Superintendent’s Report – November 2021

Superintendent’s Report – November 2021

As I write this report on Wednesday, November 10th, the 7-day COVID-19 test positivity rate for Cheshire County was 4.6%. When I wrote my report one month ago the positivity for Cheshire County was 2.3%. As of November 10th we had 359 positive cases of COVID-19 identified in Cheshire County during the previous fourteen days. When I wrote my Board report one month ago we had 303 positive cases of COVID-19 in Cheshire County over the previous 14 days.

We now have a COVID-19 Dashboard located at the top of the Hinsdale School District Website.  Information on the Dashboard includes the total cases of identified COVID-19 in the District each month since the beginning of the school year and the number of cases by school in the District. Since the beginning of the school year we have had 40 cases of COVID-19 in the District. 28 cases have been at HES and 12 cases have been at HMHS.  As of November 10th we had one active case of COVID-19 in the District.

On November 9th the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine was approved for children ages 5-11. Within 24 hours of approval our director of HR had received numerous calls from parents asking how they could schedule the shot for their children. Many parents are convinced that the vaccine will prevent infection as well as disruption to schooling. According to the CDC the number of COVID-19 infections among school age children increased five times over the summer months. According to the CDC, during the summer months, 5,200 children developed multisystem inflammatory syndrome as a result of contracting COVID-19. Multisystem inflammatory syndrome often leads to ICU admission. The median age of children getting multisystem inflammatory system is nine years old. In the U.S. at least 172 children ages 5-11 have died from COVID-19. Over the past year COVID-19 is the 8th highest killer of children in the 5-11 age group in the U.S. The Pfizer dose size is one-third the size of the dose given to children 12 and older. The lower dose was chosen to minimize side effects.

Our Business Administrator is working with our cost center managers to build an operating budget for the 2022/2023 school year. Our cost center managers reviewed the draft budget on Wednesday, November 3rd, and on Monday, November 8th.  Our Finance Committee will receive the draft budget on Monday, November 8th and the School Board will receive a draft budget on Wednesday, November 10th.

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, a social worker assistant, an increase in pay for substitutes, one full time substitute in each building, funds to offset Covid-19 related substitute costs, a 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, a Life Skills Program paraprofessional, and out-of-district special education tuition and transportation. We have spent $442,648.64 from our ESSER II grant allocation. We have $415,631.43 remaining in our ESSER II grant account.

To date our allocation for our ESSER III grant (American Rescue Plan) is $1,929,462.25. So far we have spent $93,350.54. We have $1,836,111.71 remaining on our ESSER III allocation. 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, a graduate curriculum and leadership program through Keene State College. 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.

Since our last Board meeting there were three reports of bullying at HES.  Two were substantiated and one was unsubstantiated.  There were no reports of bullying at HMHS.

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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. 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.