Superintendent’s Blog August 2019

Superintendent’s Report – August 2019

We are excited to welcome our six new teachers on Tuesday, August 20th for the first of two training days. The School Board is invited to breakfast with our new teachers beginning at 8:30 am on Tuesday, August 20th in the SAU Conference Room.

We have filled all six open teaching positions but we are having difficulty filling our open para positions. We currently have five open para positions.

Our returning teaching staff are scheduled to meet in their respective buildings at 8:00 am on Thursday, August 22nd.  Our official welcome for all staff is scheduled for 8:30 am on Monday, August 26th, in the Hinsdale Elementary School Gym.

Our custodians have worked hard this summer to make certain our buildings will be ready for the first day with students. The custodians and our HMHS principal did an excellent job of cleaning out stuff that had accumulated over decades in the rooms under our stage.

Our HMHS boiler replacement project is also on schedule.  Our new boiler was delivered to HMHS on Wednesday, August 14th. The HMHS boiler replacement was the first item the Facilities Committee identified to be accomplished in our five-year Capital Improvement Plan.

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.

I attended a one-day workshop on Thursday August 15th on the topic of personalized learning. We had an amazing turnout of Hinsdale staff. The following Hinsdale staff also attended the workshop: Karen Craig, Joe Boggio, Paula Brault, Sarah Burgess, Cathy Carter, Teresa Chirichella, Kristine Dow, Theresa Diorio, Samantha Ebbighausen, Donna Foster, Ann Freitag, Abby Gerrish, Dan Huntley, Peter Hughes, Jessica Jahne, Ann King, Kaitlyn Leonard, Allison Mangan, Nika Oakes, Victoria Robel, Tom Ronning, Rebecca Sayan, Meagan Snow, Jennifer Taggart, Karen Thompson, Brad Venice, and Mary Wissman.

In addition to the general sessions provided by keynote speakers the following sessions were offered:

Foundations to Stand the Test of Time, Critical School Structures to Support a Successful CBL, System Competency Education and Social Emotional Learning, Equity and Opportunity, The Promise of Competency Based Learning and Why It Matters, Competencies, Supporting Struggling Learners in Sanborn’s CBL System, Leveraging Flexible Learning Time for RTI, Grading and Reporting in a Competency-Based System, Making the Shift to Competency-Based Learning, Creating Effective Collaboration Between Teachers and Administrators, Cross Curricular Collaboration, Working Together for Competency Education, Developing a Scope and Sequence for Extended Learning Opportunities, (presented by Joseph Boggio, Abby Gerrish, and Karen Thompson! Competency-Based Learning in an Elementary Classroom, Introduction to Performance Assessment, The Key to Competency, Own It!, Fostering Self-Directed Learning in the Classroom, Personalized Learning 35 Years Later (Co-Presentor – Karen Thompson), Connecting Students to Competencies Through Personalized Content, The IWS List,  Using a School-Wide Approach to Help Students Meet Deadlines, The Competency Mindset, Transitioning from the traditional classroom, Multiple Paths to the Same Goal, Supporting the 4C’s and Fostering Student Agency with Hyperdocs and Badges, Cannonballing into the Proficiency Pool, Leveraging Student Choice Playlists and Transferable Skills Digital Badging to Place Students in Charge of Their Own Learning, Curiosity Shop: Students Explore, Discover and Create in an Individualized and Collaborative Environment, Preparing learners for the opportunities and challenges of their lifetime, and Personalizing learning to foster self-determined learners.”

  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 Hinsdale School Board is scheduled to meet with the Hinsdale Select Board at 6:00 pm on Monday, September 16th.  The purpose of the meeting is to continue to develop a stronger 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.

Our Board appointed Hinsdale School District Behavioral Support Team has met twice over the summer. Our next meeting has been scheduled for Wednesday, September 25th at 4:00 pm. I have read three books over the summer which should help me as I speak to the staff regarding this effort, “How Children Succeed,” by Paul Tough, “Grit” by Angela Duckworth, and Schoolwide Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports.” By Jason Harlacher and Billie Jo Rodriguez.

  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 were fortunate to have filled all our teaching positions early in the year. As I look around at neighboring districts it appears that there are still dozens of open teaching positions in the area.

It has become extremely difficult to find paras to fill our open positions. We currently have five unfilled para positions.

  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 on Wednesday, September 4th. 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.

A safety audit was completed over the summer by Homeland Security. We received the audit on Tuesday, August 13th and will review the report with the members of the Facility Committee at their meeting scheduled for 3:15 on Friday, August 23rd.

  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 this school year.

We are in the process of implementing the Hinsdale School District Data Governance Plan which was approved by the Board in June of 2019.