Category Archives: Superintendent Blog

Superintendent’s Report – November

Superintendent’s Report –November 2016

We have already made progress toward our new Board goals.

2016-2017 Hinsdale School Board Goals

  1. Curriculum and Instruction
  • Ensure that all students receive 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.
  • Maintain continuity in instruction between the school buildings
  • Set up an end of year review with the new curriculum coordinator.

We may have one of the best, if not the best, extended learning opportunity program in New Hampshire. Certainly the extending learning opportunity program is an excellent way to provide college and career guidance as well as to provide educational opportunities and learning based upon the student’s unique needs, interests and learning styles. The statewide director of ELO programs and a film producer met with our ELO director, our director of curriculum and instruction and myself at central office on Friday, October 28th. After a two hour meeting at central office the film producer described a plan to create a documentary that would feature the Hinsdale ELO program. The producer has recently completed a documentary that chronicled six years of the lives of individuals from a refugee camp in Nepal to their inclusion in various communities in the United States and Europe. I believe all our students at HMHS will benefit from the focus and attention we would receive though this process.

Our director of curriculum and instruction intends to provide a summary report to the Board in May. She will also give an oral report to the Board in May and answer questions raised by Board members.

  1. Communication
  • Internal
  • Periodic school board tours of all school buildings
  • Work with Administration to maintain the momentum from the community forums, current social media presence and other initiatives
  • External
  • Maintain communication to promote a collaborative relationship with the community through a continued commitment to holding regular community forums and maintaining a presence in other committees, boards and community events in town.
  • Improve relationships with town governing bodies.
  • I will arrange a tour of the school buildings at the request of the Board. One option for a building tour would be a tour of the buildings just prior to the HES holiday concert on Wednesday, December 21st.  An option for a Board tour while school is in session would be just prior to a Facilities Committee meeting.  The Facilities Committee typically meets at 2:15 on the last Friday of each month.

We recently linked our newly developed Building Improvement Committee information to our Hinsdale Elementary School website. The HES Building Improvement Committee met on October 25th and is scheduled to next meet on November 18th. We will post the minutes from that meeting as soon as possible.

In an effort to maintain communication and to promote a collaborative relationship with the community I attended the senior final home soccer games on Friday, October 21st.  Also, I spent most workday mornings and afternoons this past month in front of the elementary school at bus arrival times and bus departure times. By being out in front of the school at student drop off and student pick up times I add an element of safety, in addition to being visible and accessible to parents.

I led the Hinsdale Parent/Child 4th and 5th grade book club on Monday, November 7th.  The students and parents enjoyed the book, “The One and Only Ivan.”  The Newberry Award winning book is based on a true story of an easygoing gorilla who lived in a shopping mall in Washington State for 27 years before being transferred to a zoo in Atlanta where he passed away in 2012 at the age of 50. Ivan is the gorilla made famous for his paintings which he signed with his thumbprint.

  1. Culture
  • 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 regularly to the board.

We are continuing to work hard to improve our professional learning communities. Staff members are meeting frequently in results orientated meetings using student data as the focus point.

HMHS administration held a meeting with parents on October 12th to discuss bullying procedures and to communicate the steps we have taken recently to eliminate bullying at HMHS. As of November 2nd we have had one case of confirmed bullying and five investigations into alleged bullying during the 2016-2017 school year.

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

We continue to support our mentoring program for existing new staff. We have assigned our director of curriculum and instruction to serve on the interview teams for all prospective new teachers in order to assist in the selection process.

  1. Financial
  • Search for ways to conduct business in the most efficient and effective manner
  • Work with the Administration to proactively monitor the fund balance
  • Annual review of eligibility for the free lunch program under the federal Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act.
  • Maintain ongoing communication with the Budget Committee regarding any potential changes in funding.
  • Receive detailed backup information for the budget.
  • Warrant article to rebuild the maintenance fund.

I met with the HES PTA and the HMHS PTSA in September to review the guidelines for federal free and reduced lunch participation. This year both Hinsdale Elementary School and Hinsdale Middle School have exceeded the 50% threshold in regards to eligibility for the free or reduced lunch program under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. Our middle school eligibility increased from 41% in October of 2015 to 51% in October of 2016.

The administration has created a proposed 2017/2018 budget. We presented the FY 2018 budget to the Board on November 2nd.  The Business Administrator and I will be in attendance when the Budget Committee meets on November 16th to discuss competing demands for town resources.

  1. Security
  • Continue to review security audit information and move forward, in a fiscally responsible manner, to ensure our building are secure and our students are safe.

We have a representative from Cheshire Glass scheduled to meet with us during our January Facilities Committee meeting to discuss safety enhancements that were recommended in our Safety Audit report in May of 2016.

  1. Technology
  • Align the district budget to support the 5-year plan of the Future Technology Committee.

The administration has included the proposed expenditures in the administration budget needed to implement the first year in the five year Board approved technology plan.

October Superintendent’s Report

Superintendent’s Report – October 2016

We continue to make progress towards achieving our Board goals.

  • Goal: Develop a strategic plan, based on data, to address the long range needs of the district.

The Board and administration are scheduled to meet on October 11th to help develop the Board’s district goals for the current school year. Each administrator plans to develop yearly goals with the help of his/her supervisor as soon as the Board has established Board goals for 2016/2017.

  • Goal: Develop and support initiatives to recruit and retain professional, highly qualified staff who are innovative, dynamic and dedicated to the success of all students. 

We are working to support our new staff and to create a more supportive and more collegial environment for all our staff. We are also strengthening our Hinsdale professional learning community. One typical attribute of a strong professional learning community is better retention of staff.

  • Goal: Provide a continuum of instruction at all ability levels, preschool through grade 12.

In September, Hinsdale teachers worked in groups to analyze the Hinsdale student results on the most recent New England Common Assessment Program science test. We are not satisfied with the results and are in the process of creating an action plan that when implemented will lead to improved results. One expected component of the action plan will include an effort to integrate the science standards into other content areas.

  1. Goal: Develop a budget and a technology plan that supports all aspects of the district. 

Our technology committee has completed a five-year plan which was presented to our administrative team by our Director of Technology and Assessment, Deborah Trabucco on October 5th.  After a lengthy discussion the plan was unanimously adopted by our administrative team.  The administrative team looks forward to discussing the details of the five-year plan with the Board at our October 11th meeting.

  1. Goal: Promote an atmosphere that supports a forward-thinking, professional learning community through ongoing, open communication and a culture of openness between the board, administration, staff, students, parents and the community.  

I participated in the Hinsdale School Board public forum on October 5th. The major topic discussed at the forum was the proposal for a small addition to the Hinsdale Elementary School. This proposal was developed by the HES Building Improvement Committee.  As a member of the Building Improvement Committee I helped address questions related to the Building Improvement Committee proposal.  The HES Building Improvement Committee members include the following: Sean Leary, Jim O’Malley, James MacDonell, Joe Boggio, Steve Fecto, Deb Carrier, Shawn Lee, Courtney Hodge, April Anderson, Kaylah Hemlow, Tom O’Connor, and myself.

To get to know the community better, and to have the community get to know me better, I welcomed parents at the first Hinsdale Elementary School PTA meeting on September 21st and I welcomed parents to the first Hinsdale Middle/High School PTSA meeting on September 13th.  I also attended a homecoming soccer game on Saturday, September 17th where I witnessed a great soccer match and a bald eagle flying directly over the field.

I participated in the inaugural meeting of the Hinsdale Education Foundation on Saturday, September 24th.  We elected officers, developed a mission statement, and established an action plan that when completed will include registration with both the IRS and the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office.  In addition, our newly elected treasurer plans to open a Hinsdale Education Foundation bank account with the Brattleboro Savings and Loan. The officers of the Hinsdale Education Foundation are as follows: President, Jim O’Malley; Secretary, Steve Bonnette; Treasurer, Frank Moriarty.

I led the first Hinsdale Parent/Child 4th and 5th grade book club on Monday, October 3rd.  The students and parents enjoyed the first book, “Freedom Rider.”  The book is based on a true story about a young girl in the early 1800’s who runs away from a New Hampshire orphanage and disguises herself as a man to become a stagecoach driver. She ends up driving a stage in California during the gold rush and becomes the first woman in the US to vote in a presidential election. Our book club plans to meet on the first Monday of each month.

Superintendent’s Report-September 2016

Superintendent’s Report – September 2016

We continue to make progress towards achieving our Board goals.

Goal: Develop a strategic plan, based on data, to address the long range needs of the district. 

  • On September 1st the Hinsdale Elementary School Building Improvement Committee submitted the draft building improvement plans to the New Hampshire Department of Education.  Officials at the New Hampshire Department of Education will review our request and the other requests submitted by New Hampshire school districts and rank them.  The Building Aid funds will be allocated to the projects with the highest ranking. If we are approved for building aid the state would pay 60% of the total building cost up front which drastically reduces the borrowing costs obligated by the district.  In the past school districts had to pay all borrowing costs at the rate of interest available when the bond was sold. I met with New Hampshire State Senator Molly Kelly on August 31st. She informed me that the State needs $37 million to pay down past commitments.  The State is expected to set aside $50 million in the upcoming budget session. It will be important to stay involved in the State budget process in order to ensure the legislators financially support their commitment to school building aid.  I also met with Colin Van Ostern, a candidate for Governor of New Hampshire, on August 31st.  I spoke to him about the importance of the Hinsdale Bridge, internet connectively for all our Hinsdale students, and school building aid. He voiced strong support for the bridge and internet connectivity.  He voiced support for school building aid but believes the 60% contribution from the State, as established in the current law, is too high.
  • Goal: Develop and support initiatives to recruit and retain professional, highly qualified staff who are innovative, dynamic and dedicated to the success of all students.

We are fully staffed and all our new hires seem to be doing well. All of our 12 new teachers have assigned mentors.  We provided each new teacher with seven days of training prior to the first day with students.  Our new Director of Curriculum and Instruction is helping our principals support our new hires.

It was great to see several Board members at our first new teacher orientation day on August 19th.  The presence of Board members at the first training session for new teachers sent a strong message; a message of caring and support.

  • Goal: Provide a continuum of instruction at all ability levels, preschool through grade 12.

Hinsdale teachers worked on curriculum revision for English language arts, math, and school counseling over the summer. Work was down to improve the alignment of math and English language arts with the Common Core Standards. School counselors revised our Hinsdale Integrated School Counseling Core Curriculum to better align with the American School Counselors Association (ASCA) “Mindsets and Behaviors for Student Success.”

Goal: Develop a budget and a technology plan that supports all aspects of the district. 

Our technology committee met several times over the summer. The committee is still working on a plan that will be used to guide our use of technology in the district and also be used to inform our budget development for 2017-2018.  The following staff are technology committee members: Donna Foster, Laura Bradley, Ally Mangan, Victoria Davis, Jodie Holmquist, Sarah Greene, Kristina Raymond, Justin Therieau, and Debbie Child Trabucco.

Goal: Promote an atmosphere that supports a forward-thinking, professional learning community through ongoing, open communication and a culture of openness between the board, administration, staff, students, parents and the community.  

I spoke to our commitment as a Hinsdale School District Professional Learning Community at the opening session with staff on August 24th. Our Director of Curriculum and Instruction also spoke to her belief in the PLC model at the opening day session.

The Hinsdale School Board has scheduled a forum on October 5th. The major topic that will be discussed at the forum will be the proposal for a small addition/renovation for the Hinsdale Elementary School made by the HES Building Improvement Committee.  Members of the Building Improvement Committee will speak to their proposal.  Marinace Architects will be at the forum to help answer questions from the audience. If the Board approves a building proposal an article for a bond would be placed on the Warrant prior to the February public hearing.  The article would need a two thirds affirmative vote.

To get to know the community better I welcomed parents and students at the Sixth Grade Parent Night on August 29th.  I spoke at the first PTSA meeting of the year on September 13th. I also attended the first half of the boys’ first soccer game of the year on Friday, August 26th.  On the same day I attended the second half of the girls’ first varsity soccer game of the year.

August Superintendent’s Report

Superintendent’s Report – August 2016

Few things surpass the feeling of anticipation and the promise of the new school year. It is a privilege to share in the excitement of the staff as they troop into freshly scrubbed buildings bringing their hopes that they will make a real difference in the lives of our students. Our promise to them must be that we will all reach out and support them. Our new staff begin this Friday, August 19th at 8:30 am, with a welcome by the Board and administration followed by three days of training. At 8:30 am next Wednesday we will welcome our returning staff in the HES Cafeteria. Board members are welcome to join us from 8:30-9:15 next Wednesday, August 24th. Our first day for students is scheduled for Tuesday, August 30th. For many students, the first day is the most exciting day of the year. It is the universal feeling of hope in something new and fresh with limitless possibilities. This cycle of a school year that begins with promise and ends with pride in all that’s been accomplished is one of the reasons that working in the public school system is so wonderfully unique and fulfilling.

The Hinsdale Elementary School Building Improvement Committee has met seven times since our June Board meeting. We have made significant progress in several areas. First, the committee met with area legislators, including Senator Molly Kelly, to advocate for the full funding of the new law related to New Hampshire school building aid. Under the new law the State would pay for 60% of the total school building project cost. So far, it appears that all our current legislators support full funding of the law. We submitted the preliminary building aid application prior to the July 1st deadline. We have another submittal deadline of September 1st for a final application that includes preliminary architectural plans.

The HES Building Improvement Committee met with interested area architects on July 19th. During the meeting representatives from the nine architectural firms present were given a tour of the Hinsdale Elementary School. Eight architectural firms submitted a “statement of qualifications” to the HES Building Improvement Committee prior to August 4th. The HES Building Improvement Committee hopes to share a plan with the community at an October 5th public forum. If the Board decides to propose a building bond article on the Warrant in March of 2017, a super majority affirmative vote would be needed for approval.

The HES Building Improvement Committee members include the following: Sean Leary, Jim O’Malley, James MacDonell, Joe Boggio, Steve Fecto, Deb Carrier, Shawn Lee, Courtney Hodge, April Anderson, Kaylah Hemlow, Tom O’Connor, and Wayne Woolridge.

The HES Building Improvement Committee subcommittees met several times over the summer as well. The members of the subcommittees include the following:

Finance: James MacDonell, Courtney Hodge, Tom O’Connor, Kaylah Hemlow, Sean Leary

Public Relations: April Anderson, Steve Fecto, Courtney Hodge, Kaylah Hemlow, Sean Leary

Curriculum: Deb Carrier, Joe Boggio

Facilities: Shawn Lee, James MacDonell, James O’Malley, Sean Leary, Wayne Woolridge

We are making progress toward writing a grant that would better support our high school students preparing for careers, as well as provide support for adults in town who are unemployed or underemployed. Our Extended Learning Coordinator Karen Thompson and I met with Mollie Kaylor from the New Hampshire Division of Economic Development in Hinsdale on July 6th and we met with Fred Bramante and Mollie Kaylor in Concord on July 12th. We are in the process of creating a budget for a five-year grant. We are hopeful that we can identify planning funds for appropriation beginning on January 1, 2017 with a program start-up date scheduled for July 1, 2017.

As mandated by the new federal Elementary and Secondary School Education Act the Star-Spangled Banner will be sung by school children nationwide on Friday, September 9, 2016 at 1:00 p.m. Students will learn about the words and meaning of the flag and sing the first stanza.

New Hampshire recently passed a law relative to school lunch meal payment policies. The law reads as follows:

“A school lunch meal payment policy which is implemented by a school board either before or after the effective date of this section shall ensure that all students have access to a healthy school lunch, that the school district will make every reasonable effort to inform parents of the policy, and that no student will be subject to different treatment from the standard school lunch meal or school cafeteria procedures. The department of education or the state board of education, upon request of the local school board, may provide communication assistance to school districts and parents of school children regarding the school lunch meal payment policy.”

Superintendent’s Report – June 2016

Superintendent’s Report – June 2016

We are continuing to take steps to meet the recommendations outlined in our recent Homeland Security Audit. Since our last Board meeting our School Resource Officer D’Alessandro has completed a grant for two emergency radios.  We hope to have the radios by September 1st. We are also moving ahead towards the purchase of two high resolution exterior cameras that will allow us to more closely monitor the front entrance of both school buildings. In addition, we hope to purchase front door safety film that would be installed over the summer.

The Hinsdale Elementary School Building Improvement Committee has met twice since our last Board meeting. In addition several subcommittees have met. The HES Building Improvement Committee subcommittees include the following:

Finance: James MacDonell, Courtney Hodge, Tom O’Connor, Kaylah Hemlow, Sean Leary

Public Relations: April Anderson, Steve Fecto, Courtney Hodge, Kaylah Hemlow, Sean Leary

Curriculum: Deb Carrier, Joe Boggio

Facilities: Shawn Lee, James MacDonell, James O’Malley, Sean Leary, Wayne Woolridge

The HES Building Improvement Committee and the subcommittees plan to meet over the summer with a goal to provide a detailed progress report to the Board at the August 17th Board meeting.

 The HES Building Improvement Committee members include the following: Sean Leary, Jim O’Malley, James MacDonell, Joe Boggio, Steve Fecto, Deb Carrier, Shawn Lee, Courtney Hodge, April Anderson, Kaylah Hemlow, Tom O’Connor, and Wayne Woolridge.

The NH Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) recently e-mailed letters and information packets to all SAUs, regarding to the potential occurrence of lead in school drinking water systems. NHDES is encouraging schools to test water from regularly used taps for lead that may be leaching from internal plumbing and fixtures and review their plumbing network to ensure high-risk lead components have been identified and removed. At our May 27th Facility and Maintenance Committee meeting we met with Hinsdale Water Department Superintendent Dennis Nadeau.  Mr. Nadeau manages all tests of our school district water.  Our water assessments are up to date but Mr. Nadeau plans to test again over the summer so we can send a letter of assurance home to our families in our opening of school parent packet in late August.

We are making progress toward writing a grant that would better support our high school students preparing for careers, as well as provide support for adults in town who are unemployed or underemployed. Our Extended Learning Coordinator Karen Thompson and I spoke to the Hinsdale Board of Selectmen on May 23rd. The Hinsdale Board of Selectmen voted to unanimously support our initial effort to secure funds through the Workforce Development Act to provide support for adults in town who are unemployed or underemployed and to help our high school students improve their career preparation by increasing the enrollment of our graduates in credentialing and post-secondary education and by increasing job placements among participating business partners.

We continue to make progress towards achieving our Board goals.

  1. Goal: Develop a strategic plan, based on data, to address the long range needs of the district.

The HES Building Improvement Committee is in the process of creating a long range plan that if approved by the Board and the community would meet current needs and hopefully meet future code requirements and future enrollment demands.

  1. Goal: Develop and support initiatives to recruit and retain professional, highly qualified staff who are innovative, dynamic and dedicated to the success of all students.

Our district hires for 2016-2017 are outstanding. The hiring committees did a wonderful job.

  1. Goal: Provide a continuum of instruction at all ability levels, preschool through grade 12.

Principal Boggio, and the three teachers scheduled to teach in multi-age classrooms next year, completed several outside visitations where they saw multi-age classrooms in action and talked to area teachers who currently teach in multi-age classroom settings. By all reports the visits were successful.

With the addition of multi-age classrooms we should be able to more effectively manage our space restrictions for another year and at the same time increase our capacity to provide a continuum of instruction at Hinsdale Elementary School.

  1. Goal: Develop a budget and a technology plan that supports all aspects of the district. 

The Director of Technology has formed a task force that will be charged with a comprehensive review of our use of technology within the district. The task force will meet over the summer and intends to create a plan to present to the Board next fall.  The following staff are task force members: Donna Foster, Laura Bradley, Ally Mangan, Victoria Davis, Jodie Holmquist, Sarah Greene, Kristina Raymond, Justin Therieau, and Debbie Child Trabucco.

  1. Goal: Promote an atmosphere that supports a forward-thinking, professional learning community through ongoing, open communication and a culture of openness between the board, administration, staff, students, parents and the community.

Since our May Board meeting I have continued to build connections with the school community.  First, I have posted my June Board Report as a blog under the Superintendent section on the Hinsdale School District Web Site. I had previously posted my March, April, and May reports as well as my annual report.

In addition, I attended several Extended Learning Opportunity presentations, meeting parents at each presentation. I met with the Hinsdale Select Board. I attended our Memorial Day celebration. I spoke briefly at the Yearbook Assembly. I attended the Spring Concert. I applauded the seniors while managing traffic at the Senior Walk. I attended the Senior Awards and Graduation. I spoke to families at the First Grade Luncheon and grilled several hundred hot dogs. I also attended the Fifth Grade Graduation and met many parents while doing morning bus duty at our elementary school.

Superintendent Blog – May 2016

Superintendent Report – May 2016

On Thursday, May 12, all New Hampshire House and Senate Bills are to be acted upon. Any bills that are in conflict will require a Committee of Conference to resolve the differences. Hopefully the bill to provide building aid funds for schools, with fire safety issues as identified by the Fire Marshall, will be passed by both the House and the Senate and then signed by Governor Hassan.

We are making progress toward writing a grant that would support our high school students preparing for careers, as well as provide support for adults in town who are unemployed or underemployed. The grant, if approved by the Hinsdale School Board, the Hinsdale Board of Selectmen, and funded through the Workforce Development Act would help our high school students improve their career preparation by increasing the enrollment of our graduates in credentialing and post-secondary education and by increasing job placements among participating business partners.  I have spoken with Principal Freitag, ELO Coordinator Karen Thompson, Director of Technology Debbie Trabucco, Hinsdale Business Administrator Tom O’Connor, Hinsdale High School counselor Paula Brault, Town Administrator Jill Collins, and Brattleboro Development Young Professionals Coordinator Alex Beck. Alex Beck manages a grant in Windham County similar to the grant we are writing.  The Vermont grant is called, “Fast Tracks to Success, Career Awareness and Planning in Windham County.” The objectives of the Windham County grant are as follows:

  • Increase in workforce participation from program participants
  • Increase in credentialing and post-secondary education
  • Increase in average earnings of program participants
  • Increase in job placements within participating business partners.In addition, I am scheduled to speak to the Hinsdale Board of Selectmen on May 23rd. I have also spoken with a least one representative from the New Hampshire Department of Employment Security, the New Hampshire Department of Labor, the New Hampshire Department of Resource and Economic Development, and the Southwest Regional Planning Commission.The HES Building Improvement Committee met for the first time on May 10th. We discussed our mission and took a tour of the Hinsdale Elementary School. Principal Boggio also outlined issues the school is facing as a result of changes in the fire code and increasing enrollment. Members on the HES Building Improvement Committee include the following: Sean Leary, Jim O’Malley, James MacDonell, Joe Boggio, Steve Fecto, Deb Carrier, Shawn Lee, Courtney Hodge, April Anderson, Kaylah Hemlow, Tom O’Connor, and Wayne Woolridge. We continue to make progress towards achieving our Board goals.
  1. Goal: Develop a strategic plan, based on data, to address the long range needs of the district.

At our April 29th Facility and Maintenance Committee meeting we meet with two representatives from Eversouce Power and the vice president of Standard Power concerning the long and short term power needs of the district. We also spoke to the Eversource representatives concerning issues related to power quality. There were several possible solutions to current issues discussed with several next steps outlined. Power source options discussed including fossil fuel generated options, New Hampshire hydro power and solar options.

  1. Goal: Develop and support initiatives to recruit and retain professional, highly qualified staff who are innovative, dynamic and dedicated to the success of all students.

 

Certainly our new three-year community approved contract should make our district more attractive to area candidates. In addition we are supporting an amazing array of high quality professional development opportunities that should improve the quality of our staff.

  1. Goal: Provide a continuum of instruction at all ability levels, preschool through grade 12.

Director or Curriculum and Instruction Susan Taft and Principal Boggio have set up several outside visitations where the three teachers scheduled to teach in multi-age classrooms next year will be able to see such classrooms in action and talk to area teachers who currently teach in multi-age classroom settings. With the addition of multi-age classrooms we should be able to more effectively manage our space restrictions for another year and at the same time increase our capacity to provide a continuum of instruction at Hinsdale Elementary School.

  1. Goal: Develop a budget and a technology plan that supports all aspects of the district. 

The Director of Technology has formed a task force that will be charged with a comprehensive review of our use of technology within the district. The task force will meet over the summer and intends to create a plan to present to the Board next fall.  The following staff are task force members: Donna Foster, Laura Bradley, Ally Mangan, Victoria Davis, Jodie Holmquist, Sarah Greene, Kristina Raymond, Justin Therieau, and Debbie Child Trabucco.

  1. Goal: Promote an atmosphere that supports a forward-thinking, professional learning community through ongoing, open communication and a culture of openness between the board, administration, staff, students, parents and the community.

I have posted my March, April and May Board Report as well as my District Annual Report as a blog under the Superintendent section on the District web site.

Our Safe Routes to School program had a successful kick-off. Our Walk and Bike to School Day occurred on Wednesday, May 4th with about 100 students participating.  We hope to have another Walk and Bike to School Day in the fall.  As a next step the Southwest Regional Planning Commission Safe Routes to Schools staff will conduct traffic studies on Brattleboro Road, School Street, and Prospect Street sometime in May or June.

To get to know the community better I attended the HHMS Variety Show on Saturday, April 30th.  The Variety Show was held in the gym, lasted three hours, and included 35 acts.  The talent demonstrated at the Variety Show was truly amazing. I am impressed by the high quality of the Hinsdale after school programs.

April Superintendent Report

Superintendent Report – April 2016

I would like to thank all the voters who came to the District Meeting on March 12th and supported our annual budget.  I am proud to work for a community that supports our young people.  Given very few of our students are eligible to vote, our students are dependent on forward thinking community members who understand the significance of education and who will come to the Annual District Meeting to show their support.

Certainly the loss of jobs related to the closing of Vermont Yankee will have an impact on the ability of our graduates to find work in the area. In order to help our graduates find good jobs and/or create good jobs in the area we are writing a grant that, if approved by the Hinsdale Board and the federal government, would help our high school students improve their career preparation by increasing the enrollment of our graduates in credentialing and post-secondary education and by increasing job placements among participating business partners.  There would also be a strand that would focus on the skills needed to start a successful business.  Karen Thompson is working with an area grant writer to determine the best way to structure the grant application. Fred Bramante, who was the longest serving member of the New Hampshire Board of Education, has agreed to write a letter of support as part of our grant application.

Fred Bramante visited with our ELO students and spoke to the HMHS staff on April 5th. Mr. Bramante, a former State Board of Education Board Chair, is one of the foremost experts on competency based learning in the United States.  Mr. Bramante spent three hours with us. During that time he met with administrators and with students who are involved in the ELO program. He also spoke with the HMHS staff.  There was no charge to the District.

One bill being discussed in the New Hampshire House requires all high school students to take a half-credit course in civics. The content of the course must cover at a minimum: the duties and responsibilities of a citizen, opportunities of citizen participation and involvement in the governmental process, the structure and operation of government, the constitutional basis of our government, and the interaction between local, state, and federal government. The bill also requires a one-year course in the history of the United States and New Hampshire. We currently cover the curriculum that would be required if the bill passes with the exception of the New Hampshire history component.  We cover New Hampshire history in the 4th grade but not again in high school.

The United States Senate recently confirmed John B. King Jr. as Secretary of Education. Secretary King had been a Commissioner of Education in New York State. He replaces former Secretary Arne Duncan.  Secretary King led the effort to adopt the Common Core Standards in New York.

We have made significant progress toward our Board Goals during the past month.

  1. Goal: Develop a strategic plan, based on data, to address the long range needs of the district.

At our March 25th Facility and Maintenance Committee meeting the HMHS principal and the HES principal who, with the help of the Director of Technology and the respective building safety committees, had prepared executive summaries of the data provided by the recent Homeland Security Audit.  After a lengthy discussion the Facility and Maintenance Committee determined a few of the “no cost” recommendations would be acted on as soon as possible. The Facility and Maintenance Committee items related to technology will be discussed and prioritized by a task force that will be charged with a comprehensive review of our use of technology within the district.  The initial work of the task force is scheduled to take place over the summer. The cost related items related to HES would be deferred to the HES Building Improvement Committee.  This committee is scheduled to begin meeting on May 10th. The cost related work needed at HMHS would be prioritized within the 2017 budget discussion.

  1. Goal: Develop and support initiatives to recruit and retain professional, highly qualified staff who are innovative, dynamic and dedicated to the success of all students.

 Our new three- year contract should make our district more attractive to area candidates. Also, our business administrator and our director of technology are investigating computer programs that could be used to streamline the hiring process.

  1. Goal: Provide a continuum of instruction at all ability levels, preschool through grade 12.

Our third through eighth grade students have completed the Smarter Balanced Assessment. We should receive the Smarter Balanced Assessment data in early summer. Our focus will be to review this assessment data through the lens of student growth.  Both the SAT and Smarter Balanced Assessment are now lined up with the College and Career Ready Standards (Common Core).

The Board Chair, Vice Chair, and I met with Hinsdale Elementary School parents at the March 24th PTA meeting.  One focus area of the meeting was the proposal made by principal Boggio in which the Hinsdale Elementary School would implement three multi-age classrooms in the fall of 2016 and add a looping model beginning in the fall of 2017.  With the addition of multi-age classrooms we should be able to more effectively manage our space restrictions for another year.

  1. Goal: Develop a budget and a technology plan that supports all aspects of the district.  

The Director of Technology is forming a task force that will be charged with a comprehensive review of our use of technology within the district. Depending on the recommendations made by the task force the Board may decide to include technology in our strategic plan.

  1. Goal: Promote an atmosphere that supports a forward-thinking, professional learning community through ongoing, open communication and a culture of openness between the board, administration, staff, students, parents and the community.  

I have posted my March and April Board Report and my District Annual Report as a blog under the Superintendent section on the District web site

To improve communication and to promote our great school district the Board Chair, HMHS principal, and I spoke to Walter Waiters, a producer from the Larry King In View Productions, on Tuesday, March 29th.  We highlighted our school-community partnership, the HASP, and our ELO program. We are hopeful that we will be chosen by In View Productions for one of their “examples of what is working in public education” feature TV shows. In View Productions runs on several national networks including Fox News Network and Discover.

Our Safe Routes to School program has had a successful kick-off.

Next steps, include the following:

  1. Implement a spring forum on Wednesday, April 27th to take place in conjunction with the PTSA meeting. The focus of the forum will be to receive parent feedback about potential Safe Routes to Schools strategies.
  2. Participate in the upcoming “National Bike to School Day,” May 4, 2016. May 4th will be a “Walk and Bike to School Day” in Hinsdale.
  3. Southwest Regional Planning Committee staff will conduct traffic studies on    Brattleboro Road, School Street, and Prospect Street sometime in May or June.

To get to know the community better and to give back to this great school community my wife, a New York Times bestselling author, and I, will with the Board’s approval, organize and run a parent/child book club for between 5 and 8 parent/child “couples” next year at Hinsdale Elementary School.

Hinsdale Parent/Child Book Club

Facilitators: Wayne Woolridge (Hinsdale school superintendent) and Cindy Copeland (NYT bestselling author/illustrator)

Purpose: To help foster a love of reading, to encourage parents and children to bond over the reading experience, and to help facilitate critical analysis and discussion of age-appropriate works of fiction

Members: Parent/child teams from Hinsdale who will commit to reading the assigned book together each month and gathering to discuss the book at a monthly meeting. Children may be from the 4th or 5th grade at the Hinsdale Elementary School.

Meetings: The book club will meet on the first Tuesday of each month in the library at the Hinsdale Elementary School, from September 2016 through May 2017.

Books: All books will be provided to the parent/child teams by Wayne and Cindy. Books will be chosen based on their appeal to both children and adults, and for their potential to generate lively discussion.

Principal Boggio is in support of the Book club. There will be no cost to the district or to the participants of the book club.

March 2, 2016

Superintendent’s Report – March 2016

In addition to the progress we made during the past month toward our Board goals we also made significant progress in regards to safety.

On February 3rd both Hinsdale Elementary School and Hinsdale Middle/High School had a school security site assessment completed by Steve Allen of the State of New Hampshire Department of Safety: Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. Both sites assessments were at no charge to the district.

I received the results of both assessments on March 1st. The administration hopes to create an executive summary of the assessments prior to the Facility and Maintenance Committee meeting scheduled for March 25th.

On February 23rd Marcello D’Alessandro, Joe Boggio, Ann Freitag, Ann Diorio, and I met with two members of the Southwest Regional Planning Committee (Mari Brunner, Planner; Liz Kelly, Planning Technician), as well as Brooke Bennett, Healthy Monadnock 2020 School Champions Coordinator, to determine next steps related to our partnership with the “Safe Routes to Schools” program. We agreed to several next steps, including the following:

  1. Implement a spring forum on Wednesday, April 27th to take place in conjunction with the PTSA meeting. The focus of the forum will be to receive parent feedback about potential Safe Routes to Schools strategies.
  2. Participate in the upcoming “National Bike to School Day,” May 4, 2016. The group recommended this day be a “Walk and Bike to School Day” in Hinsdale.
  3. The Southwest Regional Planning Committee staff will attend the PTSA meeting on April 5th in order to give an informational presentation about Safe Routes to Schools.
  4. Southwest Regional Committee staff will have a booth at the Hinsdale Celebration of Learning event on April 12th from 6:00-7:00 p.m. in order to share information about Safe Routes to Schools and Healthy Monadnock 2020.
  5. Southwest Regional Planning Committee staff will conduct traffic studies on Brattleboro Road, School Street, and Prospect Street sometime in May or June.

We have made significant progress toward our Board Goals during the past month.

  1. Goal: Develop a strategic plan, based on data, to address the long range needs of the district.

I met with Hinsdale Elementary School parents at the March 24th PTA meeting. The focus of the meeting was the proposal made by principal Boggio in which the Hinsdale Elementary School would implement three multi-age classrooms in the fall of 2016 and add a looping model beginning in the fall of 2017. The parents who attended the PTA meeting were supportive of the transition. With the addition of multi-age classrooms we should be able to more effectively manage our space restrictions at least for another year.

In early April I hope to meet with Mr. Boggio and the Board Chair to determine the best makeup for a Hinsdale Elementary School Building Improvement Committee.  If the Board approves the committee representative structure at the April meeting, I would bring the list of nominations for the Hinsdale Elementary School Building Improvement Committee to the May Board meeting for final approval.  Ideally, the Hinsdale Elementary School Building Improvement Committee will have drafted a recommendation or recommendations for the Board to consider at the September 2016 Board meeting.

  1. Goal: Develop and support initiatives to recruit and retain professional, highly qualified staff who are innovative, dynamic and dedicated to the success of all students.

The Board’s Negotiations Committee and the HFT Negotiations Committee have agreed on a new contract that –if approved at the District Meeting– will improve our ability to hire and retain high quality professional staff.  The three-year contract has been approved by the Board, the HFT, and the Budget Committee. Tom O’Connor and I recently spoke to the HES staff and the HMHS staff concerning the contract and the other two articles on the Warrant. All the comments made by staff were supportive.

  1. Goal: Provide a continuum of instruction at all ability levels, preschool through grade 12.

All of our eleventh grade students took the SAT on Wednesday, March 2nd.  The results of the SAT assessment should be available in June.  The collective data will be valuable for our staff and even more valuable for our students. Beginning this year, the SAT is the New Hampshire State Assessment for high school students. Our freshmen and sophomores have taken the PSAT. Our third through eighth grade students will be taking the Smarter Balanced Assessment in May. The SAT, PSAT, and Smarter Balanced Assessment are all lined up with the “College and Career Ready Standards.” Hopefully assessments of these standards will help determine individual student growth related to proficiency in English language arts and math from 3rd through 11th grade.

One extremely successful program at HMHS, that is part of our college and career ready approach to individualized student learning, is our extended learning opportunity program. On April 5th Fred Bramante will be visiting with students involved in our extended learning opportunity program at HMHS to talk about with them about their extended learning experiences.   He will end his visit with a presentation to our HMHS staff. Mr. Bramante was recently charged by the Governor with the responsibility to lead New Hampshire’s first full-scale education reform effort since 1919 – competency-based learning. Prior to his appointment by the Governor, Mr. Bramante had been the Chairman of the New Hampshire State Board and the longest serving member of the State Board of Education in New Hampshire history.

  1. Goal: Develop a budget and a technology plan that supports all aspects of the district. 

Title IIA grant funds have been set aside to compensate committee members who will work over the summer months to develop a technology plan that supports all aspects of the district.

  1. Goal: Promote an atmosphere that supports a forward-thinking, professional learning community through ongoing, open communication and a culture of openness between the board, administration, staff, students, parents and the community.

In order to continue to build trust and improve two-way communication with the community, since our last Board meeting I attended the Hinsdale Elementary School PTA meeting, attended several basketball games, spoke at both the HES and the HMHS staff meetings concerning the 2016 Warrant, spoke to the Hinsdale Elementary School staff regarding the implementation of “Professional Learning Communities” in our schools, where I provided an overview of the major tenets of a Professional Learning Community, spoke briefly at a HES student assembly, and read to three classes.

In addition, I have posted my March Board Report and my District Annual Report as a blog under the Superintendent section on the District web site.

Annual Report

Superintendent’s Annual Report 2016

As we developed the 2016-2017 budget, we needed to face the unfortunate reality that state funding is being dramatically reduced and healthcare and retirement costs are rising. Our challenge was to provide optimal education for all students in the face of serious fiscal constraints. Thankfully, the Hinsdale School District is part of an engaged community that understands and appreciates the value of a quality education and — in the toughest of times — has come out strongly in support of school district budgets.

In addition to the 2016-2017 budgetary challenges, we are facing the ongoing issue of school safety. We all remember too well the Columbine and Virginia Tech tragedies, and our hearts are still aching for the families and community of Newtown, Connecticut. Obviously, the district’s first priority is providing the safest environment possible for students and staff. To that end, we are undergoing a safely and security audit provided by the New Hampshire Division of Homeland Security. While we can’t anticipate any issues the audit will reveal, we will move quickly to fix any problems identified by Homeland Security. We are also working with the “Safe Routes to Schools” program to help us provide recommendations to our families and transportation providers regarding improving safety for our students on their way to and from school.

We have successfully managed the initial move to the College and Career Ready Standards (Common Core). The standards define the knowledge and skills students should have within their K-12 education careers so that they will graduate from high school fully prepared for what follows. This means that our students will be held to a national standard, that the opportunities for our students to align their education with their peers across the nation should result in a better prepared nation of learners introduced into real-world environments. In May of 2015, our 3-8 grade students, and our 11th grade students, took a College and Career Ready Standards assessment to determine a starting point for our student growth model. This assessment is called the Smarter Balanced Assessment. Key features of the Smarter Balanced Assessment include:

  • Writing component for every grade
  • Questions and performance tasks that require students to demonstrate skill in the areas of research, writing, and problem-solving
  • Accessibility and accommodations for students at all ability levels
  • Our current Board goals are as follows:
  • On August 1, 2016, we will make the transition to the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) which replaces No Child Left Behind (NCLB). ESSA allows for more local control than NCLB. Under ESSA we are encouraged to report progress on goals developed locally. Fortunately, the Hinsdale School Board has already developed quality Board goals.
  • The next challenge related to the adoption of the College and Career Ready Standards is to make certain all our students make significant growth in proficiency as measured by the Smarter Balanced Assessment.
  1. Develop a strategic plan, based on data, to address the long range needs of the district.
  2. Develop and support initiatives to recruit and retain professional, highly qualified staff who are innovative, dynamic, and dedicated to the success of all students.
  3. Provide a continuum of instruction at all ability levels, preschool through grade 12.
  4. Develop a budget and a technology plan that supports all aspects of the district.
  5. Promote an atmosphere that supports a forward-thinking, professional learning community through ongoing, open communication and a culture of openness among the board, administration, staff, students, parents and the community.

As noted in our first goal, the Board intends to develop a strategic plan this year. At the community forum on January 27, 2016, the Board began the process of compiling community input that will be of help in the creation of a strategic plan. One of the topics we discussed at the forum had to do with a building issue at the elementary school. The Board will decide this spring if this issue should be included in our strategic plan.

We are in the process of implementing a new evaluation system for our staff. We still have a few adjustments to make but the model is sound. Staff members have completed their Professional Growth Plans; evaluations and self-assessments are taking place on a regular basis. When completed, the new evaluation plan will incorporate student assessment data as an element of the evaluation.

I believe a quality education is more important to our children’s future than ever before. Therefore, our responsibility to do what we can to ensure that our students receive a quality education is greater than ever. During my first month as your superintendent, it became clear that Hinsdale is a remarkable school district that has the strong and enthusiastic support of the community as well as a talented, dedicated staff overseeing the education of Hinsdale students.

On behalf of the Hinsdale School District, I would ask the community to continue to show its support by attending the District Meeting on Saturday, March 12th at 9 a.m. in our middle school/high school gym.

Respectfully Submitted,

Wayne Woolridge, Superintendent of Schools