Category Archives: Superintendent Blog

December 2021 Superintendent Report

Superintendent’s Report – December 2021

As I write this report on Wednesday, December 1st, the 7-day COVID-19 test positivity rate for Cheshire County was 8.6%. When I wrote my report one month ago the positivity rate for Cheshire County was 4.6%%. As of December 1st we had 629 positive cases of COVID-19 identified in Cheshire County during the previous fourteen days. When I wrote my Board report one month ago we had 359 positive cases of COVID-19 in Cheshire County over the previous 14 days.

Information on our COVID-19 Dashboard includes the total cases of identified COVID-19 in our School District each month since the beginning of the school year and the number of active cases by school in our District. Since the beginning of the school year we have had 73 cases of COVID-19 in the District, 41 cases have been at the Hinsdale Elementary School and 32 cases have been at Hinsdale Middle/High School.  As of December 13th we had eight active cases of COVID-19 in the Hinsdale School District.

The Omicron variant is likely to further complicate our ability to provide a quality education for our students during this pandemic. It appears that the Omicron variant spreads more easily than the Delta variant which now accounts for more than 99% of COVID-19 cases in the United States.

We are working to build a conservative operating budget for the 2022/2023 school year. Our cost center managers reviewed the draft budget on Wednesday, November 3rd, and on Monday, November 8th.  Our Finance Committee received the draft budget on Monday, November 8th and made several reductions. The School Board reviewed the budget on November 10th and made several reductions. The School Board met again on December 1st and made further reductions to the budget. The Board plans to review the the District budget again at their monthly Board meeting on Wednesday, December 8th. The Hinsdale Budget Committee plans to review the Hinsdale School District Budget at their meeting scheduled for Wednesday, January 5th.

We continue to fund approved activities through our three ESSER grants. Our ESSER I grant (CARES Act) of $188,678.75 needs to be expended by September 30, 2022. To date we have expended funds from ESSER I for the following items: books to support remote learning, supplies to minimize spread of pathogens, storage for excess furniture, special education transportation, special education purchased services, and special education staff time, out of district special education tuition, substitute teachers, social worker assistant at HES, laptops for students and staff, increased internet bandwidth, webcams and related wiring. We have approximately $3,000 remaining in ESSER I. We hope to use the remaining $3,000 to purchase more masks.

We have a total allocation of $858,280.07 for our ESSER II grant (American Recovery Plan). These grant funds must be spent by 9/30/23 or the remaining funds will be distributed to other districts in the state. Our approved ESSER II expenses include the following: cleaning supplies, portable storage units, professional development with New Hampshire Learning Initiative, grant management, stipends for summer professional development, a social worker assistant, an increase in pay for substitutes, one full time substitute in each building, funds to offset Covid-19 related substitute costs, a COVID custodian, summer school staffing, copiers, Keys to Literacy training and coaching, laptops, smartboards, document cameras, offsite backup, general supplies, special education compensatory education staffing, a Life Skills Program paraprofessional, and out-of-district special education tuition and transportation.

To date our allocation for our ESSER III grant (American Rescue Plan) is $1,929,462.25. We have until 9/30/24 to expend these funds.  Any funds remaining after 9/30/2024 will be sent back to the state to be distributed to other districts. Our approved ESSER III allocation includes funds for library books and books for students to take home, a school district network upgrade, a social emotional learning program for the middle/high school and related stipends for teachers to become trained, after school tutoring and after school bus transportation, NH Dance Institute Residency program, job embedded professional development – teachers will be released for this while students work with contracted service provider on social emotional learning, a graduate curriculum and leadership program through Keene State College. In addition, we have hired a middle/high school math interventionist and a middle/high school literacy interventionist, a part-time literacy coach at Hinsdale Elementary School, behavioral services support program, funds to support an ESSER III grant manager and funds for an ESSER III grant accountant. We are still looking for a part-time math coach at HES. Several administrators are scheduled to meet with our ESSER grant manager on Monday, December 6th. During that meeting we intend to propose we revise the ESSER III grant to include a part-time nurse to assist in the administration of the rapid response COVID-19 tests. We intend to add the expense of two printers into the grant. We hope to add expenses related to Social Emotional Learning out-of-district placements that are a result of the pandemic. We also hope to add expenses related to rapid COVID-19 tests.

2021-2022 District Goals

Curriculum and Instruction

The team leader is our Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment, Karen Thompson. Team members include our HMHS Principal, our HES Principal, our Director of Student Services and our HES Special Education Coordinator.

Establish continuity and collaboration in instruction between the school buildings.

 We have established a transition team that includes 6th grade teachers and middle school teachers. The team intends to meet 2-3 times a year. 

Ensure all staff has access to pertinent trainings.

Our Professional Development Master Plan is due this year and our CIA Director is in the process of scheduling meetings to accomplish this state mandate.

PACE-All grade levels will move towards performance assessment and enhanced personalized learning.  

We are using grant funds to contract with New Hampshire Learning Initiative to strengthen our efforts related to personalized learning.

Communication

The team leader is our Director of HR, Ann Diorio. Team members include our HMHS Principal and her assistant, our HES Principal, our Director of Student Services, our Director of Technology and, as needed, the Superintendent.  

Improve overall communication.  

We continue to update our community regarding our COVID-19 status.

Culture

The team leader for our Culture Goal is our HMHS Principal, Ann Freitag. Team members include our HES Principal, our Director of Student Services and our HES Special Education Coordinator.  

Promote a culture of kindness and open communication.

 We had 140 parents at the recent HMHS Open House which certainly improves our ability to provide better individualized communication.

 Ensure clear behavioral expectations are communicated and followed up on regularly through the development and implementation of a district-wide behavior plan, the progress of which will be reported to the Board monthly by the Superintendent. 

Our school behavior support teams and our district-wide behavior support team have been meeting regularly to facilitate the creation and implementation of a district-wide behavior plan.

Promote an atmosphere that supports an inclusive, professional learning community.

We are working with NHLI to improve the PLC component of our organization.

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 had zero reports of bullying at HMHS since our November Board meeting. We had one substantiated report of bullying and one unsubstantiated report of bullying at HES since our last Board meeting.

 Support the implementation of a diversity plan that can be integrated throughout the district.

Our Diversity Committee is working to revise our plan to make certain our plan is in alignment with House Bill 297 and HB 298.

Personnel

 The team leader is our Director of HR, Ann Diorio. Team members include our HMHS Principal, our HES Principal, our Director of Student Services and our HMHS Assistant Principal. 

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

 Even in this tight job market we have been able to attract the staff necessary to maintain our in-person learning model.

Financial 

The team leader is our Business Administrator, Jodie Holmquist. Team members include our HMHS Principal, our HES Principal, our Director of Human Resources and the Superintendent.

 Support ways to conduct business in the most efficient and effective manner.

Our Business Administrator intends to meet with the above team members after the Budget is approved to debrief and to develop a budget development process improvement plan to be implemented in the fall of 2022.

Security

 The team leader is our HMHS Assistant Principal, Chris Ponce. Team members include our HES Principal, our Network Administrator, and our School Resource Officer.

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

Our fire chief has recently inspected our buildings and concluded we are meeting the expectations that are outlined in the law. The team is also pursuing grants to be used to enhance safety.

 Technology

The team leader is our Director of Technology, Debbie Trabucco, Team members include our Network Administrator and our Tech Support Specialist.

Continue to align the district budget to support the 5-year technology plan. 

Our technology team is recommending a one-year extension of our five-year plan.

Ensure all staff has access to pertinent trainings

The technology team has implemented cyber security training for all staff. The technology team is in the process of implementing document camera training for our teachers.

Facilities 

The team leader is our Business Administrator, Jodie Holmquist. Team members include our Director of Buildings and Grounds and the Superintendent.

 Fully utilize all building spaces.

 We continue to use almost all our available spaces for our education program.

Superintendent’s Report – November 2021

Superintendent’s Report – November 2021

As I write this report on Wednesday, November 10th, the 7-day COVID-19 test positivity rate for Cheshire County was 4.6%. When I wrote my report one month ago the positivity for Cheshire County was 2.3%. As of November 10th we had 359 positive cases of COVID-19 identified in Cheshire County during the previous fourteen days. When I wrote my Board report one month ago we had 303 positive cases of COVID-19 in Cheshire County over the previous 14 days.

We now have a COVID-19 Dashboard located at the top of the Hinsdale School District Website.  Information on the Dashboard includes the total cases of identified COVID-19 in the District each month since the beginning of the school year and the number of cases by school in the District. Since the beginning of the school year we have had 40 cases of COVID-19 in the District. 28 cases have been at HES and 12 cases have been at HMHS.  As of November 10th we had one active case of COVID-19 in the District.

On November 9th the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine was approved for children ages 5-11. Within 24 hours of approval our director of HR had received numerous calls from parents asking how they could schedule the shot for their children. Many parents are convinced that the vaccine will prevent infection as well as disruption to schooling. According to the CDC the number of COVID-19 infections among school age children increased five times over the summer months. According to the CDC, during the summer months, 5,200 children developed multisystem inflammatory syndrome as a result of contracting COVID-19. Multisystem inflammatory syndrome often leads to ICU admission. The median age of children getting multisystem inflammatory system is nine years old. In the U.S. at least 172 children ages 5-11 have died from COVID-19. Over the past year COVID-19 is the 8th highest killer of children in the 5-11 age group in the U.S. The Pfizer dose size is one-third the size of the dose given to children 12 and older. The lower dose was chosen to minimize side effects.

Our Business Administrator is working with our cost center managers to build an operating budget for the 2022/2023 school year. Our cost center managers reviewed the draft budget on Wednesday, November 3rd, and on Monday, November 8th.  Our Finance Committee will receive the draft budget on Monday, November 8th and the School Board will receive a draft budget on Wednesday, November 10th.

We continue to fund approved activities through our three ESSER grants. Our ESSER I grant (CARES Act) of $188,678.75 needs to be expended by September 30, 2022. To date we have expended funds from ESSER I for the following items: books to support remote learning, supplies to minimize spread of pathogens, storage for excess furniture, special education transportation, special education purchased services, and special education staff time, out of district special education tuition, substitute teachers, social worker assistant at HES, laptops for students and staff, increased internet bandwidth, webcams and related wiring. We have approximately $3,000 remaining in ESSER 1.

We have a total allocation of $858,280.07 for our ESSER II grant (American Recovery Plan). These grant funds must be spent by 9/30/23 or the remaining funds will be distributed to other districts in the state. Our approved ESSER II expenses include the following: cleaning supplies, portable storage units, professional development with New Hampshire Learning Initiative, grant management, stipends for summer professional development, a social worker assistant, an increase in pay for substitutes, one full time substitute in each building, funds to offset Covid-19 related substitute costs, a COVID custodian, summer school staffing, copiers, Keys to Literacy training and coaching, laptops, smartboards, document cameras, offsite backup, general supplies, special education compensatory education staffing, a Life Skills Program paraprofessional, and out-of-district special education tuition and transportation. We have spent $442,648.64 from our ESSER II grant allocation. We have $415,631.43 remaining in our ESSER II grant account.

To date our allocation for our ESSER III grant (American Rescue Plan) is $1,929,462.25. So far we have spent $93,350.54. We have $1,836,111.71 remaining on our ESSER III allocation. We have until 9/30/24 to expend these funds.  Any funds remaining after 9/30/2024 will be sent back to the state to be distributed to other districts. Our approved ESSER III allocation includes funds for library books and books for students to take home, a school district network upgrade, a social emotional learning program for the middle/high school and related stipends for teachers to become trained, after school tutoring and after school bus transportation, NH Dance Institute Residency program, job embedded professional development – teachers will be released for this while students work with contracted service provider on social emotional learning, a graduate curriculum and leadership program through Keene State College. In addition, we have hired a middle/high school math interventionist and a middle/high school literacy interventionist, a part-time literacy coach at Hinsdale Elementary School, behavioral services support program, funds to support an ESSER III grant manager and funds for an ESSER III grant accountant. We are still looking for a part-time math coach at HES.

Since our last Board meeting there were three reports of bullying at HES.  Two were substantiated and one was unsubstantiated.  There were no reports of bullying at HMHS.

We are working on our District Goals and plan to report out our progress to the Board at the December, March, and June Board meetings. Each goal area has a leader that is tasked to report out our progress in December, March, and June.

2021-2022 District Goals

  1. Curriculum and Instruction

The team leader is our Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment, Karen Thompson. Team members include our HMHS Principal, our HES Principal, our Director of Student Services and our HES Special Education Coordinator.

Establish continuity and collaboration in instruction between the school buildings.

Ensure all staff has access to pertinent trainings.

PACE-All grade levels will move towards performance assessment and enhanced personalized learning.

2. Communication

The team leader is our Director of HR, Ann Diorio. Team members include our HMHS Principal and her assistant, our HES Principal, our Director of Student Services, our Director of Technology and, as needed, the Superintendent.

Improve overall communication.

3. Culture

The team leader for our Culture Goal is our HMHS Principal, Ann Freitag. Team members include our HES Principal, our Director of Student Services and our HES Special Education Coordinator.

Promote a culture of kindness and open communication. 

Ensure clear behavioral expectations are communicated and followed up on regularly through the development and implementation of a district-wide behavior plan, the progress of which will be reported to the Board monthly by the Superintendent.

Promote an atmosphere that supports an inclusive, professional learning community.

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.

Support the implementation of a diversity plan that can be integrated throughout the district.

4. Personnel

The team leader is our Director of HR, Ann Diorio. Team members include our HMHS Principal, our HES Principal, our Director of Student Services and our HMHS Assistant Principal. 

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

5. Financial

The team leader is our Business Administrator, Jodie Holmquist. Team members include our HMHS Principal, our HES Principal, our Director of Human Resources and the Superintendent.  

Support ways to conduct business in the most efficient and effective manner.

6. Security

The team leader is our HMHS Assistant Principal, Chris Ponce. Team members include our HES Principal, our Network Administrator, and our School Resource Officer.

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

7. Technology

The team leader is our Director of Technology, Debbie Trabucco, Team members include our Network Administrator and our Tech Support Specialist.  

Continue to align the district budget to support the 5-year technology plan. 

Ensure all staff has access to pertinent trainings.

8. Facilities

The team leader is our Business Administrator, Jodie Holmquist. Team members include our Director of Buildings and Grounds and the Superintendent.  

Fully utilize all building spaces.

October 2021 Superintendent’s Report

Superintendent’s Report – October 2021

As I write this report on Wednesday, October 6th, the 7-day test positivity rate for Cheshire County was 2.3%. The positivity rate for Cheshire County one month ago was 3.4%. As of October 6th we had 303 positive cases of COVID-19 identified in Cheshire County during the past fourteen days. When I wrote my Board report one month ago we had 229 positive cases of COVID-19 in Cheshire County over the previous 14 days.

We will be hosting COVID-19 vaccine clinic for HMHS students on October 21, 2021, from 12:30 to 2:30 at the Hinsdale High School Gym.  Students must be at least 12 years old. The second date for the follow-up shot is scheduled for November 15th.  COVID-19 vaccines have been shown to be safe and effective in low doses in children ages 5 to 11. Many believe that a vaccine will be approved for children ages 5 to 11 by Thanksgiving.

Due to the excessive rain and humidity we experienced this past summer August, we hired Hayes Microbial Consulting from Newmarket, New Hampshire to test for mold spores. Hayes Microbial Consulting tested our rooms that were most likely to have mold.  Hayes Microbial Consulting tested for the 17 most common mold organism. As reported to our Facilities Committee in late September all but one room had a negligible mold count.  We quickly fogged the room with a higher mold count as recommend by our consultant. Thankfully we have received much less rain recently and the humidity has significantly dropped so we do not anticipate a mold issue for the foreseeable future.

We continue to fund approved activities through our three ESSER grants. Our ESSER I grant (CARES Act) of $188,678.75 needs to be expended by September 30, 2022. To date we have expended funds from ESSER I for the following items: books to support remote learning, supplies to minimize spread of pathogens, storage for excess furniture, special education transportation, special education purchased services, and special education staff time, out of district special education tuition, substitute teachers, social worker assistant at HES, laptops for students and staff, increased internet bandwidth, webcams and related wiring. We have approximately $3,000 remaining in ESSER 1.

We have a total allocation of $858,280.07 for our ESSER II grant (American Recovery Plan). These grant funds must be spent by 9/30/23 or the remaining funds will be distributed to other districts in the state. Our approved ESSER II expenses include the following: cleaning supplies, portable storage units, professional development with New Hampshire Learning Initiative, grant management, stipends for summer professional development, social worker assistant; increase in pay for substitutes, one full time substitute in each building, funds to offset Covid-19 related substitute costs, COVID custodian, summer school staffing, copiers, Keys to Literacy training and coaching, laptops, smartboards, document cameras, offsite backup, general supplies, special education compensatory education staffing, Life Skills Program paraprofessional, and out of district special education tuition and transportation. We have spent $388,736.13 from our ESSER II grant allocation. We have $469,543.94 remaining in our ESSER II grant account.

To date our allocation for our ESSER III grant (American Rescue Plan) is $1,272,199.57. We anticipate an additional allocation within a month. We have until 9/30/24 to expend these funds.  Any funds remaining after 9/30/2024 will be sent back to the state to be distributed to other districts. Our approved ESSER III allocation includes funds for library books and books for students to take home, a school district network upgrade, a social emotional learning program for the middle/high school and related stipends for teachers to become trained, after school tutoring and after school bus transportation, NH Dance Institute Residency program, job embedded professional development – teachers will be released for this while students work with contracted service provider on social emotional learning, in addition, we have hired a middle/high school math interventionist and a middle/high school literacy interventionist, a part-time literacy coach at Hinsdale Elementary School, behavioral services support program, funds to support an ESSER III grant manager and funds for an ESSER III grant accountant. We are still looking for a part-time math coach at HES.

We had two reports of bullying at Hinsdale Elementary School since our last Board meeting, one case was substantiated and the other unsubstantiated. We had one reported case of bullying at HMHS since our last Board meeting. The HMHS case of bullying reported has not been substantiated.

We are working on our District Goals and plan to report out our progress to the Board at the December, March, and June Board meetings. Each goal area has a leader that is tasked to report out our progress in December, March, and June.

2021-2022 District Goals

  1. Curriculum and Instruction

 The team leader is our Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment, Karen Thompson. Team members include our HMHS Principal, our HES Principal, our Director of Student Services and our HES Special Education Coordinator.

Establish continuity and collaboration in instruction between the school buildings.

Ensure all staff has access to pertinent trainings.

PACE-All grade levels will move towards performance assessment and enhanced personalized learning.

  1. Communication

 The team leader is our Director of HR, Ann Diorio. Team members include our HMHS Principal and her assistant, our HES Principal, our Director of Student Services, our Director of Technology and, as needed, the Superintendent.

 Improve overall communication.

  1. Culture

The team leader for our Culture Goal is our HMHS Principal, Ann Freitag. Team members include our HES Principal, our Director of Student Services and our HES Special Education Coordinator.  

Promote a culture of kindness and open communication. 

Ensure clear behavioral expectations are communicated and followed up on regularly through the development and implementation of a district-wide behavior plan, the progress of which will be reported to the Board monthly by the Superintendent.

Promote an atmosphere that supports an inclusive, professional learning community.

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.

Support the implementation of a diversity plan that can be integrated throughout the district.

  1. Personnel

The team leader is our Director of HR, Ann Diorio. Team members include our HMHS Principal, our HES Principal, our Director of Student Services and our HMHS Assistant Principal. 

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

  1. Financial

 The team leader is our Business Administrator, Jodie Holmquist. Team members include our HMHS Principal, our HES Principal, our Director of Human Resources and the Superintendent.  

Support ways to conduct business in the most efficient and effective manner.

  1. Security

The team leader is our HMHS Assistant Principal, Chris Ponce. Team members include our HES Principal, our Network Administrator, and our School Resource Officer.  

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

  1. Technology

 The team leader is our Director of Technology, Debbie Trabucco, Team members include our Network Administrator and our Tech Support Specialist.

 Continue to align the district budget to support the 5-year technology plan. 

Ensure all staff has access to pertinent trainings.

  1. Facilities

The team leader is our Business Administrator, Jodie Holmquist. Team members include our Director of Buildings and Grounds and the Superintendent.

Fully utilize all building spaces.

September 2021 Superintendent’s Report

Superintendent’s Report – September 2021

Our first day with students went well. I observed a lot of visibly happy parents and happy students at the HES drop off on our opening day of August 31st. Our enrollment is up about 20 students at HMHS as compared to our first day last year. Our HES enrollment was up six students from the first day last year. Students appeared to be more excited than usual as they entered the buildings.  It seemed that every time I turned around another staff member was going out of his/her way to welcome a student.   Our preschool and our 1-8 after school program opens its doors to students on Tuesday, September 7th. Our after school program for kindergarten students opens the following week.

We continue to monitor the community spread of COVID-19. As I write this report on Wednesday, September 1st, the 7-day test positivity rate for Cheshire County is 3.4% which is about three times higher than it was when we ended the school year. As of September 1st we had 229 positive cases of COVID-19 in Cheshire County during the past fourteen days. As of September 1st we had two Hinsdale students test positive for COVID-19. We followed our approved guidelines.

Due to the excessive rain and humidity we have experienced since the beginning of July we have several indoor air quality issues we are currently addressing. We now have a professional indoor air quality meter that enables us to better determine the quality of our indoor air. We had a mold expert test the air in several areas in HMHS and we should receive the report soon.

Our Director of Facilities has begun to take steps to become certified in the area of asbestos detection and mitigation. Currently we are not aware of any issues related to asbestos but we are trying to be as proactive as possible.

We have many positions open especially at the Hinsdale Elementary School. We still need a reading and writing specialist, a part time English as a second language teacher, several para educators, a Title I tutor, substitute teachers, a math interventionist and a math instructional coach.

We were informed last week that we are able to use HASP unused funds from last year to help support our program this year. We were not expecting to receive these funds which for Hinsdale should be approximately $40,000.

We continue to fund approved activities through our three ESSER grants. Our ESSER I grant of $188,678.75 needs to be expended by September 30, 2022. To date we have expended funds from ESSER I for the following items: books to support remote learning, supplies to minimize spread of pathogens, storage for excess furniture, special education transportation, special education purchased services, and special education staff time, out of district special education tuition, substitute teachers, social worker assistant at HES, laptops for students and staff, increased internet bandwidth, webcams and related wiring.

We have a total allocation of $858,280.07 for our ESSER II grant. These grant funds must be spent by 9/30/23 or the remaining funds will be distributed to other districts in the state. Our approved ESSER II expenses include the following: cleaning supplies, portable storage units, professional development with New Hampshire Learning Initiative, grant management, stipends for summer professional development, social worker assistant; increase in pay for substitutes, one full time substitute in each building, funds to offset Covid-19 related substitute costs, COVID custodian, summer school staffing, copiers, Keys to Literacy training and coaching, laptops, smart boards, document cameras, offsite backup, general supplies, special education compensatory education staffing, Life Skills Program paraprofessional, and out of district special education tuition and transportation.

To date our allocation for ESSER III is $1,272,199.57. We anticipate an additional allocation in October, after the October 1st Free/Reduced Lunch count is posted. We have until 9/30/24 to expend these funds.  Any District funds remaining after 9/30/2024 will be sent back to the state to be distributed to other districts. Our approved ESSER III allocation includes funds for library books and books for students to take home, a school district network upgrade, a social emotional learning program for the middle/high school and related stipends for teachers to become trained, after school tutoring and after school bus transportation, NH Dance Institute Residency program, job embedded professional development – teachers will be released for this while students work with contracted service provider on social emotional learning, a graduate curriculum and leadership program through Keene State College, a middle/high school math interventionist and a middle/high school literacy interventionist, a part-time literacy coach at Hinsdale Elementary School, a part-time math coach at HES, behavioral services support program, funds to support an ESSER III grant manager and funds for an ESSER III grant accountant.

Superintendent’s May Report

Superintendent’s Report – May 2021

We are indeed fortunate to be part of a District with such supportive community as evidenced by the overwhelming support we received by District voters at our May 1st Annual School District Meeting. The District voters approved a School District budget of $14,218,291. The budget was up 0.5 percent from the current year budget. The voters also approved a three-year contract with our para employee group. The contract increased the funding by the district by $44,465 for 2022, $44,783 for 2023, and $42,272 for 2024. The agreement represents 36 paraprofessionals, custodians, maintenance personnel, and instructional assistants. 

We are beginning a discussion related to our use of grants funds that are part of the American Rescue Plan, ESSER III. The recently passed $1.9 trillion “American Rescue Plan” or ESSER III includes $2,045,578 for Hinsdale schools. We were told by our Commissioner that the ESSER III grant will be open to us on May 24, 2021.  As with ESSER II a major focus of the grant includes catch-up learning for students. The funds from ESSER III must be spent by September of 2024. Any of the funds in our allocation that are not spent when the grant window closes will go back to the state for reallocation to other New Hampshire school districts. We are hopeful that we can be prepared to have an introductory conversation with the Board in June concerning possible areas where Hinsdale students would benefit most from the expenditure of ESSER III funds. The District plan for the use of the funds must be completed by August 22, 2021. New Hampshire has already received $350,501,632 in ESSER III funds from the federal government for New Hampshire public schools.

ESSER III contains several provisions that help ensure that federal funds are used in addition to—and not in place of—state and local education funding.

  • Effort: States must continue to fund public elementary and secondary education and higher education at least at the proportional levels as the average annual funding over fiscal years 2017, 2018, and 2019. For example, if a state spent on average 26% of its total budget on k–12 and higher education between 2017 and 2019, then it must provide that same percentage of support in both 2022 and 2023.
  • Equity—State: In the 2021–22 and 2022–23 school years, high-need school districts are protected from states’ spending reductions in two ways. First, state per-pupil funding for the neediest half of districts cannot be reduced by an amount that exceeds the overall decrease in state funds. Second, per-pupil state funding for the 20% of districts with the highest percentage of economically disadvantaged students may not be reduced below pre-pandemic levels (FY 2019).

Cost center managers are still reviewing expenditures we made in the current year to see if the expenditure would be ESSER II eligible. We have discovered several transactions that are being changed so as not to be charged to the general operating budget but instead charged to the CARES Act grant or the ESSER II grant.

The New Hampshire state budget is currently being debated by the legislature. The House has attached a few controversial provisions to the budget including provisions from the “divisive concepts” bill which would prohibit schools from teaching about and offering trainings on systemic racism and sexism.

The American Families Plan is currently being debated by Congress.  One provision of the plan would allocate $200 billion to establish universal preschool for all three and four year olds.  Another provision would appropriate $9 billion for teacher training. Other provisions include: free community college, school leadership training funds, $4,000 to $8,000 a year for college students studying education and money to pay for recertification.

The number of COVID-19 cases has dropped since our last Board meeting.  As of Wednesday, May, 5th the positivity rate in Cheshire County was 1.8 % and the average number of new cases over the past two weeks were 12 per day.

We continue to work to meet the 2020/ 2021 Board Goals.

The 2020-2021 Hinsdale School Board Goals are as follows:

  1. Curriculum and Instruction

Establish continuity and collaboration in instruction between the school buildings.

 We are currently working on our fifth grade to sixth grade transition plan. The plan to date includes a visit by the fifth grade students to the middle school. We also plan to offer an open house for the current fifth grade parents in August.

Ensure all staff has access to pertinent trainings.

There are many examples of needed training that should be grant fund eligible. Our Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment is focusing on professional development opportunities to be accomplished over the summer. Our administrators plan to discuss options for our professional development days scheduled for the fall.

Our Director and Personalized Learning and our Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment are coordinating professional development opportunities for PACE related adjustments to curriculum and instruction.

PACE-All grade levels will move towards performance assessment and enhanced personalized learning.

 Our Director of Personalized Learning is managing a $250,000 grant that should fund our effort to help us move forward with our PACE directive. In addition, we are considering some use of ESSER III funds to help support teachers working with our ELO students.  Our Director of Personalized Learning and our Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment are working with the leaders at the New Hampshire Learning Initiative to create meaningful professional development for our staff.

  1. Communication

Internal-Improve overall communication.

 Our Board continues to frequently update the public as part of the new Communication Plan approved by the Board in September.  The new communication plan is driven by the need to more quickly and thoroughly communicate due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

External-Maintain communication to promote a collaborative relationship with the community in the following ways:

 Continue to hold a minimum of two community forums during the school year.

We hope to hold a public hearing regarding the ESSER III grant prior to agreeing to our grant priorities.  We could hold the public hearing just prior to our regular Board meeting in June.

Maintain a presence on other committees, boards and through attendance at community events in town.

Due to COVID-19 community events have been limited but beginning with this summer community events should be similar to those that took place in 2019 and not 2020.

Maintain relationships with town governing bodies.

Board members currently serve on several town committees.

Culture

 Promote a culture of kindness and open communication.

Our Director of Human Resources has been providing staff with frequent wellness related updates. She continues to coordinate donuts and coffee in the staff rooms on Friday afternoon as appreciation for the difficult work our staff is accomplishing during this trying time. We are in the process of planning a special end-of-year celebration for our staff. 

Ensure clear behavioral expectations are communicated and followed up on regularly through the development and implementation of a district-wide behavior plan, the progress of which will be reported to the Board monthly by the Superintendent.

The Behavioral Support Team in each school have been working on their building school wide behavior plans. The District Behavioral Support Team last met on Wednesday, April 14th.  Board member Kaylah Hemlow chairs the Behavioral Support Team. Under the ESSA II grant and the ESSER III grant Social Emotional Learning is a priority.

Promote an atmosphere that supports an inclusive, professional learning community.

We are planning to use grant funds again next year to continue to support our Professional Learning Communities.

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 have had zero incidents of bullying at HMHS since our last Board meeting. We have had three incidents of reported bullying at HES. One was substantiated, one unsubstantiated and one still under investigation.

Support the development of a diversity plan that can be integrated throughout the district.

We intend to bring a new draft of our Diversity Plan to the May Board meeting. The administrative team endorsed the draft plan at the May 5th administration meeting. Our Director of Student Services chairs our Diversity Committee and has led the effort to form a meaningful plan.

  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 have several para positions that remain unfilled. Thanks to Board action we now have four long-term substitutes that are being used to help meet our social distancing guidelines.  On May 1st the District voters approved a three-year agreement with our support staff.

Holly Kennedy and Sean Leary were the Board representatives on the Negotiations Committee

  1. Financial

Support ways to conduct business in the most efficient and effective manner.

We cut personnel by 3.4 positions in the budget that was approved by the District voters on May 1st. We expect a significant surplus when we close the books on the 2020/2021 school year budget.

Work with the administration to present a warrant article to rebuild the expendable trust funds.

 Given the personal hardships in our community, that were a result of the current pandemic, the Board chose not to present a warrant article to rebuild the expendable trust funds this year.

Work with the Administration to proactively monitor the fund balance. Our Business Administrator is presenting his estimate to the Board each month.

Maintain ongoing communication with the Budget Committee regarding any potential changes in funding and expenditures and continue to provide detailed backup information for the budget. Recently Board representatives have met with Budget Committee leadership regarding anticipated revenue.

  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 and staff are safe. We are focusing our efforts on providing the needed PPE and frequently sanitizing our buildings. We have available grant funds to cover our needs. In addition, FEMA has just announced another round of funding for schools. Our Director of Facilities is in the process of determining if the FEMA grant could be a source of funding for related expenses in the 2020/2021 budget.

  1. Technology

 Continue to align the district budget to support the 5-year technology plan.

As outlined in the 5-year technology plan we will be purchasing computers over the summer for all students in fifth grade and in ninth grade.

 Ensure all staff has access to pertinent trainings.

We will soon be able to use grant funds for additional training and are planning quality summer professional development as well as the professional development we will offer for all staff members in the fall.

  1. Facilities

Twice yearly School Board tours of all school buildings –1 tour during the school day and 1 tour when classes are not in session. The Board toured the HMHS in the fall and the Board Chair, Sean Leary, toured HES on Friday, March 26th.

Fully utilize all building spaces.

We are currently doing a great job of utilizing our building spaces for instruction as evidenced by our ability to provide in-person instruction five days a week since September 8th

Superintendent’s April 2021 Report

Superintendent’s Report – April 2021

“The recently passed $1.9 trillion “American Rescue Plan” includes $2,045,578 for Hinsdale schools. We were told that the ARP grant will be open for us sometime in late May. A major focus of the grant includes catch-up learning for students. It is likely that the funds from the American Rescue Plan must be spent by September of 2024 but we have not received the official word regarding a “spend by date.” Any of the funds in our allocation that are not spent when the grant window closes will go back to the state for reallocation to other New Hampshire school districts.

We will have a draft overview to present to the Board regarding the areas of expenditure we are recommending for the $857,000 ESSER II grant that was recently opened to us. The $857,000 “Response and Relief Supplemental Act” passed by congress in December also focused on catch-up learning.  Those funds must be spent by schools by September 2023.  After September 2023 any funds remaining in our grant account will be returned to the state to be reallocated to other school districts. As we prepare to expend these grant funds available to us we are trying to create efficiencies that will have long term benefits to the District. In addition, we are working to ensure that we are not obligating the District to any costs after the grant funds are exhausted.

In addition to addressing learning loss among students, including low-income students, and children with disabilities​, the grants may also be used for the following:

Purchasing educational technology (including hardware, software, and connectivity) for students who are served by the Hinsdale School District that aids in regular and substantive educational interaction between students and their classroom instructors, including low-income students and children with disabilities, which may include assistive technology or adaptive equipment. ​

Planning and implementing activities related to summer learning and supplemental afterschool programs, including providing classroom instruction or online learning during the summer months and addressing the needs of low-income students and children with disabilities.

Providing information and assistance to parents ​and families on how they can effectively support students, including in a distance learning environment.

Administering and using high-quality assessments that are valid and reliable, to accurately assess students’ academic progress and assist educators in meeting students’ academic needs, including through differentiating instruction. ​

Implementing evidence-based activities to meet the comprehensive needs of students.

Providing mental health services and supports for students and staff.

Providing principals and others school leaders with the resources necessary to address the needs of their individual schools.

School facility repairs and improvements to enable operation of schools to reduce risk of virus transmission and exposure to environmental health hazards, and to support student health needs. ​

Inspection, testing, maintenance, repair, replacement, and upgrade projects to improve the indoor air quality in school facilities, including mechanical and non-mechanical heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems, filtering, purification and other air cleaning, fans, control systems, and window and door repair and replacement. ​

Activities to address the unique needs of low-income students.

Training and professional development for Hinsdale staff on sanitation and minimizing the spread of infectious diseases. ​

Purchasing supplies to sanitize and clean the facilities of the Hinsdale District.

Tracking student attendance and improving student engagement in distance education. ​

Currently the Hinsdale administration is recommending the areas of expenditure for ESSER II to include about $106,000 for technology, $170,000 for special education needs, about $60,000 for summer instruction, about $87,000 for substitute teachers, about $85,000 to replace our copiers, about $25,000 for professional development, about $120,000 to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and about $13,000 to manage the grant.

We seem to have a student or staff member test positive for COVID-19 weekly.  As of April 26th the seven-day positivity rate for Cheshire County was 1.6 percent. The 14-day average number of new cases for Cheshire County is 14.

The New Hampshire Supreme Court sent the ConVal school funding case back to the Cheshire County Superior Court for a full trial. The lawsuit claims that the state does not fully fund a constitutionally “adequate” education. The American Civil Liberties Union and the New Hampshire School Boards Association signed in support of the suit. The ruling means school districts will have to wait months or years for a resolution of the lawsuit.

Congratulation to the Hinsdale Girls Varsity Basketball Team. The team won the State Championship for 2021.  In the championship game Colebrook was up 22-8 at the end of the first quarter and looked unstoppable. Undoubtedly, Colebrook was a talented team but as the game unfolded the Hinsdale girls clearly never lost the faith that they would prevail. There was no sense of panic, but rather a focused strong confidence that when the final buzzer sounded Hinsdale would have the championship win. The heart of the team was firmly anchored in the belief that they were better prepared and that, thanks to their coaches, were willing to put in whatever effort that was needed to win the game.

The Hinsdale Coaches include: Terry Bonnette, Sam Kilelee, and Chris Roberts. The Hinsdale players include: Kleay Steever, Addy Nardolillo, Brooke Pagach, Megan Roberts, Delaney Wilcox, Lilee Taylor, Lily Briggs, Olivia Pangelinan, Audrey Martin, Angelina Nardolillo, and Aleah Owen.

We continue to work to meet the 2020/ 2021 Board Goals.

The 2020-2021 Hinsdale School Board Goals are as follows:

  1. Curriculum and Instruction

We are considering many options that would help us achieve catch-up learning which could all be funded from the ESSER II and the ESSER III grants. We are recommending the formation of a task force to help with a strategic plan and with the expenditures related to the implementation of the strategic plan. Hinsdale administration recommends the following positions be included on the task force: two Board members, director of personalized learning, director of curriculum, instruction and assessment, HES principal, HES teacher, HMHS teacher, reading specialist, HMHS principal or assistant principal, special education administrator, and library media specialist. If the Board approves the task force make up, we would bring names for the Board to select from to the May Board meeting.

Establish continuity and collaboration in instruction between the school buildings.

We would ask that this goal area be included in the work of the task force.

Ensure all staff has access to pertinent trainings.

There are many examples of needed training that should be grant fund eligible. Our Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment is focusing on professional development opportunities to be accomplished over the summer.

Our Director and Personalized Learning and our Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment are coordinating professional development opportunities for PACE related adjustments to curriculum and instruction. Once again newly available grant funds should help us achieve this end. The $250,000 grant managed by Karen Thompson should help us achieve this goal. Both the ESSER II grant and the ESSER III grant could also be used to help provide meaningful professional development in the area of personalized learning.

PACE-All grade levels will move towards performance assessment and enhanced personalized learning.  

Our Director of Personalized Learning is managing a $250,000 grant that was recently approved which should fund our effort to help us move forward with our PACE directive. Our Director of Personalized Learning and our Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment are working with the leaders at the New Hampshire Learning Initiative to create meaningful professional development for our staff. This professional learning could also be funding through ESSER II and ESSER III grants.

  1. Communication

Internal-Improve overall communication.  

Our Board continues to frequently update the public as part of the new Communication Plan approved by the Board in September.  The new communication plan is driven by the need to more quickly and thoroughly communicate due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

External-Maintain communication to promote a collaborative relationship with the community in the following ways:

Continue to hold a minimum of two community forums during the school year.

We would need to provide a public hearing regarding the ESSER III grant prior to agreeing to our grant priorities.  We could hold the public hearing just prior to our regular Board meeting in May or June.

Maintain a presence on other committees, boards and through attendance at community events in town.

Due to COVID-19 community events have been limited but beginning with this summer community events should be similar to those that took place in 2019 and not 2020.

Maintain relationships with town governing bodies.

Board members serve on several town committees.

  1. Culture

 Promote a culture of kindness and open communication.

Our Director of Human Resources has been providing staff with frequent wellness related updates. She continues to coordinate donuts and coffee in the staff rooms on Friday afternoon as appreciation for the difficult work our staff is accomplishing during this trying time.

Ensure clear behavioral expectations are communicated and followed up on regularly through the development and implementation of a district-wide behavior plan, the progress of which will be reported to the Board monthly by the Superintendent.

The Behavioral Support Team in each school have been working on their building school wide behavior plans. The District Behavioral Support Team is scheduled to next meet on Wednesday, April 14th.  Board member Kaylah Hemlow chairs the Behavioral Support Team. Under the ESSA II grant and the ESSER III grant Social Emotional Learning is a priority. The ESSA II grant of $857,000 will provide additional training and resources as needed through September 2023.The ESSER III grant should provide Social Emotional Learning support through September of 2024.

Promote an atmosphere that supports an inclusive, professional learning community.

We are planning to use grant funds again next year to continue to support our Professional Learning Communities.

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 have had zero incidents of bullying at HMHS and zero incidents of bullying at HES reported since our last Board meeting.

Support the development of a diversity plan that can be integrated throughout the district.

We intend to bring a new Diversity Plan to the May Board meeting. The plan will emphasize our effort to acknowledge the diversity of student accomplishments in all areas. The administrative team plans to endorse a plan at our administration meeting scheduled for May 5thth. Our Director of Student Services chairs our Diversity Committee.

  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 have several para positions that remain unfilled. Thanks to Board action we now have four long-term substitutes that are being used to help meet our social distancing guidelines.  The Para Negotiations Committee has come to an agreement with the Hinsdale Support Staff Association leadership. This agreement has been approved by the Board and ratified by the HSSA.  The Hinsdale Town Budget Committee also approved the agreement.

Holly Kennedy and Sean Leary are the Board representatives on Para Negotiations Committee

  1. Financial

Support ways to conduct business in the most efficient and effective manner.

We cut personnel by 3.4 positions in the budget that was approved by the Board and the Budget committee.

Work with the administration to present a warrant article to rebuild the expendable trust funds. 

Given the personal hardships in our community, that were a result of the current pandemic, the Board chose not to present a warrant article to rebuild the expendable trust funds this year.

Work with the Administration to proactively monitor the fund balance. Our Business Administrator is presenting his estimate to the Board each month.

Maintain ongoing communication with the Budget Committee regarding any potential changes in funding and expenditures and continue to provide detailed backup information for the budget. Recently Board representatives have met with Budget Committee leadership regarding anticipated revenue.

  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 and staff are safe. We are focusing our efforts on providing the needed PPE and frequently sanitizing our buildings. We have available grant funds to cover our needs. In addition, FEMA has just announced another round of funding for schools. Our Director of Facilities recently procured a free pallet of PPE for the Hinsdale Schools.

  1. Technology

 Continue to align the district budget to support the 5-year technology plan.

Due to the number of students who are engaged with our remote learning model we are focusing on identifying the grants funds to support the technology needs for remote learning.

Ensure all staff has access to pertinent trainings.

We continue to provide the training that is needed to meet the needs of our remote learner.  We will soon be able to use grant funds for additional training and are planning quality summer professional for any staff member who wishes to participate.

  1. Facilities

Twice yearly School Board tours of all school buildings –1 tour during the school day and 1 tour when classes are not in session. The Board Chair, Sear Leary, toured HES on Friday, March 26th.

Fully utilize all building spaces.

We are currently doing a great job of utilizing our building spaces for instruction as evidenced by our ability to provide in-person instruction five days a week.

March 2021 Superintendent’s Report

Superintendent’s Report – March 2021

We are fortunate that we have been able to manage a five day a week in-person learning experience this school year. Our in-person learning model was chosen by about 80% of our students this year. Thankfully, we have the new addition at Hinsdale Elementary School.  Without the new addition we would have likely initiated a hybrid model at Hinsdale Elementary School.

Our understanding of how COVID-19 spreads has changed since the beginning of the school year. I think it is time to reevaluate our current model with a focus on the current understanding of the true risk to our staff and students. There are many positive trends emerging which may help shape our thinking. First, since the middle of January the seven-day average of new cases in the United States has fallen by 74 percent.  During that same time hospitalizations have gone down by 58 percent. Meanwhile, more than 60 million doses of vaccine have been administered in the U.S. Cheshire County reflects the same trends. In mid-January Cheshire County had an all-time high average of 17 new positive cases a day.  In comparison, we were averaging about 10 positive cases a day in late February. Thankfully, we anticipate all our staff will have an opportunity to receive a vaccine under Phase 2a which will begin in mid-March.

Recently the Governor established an executive order #85 that conflicts with our policy regarding how we respond to a positive case of COVID-19 in our schools.  Under the Governor’s order, we must provide at least two days of in-person instruction per week for our students and can only close our schools for 48 hours as a reaction to a positive case. Of course, we usually provide five days a week of in-person instruction for our students so the Governor’s order would only conflict with our current policy when we go fully remote for ten days after a positive case in our schools.

Our nurses and administrators recommend we include the rate of transmission in Cheshire County and the indicators for community transmission as defined by the CDC to determine school closings. The rate of transmission is defined by the total number of new cases per 100,000 in the past seven days and the percentage of COVID-19 positive tests over the past seven days.

The CDC categories include low transmission, moderate transmission, substantial transmission, and high transmission.  Over the past seven days Cheshire County has had 70 new cases of COVID-19. The low transmission category would be less than 9 per 100,000.  There are approximately 77,000 people in Cheshire County so we would need seven or fewer cases over the past week and a positivity rate of less than 5% to end the week in the low transmission category. We would need fewer than 37 cases and positivity rate of less than 7.9% to end up in the moderate transmission category. We would need fewer than 76 cases and a positivity rate of less than 9.9% to end up in the substantial transmission category. If we have more than 77 new positive cases and a positivity rate of greater than 10% in Cheshire County over the previous seven days​ we would be in the high transmission category. Currently we are averaging about 70 new cases a week in Cheshire County with a positivity rate of about 2.2% with college age people becoming a growing part of the total number of positive cases. We would recommend that if we reach the positivity rate of 10% and have at least 77 positive cases in Cheshire County during the previous seven days we close both schools for two days to do a deep cleaning and to allow our staff to implement stricter protocols.

In addition to the adoption of the “risk of community transmission model” we would continue to do contact tracing and to ask students and staff to quarantine if our health care professionals determined that to be the appropriate course of action. In addition to mandated quarantines we recommend closing ​a HES classroom for two days when we have a positive case there and closing the entire middle/high school for two days when we have a positive case there. ​

Several education bills of interest have recently passed the New Hampshire House. House Bill 110 has the state send education aid to the city or town and not to the school district. Supporters contend that some school districts kept the money intended to help reduce property taxes the last two years instead of turning it over to the city or town to reduce property taxes. The Bill passed the House 190-152.

House Bill 320 requires a student to pass the naturalization test given to those seeking to become American citizens before high school graduation.

House Bill 455 allows any student to attend any public school in New Hampshire or any other state and require the resident district to send adequacy payments and differential aid to the receiving district.  If this bill becomes law school districts would have to offer “school choice” beginning in the Fall of 2021.

Senate Bill 158 would adjust the formula for funding an adequate education. Under SB 158 the base cost for an adequate education would increase from $3,700 to $6,107. There would also be an additional $1,490 for each student who is eligible for free or reduced lunch. We would receive an additional $2,200 for each student who is an English language learner. We would receive an additional $4,290 for each student who is receiving special education services. We would also receive an additional $845 as part of a “small school” weight. In addition, we would receive $1,420 for each student in grades 6-8 and an addition $420 for each student in grades 9-12. If SB 158 becomes law, Hinsdale School District stands to receive an additional $600,000 in base adequacy and an additional $288,000 in special education adequacy than we received this year from the state.

House Bill 608 is the house bill relative to the formula to determine the funding for an adequate education. The house bill slightly increases the base per pupil cost for an adequate education; the bill increases differentiated aid and establishes fiscal disparity aid to school districts based on equalized property valuation per pupil. Overall if the House Bill 608 became law today or if Senate Bill 158 became law today Hinsdale would receive an increase in education aid from the state as compared to current law.

We continue to work to meet the 2020/ 2021 Board Goals.

The 2020-2021 Hinsdale School Board Goals are as follows:

  1. Curriculum and Instruction

We are considering many options that would help us achieve catch-up learning.  All the options currently under consideration would be eligible for grant funding. Laptops for our ninth grade students and our 12th grade students, English language arts materials, and middle school math support materials are currently under consideration. We intend to have a list of priorities to the Board for the April Board meeting.

Establish continuity and collaboration in instruction between the school buildings.

Our Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment has created a draft strategic plan which, if implemented, should help coordinate a smoother learning transition between HES and HMHS. Given the additional level of complexity due to the pandemic I am hopeful we can use grant funds to help us achieve this end.

Ensure all staff has access to pertinent trainings.

There are many examples of needed training that should be grant fund eligible. Our Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment is focusing on professional development opportunities over the summer.

Our Director and Personalized Learning and our Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment are coordinating professional development opportunities for PACE related adjustments to curriculum and instruction. Once again newly available grant funds should help us achieve this end. The $250,000 grant managed by Karen Thompson should help us achieve this goal.

PACE-All grade levels will move towards performance assessment and enhanced personalized learning.  

Our Director of Personalized Learning is managing a $250,000 grant that was recently approved and should fund our effort to help us move forward with our PACE directive. Our Director of Personalized Learning and our Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment are work with the leaders at the New Hampshire Learning Initiative to create meaningful professional development for our staff.

  1. Communication

Internal-Improve overall communication.

 Our Board continues to frequently update the public as part of the new Communication Plan approved by the Board in September.  The new communication plan is driven by the need to more quickly and thoroughly communicate due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

External-Maintain communication to promote a collaborative relationship with the community in the following ways:

Continue to hold a minimum of two community forums during the school year.

Maintain a presence on other committees, boards and through attendance at community events in town.

Maintain relationships with town governing bodies.

The School Board was all present for the Public Hearing for the School District at the Hinsdale Town Hall on Wednesday, February 3rd.

  1. Culture

Promote a culture of kindness and open communication.

Our Director of Human Resources has been providing staff with frequent wellness related updates. She is also coordinating donuts and coffee in the staff rooms on Friday afternoon as appreciation for the difficult work our staff is accomplishing during this trying time.

Ensure clear behavioral expectations are communicated and followed up on regularly through the development and implementation of a district-wide behavior plan, the progress of which will be reported to the Board monthly by the Superintendent. The Behavioral Support Team in each school have been working on their building school wide behavior plans. Recently our District Behavioral Support Team Steering Committee agreed to recommend that $10,000 be placed in the 2021/2022 budget to fund our effort to reach this goal. The District Behavioral Support Team met on January 27th and has set their next meeting date of April 14th to continue to coordinate this effort.  Board member Kaylah Hemlow chairs the Behavioral Support Team. Under the new ESSA II grant Social Emotional Learning is a priority. The ESSA II grant of $857,000 will provide additional training and resources as needed through September 2023.

Promote an atmosphere that supports an inclusive, professional learning community.

We are planning to use grant funds again next year to continue to support our Professional Learning Communities. As noted our pool of grant funds is significantly larger than in past years.

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 have had zero incidents of bullying at HMHS and zero incidents of bullying at HES reported since our last Board meeting.

Support the development of a diversity plan that can be integrated throughout the district.

We intend to bring a new Diversity Plan to the April Board meeting. The plan will emphasize our effort to acknowledge the diversity of student accomplishments in all areas. We plan to discuss the plan at our administration meeting scheduled for March 17th. Our Director of Student Services chairs our Diversity Committee.

  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 have three para positions that remain unfilled. Thanks to Board action we now have four long-term substitutes that are being used to help meet our social distancing guidelines.

  1. Financial

Support ways to conduct business in the most efficient and effective manner.

The Para Negotiations Committee has come to an agreement with the Hinsdale Support Staff Association leadership. This agreement has been approved by the Board and ratified by the HSSA.  Holly Kennedy and Sean Leary are the Board representatives on Para Negotiations Committee.

Many of our students will need catch-up learning next year. Thankfully, we expect to receive significant federal grant allocations to cover all our expenses related to catch-up learning. We have already received three federal grants to help us this year. Last fall we received $188,000 from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (Cares) Act. We also received $101,000 from the Federal Public School Response Fund Grant. On January 29th we learned that we will be receiving $857,000 from the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act. The $600 billion Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act was passed by Congress in December and $857,000 is our share of that appropriation. The $857,000 must be used by September 2023.

Work with the administration to present a warrant article to rebuild the expendable trust funds.

Given the personal hardships in our community, that were a result of the current pandemic, the Board chose not to present a warrant article to rebuild the expendable trust funds this year.

Work with the Administration to proactively monitor the fund balance. Our Business Administrator is presenting his estimate to the Board each month.

Maintain ongoing communication with the Budget Committee regarding any potential changes in funding and expenditures and continue to provide detailed backup information for the budget. Our public hearing on the Budget occurred on February 3rd.  After the public hearing the Budget Committee approved the budget presented by the Board.

  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 and staff are safe. We are focusing our efforts on providing the needed PPE and frequently sanitizing our buildings. We have available grant funds to cover our needs. In addition, FEMA has just announced another round of funding for schools.

  1. Technology

Continue to align the district budget to support the 5-year technology plan.

Due to the number of students who are engaged with our remote learning model we are focusing on identifying the grants funds to support the technology needs for remote learning.

Ensure all staff has access to pertinent trainings.

We continue to provide the training that is needed to meet the needs of our remote learner.  We will soon be able to use grant funds for additional training and are planning quality summer professional for any staff member who wishes to participate.

  1. Facilities

Twice yearly School Board tours of all school buildings –1 tour during the school day and 1 tour when classes are not in session. Our next tour of the Hinsdale Elementary School is scheduled for Friday morning, March 26th.

Fully utilize all building spaces.

We are currently doing a great job of utilizing our building spaces for instruction as evidenced by our ability to provide in-person instruction five days a week.

February 2021 Superintendent Report

Superintendent’s Report – February 2021

Thanks to Hinsdale staff who have demonstrated a tremendous focus on our joint commitment to provide Hinsdale students with the best education possible in this incredibly trying time. Our teachers and paras have been incredibly patient as they have tried to make our options of in-person learning as well as remote learning work for every student. Also, thanks to our administrators who are dealing with many more issues than usual.

Thankfully, we expect to receive federal grant allocations to cover all our expenses related to our effort to provide quality education in the middle of a pandemic. We have received $188,000 from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (Cares) Act.  We have also received $101,000 from the Public School Response Fund Grant. On the 29th of January we learned that we will be receiving $857,000 from the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act. The $600 Billion Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act was passed by Congress in December. Congress is currently debating another pandemic related relief act. The $1.9 trillion relief act/stimulus bill will likely pass in early March.  Even if the final amount passed is scaled down the benefit to Hinsdale should be huge.  The Bill currently under debate includes $350 billion to go to state governments to support schools and an additional $130 billion that is scheduled to go directly to K-12 public schools. Statewide, New Hampshire spent about $559 million on adequacy aid and fiscal disparity aid combined last year.

Our Director of Personalized Learning/Extended Learning Opportunities Director, Karen Thompson recently learned that a $250,000 “Out of School Time Career Pathways Program” grant was approved.  Hinsdale is one of only four districts in New Hampshire that are scheduled to receive these grant funds. We will receive the $250,000 award over five years. This grant will assist students in attaining credentialing and high-tech manufacturing in STEM related fields. This grant will allow our students to participate in paid internships while gaining skills and knowledge towards an industry recognized credential.

We continue to develop action plans to follow in order to accomplish the expectation described in the 2020/ 2021 Board Goals.

The 2020-2021 Hinsdale School Board Goals are as follows:

  1. Curriculum and Instruction

Ensure that all students receive personalized guidance regarding post-secondary education or career options.

Thanks to the “Out of School Time Career Pathways Program” grant written by our Director of Personalized Learning Karen Thompson.

This grant will assist Hinsdale students in attaining credentialing and high-tech manufacturing in STEM related fields.  This $250,000 Hinsdale grant will be accessed at $50,000 per year for five years. Plans call for the program to be established in collaboration with local industries. GS Precision will be one of the business involved in the process of developing curriculum and program requirements. Our goal is to allow students the opportunity to have a post-high school plan with credentialing and to move seamlessly into those positions.  Our program in Hinsdale will build upon our established ELO program and help to implement opportunities that are not always available in our current ELO structure.  Karen Thompson and I hope to meet area business leaders this spring to begin to build on our current partner list.

Establish continuity and collaboration in instruction between the school buildings.

Our Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment has created a draft strategic plan which, if implemented, should help coordinate a smoother learning transition between HES and HMHS. Given the additional level of complexity due to the pandemic I am hopeful we can use grant funds to help us achieve this end.

Ensure all staff has access to pertinent trainings. There are many examples of needed training that should be grant fund eligible.

Our Director and Personalized Learning and our Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment are coordinating professional development opportunities for PACE related adjustments to curriculum and instruction. Once again newly available grant funds should help us achieve this end. The $250,000 grant written by Karen Thompson should also help us achieve this goal.

PACE-All grade levels will move towards performance assessment and enhanced personalized learning.

Our Director of Personalized Learning wrote a $250,000 grant that was recently approved and should fund our effort to help us move forward with our PACE directive.

  1. Communication

Internal-Improve overall communication.

Our Board continues to frequently update the public as part of the new Communication Plan approved by the Board in September.  The new communication plan is driven by the need to more quickly and thoroughly communicate due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

External-Maintain communication to promote a collaborative relationship with the community in the following ways:

Continue to hold a minimum of two community forums during the school year.

Maintain a presence on other committees, boards and through attendance at community events in town.

Maintain relationships with town governing bodies.

The School Board has met with the Hinsdale Budget Committee three times in 2021 and intends to be available for the public hearing on the budget at the Town Hall on Wednesday, February 3rd.

  1. Culture

Promote a culture of kindness and open communication.

Our Director of Human Resources has been providing staff with frequent wellness related updates. Our administrative team plans to devote time at their February 10th meeting to work on this goal.

Ensure clear behavioral expectations are communicated and followed up on regularly through the development and implementation of a district-wide behavior plan, the progress of which will be reported to the Board monthly by the Superintendent.

The Behavioral Support Team in each school have been working on their building school wide behavior plans. Recently our District Behavioral Support Team Steering Committee agreed to recommend that $10,000 be placed in the 2021/2022 budget to fund our effort to reach this goal. The District Behavioral Support Team met on January 27th and has set their next meeting date of April 14th to continue to coordinate this effort.  Board member Kaylah Hemlow chairs the Behavioral Support Team.

Promote an atmosphere that supports an inclusive, professional learning community.

We are planning to use grant funds again next year to continue to support our Professional Learning Communities. Our pool of grant funds is significantly larger than in recent years.

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 have had zero incidents of bullying at HMHS and zero incidents of bullying at HES since our last Board meeting.

Support the development of a diversity plan that can be integrated throughout the district. We intend to bring a new Diversity Policy that has been vetted by our attorney to the April Board meeting.

Acknowledge the diversity of student accomplishments in all areas. We have a team in the process of developing an action plan to better celebrate student accomplishments, especially as the celebration illustrates diverse members of the student body.

  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 have nine para positions that remain unfilled. Thanks to Board action we now have four long-term substitutes that are being used to help meet our social distancing guidelines.

  1. Financial

Support ways to conduct business in the most efficient and effective manner. The Para Negotiations Committee has come to an agreement with the Hinsdale Support Staff Association leadership. This agreement has be approved by the Board and ratified by the HSSA.  Holly Kennedy and Sean Leary are the Board representatives on Para Negotiations Committee.

Work with the administration to identify and secure additional sources of revenue. We anticipate receiving an addition $857,000 in the next month as a result of the stimulus bill passed by Congress in December. This Hinsdale grant will be the third grant resulting from the federal response to financial hardship related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Work with the administration to present a warrant article to rebuild the expendable trust funds. We have not formulated an amount to recommend to the Board.

Work with the Administration to proactively monitor the fund balance. Our Business Administrator is presenting his estimate to the Board each month.

Maintain ongoing communication with the Budget Committee regarding any potential changes in funding and expenditures and continue to provide detailed backup information for the budget. Our third meeting in the past month with the Budget Committee was on February 1st.  Our public hearing on the Budget is scheduled for February 3rd.

  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 and staff are safe. We are focusing our efforts on providing the needed PPE and frequently sanitizing our buildings. We will soon have available grant funds to cover our needs.

  1. Technology

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

Due to the number of students who are engaged with our remote learning model we are currently focusing on identifying the grants funds to support the technology needs for remote learning.

Ensure all staff has access to pertinent trainings.

We continue to provide the training that is needed to meet the needs of our remote learner.  We will soon be able to use grant funds for additional training.

  1. Facilities

Twice yearly School Board tours of all school buildings –1 tour during the school day and 1 tour when classes are not in session.  Board chair Sean Leary and Board member Kaylah Hemlow are scheduled to tour Hinsdale Elementary School on Friday,  February 19th.

Fully utilize all building spaces.

We are currently doing a great job of utilizing our building spaces for instruction.

January 2021 Superintendent Report

Superintendent’s Report – January 2021

I am grateful that, unlike most districts in New Hampshire, our enrollment has remained at pre-pandemic levels. As a consequence, we are better positioned to avoid a serious revenue shortfall related to per-pupil funding from the State. We are, however, in a position to lose funding related to our free/reduced lunch count. Early on in the pandemic all school districts received a waiver to expand access to free and reduced lunch for students to make sure that students in need could receive free school meals. Once that waiver occurred there was little incentive for our parents to fill out forms related to qualifying for free/reduced lunch. Just like the vast majority of school districts in the country. State Senator Jay Kahn recently sponsored a bill that would allow districts to use free/reduced numbers from the fall of 2019 in order to hold districts harmless for changes in free/reduced numbers that are a result of the pandemic. Senator Kahn argues that true eligibility for free/reduced lunch has likely increased this past year, not decreased.

In addition to the Bill to improve our free/reduced lunch revenue there is an LSR (887) dealing with state disparity aid for FY 2022 and another LSR (1052) for disparity aid for FY 2023.  Both of these Legislative Service Requests will likely become Bills over the next few weeks. As written LSR 887 would add about $490,000 in State disparity aid for the Hinsdale School District next year.

The State is expecting to receive significant revenue for schools from the Federal Government.  A few days ago President Biden proposed a bill to Congress that includes $130 billion in dedicated funding for K-12 schools and another $350 billion in state and local aid designed to help districts cope with the budgetary fallout of the pandemic. Additionally, the president wants to use FEMA disaster relief funds to reimburse schools for personal protective equipment and plans to devote additional resources to screening, testing, and tracing programs for schools. While those proposals will need Congressional approval, reopening guidance plans have already been set in motion through an executive order establishing a Safer Schools and Campuses Best Practices Clearinghouse.

Also, in the Hinsdale School District we are expecting about $180,000 over the next month from the stimulus bill passed by Congress in December.

We continue to develop action plans to follow in order to accomplish the expectation described in the 2020/ 2021 Board Goals.

The 2020-2021 Hinsdale School Board Goals are as follows:

  1. Curriculum and Instruction

Ensure that all students receive personalized guidance regarding post-secondary education or career options.

We are working closely with our seniors to help develop their post high school plans. There are still many questions regarding the status of post-secondary learning options but at this time most colleges plan to open in the fall in a more traditional on-site learning environment. Some students are waiting for a more definitive determination of in-person learning before they commit to paying for their first semester.

Provide students with educational opportunities and learning based upon the student’s unique needs, interests and learning styles.

Our Director of Personalized Learning, who also serves as our Director of Remote Learning, has been focusing most of her time on the 20% of our students who are engaged in remote learning only. Her remote learning group of students frequently change but so far I am confident our remote students are getting a high quality education.

Establish continuity and collaboration in instruction between the school buildings.

Our Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment is creating a strategic plan which, if implemented, should help coordinate a smooth learning transition between HES and HMHS.

Ensure all staff has access to pertinent trainings.

Our Director and Personalized Learning and our Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment are coordinating professional development opportunities for PACE related adjustments to curriculum and instruction.

PACE-All grade levels will move towards performance assessment and enhanced personalized learning.

Our Director of Personalized Learning wrote a grant that was approved in the late fall and should fund our effort to help us move forward with our PACE directive.

  1. Communication

Internal-Improve overall communication.

Our Board continues to frequently update the public as part of the new Communication Plan approved by the Board in September.  The new communication plan is driven by the need to more quickly and thoroughly communicate due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

External-Maintain communication to promote a collaborative relationship with the community in the following ways:

Continue to hold a minimum of two community forums during the school year.

Maintain a presence on other committees, boards and through attendance at community events in town.

Maintain relationships with town governing bodies.

The School Board has met with the Hinsdale Budget Committee twice in 2021 and intends to meet again with the budget committee on February 1st.

  1. Culture

Promote a culture of kindness and open communication.

Our Director of Human Resources has been providing staff with frequent wellness related updates. Our administrative team plans to devote time at their February 17th meeting to work on this goal.

Ensure clear behavioral expectations are communicated and followed up on regularly through the development and implementation of a district-wide behavior plan, the progress of which will be reported to the Board monthly by the Superintendent.

The Behavioral Support Team in each school have been working on their building school wide behavior plans. Recently our District Behavioral Support Team Steering Committee agreed to recommend that $10,000 be placed in the 2021/2022 budget to fund our effort to reach this goal. The District Behavioral Support Team met on January 27th and has set their next meeting date of April 14th to continue to coordinate this effort.  Board member Kaylah Hemlow chairs the Behavioral Support Team.

Promote an atmosphere that supports an inclusive, professional learning community.

We are planning to use grant funds again next year to continue to support our Professional Learning Communities.

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 have had zero incidents of bullying at HMHS and zero incidents of bullying at HES since our last Board meeting.

Support the development of a diversity plan that can be integrated throughout the district. The Diversity Team is currently reviewing one complaint regarding a situation that allegedly occurred with a HMHS student.

Acknowledge the diversity of student accomplishments in all areas. We have a team in the process of developing an action plan to better celebrate student accomplishments, especially as the celebration illustrates diverse members of the student body.

  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 still have five para positions that remain unfilled. Thanks to Board action we now have four long-term substitutes that are being used to help meet our social distancing guidelines.

  1. Financial

Support ways to conduct business in the most efficient and effective manner. The administration is not recommending adding staff for the 2021/2022 budget. The Para Negotiations Committee has come to a tentative agreement with Hinsdale Support Staff Association leadership. Hopefully this tentative agreement will be approved by the Board and ratified by the HSSA.  Holly Kennedy and Sean Leary are the Board representatives on Para Negotiations Committee.

Work with the administration to identify and secure additional sources of revenue. We anticipate receiving an addition $180,000 in the next month as a result of the stimulus bill passed by Congress in December. This grant will be the third grant resulting from the federal response to financial hardship related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Work with the administration to present a warrant article to rebuild the expendable trust funds. We have not formulated an amount to recommend to the Board.

Work with the Administration to proactively monitor the fund balance. Our Business Administrator is presenting his estimate to the Board each month.

Maintain ongoing communication with the Budget Committee regarding any potential changes in funding and expenditures and continue to provide detailed backup information for the budget. Our third meeting in the past month with the Budget Committee is scheduled for February 1st.

  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 and staff are safe. We are focusing our efforts on providing the needed PPE and frequently sanitizing our buildings.

  1. Technology

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

Our Director Technology and her team are preparing the budget requests necessary to complete the final year of our 5-year Technology Plan.  Due to the number of students who are engaged with our remote learning model we are currently focusing on finding grants funds to support the technology needs for remote learning.

Ensure all staff has access to pertinent trainings.

We continue to provide the training that is needed to meet the needs of our remote learner.

  1. Facilities

Twice yearly School Board tours of all school buildings –1 tour during the school day and 1 tour when classes are not in session.

Fully utilize all building spaces.

We are currently doing a great job of utilizing our building spaces for instruction.

 

Superintendent’s Report – December 2020

Superintendent’s Report – December, 2020

As promised, the Hinsdale School Board wants to keep the school community updated on any changes in schedule or policies as they relate to the current pandemic as quickly as possible.  To that end the Board composed the following message that I am sharing with you.

“Due to high levels of absenteeism after Thanksgiving break, and in an effort to minimize community spread of COVID-19, students will be learning remotely immediately following the winter break. Remote learning will begin January 4th and go until January 15th. Students will return to in-person learning on January 19th after the Martin Luther King holiday.

  • If you are an in-class student, you may not “opt” to be remote on certain days.  If you are out of class for any reason that is not a COVID related issue, which has been reported to the school nurse, you will be considered absent for that day and may not participate in remote learning.  Any exceptions that need to be made will need to be discussed and approved prior to the event by the building principal and necessary teachers.
  • If you or anyone in your home travels outside of the New England states of New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island, you are required to self-quarantine for 10 days, starting the day of return to New Hampshire per the New Hampshire state travel restrictions.
  • If anyone in your home received a COVID-19 test due to symptoms or exposure to the virus, you must inform the school nurse.
  • If you have received a COVID-19 test and are awaiting results you must notify the school nurse.  Proof of a negative test must be provided, in writing, or a full quarantine period must be completed before you may return to school.  
  • School district quarantine guidelines will follow whatever is the current recommendation of the CDC.   These guidelines currently state that 10 days of quarantine are required after exposure as long as no symptoms arise during that 10-day period.
  • Families in the Hinsdale School District have the option to keep their child home to engage in remote learning.  It is our policy that if a parent chooses this option the child must remain remote until the end of the quarter.
  • As always, we will communicate any updates or changes as they happen.  This continues to be a very fluid situation for everyone, and we appreciate the effort of the entire community as we continue to navigate these challenging times together.”

Our overall enrollment continues to hold study.  We have about 10 more K-12 students in Hinsdale than we did at this time last year.

Please join me in welcoming Debbie Godin as our Hinsdale School District staff accountant. December 1st was her first day on the job as part of the Hinsdale School District team. Debbie comes to us from Athol-Royalston Regional School District in Massachusetts where she served for 15 years as payroll specialist. Prior to her position at the Athol-Royalston Regional School District she was the bookkeeper at Esleeck Manufacturing in Massachusetts. Debbie is familiar with our accounting software, however, please be patient with her as she builds an understanding of all our business systems including payroll, budget, accounts receivable, accounts payable, and benefits.  You can reach Debbie at ext. 7683 or at her work email which is dgodin@hnhsd.org.

We continue to develop action plans to follow in order to accomplish the expectation described in the 2020/ 2021 Board Goals.

The 2020-2021 Hinsdale School Board Goals are as follows:

  1. Curriculum and Instruction

Ensure that all students receive personalized guidance regarding post-secondary education or career options.

We recently hired a high school counselor who has previously worked in the field of career development at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.  He is working closely with our seniors to help develop their post high school plans. 

Provide students with educational opportunities and learning based upon the student’s unique needs, interests and learning styles.

Our Director of Personalized Learning, who also serves as our Director of Remote Learning, has been focusing most of her time on the 20% of our students who are engaged in remote learning only. On November 30th we added about 15 students to the remote learner list. 

Establish continuity and collaboration in instruction between the school buildings.

Our Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment is leading the action plan to help coordinate a smooth learning transition between HES and HMHS. At present she had focused her effort on reading. She has reviewed our reading data and plans to develop a plan, that if implemented, should result in improved test scores in reading.

Ensure all staff has access to pertinent trainings.

Our Director and Personalized Learning and our Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment are coordinating professional development opportunities for PACE related adjustments to curriculum and instruction.

PACE-All grade levels will move towards performance assessment and enhanced personalized learning.

Our Director of Personalized Learning recently announced that a grant she had written in the fall was approved and should fund our effort to help us move forward with our PACE directive.

  1. Communication

Internal-Improve overall communication.

Our Board continues to frequently update the public as part of the new Communication Plan approved by the Board in September.  The new communication plan is driven by the need to more quickly and thoroughly communicate due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

External-Maintain communication to promote a collaborative relationship with the community in the following ways:

Continue to hold a minimum of two community forums during the school year.

Maintain a presence on other committees, boards and through attendance at community events in town.

Maintain relationships with town governing bodies.

The School Board plans to meet with the Town Budget Committee in January.

  1. Culture

Promote a culture of kindness and open communication.

Our Director of Human Resources has been providing staff with mindful, positive mesages each week.

Ensure clear behavioral expectations are communicated and followed up on regularly through the development and implementation of a district-wide behavior plan, the progress of which will be reported to the Board monthly by the Superintendent.

The Behavioral Support Team in each school have been working on their building school wide behavior plans. Recently our District Behavioral Support Team Steering Committee agreed to recommend that $10,000 be placed in the 2021/2022 budget to fund our effort to reach this goal.

Promote an atmosphere that supports an inclusive, professional learning community.

We are planning to use grant funds again next year to continue to support our Professional Learning Communities.

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 have had zero incidents of bullying at HMHS and two incidents of bullying at HES since our last Board meeting.

Support the development of a diversity plan that can be integrated throughout the district. The Diversity Team is currently reviewing one complaint regarding a situation that allegedly occurred with a HMHS student.

 Acknowledge the diversity of student accomplishments in all areas. We have a team in the process of developing an action plan to better celebrate student accomplishments, especially as the celebration illustrates diverse members of the student body.

  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 still have five para positions that remain unfilled. Thanks to Board action we now have four long-term substitutes that are being used to help meet our social distancing guidelines.

  1. Financial

Support ways to conduct business in the most efficient and effective manner. The administration is not recommending adding staff for the 2021/2022 budget. The Para Negotiations Committee is meeting frequently with the Hinsdale Support Staff Association leadership in order to draft an agreement to present to the Board and, if approved by the Board, to present to the District voters in March of 2021. Holly Kennedy and Sean Leary are the Board representatives on Para Negotiations Committee.

Work with the administration to identify and secure additional sources of revenue. We anticipate another grant as a result of federal budget action. This grant will be the third grant resulting from the federal response to financial hardship related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Work with the administration to present a warrant article to rebuild the expendable trust funds. We have not formulated an amount to recommend to the Board.

Work with the Administration to proactively monitor the fund balance. Our Business Administrator is presenting his estimate to the Board each month.

Maintain ongoing communication with the Budget Committee regarding any potential changes in funding and expenditures and continue to provide detailed backup information for the budget. Our first meeting with the Budget Committee is scheduled for January.

  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 and staff are safe. We are focusing our efforts on providing the needed PPE and frequently sanitizing our buildings.

  1. Technology

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

Our Director Technology and her team are preparing the budget requests necessary to complete the final year of our 5-year Technology Plan.  Due to the number of students who are engaged with our remote learning model we are currently focusing on finding grants funds to support the technology needs for remote learning.

Ensure all staff has access to pertinent trainings.

We continue to provide the training that is needed to meet the needs of our remote learner.

  1. Facilities

Twice yearly School Board tours of all school buildings –1 tour during the school day and 1 tour when classes are not in session.

Fully utilize all building spaces.

We are currently doing a great job of utilizing our building spaces for instruction.