February Superintendent’s Blog

Superintendent’s Report –February 2018

To date our Hinsdale Elementary School addition/renovation project is on time and under budget. On January 30th the Board entered into a contract with MacMillin Construction Company of Keene, New Hampshire.  Representatives from MacMillin, Marinace Architects, and members of the Hinsdale Construction Committee were available at the January 30th Board meeting where the motion was made to approve the construction contract.  The motion passed with a unanimous affirmative vote of the Board.  The Board motion included a guaranteed maximum price which is under the original budget for the project. Although it is much too soon to celebrate, at this point it is obvious that we have hired a hard working team of dedicated professionals who are working with the Board, administration, and our community representatives to ensure our project objectives are met.  All signs point to a quality project that the community will be proud of, a project that will benefit Hinsdale students for generations to come.

Our next Construction Committee meeting is scheduled at the Hinsdale Elementary School project building site at 1:30 on Friday, February 16th just prior to our School Board Facility Committee meeting.  Our next Building Improvement Committee meeting is scheduled for 6:00 pm on Tuesday, February 27th.

The Hinsdale Education Foundation’s first fund raising event will be the Richard T. McCarthy Golf Tournament scheduled for May 19, 2018, at 9:00 am at the Northfield Golf Club. The scrambles charity golf tournament will include 18 holes, a cart, and a hot lunch for $75. The officers of the Hinsdale Education Foundation are as follows: President, Jim O’Malley; Secretary, Steve Bonnette; Treasurer, Frank Moriarty. Other Hinsdale Education Foundation members include Hinsdale Board Chair Holly Kennedy and Hinsdale District Clerk Ann Diorio. Contact Ann Diorio if you would like to golf, sponsor a hole, or just help out with this 18-hole charity golf tournament.

Our Extended Learning Opportunity program continues to gain attention from State education leaders. The Hinsdale Extended Learning Opportunities Coordinator Karen Thompson was recently named “New Hampshire Extended Learning Opportunities Educator of the Year.” In early February both the Brattleboro Reformer, and the Keene Sentinel published articles noting Karen Thompson’s award. The Chair of the New Hampshire ELO Coordinator of the Year Selection Committee wrote, “We were impressed by your experience, passion, and dedication to everything ELO including program development, program enhancement, school/community relationship and partnership building, but most importantly the positive, memorable, and life changing student impact. We were particularly moved by the years of dedication you have given to your district and to the state with regards to ELO implementation. We have seen a tremendous growth in high quality ELO programs in recent years and it is clear this is due in part to your mentorship.  Your Exhibition of Learning Day alone is held as an exemplar and is being duplicated around the state. It was also evident in your letters of support that the Hinsdale School District is extremely fortunate to have you as a part of their team. You may, or may not, be aware that your colleagues and peers hold you in high regard with the utmost respect and admiration. Hinsdale is “Better Together” with you.”

I attended two Hinsdale boys’ basketball game and a Hinsdale girls’ basketball game in January. Both teams are playing excellent basketball.

I have volunteered as a member of the Richard T. McCarthy Golf Tournament Committee. We met once in January.  Our goal for the first year of the tournament is to raise $5,000 for the Hinsdale Education Foundation.

We are making progress towards the 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 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.

We are making progress towards a system migration towards a student competency education model. We recently made modifications to our Hinsdale High School Program of Studies to better reflect the move towards a competency-based education model. All our Hinsdale High School students are receiving individualized instruction for three days each week in math and English. Our after school program is another opportunity for our students to participate in a personalized learning program. Some days we have in excess of 100 Hinsdale students participating in our after school program.

Largely as a result of 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 have made significant progress in regards to empowering our students to determine their individual educational pathways. We are working hard to create an individualized education plan for each student.

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.

  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 Board Communications Committee plans to organize a community forum for April and another for May of 2018. Topics under consideration include a review of the outcomes and parent input related to our new Social Emotional Curriculum, and parent input concerning our move to a competency-based personalized learning model.

  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.

We are continuing to see a decrease in incidents of bullying.

We are in our second year of our District-wide social emotional learning curriculum implementation. At present, it appears that the social emotion curriculum is showing positive results. We plan to report out on the data points at the May or June 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. 


Our School District Wellness Coordinators continue to do an outstanding job adding a wellness component to the lives of our employees, a component which we believe will increase the sense of belonging for our employees. Recent research related to teacher retention published on January 24, 2018, listed school climate as tied with salary as the number one reason teachers leave their current job. Our District Wellness Coordinators include, Ann Diorio, Kathryn Lynch, and Nicki Eggighausen.

The Board has approved a three-year agreement between the Hinsdale School Board and the Hinsdale Support Staff Association. If the agreement is approved by the voters at the Annual School District Meeting we should improve our rate of retention and our ability to hire high quality staff.

  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 Budget Committee unanimously endorsed the 2018/2019 School District Budget as recommended by the Hinsdale School Board. The town voters will determine the final 2018/2019 School District Budget at the School District Meeting scheduled for 9:30 am or immediately following the town meeting on Saturday, March 17th.

Our recently modified Facilities Committee is meeting on the third Friday each month at 2:15. The next meeting is scheduled for Friday, February 16th. 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.

 In January of 2018 we received security grants from the State totaling $28,293. Our School Resource Officer Marcello D’Allesandro, our Director of Technology, Debbie Trabucco, and our Business Administrator Tom O’Connor all participated in the grant application process. The security items funded were all identified as areas of need in the security audit completed in the spring of 2016.

  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 continues to go well. We have included the costs associated with the second year of the five year plan in our 2018/2019 School District Budget.