Superintendent’s Report April 2020

Superintendent’s Report – April 2020

It seems like an understatement, but much has happened since our March Board meeting.

A safe environment for our employees is of paramount importance. Toward that end we have used a new cleaning machine, we purchased a few months ago, to deep clean and sanitize our buildings.  Each morning our custodians sanitize the spaces that were used the day before. In addition, the custodians frequently sanitize the commonly used surfaces we have identified such as the outside door handles to each building. The outside door to the SAU building is sanitized hourly, as we frequently have guests that need to access the SAU building. Overall we have dramatically reduced the number of staff who enter all our buildings. Whenever possible we are using Zoom meetings to handle our necessary meetings. For example, our case managers, and special education administrators are using Zoom meeting to meet with our case managers twice a week.

Thankfully the Hinsdale School District is promised approximately $200,000 as part of the Cares Act, which passed Congress on March 27th. As a result of the new funding law, each District in New Hampshire will receives about 82% of the amount we received this year in Title 1 funds. Title 1 funding is directly related to our free/reduced lunch count. This is another example of the importance of our free/reduced lunch count total.

We are currently implementing the second phase of our remote learning plan which began on Tuesday, March 31st. We continue to provide continuous learning opportunities for students through remote learning but are focusing our remote learning activities four days per week (Tuesdays-Fridays). Mondays is now a planning day for teachers to work on outreach, preparation, or attend to other needs as they arise in a remote instruction and learning environment.  Our remote learning plan continues to be responsive to parent and student feedback and is more respectful of the demands on families as they face issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Students continue to receive weekly assignments. We have established recommended guidelines for maximum student commitment each day. The guidelines are as follows:

Pre-K: 30 minutes

K-1: 45 minutes

Grades 2-3: 60 minutes.

Grades 4-5: 90 minutes.

Grades 6-12: 30 minutes per teacher for a maximum of three hours per day.

We are trying to be attentive to the social-emotional needs of our students. Considerations to that end include:

  • Focus on essential learning for students — “Less is More”
  • Be flexible and ready to adapt when needs arise
  • Emphasize relationships in this new learning environment
  • Extend grace to all in these unique and trying times

The NHIAA has cancelled athletics until May 4th.  Practice is scheduled to begin on May 4th and events including games and tournaments are scheduled to begin on May 13th. Of course this schedule is subject to change.

Our Hinsdale After School Programs has implemented a remote learning plan. The HASP Remote Learning began on March 23rd. There was no specific guidance given to us by the State regarding HASP remote learning but an excellent plan was development thanks to the HASP staff members under the direction of our program director. They began creating packets for students enrolled in HASP on Monday, March 15th.  They met with grade-level teachers to determine the best lessons for the HASP students prior to developing the 133 packets, one for each HASP K-5 student. The projects included a focus on STEM activities. Many of our Hinsdale paras helped with this project.

The Director of HASP is organizing numerous professional development opportunities for her staff.  She is using Pro Solutions training to create nine to ten lessons with DHHS’s Health and Safety training.  Staff members will receive a certificate of attendance for each workshop which can then be uploaded to the state’s professional registry.  She is also working with ACROSSNH to provide “After School Basics” for HASP elementary school staff.  This “live” training would provide staff with necessary training to obtain their Direct Service credential with the State of New Hampshire in After School Programming.

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.

As of March 3rd we already have more than 67% of our seniors admitted to a college or university. We have one student planning to join the Armed Services and we have 30% of our seniors planning to join the workforce. At present, 20% of our seniors will graduate with a certification. Examples include the following certifications: LNA, EMT, Fiber Optics, and OSHA.

By order of the Governor, the State is not mandating State tests for our students this spring.

2. 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.

Our School Board joined the Budget Committee and the District voters at the 2020/2021 School District Meeting on March 14th, 2020.  The majority of votes approved the budget article of $14,150,937.  The majority of voters also approved the transfer of up to $75,000 into the Expendable Trust Fund on June 30, 2020.

  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.

We have had no reports of bullying since we implemented remote learning.

Our Hinsdale School District Anti-Discrimination and Diversity Plan is on hold at this time but we plan to work on the plan as soon as we find more time. The objective of the plan is to help our students appreciate and respect a diverse school culture. The plan will include guidelines, protocols and procedures intended to prevent, assess the presence of, intervene in, and respond to incidents of discrimination. The Plan will be submitted to the Board for approval in September of 2020.

  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 have submitted ads for our 2020/2021 openings. We hope to have hiring committees for administrative positions to the Board for approval for the May Board meeting.

  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.

At our Annual School District Meeting on March 14th the District voters passed our proposed operating budget. In addition, the voters passed Article 3 on the School District Warrant which will add up to $75,000 to our School District Maintenance Expendable Trust Fund.

  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.

At our most recent Facilities Committee meeting proposals were approved to add four new speaker locations to the high school and ten new speaker locations to the elementary school. The Facility Committee also approved several cameras that would improve the surveillance of areas in and around our schools. Given these recommendations were listed in our most recent Homeland Security Audit it is highly likely state or federal grant funds would cover 80% of the costs for the speakers and cameras.  With Board approval the administration would submit the request for these items to the State as soon as funds are made available.

  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. Funds to add our 8th grade and our 12th grade students to the one-one initiative are included in our 2020/2021 School District Budget that was passed on March 14th. The new Cares Act revenue will allow us to purchase additional school computers to be used by students or staff who do not have computers at home and are struggling to keep up with our remote learning plan.