Superintendent’s Report – April 2018
Since my most recent report to the School Board I have had the privilege to attend several school events included a great drama production, “Back to the 80’s.” Approximately 40 Hinsdale students from the Hinsdale Afterschool Program starred in this musical production. This amazing show was offered to the public on two consecutive days over a weekend. The musical was very well attended by the public.
It would be difficult to overestimate the importance of the Hinsdale Afterschool Program to Hinsdale students and families. Many of our Hinsdale students depend on HASP for a safe place between 3:30-6:00 each school day and for breakfast and/or an afterschool snack. During our outstanding after school program students complete homework with the help of staff and volunteers. Both elementary school students and middle school students have access to Hinsdale computer labs and to the staff needed to help improve the student’s technology related skills. These computers are connected to the internet and many Hinsdale students struggle with reliable access to the internet from home. Hinsdale students who attend our after school program have access to our amazing elementary school drama program. In addition our HASP students benefit from physical exercise during a best practice physical exercise program. There are days when more than 100 Hinsdale students participate in HASP. Our HASP Director is in the process of writing a grant application in an attempt to secure the reauthorization of funds. Unfortunately, it is unlikely we will know if our application is approved before early summer. The current funding for our afterschool program ends on June 30, 2018. The impact of losing our HASP program would be catastrophic to our students and families.
Another recent event I had the privilege to attend was the Hinsdale Elementary School PTA “Book Bingo.” More than a hundred people attended this event filling the HES cafeteria. It was obvious that just about everyone in the room enjoyed “Book Bingo.” The members of the Book Bingo Committee are to be commended for doing such a great job of organizing this event. Many of our SALT students assisted with this event. I can’t think of another school event where having fun while generating an interest in reading come together so perfectly. I’m sure many students couldn’t wait to get home and start reading their new book, a book that they picked out from many available to them.
Another event I was fortunate to attend in March was a presentation at the State House in Concord. HMHS teacher Jodie Holmquist and I accepted an award given by our Governor, in front of the Governor’s Council. The award recognized our commitment that every Hinsdale student have a high degree of financial literacy prior to graduation.
To date our Hinsdale Elementary School addition/renovation project is on time and under budget. Our Building Improvement Committee, the Hinsdale Construction Committee, and the Hinsdale Facility Committee have all met and discussed the HES project since our March Board meeting.
The Hinsdale Code Enforcement Officer has stated that all his inspections related to our HES Addition/Renovation project have gone well so far. The McMillin Construction Superintendent has called for inspections at each stage of the work. Currently the construction team is finalizing the installation of under slab utilities and the instillation of the exterior masonry envelope. The next major installation will be the joist and the deck which will begin in about four weeks.
Major construction related deliveries are being scheduled between the hours of 9:00 am and 2:00 pm to avoid the drop off and the pickup of students. The HES principal has shared important school dates through July with the construction team.
All construction bills are being sent to Marinace Architects for review and approval before being submitted to our business office for processing and payment.
All signs point to a quality Hinsdale Elementary School addition and renovation project that the community will be proud of, a project that will benefit Hinsdale students for generations to come.
The next Construction Team meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, April 17th at 9:30 am. Our next Facility Committee meeting is scheduled for 2:15 on Friday, April 20th. Our next Hinsdale Building Improvement Committee meeting is scheduled for 6:00 pm on Tuesday, May 15th.
Congratulations to the Hinsdale School Board, a first place winner for the National School Boards Association’s annual Magna Award. The Hinsdale School Board was given this award as a result of the Boards support of innovation and creativity in helping to increase student achievement. The Magna Award program for 2018 focused on equity in education and recognizes school districts and their leaders for their efforts to bring educational equity to their students through programs that remove barriers to student achievement. Most notably the Hinsdale School Board’s role in the creation and continued support of our hugely successful Extended Learning Opportunities program contributed to the first place designation.
For the third year in a row the New Hampshire Department of Education determined that the Hinsdale School District had a 100% compliance level relative to our initial evaluations of students recommended for an individual education plan.
We continue to make progress towards the 2017-2018 Hinsdale School Board Goals.
2017-2018 Hinsdale School Board Goals
- 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 making progress as we move towards a student competency education model. The District PACE Committee led by our Director of Curriculum and Instruction is developing a presentation for the Board at our Board meeting scheduled for May 9th and a presentation for a public forum scheduled for May 16th or May 23rd.
Each student at Hinsdale Middle School students recently completed a special reading unit that was a connected to our Response to Intervention initiative.
- Twice yearly school board tours of all school buildings.
- 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 two community forums before the end of the 2018 school year. Topics under consideration include student safety, bullying, and a review of the outcomes and parent input related to our new Social Emotional Curriculum.
One of the motivating factors cited in the argument to embrace a new social emotional curriculum two years ago was the need to reduce the frequency of bullying in our schools. 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.
- 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.
HMHS had no allegations of bullying during the past month. There were three substantiated allegations of bullying at the Hinsdale Elementary School during the past month.
- 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.
The District voters approved a three-year agreement with the Hinsdale Support Staff Association. This new contract should improve our rate of retention and our ability to hire high quality staff. At this point it appears that our turnover rate will be much lower for the next school year than has been the case in recent years.
We think our move towards competency based education will result in a greater level of retention of innovative staff.
- 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.
At the 2018 Annual District the District voters approved the 2018/2019 School District Budget as recommended by the Hinsdale School Board and the Hinsdale Budget Committee. This budget included about $450,000 from the State needed to complete our HES Addition/Renovation project.
Our Hinsdale School District Facility Committee is close to completing a Hinsdale School District Capital Improvement Plan. The next meeting is scheduled for Friday, April 20th. The committee hopes to approve a five-year capital improvement plan to recommend to the Board during the May School Board meeting.
- Continue to review security audit information and move forward, in a fiscally responsible manner and to ensure our buildings are secure and our students are safe.
- Formulate a written security plan.
In late March we were notified that a recent safety grant we submitted for $54,280 was approved by the State. The total of the safety grants that was announced for Hinsdale schools over the past two months total approximately $100,000. We plan to do our best to complete these projects over the summer months.
For the second time in the past month several of our Hinsdale administrators and I met with our school resource officer and the Hinsdale Police Chief. We discussed recommendations that would further improve campus security in order to keep our students safe. We hope to share some of these recommendations with the Board at the June Board meeting.
- Continue to align the district budget to support the 5-year plan of the District Technology Committee.
- Formulate a written technology capital improvement plan.
Our teachers are taking advantage of our technology initiative to help with the transition to a competency-based education model. With the approval of operating budget at the March Annual School District Meeting we are now moving forward with the second year of our five-year one-to-one initiative. Next year all Hinsdale students in the sixth grade and the tenth grade will have tablets for use during the school days. Currently all Hinsdale students in the 5th grade and the 9th grade have tablets to use during the school day.