November 2018 Superintendent Blog

Superintendent’s Blog – November 2018

We have only a few items left on our Hinsdale Elementary School Addition/Renovation project punch list.  The work to clear the remaining items on the punch list is being done after school, on school holidays, or on weekends to avoid disturbing our HES learning environment.

The federal government has approved a waiver for New Hampshire under the “Every Student Succeeds Act” (ESSA) from certain federal student assessment regulations for its Performance Assessment for Competency Education (PACE). Hinsdale is a New Hampshire recently approved PACE District, therefore, approval for New Hampshire by the Federal Department of Education is welcome news for Hinsdale. New Hampshire and Louisiana are the only two states in the United States to receive Innovative Assessment Demonstration Authority approvals.  PACE gives us the opportunity to make assessments more relevant to classroom learning while still providing important information about student achievement and growth which better suits our personalized learning model. Karen Thompson is willing to provide the Board with an update of our District PACE progress at our December Board meeting.

The NH Department of Education is planning a statewide review of PACE programs during the 2018-2019 school year.

I have had the opportunity to attend two afterschool events since our October Board meeting.  On Tuesday, October 16th I attended the final 2018 Girls’ Varsity Soccer game. On Friday evening, November 2nd, I attended the annual Hinsdale Elementary School PTA Variety Show.

District administrators have developed Action Plans for the newly adopted 2018-2019 District Goals. Hinsdale administrators will provide an overview of the individual school action plans regarding our District learning goal at the November Board meeting.

The 2018-2019 Hinsdale School District Goals are as follows:

  1. HSD will personalize learning for each student which will result in improved student learning and higher numbers of students reaching proficiency on targeted learning standards by: a. Using a Response to Intervention model, which includes core instruction, intervention, and extension, we will provide students with educational opportunities and learning based upon each student’s unique needs, interests and learning styles. While we will continue to address learning needs in all content areas, during the 18-19 school year, we will intentionally focus on improving student learning in mathematics, as evidenced by MAP data/results.

The action plan for our learning goal at our elementary school focuses on math. One objective reads, “each grade level will achieve an overall ten percent improvement in mathematics based on a fall to spring improvement in our Measure of Academic Progress assessment.”  The activities planned will focus on improved student automaticity of math fact fluency. The HES staff plan to better use technology to engage students in acquiring math facts. As part of the math improvement action plan students will take a more active role regarding goal setting.  To help improve math instruction HES staff are devoting one meeting each month which will focus on math instruction. The staff also intend to use their PLC teams to improve the use of data to inform instruction. In addition, at Hinsdale Elementary School Inder Khalsa and Joe Boggio are in the process of implementing a plan to improve Hinsdale student readiness upon entering Kindergarten.

Hinsdale Middle/High School also is focusing on improvement in the area of math. The HMHS math objective states that each grade level will achieve an overall 10 percent improvement in mathematics based on fall to spring NWEA Measure of Academic Progress. This will be determined by the number of students who meet or exceed the fortieth percentile at each grade level.

Some of the activities that will be implemented at HMHS include: tutoring using Khan Academy, whole school interventions in math, extended common prep time for high school math teachers, increased use of PLC teams, analyze data to improve instruction, develop intervention groups, and integrate math into all curriculum areas.

  1. Staff will support the successful implementation of the Tech Committee’s Five-Year Plan.

Each of our fifth, sixth, ninth, and tenth grade students now have access to a Chromebook while at school.  The technology staff are working with teachers to help staff effectively include these devices to improve learning.  Our District Technology Committee has begun a review of the five-year plan to determine if modifications should be recommended to the Board.  Costs associated with year three of the technology plan are included in the draft budget that will be distributed to the Board next week. Under the third year of the plan each seventh grade student and each eleventh grade student will also have access to a Chromebook while at school.

  1. Staff will provide students with social/emotional learning opportunities which will enhance students’ capacity to integrate skills, attitudes, and behaviors to deal effectively and ethically with daily tasks and challenges; and which will result in students learning the skills they need to in order to be successful in today’s world – at home, in school, and later in college and work.

Thanks to Board Chair Holly Kennedy, HMHS administration, the Hinsdale School Board Communications Committee, and the HMHS student support staff team, we have the Honorable John T. Broderick scheduled to present to both the Hinsdale students and the Hinsdale community on Tuesday, November 27th. Hon. Broderick’s presentation will be focused on mental health.

  1. HSD will recruit best quality staff, grow best quality staff, and retain best quality staff.

We continue to provide targeted professional development and quality teacher support, especially for our new staff. We are reviewing our para supports currently in place with the expectation of improving the workplace environment for our paras.  Our Director of Curriculum and Instruction is currently assisting several staff members who are becoming certified under the New Hampshire Alternative Certification Plan. The upcoming budget recommendations will illustrate our suggestions to improve our ability to hire the best quality substitute teachers and substitute paras.

  1. HSD will conduct financial business in an efficient and effective manner.

Our business administrator Tom O’Connor with the help of our cost center mangers and SAU staff has a draft budget ready to share with the Board at the November 14th School Board meeting.

We continue to work to improve our anticipated revenue.  In December, we intend to invite all our elected State legislators to meet with Hinsdale administrators and those Hinsdale Board members available to discuss the upcoming State budget.  The state budget being developed by House, Senate, and the Governor will be in place by the end of the school year and will be in effect for the following two years. We are particularly concerned in regards to the projected loss of another $200,000 over the next two years as stabilization grants are being phased out. There is a lot of misinformation regarding the phasing out of Stabilization Grants which further exasperate an already meager show of financial support for public education in New Hampshire.

A draft budget is due to the Hinsdale Town Budget Committee on December 3, 2018.

  1. HSD will 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 continuing to improve the safety and security of the District.

The District Safety Committee has organized several safety drills so far this year.

I am meeting with Chief Faulkner on November 13th to develop a plan regarding procuring and training a School Resource Officer for the 2019/2020 school year.