interaction between local, state, and federal government. The bill also requires a one-year course in the history of the United States and New Hampshire. We currently cover the curriculum that would be required if the bill passes with the exception of the New Hampshire history component.  We cover New Hampshire history in the 4th grade but not again in high school.

The United States Senate recently confirmed John B. King Jr. as Secretary of Education. Secretary King had been a Commissioner of Education in New York State. He replaces former Secretary Arne Duncan.  Secretary King led the effort to adopt the Common Core Standards in New York.

We have made significant progress toward our Board Goals during the past month.

  1. Goal: Develop a strategic plan, based on data, to address the long range needs of the district.

At our March 25th Facility and Maintenance Committee meeting the HMHS principal and the HES principal who, with the help of the Director of Technology and the respective building safety committees, had prepared executive summaries of the data provided by the recent Homeland Security Audit.  After a lengthy discussion the Facility and Maintenance Committee determined a few of the “no cost” recommendations would be acted on as soon as possible. The Facility and Maintenance Committee items related to technology will be discussed and prioritized by a task force that will be charged with a comprehensive review of our use of technology within the district.  The initial work of the task force is scheduled to take place over the summer. The cost related items related to HES would be deferred to the HES Building Improvement Committee.  This committee is scheduled to begin meeting on May 10th. The cost related work needed at HMHS would be prioritized within the 2017 budget discussion.

  1. Goal: Develop and support initiatives to recruit and retain professional, highly qualified staff who are innovative, dynamic and dedicated to the success of all students.

 Our new three- year contract should make our district more attractive to area candidates. Also, our business administrator and our director of technology are investigating computer programs that could be used to streamline the hiring process.

  1. Goal: Provide a continuum of instruction at all ability levels, preschool through grade 12.

Our third through eighth grade students have completed the Smarter Balanced Assessment. We should receive the Smarter Balanced Assessment data in early summer. Our focus will be to review this assessment data through the lens of student growth.  Both the SAT and Smarter Balanced Assessment are now lined up with the College and Career Ready Standards (Common Core).

The Board Chair, Vice Chair, and I met with Hinsdale Elementary School parents at the March 24th PTA meeting.  One focus area of the meeting was the proposal made by principal Boggio in which the Hinsdale Elementary School would implement three multi-age classrooms in the fall of 2016 and add a looping model beginning in the fall of 2017.  With the addition of multi-age classrooms we should be able to more effectively manage our space restrictions for another year.

  1. Goal: Develop a budget and a technology plan that supports all aspects of the district.  

The Director of Technology is forming a task force that will be charged with a comprehensive review of our use of technology within the district. Depending on the recommendations made by the task force the Board may decide to include technology in our strategic plan.

  1. Goal: Promote an atmosphere that supports a forward-thinking, professional learning community through ongoing, open communication and a culture of openness between the board, administration, staff, students, parents and the community.  

I have posted my March and April Board Report and my District Annual Report as a blog under the Superintendent section on the District web site

To improve communication and to promote our great school district the Board Chair, HMHS principal, and I spoke to Walter Waiters, a producer from the Larry King In View Productions, on Tuesday, March 29th.  We highlighted our school-community partnership, the HASP, and our ELO program. We are hopeful that we will be chosen by In View Productions for one of their “examples of what is working in public education” feature TV shows. In View Productions runs on several national networks including Fox News Network and Discover.

Our Safe Routes to School program has had a successful kick-off.

Next steps, include the following:

  1. Implement a spring forum on Wednesday, April 27th to take place in conjunction with the PTSA meeting. The focus of the forum will be to receive parent feedback about potential Safe Routes to Schools strategies.
  2. Participate in the upcoming “National Bike to School Day,” May 4, 2016. May 4th will be a “Walk and Bike to School Day” in Hinsdale.
  3. Southwest Regional Planning Committee staff will conduct traffic studies on    Brattleboro Road, School Street, and Prospect Street sometime in May or June.

To get to know the community better and to give back to this great school community my wife, a New York Times bestselling author, and I, will with the Board’s approval, organize and run a parent/child book club for between 5 and 8 parent/child “couples” next year at Hinsdale Elementary School.

Hinsdale Parent/Child Book Club

Facilitators: Wayne Woolridge (Hinsdale school superintendent) and Cindy Copeland (NYT bestselling author/illustrator)

Purpose: To help foster a love of reading, to encourage parents and children to bond over the reading experience, and to help facilitate critical analysis and discussion of age-appropriate works of fiction

Members: Parent/child teams from Hinsdale who will commit to reading the assigned book together each month and gathering to discuss the book at a monthly meeting. Children may be from the 4th or 5th grade at the Hinsdale Elementary School.

Meetings: The book club will meet on the first Tuesday of each month in the library at the Hinsdale Elementary School, from September 2016 through May 2017.

Books: All books will be provided to the parent/child teams by Wayne and Cindy. Books will be chosen based on their appeal to both children and adults, and for their potential to generate lively discussion.

Principal Boggio is in support of the Book club. There will be no cost to the district or to the participants of the book club.

March 2, 2016

Superintendent’s Report – March 2016

In addition to the progress we made during the past month toward our Board goals we also made significant progress in regards to safety.

On February 3rd both Hinsdale Elementary School and Hinsdale Middle/High School had a school security site assessment completed by Steve Allen of the State of New Hampshire Department of Safety: Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. Both sites assessments were at no charge to the district.

I received the results of both assessments on March 1st. The administration hopes to create an executive summary of the assessments prior to the Facility and Maintenance Committee meeting scheduled for March 25th.

On February 23rd Marcello D’Alessandro, Joe Boggio, Ann Freitag, Ann Diorio, and I met with two members of the Southwest Regional Planning Committee (Mari Brunner, Planner; Liz Kelly, Planning Technician), as well as Brooke Bennett, Healthy Monadnock 2020 School Champions Coordinator, to determine next steps related to our partnership with the “Safe Routes to Schools” program. We agreed to several next steps, including the following:

  1. Implement a spring forum on Wednesday, April 27th to take place in conjunction with the PTSA meeting. The focus of the forum will be to receive parent feedback about potential Safe Routes to Schools strategies.
  2. Participate in the upcoming “National Bike to School Day,” May 4, 2016. The group recommended this day be a “Walk and Bike to School Day” in Hinsdale.
  3. The Southwest Regional Planning Committee staff will attend the PTSA meeting on April 5th in order to give an informational presentation about Safe Routes to Schools.
  4. Southwest Regional Committee staff will have a booth at the Hinsdale Celebration of Learning event on April 12th from 6:00-7:00 p.m. in order to share information about Safe Routes to Schools and Healthy Monadnock 2020.
  5. Southwest Regional Planning Committee staff will conduct traffic studies on Brattleboro Road, School Street, and Prospect Street sometime in May or June.

We have made significant progress toward our Board Goals during the past month.

  1. Goal: Develop a strategic plan, based on data, to address the long range needs of the district.

I met with Hinsdale Elementary School parents at the March 24th PTA meeting. The focus of the meeting was the proposal made by principal Boggio in which the Hinsdale Elementary School would implement three multi-age classrooms in the fall of 2016 and add a looping model beginning in the fall of 2017. The parents who attended the PTA meeting were supportive of the transition. With the addition of multi-age classrooms we should be able to more effectively manage our space restrictions at least for another year.

In early April I hope to meet with Mr. Boggio and the Board Chair to determine the best makeup for a Hinsdale Elementary School Building Improvement Committee.  If the Board approves the committee representative structure at the April meeting, I would bring the list of nominations for the Hinsdale Elementary School Building Improvement Committee to the May Board meeting for final approval.  Ideally, the Hinsdale Elementary School Building Improvement Committee will have drafted a recommendation or recommendations for the Board to consider at the September 2016 Board meeting.

  1. Goal: Develop and support initiatives to recruit and retain professional, highly qualified staff who are innovative, dynamic and dedicated to the success of all students.

The Board’s Negotiations Committee and the HFT Negotiations Committee have agreed on a new contract that –if approved at the District Meeting– will improve our ability to hire and retain high quality professional staff.  The three-year contract has been approved by the Board, the HFT, and the Budget Committee. Tom O’Connor and I recently spoke to the HES staff and the HMHS staff concerning the contract and the other two articles on the Warrant. All the comments made by staff were supportive.

  1. Goal: Provide a continuum of instruction at all ability levels, preschool through grade 12.

All of our eleventh grade students took the SAT on Wednesday, March 2nd.  The results of the SAT assessment should be available in June.  The collective data will be valuable for our staff and even more valuable for our students. Beginning this year, the SAT is the New Hampshire State Assessment for high school students. Our freshmen and sophomores have taken the PSAT. Our third through eighth grade students will be taking the Smarter Balanced Assessment in May. The SAT, PSAT, and Smarter Balanced Assessment are all lined up with the “College and Career Ready Standards.” Hopefully assessments of these standards will help determine individual student growth related to proficiency in English language arts and math from 3rd through 11th grade.

One extremely successful program at HMHS, that is part of our college and career ready approach to individualized student learning, is our extended learning opportunity program. On April 5th Fred Bramante will be visiting with students involved in our extended learning opportunity program at HMHS to talk about with them about their extended learning experiences.   He will end his visit with a presentation to our HMHS staff. Mr. Bramante was recently charged by the Governor with the responsibility to lead New Hampshire’s first full-scale education reform effort since 1919 – competency-based learning. Prior to his appointment by the Governor, Mr. Bramante had been the Chairman of the New Hampshire State Board and the longest serving member of the State Board of Education in New Hampshire history.

  1. Goal: Develop a budget and a technology plan that supports all aspects of the district. 

Title IIA grant funds have been set aside to compensate committee members who will work over the summer months to develop a technology plan that supports all aspects of the district.

  1. Goal: Promote an atmosphere that supports a forward-thinking, professional learning community through ongoing, open communication and a culture of openness between the board, administration, staff, students, parents and the community.

In order to continue to build trust and improve two-way communication with the community, since our last Board meeting I attended the Hinsdale Elementary School PTA meeting, attended several basketball games, spoke at both the HES and the HMHS staff meetings concerning the 2016 Warrant, spoke to the Hinsdale Elementary School staff regarding the implementation of “Professional Learning Communities” in our schools, where I provided an overview of the major tenets of a Professional Learning Community, spoke briefly at a HES student assembly, and read to three classes.

In addition, I have posted my March Board Report and my District Annual Report as a blog under the Superintendent section on the District web site.