September 2021 Superintendent’s Report

Superintendent’s Report – September 2021

Our first day with students went well. I observed a lot of visibly happy parents and happy students at the HES drop off on our opening day of August 31st. Our enrollment is up about 20 students at HMHS as compared to our first day last year. Our HES enrollment was up six students from the first day last year. Students appeared to be more excited than usual as they entered the buildings.  It seemed that every time I turned around another staff member was going out of his/her way to welcome a student.   Our preschool and our 1-8 after school program opens its doors to students on Tuesday, September 7th. Our after school program for kindergarten students opens the following week.

We continue to monitor the community spread of COVID-19. As I write this report on Wednesday, September 1st, the 7-day test positivity rate for Cheshire County is 3.4% which is about three times higher than it was when we ended the school year. As of September 1st we had 229 positive cases of COVID-19 in Cheshire County during the past fourteen days. As of September 1st we had two Hinsdale students test positive for COVID-19. We followed our approved guidelines.

Due to the excessive rain and humidity we have experienced since the beginning of July we have several indoor air quality issues we are currently addressing. We now have a professional indoor air quality meter that enables us to better determine the quality of our indoor air. We had a mold expert test the air in several areas in HMHS and we should receive the report soon.

Our Director of Facilities has begun to take steps to become certified in the area of asbestos detection and mitigation. Currently we are not aware of any issues related to asbestos but we are trying to be as proactive as possible.

We have many positions open especially at the Hinsdale Elementary School. We still need a reading and writing specialist, a part time English as a second language teacher, several para educators, a Title I tutor, substitute teachers, a math interventionist and a math instructional coach.

We were informed last week that we are able to use HASP unused funds from last year to help support our program this year. We were not expecting to receive these funds which for Hinsdale should be approximately $40,000.

We continue to fund approved activities through our three ESSER grants. Our ESSER I grant of $188,678.75 needs to be expended by September 30, 2022. To date we have expended funds from ESSER I for the following items: books to support remote learning, supplies to minimize spread of pathogens, storage for excess furniture, special education transportation, special education purchased services, and special education staff time, out of district special education tuition, substitute teachers, social worker assistant at HES, laptops for students and staff, increased internet bandwidth, webcams and related wiring.

We have a total allocation of $858,280.07 for our ESSER II grant. These grant funds must be spent by 9/30/23 or the remaining funds will be distributed to other districts in the state. Our approved ESSER II expenses include the following: cleaning supplies, portable storage units, professional development with New Hampshire Learning Initiative, grant management, stipends for summer professional development, social worker assistant; increase in pay for substitutes, one full time substitute in each building, funds to offset Covid-19 related substitute costs, COVID custodian, summer school staffing, copiers, Keys to Literacy training and coaching, laptops, smart boards, document cameras, offsite backup, general supplies, special education compensatory education staffing, Life Skills Program paraprofessional, and out of district special education tuition and transportation.

To date our allocation for ESSER III is $1,272,199.57. We anticipate an additional allocation in October, after the October 1st Free/Reduced Lunch count is posted. We have until 9/30/24 to expend these funds.  Any District funds remaining after 9/30/2024 will be sent back to the state to be distributed to other districts. Our approved ESSER III allocation includes funds for library books and books for students to take home, a school district network upgrade, a social emotional learning program for the middle/high school and related stipends for teachers to become trained, after school tutoring and after school bus transportation, NH Dance Institute Residency program, job embedded professional development – teachers will be released for this while students work with contracted service provider on social emotional learning, a graduate curriculum and leadership program through Keene State College, a middle/high school math interventionist and a middle/high school literacy interventionist, a part-time literacy coach at Hinsdale Elementary School, a part-time math coach at HES, behavioral services support program, funds to support an ESSER III grant manager and funds for an ESSER III grant accountant.