Superintendent’s Report April 2019

Superintendent’s Report – April 2019

I would like to begin my April report by thanking the voters who attended our annual School District meeting on March 16th.  A strong majority of the district meeting voters approved our budget request of $13,412,857. The Hinsdale voters also approved a three-year teacher contract. The three-year contract is expected to 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.

Thanks to our outstanding Extended Learning Opportunity program at Hinsdale High School, Hinsdale School District was voted “Best Way to Introduce Students to Real World Jobs.”  More than 4,400 NH Business Review readers cast their votes to select this year’s Best of Business (BOB) Award.  Certainly the support of the School Board and the hard work of Karen Thompson and her ELO team of Cathy Johnson, Peter Hughes, Jodie Holmquist, Bonnie Trombly and the entire HMHS staff should be recognized for their effort to provide Hinsdale students with a high quality and truly personalized ELO program.

The Children’s Literacy Foundation has awarded its $25,000 Year of the Book literacy grant to Hinsdale Elementary School for the 2019-2020 school year. The Year of the Book grant includes several author and story teller visits. The grant will also support family literacy events and special literacy programs. In addition, the grant will provide funds for new books for classrooms, the school library, our Hinsdale town library, as well as ten new books for each child to choose. A Hinsdale Elementary School team of Joe Boggio, Kristine Dow, Abigail Storm, Christine Bowker, Mary Wissman, Brenda Kelly and Inder Khalsa wrote the application for the Year of the Book grant. The grant request also had the support of the Hinsdale public library.

We continue to receive positive signs related to a projected increase in state revenue for the 2019/2020 fiscal year. A recent amendment to the Governor’s budget restores stabilization grants to 2016 levels in 2020, provides full base adequacy funding for full-day Kindergarten students, and introduces two new funding streams in 2021: Fiscal Capacity Disparity Aid, and additional Free and Reduced Lunch Aid. If this budget amendment passes Hinsdale will see at least a 5% increase in state dollars, relative to current law, over the next two years. The additional funding which is included in the amendment is concentrated to the most property-poor towns and those with high concentrations of Free and Reduced Lunch-eligible students: all but one of the property-poor towns has property wealth per student less than $703,000 (25th percentile) and a Free and Reduced Lunch-eligible student population of at least 35% (median statewide figure is 26%) 

Another area of revenue shortfall that the legislature looks to partially 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. If the special education bill passes this session Hinsdale would likely receive 80% reimbursement for the next two years.

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 April 1st the majority of the Hinsdale Senior Class have been accepted into at least one college.

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.

The budget article and the contract article passed by a strong majority at the annual School District meeting suggesting that the Board continues to have a collaborative relationship with the community. Certainly the recent community budget forum contributed to the positive vote.

  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.

On Wednesday, April 3rd I reviewed the November staff satisfaction survey with our District administrators. The survey was completed by 93 Hinsdale staff members.  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.  Areas included in the survey are as follows: collaboration, communication, professional development, time, work environment, staff recognition regarding innovation, contributions valued, impact on student learning, School Board collaboration and trust, and administration collaboration and trust.

We have had two substantiated acts of bullying at HES since our March Board meeting. We had one act of bullying at HMHS since our March 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 know of three Hinsdale School District employees who plan to retire on June 30th, 2019. As of early April we have hired one replacement. We anticipate additional openings in the coming months.

Our Director of Curriculum and Instruction Karen Craig, our Director of Personal Learning Karen Thompson, and our HES Special Education Coordinator Terri Drogue set up a table at the Keene State College Job Fair on Tuesday, April 2nd.  Ann Diorio helped put together the materials for the job fair. All three of our representatives reported making numerous contacts with prospective employees. Many of the prospective employees reported they already had a positive view of Hinsdale schools.

  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 during the 2019/2020 budget approval process.

The first item on our Hinsdale School District Capital Improvement Plan is included in the 2019-2020 approved operating budget.  Over the summer we plan to replace a 50-year old boiler at HMHS.

  1. Security
  • 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 have had several school safety drills since our last Board meeting.

  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.