Category Archives: Superintendent Blog

January Superintendent’s Blog

Superintendent’s Blog – January 2020

December was a festive month in the Hinsdale Schools.

Thankfully, I was able to attend a great Hinsdale Elementary School band and choral concert on Thursday, December 12th. The HMHS gym was filled to capacity with adults who, from the sound of their applause, truly enjoyed the concert.

We held numerous holiday related events that were meant to help remind our students and staff that we care about each and every person in our organization, and that kindness is integral to our Hinsdale school culture. Beginning in late November staff posted what they were grateful for on our employee Yammer account.  In December, Hinsdale Elementary students placed gratitude ornaments on trees when they did something kind. Small groups of HES students sang holiday songs in the hallways of both buildings in mid-December. Also in mid-December we had a small group of students playing ukuleles in the hallways and we had one student play holiday music on a violin for several classes. Our director of human resources organized a holiday finery contest with winners in both the staff and student category. About 50 people participated by dressing in holiday finery and several times that number participated by voting for their favorite holiday finery outfit.

On Wednesday, December 18th I was able to help my wife teach her volunteer Hinsdale Elementary School Book Club. We reviewed the popular graphic novel “Smile.” On January 8th each student in the book club received an autographed copy of my wife’s new graphic novel, “Cub.” All the books taught during the book club, as well as my wife’s new book, were provided to the students as a gift to keep, at our expense.

Many of our new Board committees are scheduled to meet in January. All our Board committees are open to the public. Our Open Enrollment Committee meets on January 8th at 5:00 pm.  Our Student and Staff Safety Committee meets at 3:00 pm on Monday, January 13th and our Behavior Support Team meets at 4:00 pm on Wednesday, January 29th.

The 2019/ 2020 Board Goals are as follows:

2019-2020 Hinsdale School Board Goals

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

As of January 7th we already have more than 30% of our seniors admitted to a college or university.

As part of our effort to develop a budget that supports our Board goals we have added oversight of the standardized test assessments to the job description of the Director of Curriculum and Instruction beginning in the fall of 2020.  Most districts link curriculum, instruction, and assessment as that combination is indicative of best practice.

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

The School Board met with the Town Budget Committee on Wednesday, January 8th in an effort to provide the Budget Committee with the rationale and justification for the proposed 2020/2021 School District Budget. We value the cordial relationship we have with the Hinsdale Budget Committee. The Board Chair, Holly Kennedy, currently serves as the Board’s representative to the Budget Committee.

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

The Hinsdale Behavioral Support Team recommended we partner with the New Hampshire Center for Effective Behavioral Interventions and Supports beginning in the 2020/2021 school year. This recommendation was unanimously approved by the School Board at their regular December Board meeting. We have included $10,000 in our 2020/2021 proposed budget to be used for staff training, student support, and parent support regarding this effort to improve student behavior.

Our Director of Curriculum and Instruction continues to spend one day each week at the Hinsdale Elementary School where she works with elementary teachers to support their effort to improve student learning.

We have had one reported incidents of bullying at Hinsdale Elementary School since our last Board meeting. The reported incident was not substantiated. We have had no reported incidents of bullying at HMHS since our last Board meeting.

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

We currently have a one unfilled para positions.

We continue to make progress regarding the development of high quality professional learning community teams.

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

The Board’s Open Enrollment Study Committee met again on Wednesday, January 8th. The committee is considering an open enrollment option and a tuition agreement option.  With Board approval, the committee hopes to share our progress with those who attend our District Meeting under the article that references committee reports. Our Board Chair, Holly Kennedy, also chairs the Open Enrollment Study Committee.

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

The Hinsdale Facility Committee continues to work on determining a cost/benefit priority list regarding the list of recommendations made in the recent safety audit for Hinsdale Elementary School and Hinsdale Middle/High School completed by Homeland Security. So far we have not identified any grant funds that are available through the State to assist our efforts. The last time we received a Homeland Security audit we were able to write grants to secure 80% of the cost of safety upgrades. Once the Facility Committee prioritizes the recommendations, the recommendations will be shared with the Board in hopes of Board adoption. The Facility Committee next meets on Friday, January 17th at 2:15.

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

We are currently implementing the third year of our five-year Technology Plan. Funds to add our 8th grade and our 12th grade students to the one-one initiative are included in our 2020/2021 School District Budget, as was identified in year four of our Technology Plan.

December 2019 Superintendent’s Blog

We have made significant progress towards improving student and staff safety. Recommendations regarding an effort to improve our response to emergency situations were approved by the Hinsdale School Board on November 13th. Recommendations that were approved by the Hinsdale School Board include the following: Information will be sent to families specific to an emergency situation with priority given to families involved in the incident prior to an “all call.”  In the event of an emergency an alternative location, with all the necessary technology, will be required of all SAU personnel. Incident Command will communicate directly with the Public Information Officer. The Public Information Officer will disseminate information to the School Board, Superintendent, school receptionists, all additional Hinsdale School District personnel, the Windham Regional Career Center, our bus company, our ELO drivers, parents, and the community. In addition, going forward school receptionists will field all incoming calls and will respond as directed by our Public Information Officer.  Our list of students and their families will be updated in our student management system monthly.

Our staff have worked hard to prepare a 2020/2021 budget that will address the needs of our students. This budget reflects the priorities as defined by the Hinsdale School Board Goals. Certainly our ability to provide the best possible education for Hinsdale students depends primarily on the quality of our staff.  In order to keep highly qualified and effective staff, especially in a time of full employment, we must make every effort to provide a culture of trust and the financial support they need to do effectively to their job.

The budget the administration is presenting to the Board on Wednesday, December 4th includes one new faculty position at our elementary school and no new positions at the Middle/High School. Class size concerns and the makeup of the classes in our incoming fourth grade were the two most significant factors leading to the decision to recommend an additional section of fourth grade for 2020/2021.

We have tried to combine two positions at HES for the past two years but have reluctantly come to the conclusion that we needed to go back to an earlier staffing pattern to best meet the needs of our elementary students.

The Board has asked the administration to look ahead to anticipated retirements over the next few years and to do our best to plan for the transitions. The budget we are presenting to the Board for 2020/2021 includes our best attempt at strategically planning for the anticipated retirements.

We continue to make progress on our Board Goals. The 2019/ 2020 Board goals are as follows:

2019-2020 Hinsdale School Board Goals

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

Our 2020/2021 proposed budget reflects support for PACE training including the effort to validate our performance assessment protocol. Our proposed budget also includes more support for staffing to oversee the coordination of collaboration of instruction between the buildings. The budget also provides additional support in the areas of curriculum, instruction and assessment.

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

The Hinsdale School Board and the Hinsdale Budget Committee are scheduled to meet on Wednesday, January 8th to discuss the proposed 2020/2021 School District Budget.

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

On November 20th the Hinsdale Behavioral Support Team voted 10-0 to recommend that the Hinsdale School District partner with the New Hampshire Center for Effective Behavioral Interventions and Supports for the 2020/2021 school year. The administration placed $10,000 in the 2020/2021 budget to pay for the support that will be provided to students, staff, parents, and the community as we develop an infrastructure to support this effort.

We recently established a HMHS Student and Staff Safety Committee.  The following staff have agreed to serve on this committee: Ann Freitag, Tom Ronning, Tim Fleming, Sarah Burgess, Tim Benson, and Karen Thompson. I will also be serving on this committee. At our first meeting we plan to elect officers and begin the work on a mission statement and goals.  Our first meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, December 11th at 3:00 pm.

We have had two reporting incidents of bullying at Hinsdale Elementary School since our last Board meeting. Both reports were substantiated. We had one alleged incident of bullying at HMHS since our last Board meeting. That alleged incident is still under investigation.

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

We currently have one unfilled para positions. We are making some progress regarding our pool of substitute teachers. We currently have 25 substitutes on our call list.

Our Director of Human Resources has organized a December holiday finery contest.  Everyone who participates gets a medal, in this kinder version of the “ugly sweater” contest.

We continue to provide regular para meetings at Hinsdale Elementary School and at Hinsdale High/Middle School.

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

The Board’s Open Enrollment Study Committee met with our school district attorney on Wednesday, November 6th. We will not be ready to make a recommendation to the Board in December.  However, it seems unlikely that we will need a Warrant Article that deals with this matter on the March 2020 District Warrant. We are next scheduled to meet on Wednesday, January 8th.

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

The Hinsdale School District Facility Committee recently reviewed the security audit information spreadsheet, created by Jim O’Malley.  We are considering the cost vs risk benefit of each item. The Facility Committee next meets on Friday, January 17th.

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

Our proposed budget supports the fourth year in our five-year Technology Plan. Our technology staff continue to meet with staff to successfully implement our new data governance plan.

Superintendent’s Blog November 2019

Superintendent’s Report – November 2019

We recently had a great meeting with all our area legislators. Hinsdale administrators and Hinsdale Board members, Holly Kennedy, Sean Leary, James O’Malley, and Kaylah Hemlow met with all our State Representatives and our State Senator on Friday, October 18th.  Our state representatives present included Lucy Weber, Paul Birch, Cathy Harvey, and Mike Abbott. Our State Senator Jay Kahn was also present.  The Hinsdale Select Board Chair, Mike Darcy joined our discussion, at which time we outlined our concerns, primarily related to state funding. All our State Representatives and our State Senator are sympathetic to our concerns.

Although not certain, it appears that the Hinsdale tax rate on the taxable property in town is likely to drop. A significant portion of that drop in the local property tax rate can be attributed to the work done during the last legislative session by state elected officials.  As your superintendent I am so thankful that the continued shifting down of costs, associated with the state responsibility to fund an adequate education, has finally stopped. However, this change is only promised for this year and next year. It will be up to those elected officials who begin their work on a state budget in January, 2021 to create a law that honestly provides the constitutionally mandated state revenue needed to fund an adequate education for each student regardless of where the student resides in New Hampshire.

The current state budget includes $500,000 to fund a commission to study the current education funding formula, determine the real cost of an adequate education, and how best to pay for it.  Our Senator Jay Kahn has a prominent role on this commission. Hopefully, the work of this commission will result in law that better reflects our constitutional mandate regarding the state contribution to the revenue needed to provide an adequate education for each student in New Hampshire. Hopefully this new law that reflects real costs of providing an adequate education will be effect prior to the time we build our 2021-2022 budget.

We recently established a task force to review the recent incident where explosive devices were discovered in the Indian Acres neighborhood of Hinsdale. The task force has met several times and has created a list of recommendations, that if implemented should improve our response to similar events in the future. These recommendations will be included in the Board packet for the Board meeting scheduled for November 13th.

We continue to make progress on our Board goals. The 2019/ 2020 Board goals are as follows:

2019-2020 Hinsdale School Board Goals

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

Our teachers are working in professional learning community teams to develop performance tasks that line up with our grade level expectations. There was a lot of progress made during our October workshop day on Monday, October 14th. Our Director of Curriculum and Instruction organized the October workshop day and has outlined the progress made in her Board report.

Our ELO program continues to work on ensuring the grade level expectations and subject specific expectations are being met through our individualized student ELO experiences.

Our Director of Curriculum and Instruction coordinated communication among the Hinsdale 5th and 6th grade teachers of English language arts in an effort to improve the level of the continuity of the curriculum between the buildings.

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

We are currently working with the town to explore funding options to assist Hinsdale families with children who are too young for school. It is hoped that the School District and the Town could cooperate regarding seeking grant funds to help families prepare their children for school. Our Title 1 coordinator, the Director of the Hinsdale Afterschool Program, and Board member Kaylah Hemlow are working with the town to develop this early childhood program.

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

In October the Hinsdale Behavioral Support Team collected survey student behavior data from 58 Hinsdale staff members. There were 36 questions on the survey and the results were shared with a New Hampshire expert in social emotional learning and school-wide behavior support systems. The recommendations were shared with the Hinsdale Behavioral Support Team at their most recent meeting on Wednesday, October 23rd.

We have had six reporting incidents of bullying at Hinsdale Elementary School since our last Board meeting. Five were substantiated. We had one reported incident of bullying at HMHS since our last Board meeting.

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

We currently have four unfilled para positions. We also currently have a shortage of available substitute teachers but we are making some progress regarding our pool of substitute teachers.

Our Director of Human Resources has organized a November program that focuses on kindness, gratitude, thankfulness, and happiness. We continue to work to establish a culture of caring in the Hinsdale School District. We are hopeful that this program will lead to happier more productive employees, who will want to continue to work in our schools.

Thanks to our Director of Curriculum and Instruction, the work of staff including our principals, our professional learning communities continue to improve. We contend that our strong culture of PLC’s will lead to employees who will enjoy working with their colleagues more than is typical in schools and ultimately will lead to an improved quality of education for our students.

We continue to provide regular para meetings at Hinsdale Elementary School and at Hinsdale High/Middle School.

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

The Board’s Open Enrollment Study Committee met with our school district attorney on Wednesday, November 6th. We are considering options and are planning to have a recommendation ready for the December Board meeting. We had several questions for our attorney including the following: questions about the application process, questions concerning the criteria for selection, and questions concern existing contracts. Our next meeting is scheduled for December 4th at 5:00pm in the SAU Conference Room.

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

Facility Committee member and Board member James O’Malley created a spreadsheet of the recommendations made in a safety audit for Hinsdale Elementary School and Hinsdale Middle/High School.  The safety audit of the Hinsdale School District was completed over the summer by Homeland Security. Board member O’Malley’s spreadsheet allows for the Facility Committee to easily rank each recommendation by cost and impact. The Facility Committee next meets on Friday, November 15th.

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

On Friday, October 18th our Director of Technology and our Network Administrator attended an all day workshop, “Schools, Technology and the Law. Sessions included the following: HB 1612 Compliance and Considerations, Privacy and the Use of Online Educational Services, New Hampshire Laws Impacting Schools, Managing School-Run Social Media, Employee Use of Social Media, and Student Use of Social Media. Our Director of Technology shared an overview of the workshop with our Administrative Team on November 6th.

Superintendent’s Blog October 2019

Superintendent’s Report – October 2019

Thankfully we now have a state budget approved by the Legislature and signed by the Governor. The two-year funding increase for Hinsdale is significant. Adequacy aid will increase slightly to $3,708 per student. We will receive more for each student who receives free or reduced lunch. Currently, 46% of Hinsdale students are taking free or reduced lunch. We will receive an increase in Fiscal Disparity Aid and our Stabilization Grant is restored to 100% of the amount we received in 2012. In addition, kindergarten students will now receive as much adequacy funds as students in grades one through 12.  However, these increases in revenue are only promised through the next two years.

The State budget includes $500,000 for a commission to study the current education funding formula, determine the real cost of an adequate education and how best to pay for it. Hinsdale Board members and school administrators are scheduled to meet with our area legislators on Friday, October 18th to discuss upcoming legislation to be proposed in the new legislative session, which begins in January 2020.

Our HMHS boiler replacement project is scheduled to be completed in the next couple of weeks. We have two boilers at Hinsdale Middle/High School but we need them both operating in cold weather. We are hopeful that we will not have colder than average temperatures in early October.

The 2019/ 2020 Board Goals are as follows:

2019-2020 Hinsdale School Board Goals

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

Our Professional Learning Communities are beginning to review the data from our most recent state assessment. Our Director of Technology disaggregated the data last week. Our Director of Curriculum and Instruction is assisting the PLC’s in the effort to analyze the data and determine next steps. The data from the state is not as useful for us as our MAPS data because the State assessment day is almost half a year old before it comes back to us.  Our students started with the State assessment on April 10th of 2019. We receive the MAPS data within a few weeks of the time our students take the test.  However, our HASP State assessment criteria and the Hinsdale adequate yearly progress determination use the State assessment data.

Our Hinsdale High School counselor is meeting with parents with children in the class of 2020 and 2021 on Monday, October 7th in order to provide assistance regarding questions related to financial aid.

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

The Hinsdale School Board met with the Hinsdale Select Board on Monday, September 16th.  The purpose of the meeting was to continue to develop a stronger collaborative relationship between the two boards. One area of discussion centered on securing funding to assist Hinsdale families with children who are too young for school. It is hoped that the School District and the Town could cooperate regarding seeking grant funds to help families prepare their children for school.

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

The Board appointed Hinsdale Behavioral Support Team is in the process of collecting survey student behavior data from staff. This data will be shared with a New Hampshire expert in social emotional learning. The expert plans to meet with our Behavioral Support Team on Wednesday, October 23rd to present his recommendations regarding next steps.

Our Director of Curriculum and Instruction has been working with Hinsdale teachers for more than a month to establish a more consistent and productive PLC model for Hinsdale Schools. During the one day she spends each week at the Hinsdale Elementary School our Director of Curriculum and Instruction hopes to work more closely with HES teachers to develop more consistent and productive PLC’s.

We have had four reporting incidents of bullying at Hinsdale Elementary School since our last Board meeting. Two were substantiated. There were no reported incidents of bullying at HMHS since our last Board meeting.

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

We currently have a couple of unfilled para positions. We also have had a shortage of available substitute teachers.  Last week our Director of Human Resources distributed 25 substitute teaching applications and a few para applications to prospective employees at a job fair in Keene. We have had several inquiries as a result of our presence at the job fair.

Thanks to our Director of Curriculum and Instruction, the willingness of staff and our principals, our PLC’s are working very well. We contend that our strong culture of PLC’s will led to a higher retention rate than has been the rule earlier this decade.

We have recently implemented regular para meetings at HES.  Based on past para surveys regular para meetings, though difficult to schedule, were badly needed.

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

Given the recent adoption of a State Budget, Hinsdale School District should receive at least $400,000 in additional State revenue for 2019/2020, as compared to last school year.

The Board’s open enrollment study committee met again on Wednesday, October 2nd. We have reviewed projected HHS enrollment and met with the Hinsdale School District Business Administrator. We are considering options and are planning to have a recommendation ready for the December 11th Board meeting.

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

A safety audit for Hinsdale Elementary School and Hinsdale Middle/High School was completed over the summer by Homeland Security. At the September 20th meeting the Facility Committee agreed to prioritize the recommendations and share their recommendations with the Board.  We are hopeful that the State will once again offer a grant application process that could result in the funding of at least 80% of the cost of any District safety upgrade that was recommended in the safety audit.

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

We are currently implementing the third year of our five-year Technology Plan. Our seventh grade and our eleventh grade students have been added to the one-to-one computer initiative this school year.

We are still in the process of implementing the Hinsdale School District Data Governance Plan which was approved by the Board in June of 2019. Even though implementing the new Data Governance Plan is stretching our technology staff, we agree that new data governance regulations for the data we use was needed.

Superintendent’s Blog September 2019

Superintendent’s Blog – September 2019

There was traffic congestion at the Hinsdale Elementary School on the first day but by the second day the traffic prior to the start of school was manageable. By Tuesday, September 3rd the start of school was smooth and uneventful.

Our HMHS boiler replacement project is behind schedule and we anticipate an additional expense of at least $13,000.  Our new boiler was delivered to HMHS on Wednesday, August 14th but we had a few surprises during the removal of the old boiler.

The Reformer did an excellent job on August 27th and August 28th of helping the public connect with a couple of our teachers, as well as to showcase our Hinsdale High School’s U.S. News & World Report’s Best High Schools Award.

Hopefully, by the end of the day on September 19th we will have a state budget approved by the Legislature and signed by the Governor.

Other than our funding uncertainty we are off to a great start to the 2019/2020 school year.

The 2019/ 2020 Board Goals are as follows:

2019-2020 Hinsdale School Board Goals

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

Our Hinsdale High School counselor has already begun meeting with Seniors to discuss post-graduation plans. For many Hinsdale Seniors post-graduation plans include college.  Our high school counselor provides intensive assistance throughout the college application process.

We already have students who have started an ELO for the 2019/2020 school year. Our Extended Learning Opportunity (ELO) program continues to gain attention, both nationally and at the State level. Hinsdale was noted as a model program recently on the “Exchange.” The “Exchange” is a highly regarded NHPR program. Our ELO program frequently serves as an example of best practice in regards to career ready preparation.

Our Director of Curriculum has started to spend one day each week at the elementary school. Our HES principal and HES staff members are grateful for her accessibility in the building which will help improve day-to-day operations regarding work related to curriculum and instruction.

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

The Hinsdale School Board is scheduled to meet with the Hinsdale Select Board at 6:00 pm on Monday, September 16th.  The purpose of the meeting is to continue to develop a stronger collaborative relationship with the Hinsdale Select Board.

I have a meeting scheduled with the Hinsdale Police Chief at 1:00 pm on Wednesday, September 18th.

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

The Board has established a Behavioral Support Team which next meets at 4:00 pm on Wednesday, September 25th.

Our Director of Curriculum and Instruction has been working with Hinsdale teachers for weeks to establish a more consistent and productive PLC model for Hinsdale Schools. During the one day she spends each week at the Hinsdale Elementary School our Director of Curriculum and Instruction hopes to work more closely with HES teachers to develop more consistent and productive PLC’s.

We have had no reporting incidents of bullying during the first week of school.

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

We currently have several unfilled para positions. We have begun a series of ads through the Monadnock Radio Group in order to reach prospective employees.

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

The Board’s open enrollment study committee met on Wednesday September 4th. It is hoped that this committee will have a recommendation for the Board no later than December 11, 2020.

If a compromise regarding the State Budget is reached this month, it is likely that the Hinsdale School District would receive about $470,000 in additional State revenue for 2019/2020, as compared to last school year.

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

A safety audit for Hinsdale Elementary School and Hinsdale Middle/High School was completed over the summer by Homeland Security. We have received the audits and have shared them with the Board and the Facility Committee.  We have also shared the audit with our SRO.  The Facility Committee plans to prioritize the recommendations.  We are hopeful that the State will once again offer a grant application process that could result in funding at least 80% of the cost of any District safety upgrades.

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

We are currently implementing the third year of our five-year Technology Plan. Our seventh grade and our eleventh grade students have been added to the one-to-one computer initiative this school year.

We are in the process of implementing the Hinsdale School District Data Governance Plan which was approved by the Board in June of 2019. Over the past few weeks our Director of Technology has spent many hours dealing with issues related to data governance.

Superintendent’s Blog August 2019

Superintendent’s Report – August 2019

We are excited to welcome our six new teachers on Tuesday, August 20th for the first of two training days. The School Board is invited to breakfast with our new teachers beginning at 8:30 am on Tuesday, August 20th in the SAU Conference Room.

We have filled all six open teaching positions but we are having difficulty filling our open para positions. We currently have five open para positions.

Our returning teaching staff are scheduled to meet in their respective buildings at 8:00 am on Thursday, August 22nd.  Our official welcome for all staff is scheduled for 8:30 am on Monday, August 26th, in the Hinsdale Elementary School Gym.

Our custodians have worked hard this summer to make certain our buildings will be ready for the first day with students. The custodians and our HMHS principal did an excellent job of cleaning out stuff that had accumulated over decades in the rooms under our stage.

Our HMHS boiler replacement project is also on schedule.  Our new boiler was delivered to HMHS on Wednesday, August 14th. The HMHS boiler replacement was the first item the Facilities Committee identified to be accomplished in our five-year Capital Improvement Plan.

The 2019/ 2020 Board Goals are as follows:

2019-2020 Hinsdale School Board Goals

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

I attended a one-day workshop on Thursday August 15th on the topic of personalized learning. We had an amazing turnout of Hinsdale staff. The following Hinsdale staff also attended the workshop: Karen Craig, Joe Boggio, Paula Brault, Sarah Burgess, Cathy Carter, Teresa Chirichella, Kristine Dow, Theresa Diorio, Samantha Ebbighausen, Donna Foster, Ann Freitag, Abby Gerrish, Dan Huntley, Peter Hughes, Jessica Jahne, Ann King, Kaitlyn Leonard, Allison Mangan, Nika Oakes, Victoria Robel, Tom Ronning, Rebecca Sayan, Meagan Snow, Jennifer Taggart, Karen Thompson, Brad Venice, and Mary Wissman.

In addition to the general sessions provided by keynote speakers the following sessions were offered:

Foundations to Stand the Test of Time, Critical School Structures to Support a Successful CBL, System Competency Education and Social Emotional Learning, Equity and Opportunity, The Promise of Competency Based Learning and Why It Matters, Competencies, Supporting Struggling Learners in Sanborn’s CBL System, Leveraging Flexible Learning Time for RTI, Grading and Reporting in a Competency-Based System, Making the Shift to Competency-Based Learning, Creating Effective Collaboration Between Teachers and Administrators, Cross Curricular Collaboration, Working Together for Competency Education, Developing a Scope and Sequence for Extended Learning Opportunities, (presented by Joseph Boggio, Abby Gerrish, and Karen Thompson! Competency-Based Learning in an Elementary Classroom, Introduction to Performance Assessment, The Key to Competency, Own It!, Fostering Self-Directed Learning in the Classroom, Personalized Learning 35 Years Later (Co-Presentor – Karen Thompson), Connecting Students to Competencies Through Personalized Content, The IWS List,  Using a School-Wide Approach to Help Students Meet Deadlines, The Competency Mindset, Transitioning from the traditional classroom, Multiple Paths to the Same Goal, Supporting the 4C’s and Fostering Student Agency with Hyperdocs and Badges, Cannonballing into the Proficiency Pool, Leveraging Student Choice Playlists and Transferable Skills Digital Badging to Place Students in Charge of Their Own Learning, Curiosity Shop: Students Explore, Discover and Create in an Individualized and Collaborative Environment, Preparing learners for the opportunities and challenges of their lifetime, and Personalizing learning to foster self-determined learners.”

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

The Hinsdale School Board is scheduled to meet with the Hinsdale Select Board at 6:00 pm on Monday, September 16th.  The purpose of the meeting is to continue to develop a stronger collaborative relationship with the Hinsdale Select Board.

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

Our Board appointed Hinsdale School District Behavioral Support Team has met twice over the summer. Our next meeting has been scheduled for Wednesday, September 25th at 4:00 pm. I have read three books over the summer which should help me as I speak to the staff regarding this effort, “How Children Succeed,” by Paul Tough, “Grit” by Angela Duckworth, and Schoolwide Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports.” By Jason Harlacher and Billie Jo Rodriguez.

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

We were fortunate to have filled all our teaching positions early in the year. As I look around at neighboring districts it appears that there are still dozens of open teaching positions in the area.

It has become extremely difficult to find paras to fill our open positions. We currently have five unfilled para positions.

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

The Board has formed a tuition exploratory committee to help determine if additional tuition revenue is possible. This committee is scheduled to first meet on Wednesday, September 4th. It is hoped that this committee will have a recommendation for the Board no later than January 2020.

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

A safety audit was completed over the summer by Homeland Security. We received the audit on Tuesday, August 13th and will review the report with the members of the Facility Committee at their meeting scheduled for 3:15 on Friday, August 23rd.

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

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

We are in the process of implementing the Hinsdale School District Data Governance Plan which was approved by the Board in June of 2019.

Superintendent’s Report – June 2019

Superintendent’s Report – June 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2019-2020 Hinsdale School Board Goals

1. Curriculum and Instruction

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

May 2019 Superintendent’s Report

Superintendent’s Report – May 2019

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

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

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

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

2019-2020 Hinsdale School Board Goals

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Superintendent’s Report April 2019

Superintendent’s Report – April 2019

I would like to begin my April report by thanking the voters who attended our annual School District meeting on March 16th.  A strong majority of the district meeting voters approved our budget request of $13,412,857. The Hinsdale voters also approved a three-year teacher contract. The three-year contract is expected to add $117,396, (less than 1%) to our overall school district budget for 2019-2020.  The cost for year two of the contract would be $146,832 and $152,129 in year three. Raises total 2.67% in year one, 3.15% in year two and 3.16% in year three.

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

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

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

Another area of revenue shortfall that the legislature looks to partially restore this session is Special Education Aid, a state revenue stream that is currently reimbursing Hinsdale at only 70.228% of the funds that are required by law. If the special education bill passes this session Hinsdale would likely receive 80% reimbursement for the next two years.

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

2018-2019 Hinsdale School Board Goals

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

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

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

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

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

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

On Wednesday, April 3rd I reviewed the November staff satisfaction survey with our District administrators. The survey was completed by 93 Hinsdale staff members.  The results of the surveys will be extremely helpful in informing our district and Board goals for next year; however, we have identified several areas which we will work to address in the coming months.  Areas included in the survey are as follows: collaboration, communication, professional development, time, work environment, staff recognition regarding innovation, contributions valued, impact on student learning, School Board collaboration and trust, and administration collaboration and trust.

We have had two substantiated acts of bullying at HES since our March Board meeting. We had one act of bullying at HMHS since our March Board meeting.

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

We know of three Hinsdale School District employees who plan to retire on June 30th, 2019. As of early April we have hired one replacement. We anticipate additional openings in the coming months.

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

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

The Board and administration have done an excellent job of reaching out to the voters during the 2019/2020 budget approval process.

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

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

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

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

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

Our Director of Technology is close to completing a compliance plan regarding the new data governance legislation, HB 1612. This new law mandates information security for every school district. The statue require all school districts conduct a comprehensive information security risk plan. Work towards compliance of the new law has already involved all Hinsdale staff.

March 2019 Superintendent’s Report

Superintendent’s Report – March 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

2018-2019 Hinsdale School Board Goals

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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