Category Archives: Superintendent Blog

Superintendent’s Blog – January 2018

Superintendent’s Report – January 2018

On Friday, December 15th area legislators met with Hinsdale administrators as well as Hinsdale Board members Sean Leary and Jim O’Malley. We discussed upcoming legislation. It was clear that the legislators present were sympathetic to our concerns related to the current State revenue shortfall to Hinsdale and its impact on our local tax rate. The largest loss of revenue from the State is due to a cut in June of 2017 of $100,000 to our stabilization grant.  We have set a 2018 tentative date of Friday, December 14th for our next meeting with our New Hampshire legislators.

As we prepare our budget for the review by the Hinsdale Budget Committee we noticed that in Cheshire Country many communities similar to Hinsdale have been hit hard recently by the combination of a State revenue shortfall and a decrease of the total of taxable property values in their community. For example current tax rates among like communities in Cheshire County are as follows:

In Keene, the tax rate is $37.22 per $1,000 of assessed value.

In Troy, the tax rate is $34.19 per $1,000 of assessed value.

In Winchester, the tax rate is $33.30 per $1,000 of assessed value.

In Jaffrey, the tax rate is $32.97 per $1,000 of assessed value.

In Sullivan, the tax rate is $31.80 per $1,000 of assessed value.

In Hinsdale, the tax rate is $30.41 per $1,000 of assessed value.

In Marlborough, the tax rate is $30.17 per $1,000 of assessed value.

In addition to absorbing the State revenue shortfall the Hinsdale School District is assuming costs associated with the opioid crisis. Our out-of-district costs have risen dramatically and 2/3rds of those students being assigned to an out-of-district placement are court ordered, primarily due to issues related to substance abuse in the home.  Hinsdale continues to stand out as a district that acquires a high percentage of State and Federal grants to offset local taxes.

On December 15th the Hinsdale Facilities Committee toured the Hinsdale Middle/High School.  The Committee recommended a plan to replace the tiles that had been popping up in the HMHS hallway. The Committee inspected the cracks in the bleachers and after investigating an odor emanating from a drain in the second floor boys’ restroom, recommended a potential solution. The facilities Committee also discussed our safety grant and recommended a plan regarding the implementation of LED lights. The Facilities Committee is in the early stages of composing a five-year Capital Improvement Plan to be considered by the full Board sometime this spring.  Items currently being considered include the following: HMHS boiler, HES gym floor, HES roof, HMHS bleachers, HMHS gym windows, soccer field fence, parking lot behind HES, and replacement vehicles.  The Facilities Committee does not recommend any of these projects be included in our 2018/ 2019 budget.

To date our HES addition/renovation project is on time and under budget. On Wednesday morning December 20th Mr. Boggio, Mr. O’Connor, Mr. Putnam, our project manager, and I met with the Hinsdale Building Inspector. The meeting was productive and there were no surprises.  The building inspector, Mr. Lawrence, agreed to try to be available when needed.

Our Hinsdale Construction Committee also met on December 20th. We reviewed the timeline and determined next steps. We also reviewed the specifications outlined in the bid package prepared by MacMillin.

Our Project Manager, with the help of Joe Boggio, Alan Putnam, and Steve Fecto led dozens of potential bidders through the Hinsdale Elementary School grounds and the HES building on Friday, December 22nd.

The Construction Committee is scheduled to review the construction contract at 10:00 am on Tuesday, January 30th.

The Hinsdale School Board is scheduled to meet at 6:00 pm, January 30th to hear a recommendation for a construction contract. Our Construction Manager will be at the meeting to assist with answering Board questions. Prior to that meeting our District attorney and District Insurance carrier will have had an opportunity to review the contract.

We recently received an Award of Excellence from PresenceLearning. Our award was one of twelve given across the country for use of live, online speech-language therapy and psychoeducational services to help support students with special needs. I applaud our Director of Student Services for demonstrating sound stewardship of District resources while meeting the needs of students who need speech or psychological services.

On December 14th I attended the 2nd-5th grade holiday concert which filled the HMHS gym. The excellent concert led by our elementary school music director Jessica Mahoney included “Jingle Bells” played by Hinsdale School District staff members.

I also attended a Hinsdale boys’ basketball game and a Hinsdale girls’ basketball game in December. Both teams look to be playoff bound. I also attended the heart-felt ceremony honoring Tony Fecto’s contribution to Hinsdale athletics.

We are making progress towards the 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. 

As of December 20th we had 55% of Hinsdale Seniors accepted to at least one college.

We have completed our transition toolkits for our special needs students.

Thanks to a grant written by our Media Specialist, Victoria Davis, Hinsdale students will be participating in Robotics competition this coming year.

  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 Board Communications Committee plans to organize a community forum this coming winter. At present the topic of the forum will likely be related to bullying

A joint meeting of the School Board and the Budget Committee is being scheduled for January, 2018.

We experienced about a 90% attendance rate at our HES open house.

Our PTSA has enjoyed improved attendance recently.

Our after school program has had personal contact at the end of the day with approximately 100 families.

We are beginning to use smart phone messaging to reach our parents. We are have started with parents of students currently involved in athletics.

  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.

We are continuing to see a decrease in incidents of bullying.

We are in our second year of our District-wide social emotional learning curriculum implementation. At present, it appears that the social emotion curriculum is showing positive results. We plan to report out on the data points at the May or June 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 are providing instructional coaching workshops for our new teachers with our KtL coaches taking leadership roles.

The Board has approved an agreement between the Hinsdale School Board and the Hinsdale Support Staff Association. If the agreement is approved by the voters at the Annual District Meeting we should improve our rate of retention and our ability to hire high quality staff.

  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 recently modified Facilities Committee is meeting on the third Friday each month at 2:15. The next meeting is scheduled for Friday, January 19th. 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.

We have recently submitted two security grants to the State. We anticipate a notification of approval at any day, at which time the Board would be asked to accept the grant funds.  Our School Resource Officer Marcello D’Allesandro, our Director of Technology, Debbie Trabucco, and our Business Administrator Tom O’Connor have all participated in the grant application.

  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 continues to go well. We have included the costs associated with the second year of the five year plan in our 2018/2019 School District Budget.

Superintendent’s Report – December 2017

Superintendent’s Report – December 2017

On Tuesday, December 5, our Hinsdale School District Construction Committee met with architects from Marinace and members of our construction team from McMillin. Several decisions were made at that meeting that should help ensure we make the project projected timeline. For example we agreed that a frost blanket should cover the construction site through late January. On the last week of January 2018, we can expect additional site work preparation. We can expect the construction process to get fully underway during the first week of February.  We also determined that the heavy equipment would use the Prospect Street entrance and when possible avoid bus drop off and pick up congestion. After consulting with HMHS administrators we agreed that the HES summer programs, such as our extended year learning program and our summer preschool program, would use space at HMHS.  We are still working on developing a process for establishing background checks for construction workers and recommending a 2018/2019 calendar for the Board.

Senate Bill 193 has passed the New Hampshire House Education Committee.  If passed by the full House and Senate, likely decided this coming winter, the law would provide New Hampshire parents with the state’s basic per-pupil grant of roughly $3,600 to be used for private school tuition or home schooling. Under the bill, the money would flow through a nonprofit scholarship organization that would keep five percent for administrative costs. To qualify, parents would have to have a household income less than or equal to 300 percent of the federal poverty limit, currently 300 percent of the federal poverty limit for a family of four is $73,800. Students with disabilities who receive the $3,600 grant would waive their rights under federal and state disability laws, including the right to an IEP, the right to services, and the right to a free and appropriate education in the least restrictive environment.

We are making progress towards the 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 making progress towards a system migration towards a competency education model. Currently, we are making modifications to our Hinsdale High School Program of Studies to better reflect the move towards a competency education model. All our HMHS students are receiving individualized instruction for three days each week in math and English. Our after school program is another opportunity for our students to participate in a personalized learning program.

  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. 

Our PTA and our PTSA continue to enjoy a high level of parent participation.

A joint meeting of the School Board and the Budget Committee is being scheduled for January, 2018.

  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.

We are in the second year of the implementation of our new social/emotional learning curriculum. We are beginning to embed the SEL lessons into regular content instruction.

We have seen a decline in the incidents of bullying as compared to last year at this time. At present, we have had one report of bullying at HES and one report 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. 

Our mentor program continues to add an important level of support for our new staff. In addition, our contract for service instructional coach has been a huge asset to many of our staff especially our new teachers.

  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 recently modified Facilities Committee is meeting on the third Friday each month at 2:15. The next meeting is scheduled for Friday, December 15th. 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.

On Monday, November 20th several members of Hinsdale Police and Hinsdale Fire joined Hinsdale schools administrators in the SAU conference room as part of a “table top drill.” The table top drill was organized and led by our School Resource Officer, Marcello D’Allesandro.

We have recently submitted two security grants to the State. We anticipate a notification of approval at any day, at which time the Board would be asked to accept the grant funds.  Our School Resource Officer Marcello D’Allesandro, our Director of Technology, Debbie Trabucco, and our Business Administrator Tom O’Connor have all participated in the grant application.  

  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. One unanticipated outcome for our students involved in the one-to-one initiative has been an increase in positive group problem solving opportunities which has helped our students improve our social emotional learning ouitcomes.

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.

May Superintendent Report

Superintendent’s Report – May 2017

We continue to make progress toward our annual Board goals.

2016-2017 Hinsdale School Board Goals

Goal 1: Related school, district, and/or SAU goal(s)

• 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.

Thanks to our staff, parents, and our students, more than 93% of the members of our senior class have been admitted to college for 2018-19. Given the comprehensive nature of our high school, small class sizes, and 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 are working hard to personalize learning for every student in Hinsdale School District; their voices are leading the way along their own pathway, and they are connected with learning opportunities outside the walls of the classroom in business and industry placements that align with their interest and passion. Currently, over 50% of Hinsdale juniors and seniors have taken advantage of a personalized extended learning opportunity.

We are continuing to work on the coordination of our curriculum between buildings. Recently Hinsdale Middle and High School math teachers met with elementary teachers to talk about the math programs being considered for our elementary students. Soon after that meeting the elementary teachers selected the “Bridges” program. We believe the changes we are making in math instruction will improve math competencies among our students.
We are also working to improve the continuity of instruction between our school buildings in the areas of music, writing, and technology.

Goal 2: Related school, district, and/or SAU goal(s)

Communication
o 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.
o Improve relationships with town governing bodies

One successful example of our effort to create a collaborative relationship with the community is the 93% affirmative bond vote which occurred at our 2017 District Meeting. In addition, the District operating budget was approved by the Budget Committee and the District voters by a wide margin.

Goal 3: Related school, district, and/or SAU goal(s)

• 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 had no reports of bullying since our April Board meeting.

Goal 4:

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

Passing the bond article and the operating budget, 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.

We have improved our search process. For example, we have dedicated the first meeting of each search committee solely to the purpose of prioritizing the desired attributes we think are needed to best serve our students.

In addition, we have advertised a month earlier than usual regarding our anticipated openings for the 2017/2018 school year. Our goal is to be completely staffed for the 2017-2018 school year by mid-June.

Goal 5:

• 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.

We have improved our effectiveness and efficiency in several ways. For example, we now use a smart board to illustrate in real time all the minutes taken at our administrative meetings.

We now update the Board each month concerning the status of our fund balance and until recently have updated the Board each month concerning the percentage of our students qualifying for free or reduced lunch.

We have had solid support from our Budget Committee. I met with them several times during the budget process.

Each cost center manager is responsible to maintain detailed backup information concerning their budget requests. This information is available for the Board if asked.

The Board agreed to pass over the article to rebuild the Maintenance Reserve Fund as a result of the approval of the bond article to add to the first floor of our elementary school.

Goal 6:

• 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.

We are moving forward in regards to safety enhancements that were recommended in our Safety Audit report in May of 2016. We have enhanced security in both entry ways into our schools, and are planning an evacuation drill that includes reunification with parents/guardians. In addition our building administrators are working with our SRO to refine our quick response capability.
Goal 7:

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

We included the related costs in the 2017-2018 operating budget associated with the implementation of the first year of the District Technology Plan. As recommended, in the first year of the plan we will purchase a computer for each incoming fifth grade student and each incoming ninth grade student. We have dedicated needed professional development for the staff involved in the direct instruction of fifth and nine grade students. In addition to helping our fifth grade and ninth grade students become familiar with computer based learning we hope to use the technology to better integrate our curriculum helping our students create deeper learning and improving the efficiency of the learning process. Once the plan is fully implemented, all our students in grades 5-12 will have a personal computer, central to the process of learning in Hinsdale.

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-March, 2017

We continue to make progress toward our annual 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.

Our ELO program continues to gain attention from State education leaders. Most recently our new Commissioner, Frank Edelblut, praised the relationship Hinsdale School District has with our business community. Approximately 120 area businesses work with us through our ELO coordinator, Karen Thompson.

New Hampshire was recently awarded an extension of its 2015 Waiver from the U.S. Department of Education to pilot a competency based accountability designed to support deeper learning for students. Officials from the New Hampshire Department of Education plan to visit Hinsdale soon to talk to us about our success.

We are continuing to work on the coordination of our curriculum between buildings. Recently HMHS teachers met with elementary teachers to talk about the math programs being considered for our elementary students.

Our new curriculum coordinator is preparing a presentation for the Board meeting scheduled for May 10th.

2. Communication
• Internal
o Periodic school board tours of all school buildings
o Work with Administration to maintain the momentum from the community forums, current social media presence and other initiatives
• External
o 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.
o Improve relationships with town governing bodies

The Hinsdale Building Improvement Committee intends to offer another public forum on March 11th, at 10:00 am in the town hall, prior to the Bond vote scheduled to occur at the District meeting on March 18th, at 9:00 am.
Since our February Board meeting I have shared our message concerning our building addition needs with the HES staff and with the HMHS staff. I also spoke to the Hinsdale Lions’ Club, the HES PTA, Meals on Wheels, the PTSA, and helped answer questions at our the Hinsdale Beautification Committee’s chili cook off. I also testified before the New Hampshire Senate Education Committee concerning the importance of lifting the moratorium on school building aid. The Governors’ office is currently looking into our request and the information I have received from his office leads me to believe that the appropriate funding needed for the HES proposed project will be available on or before July 1, 2017 if the District voters approve the bond article by a 2/3rds affirmative vote.
On the evening of March 6th my wife and I will teach “Smile” to our Hinsdale 4th and 5th grade parent/child book club. “Smile” is the story of a girl who discovers her artistic voice, finds out what true friendship really means, and where she can finally smile.
In an effort to strengthen community outreach I attended the Girls’ Varsity basketball playoff game on February 17th.

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.

We continue to use our faculty meetings and our professional development time to work in our professional learning communities. Currently we are focusing on two areas. The first is in the use of existing data to better individualize instruction. We are also looking at our curriculum alignment between the buildings, especially as it relates to our social curriculum. HES staff are also working hard in an effort to improve math instruction. HMHS staff are working hard to improve their student accountability measures.
Since our last Board meeting we have had one case of alleged bullying.

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 intend to make every effort to get contracts to our HSD professional staff by April 10th with the understanding that each recipient of a contract sign his or her contract and return it to the director of Human Resources by April 15th. As a consequence of the April 15th deadline we anticipate increasing the size of the pool for the positions open for the 2017-2018 school year because we should be able to advertise for openings earlier, while the pool of candidates is at its deepest.

5. 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.

We continue to closely monitor our fund balance and at this time anticipate a significant surplus.
We are working with our State Senator and State Representatives to increase state 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.
Other significant funding State funding possibilities include 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. Another bill would add about $100,000 annually to our revenue by increasing the State contribution to teacher retirement to 15% from zero. For decades the State funded teacher retirement at 40%. Currently the District and the employees make up the State share of retirement costs.

6. Security
• 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.

Since our February Board meeting we worked to enhance safety at both the administrative team meeting and at the central office team meeting. Principals and Officer Marcello are meeting on March 29th to work through a table top drill. We plan to use the same format on the afternoon of May 26th with all our HSD staff. The HES principal, the HMHS assistant principal, and Officer Marcello have been meeting regularly to review our current safety plan as well as clarifying our incident command structure.

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

We intend to offer several technology related workshops to our staff on the morning of our May 26th workshop day. These workshops will help our staff be better prepared to succeed with the implementation of the first year of our five-year technology plan.

Superintendent’s Report – Febraury 2017

We continue to make progress toward our annual 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 are continuing to add extended learning opportunities for our Hinsdale students.  We are working hard to make certain our coursework and assessment of learning is individualized for each of our students and that emphasis is placed on competency attainment, rather than seat time for all students.

School counselor Paula Brault is continuing to work with our seniors on college placements.  83% of the students in the Hinsdale 2017 graduating class have now been accepted into a college for the fall semester.

A group of Hinsdale teachers will soon begin the fine arts revision process this coming summer.  Other curriculum areas scheduled for summer work include: health and physical education, and science.  We are currently working to improve the continuity of instruction between our school buildings in the areas of music, math, writing, and technology.

  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

The Hinsdale Elementary School Building Improvement Committee held a successful public forum on Thursday, January 26th. The Building Improvement Committee was established in April 2016 by the Hinsdale School Board in the hope of finding a workable solution to the fire safety problem first identified in 2012.  In 2012 the Hinsdale School District was notified by the Hinsdale Fire Chief that our elementary school was out of compliance because we had first grade classrooms on the second floor. These students did not have direct egress to the upstairs fire escapes.  Our appeal to the State Fire Marshall’s Office in 2013 provided a one year waiver. Growing enrollment in grades pre-K, K and 1 has compounded our problem. We currently have 58 kindergarten students, 47 first grade students and two sections of preschool, with just four actual classrooms on the first floor. This has forced us to use our Library and other rooms that are not meant as classroom spaces for classrooms.

Hinsdale was the only district that made the building aid application deadline for 2017, meeting a July 1st deadline and a September 1st deadline, gaining approval from the Building Aid Committee in November and the state board of education in January. The BIC shared the plan with the community at an October 5th public forum and again on January 26th.  The Committee intends to offer one more public forum and members of the Building Improvement Committee are speaking to numerous groups in town.

We have worked hard to keep our proposed building expansion plan as inexpensive as possible. To begin with, we received the acre of land next to our elementary school from a local supporter of our schools, Smokey Smith.  We were able to find other district land Mr. Smith agreed to take as a trade.  The Committee recommended a building expansion plan to the Board that includes three first grade classrooms, three kindergarten classrooms, a music room, and an art room.   All the rooms are on the first floor. The estimated cost of the proposed building expansion is $3,750,000. The School Board has voted unanimously to approve the plan. However, The Board agreed to only raise and appropriate up to $1,500,000 from local taxes.  The additional $2,100,000 would have to come from the state in the form of building aid.  We met with all our state Representatives and our State Senator on December 20th. As a result of information shared that day, including a tour of our elementary school, our State Senator, Jay Kahn, sponsored Senate Bill 192 which if passed would guarantee sufficient state aid to fund the project. Board Chair Holly Kennedy, Hinsdale Elementary School Principal Joe Boggio, Building Improvement Committee Chair and Board member Jim O’Malley, and I are scheduled to testify before the Senate Education Committee on February 7th in support of Senate Bill 192.

In addition to State funding we are actively searching for grant funds and individual donations to reduce the costs of the building project to be raised from local taxes and from State building aid.  The Hinsdale School District applied for emergency funds from the State Fire Marshall’s office.  The New Hampshire Department of Education has set aside $2,000,000 from the current year to accommodate a favorable decision from the State Fire Marshall’s Office.  At present, it appears that we will not receive emergency funds.

The Building Improvement Committee intends to offer another public forum prior to the Bond vote scheduled to occur at the District meeting on March 18th, 2017.  The membership of the Building Improvement Committee includes Board members, Hinsdale Budget Committee members, parents, teachers, local business leaders, our elementary school principal, our business administrator and the Hinsdale Superintendent.

On the evening of February 6th my wife and I will teach “Call it Courage” to our Hinsdale 4th and 5th grade parent/child book club. “Call It Courage” is the story of a boy who tries to overcome his fear of the sea.  The novel won the Newbery Medal for Excellence in American children’s literature in 1941.  We are scheduled to teach “Smile” on Monday evening, March 6th. “Smile” is a story of a sixth grade girl who finds out what friendship really means. “Smile” is a graphic novel and a New York Times Editors’ Choice.

I have attended a Hinsdale Budget Committee meeting, and a Hinsdale Select Board meeting, since our January Board meeting. I also attended the Boys’ Varsity basketball game on January 20th.

  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 have 12 active PLCs currently operating in the Hinsdale School District.  We are looking at our schedule to see if we can add opportunities for additional Professional Learning Communities.

We continue to implement our new social curriculum.  Although it is early, the logic of our programming shift is sound and we expect to see a reduction in the number of confirmed incidents of bullying in the district.  We are evaluating the results of our parent survey and plan to use the results of the survey to help inform the dialogue at the Board Forum on Bullying scheduled for the spring.

Since our last Board meeting we have had two cases of confirmed bullying.

  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 intend to make every effort to get contracts to our professional staff by April 10th with the understanding that each recipient of a contract sign his or her contract and return it to the director of Human Resources by April 15th.  As a consequence of the April 15th deadline we anticipate increasing the size of the pool for the positions open for the 2017-2018 school year.

  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.

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

We are working with our State Senator and State Representatives to increase state revenue for the next two years. There are several bills that seem to have some traction and would collectively add several hundred thousand dollars 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.  Of course if the Bond article fails to gain a 2/3rds affirmative vote needed the $2,100,000 in State revenue would disappear.

  1. Security
  • 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.

Since our January Board meeting we worked to enhance safety at both the administrative team meeting and at the central office team meeting.

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

The Board has approved the funds needed in the FY 2018 budget needed to implement the first year of the five year Board approved technology plan.