Category Archives: Superintendent Blog

Superintendent’s May Report

Superintendent’s Report – May 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Curriculum and Instruction

Establish continuity and collaboration in instruction between the school buildings.

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

Ensure all staff has access to pertinent trainings.

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

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

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

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

  1. Communication

Internal-Improve overall communication.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Maintain relationships with town governing bodies.

Board members currently serve on several town committees.

Culture

 Promote a culture of kindness and open communication.

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

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

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

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

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

Support and promote anti-bullying practices and ensure policies are being followed.

Superintendent will spot check the bullying logs and report monthly to the Board.

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

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

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

  1. Personnel

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

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

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

  1. Financial

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Security

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

  1. Technology

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

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

 Ensure all staff has access to pertinent trainings.

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

  1. Facilities

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

Fully utilize all building spaces.

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

Superintendent’s April 2021 Report

Superintendent’s Report – April 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Providing mental health services and supports for students and staff.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Curriculum and Instruction

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

Establish continuity and collaboration in instruction between the school buildings.

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

Ensure all staff has access to pertinent trainings.

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

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

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

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

  1. Communication

Internal-Improve overall communication.  

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

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

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

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

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

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

Maintain relationships with town governing bodies.

Board members serve on several town committees.

  1. Culture

 Promote a culture of kindness and open communication.

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

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

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

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

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

Support and promote anti-bullying practices and ensure policies are being followed.

Superintendent will spot check the bullying logs and report monthly to the Board.

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

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

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

  1. Personnel

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

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

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

  1. Financial

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Security

Continue to review security audit information and move forward, in a fiscally responsible manner, to ensure our buildings are secure and our students and staff are safe. We are focusing our efforts on providing the needed PPE and frequently sanitizing our buildings. We have available grant funds to cover our needs. In addition, FEMA has just announced another round of funding for schools. Our Director of Facilities recently procured a free pallet of PPE for the Hinsdale Schools.

  1. Technology

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

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

Ensure all staff has access to pertinent trainings.

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

  1. Facilities

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

Fully utilize all building spaces.

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

March 2021 Superintendent’s Report

Superintendent’s Report – March 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Curriculum and Instruction

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

Establish continuity and collaboration in instruction between the school buildings.

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

Ensure all staff has access to pertinent trainings.

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

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

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

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

  1. Communication

Internal-Improve overall communication.

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

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

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

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

Maintain relationships with town governing bodies.

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

  1. Culture

Promote a culture of kindness and open communication.

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

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

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

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

Support and promote anti-bullying practices and ensure policies are being followed.

Superintendent will spot check the bullying logs and report monthly to the Board.

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

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

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

  1. Personnel

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

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

  1. Financial

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Security

 Continue to review security audit information and move forward, in a fiscally responsible manner, to ensure our buildings are secure and our students and staff are safe. We are focusing our efforts on providing the needed PPE and frequently sanitizing our buildings. We have available grant funds to cover our needs. In addition, FEMA has just announced another round of funding for schools.

  1. Technology

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

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

Ensure all staff has access to pertinent trainings.

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

  1. Facilities

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

Fully utilize all building spaces.

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

February 2021 Superintendent Report

Superintendent’s Report – February 2021

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Curriculum and Instruction

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

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

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

Establish continuity and collaboration in instruction between the school buildings.

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Communication

Internal-Improve overall communication.

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

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

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

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

Maintain relationships with town governing bodies.

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

  1. Culture

Promote a culture of kindness and open communication.

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

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

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

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

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

Support and promote anti-bullying practices and ensure policies are being followed.

Superintendent will spot check the bullying logs and report monthly to the Board.

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

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

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

  1. Personnel

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

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

  1. Financial

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Security

Continue to review security audit information and move forward, in a fiscally responsible manner, to ensure our buildings are secure and our students and staff are safe. We are focusing our efforts on providing the needed PPE and frequently sanitizing our buildings. We will soon have available grant funds to cover our needs.

  1. Technology

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

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

Ensure all staff has access to pertinent trainings.

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

  1. Facilities

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

Fully utilize all building spaces.

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

January 2021 Superintendent Report

Superintendent’s Report – January 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Curriculum and Instruction

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

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

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

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

Establish continuity and collaboration in instruction between the school buildings.

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

Ensure all staff has access to pertinent trainings.

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

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

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

  1. Communication

Internal-Improve overall communication.

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

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

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

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

Maintain relationships with town governing bodies.

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

  1. Culture

Promote a culture of kindness and open communication.

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

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

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

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

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

Support and promote anti-bullying practices and ensure policies are being followed.

Superintendent will spot check the bullying logs and report monthly to the Board.

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

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

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

  1. Personnel

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

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

  1. Financial

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Security

Continue to review security audit information and move forward, in a fiscally responsible manner, to ensure our buildings are secure and our students and staff are safe. We are focusing our efforts on providing the needed PPE and frequently sanitizing our buildings.

  1. Technology

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

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

Ensure all staff has access to pertinent trainings.

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

  1. Facilities

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

Fully utilize all building spaces.

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

 

Superintendent’s Report – December 2020

Superintendent’s Report – December, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Curriculum and Instruction

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

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

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

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

Establish continuity and collaboration in instruction between the school buildings.

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

Ensure all staff has access to pertinent trainings.

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

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

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

  1. Communication

Internal-Improve overall communication.

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

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

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

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

Maintain relationships with town governing bodies.

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

  1. Culture

Promote a culture of kindness and open communication.

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

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

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

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

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

Support and promote anti-bullying practices and ensure policies are being followed.

Superintendent will spot check the bullying logs and report monthly to the Board.

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

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

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

  1. Personnel

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

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

  1. Financial

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Security

Continue to review security audit information and move forward, in a fiscally responsible manner, to ensure our buildings are secure and our students and staff are safe. We are focusing our efforts on providing the needed PPE and frequently sanitizing our buildings.

  1. Technology

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

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

Ensure all staff has access to pertinent trainings.

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

  1. Facilities

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

Fully utilize all building spaces.

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

 

November Superintendent Report

Superintendent’s Report – November, 2020

The Hinsdale School Board asked me to communicate an important update related to our return to in-person learning scheduled for Monday, November 30th .  The update reads as follows:  “With the upcoming holidays and a return to in class learning on November 30th, the school board wanted to communicate some updated policies and remind everyone of some that are already in place.   When creating policies, the school board references the guidelines of the New Hampshire department of health and human services and the New Hampshire School Nurses’ Association when applicable.

  • If you or anyone in your home travels outside of the New England states of New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island, you are required to self-quarantine for 14 days, starting the day they return to New Hampshire.
  • If anyone in your home received a COVID-19 test due to symptoms or exposure to the virus you must inform the school nurse.
  • If you have received a COVID-19 test and are awaiting results you must notify the school nurse.  Proof of a negative test must be provided, in writing, before you may return to school.
  • Please notify the school as soon as possible of any student that was previously attending in-class learning but will not be returning to school on November 30th.  Please refer to the remote learning guidelines at the end of this notice.
  • Remote learners can only return to in-class learning at the end of a quarter.  Any student who was previously or will be remaining remote after November 30th may not return to school for in-class learning until Monday January 25th.
  • Beginning Monday November 30th, the SNAP program will be activated, participation will be required for all students entering the school.   SNAP is the program we will be using to monitor health and gather data relevant to COVID-19.
  • Due to extreme caution, there has been a high instance of students and staff absenteeism as people quarantine or receive COVID testing to insure the safety for the school community.  This is not due to actual COVID cases, but the policy put in place that anyone exhibiting any possible COVID symptoms follow these protocols as a precaution.  If at any time the absenteeism of students, staff or administration reach a level that negatively affect the ability to insure safety of all and provide quality education to our students we will switch to remote learning until we are confident that attendance is at appropriate levels.   This determination would be made by school building, elementary or HMHS, and may not necessarily affect the entire district.
  • As always, we will communicate any updates or changes as they happen.  This continues to be a very fluid situation for everyone and we appreciate the entire community as we continue to navigate these challenging times together.

On October 15th we were awarded a state grant of about $102,000 to help cover COVID-19 expenses over and above the expenses approved in our application for the $179,000 CARES Act grant.  The new grant is titled “Supplemental Public School Response Fund” (SPSRF) grant. The funds must be spent by December 30, 2020. The proposed expenditures must not have been previously budgeted for before 3/1/2020. Our Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment has been compiling a list of COVID-19 expenditures that would meet the criteria of the grant. So far we are considering the following needs that are driven by the COVID-19 pandemic. Cameras to assist with remote learning. Computers and cameras for paras that work with remote students. Laptops for our K-1 students.  Wiring for the second floor of our elementary school so our teachers can work effectively with remote students.  There were no connections for wireless connectivity completed as part of the 2007/2008 elementary school renovation. The wiring will likely cost about $4,000. We are also considering the purchase of hands-free toilet values and an air filtration device from the grant funds. We are also planning on the purchase of additional sanitation spray, paper towels, and sanitation wipes.

The New Hampshire Commission to Study School Funding is reviewing the Massachusetts model of state funding. When Massachusetts reformed the state’s school funding formula a year ago, they determined that communities with more families qualifying for free/reduced lunch need more funding.  The new Massachusetts model doubles state aid in communities with high concentrations of students in the free and reduced lunch program.  Massachusetts’ new formula, which will be implemented over the next seven years, provides about $12,000 per student as compared to about $3,700 per student in New Hampshire. The New Hampshire Commission to Study School Funding is preparing a recommendation for the New Hampshire Legislature prior to this session.  The FY 2021 legislative session should end in June of 2021 with an approved two-year state budget.

We are still in an enviable position regarding the spread of COVID-19 in our school community.  As of November 23rd, we have had one Hinsdale School District student test positive for COVID-19.

I toured all the Hinsdale Middle/High School classrooms on October 16th and toured all Hinsdale Elementary School classrooms on October 26th. Board members Sean Leary and Kaylah Hemlow, our Facilities Director, and the HMHS principal were part of the HMHS tour.  Our elementary school principal served as my guide on the HES tour. Based on my observations we are doing an excellent job of providing a safe learning environment. I spoke with numerous staff members during the tours and, for the most part, I felt that staff morale was better than I expected.

I believe we are doing better than most districts in our area. One reason I have reached that conclusion is that Hinsdale is the only School District in our area that has started compensatory education for our special education students.  Also, daily operations are going better than expected. Transportation, daily building cleaning, and the distribution of lunches are all going better than expected.

On most mornings I greet the second and third grade students as they enter the cafeteria door.  As a group they were very happy to come to school the first day. I noticed for several days after the first day the students looked down as they arrived at the doorway. I think they were just uneasy due to the relative weirdness of their experience at school.  However, by the second week our students seemed to have adjusted, and as a group were once again happy to be coming to school.  The HMHS principal recently told me that lately she has heard more student laughter in the HMHS lunchroom.

Our staff continue to build positive relationships with the students and we are beginning to close the learning gaps, however, our Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment believes we have long way to go, especially in reading.

The evening calls made by our Director of Personalized Learning have made a positive impact on the majority of our remote learners. Thanks to these evening calls our level of parent support for remote learning has remained high.

Ancillary support for middle school classes has begun with one full time substitute teacher. A second middle school substitute teacher will begin next week when many of our remote learners return for in-class instruction.

Overall, I am proud of the way the staff have made the first quarter of the 2020/2021 school year work for our students and families. I am sure that a majority of the 165 staff members that work with us have personal struggles as they navigate life in the times of this pandemic. Undoubtedly, teachers who are providing both remote and in-class instruction have an additional difficult task to accomplish each school day.

In addition to the in-class program and our remote learning model our sports program has had a great fall season. Our soccer teams have been competitive against Keene teams and our girls’ soccer team won their first playoff game on October 27th by a score of five to one. The girls’ soccer team has advanced to the second round of playoffs for the first time.

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

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

  1. Curriculum and Instruction

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

We recently hired a high school counselor who has previously worked in the field of career development at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. 

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

Our Director of Personalized Learning/Director of Remote Learning has been focusing her time on the 20% of our students who are engaged in remote learning only. Last week she was able to assign existing staff to groups of remote students to make certain there would be frequent check in opportunities for remote students and their parents. 

Establish continuity and collaboration in instruction between the school buildings.

Our Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment is leading the action plan to help coordinate a smooth learning transition between HES and HMHS. At present she had focused her effort on reading. She has developed a plan where our district reading specialist who had been only working with our elementary school teachers and students to work more closely with our middle school teachers.

Ensure all staff has access to pertinent trainings.

We are in the process of setting up professional development for PACE related adjustments to curriculum and instruction.

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

Our Director of Personalized Learning recently completed a grant that will help us move forward with our PACE directive.

  1. Communication

Internal-Improve overall communication.

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

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

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

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

Maintain relationships with town governing bodies.

  1. Culture

Promote a culture of kindness and open communication.

We are doing a better job of providing open communication with staff. Our meetings with the HFT leadership group has helped listen more closely to the concerns of our teachers.

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

The Behavioral Support Team in each school have been working on their building school wide behavior plans. Recently our District Behavioral Support Team Steering Committee met to review building progress and to determine a first draft estimate of budget needs to be included in the 2021/2022 draft budget.

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

We plan to use our PLC’s to help pivot to remote instruction for all students, whenever necessary. Although we are incredibly hopeful we can make it through this school with our current model, I believe we will likely need to go fully remote for at least ten school days during this school year.

Support and promote anti-bullying practices and ensure policies are being followed.

Superintendent will spot check the bullying logs and report monthly to the Board.

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

Support the development of a diversity plan that can be integrated throughout the district. Our diversity team has completed a diversity complaint form. This team has also made recommendations regarding the current Board Diversity Policy. We will present these recommended changes to the Board at the November Board meeting. The Diversity Team is currently reviewing one complaint from a situation that allegedly occurred with a HMHS student. 

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

4. Personnel

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

We still have five para positions that remain unfilled. We have found four long-term substitutes that will be used to help us meet our social distancing guidelines.

  1. Financial

Support ways to conduct business in the most efficient and effective manner. At present, I have not heard of any request to add staff to the staffing numbers in the current budget. We are in the process of setting up meetings with the Hinsdale Support Staff Association leadership in order to draft an agreement to present to the Board and, if approved by the Board, to present to the District voters in March of 2021.

Work with the administration to identify and secure additional sources of revenue. We have been approved for several grants since our last Board meeting.

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

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

Maintain ongoing communication with the Budget Committee regarding any potential changes in funding and expenditures and continue to provide detailed backup information for the budget. Our Business Administrator will lead the effort related to this action plan.

  1. Security

Continue to review security audit information and move forward, in a fiscally responsible manner, to ensure our buildings are secure and our students and staff are safe. We are focusing our efforts on provide the needed PPE and frequently sanitizing our buildings.

  1. Technology

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

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

Ensure all staff has access to pertinent trainings.

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

  1. Facilities

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

Fully utilize all building spaces.

We are currently doing a great job of utilizing our building spaces for instruction. The early release on Fridays plan has led to a new plan for HES building utilization.  Our HES principal will present this new proposal to the Board at the November 4th meeting.

 

Superintendent’s Report October 2020

Superintendent’s Report – October, 2020

I am proud to work with our Hinsdale staff members who have shown a tremendous level of dedication and commitment to providing quality education for our students, even during a global pandemic. Our first six weeks of managing both remote learning and in-the-classroom learning continues to impress me. Our students are indeed fortunate.

We are still in an enviable position regarding the spread of COVID-19 in our school community.   As of October 22nd, we have had no students or staff members who have tested positive for COVID-19.

In order to support community voting on Tuesday, November 3rd and make voting as safe as possible for everyone, voting will be conducted in the HMHS gym this year.  Due to the number of people using the school campus, this will now be a remote learning day for all students.  Learning packets will be provided in advance for those elementary school students that need them.

There are some additional changes to the Hinsdale School District 2020-2021 school year calendar.  In order to give the staff proper time to prepare for the start of the school year, with the challenges of combined in class and remote learners, two of the scheduled teacher workshop days were shifted to the start of the year before classes began. Due to this change March 15th and May 28th are now regularly scheduled class days for all staff and students.

With the end of the first quarter approaching, we have learned that there will be a high number of students shifting from remote learning to in class participation.  While we are thrilled that these students and their families are confident in our preparations for in class learning, this does require that we make some changes to accommodate many additional in class students.  To allow staff the proper preparation time to manage this new shift in remote and in class learner percentages, and also to allow for extended proper deep cleaning of our school to keep them safe for all, Friday’s, beginning on October 30th, will now be an early release day for all students.  HMHS students will be dismissed at 12:20 and HES students will be dismissed at 1:00.

The school board has created a policy to offer clarification on what the protocol would be should there be a positive COVID-19 test result within the school district. Learning will immediately be switched to remote for all students and staff for a minimum of 10 school days. The school board and administration will then work closely with state officials to determine when it is safe to return to in class learning. Communication with the school community would be a high priority should a switch to remote learning due to a positive test result were required.

Due to extreme caution, there has been a high instance of students and staff absenteeism as people quarantine or receive COVID testing to insure the safety for the school community.  This is not due to actual COVID cases, but the policy put in place that anyone exhibiting any possible COVID symptoms follow these protocols as a precaution.  To date there have been no positive COVID cases within the school community.  If at any time the absenteeism of students, staff or administration reach a level that negatively impact the ability to insure safety of all and provide quality education to our students we will switch to remote learning until the we are confident that attendance is at appropriate levels. This determination would be made at the school building level, elementary or HMHS, and may not necessarily affect the entire district.

We have been working on becoming a leader in the state regarding Performance Based Competency Assessment, (PACE). Our Director of Personalized Learning recently received notice that we are awarded a grant of up to $40,000 to be used for professional development related to PACE.

Our first CARES Act Grant for $179,000 has been approved by the NH Department of Education. Our Governor recently appropriated approximately $115,000 for the Hinsdale School District to help us cover COVID related expenses. Our administration is meeting on October 21st to begin preparing a list of items that would qualify.  This list would be submitted to the School Board for approval at their meeting scheduled for November 4th.

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

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

  1. Curriculum and Instruction

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

We recently hired a school counselor substitute who has previously worked in the field of career development at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. 

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

Our Director of Personalized Learning continues to work with our students to ensure their learning is personalized as much as possible. Most of her time recently has been devoted to overseeing our remote learning program. We currently have about 20 percent of our Hinsdale student body engaged in remote learning.  We hope to use our recent PACE grant of $40,000 to help our instructors do an even better job of personalized learning.

Establish continuity and collaboration in instruction between the school buildings.

Our Director of Curriculum, Instruction is leading the action plan to help coordinate a smooth learning transition between HES and HMHS.

Ensure all staff has access to pertinent trainings.

Most of our staff have recently received training in suicide prevention.  We have recently completed some assessments in reading and math. We are in the process of determining professional develop to address some of the deficits we have found in the data.  We are in the process of setting up professional development for PACE related adjustments to curriculum and instruction.

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

Our Director of Personalized Learning recently completed a grant that will help us move forward with our PACE directive.

2. Communication

Internal-Improve overall communication.

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

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

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

Maintain relationships with town governing bodies.

  1. Culture

Promote a culture of kindness and open communication.

We recently sent thank you messages to all staff. Our Director of Human Resources has sent out about one message a week since the beginning of the school year to help support our staff in the areas of physical and emotional health.

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

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

We plan to use our PLC’s to help pivot to remote instruction for all students whenever necessary.

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 no incidents of bullying at HMHS or HES since our last Board meeting. 

Support the development of a diversity plan that can be integrated throughout the district. Our diversity team has completed a diversity complaint form. This team has also made recommendations regarding the current Board Diversity Policy. We hope to present these recommended changes to the Board at the November Board meeting. 

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

  1. Personnel

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

We seem to have managed to hire high quality staff even though we are hampered by the COVID pandemic. We are having difficulty finding enough substitute teachers and have five para positions unfilled.

  1. Financial

Support ways to conduct business in the most efficient and effective manner. We are just starting to enter budget requests for next year. At present, I have not heard of any request to add staff to the staffing numbers in the current budget.

Work with the administration to identify and secure additional sources of revenue. We have been approved for several grants since our last Board meeting.

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

Work with the Administration to proactively monitor the fund balance.

Maintain ongoing communication with the Budget Committee regarding any potential changes in funding and expenditures and continue to provide detailed backup information for the budget. Our Business Administrator will lead the effort related to this action plan.

  1. Security

Continue to review security audit information and move forward, in a fiscally responsible manner, to ensure our buildings are secure and our students and staff are safe. Our HMHS assistant principal is leading the effort in this area. The NH Governor spoke publicly on October 6th to his hope of providing more funding from the State to Districts to enhance safety.  Our Facilities Committee has a priority list, based on our most recent safety audit, that we are ready to use in order to make certain we are not left behind if the funds are made available on a first come, first served basis.

  1. Technology

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

Our Director Technology and her team are preparing the budget requests necessary to complete the final year of our 5-year Technology Plan.

Ensure all staff has access to pertinent trainings.

We continue to provide training that is needed, especially if we pivot to fully remote instruction.

  1. Facilities

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

Fully utilize all building spaces.

Currently we are fully utilizing our available instructional space. We anticipate that with the expected return of approximately 30 students at the beginning of second quarter we will need to be even more creative relative to the use of our available instructional space.

 

 

Superintendent Report September 2020

Superintendent’s Report – September 2020

The opening of our school to students on Tuesday, September 8th went much better than expected. Certainly, there were unanticipated problems, but, the staff have continued to solve the problems regarding school reopening as the problems occur. We are indeed fortunate, as members of the Hinsdale school community, to have a staff that is truly dedicated to serving our students and families.

Board member Kaylah Hemlow and I are regularly meeting with the leadership of the Hinsdale Federation of Teachers in order to maintain open channels of communication between the teachers, administration, and the Board. So far, all our meetings have been cordial and productive.

Board member Holly Kennedy and I have been meeting with the leadership of the Hinsdale Support Staff Association in order to better facilitate issues related to school re-opening. So far, all our meetings with the Hinsdale Support Staff Association have been cordial and productive.

We have a larger than usual sign-up for fall soccer. We have 40 Hinsdale Middle School students registered to play soccer and 36 Hinsdale High School students registered to play fall soccer. Our middle school students will only compete with Hinsdale students and our high school students will be competing with other schools but in a bubble-like environment. Each week, each high school team will be playing two games with the same team.

Hinsdale is one of thirteen New Hampshire schools that have been awarded a New Hampshire Rocks grant. New Hampshire Rocks is a new program designed to expand students’ musical opportunities in school music education programs.  Our music teachers should receive some on-line instruction from professional musicians and we anticipate receiving some instruments for our students.  Congratulations music teacher Matt Kennedy who wrote the grant for Hinsdale.

We held our first Hinsdale Schools Facilities Committee meeting on Friday, August 21st.  The following Facilities Committee officers we elected for the 2020/2021 school year: Chair Jim O’Malley, Vice Chair Julia Kilelee, Secretary Joe Boggio. Our Director of Facilities, Shawn Lee, informed the committee that the HVAC air filters have been upgraded district wide from MERV 7 to MERV 11 in order to improve air quality and safety. In addition, iWave-C commercial air cleaners are being installed in the HVAC systems in both schools. These air purification systems purify the air supply killing mold, bacteria and viruses (tested to successfully reduce up to 99.4% of the COVID-19 virus particles in the air flow).  Shawn Lee also installed UV sanitation lights in both nurses’ offices. Shawn informed the Facilities Committee that he had hired a part-time custodian to provided COVID related cleaning. Given that this expense is directly related to the need to provide extensive and regular cleaning due to COVID-19 we plan to use the second round of CARES Act funding to cover the cost of this custodian. It is expected that Congress will pass a second round of CARES Act funds by the end of September. If the second round of CARES Act funds are approved by Congress, we will take the funds from summer custodian salary savings.

We plan to begin working on action plans for the 2020/ 2021 Board Goals at our September 9th A-Team meeting.

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

  1. Curriculum and Instruction

Ensure that all students receive personalized guidance regarding post-secondary education or career options. (Our high school counselor and high school principal will lead the development of an action plan.

Provide students with educational opportunities and learning based upon the student’s unique needs, interests and learning styles. (Our Director of Personalized Learning and our Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment will lead this action plan.)

Establish continuity and collaboration in instruction between the school buildings.  (Our Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment will lead in the development of this action plan.)

Ensure all staff has access to pertinent trainings. (Our Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment, our Hinsdale Elementary School Principal and our HMHS Principal will lead in the development of this action plan.)

PACE-All grade levels will move towards performance assessment and enhanced personalized learning. (Our Director of Personalized Learning will lead the effort to develop this action plan.)

  1. Communication

Internal-Improve overall communication. (Our communications officer, our principals and I will work with the Board on this goal.)

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

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

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

Maintain relationships with town governing bodies.

  1. Culture

Promote a culture of kindness and open communication. (Our A-Team will collectively work to develop an action plan regarding this goal.)

Ensure clear behavioral expectations are communicated and followed up on regularly through the development and implementation of a district-wide behavior plan, the progress of which will be reported to the Board monthly by the Superintendent. (Our Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment will work with the District Behavior Support Leadership Team to develop an action plan regarding this goal.)

Promote an atmosphere that supports an inclusive, professional learning community. (Our Administrative Team will work collectively to develop an action plan to support this goal.)

Support and promote anti-bullying practices and ensure policies are being followed. (Our HMHS Principal will lead the effort to develop an action plan for HMHS. Our HES Principal will lead the effort to development of an action plan for HES.)

Superintendent will spot check the bullying logs and report monthly to the Board

Support the development of a diversity plan that can be integrated throughout the district. (Our Director of Student Services, and our Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment  will lead the effort regarding the development of an action plan related to this goal.)

Acknowledge the diversity of student accomplishments in all areas. (Our Director of Student Services and our Principals will lead the effort regarding the development of an action plan related to this goal.)

  1. Personnel

Support initiatives to recruit and retain professional, high-quality staff that are innovative, dynamic and dedicated to the success of all students. (Our Principals, Superintendent, and our Director of Human Resources will lead the effort in the Development of this action plan.)

  1. Financial

Support ways to conduct business in the most efficient and effective manner. (Our Business Administrator will work with our cost center managers to develop an action plan related to this goal.)

Work with the administration to identify and secure additional sources of revenue. (Our Business Administrator and the Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment will lead the effort to develop an action plan related to this goal.)

Work with the administration to present a warrant article to rebuild the expendable trust funds.(Our BA, with help from the Board and Budget Committee, will lead this action plan.)

Work with the Administration to proactively monitor the fund balance.

Maintain ongoing communication with the Budget Committee regarding any potential changes in funding and expenditures and continue to provide detailed backup information for the budget. (Our Business Administrator will lead the effort related to this action plan.)

  1. Security

Continue to review security audit information and move forward, in a fiscally responsible manner, to ensure our building are secure and our students and staff are safe. (Our Facility Committee will work with the HMHS assistant principal to develop an action plan to accomplish this goal.)

  1. Technology

Continue to align the district budget to support the 5-year plan of the Future Technology Committee. (Our Director of Technology will lead the work on this action plan.)

Ensure all staff has access to pertinent trainings. (Our Director of Technology will work with our Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment and the District Technology Team to develop this action Plan.)

  1. Facilities

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

Fully utilize all building spaces. (Our principals will develop and building based action plan related to this goal.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HMHS Information for Re-Opening School

HMHS Information for Re-Opening School Fall 2020 

This information is in addition to the Hinsdale Fall 2020 School re-opening plan summary previously posted on the school district web page www.hnhsd.org   

All Families will receive a letter on PowerSchool with packets mailed home on August 27.  The letter will provide the updated usernames and passwords that students will need for logging onto their laptops and Office 365. 

Parents must notify the school of their intention if they choose remote learning for their children by  

August 28, 2020.   Please call Karen Thompson at 336-5984 ext. 7861 

Students must participate either full access or fully remote.  Students who chose to begin the school year remotely will be required to maintain remote learning until the end of the first quarter.  Remote students will be welcome to begin full access learning at the end of the quarter should they choose to return to school.  

Remote students may still participate in sports following the return to sports guidelines posted on the district web page.  

Medical Screening will be performed on every student, staff member and visitor entering any school building.   

Facility Upgrades:  

HVAC air filters have been upgraded district wide from MERV 7 to MERV 11 to improve air quality and safety. 

iWave-C  Commercial air cleaners are being installed in the HVAC systems in both schools. These air purification systems purify the air supply killing mold, bacteria and viruses (tested to successfully reduce up to 99.4% of the COVID-19 virus particles in the air flow).    

Hiring of additional custodial staff to maintain strict cleaning and sanitation schedules.  

Decluttering and rearrangement of classrooms to allow for physical distancing. 

Purchase of UV Sanitation lights.  

Full Access in School: Students will: 

  • Arrive at either the front entry for buses, cafeteria entry for walkers and student drivers, or gym entry for parent drop-off. 
  • Be required to wear mask, which must be dress code appropriate. 
  • Have daily health screenings: Students with temperatures will not be admitted and will need to go home.   If your child has a fever, keep them home. 
  • Be admitted to building at 7:30, report directly to Advisory ClassroomPlease do not have students arrive at school before 7:30am.   
  • Carry essential learning materials and laptop with them, no locker use 

Remote Learning with Internet Access 

  • Parents meet via Zoom for training, Q & A 
  • Students log in to laptops on school campus initially (week of September 1) (Tech check).   
  • Students log in on Office 365 for each class on time and participate for the class period. Attendance will be taken. They do not need to log in to study hall.   
  • If a student is not in attendance, the school must receive a parent/doctor note. Please contact hmhsattendance@hnhsd.org   After two attempts to reach parents regarding unexcused absences, the SRO will become involved. 
  • Required Assessments will be scheduled, such as remote MAP testing or on-site SAT testing. 
  • Assigned work will be graded by teachers based on their criteria, and the late work policy will be in effect. 
  • Virtual meetings with teachers will required at least once per week. Individual in-person tutoring can be arranged at the school as needed. 

Remote Learning without Internet Access 

  • Parents arrange training in person, over the phone, or via Zoom. 
  • Students log in to laptops on school campus initially (week of September 1) (Tech check) 
  • Assignments and learning resources will be provided on a flash drive, which will need to be picked up and exchanged on a weekly schedule. 
  • Parent or student will need to call the school daily to check in and for attendance purposes. Please contact hmhsattendance@hnhsd.org   If you are unable to attend to school work for a day, the school requires a note from parent with the reason, per attendance policy.  If no contact is maintained, the school will attempt to reach out, and the SRO may become involved. 
  • If a student is not in attendance, the school must receive a parent/doctor note. After two attempts to reach parents regarding unexcused absences, the SRO will become involved. 
  • Required Assessments will be scheduled on-site, such as MAP testing or SAT testing. 
  • Assigned work will be graded by teachers based on their criteria, and the late work policy will be in effect. 
  • Phone conference meetings with teachers will required at least once per week. Individual in-person tutoring can be arranged at the school as needed.