Superintendent’s Report for April 2022

Superintendent’s Report – April 2022

Information on our COVID-19 Dashboard includes the total cases of identified COVID-19 in our School District each month since the beginning of the school year and the number of active cases by school in our District. Since the beginning of the school year we have had 217 known cases of COVID-19 in the District, 121 cases have been at Hinsdale Elementary School and 96 cases have been at Hinsdale Middle/High School. As of April 24thth we had no active cases of COVID-19 reported among students or staff in the Hinsdale School District for 26 consecutive days. The majority of positive cases in the Hinsdale School District this school year occurred in January.

The School Board’s recommend budget for the 2022/2023 school year of $15,886,288 was approved by the District voters at the Hinsdale School District meeting on Saturday, March 12th.  The majority of the $15,886,288 will come from state and federal grants with about $7,677,559 to be raised by local taxes. At the same meeting a three-year teacher contract was approved by the District voters. In addition, the District voters approved spending up to $85,000 to replace the bleachers in our Hinsdale Middle/High School gym.

The New Hampshire Legislature is likely to approve some measure of two bills that would reduce the costs to our local Hinsdale taxpayers for the 2022/2023 school year.  A bill passed the House, 186 in favor to 159 opposed, that would pay 7.5% of our School District retirement obligation. Currently, the District pays 21% of salary into the retirement fund for teachers and 14% for other retirement eligible staff.  If passed by the joint legislature the bill would reduce to District’s retirement contribution by an estimated $400,000 annually. In addition, Senate Bill 420 passed the Senate 17-1 and if passed as written by the joint legislature would add about $120,000 to our state adequacy funding for the 2022/2023 school year.

We continue to fund approved activities through our three federal ESSER grants. We continue welcome public input regarding potential expenditures related to any of our three ESSER grants. At the April 13th Hinsdale School Board meeting we recommended new ESSER spending for the 2022/2023 school year.  We also outlined the savings of $136,190 from previously Board approved “up to” amounts for ESSER III activities.

The requests for additional ESSER III grant funding for the 2022/2023 school year spending included the following: $158,000 for salaries and benefits to continue the employment of two full-time substitute teachers, one at HES and one at HMHS through the 2022/2023 school year. $33,000 to continue to pay substitute teachers an additional $35 per day through the 2022/2023 school year. $1,200 to pay for step increases for next year for current ESSER III grant funded teachers. $260 for a step increase for next year for the HES reading coach. $300 for a step increase for next year for the HES reading interventionist. $5,400 for reading skills training for three special education case managers, two are at HES and one is at HMHS. $700 for 2022/2023 Keene State College course books. $1,246.60 to cover New Hampshire Dance Institute for the remainder of the 2021/2022 school year at HES and $9,650.00 to cover NHDI for the 2022/2023 school year at HES. $24,000 to cover summer school at Hinsdale Elementary School. $9,650 to cover field trips for the remainder of the school year at HES. $4,455 to cover labor and materials to relocate a fire alarm in room 150 (our ESSER III funded behavior support room at HES). $42,000 to cover additional catch-up enrollment at the career center. $16,500 to cover summer school at Hinsdale Middle/High School. $4,400 to cover dental insurance for Interventionists positions. $40,000 for an HVAC system at HES to improve air filtration. $13,658 for an HVAC automation upgrade. $17,224 to cover the COVID custodian position for the 2022/2023 school year. $12,000 for after school catch-up learning transportation. $9,750 for an admin assistant stipend to help manage ESSER grants and a reduction of $10,000 to reduce previously approved ESSER grant manager expenses for 2022/23 and 2023/2024.

To date our allocation for our ESSER III grant (American Rescue Plan) is $1,929,462.25. 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 previously 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 intend to add the expense of two printers into the grant. We hope to add expenses related to an SEL out-of-district placement that is a result of the pandemic. We also hope to add expenses related to rapid COVID-19 tests, and expenses related to hiring a substitute nurse.  We have spent about one-third of our ESSER III allocation of $1,929,462.25.

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. To date we have spent about 70% of our ESSER II allocation of $858.280.07.

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 $2,000 remaining in ESSER I.

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.

 Our Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment is working with our teachers and administrators to interpret the recent assessment data in order to better develop an effective action plan for improvement. She used the March 14th professional development day to further this effort.  She will continue to share her recommendations for improvement in the coming months. Our Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment is planning our May 27th workshop day to build on our staff professional development.

Our student ELO Exhibition Day is scheduled for May 26th. Last week WMUR ran a story that included an interview with Dan Tetreault, who is the Hinsdale ELO student who raised the funding, and built, our new baseball/softball dugouts. The dedication of the new dugouts will occur during the May 26th Exhibition Day.

Establish continuity and collaboration in instruction between the school buildings. 

We have established a transition team that includes 5th grade teachers and middle school teachers. The team intends to meet 2-3 times a year. 

Ensure all staff has access to pertinent trainings.

Our Professional Development Master Plan is due this year and our CIA Director is in the process of leading the effort of our staff development committee to accomplish this state mandate.

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

 We are using grant funds to contract with New Hampshire Learning Initiative to strengthen our efforts related to personalized learning. We recently received a $250,000 five-year “Out of School Time Career Pathways Program Grant.”  Only four districts in New Hampshire received these grant funds. The largest district to receive this grant was Manchester and the smallest district was Hinsdale. This grant will assist students in attaining credentialing in high-tech manufacturing, science related fields, technology, engineering, and math related fields. This grant will allow our students to participate in paid internships while gaining skills and knowledge towards an industry recognized credential. Our grant program in Hinsdale will build upon our established Extended Learning Opportunity program and will help to implement opportunities that are not always available in our current Extended Learning Opportunity program structure.

  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.

We continue to update our community regularity regarding our COVID-19 status. We update our COVID-19 Dashboard during each school day. Fortunately, as of April 25th we entered our 26th consecutive day without a positive case of COVID-19 reported by a Hinsdale student or staff member.

  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.

Both principals are leading efforts in their respective building to identify and reward students and staff who show exemplary kindness and caring.

Our Manager of Human Resources has been sending out an uplifting note to staff each Friday. Both principals are communicating regularly with staff and frequently including uplifting messages. 

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. 

Our school behavior support teams and our district-wide behavior support team have been meeting regularly to facilitate the creation and implementation of a district-wide behavior plan. The pandemic has been difficult for many of our students. Dealing with the unseen threat of COVID while continuing to regulate emotions and learning to work well with others has been especially difficult. This issue is nationwide.

Promote an atmosphere that supports an inclusive, professional learning community.

We are working with NHLI to improve the PLC component of our organization. We are paying for NHDI from ESSER III funding. Our Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment has recently been trained in using the Professional Learning Community model to improve student learning outcomes.

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 had one substantiated report of bullying at HMHS since our March Board meeting. We have had one substantiated report of bullying at HES since our March Board meeting.

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

The Diversity Committee has created a “complaint form which was approved by the Board at the February Board meeting.

The students at HMHS have created a diversity club to help with suggestions to make the school more welcoming and inclusive, from a student point of view.

Our Diversity Committee is working to revise our plan to make certain our plan is in alignment with House Bill 297 and HB 298. The chair of our Diversity Committee organized a workshop for staff. The workshop “Prohibited Concepts in the Classroom” was taught by a New Hampshire attorney who is familiar with the new state mandate.

  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.

 We recently hired John Barth as the Principal of the Hinsdale Middle High School beginning July 1, 2022. John will be replacing Ann Freitag who retires on June 30, 2022. John has a solid leadership background which includes knowledge of assessment and an understanding of the challenges of preparing middle and high school students for career and college readiness. Currently, John is finishing his sixth year as principal at Mascenic Regional High School in New Ipswich, NH. From 2015-2016 John worked as an assistant principal at Stevens High School.  John has also worked as an admission specialist at Wediko School, a 6-12 principal at Conant High School in Jaffrey, NH, a 7-12 principal at Black River High School in Ludlow, VT, an assistant principal for Monadnock High School, and as a guidance counselor for Monadnock High School.

In addition, we recently added Justin Therieau as the new Director of Technology for the Hinsdale School District.  Justin will take on this new role as of July 1, 2022.  Justin will be replacing Debbie Trabucco who will be retiring on June 30, 2022.  Justin has more than 14 years of experience as an IT professional.  He currently holds the position of Network Administrator for the Hinsdale School District.  Justin has held the position of Hinsdale Network Administrator for the past eight years. Prior to his current position Justin spent six years as the Technical Support Specialist for the Hinsdale School District.  Justin has also served as a Technical Support Specialist for the Winchester School District and for the Monadnock Community Connections School.  Justin was undoubtedly a huge help in our effort to successfully transition to remote instruction at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Currently we are having some difficulty finding candidates for the remaining anticipating openings for the 2022/2023 school year. At the Hinsdale Elementary School, we are looking for several para educators, a part-time English as a second language teacher, a Title One tutor, a part-time math interventionist, a part-time math instructional coach, a kindergarten teacher, and a grade five teacher. At the Hinsdale Middle/High School we are looking for a couple of para educators, a special education case manager, a middle school science/social studies teacher, a middle school counselor, a high school counselor, an eighth grade science teacher and a Spanish teacher.

We also have several anticipated openings for district positions including: an 80% school psychologist, a network administrator, a human resources manager, an extended learning opportunities coordinator, a technical support specialist, several custodians and substitute teachers.

We have used numerous examples of advertising sources in order to spread our message that we have jobs available and that Hinsdale is a great place to work.

  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.

Our Business Administrator intends to meet with the above team members to debrief the recent budget development and approval process and to develop a budget development process improvement plan to be implemented in the fall of 2022. We are currently investigating the process of a “zero based budgeting” approach which if approved by the School Board would be implemented next year.

  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.

The new Hinsdale detective and our police chief did a walk-through of the buildings.  It was determined that a couple of rooms needed the security placards which could be viewed outside. Since our last Board meeting we held a couple of drills at HMHS including: a hold in place and a lockdown drill.

A Student Violence and Prevention Management plan has been drafted.  This will be reviewed at the upcoming Facilities meeting.

Our Joint Loss Committee has developed a safety manual.

We are using grant funds to relocate a fire alarm at HES which should improve safety at the building.

 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.

 Our technology team is recommending a one-year extension of our five-year plan. We have hired a Director of Technology who is very familiar with our technology plan and should be able to guide our technology committee in the development of a new technology plan.

Ensure all staff has access to pertinent trainings.

 The technology team has implemented cyber security training for all staff. Each staff member has to log in monthly for training. The technology team is in the process of implementing document camera training for our teacher

  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.

 We continue to use almost all our available spaces for our education program. We are still doing our best to make certain our students are separated at least three feet.  Our custodians are separating desks whenever they see the desks are too close together.

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