November Superintendent Report

Superintendent’s Report – November 2017

On Saturday, October 28th, the Hinsdale School Board held a ground-breaking ceremony for the new Hinsdale Elementary School addition/renovation project.  Hinsdale student Chase Anderson led those present in the “Pledge of Allegiance.” Honored speakers for the event included the following: New Hampshire Commissioner of Education Frank Edelblut, Hinsdale School Board Chair Holly Kennedy, and Hinsdale Building Improvement Committee Chair James O’Malley.  I also spoke at the ceremony.  The event concluded with all five Hinsdale School Board members, as well as Hinsdale Schools supporter Smokey Smith, taking a ceremonial first shovel full of dirt to mark the first step towards the construction of an our elementary school addition and the renovation of the existing first floor of Hinsdale Elementary School.  The project is scheduled for completion in late August of 2018.

We are beginning to make progress towards the recently adopted 2017-2018 Hinsdale School Board Goals.

2017-2018 Hinsdale School Board Goals

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

We are already working on college admission with those seniors who have expressed an interest in admission to a two year or a four year college. To date about half of the members of the Hinsdale Senior Class have applied to a college. We have already had representatives from ten colleges visit Hinsdale High School.

In addition, many of our students are earning certifications as a result of their Extended Learning Opportunity work and their work at the Windham Regional Career Center. One member of the Hinsdale Senior Class has accumulated seven certifications.

We continue to work on the development of performance based assessments. These assessments will better engage our students, especially those students with unique needs, interests, and learning styles.   In addition to our work on performance assessments we are working hard to develop a more responsive learning system which is founded on the Professional Learning Community model.

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

The Hinsdale School Board ground-breaking ceremony was a great recent example of communication between the Board and the public. In addition to those members of the public who were part of the celebration our Director of Technology, Deborah Trabucco, tweeted a group of photos viewed by many more Hinsdale residents. The photos were taken at the event by Ann Diorio.

The administration is recommending two forums this school year, one for HES parents and one for KMHS parents. Our school leaders wish to discuss the move to a competency based education model. We would like an opportunity to receive input in regards to the expected profile of a Hinsdale fifth grade graduate and a Hinsdale High School graduate.

  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 are continuing to strengthen our Professional Learning Community culture. Staff in both buildings are frequently meeting as PLC teams. In addition to work related to curriculum and instruction, our staff PLC teams are beginning to develop performance assessments.

We are in the second year of the implementation of our new social/emotional learning curriculum. We plan to have a summary related to the second year of the implementation of the Hinsdale SEL program available for the Board by the end of this school year.

We have seen a decline in the incidents of bullying as compared to last year at this time. At present, we have had two reports of bullying at HES and no reports 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 hired qualified individuals to fill all our openings this year. Each teacher hired has a mentor who will work with them throughout the year.  In addition, we have used grant funds to bring in a retired education professor from Brown University to work for several hours each month with some of our teachers.

We have made a concerted effort to create a more supportive and inclusive environment grounded in the Professional Learning Community model.

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

 

Our Business Administrator changed the way the 2018/2019 budget is displayed in an attempt to make the budget easier to review by the Hinsdale Budget Committee and by the Board.

We continue to work to get all our parents to turn in the paperwork that would determine eligibility for free/reduced lunch. We anticipate that our adequacy funding from the State will be down this year.  I expect some of the reduction will be a result of declining numbers of parents completing the paperwork that determines free/reduced lunch eligibility.

We have recently formed a more formal Facilities Committee. Sean Leary was elected Facilities Committee Chair at our last meeting and it was determined that the committee would meet on the third Friday each month at 2:15.  The committee hopes to create a capital improvement plan to recommend to the Board during this school year.

  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. 
  • Formulate a written security plan.

  

Tom O’Connor, Tom Ronning, Joe Boggio, Officer D’Allesandro and I recently met to discuss the first steps in writing a grant that, if approved, would fund some of the recommendations of the 2016 Hinsdale Schools Security Audit.

We have scheduled a table top drill for our building administrators. Board members are invited.

 

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

 

The first year implementation of our five-year technology plan is going well. The students have been very engaged as they use their laptops in the learning process.

Our Director of Technology is currently working with our sixth grade teachers to help them become better prepared to use technology in their instruction. Our sixth grade teachers are scheduled to receive incoming students in 2018 who will have had an entire year of using their laptops as an important part of the learning environment.