Superintendent’s Blog October 2019

Superintendent’s Report – October 2019

Thankfully we now have a state budget approved by the Legislature and signed by the Governor. The two-year funding increase for Hinsdale is significant. Adequacy aid will increase slightly to $3,708 per student. We will receive more for each student who receives free or reduced lunch. Currently, 46% of Hinsdale students are taking free or reduced lunch. We will receive an increase in Fiscal Disparity Aid and our Stabilization Grant is restored to 100% of the amount we received in 2012. In addition, kindergarten students will now receive as much adequacy funds as students in grades one through 12.  However, these increases in revenue are only promised through the next two years.

The State budget includes $500,000 for a commission to study the current education funding formula, determine the real cost of an adequate education and how best to pay for it. Hinsdale Board members and school administrators are scheduled to meet with our area legislators on Friday, October 18th to discuss upcoming legislation to be proposed in the new legislative session, which begins in January 2020.

Our HMHS boiler replacement project is scheduled to be completed in the next couple of weeks. We have two boilers at Hinsdale Middle/High School but we need them both operating in cold weather. We are hopeful that we will not have colder than average temperatures in early October.

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.

Our Professional Learning Communities are beginning to review the data from our most recent state assessment. Our Director of Technology disaggregated the data last week. Our Director of Curriculum and Instruction is assisting the PLC’s in the effort to analyze the data and determine next steps. The data from the state is not as useful for us as our MAPS data because the State assessment day is almost half a year old before it comes back to us.  Our students started with the State assessment on April 10th of 2019. We receive the MAPS data within a few weeks of the time our students take the test.  However, our HASP State assessment criteria and the Hinsdale adequate yearly progress determination use the State assessment data.

Our Hinsdale High School counselor is meeting with parents with children in the class of 2020 and 2021 on Monday, October 7th in order to provide assistance regarding questions related to financial aid.

  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 met with the Hinsdale Select Board on Monday, September 16th.  The purpose of the meeting was to continue to develop a stronger collaborative relationship between the two boards. One area of discussion centered on securing funding to assist Hinsdale families with children who are too young for school. It is hoped that the School District and the Town could cooperate regarding seeking grant funds to help families prepare their children for school.

  1. Culture
  • Ensure clear behavioral expectations are communicated and followed up 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 appointed Hinsdale Behavioral Support Team is in the process of collecting survey student behavior data from staff. This data will be shared with a New Hampshire expert in social emotional learning. The expert plans to meet with our Behavioral Support Team on Wednesday, October 23rd to present his recommendations regarding next steps.

Our Director of Curriculum and Instruction has been working with Hinsdale teachers for more than a month to establish a more consistent and productive PLC model for Hinsdale Schools. During the one day she spends each week at the Hinsdale Elementary School our Director of Curriculum and Instruction hopes to work more closely with HES teachers to develop more consistent and productive PLC’s.

We have had four reporting incidents of bullying at Hinsdale Elementary School since our last Board meeting. Two were substantiated. There were no reported incidents of bullying at HMHS since our last 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 currently have a couple of unfilled para positions. We also have had a shortage of available substitute teachers.  Last week our Director of Human Resources distributed 25 substitute teaching applications and a few para applications to prospective employees at a job fair in Keene. We have had several inquiries as a result of our presence at the job fair.

Thanks to our Director of Curriculum and Instruction, the willingness of staff and our principals, our PLC’s are working very well. We contend that our strong culture of PLC’s will led to a higher retention rate than has been the rule earlier this decade.

We have recently implemented regular para meetings at HES.  Based on past para surveys regular para meetings, though difficult to schedule, were badly needed.

  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.

Given the recent adoption of a State Budget, Hinsdale School District should receive at least $400,000 in additional State revenue for 2019/2020, as compared to last school year.

The Board’s open enrollment study committee met again on Wednesday, October 2nd. We have reviewed projected HHS enrollment and met with the Hinsdale School District Business Administrator. We are considering options and are planning to have a recommendation ready for the December 11th Board meeting.

  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 for Hinsdale Elementary School and Hinsdale Middle/High School was completed over the summer by Homeland Security. At the September 20th meeting the Facility Committee agreed to prioritize the recommendations and share their recommendations with the Board.  We are hopeful that the State will once again offer a grant application process that could result in the funding of at least 80% of the cost of any District safety upgrade that was recommended in the 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 currently implementing the third year of our five-year Technology Plan. Our seventh grade and our eleventh grade students have been added to the one-to-one computer initiative this school year.

We are still in the process of implementing the Hinsdale School District Data Governance Plan which was approved by the Board in June of 2019. Even though implementing the new Data Governance Plan is stretching our technology staff, we agree that new data governance regulations for the data we use was needed.