Category Archives: Superintendent Blog

December 2018 Superintendent’s Blog

Superintendent’s Blog – December 2018

We have been working hard to create a budget that will clearly identify the costs associated with providing Hinsdale students with a quality education, while always keeping in mind that many of our local taxpayers cannot afford an increase in their taxes. If passed, the operating budget we are proposing to the Budget Committee on December 11th would be less than the operating budget passed at the 2018 Annual District Meeting.

While many communities across our country face a similar budget challenge, the challenge for administrators and the School Board in Hinsdale is by far more daunting, because our state pays so little for K-12 education.  To make matters even worse New Hampshire continues to cut our Stabilization revenue. The Stabilization Aid was cut by about $200,000 over the past two years and is scheduled to be reduced by another $100,000 next year. All our State Fiscal Disparity Aid, more than $2 million for Hinsdale, was cut in 2012. The cut of Fiscal Disparity Aid, now called Stabilization Aid, was spread out over time and postponed to begin in 2017.  We are facing a cut of more than $100,000 in our Stabilization Grant each year for the next 23 years.

When the Claremont case was decided by the New Hampshire Supreme Court in 1997, New Hampshire was last amount the 50 states in state aid as a percentage of school revenue. Actually, if New Hampshire’s state aid had been tripled, New Hampshire would still have been last. Following the Claremont decision state education aid to Hinsdale jumped in one year from $736,712. to $3,464,567.  In percentage terms the state contribution jumped from about 14% of Hinsdale expenditures for schools to more than 60%. However, in the past decade the legislature has managed to significantly reduce funding to Hinsdale, first by cutting the entire 40% of funding for teacher retirement which represented an additional local taxpayer obligation for school district personnel of more than $853,549,000 in our current year. The 40% state retirement contribution had been in place for more than 50 years.  Then Concord charged local taxpayers more by increasing local property taxes and calling it “statewide education tax.” There is zero equalization among towns so this tax is “statewide” in name only. And as previously stated the State added to our local property tax bill by cutting our Local Disparity Aid, now Stabilization Aid, which will result in a cut of State revenue of about $100,000 for next year.

By pushing the cost of education, “a state responsibility” down to local taxpayers, the disparity of tax rates in towns drives even more educational inequity. Some towns in New Hampshire have more than 20 times the amount of taxable property per student as other towns.

Hinsdale administrators and Board members are meeting with our local Legislators on December 14th at which time we will outline our concerns related to funding.

The decision to cut Fiscal Disparity Aid to Hinsdale was made in 2012.  Recently, our Governor, our Legislature, our State Board of Education, and our Commissioner responded favorably to our request to receive financial support for our HES addition/renovation project. We are grateful for their support which resulted in our local taxpayers paying for less than half of the cost of the project.

The interest rate for the Bond on our Hinsdale Elementary School Addition/Renovation project was sold at 2.856%, below the 4% we projected at our 2018 Annual District Meeting. The cost of the project for the owners of a Hinsdale house valued at $100,000 is projected to be $36 next year. The addition/renovation project costs for next year are part of our 2019/2020 proposed operating budget.

My wife, Cindy Copeland, recently organized a Book Buddies program with Penny Chagnon’s third grade class. Members of Cindy’s book club, which has been together for over 20 years, were matched with all of the students in Mrs. Chagnon’s class. Over the course of the year, the adult volunteers will give their book buddies four books, each with a note about why the book was chosen for that particular student. The students will write back to their book buddies so that there is some discussion around reading and what makes a book interesting and memorable. The first book delivery took place on Monday, November 19th and the children were thrilled to receive their books!

I am working on the newly adopted 2018-2019 School Board Goals and will provide an update on our progress throughout the school year.

2018-2019 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.
  • Establish continuity and collaboration in instruction between the school buildings.

As of early December 55% of the Hinsdale Senior Class was in the process of applying for college for next year. Currently 10% of the Senior Class is planning to join a branch of the military.

We are continuing to create opportunities for personalized learning at Hinsdale. For example, our Director of Personalized Learning recently created an evening program that will provide our high school students and members of the community an opportunity to move towards an LNA certification.

  1. Communication
  • Internal
    • Twice yearly school board tours of all school buildings – 1 tour during the school day and 1 tour when classes are not in session.
  • 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.
    • Maintain relationships with town governing bodies.

Our business administrator, our cost center managers, and I will be meeting with the Hinsdale Budget Committee on December 11th in an effort to provide the necessary budget justification for the 2019-2020 School District Budget.

  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.

John Broderick, Senior Director of External Affairs at Dartmouth-Hitchcock and formerly Chief Justice of the NH Supreme Court spoke to our high school students and many of our parents and staff on Tuesday, November 27.  John urged our students, staff, and parents to change the culture and conversation around mental illness in an effort to destigmatize it.  We hope to further his recommendations through the application of our revised social emotional learning curriculum.

John wrote the following day: “Wayne, It was a real pleasure meeting you and many of your teachers, counselors and school board members yesterday. Everyone made me feel very welcome in Hinsdale and the students were wonderful.  I was impressed by all you are doing in the arena of mental health awareness and social/ emotional learning. You seem way ahead of many larger and wealthier districts. You should be rightly proud of where you are and your commitment to your students.”

We have had three reported acts of bullying at HES since our last Board meeting. Two of the three occurred on a school bus. We have had zero reported acts 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 continue to provide quality PD for our staff. Thanks to the effort of the Director of the Hinsdale After School Program we have $22,000 in grant funds which will be used to provide professional development for the staff of HASP.

  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 has been working with the Chair of the Budget Committee to develop a budget document that will be useful throughout the budget approval process.

  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.

The cameras recently added to HMHS have added significant clarity and detail.

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

We are continuing to plan for the implementation of the third year of our five-year Technology Plan. Our seventh grade and our eleventh grade students are scheduled to be added to the one-to-one computer initiative next fall.

November 2018 Superintendent Blog

Superintendent’s Blog – November 2018

We have only a few items left on our Hinsdale Elementary School Addition/Renovation project punch list.  The work to clear the remaining items on the punch list is being done after school, on school holidays, or on weekends to avoid disturbing our HES learning environment.

The federal government has approved a waiver for New Hampshire under the “Every Student Succeeds Act” (ESSA) from certain federal student assessment regulations for its Performance Assessment for Competency Education (PACE). Hinsdale is a New Hampshire recently approved PACE District, therefore, approval for New Hampshire by the Federal Department of Education is welcome news for Hinsdale. New Hampshire and Louisiana are the only two states in the United States to receive Innovative Assessment Demonstration Authority approvals.  PACE gives us the opportunity to make assessments more relevant to classroom learning while still providing important information about student achievement and growth which better suits our personalized learning model. Karen Thompson is willing to provide the Board with an update of our District PACE progress at our December Board meeting.

The NH Department of Education is planning a statewide review of PACE programs during the 2018-2019 school year.

I have had the opportunity to attend two afterschool events since our October Board meeting.  On Tuesday, October 16th I attended the final 2018 Girls’ Varsity Soccer game. On Friday evening, November 2nd, I attended the annual Hinsdale Elementary School PTA Variety Show.

District administrators have developed Action Plans for the newly adopted 2018-2019 District Goals. Hinsdale administrators will provide an overview of the individual school action plans regarding our District learning goal at the November Board meeting.

The 2018-2019 Hinsdale School District Goals are as follows:

  1. HSD will personalize learning for each student which will result in improved student learning and higher numbers of students reaching proficiency on targeted learning standards by: a. Using a Response to Intervention model, which includes core instruction, intervention, and extension, we will provide students with educational opportunities and learning based upon each student’s unique needs, interests and learning styles. While we will continue to address learning needs in all content areas, during the 18-19 school year, we will intentionally focus on improving student learning in mathematics, as evidenced by MAP data/results.

The action plan for our learning goal at our elementary school focuses on math. One objective reads, “each grade level will achieve an overall ten percent improvement in mathematics based on a fall to spring improvement in our Measure of Academic Progress assessment.”  The activities planned will focus on improved student automaticity of math fact fluency. The HES staff plan to better use technology to engage students in acquiring math facts. As part of the math improvement action plan students will take a more active role regarding goal setting.  To help improve math instruction HES staff are devoting one meeting each month which will focus on math instruction. The staff also intend to use their PLC teams to improve the use of data to inform instruction. In addition, at Hinsdale Elementary School Inder Khalsa and Joe Boggio are in the process of implementing a plan to improve Hinsdale student readiness upon entering Kindergarten.

Hinsdale Middle/High School also is focusing on improvement in the area of math. The HMHS math objective states that each grade level will achieve an overall 10 percent improvement in mathematics based on fall to spring NWEA Measure of Academic Progress. This will be determined by the number of students who meet or exceed the fortieth percentile at each grade level.

Some of the activities that will be implemented at HMHS include: tutoring using Khan Academy, whole school interventions in math, extended common prep time for high school math teachers, increased use of PLC teams, analyze data to improve instruction, develop intervention groups, and integrate math into all curriculum areas.

  1. Staff will support the successful implementation of the Tech Committee’s Five-Year Plan.

Each of our fifth, sixth, ninth, and tenth grade students now have access to a Chromebook while at school.  The technology staff are working with teachers to help staff effectively include these devices to improve learning.  Our District Technology Committee has begun a review of the five-year plan to determine if modifications should be recommended to the Board.  Costs associated with year three of the technology plan are included in the draft budget that will be distributed to the Board next week. Under the third year of the plan each seventh grade student and each eleventh grade student will also have access to a Chromebook while at school.

  1. Staff will provide students with social/emotional learning opportunities which will enhance students’ capacity to integrate skills, attitudes, and behaviors to deal effectively and ethically with daily tasks and challenges; and which will result in students learning the skills they need to in order to be successful in today’s world – at home, in school, and later in college and work.

Thanks to Board Chair Holly Kennedy, HMHS administration, the Hinsdale School Board Communications Committee, and the HMHS student support staff team, we have the Honorable John T. Broderick scheduled to present to both the Hinsdale students and the Hinsdale community on Tuesday, November 27th. Hon. Broderick’s presentation will be focused on mental health.

  1. HSD will recruit best quality staff, grow best quality staff, and retain best quality staff.

We continue to provide targeted professional development and quality teacher support, especially for our new staff. We are reviewing our para supports currently in place with the expectation of improving the workplace environment for our paras.  Our Director of Curriculum and Instruction is currently assisting several staff members who are becoming certified under the New Hampshire Alternative Certification Plan. The upcoming budget recommendations will illustrate our suggestions to improve our ability to hire the best quality substitute teachers and substitute paras.

  1. HSD will conduct financial business in an efficient and effective manner.

Our business administrator Tom O’Connor with the help of our cost center mangers and SAU staff has a draft budget ready to share with the Board at the November 14th School Board meeting.

We continue to work to improve our anticipated revenue.  In December, we intend to invite all our elected State legislators to meet with Hinsdale administrators and those Hinsdale Board members available to discuss the upcoming State budget.  The state budget being developed by House, Senate, and the Governor will be in place by the end of the school year and will be in effect for the following two years. We are particularly concerned in regards to the projected loss of another $200,000 over the next two years as stabilization grants are being phased out. There is a lot of misinformation regarding the phasing out of Stabilization Grants which further exasperate an already meager show of financial support for public education in New Hampshire.

A draft budget is due to the Hinsdale Town Budget Committee on December 3, 2018.

  1. HSD will 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 continuing to improve the safety and security of the District.

The District Safety Committee has organized several safety drills so far this year.

I am meeting with Chief Faulkner on November 13th to develop a plan regarding procuring and training a School Resource Officer for the 2019/2020 school year.

October 2018 Superintendent’s Report

Superintendent’s Report – October 2018

Our ribbon cutting ceremony for the new HES addition/renovation project was well attended on Saturday, September 22nd.   The ceremony began at 10:00 am.  After remarks by our Board Chair, Holly Kennedy, and the Chair of the Building Improvement Committee, Jim O’Malley, all five Hinsdale School Board members cut the ceremonial ribbon.  Then those in attendance were ushered into the new addition where they toured the rooms and hallway.  All who spoke expressed sincerest gratitude for all the help that made this needed facility improvement possible.  The speakers thanked the following: our voters at our 2017 District Meeting, the Hinsdale School Board, the New Hampshire Board of Education, Governor Sununu, the New Hampshire Legislature, 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 Representatives Mike Abbott, Lucy Weber, Paul Birch, Cathy Harvey and Hinsdale resident Kathy Bean. We also thanked the Hinsdale School District Building Improvement Committee whose members include: James O’Malley-Chair, Steve Fecto-Vice Chair, James MacDonell, Joe Boggio, Sean Leary, Deb Carrier, Shawn Lee, Courtney Hodge, April Anderson, Jeana Woodbury, Kaylah Hemlow, Jason Sisko, Kathy Bean, and Tom O’Connor. We also thanked our technology team and our custodians worked particularly hard to make the opening of school deadline for the new addition and the renovated rooms. Special guests in attendance included:  New Hampshire Commissioner of Education Frank Edleblut, New Hampshire Department of Education Chief Engineer Amy Clark, New Hampshire Senator Jay Kahn, State Representatives Mike Abbott, Lucy Weber, Paul Birch, and Cathy Harvey. Additional special guests included Frank and Paul Marinace from Marinace Architects, and John Edwards and Walter Latiolais from the MacMillin Company, and last but not least Hinsdale resident Smoky Smith.

We are continuing to eliminate items on our Hinsdale Elementary School project punch list.  The work to clear the items on the punch list is being done after school or on weekends to avoid disturbing our HES learning environment.

District administrators are continuing to develop Action Plans for the newly adopted 2018-2019 District Goals. We hope to finalize all the Action Plans at our October 17th Administrative Team meeting and then review the actions plans with the Board at the November 14th Board meeting.  Our staff have made progress already toward our 2018-2019 Board approved District Goals.

The 2018-2019 Hinsdale School District Goals are as follows:

  1. HSD will personalize learning for each student which will result in improved student learning and higher numbers of students reaching proficiency on targeted learning standards by: a. Using a Response to Intervention model, which includes core instruction, intervention, and extension, we will provide students with educational opportunities and learning based upon each student’s unique needs, interests and learning styles. While we will continue to address learning needs in all content areas, during the 18-19 school year, we will intentionally focus on improving student learning in mathematics, as evidenced by MAP data/results.

We have used our Measure of Academic Assessment as a universal screener for all our students using a 40% benchmark to determine proficiency.

The Hinsdale High School/Middle School staff designated their first six hours of the Hinsdale Intervention Plan period (HIP) towards assisting our students toward improving student learning in the area of mathematics. Staff used a variety of strategies including free on-line instruction such as lessons found on Kahn Academy.  Our technology staff assisted with providing additional hardware when needed.

This year our Hinsdale After School Program staff have offered additional math support for our Hinsdale Elementary School students. The HASP staff are concentrating support on math facts and math fluency.

Although we are still creating the plan, HASP has been awarded a $22,000 grant that may be used to provide professional development to our HASP staff. Some of the PD could be used to support math instruction.

  1. Staff will support the successful implementation of the Tech Committee’s Five-Year Plan.

Our Director of Technology, Deborah Trabucco and her technology team have successful initiated the second year of the Hinsdale School District Five-Year Technology Plan. Now each of our fifth, sixth, ninth, and tenth grade students have access to a Chromebook while at school.  The technology staff are working with teachers to help staff effectively include these devices to improve learning.

Our District Technology Committee plans to meet soon to review the implementation of the five-year plan and determine if modifications should be recommended to the Board.

  1. Staff will provide students with social/emotional learning opportunities which will enhance students’ capacity to integrate skills, attitudes, and behaviors to deal effectively and ethically with daily tasks and challenges; and which will result in students learning the skills they need to in order to be successful in today’s world – at home, in school, and later in college and work.

Administrators are working with student support staff to create an improved social emotional learning curriculum. We are hopeful that the Board will allow time at the November Board meeting to hear our recommendations.  We are also hopeful that the Board will sponsor a public forum where our staff can outline the recommendations.  We hope the Board would then approve recommended changes to our existing social emotional learning curriculum at the December Board meeting.

  1. HSD will recruit best quality staff, grow best quality staff, and retain best quality staff.

Our administrators reviewed hiring practices in regards to substitute teachers and substitute paras at our October 3rd Administrative Team meeting. The upcoming budget recommendations will illustrate our suggestions to improve our ability to hire the best quality substitute teachers and substitute paras.

  1. HSD will conduct financial business in an efficient and effective manner.

Our business administrator Tom O’Connor met with the District administrators in late September where a rough timeline for budget inputs was established.

The Facility Committee is recommending a modification to our Board approved five-year capital improvement plan.  The Facility Committee believes the revision better reflects our priorities.

We continue to work to improve our revenue.  For example, our business manager recently wrote a $8,315.00 grant for a new over for our elementary school cafeteria. We learned on October 2, 2018 that the grant was approved.

A draft budget is due to the Hinsdale Town Budget Committee on December 3, 2018. At present we are on schedule to have a draft budget ready for the November Board meeting.

5.  HSD will 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 continuing to improve the safety and security of the District.  On Monday, October 1st, security film was applied to HES windows. On Tuesday, October 2nd, security was applied to windows at Hinsdale Middle High School.

The District Safety Committee is planning to meet soon to determine the safety drill schedule for the 2018-2019 school year.

September 2018 Superintendent’s Report

Superintendent’s Report – September 2018

We successfully opened our elementary school on Tuesday, September 4th. The new renovation and addition to the elementary school was ready on opening day. 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, 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. I would also like to thank the Hinsdale School District Building Improvement Committee whose members include: James O’Malley-Chair, Steve Fecto-Vice Chair, James MacDonell, Joe Boggio, Sean Leary, Deb Carrier, Shawn Lee, Courtney Hodge, April Anderson, Kaylah Hemlow, Kathy Bean, and Tom O’Connor. Certainly District staff including the technology team and the custodians worked particularly hard to make the opening of school deadline for the new addition and the renovated rooms..

The Hinsdale School Board is planning a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new HES addition/renovation project.  The ceremony is scheduled to begin at 10:00 am on Saturday, September 22nd.  Invitations have been sent out to special guests.  Anyone who would like to join us is welcome. After a few remarks, and the ribbon cutting, the District will provide tours for those individuals who would like to see the rooms in the new addition and renovation.

New staff spent the last week of August in preparation of the new school year. Returning staff spent two or three days in preparation for the new school year depending on the assignment. Common staff development included curriculum and instruction updates, PACE updates, safety protocols, bullying prevention, understanding sexual harassment and preventing unlawful workplace harassment, and trauma informed classroom. I’ve attached the PowerPoint to my opening day remarks to my “Superintendent’s Blog” which may be accessed in the upper left hand corner on the Hinsdale School District Web Page

Our Director of Technology, Deborah Trabucco and her staff have made the necessary preparations for a successful implementation of the second year of the Hinsdale School District Five-Year Technology Plan.

The Hinsdale School Board recently adopted District Goals for the 2018-2019 school year.  District administrators are currently formulating action plans.  I’ll report out the progress to the Board and community monthly.

The 2018-2019 Hinsdale School District Goals are as follows:

  1. HSD will personalize learning for each student which will result in improved student learning and higher numbers of students reaching proficiency on targeted learning standards by: a. Using a Response to Intervention model, which includes core instruction, intervention, and extension, we will provide students with educational opportunities and learning based upon each student’s unique needs, interests and learning styles. While we will continue to address learning needs in all content areas, during the 18-19 school year, we will intentionally focus on improving student learning in mathematics, as evidenced by MAP data/results.  a. Staff will support the successful implementation of the Tech Committee’s Five-Year Plan

2.  Staff will provide students with social/emotional learning opportunities which will enhance students’ capacity to integrate skills, attitudes, and behaviors to deal effectively and ethically with daily tasks and challenges; and which will result in students learning the skills they need to in order to be successful in today’s world – at home, in school, and later in college and work.

3. HSD will recruit best quality staff, grow best quality staff, and retain best quality staff.

4.HSD will conduct financial business in an efficient and effective manner.

5. HSD will 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.

2018 Opening for Staff – PowerPoint

August 2018 Superintendent’s Blog

Superintendent’s Report – August 2018

As we approach the new school year we are focusing on completing the final tasks that will enable us to open our doors to our students on September 4th. We have filled all our open positions with the exception of one para position, and are excited to welcome new staff on Monday, August 27th for the first of two training days. The School Board is invited to breakfast with our new teachers beginning at 8:30 am on Monday, August 27th in the SAU Conference Room. The number of new staff hired for the 2018/2019 school year is considerably smaller than in recent years, a testament to the efforts associated with the Board Goal focused on staff retention.

Our returning teaching staff are scheduled to meet in their respective buildings at 8:00 am on Wednesday, August 29th.  Our official welcome for all staff is scheduled for 8:30 am on Thursday, August 30th, in the Hinsdale Middle/High School Gym.

Our students are scheduled to return on Tuesday, September 4th.

Our custodians have worked hard this summer to make certain our buildings will be ready for the first day with students.  They have had to work especially hard to accommodate construction associated with the Hinsdale Elementary School addition/renovation project.  Custodians and others are currently setting up desks, chairs, and tables to make sure the new addition classroom space and the renovated space are ready for our students on Tuesday, September 4th.

To date our Hinsdale Elementary School addition/renovation project is still on time and under budget.  However, we did encounter a few surprises in July as we worked on the renovation stage of the project.  For example, after a July rainstorm we discovered that an existing roof drain connector needed to be redirected as it was found to be draining directly beneath the new building connector hallway to the existing elementary school.  As a result, we connected the roof drain pipe to a new six-inch pipe that ran to a newly constructed dry well.  Also in July it became clear that the amount of standing water in the area directly adjacent to the new addition was unacceptable. MacMillin agreed to split the cost of the additional site work needed to effectively drain the water from the roof of the new addition. The amount needed from us was $17,200 which was taken from our $54,654.00 owner contingency.

The Hinsdale Code Enforcement Officer, Rod Lawrence, has stated that his inspections related to our HES Addition/Renovation project have gone well.

Our Building Improvement Committee has met several times over the summer and toured the construction site at each meeting. The Building Improvement Committee last met on Wednesday, August 15th.  The HES Building Improvement Committee members include the following: Sean Leary, Jim O’Malley, Joe Boggio, Steve Fecto, Alan Putnam, Deb Carrier, Shawn Lee, Jason Sisko, Courtney Hodge, April Anderson, Tom O’Connor, Kathy Bean, and Wayne Woolridge

The Construction Team met every other Tuesday all summer. The team last met on Tuesday, August 21st.  The Construction Team toured the construction site after each meeting. The Construction Team members that are District employees are as follows: Joe Boggio, Steve Fecto, Tom O’Connor, Alan Putnam, and Wayne Woolridge. Other Construction team members include Margaret Thomas and Paul Marinance of Marinance Architects, John Edwards from MacMillin Construction who serves as Project Manager and Walter Latiolais from MacMillin who serves as the Project Superintendent. The Hinsdale Building Inspector Rodney Lawrence usually joins the team meetings.

Our project dedication ceremony is scheduled for Saturday, September 22nd, at 10:00 am.  The purpose of the ceremony is to thank all those who helped the Hinsdale School District successfully conclude this badly needed addition/renovation project.

June Superintendent’s Report

Superintendent’s Report – June 2018


To date our Hinsdale Elementary School addition/renovation project is on time and under budget.

The last day the teachers are scheduled to work for the 2017/2018 school year is Monday, June 25th. The construction team is scheduled to break through the wall connecting the addition to the existing elementary school on Tuesday, June 26th.

The interior color boards for the new addition were approved by the Building Improvement Committee at their May 15th meeting. Paint and materials related to the color choices have been ordered. We are in the process of ordering lockers, toilet accessories, marker boards, fire extinguishers, cabinets, classroom chairs, teacher desks, tables, rugs, and play carpets.

The Hinsdale Code Enforcement Officer has stated that all his inspections related to our HES Addition/Renovation project have gone well so far.

Our architects have prepared an updated landscaping plan for the area around our new addition. Our construction team is recommending the landscaping plan for approval by our Building Improvement Committee at their next meeting scheduled for June 12th.

The next Construction Team meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, June 12th at 9:30 am.

Our next Facility Committee meeting is scheduled for 2:15 on Friday, June 16th.

The Hinsdale School Board determined that a dedication ceremony will be held on Saturday, September 22nd, at 10:00 am.   The School Board wishes to thank all those who helped the Hinsdale School District successfully conclude this badly needed addition/renovation project.

We continue to make 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. 

The District PACE Committee led by our Director of Curriculum and Instruction made an excellent presentation to the Board at our May Board meeting. The team also made an excellent presentation at the May 23rd Public Forum.  Following the public forum regarding PACE, the Board voted unanimously to submit our PACE application to the New Hampshire Department of Education for Approval. The application has been submitted and we await the notification of our approval status.

Our Hinsdale Extended Learning Opportunity Exhibition Day on May 18th was a huge success thanks to our ELO Coordinator, Karen Thompson, the ELO assistant Cathy Johnson, and extending learning coaches Bonnie Trombly, Jodie Holmquist, and Peter Hughes. There are 56 Hinsdale students who plan on participating in the program next year.

This year’s ELO Exhibition Day on May 18th was attended by Fred Bramante, who serves as President of the National Center for Competency Based Learning, the New Hampshire Deputy Commissioner of Education Christine Brennan, all five Hinsdale School Board members, and several representatives from other school districts.

On Saturday, June 9th, School Board members Holly Kennedy, Jeana Woodbury, and I attended the EDies Award Ceremony in Manchester, New Hampshire where we witnessed our Extended Learning Opportunities Coordinator, Karen Thompson, accept the EDies Award for the New Hampshire Extended Learning Opportunities Coordinator of the 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. 

On May 23rd the School Board Communications Committee held a public forum related to our effort to focus on best practice as it relates to personalized learning. Our Director of Curriculum and members of the Personalized Assessment for Competency Education Committee made presentations related to this effort.  The Board approved the request from the committee.  The application for approval has been sent to the New Hampshire Department of Education. We anticipate the Department of Education will approve our application sometime this month.

  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. 

Hinsdale Middle/High School had no allegations of bullying reported during the past month. There were no allegations of bullying at the Hinsdale Elementary School during the past month.

Our effort to move forward on the PACE District continuum will include a Professional Learning Opportunity approach to our performance assessments. The commitment toward using the PLC model should further improve our Hinsdale culture of learning together.

  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 turnover is much lower than in recent years. Even in a tight labor market our existing staff seems to want to remain as part of our educational team at Hinsdale. Hopefully, we will continue to attract high quality candidates for the few openings we currently have at Hinsdale.

We think our move towards becoming a PACE District will make the District more attractive to candidates and result in an improved rate of retention. Under a PACE model our teachers will have more autonomy in regards to designing student assessments. Our teachers will develop more of the assessments we use to monitor the learning growth of our students.

  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 Hinsdale School Board has approved a Hinsdale School District Capital Improvement Plan. As a result the administration intends to budget $50,000 for the 2019/2010 school year to be raised to purchase and install a new boiler for the Hinsdale Middle/High School.

It appears that we will close the books for the 2017/2018 school year in the black. Although it is unlikely that our business administrator will close the books for 2017/2018 until late summer, at present we on schedule to make the expected report out deadlines.

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

The District received approximately $102,000 in New Hampshire safety grants this year. We plan to do our best to complete all these projects over the summer months but have until April of 2019 to fully expend the grant funds.

The Governor’s Office recently announced more safety funds that will become available to the schools this summer. The Facilities Committee identified a few items from our recent Safety Audit that we will include in a summer safety grant submittal.

  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.    

We are now moving forward with the second year of our five-year one-to-one initiative. Next year all Hinsdale students in the sixth grade and the tenth grade will have tablets for use during the school days.  Currently all Hinsdale students in the 5th grade and the 9th grade have tablets to use during the school day.  The State did not approve our grant application that would have provided funds to integrate technology with the arts at both Hinsdale Elementary School and Hinsdale Middle/High School.  We expect to submit the similar grant application with a few modifications next year.

Superintendent’s Report – May 2018

Superintendent’s Report – May 2018

To date our Hinsdale Elementary School addition/renovation project is on time and under budget. However, due to March snow storms masonry experienced a delay in their projected start which put them a few days behind schedule. As a result, the overall schedule has been modified to make up the time so the completion date remains August 21, 2018.

The Hinsdale Code Enforcement Officer has stated that all his inspections related to our HES Addition/Renovation project have gone well so far. One of the outside inspections found a small amount of the existing flooring materials in the area scheduled for renovation that will need to be removed during the renovation at an estimated cost of $4,000.

Our architects have prepared finish boards with flooring and paint colors that our construction team is recommending for approval by our Building Improvement Committee at their meeting scheduled for May 15th.

The next Construction Team meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, May 15th at 9:30 am.

Our next Hinsdale Building Improvement Committee meeting is scheduled for 6:00 pm on Tuesday, May 15th.  The members of the Building Improvement will be given a tour of the new addition during the May 15th meeting.

The School Board is scheduled to tour the addition at 3:30 on Friday, May 18th.

Our next Facility Committee meeting is scheduled for 2:15 on Friday, May 18th.

The building site is active seven days a week now so all tours of the construction site must be scheduled through the construction superintendent and all those who tour the site must wear a hardhat.

On April 20th our Facilities Committee approved a five-year Capital Improvement Plan to be recommended to the School Board at the Board meeting scheduled for May 9th.

The  proposed five-year Hinsdale School District Capital Improvement Plan is as follows:

Replace Boiler at Middle/High School-to be Included in the 2019-2020 School District Budget.

Estimated to cost $50,000.

Work to be scheduled for the summer of 2019

Repair Roof on SAU Building-to be Included in the 2020-2021 School District Budget.

Estimated to cost $50,000

Work to be scheduled for the summer of 2020

Repair Gym Floor at HES-to be Included in the 2021-2022 School District Budget.

Estimated to cost $20,000

Work to be scheduled for the summer of 2021

Repair Roof at HES-to be Included in the 2022-2023 School District Budget.

Estimated to cost $120,000

Work to be scheduled for summer of 2022

Replace Windows and Bleachers at Middle/High School-to be Included in the 2023-2024 School District Budget.

Estimated to cost $150,000

Work to be scheduled for the summer of 2023

We continue to make 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 as we move towards a student competency education model. The District PACE Committee led by our Director of Curriculum and Instruction is developing a presentation for the Board at our Board meeting scheduled for May 9th and a presentation for a public forum scheduled for May 23rd.  Both presentations will emphasize the progress we have made toward the development of a solid plan that will help us move to a quality student competency focused education model.

On May 1st we received notification that Hinsdale School District has been awarded, $4,470.00, to support the activity, Competency Based Education Design Studio.  The Competency Based Education Design Studio is a summer three day workshop in Manchester, New Hampshire.  Thanks to the grant authored by our Director of Curriculum and Instruction Hinsdale will be able to send a team of teachers and administrators to this competency based workshop.

On April 10th the New Hampshire Deputy Commissioner, Christine Brennan spent the majority of the day visiting our Hinsdale schools. She started her day meeting with Hinsdale administrators, Board Vice Chair Sean Leary and Hinsdale State Representative Mike Abbott.  Sean Leary and our ELO Coordinator Karen Thompson and our principals led the Deputy Commissioner in the tour of our schools

  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. 

On April 25th the School Board Communications Committee held a public forum on student safety, bullying, and the Hinsdale Social Emotional Learning program.  Our principals, our school counselors, our social worker, our school resource officer, and Police Chief Faulkner participated in the event.

  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. 

The presentation by our student support team, at the recent public forum, communicated the clear behavioral expectations that are taught to our students through the new social emotional learning program at HMHS.

Hinsdale Middle/High School had two allegations of bullying reported during the past month. There were no substantiated allegations of bullying at the Hinsdale Elementary School during the past month.

  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 turnover is much lower than in recent years. Even in a tight labor market our existing staff seems to want to remain as part of our educational team at Hinsdale. Hopefully, we will attract high quality candidates for the few opening we currently have at Hinsdale.

We think our move towards competency based education will result in even a greater level of retention of innovative staff. Under a competency based model our teachers will have more autonomy in regards to designing student assessments.

  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 Hinsdale School District Facility Committee has approved a Hinsdale School District Capital Improvement Plan. This plan will be recommended for Board approval at the next Board meeting scheduled for Wednesday, May 9th.

 

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

We were recently notified that a recent safety grant we submitted for $54,280 was approved by the State. The total of the safety grants that was announced for Hinsdale schools over the past two months total approximately $102,000. Our first safety door lock, paid for by the safety grant, was installed at the Hinsdale Middle/High School on May 2nd. We plan to do our best to complete all these projects over the summer months.

 

  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.   

 

We are now moving forward with the second year of our five-year one-to-one initiative. Next year all Hinsdale students in the sixth grade and the tenth grade will have tablets for use during the school days.  Currently all Hinsdale students in the 5th grade and the 9th grade have tablets to use during the school day.  We are still waiting to hear from the State regarding a grant application that would provide funds to integrate technology with the arts at both Hinsdale Elementary School and Hinsdale Middle/High School.

April 2018 Superintendent’s Report

Superintendent’s Report – April 2018


Since my most recent report to the School Board I have had the privilege to attend several school events included a great drama production, “Back to the 80’s.” Approximately 40 Hinsdale students from the Hinsdale Afterschool Program starred in this musical production. This amazing show was offered to the public on two consecutive days over a weekend.  The musical was very well attended by the public.

It would be difficult to overestimate the importance of the Hinsdale Afterschool Program to Hinsdale students and families. Many of our Hinsdale students depend on HASP for a safe place between 3:30-6:00 each school day and for breakfast and/or an afterschool snack.  During our outstanding after school program students complete homework with the help of staff and volunteers. Both elementary school students and middle school students have access to Hinsdale computer labs and to the staff needed to help improve the student’s technology related skills. These computers are connected to the internet and many Hinsdale students struggle with reliable access to the internet from home. Hinsdale students who attend our after school program have access to our amazing elementary school drama program.  In addition our HASP students benefit from physical exercise during a best practice physical exercise program. There are days when more than 100 Hinsdale students participate in HASP.  Our HASP Director is in the process of writing a grant application in an attempt to secure the reauthorization of funds. Unfortunately, it is unlikely we will know if our application is approved before early summer.  The current funding for our afterschool program ends on June 30, 2018.  The impact of losing our HASP program would be catastrophic to our students and families.

Another recent event I had the privilege to attend was the Hinsdale Elementary School PTA “Book Bingo.” More than a hundred people attended this event filling the HES cafeteria. It was obvious that just about everyone in the room enjoyed “Book Bingo.” The members of the Book Bingo Committee are to be commended for doing such a great job of organizing this event. Many of our SALT students assisted with this event. I can’t think of another school event where having fun while generating an interest in reading come together so perfectly. I’m sure many students couldn’t wait to get home and start reading their new book, a book that they picked out from many available to them.

Another event I was fortunate to attend in March was a presentation at the State House in Concord. HMHS teacher Jodie Holmquist and I accepted an award given by our Governor, in front of the Governor’s Council. The award recognized our commitment that every Hinsdale student have a high degree of financial literacy prior to graduation.

To date our Hinsdale Elementary School addition/renovation project is on time and under budget. Our Building Improvement Committee, the Hinsdale Construction Committee, and the Hinsdale Facility Committee have all met and discussed the HES project since our March Board meeting.

The Hinsdale Code Enforcement Officer has stated that all his inspections related to our HES Addition/Renovation project have gone well so far. The McMillin Construction Superintendent has called for inspections at each stage of the work. Currently the construction team is finalizing the installation of under slab utilities and the instillation of the exterior masonry envelope. The next major installation will be the joist and the deck which will begin in about four weeks.

Major construction related deliveries are being scheduled between the hours of 9:00 am and 2:00 pm to avoid the drop off and the pickup of students. The HES principal has shared important school dates through July with the construction team.

All construction bills are being sent to Marinace Architects for review and approval before being submitted to our business office for processing and payment.

All signs point to a quality Hinsdale Elementary School addition and renovation project that the community will be proud of, a project that will benefit Hinsdale students for generations to come.

The next Construction Team meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, April 17th at 9:30 am. Our next Facility Committee meeting is scheduled for 2:15 on Friday, April 20th.  Our next Hinsdale Building Improvement Committee meeting is scheduled for 6:00 pm on Tuesday, May 15th.

Congratulations to the Hinsdale School Board, a first place winner for the National School Boards Association’s annual Magna Award. The Hinsdale School Board was given this award as a result of the Boards support of innovation and creativity in helping to increase student achievement. The Magna Award program for 2018 focused on equity in education and recognizes school districts and their leaders for their efforts to bring educational equity to their students through programs that remove barriers to student achievement. Most notably the Hinsdale School Board’s role in the creation and continued support of our hugely successful Extended Learning Opportunities program contributed to the first place designation.

For the third year in a row the New Hampshire Department of Education determined that the Hinsdale School District had a 100% compliance level relative to our initial evaluations of students recommended for an individual education plan.

We continue to make 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 as we move towards a student competency education model. The District PACE Committee led by our Director of Curriculum and Instruction is developing a presentation for the Board at our Board meeting scheduled for May 9th and a presentation for a public forum scheduled for May 16th or May 23rd.

Each student at Hinsdale Middle School students recently completed a special reading unit that was a connected to our Response to Intervention initiative.

  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 two community forums before the end of the 2018 school year. Topics under consideration include student safety, bullying, and a review of the outcomes and parent input related to our new Social Emotional Curriculum.

One of the motivating factors cited in the argument to embrace a new social emotional curriculum two years ago was the need to reduce the frequency of bullying in our schools. 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.

  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. 

HMHS had no allegations of bullying during the past month. There were three substantiated allegations of bullying at the Hinsdale Elementary School during the past month.

  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. 

The District voters approved a three-year agreement with the Hinsdale Support Staff Association. This new contract should improve our rate of retention and our ability to hire high quality staff.  At this point it appears that our turnover rate will be much lower for the next school year than has been the case in recent years.

We think our move towards competency based education will result in a greater level of retention of innovative 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.  

At the 2018 Annual District the District voters approved the 2018/2019 School District Budget as recommended by the Hinsdale School Board and the Hinsdale Budget Committee. This budget included about $450,000 from the State needed to complete our HES Addition/Renovation project.

Our Hinsdale School District Facility Committee is close to completing a Hinsdale School District Capital Improvement Plan. The next meeting is scheduled for Friday, April 20th. The committee hopes to approve a five-year capital improvement plan to recommend to the Board during the May School Board meeting.

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

In late March we were notified that a recent safety grant we submitted for $54,280 was approved by the State. The total of the safety grants that was announced for Hinsdale schools over the past two months total approximately $100,000. We plan to do our best to complete these projects over the summer months.

For the second time in the past month several of our Hinsdale administrators and I met with our school resource officer and the Hinsdale Police Chief. We discussed recommendations that would further improve campus security in order to keep our students safe. We hope to share some of these recommendations with the Board at the June Board meeting.

 

  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.   

 

Our teachers are taking advantage of our technology initiative to help with the transition to a competency-based education model. With the approval of operating budget at the March Annual School District Meeting we are now moving forward with the second year of our five-year one-to-one initiative.  Next year all Hinsdale students in the sixth grade and the tenth grade will have tablets for use during the school days.  Currently all Hinsdale students in the 5th grade and the 9th grade have tablets to use during the school day.

 

March Superintendent’s Report

Superintendent’s Report –March 2018

I was able to attend several Hinsdale Boys Varsity and Hinsdale Girls Varsity basketball games during the past month, including the Girls’ Championship game in Plymouth, New Hampshire. Both teams were exceptional and both teams qualified for the playoffs. The Girls’ State Championship game was incredible. I am especially proud of the manner in which the Hinsdale girls dealt with circumstances that developed in the middle of the fourth quarter. Hinsdale had been ahead the entire game but found themselves behind in the middle of the fourth quarter.  Even after the sudden change in fortune the team members never lost their composure. Our team successfully made several crucial plays in the last few minutes of the game to win by two points. The Hinsdale 2018 State Championship Team includes seniors Monika Costello, Gabrial LeClair, Mariah Nichols; junior Hannah Lynch; sophomores Maggie St. John and Ericka Girroir; freshmen Angelina Wilcox, Audrey Martin, Olivia Pangelinan, and Kleay Steever.  Our head coach is Terry Bonnette.  Our assistant coach is Al Putnam. Our manger is Rachael Girroir.

Our State Senator Jay Kahn has sponsored a New Hampshire Senate Resolution recognizing the amazing accomplishments of our Hinsdale Girls Basketball Team. He hopes to read the resolution at the Hinsdale Annual School District meeting on Saturday, March 17th.

To date our Hinsdale Elementary School addition/renovation project is on time and under budget. Our Hinsdale Elementary School principal, Joe Boggio, meets daily with the project superintendent. I have met with the project superintendent several times and each time he has stated that everything is working out as well as could be expected. Our Building Improvement Committee, the Hinsdale Construction Committee, and the Hinsdale Facility Committee have all met and discussed the HES project since our February Board meeting.

All signs point to a quality Hinsdale Elementary School addition and renovation project that the community will be proud of, a project that will benefit Hinsdale students for generations to come.

Our next Hinsdale Building Improvement Committee meeting is scheduled for 6:00 pm on Tuesday, April 3rd. Our next Facility Committee meeting is scheduled for 2:15 on Friday, March 16th.

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 as we move towards a student competency education model. Our teachers spent the majority of the day on Monday, March 5th working to become a PACE (Performance Assessment for Competency Education) District.  Currently our teachers routinely use PACE type assessments. The Director of the New Hampshire PACE program and the Curriculum Director for New Hampshire PACE gave a ninety minute informative presentation to all our teachers during the March 5th workshop day. The Hinsdale District PACE Committee would like to present their plan to the Board at the May Board Meeting.  The Board might then offer a public forum regarding the move to a more competency education model. The District PACE Committee would need an affirmative vote of the Board in June in order to move forward with our PACE application. If we adopt the PACE model one outcome, likely beginning in the fall of 2019, would be a decrease in the number of grades assessed yearly from seven to three using the “common core” state test.  There are significant free resources available to Districts who are identified by the State as a PACE District.

  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 two community forums before the end of the 2018 school year. Topics under consideration include a review of the outcomes and parent input related to our new Social Emotional Curriculum.  One of the motivating factors cited in the argument to embrace a new social emotional curriculum two years ago was the need to reduce the frequency of bullying in our schools. 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.

The PACE Committee is hopeful the Board will offer a public forum that would parent input concerning our move to a competency-based personalized learning model.

  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. Teachers spent some time in their PLC groups during our March 5th workshop day discussing performance based assessments.

HMHS had two allegations of bullying during the past month. Both allegations were unsubstantiated. There were no reported allegations of bullying at the Hinsdale Elementary School during the past month.

  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. 

The Board has approved a three-year agreement between the Hinsdale School Board and the Hinsdale Support Staff Association. If the agreement is approved by the voters at the Annual School District Meeting on March 17th we should improve our rate of retention and our ability to hire high quality staff.

We think our move towards competency based education will result in a greater level of retention of innovative 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.  

The Budget Committee unanimously endorsed the 2018/2019 School District Budget as recommended by the Hinsdale School Board. The town voters will determine the final 2018/2019 School District Budget at the School District Meeting scheduled for Saturday, March 17th.

There were no negative findings in the recently completed third party audit of our financials.

Our Facilities Committee is meeting on the third Friday each month at 2:15. The next meeting is scheduled for Friday, March 16th. 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.

Several of our Hinsdale administrators and I recently met with our school resource officer and the Hinsdale Police Chief. We discussed recommendations that would further improve campus security in order to keep our students safe. We plan to share some of these recommendations with the Facilities Committee at the March 16th meeting.

  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.   

Our teachers are taking advantage of our technology initiative to help with the transition to a competency-based education model. Teachers were further trained in technology by our Director of Technology and her staff during our March 5th workshop day.

Superintendent’s Annual Report 2018

Superintendent’s Annual School District Report 2018

From our $2,250,000 Hinsdale Elementary School building grant which was approved by the New Hampshire Department of Education, the New Hampshire School Board, the New Hampshire House and Senate, and signed into law by Governor Sununu, to the state-wide recognition of our successful Extended Learning Opportunities program, we have much to celebrate this year.

The Hinsdale Elementary School building addition/renovation is scheduled for completion on August 21, 2018. The addition will include three first grade classrooms, three kindergarten classrooms, a music room, and an art room.  All the rooms in the addition will be on the ground floor.  The renovation consists of some existing Hinsdale elementary school first-floor rooms as well as the mechanical systems that will serve both the existing Hinsdale Elementary School and the addition. The estimated total cost of the proposed building expansion/renovation is $3,750,000. The Hinsdale Elementary School project was the only school building aid project approved by the New Hampshire Department of Education and by the New Hampshire Legislature this past session.

Without the strong support of voters at the 2017 Annual District Meeting we would not likely have been able to garner the necessary votes from the New Hampshire Legislature needed to secure the building grant. The 93% Hinsdale voter approval at the 2017 Annual District Meeting was a common topic of conversation among state officials and others with ties to K-12 education. For example, in a story that ran in the “Brattleboro Reformer” on November 3, 2017, Frank Marinace, CEO of Marinace Architects, said he was amazed by the community’s dedication to their schools. “I’ve seen a lot of votes over my 43 years and I’ve never seen 93 percent,” Marinace said. “This part of the State really wants to get it right.”

We have already received $1,800,000 of the promised building aid from the State. In addition $450,000 is promised at the completion of our project.  We recently received another $1,500,000 as a result of the sale of our Hinsdale School District building bond which was recently presented to the New Hampshire Bond Bank by our Business Administrator. We received an interest rate of 2.856 percent on our 20-year bond.  We had budgeted for an interest rate of 4 percent.

We have many individuals and groups to thank for this needed facility improvement including the following: our voters at our 2017 District Meeting, the Hinsdale School Board, the New Hampshire Board of Education, Governor Sununu, the New Hampshire Legislature, New Hampshire Commissioner of Education Frank Edelblut, and the 2016-2017 Hinsdale School District’s Building Improvement Committee. The Hinsdale Building Improvement Committee members included the following: 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, Hinsdale resident Smoky Smith, former State Senator Molly Kelly, current State Senator Jay Kahn, State Representative Mike Abbott, and Hinsdale resident Kathy Bean.

On Saturday, October 28th, the Hinsdale School Board held a ground-breaking ceremony for our 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.  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 part of the existing first floor of Hinsdale Elementary School.

The construction project is now underway. We 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 Hinsdale school administrators we agreed that the Hinsdale Elementary School summer programs, such as our extended year learning program and our summer preschool program, will use space at Hinsdale Middle/High School during the summer of 2018.

As we developed the 2018-2019 operating budget, we faced the challenge of meeting our operational budget demands while continuing to deal with a reduction in anticipated State revenue. State funding continues to be reduced while healthcare and retirement costs are rising. One example is the contribution to our retirement obligations. For decades, New Hampshire paid 40% of school employee retirement costs.  Today the State pays nothing toward the retirement for school district employees.  As a consequence, both the district and the employees have dramatically increased their contributions.

In December area legislators met with Hinsdale administrators and 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.

Many similar communities in Cheshire County have also recently been hit hard 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.

Hinsdale continues to stand out as a district that acquires a high percentage of State and Federal grants to offset local taxes. I am proud of our effort to provide a high level of grant funding. As a percentage of our expenditures, we typically procure approximately 10% more in grant funds than is common among New Hampshire Districts. This year we lead the State, largely due to our $2,250,000 building aid grant.

Other recent competitive grants include $25,000 from the New Hampshire Department of Education which will enable us to provide necessary staff training as part of Story Preservation Initiative. With its archival home at the Library of Congress, Story Preservation Initiative provides easy access to a rich collection of oral histories for integration into our curricula.

In October, Hinsdale School District was awarded a Small, Rural School Achievement grant of $15,000.  Our Business Administrator and our Director of Curriculum and Instruction did the complicated work needed to help secure this grant.

In December we were awarded a $25,000 robotics grant thanks to the hard work of our Hinsdale Middle/High School media specialist, Victoria Davis.

In January of 2018 we received security grants from the State totaling $28,293. Our School Resource Officer Marcello D’Allesandro, our Director of Technology, Debbie Trabucco, and our Business Administrator Tom O’Connor all participated in the grant application process. The security items funded were all identified as areas of need in the security audit completed in the spring of 2016.

There are many areas where we have worked hard to create savings. For example, 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.

In an effort to generate other sources of revenue, the Hinsdale Education Foundation was formed in March of 2017. The Hinsdale Education Foundation has been approved as a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit and is now registered with both the IRS and the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office. The officers of the Hinsdale Education Foundation are as follows: President, Jim O’Malley; Secretary, Steve Bonnette; Treasurer, Frank Moriarty. Other Hinsdale Education Foundation members include Board Chair Holly Kennedy and District Clerk Ann Diorio. The Foundation Board members are hopeful that individual contributions and/or business/corporate contributions may help support our Hinsdale schools without adding to the property tax bill. The Hinsdale Education Foundation’s first fund raising event is the Richard T. McCarthy Golf Tournament scheduled for May 19, 2018 at 9:00 am at the Northfield Golf Club.

Our Extended Learning Opportunity 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 Extended Learning Opportunity Coordinator, Karen Thompson. Karen Thompson was recently named “New Hampshire Extended Learning Opportunities Educator of the Year.”

We are making progress towards a system migration towards a student competency education model. We recently made modifications to our Hinsdale High School Program of Studies to better reflect the move towards a competency-based education model. All our Hinsdale High School 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. Somedays we have in excess of 100 Hinsdale students participating in our after school program.

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. We are working hard to create an individualized education plan for each student.  New Hampshire Commissioner of Education Frank Edleblut spent a full day in our schools shortly after being appointed to his post.  He is a strong advocate of the Hinsdale personalized learning competency-based program.

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.

In early August, 2017, 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.” Our District PACE committee under the leadership of our Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Karen Craig, is working hard in an effort to accomplish this goal. Members of our School District PACE Committee include the following school district educators: Tom Ronning, Ann Freitag, Brad Venice, Christine Bowker, Jennifer Taggart, Jodie Holmquist, Joe Boggio, Juliet Fenrich, Kaitlin Adams, Karen Craig, Karen Thompson, Matthew Kennedy, Peter Hughes, and Sarah Burgess.

If we accomplish our PACE Committee objectives we will likely also become a “Pathway District.” New Hampshire is a leader among states in support the effort of “Pathway Districts. 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.

Our Board continues to work hard to accomplish Board Goals. Under the Board Communication Goal one action item reads, “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.” Currently the Board is planning to hold a public forum in April and another public forum in May. The level of cooperation among Board members, and the commitment of their time to the District is extraordinary.

Hinsdale parent involvement is also extraordinary. For example, we experienced approximately 90% of our parents in attendance at our most recent Hinsdale Elementary School Open House. Our after school program has personal contact at the end of the day with approximately 100 Hinsdale families.

I believe a quality education is more important to our children’s future than ever before. Therefore, our responsibility to do what we can to ensure that our students receive a quality education is greater than ever. Having completed my second year as your school superintendent, it has become crystal clear that Hinsdale is a remarkable school district that has the strong and enthusiastic support of the community as well as a talented, dedicated staff overseeing the education of Hinsdale students.

On behalf of the Hinsdale School District, I would ask the community to continue to show its support by attending the District Meeting on Saturday, March 17th at 10:30 a.m. in our middle school/high school gym.

Respectfully submitted,

Wayne Woolridge, Superintendent of Schools