October 2021 Superintendent’s Report

Superintendent’s Report – October 2021

As I write this report on Wednesday, October 6th, the 7-day test positivity rate for Cheshire County was 2.3%. The positivity rate for Cheshire County one month ago was 3.4%. As of October 6th we had 303 positive cases of COVID-19 identified in Cheshire County during the past fourteen days. When I wrote my Board report one month ago we had 229 positive cases of COVID-19 in Cheshire County over the previous 14 days.

We will be hosting COVID-19 vaccine clinic for HMHS students on October 21, 2021, from 12:30 to 2:30 at the Hinsdale High School Gym.  Students must be at least 12 years old. The second date for the follow-up shot is scheduled for November 15th.  COVID-19 vaccines have been shown to be safe and effective in low doses in children ages 5 to 11. Many believe that a vaccine will be approved for children ages 5 to 11 by Thanksgiving.

Due to the excessive rain and humidity we experienced this past summer August, we hired Hayes Microbial Consulting from Newmarket, New Hampshire to test for mold spores. Hayes Microbial Consulting tested our rooms that were most likely to have mold.  Hayes Microbial Consulting tested for the 17 most common mold organism. As reported to our Facilities Committee in late September all but one room had a negligible mold count.  We quickly fogged the room with a higher mold count as recommend by our consultant. Thankfully we have received much less rain recently and the humidity has significantly dropped so we do not anticipate a mold issue for the foreseeable future.

We continue to fund approved activities through our three ESSER grants. Our ESSER I grant (CARES Act) 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 approximately $3,000 remaining in ESSER 1.

We have a total allocation of $858,280.07 for our ESSER II grant (American Recovery Plan). 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, smartboards, document cameras, offsite backup, general supplies, special education compensatory education staffing, Life Skills Program paraprofessional, and out of district special education tuition and transportation. We have spent $388,736.13 from our ESSER II grant allocation. We have $469,543.94 remaining in our ESSER II grant account.

To date our allocation for our ESSER III grant (American Rescue Plan) is $1,272,199.57. We anticipate an additional allocation within a month. We have until 9/30/24 to expend these funds.  Any 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, in addition, we have hired a middle/high school math interventionist and a middle/high school literacy interventionist, a part-time literacy coach at Hinsdale Elementary School, behavioral services support program, funds to support an ESSER III grant manager and funds for an ESSER III grant accountant. We are still looking for a part-time math coach at HES.

We had two reports of bullying at Hinsdale Elementary School since our last Board meeting, one case was substantiated and the other unsubstantiated. We had one reported case of bullying at HMHS since our last Board meeting. The HMHS case of bullying reported has not been substantiated.

We are working on our District Goals and plan to report out our progress to the Board at the December, March, and June Board meetings. Each goal area has a leader that is tasked to report out our progress in December, March, and June.

2021-2022 District Goals

  1. Curriculum and Instruction

 The team leader is our Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment, Karen Thompson. Team members include our HMHS Principal, our HES Principal, our Director of Student Services and our HES Special Education Coordinator.

Establish continuity and collaboration in instruction between the school buildings.

Ensure all staff has access to pertinent trainings.

PACE-All grade levels will move towards performance assessment and enhanced personalized learning.

  1. Communication

 The team leader is our Director of HR, Ann Diorio. Team members include our HMHS Principal and her assistant, our HES Principal, our Director of Student Services, our Director of Technology and, as needed, the Superintendent.

 Improve overall communication.

  1. Culture

The team leader for our Culture Goal is our HMHS Principal, Ann Freitag. Team members include our HES Principal, our Director of Student Services and our HES Special Education Coordinator.  

Promote a culture of kindness and open communication. 

Ensure clear behavioral expectations are communicated and followed up on regularly through the development and implementation of a district-wide behavior plan, the progress of which will be reported to the Board monthly by the Superintendent.

Promote an atmosphere that supports an inclusive, 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.

Support the implementation of a diversity plan that can be integrated throughout the district.

  1. Personnel

The team leader is our Director of HR, Ann Diorio. Team members include our HMHS Principal, our HES Principal, our Director of Student Services and our HMHS Assistant Principal. 

Support initiatives to recruit and retain professional, high-quality staff that are innovative, dynamic and dedicated to the success of all students.

  1. Financial

 The team leader is our Business Administrator, Jodie Holmquist. Team members include our HMHS Principal, our HES Principal, our Director of Human Resources and the Superintendent.  

Support ways to conduct business in the most efficient and effective manner.

  1. Security

The team leader is our HMHS Assistant Principal, Chris Ponce. Team members include our HES Principal, our Network Administrator, and our School Resource Officer.  

Continue to review security audit information and move forward, in a fiscally responsible manner, to ensure our buildings are secure and our students and staff are safe.

  1. Technology

 The team leader is our Director of Technology, Debbie Trabucco, Team members include our Network Administrator and our Tech Support Specialist.

 Continue to align the district budget to support the 5-year technology plan. 

Ensure all staff has access to pertinent trainings.

  1. Facilities

The team leader is our Business Administrator, Jodie Holmquist. Team members include our Director of Buildings and Grounds and the Superintendent.

Fully utilize all building spaces.