Superintendent’s Report – June 2019

Superintendent’s Report – June 2019

We have many reasons to celebrate since our last Board meeting.

First, our 2019 Extended Learning Opportunity Exhibition Day was a success. Our Director of Personalized Learning Karen Thompson with the help of Cathy Johnson, Peter Hughes, Jodie Holmquist, and Bonnie Trombly are to be congratulated for this outstanding demonstration of what is possible when a team pulls together for the benefit of the students. Our HMHS staff and our amazing group of mentors were a huge part of the overall success of this day. The presence of all five board members was appreciated by students and staff.

Another reason to celebrate this month is the final completion of the Hinsdale Elementary School Addition/Renovation Project. We kept the project open through the winter to make certain the heating and air exchange systems worked in cold weather.  We also wanted to make certain the outside plants lived through the winter. At present it appears that all the paperwork has been approved by the state. In the end the project came in slightly under budget.  Our final payment to our construction manager has been made. All change orders have been satisfied. Joe Boggio, Alan Putnam, and Tom O’Connor should be thanked for their work on the final stages of the project. We should be especially thankful to Tom O’Connor for his effort and expertise which was needed in order to complete the financials on time, which was necessary to secure the final payment of $425,617 from the State.  In a letter we received in early June from Commissioner Edelblut, the Commissioner thanked us for our efforts and stated that it was a pleasure working with us on this project.

The project came in on time and under budget.  I am confident that if we were to bid the project today the bids would be much higher and the project would be much less likely to come in on time.

A third reason to celebrate is the recent announcement by the New England Association of Secondary Schools and Colleges that their Committee on Public Secondary Schools had recently voted to approve our five-year progress report to continue accreditation. We were praised in several areas including the following: our ELO program, our work to establish and strengthen our Professional Learning Communities, our five-year technology initiative, and the development of our five-year Hinsdale School District Capital Improvement Plan.  The next ten-year accreditation cycle begins for HMHS begins in the fall of 2022.

Our tile project unveiling was a great success. The ceremony was touching and the student work was amazing. Thanks to Hinsdale Education Foundation and especially to Hinsdale Education Foundation Board member Fred Moriarty. The Hinsdale Education Foundation covered all expenses related to the tile project. HEF intends to continue the tile project for five more years.

The Hinsdale Education Foundation held the second annual Richard T. McCarthy Golf Tournament on May 18th.  HEF raised more than $6,500 during this event. Retired HMHS principal John Hartnet was the tournament director for the second year in a row. The tournament date for 2020 is Saturday, May 16th.

Another cause for celebration is that both our softball team and our baseball team made the playoffs this year.  The Hinsdale baseball team last made the playoffs in 2011.

At the May Board meeting the School Board approved 2019-2020 Board Goals.  The main goal areas are unchanged from the current year Board goals.  The 2019/ 2020 Board Goals are as follows:

2019-2020 Hinsdale School Board Goals

1. Curriculum and Instruction

  • Ensure that all students receive personalized 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.

We recently established a K-12 Hinsdale Behavioral Support Team.  The team members include Hinsdale School Board members Jeana Woodbury and Kaylah Hemlow.  Our first meeting has been scheduled for Wednesday, June 5th from 4:00-5:00.

We are currently working in a number of areas regarding continuity and collaboration between buildings.  These areas include the following: PACE, K-12 Music, K-12 Technology Committee, Hinsdale School District Extended Learning Opportunities, Professional Learning Communities, and most recently a K-12 Behavioral Support Team.

Our annual Extended Learning Opportunity Exhibition Day was held on Tuesday, May 21. During the ELO Exhibition Day our ELO students demonstrated an aspect of their ELO experience.  This event drew Hinsdale community members as well as area business and organizational leaders from Hinsdale, Winchester, Keene, and Concord. All five Hinsdale Board members were in attendance.

  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 Tuesday, May 21st all five Hinsdale Board members spent several hours touring both Hinsdale school buildings. This was the second tour during the past two months.

The Hinsdale School Board is scheduled to meet with the Hinsdale Select Board at 5:00 pm on Monday, June 17th.  The purpose of the meeting is to promote a collaborative relationship with the Hinsdale Select Board.

  1. Culture
  • Ensure clear behavioral expectations are communicated and followed up on regularly through the development and implementation of a district-wide behavior code, the progress of which will be reported to the Board monthly by the Superintendent.
  • Promote an atmosphere that supports a forward-thinking, professional learning community.
  • 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.

The Board would like a district-wide review of current student behavior expectations and student behavior supports. Recently the Board elected staff members to serve on a district-wide behavioral support team. Board members Kaylah Hemlow and Jeana Woodbury have agreed to serve on the team. Our first meeting has been scheduled for Wednesday, June 5th from 4:00-5:00.

HMHS has had no allegations of bullying since our last Board meeting. HES has had four allegations of bullying since our May Board meeting. Three of the allegations at HES were substantiated.

  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 rate of retention continues to improve. However, it has become extremely difficult to find a deep pool of candidates for the jobs we have open. I suspect we will still be searching for employees into August.

  1. Financial
  • Search for ways to conduct business in the most efficient and effective manner.
  • Work with administration to identify and secure additional sources of revenue.
  • Work with the administration to proactively monitor the fund balance.
  • Maintain ongoing communication with the Budget Committee regarding any potential changes in funding.
  • Work with the administration to present a Warrant article to rebuild the maintenance fund.

The Board has formed a tuition exploratory committee to help determine if additional tuition revenue is possible. This committee is scheduled to first meet in September of 2019.  It is hoped that this committee will have a recommendation for the Board no later than January 2020.

  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.

On Friday, May 17th the Hinsdale School District Facility Committee voted to recommend to the School Board that the District participate in a safety audit over the summer. A safety audit is recommended every three years by Homeland Security. It has been more than three years since our last safety audit.

  1. Technology
  • Continue to align the district budget to support the 5-year plan of the Future Technology Committee.
  • Support the development and implementation of a data governance plan.

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.

Work towards compliance of the new law mandating a comprehensive data governance plan has already involved all Hinsdale staff. The Hinsdale School Board will be asked to approve the 2019/2020 Hinsdale School District Data Governance Plan at the June 5th Board meeting.