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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.”

Before/after school program survey

Any student participating in the morning or after school programs offered by 21st CCLC (HASP) will be asked to participate in a non-academic survey in early March. Students in Grades 3-8 who regularly attend the program (before and or after school) will be asked to complete an on-line survey. The data is used by the NH Department of Education to evaluate our programs. This message is to notify parents or legal guardians of the non-academic survey or questionnaire and its purpose. Both of the surveys are posted here – one is for younger youth, one is for older youth. Parents or legal guardians may opt out of the non-academic survey for their child either in writing or electronically.

Younger student survey
Older student survey