Superintendent’s Report – May 2017
We continue to make progress toward our annual Board goals.
2016-2017 Hinsdale School Board Goals
Goal 1: Related school, district, and/or SAU goal(s)
• Ensure that all students receive guidance regarding post-secondary education or career options.
• Provide students with educational opportunities and learning based upon the student’s unique needs, interests and learning styles.
• Maintain continuity in instruction between the school buildings
• Set up an end of year review with the new curriculum coordinator.
Thanks to our staff, parents, and our students, more than 93% of the members of our senior class have been admitted to college for 2018-19. Given the comprehensive nature of our high school, small class sizes, and our extended learning opportunity program, graduating Hinsdale students should be better prepared for college and career than most graduating seniors in our area and across the United States.
We are working hard to personalize learning for every student in Hinsdale School District; their voices are leading the way along their own pathway, and they are connected with learning opportunities outside the walls of the classroom in business and industry placements that align with their interest and passion. Currently, over 50% of Hinsdale juniors and seniors have taken advantage of a personalized extended learning opportunity.
We are continuing to work on the coordination of our curriculum between buildings. Recently Hinsdale Middle and High School math teachers met with elementary teachers to talk about the math programs being considered for our elementary students. Soon after that meeting the elementary teachers selected the “Bridges” program. We believe the changes we are making in math instruction will improve math competencies among our students.
We are also working to improve the continuity of instruction between our school buildings in the areas of music, writing, and technology.
Goal 2: Related school, district, and/or SAU goal(s)
o Maintain communication to promote a collaborative relationship with the community through a continued commitment to holding regular community forums and maintaining a presence in other committees, boards and community events in town.
o Improve relationships with town governing bodies
One successful example of our effort to create a collaborative relationship with the community is the 93% affirmative bond vote which occurred at our 2017 District Meeting. In addition, the District operating budget was approved by the Budget Committee and the District voters by a wide margin.
Goal 3: Related school, district, and/or SAU goal(s)
• 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 regularly to the board.
I have reviewed the major components of the Professional Learning Community model with all teachers and emphasized the value of using PLC’s to accomplish our district goals.
District staff have worked hard to create structures that will reduce the likelihood that bullying occurs in our schools. Most notably the implementation this year of our new social emotional curriculum should result in a reduction of incidents of bullying in our schools.
We have had no reports of bullying since our April Board meeting.
• Support initiatives to recruit and retain professional, high-quality staff that are innovative, dynamic and dedicated to the success of all students.
Passing the bond article and the operating budget, each with a strong majority, should help convince our staff that our community appreciates their work. Hopefully, that demonstration of appreciation will result in increased staff retention.
We have improved our search process. For example, we have dedicated the first meeting of each search committee solely to the purpose of prioritizing the desired attributes we think are needed to best serve our students.
In addition, we have advertised a month earlier than usual regarding our anticipated openings for the 2017/2018 school year. Our goal is to be completely staffed for the 2017-2018 school year by mid-June.
• 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.
We have improved our effectiveness and efficiency in several ways. For example, we now use a smart board to illustrate in real time all the minutes taken at our administrative meetings.
We now update the Board each month concerning the status of our fund balance and until recently have updated the Board each month concerning the percentage of our students qualifying for free or reduced lunch.
We have had solid support from our Budget Committee. I met with them several times during the budget process.
Each cost center manager is responsible to maintain detailed backup information concerning their budget requests. This information is available for the Board if asked.
The Board agreed to pass over the article to rebuild the Maintenance Reserve Fund as a result of the approval of the bond article to add to the first floor of our elementary school.
• Continue to review security audit information and move forward, in a fiscally responsible manner, to ensure our buildings are secure and our students are safe.
We are moving forward in regards to safety enhancements that were recommended in our Safety Audit report in May of 2016. We have enhanced security in both entry ways into our schools, and are planning an evacuation drill that includes reunification with parents/guardians. In addition our building administrators are working with our SRO to refine our quick response capability.
• Align the district budget to support the 5-year plan recommended by the Hinsdale District Technology Committee.
We included the related costs in the 2017-2018 operating budget associated with the implementation of the first year of the District Technology Plan. As recommended, in the first year of the plan we will purchase a computer for each incoming fifth grade student and each incoming ninth grade student. We have dedicated needed professional development for the staff involved in the direct instruction of fifth and nine grade students. In addition to helping our fifth grade and ninth grade students become familiar with computer based learning we hope to use the technology to better integrate our curriculum helping our students create deeper learning and improving the efficiency of the learning process. Once the plan is fully implemented, all our students in grades 5-12 will have a personal computer, central to the process of learning in Hinsdale.