Category Archives: Superintendent Blog

March 2019 Superintendent’s Report

Superintendent’s Report – March 2019

The Hinsdale School District will hold the 2019 Annual School District Meeting in the Hinsdale Middle/High School Gym on Saturday, March 16th. The 2019/2020 School District Budget of $13,412,857 will appear as the First Article on the School District Warrant. This budget proposal is 2.4% lower than the budget Hinsdale voters approved last year.

The second article on the Warrant is a three-year teacher contract. The Hinsdale Budget Committee voted to support both articles. The three year teachers’ contract, if passed at the Hinsdale School District Meeting, would add $117,396, (less than 1%) to our overall school district budget for 2019-2020.  The cost for year two of the contract would be $146,832 and $152,129 in year three. Raises total 2.67% in year one, 3.15% in year two and 3.16% in year three. These increases are total compensation not just salary. If both articles on the Warrant pass on March 16th the tax rate on the school side is projected to decline for the 2019/2020 fiscal year.

Over the past week Tom O’Connor and I spoke to several employee groups concerning the 2019/2020 budget and the teachers’ contract that will be presented to the town at the 2019 Hinsdale Annual School District Meeting. On Tuesday, March 5th, Tom and I spoke to the Hinsdale Middle/High School teaching staff and the Hinsdale Elementary School teaching staff. On Wednesday, March 6th Tom and I spoke to the Hinsdale Elementary School Paras.  In addition, Tom and I spoke to the HMHS para staff and the HSD administrative assistants staff on Monday, March 11th.

We continue to receive positive signs related to a projected increase in state revenue for the 2019/2020 fiscal year. For example, legislation regarding Stabilization Aid, which had been cut by about $200,000 over the past two years, is still projected to be rolled back to 2016 levels which would bring in about $200,000 more in revenue than we projected. Other areas where the state is likely to increase the revenue for our schools include more funding for each student as part of our adequacy grant as well as full adequacy aide for each student attending full day kindergarten.  Currently we receive a smaller amount of adequacy aide for our kindergarten students as compared to students in grades 1-12.    Another area of revenue shortfall that the legislature looks to restore this session is Special Education Aid, a state revenue stream that is currently reimbursing Hinsdale at only 70.228% of the funds that are required by law. It appears that the current legislature recognizes that, as with all the other unreimbursed State mandates, the erosion of aide regarding special education placements results in an increase in local property taxes, adding to the disparity of tax rates for education throughout the state.

I was indeed fortunate to have been free to attend three of our Pacers playoff basketball games. I was even able to catch the championship game in Plymouth.  I am so proud of the character of our Pacer basketball teams.

Hinsdale staff have continued to work on the 2018-2019 School Board Goals.

2018-2019 Hinsdale School Board Goals

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

As of March 1st the majority of the Hinsdale Senior Class has been accepted into at least one college. Currently 10% of the Senior Class is planning to join a branch of the military.

The ELO program continues to be an integral pathway for many of our students. We are working to enable a larger percentage of our students to take advantage of ELO’s. Currently, students in grade eight are scheduled to participate in a career exploration class each quarter. This class provides data on individual interests, and information that is used to guide the formation of group ELOs in grade nine. Plans are in place to include a career fair for 8th and 9th grade students as well as job shadow opportunities for 10th grade students. Freshmen and sophomores have taken on year-long ELOs as interests and time allow. Our ELO Exhibition Day is scheduled for Tuesday, May 22nd. We anticipate that all our Board members will be in attendance, as well as officials from the New Hampshire Department of Education.

We have 16 individual workshops scheduled to be offered by Hinsdale staff members during the April 22nd workshop day. Workshops titles include: “What’s New in Special Education,” “What Can the Library Do for You,” “Implementing Bridges Intervention with Regular Education and Special Education,” “Hearing and Listening Needs in the Classroom,” “Supporting Students in Managing Stress,” “Interdisciplinary Performance Tasks,” “How to Differentiate Instruction: Twenty Years and Counting,” “Understanding Dyslexia and How to Identity,” “Prevent, and Remediate Work Level Reading Difficulties,” “An Introduction to Adobe Spark for Education,” “One Note in the Classroom,” “Making Most of Your Smartboard,” “A Deskless Classroom: Using Movement and Building Community to Increase Achievement.”  In addition, Hinsdale staff are providing four PACE workshops.

  1. Communication
  • Internal
    • Twice yearly school board tours of all school buildings – 1 tour during the school day and 1 tour when classes are not in session.
  • External
    • Maintain communication to promote a collaborative relationship with the community through a continued commitment to holding a minimum of two forums and maintaining a presence in other committees, boards and community events in town.
    • Maintain relationships with town governing bodies.

On Wednesday, February 27th the School Board and I met and reviewed the employee surveys which were completed in the late fall.  The results of the surveys will be extremely helpful in informing our district and board goals for next year; however, we have identified several areas which we will work to address in the coming months.  We are forming an action plan which we will discuss at monthly school board meetings.

The School Board held a Public Forum on January 31st to allow residents to ask questions about the expenditures in the 2019/2020 proposed budget.  There were approximately 30 people in attendance at the forum. Each Board member presented a part of the overview for the public.

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

We have had two reported acts of bullying at HES since our last Board meeting. We had no new reports of bullying at HMHS since our February Board meeting. We are monitoring two past bullying issues at HMHS.

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

We know of three individuals who plan to retire on June 30th, 2019. We have already started the interview process for the replacement of the retiree who is a year-round employee.

We will have a table at the Keene State College Job Fair on Tuesday, April 2nd. Our HES Special Education Coordinator, our Director of Personalized Learning, and our Director of Curriculum and Instruction will represent Hinsdale at the job fair.

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

The Board and administration have done an excellent job of reaching out to the voters in order to satisfactorily answer their questions, especially on Facebook.  Our Business Administrator has worked especially hard to satisfactorily answer all the questions from our Budget Committee as well as the questions from our public. All Board members presented part of the budget and teacher contract overview during the recent Hinsdale School Board Budget Community Forum.

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

Our School Resource Officer, Marcello D’Allesandro, led a table top drill on Tuesday February 12th at the Hinsdale Police Department. The drill also included Hinsdale school district administrators, Hinsdale Police Chief Faulkner, and four others from the Hinsdale Police Department. Our Hinsdale Elementary School principal and our Hinsdale Middle/High School principal and assistant principal also attended the table top drill.

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

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

Our Director of Technology is close to completing a compliance plan regarding the new data governance legislation, HB 1612. This new law mandates information security for every school district. The statue require all school districts conduct a comprehensive information security risk plan. Work towards compliance of the new law has already involved all Hinsdale staff, not just the Director of Technology and her staff.

2019 Superintendent’s Annual Report

Superintendent’s Annual School District Report 2019

From our successfully completed Hinsdale Elementary School addition and renovation project, our 2018 State Championship Girls Basketball Team, the Hinsdale School Board Magna Award, to the state-wide recognition of our successful Extended Learning Opportunities program, we have much to celebrate this year.

The Hinsdale Elementary School building addition and renovation project was completed by our first day with students on Tuesday, September 4, 2018.  The addition includes three first grade classrooms, three kindergarten classrooms, a music room, and an art room. All the rooms are attached to the main campus.  The renovation space includes some of the existing Hinsdale elementary school first-floor rooms as well as the mechanical systems that will serve both the existing Hinsdale Elementary School and all the rooms in the addition.

Without the strong support of voters at the 2017 Annual District Meeting we would not likely have been able to garner the necessary votes from the New Hampshire Legislature needed to secure the building grant which totaled 60% of the total cost of construction. The 93% Hinsdale voter approval at the 2017 Annual District Meeting was a common topic of conversation among state officials and others with ties to K-12 education.

The interest rate for the Bond on our Hinsdale Elementary School Addition/Renovation project was sold at 2.856%, below the 4% we estimated at our 2018 Annual District Meeting. The addition and renovation project cost, as was projected, adds about 1% on the Hinsdale tax rate. The addition/renovation project bond costs for next year are part of our 2019/2020 proposed operating budget.

The Hinsdale School Board held a ribbon cutting ceremony for the Hinsdale Elementary School addition on Saturday, September 22nd.   After remarks by our Board Chair Holly Kennedy, and the Chair of the Building Improvement Committee Jim O’Malley, all five Hinsdale School Board members cut the ceremonial ribbon.  Then those in attendance were ushered into the new addition where they toured the rooms and hallway.  All who spoke expressed sincerest gratitude for all the help that made this needed facility improvement possible.  The speakers thanked the following: our voters at our 2017 School District Meeting, the Hinsdale School Board, the New Hampshire Board of Education, Governor Sununu, the New Hampshire Legislature, the New Hampshire Department of Education Chief Engineer Amy Clark, New Hampshire Commissioner of Education Frank Edleblut, Hinsdale resident Smoky Smith, former State Senator Molly Kelly, current State Senator Jay Kahn, State Representatives Mike Abbott, Lucy Weber, Paul Birch, Cathy Harvey and Hinsdale resident Kathy Bean. We also thanked the Hinsdale School District Building Improvement Committee whose members included: James O’Malley-Chair, Steve Fecto-Vice Chair, James MacDonell, Joe Boggio, Sean Leary, Deb Carrier, Shawn Lee, Courtney Hodge, April Anderson, Jeana Woodbury, Kaylah Hemlow, Jason Sisko, Kathy Bean, and Tom O’Connor. We also thanked our technology team and our custodians worked particularly hard to make the opening of school deadline for the new addition and the renovated rooms. Special guests in attendance included:  New Hampshire Commissioner of Education Frank Edleblut, New Hampshire Department of Education Chief Engineer Amy Clark, New Hampshire Senator Jay Kahn, State Representatives Mike Abbott, Lucy Weber, Paul Birch, and Cathy Harvey. Additional special guests included Frank and Paul Marinace from Marinace Architects, and John Edwards and Walter Latiolais from the MacMillin Company, and Hinsdale resident Smoky Smith.

I would like to commend the Building Improvement Committee and the School Board for their fiscally responsible approach taken in the development of the addition/renovation project.  Prior to reaching the voters many cuts were made in order to keep the costs down. Cuts included the following: a solar power option, a paved parking lot for the addition, improvements to traffic flow, security upgrades regarding the main office and the addition, a stand-alone generator for the addition, an outdoor education space, and all new smartboards.

We worked hard to create a 2019/2020 fiscal year budget that will fund the needs associated with providing Hinsdale students with a quality education, while keeping in mind that many of our local taxpayers cannot afford an increase in their taxes.  While many communities across our country face a similar budget challenge, the challenge for administrators, the School Board, and the Budget Committee in Hinsdale is by far more daunting, because our state pays so little towards K-12 education.  To make matters even worse New Hampshire continues to cut our Stabilization revenue. The Stabilization Aid was cut by about $200,000 over the past two years.  All our State Fiscal Disparity Aid, more than $2 million for Hinsdale, was cut in 2012. The cut of Fiscal Disparity Aid, now called Stabilization Aid, was spread out over time and postponed to begin in 2017.

When the Claremont lawsuit was decided by the New Hampshire Supreme Court in 1997, New Hampshire was last amount the 50 states in state aid as a percentage of school revenue. Actually, if New Hampshire’s state aid had been tripled, New Hampshire would still have been last. Following the Claremont decision state education aid to Hinsdale jumped in one year from $736,712. to $3,464,567.  In percentage terms the state contribution jumped from about 14% of Hinsdale expenditures for schools to more than 60%. The school tax rate dropped from $19.87 per thousand to $8.76 per thousand in the year following the Claremont decision.  However, in the past decade the legislature has significantly reduced funding to Hinsdale, first by cutting the entire State funding for teacher retirement which represented an additional local taxpayer obligation for school district personnel of more than $853,549,000 in our current year. The state retirement contribution had been in place for more than 50 years.  And as previously stated the State added to our local property tax bill by about $200,000 over the past two years by cutting our Local Disparity Aid, now called Stabilization Aid.  Nationally, state aid to schools has increased this year by an average of 4.9%.

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

Hinsdale administrators and Hinsdale Board members, Holly Kennedy and James O’Malley, met with all our State Representatives, including Lucy Weber, Paul Birch, Cathy Harvey, and Mike Abbott on December 14, 2018, at which time we outlined our concerns related to funding. All our state representatives are sympathetic to our concerns. The first issue we spoke to was the reduction in Stabilization Aid.  Hinsdale resident and State Representative Mike Abbott, has sponsored a bill to be introduced this session that, if passed, would result in no additional cut in Stabilization Aid to Hinsdale over the next two years. The bill, if passed into law, would save Hinsdale taxpayers about $100,000 each of the next two years. Our State Senator Jay Kahn, is aware of the bill and anticipates a similar bill on the senate side.

The second issue we discussed when we met with our area legislators is that of Special Education Aid, a state revenue stream that is currently reimbursing Hinsdale at only 70.228% of the funds that are required by law.  Payments are prorated based on the shortfall appropriation and paid in the fiscal year after the expenditures were incurred. Over the past decade there has never been any catch up on prior years’ shortfalls.  Our State Senator, Jay Kahn, has introduced legislation this session regarding special education funding. His bill would require the state to meet current obligations.  As with all the other unreimbursed costs, the erosion of this aid impacts local property taxes.

Hinsdale continues to stand out as a district that acquires a high percentage of state and federal grants to offset local taxes. As a percentage of our expenditures, we typically procure approximately 10% more in grant funds than is common among New Hampshire Districts.

For example, we have received more than $100,000 this year from the state for safety upgrades to our school buildings. Our School Resource Officer Marcello D’Allesandro, our Director of Technology Debbie Trabucco, and our Business Administrator Tom O’Connor all participated in the grant application process.  The security items funded were all identified as areas of need in the Hinsdale School District security audit completed in the spring of 2016.

Another example is the $157,580 grant we received this year to fund our Hinsdale Afterschool Program (HASP).  It would be difficult to overestimate the importance of the Hinsdale Afterschool Program to Hinsdale students and families.  Many of our Hinsdale students depend on HASP for a safe place between 3:30-6:00 each school day and for breakfast and/or an afterschool snack.  Students complete homework and enhance their math and reading skills with the help of staff and volunteers. Both elementary school students and middle school students have access to Hinsdale computer labs and to the staff needed to help improve the student’s technology related skills. These computers are connected to the internet.  Many Hinsdale students struggle with reliable access to the internet from home. Hinsdale students who attend our after school program have access to our amazing elementary school drama program.  In addition, our HASP students benefit from physical exercise during a best practice physical exercise program. There are days when more than 100 Hinsdale K-8 students participate in HASP.

In an effort to generate other sources of revenue, the Hinsdale Education Foundation was formed in March of 2017.  The Hinsdale Education Foundation has been approved as a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit and is now registered with both the IRS and the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office. The officers of the Hinsdale Education Foundation are as follows: President, Jim O’Malley; Secretary, Steve Bonnette; Treasurer, Frank Moriarty. Other Hinsdale Education Foundation members include Board Chair Holly Kennedy and District Clerk Ann Diorio. The Foundation Board members are hopeful that individual contributions and/or business/corporate contributions may help support our Hinsdale schools without adding to the property tax bill. The Hinsdale Education Foundation’s first fund raising event was the Richard T. McCarthy Golf Tournament held on May 19, 2018 at the Northfield Golf Club. This tournament raised almost $7,000.  The second annual Richard T. McCarthy Golf Tournament will be held on May 18, 2019 at the Northfield Golf Club. Retired Hinsdale Middle/High School principal John Hartnett is the tournament director.  The Hinsdale Education Foundation has already funded five Hinsdale teacher grant requests which included science kits, garden beds, tuition for a Red Cross course for students pursuing certification as a licensed nursing assistant (LNA), a field trip for all fifth grade students to visit the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center, and a compost bin for the outside and a small worm compost bin for our preschool.  The next fundraising project for the Hinsdale Education Foundation has engaged every Hinsdale fifth grade student in creating a tile to be permanently installed in the hallway of the new addition. Members of the community and businesses will be asked to sponsor a tile. Hinsdale Education Foundation Treasurer, Frank Moriarty is directing the tile project.

Our Extended Learning Opportunity (ELO) program continues to gain attention from State education leaders. At a recent Commissioner’s address to the newly elected legislature Hinsdale High School was one of three high schools Commissioner Edelblut used as an example of best practice in regards to career ready preparation.  Approximately 120 area businesses work with us through our Extended Learning Opportunity Program.  In June of 2018 ELO Coordinator Karen Thompson was named “New Hampshire Extended Learning Opportunities Educator of the Year.” Our Hinsdale Extended Learning Opportunity Exhibition Day on May 18, 2018 was a huge success thanks to Karen Thompson and the ELO assistant Cathy Johnson, and extended learning opportunity coaches Bonnie Trombly, Jodie Holmquist, and Peter Hughes. The ELO Exhibition Day on May 18th was attended by Fred Bramante who serves as President of the National Center for Competency Based Learning, the New Hampshire Deputy Commissioner of Education Christine Brennan, all five Hinsdale Board members, and several representatives from other school districts.

In the spring of 2018 the Hinsdale School Board received the Magna Award from the National School Boards Association. Through their Magna Award program, the National School Boards Association recognizes school boards from across the country for innovation and creativity in helping to increase student achievement. The Magna Award program for 2018 focused on equity in education and recognized school districts and their leaders for their efforts to bring educational equity to their students through programs that remove barriers to student achievement. Nationally, one grand prize winner and five first place winners are chosen in three enrollment categories; under 5,000 enrollment, 5,000 to 20,000 enrollment and over 20,000 enrollment.  The Hinsdale School Board was chosen as a first place Magna Award winner in the under 5,000 enrollment category for the Hinsdale School District’s Extended Learning Opportunities Program.

The Extended Learning Opportunity program started seven years ago at the request of our school board, many of whom are the same people that currently sit on our board.  Students who participate in our Extended Learning Opportunities Program work with one of over 120 business partners in the Hinsdale area.  With the help of our teachers, counselors, and our ELO coordinator, each ELO student is matched with the business that provides the best opportunity for the student to grow along a chosen career path. The ELO experience is outlined so the experience includes a connection to the core competencies each student must learn.  As a consequence, Hinsdale students are more likely to be engaged in their learning and more likely to have a clearer understanding of the work it will take to be successful in their chosen field.  Students going to college are much more likely pick a college that will best help the student reach their goal. Our parents appreciate the increased clarity in regards to student aspirations. Hinsdale students have had a diverse range of ELO experiences including firefighting, marine engineering, and veterinary science.  In addition, many of our students are earning certifications as a result of their Extended Learning Opportunity work. Last year one member of the Hinsdale Senior Class accumulated seven certifications.  The most recent certification is the Licensed Nursing Assistant (LNA).

I would like to congratulate the Hinsdale 2018 State Championship Girls Basketball Team which included seniors Monika Costello, Gabrial LeClair, Mariah Nichols; junior Hannah Lynch; sophomores Maggie St. John and Ericka Girroir; freshmen Angelina Wilcox, Audrey Martin, Olivia Pangelinan, and Kleay Steever.  Our head coach was Terry Bonnette.  Our assistant coach was Al Putnam. Our manger was Rachael Girroir.

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

On behalf of the Hinsdale School District, I ask that the community continue to show its support by attending the District Meeting on Saturday, March 16th at 9:00 a.m. in our middle/high school gym.

Respectfully submitted,

Wayne Woolridge, Superintendent of Schools

Superintendent’s Report – February 2019

Superintendent’s Report – February 2019

On Tuesday, February 5th the Hinsdale Budget Committee held their public hearing on the School District Budget. After hearing from the public the Budget Committee voted to recommend the operating budget that had been approved by the School Board. The Budget will appear as the First Article on the School District Warrant to be decided at the Annual School District Meeting at 9:00 am on Saturday, March 16th.

The second article on the Warrant is the three-year teacher contract. After hearing questions and comments from the public the Hinsdale Budget Committee voted to support this article. The article, if passed at the Hinsdale School District Meeting in March, would add $117,396 to our overall school district budget for 2019-2020.  If passed, the owner of a $100,000 house would pay approximately 83 cents per week to support our teachers cost-of-living increase.

The budget that the School Board presented to the Budget Committee included a long list of cuts from our 2018/2019 budget.  If the budget and the teacher contract, that was approved by the Hinsdale Budget Committee on February 5th, were approved at the Hinsdale March Annual District Meeting the impact on the tax rate is estimated to result in an overall decrease in taxes on the school side.

All our Hinsdale legislators are working hard to improve the level of anticipated revenue from the State.  Hinsdale State Representatives include Lucy Weber, Paul Birch, Cathy Harvey, and Mike Abbott.  Our State Senator is Jay Kahn. Senator Kahn serves as Chair of the Senate Education Committee.  He also serves on the Senate Finance Committee.

There are many positive signs related to increased revenue from the State for at least the next two years. For example, legislation regarding Stabilization Aid, which had been cut by about $200,000 over the past two years, looks to be rolled back to 2016 levels by the legislature this session.

Another area of revenue shortfall that the legislature looks to restore this session is Special Education Aid, a state revenue stream that is currently reimbursing Hinsdale at only 70.228% of the funds that are required by law.  Payments are prorated based on the shortfall appropriation and paid in the fiscal year after the expenditures were incurred. Over the past decade there has never been any catch up on prior years’ shortfalls.  Currently it appears that the legislature will pass a law this session requiring the State to meet current obligations.  The current legislature recognizes that, as with all the other unreimbursed State mandates, the erosion of this aid results in an increase in local property taxes.

In addition to restoring Stabilization Aid and Special Education Aid the legislature this session is debating the restoration of the State contribution to the employee retirement system.  Our employer contribution to the retirement system in the 2019/2020 budget is expected to exceed $850,000.

Also there are several bills that would increase per student adequacy funds for regular education students, students who are enrolled in the free or reduced lunch program, and kindergarten students.

Hinsdale staff have continued to work on the 2018-2019 School Board Goals.

2018-2019 Hinsdale School Board Goals

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

As of February 6th, 53% of the Hinsdale Senior Class has already been accepted into at least one college. Currently 10% of the Senior Class is planning to join a branch of the military.

Our Hinsdale High School counselor, Paula Brault, reports that “two of our students will be completing their LNA coursework and licensure this spring (who are both planning to go on in the medical field while they work as an LNA).”  She also reports that “four students will be Certified Fiber Optic Technicians through their two-year work at WRCC (Career Center).  Other students who attended the career center have certifications such as CPR, Emergency Medical Responder (EMR), and one will have the ability to sit for the Vermont State Firefighter I exam with one additional course needed beyond graduation.”

The Professional Development Needs Assessment Survey completed this past spring was used to develop our plan for the April 22nd professional development day. Technology, the development of quality performance assessment tasks, and behavior management best practice are some of the areas of focus.

The principals at HES and HMHS report that we have made progress providing students with educational opportunities and learning based upon the student’s unique needs, interests and learning styles. Teams at HES have used a Response to Intervention model to provide data-informed individualized student instruction.

  1. Communication
  • Internal
    • Twice yearly school board tours of all school buildings – 1 tour during the school day and 1 tour when classes are not in session.
  • External
    • Maintain communication to promote a collaborative relationship with the community through a continued commitment to holding a minimum of two forums and maintaining a presence in other committees, boards and community events in town.
    • Maintain relationships with town governing bodies.

Our School Board, business administrator and our cost center managers have met with the Hinsdale Budget Committee three times in an effort to provide the necessary budget justification for the 2019-2020 School District Budget.  We also outlined the justification for the teacher contract with the budget committee on two occasions. The Budget Committee voted 9-1 to recommend the budget that had been approved by the School Board. The Budget will appear as the First Article on the School District Warrant to be decided at the Annual School District Meeting at 9:00 am on Saturday, March 16th.  The second article on the Warrant is the three-year teacher contract. The Hinsdale Budget Committee voted 8-2 to support this article. The article, if passed at the Hinsdale School District Meeting in March, would add $117,396 to our overall school district budget for 2019-2020.  If passed, the owner of a $100,000 house would pay approximately 83 cents per week to support our teachers cost of living increase.

The School Board held a Public Forum on January 31st to allow residents to ask questions about the expenditures in the 2019/2020 proposed budget, and to discuss issues related to state and federal revenue.  There were approximately 30 people in attendance at the forum.  All five members of the Hinsdale School Board made informative presentations related to various budget items.

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

We have had four reported acts of bullying at HES since our last Board meeting. We had one alleged act of bullying at HMHS since our January Board meeting.

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

We continue to provide quality PD for our staff.  Our afterschool support meetings as well as our individual support for new teachers adds a level of support not common in many New Hampshire schools.  Also, our recent professional development for our administrators regarding teacher teams helped promote an atmosphere that supports an inclusive professional learning community.

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

The Public Hearing regarding our budget and proposed teacher contract on Tuesday, February 5th went well.  The Board and administration have done an excellent job of reaching out to the voters in order to satisfactorily answer their questions.  Our Business Administrator has worked very hard to satisfactorily answer all the questions from our Budget Committee as well as the questions from our public at the recent Hinsdale Budget Committee School Budget Hearing and at the School Board Budget Community Forum.

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

Our School Resource Officer, Marcello D’Allesandro, is led a table top drill on Tuesday February 12th at the Hinsdale Police Department. The drill also include Hinsdale school district administrators, Hinsdale Police Chief Faulkner, and four officers from the Hinsdale Police Department.

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

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

Our Director of Technology is in the process of creating a compliance plan regarding the new data governance legislation, HB 1612. This new law mandates information security for every school district. The statue require all school districts conduct a comprehensive information security risk plan. Complying with the new law by the deadline of June 30th, 2019 will involve all Hinsdale staff, not just the Director of Technology and her staff.

December 2018 Superintendent’s Blog

Superintendent’s Blog – December 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2018-2019 Hinsdale School Board Goals

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

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

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

  1. Communication
  • Internal
    • Twice yearly school board tours of all school buildings – 1 tour during the school day and 1 tour when classes are not in session.
  • External
    • Maintain communication to promote a collaborative relationship with the community through a continued commitment to holding a minimum of two forums and maintaining a presence in other committees, boards and community events in town.
    • Maintain relationships with town governing bodies.

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

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

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

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

We have had three reported acts of bullying at HES since our last Board meeting. Two of the three occurred on a school bus. We have had zero reported acts of bullying at HMHS since our last Board meeting

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

We continue to provide quality PD for our staff. Thanks to the effort of the Director of the Hinsdale After School Program we have $22,000 in grant funds which will be used to provide professional development for the staff of HASP.

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

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

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

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

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

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

November 2018 Superintendent Blog

Superintendent’s Blog – November 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. HSD will continue to review security audit information and move forward, in a fiscally responsible manner, to ensure our buildings are secure and our students are safe.

We are continuing to improve the safety and security of the District.

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

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

October 2018 Superintendent’s Report

Superintendent’s Report – October 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5.  HSD will continue to review security audit information and move forward, in a fiscally responsible manner, to ensure our buildings are secure and our students are safe.

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

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

September 2018 Superintendent’s Report

Superintendent’s Report – September 2018

We successfully opened our elementary school on Tuesday, September 4th. The new renovation and addition to the elementary school was ready on opening day. We have many individuals and groups to thank for this needed facility improvement, including the following: our voters at our 2017 District Meeting, Hinsdale School Board, New Hampshire Board of Education, Governor Sununu, New Hampshire Legislature, the New Hampshire Department of Education Chief Engineer Amy Clark, New Hampshire Commissioner of Education Frank Edleblut, Hinsdale resident Smoky Smith, former State Senator Molly Kelly, current State Senator Jay Kahn, State Representative Mike Abbott, and Hinsdale resident Kathy Bean. I would also like to thank the Hinsdale School District Building Improvement Committee whose members include: James O’Malley-Chair, Steve Fecto-Vice Chair, James MacDonell, Joe Boggio, Sean Leary, Deb Carrier, Shawn Lee, Courtney Hodge, April Anderson, Kaylah Hemlow, Kathy Bean, and Tom O’Connor. Certainly District staff including the technology team and the custodians worked particularly hard to make the opening of school deadline for the new addition and the renovated rooms..

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. HSD will continue to review security audit information and move forward, in a fiscally        responsible manner, to ensure our buildings are secure and our students are safe.

2018 Opening for Staff – PowerPoint

August 2018 Superintendent’s Blog

Superintendent’s Report – August 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

June Superintendent’s Report

Superintendent’s Report – June 2018


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We continue to make progress towards the 2017-2018 Hinsdale School Board Goals.

2017-2018 Hinsdale School Board Goals

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Superintendent’s Report – May 2018

Superintendent’s Report – May 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Estimated to cost $50,000.

Work to be scheduled for the summer of 2019

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

Estimated to cost $50,000

Work to be scheduled for the summer of 2020

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

Estimated to cost $20,000

Work to be scheduled for the summer of 2021

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

Estimated to cost $120,000

Work to be scheduled for summer of 2022

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

Estimated to cost $150,000

Work to be scheduled for the summer of 2023

We continue to make progress towards the 2017-2018 Hinsdale School Board Goals.

2017-2018 Hinsdale School Board Goals

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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