Category Archives: Superintendent Blog

Superintendent’s Report – June 2019

Superintendent’s Report – June 2019

We have many reasons to celebrate since our last Board meeting.

First, our 2019 Extended Learning Opportunity Exhibition Day was a success. Our Director of Personalized Learning Karen Thompson with the help of Cathy Johnson, Peter Hughes, Jodie Holmquist, and Bonnie Trombly are to be congratulated for this outstanding demonstration of what is possible when a team pulls together for the benefit of the students. Our HMHS staff and our amazing group of mentors were a huge part of the overall success of this day. The presence of all five board members was appreciated by students and staff.

Another reason to celebrate this month is the final completion of the Hinsdale Elementary School Addition/Renovation Project. We kept the project open through the winter to make certain the heating and air exchange systems worked in cold weather.  We also wanted to make certain the outside plants lived through the winter. At present it appears that all the paperwork has been approved by the state. In the end the project came in slightly under budget.  Our final payment to our construction manager has been made. All change orders have been satisfied. Joe Boggio, Alan Putnam, and Tom O’Connor should be thanked for their work on the final stages of the project. We should be especially thankful to Tom O’Connor for his effort and expertise which was needed in order to complete the financials on time, which was necessary to secure the final payment of $425,617 from the State.  In a letter we received in early June from Commissioner Edelblut, the Commissioner thanked us for our efforts and stated that it was a pleasure working with us on this project.

The project came in on time and under budget.  I am confident that if we were to bid the project today the bids would be much higher and the project would be much less likely to come in on time.

A third reason to celebrate is the recent announcement by the New England Association of Secondary Schools and Colleges that their Committee on Public Secondary Schools had recently voted to approve our five-year progress report to continue accreditation. We were praised in several areas including the following: our ELO program, our work to establish and strengthen our Professional Learning Communities, our five-year technology initiative, and the development of our five-year Hinsdale School District Capital Improvement Plan.  The next ten-year accreditation cycle begins for HMHS begins in the fall of 2022.

Our tile project unveiling was a great success. The ceremony was touching and the student work was amazing. Thanks to Hinsdale Education Foundation and especially to Hinsdale Education Foundation Board member Fred Moriarty. The Hinsdale Education Foundation covered all expenses related to the tile project. HEF intends to continue the tile project for five more years.

The Hinsdale Education Foundation held the second annual Richard T. McCarthy Golf Tournament on May 18th.  HEF raised more than $6,500 during this event. Retired HMHS principal John Hartnet was the tournament director for the second year in a row. The tournament date for 2020 is Saturday, May 16th.

Another cause for celebration is that both our softball team and our baseball team made the playoffs this year.  The Hinsdale baseball team last made the playoffs in 2011.

At the May Board meeting the School Board approved 2019-2020 Board Goals.  The main goal areas are unchanged from the current year Board goals.  The 2019/ 2020 Board Goals are as follows:

2019-2020 Hinsdale School Board Goals

1. Curriculum and Instruction

  • Ensure that all students receive personalized 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.

We recently established a K-12 Hinsdale Behavioral Support Team.  The team members include Hinsdale School Board members Jeana Woodbury and Kaylah Hemlow.  Our first meeting has been scheduled for Wednesday, June 5th from 4:00-5:00.

We are currently working in a number of areas regarding continuity and collaboration between buildings.  These areas include the following: PACE, K-12 Music, K-12 Technology Committee, Hinsdale School District Extended Learning Opportunities, Professional Learning Communities, and most recently a K-12 Behavioral Support Team.

Our annual Extended Learning Opportunity Exhibition Day was held on Tuesday, May 21. During the ELO Exhibition Day our ELO students demonstrated an aspect of their ELO experience.  This event drew Hinsdale community members as well as area business and organizational leaders from Hinsdale, Winchester, Keene, and Concord. All five Hinsdale Board members were in attendance.

  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 Tuesday, May 21st all five Hinsdale Board members spent several hours touring both Hinsdale school buildings. This was the second tour during the past two months.

The Hinsdale School Board is scheduled to meet with the Hinsdale Select Board at 5:00 pm on Monday, June 17th.  The purpose of the meeting is to promote a collaborative relationship with the Hinsdale Select Board.

  1. Culture
  • Ensure clear behavioral expectations are communicated and followed up on regularly through the development and implementation of a district-wide behavior code, the progress of which will be reported to the Board monthly by the Superintendent.
  • Promote an atmosphere that supports a forward-thinking, professional learning community.
  • Support and promote anti-bullying practices and ensure policies are being followed.
  • Superintendent will spot check the bullying logs and report monthly to the board.

The Board would like a district-wide review of current student behavior expectations and student behavior supports. Recently the Board elected staff members to serve on a district-wide behavioral support team. Board members Kaylah Hemlow and Jeana Woodbury have agreed to serve on the team. Our first meeting has been scheduled for Wednesday, June 5th from 4:00-5:00.

HMHS has had no allegations of bullying since our last Board meeting. HES has had four allegations of bullying since our May Board meeting. Three of the allegations at HES were substantiated.

  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 rate of retention continues to improve. However, it has become extremely difficult to find a deep pool of candidates for the jobs we have open. I suspect we will still be searching for employees into August.

  1. Financial
  • Search for ways to conduct business in the most efficient and effective manner.
  • Work with administration to identify and secure additional sources of revenue.
  • Work with the administration to proactively monitor the fund balance.
  • Maintain ongoing communication with the Budget Committee regarding any potential changes in funding.
  • Work with the administration to present a Warrant article to rebuild the maintenance fund.

The Board has formed a tuition exploratory committee to help determine if additional tuition revenue is possible. This committee is scheduled to first meet in September of 2019.  It is hoped that this committee will have a recommendation for the Board no later than January 2020.

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

On Friday, May 17th the Hinsdale School District Facility Committee voted to recommend to the School Board that the District participate in a safety audit over the summer. A safety audit is recommended every three years by Homeland Security. It has been more than three years since our last safety audit.

  1. Technology
  • Continue to align the district budget to support the 5-year plan of the Future Technology Committee.
  • Support the development and implementation of a data governance plan.

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.

Work towards compliance of the new law mandating a comprehensive data governance plan has already involved all Hinsdale staff. The Hinsdale School Board will be asked to approve the 2019/2020 Hinsdale School District Data Governance Plan at the June 5th Board meeting.

May 2019 Superintendent’s Report

Superintendent’s Report – May 2019

We were indeed fortunate to have made it through the winter without the need for a snow day.  As a result of our good fortune, our last day for students is scheduled for Thursday, June 13th.  Graduation is scheduled for Saturday, June 8th at 10:00 am.  With only five weeks of classes left we have important events at Hinsdale schools at every turn. Please check our tweets on the District web page to track upcoming events.

We continue to receive positive signs related to a projected increase in state revenue for the 2019/2020 fiscal year. Currently the Senate is debating amendments made by the House to the Governor’s budget.  The New Hampshire House budget restored stabilization grants to the 2016 level, provided full base adequacy funding for full-day Kindergarten students, and introduced two new funding streams in 2021: Fiscal Capacity Disparity Aid, and additional Free and Reduced Lunch Aid.

According to the surveys from staff regarding our staff workshop day on April 22nd the workshop day was productive. The two Board members who attended a workshop agreed with the staff.

The Board recently drafted their 2019-2020 School Board Goals.  The 2019/2020 Board goals will likely be adopted at the Board meeting scheduled for Wednesday, May 8th.  The main goal areas are unchanged from the current year Board goals.  A draft of the yet to be approved. The 2019/ 2020 draft Board goals are as follows:

2019-2020 Hinsdale School Board Goals

  1. Curriculum and Instruction
  • Ensure that all students receive personalized 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.

We are currently working in a number of areas regarding continuity and collaboration between buildings.  These areas include the following: PACE, K-12 Music, K-12 curriculum committees, K-12 Technology Committee, Extended Learning Opportunities, and Professional Learning Communities. In a recent meeting with our Director of Curriculum and Instruction, the HES principal and HMHS principal all agreed that we should next develop a district-wide K-12 behavior system.

Our annual Extended Learning Opportunity day is scheduled for Tuesday, May 21. During the ELO Exhibition Day our ELO students demonstrate an aspect of their ELO experience.  This event draws community members and area business and organizational leaders from Hinsdale, Winchester, Keene, and Brattleboro, Vermont. All five Hinsdale Board members plan to attend.

  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 Monday, April 22nd all five Hinsdale Board members spent several hours touring both Hinsdale school buildings. The Board intends to tour the buildings when classes are in session on the afternoon of May 21st.

  1. Culture
  • Ensure clear behavioral expectations are communicated and followed up on regularly through the development and implementation of a district-wide behavior code, the progress of which will be reported to the Board monthly by the Superintendent.
  • Promote an atmosphere that supports a forward-thinking, professional learning community.
  • Support and promote anti-bullying practices and ensure policies are being followed.
  • Superintendent will spot check the bullying logs and report monthly to the board.

The Board would like a district-wide review of current student behavior expectations and student behavior supports. The Board directed me to form a district-wide behavioral support team. Board members Kaylah Hemlow and Jeana Woodbury have agreed to serve on the team. I expect to have a list of staff members who would like to serve on the behavioral support team ready for the upcoming Board meeting scheduled for Wednesday, May 8th.

HMHS had one allegation of bullying since our last Board meeting. HES had three allegations of bullying since our April Board meeting. One of the allegations at HES was substantiated.

  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 Hinsdale School District employees who plan to retire on June 30th, 2019. As of early May we have hired one replacement. In addition, we have four teachers who intend to leave us at the end of the school year.  In April several HSD employees attended the Keene State College Job Fair where they received several favorable inquiries from prospective employees.

  1. Financial
  • Search for ways to conduct business in the most efficient and effective manner.
  • Work with administration to identify and secure additional sources of revenue.
  • Work with the administration to proactively monitor the fund balance.
  • Maintain ongoing communication with the Budget Committee regarding any potential changes in funding.
  • Work with the administration to present a Warrant article to rebuild the maintenance fund.

At the Board meeting scheduled for May 8th, the Board intends to form a tuition exploratory committee to see if additional tuition revenue is possible.

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

A new safety audit has been recommended by Homeland Security.  We will be discussing this recommendation at the Facility Committee meeting scheduled for Friday, May 17th.

  1. Technology
  • Continue to align the district budget to support the 5-year plan of the Future Technology Committee.
  • Support the development and implementation of a data governance plan.

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.

Work towards compliance of the new law mandating a comprehensive data governance plan has already involved all Hinsdale staff.

Superintendent’s Report April 2019

Superintendent’s Report – April 2019

I would like to begin my April report by thanking the voters who attended our annual School District meeting on March 16th.  A strong majority of the district meeting voters approved our budget request of $13,412,857. The Hinsdale voters also approved a three-year teacher contract. The three-year contract is expected to 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.

Thanks to our outstanding Extended Learning Opportunity program at Hinsdale High School, Hinsdale School District was voted “Best Way to Introduce Students to Real World Jobs.”  More than 4,400 NH Business Review readers cast their votes to select this year’s Best of Business (BOB) Award.  Certainly the support of the School Board and the hard work of Karen Thompson and her ELO team of Cathy Johnson, Peter Hughes, Jodie Holmquist, Bonnie Trombly and the entire HMHS staff should be recognized for their effort to provide Hinsdale students with a high quality and truly personalized ELO program.

The Children’s Literacy Foundation has awarded its $25,000 Year of the Book literacy grant to Hinsdale Elementary School for the 2019-2020 school year. The Year of the Book grant includes several author and story teller visits. The grant will also support family literacy events and special literacy programs. In addition, the grant will provide funds for new books for classrooms, the school library, our Hinsdale town library, as well as ten new books for each child to choose. A Hinsdale Elementary School team of Joe Boggio, Kristine Dow, Abigail Storm, Christine Bowker, Mary Wissman, Brenda Kelly and Inder Khalsa wrote the application for the Year of the Book grant. The grant request also had the support of the Hinsdale public library.

We continue to receive positive signs related to a projected increase in state revenue for the 2019/2020 fiscal year. A recent amendment to the Governor’s budget restores stabilization grants to 2016 levels in 2020, provides full base adequacy funding for full-day Kindergarten students, and introduces two new funding streams in 2021: Fiscal Capacity Disparity Aid, and additional Free and Reduced Lunch Aid. If this budget amendment passes Hinsdale will see at least a 5% increase in state dollars, relative to current law, over the next two years. The additional funding which is included in the amendment is concentrated to the most property-poor towns and those with high concentrations of Free and Reduced Lunch-eligible students: all but one of the property-poor towns has property wealth per student less than $703,000 (25th percentile) and a Free and Reduced Lunch-eligible student population of at least 35% (median statewide figure is 26%) 

Another area of revenue shortfall that the legislature looks to partially 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. If the special education bill passes this session Hinsdale would likely receive 80% reimbursement for the next two years.

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 April 1st the majority of the Hinsdale Senior Class have been accepted into at least one college.

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.

The budget article and the contract article passed by a strong majority at the annual School District meeting suggesting that the Board continues to have a collaborative relationship with the community. Certainly the recent community budget forum contributed to the positive vote.

  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.

On Wednesday, April 3rd I reviewed the November staff satisfaction survey with our District administrators. The survey was completed by 93 Hinsdale staff members.  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.  Areas included in the survey are as follows: collaboration, communication, professional development, time, work environment, staff recognition regarding innovation, contributions valued, impact on student learning, School Board collaboration and trust, and administration collaboration and trust.

We have had two substantiated acts of bullying at HES since our March Board meeting. We had one act of bullying at HMHS since our March 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 know of three Hinsdale School District employees who plan to retire on June 30th, 2019. As of early April we have hired one replacement. We anticipate additional openings in the coming months.

Our Director of Curriculum and Instruction Karen Craig, our Director of Personal Learning Karen Thompson, and our HES Special Education Coordinator Terri Drogue set up a table at the Keene State College Job Fair on Tuesday, April 2nd.  Ann Diorio helped put together the materials for the job fair. All three of our representatives reported making numerous contacts with prospective employees. Many of the prospective employees reported they already had a positive view of Hinsdale schools.

  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 during the 2019/2020 budget approval process.

The first item on our Hinsdale School District Capital Improvement Plan is included in the 2019-2020 approved operating budget.  Over the summer we plan to replace a 50-year old boiler at HMHS.

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

We have had several school safety drills since our last Board meeting.

  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.

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