March 2019 Superintendent’s Report

Superintendent’s Report – March 2019

The Hinsdale School District will hold the 2019 Annual School District Meeting in the Hinsdale Middle/High School Gym on Saturday, March 16th. The 2019/2020 School District Budget of $13,412,857 will appear as the First Article on the School District Warrant. This budget proposal is 2.4% lower than the budget Hinsdale voters approved last year.

The second article on the Warrant is a three-year teacher contract. The Hinsdale Budget Committee voted to support both articles. The three year teachers’ contract, if passed at the Hinsdale School District Meeting, would add $117,396, (less than 1%) to our overall school district budget for 2019-2020.  The cost for year two of the contract would be $146,832 and $152,129 in year three. Raises total 2.67% in year one, 3.15% in year two and 3.16% in year three. These increases are total compensation not just salary. If both articles on the Warrant pass on March 16th the tax rate on the school side is projected to decline for the 2019/2020 fiscal year.

Over the past week Tom O’Connor and I spoke to several employee groups concerning the 2019/2020 budget and the teachers’ contract that will be presented to the town at the 2019 Hinsdale Annual School District Meeting. On Tuesday, March 5th, Tom and I spoke to the Hinsdale Middle/High School teaching staff and the Hinsdale Elementary School teaching staff. On Wednesday, March 6th Tom and I spoke to the Hinsdale Elementary School Paras.  In addition, Tom and I spoke to the HMHS para staff and the HSD administrative assistants staff on Monday, March 11th.

We continue to receive positive signs related to a projected increase in state revenue for the 2019/2020 fiscal year. For example, legislation regarding Stabilization Aid, which had been cut by about $200,000 over the past two years, is still projected to be rolled back to 2016 levels which would bring in about $200,000 more in revenue than we projected. Other areas where the state is likely to increase the revenue for our schools include more funding for each student as part of our adequacy grant as well as full adequacy aide for each student attending full day kindergarten.  Currently we receive a smaller amount of adequacy aide for our kindergarten students as compared to students in grades 1-12.    Another area of revenue shortfall that the legislature looks to restore this session is Special Education Aid, a state revenue stream that is currently reimbursing Hinsdale at only 70.228% of the funds that are required by law. It appears that the current legislature recognizes that, as with all the other unreimbursed State mandates, the erosion of aide regarding special education placements results in an increase in local property taxes, adding to the disparity of tax rates for education throughout the state.

I was indeed fortunate to have been free to attend three of our Pacers playoff basketball games. I was even able to catch the championship game in Plymouth.  I am so proud of the character of our Pacer basketball teams.

Hinsdale staff have continued to work on the 2018-2019 School Board Goals.

2018-2019 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.
  • Establish continuity and collaboration in instruction between the school buildings.

As of March 1st the majority of the Hinsdale Senior Class has been accepted into at least one college. Currently 10% of the Senior Class is planning to join a branch of the military.

The ELO program continues to be an integral pathway for many of our students. We are working to enable a larger percentage of our students to take advantage of ELO’s. Currently, students in grade eight are scheduled to participate in a career exploration class each quarter. This class provides data on individual interests, and information that is used to guide the formation of group ELOs in grade nine. Plans are in place to include a career fair for 8th and 9th grade students as well as job shadow opportunities for 10th grade students. Freshmen and sophomores have taken on year-long ELOs as interests and time allow. Our ELO Exhibition Day is scheduled for Tuesday, May 22nd. We anticipate that all our Board members will be in attendance, as well as officials from the New Hampshire Department of Education.

We have 16 individual workshops scheduled to be offered by Hinsdale staff members during the April 22nd workshop day. Workshops titles include: “What’s New in Special Education,” “What Can the Library Do for You,” “Implementing Bridges Intervention with Regular Education and Special Education,” “Hearing and Listening Needs in the Classroom,” “Supporting Students in Managing Stress,” “Interdisciplinary Performance Tasks,” “How to Differentiate Instruction: Twenty Years and Counting,” “Understanding Dyslexia and How to Identity,” “Prevent, and Remediate Work Level Reading Difficulties,” “An Introduction to Adobe Spark for Education,” “One Note in the Classroom,” “Making Most of Your Smartboard,” “A Deskless Classroom: Using Movement and Building Community to Increase Achievement.”  In addition, Hinsdale staff are providing four PACE workshops.

  1. Communication
  • Internal
    • Twice yearly school board tours of all school buildings – 1 tour during the school day and 1 tour when classes are not in session.
  • 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.
    • Maintain relationships with town governing bodies.

On Wednesday, February 27th the School Board and I met and reviewed the employee surveys which were completed in the late fall.  The results of the surveys will be extremely helpful in informing our district and board goals for next year; however, we have identified several areas which we will work to address in the coming months.  We are forming an action plan which we will discuss at monthly school board meetings.

The School Board held a Public Forum on January 31st to allow residents to ask questions about the expenditures in the 2019/2020 proposed budget.  There were approximately 30 people in attendance at the forum. Each Board member presented a part of the overview for the public.

  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 have had two reported acts of bullying at HES since our last Board meeting. We had no new reports of bullying at HMHS since our February Board meeting. We are monitoring two past bullying issues at HMHS.

  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 know of three individuals who plan to retire on June 30th, 2019. We have already started the interview process for the replacement of the retiree who is a year-round employee.

We will have a table at the Keene State College Job Fair on Tuesday, April 2nd. Our HES Special Education Coordinator, our Director of Personalized Learning, and our Director of Curriculum and Instruction will represent Hinsdale at the job fair.

  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 Board and administration have done an excellent job of reaching out to the voters in order to satisfactorily answer their questions, especially on Facebook.  Our Business Administrator has worked especially hard to satisfactorily answer all the questions from our Budget Committee as well as the questions from our public. All Board members presented part of the budget and teacher contract overview during the recent Hinsdale School Board Budget Community Forum.

  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.

Our School Resource Officer, Marcello D’Allesandro, led a table top drill on Tuesday February 12th at the Hinsdale Police Department. The drill also included Hinsdale school district administrators, Hinsdale Police Chief Faulkner, and four others from the Hinsdale Police Department. Our Hinsdale Elementary School principal and our Hinsdale Middle/High School principal and assistant principal also attended the table top drill.

  1. Technology
  • Continue to align the district budget to support the 5-year plan of the Future Technology Committee.

We are continuing to plan for the implementation of the third year of our five-year Technology Plan. Our seventh grade and our eleventh grade students are scheduled to be added to the one-to-one computer initiative next fall.

Our Director of Technology is close to completing a compliance plan regarding the new data governance legislation, HB 1612. This new law mandates information security for every school district. The statue require all school districts conduct a comprehensive information security risk plan. Work towards compliance of the new law has already involved all Hinsdale staff, not just the Director of Technology and her staff.