Superintendent Report: June 11, 2013
Keene Board of Education
KEENE BOARD OF EDUCATION GOALS: 2012-2013
GOAL 1: EDUCATIONAL – RAISE THE BAR ON STUDENT LEARNING
New Hampshire continues to await word from the U.S. Department of Education regarding the status of the waiver request. New Hampshire is one of eight states with a waiver pending. As frustrating as it is to await word, we can only stand by until information is passed along. We have received assurances from NH Deputy Education Commissioner Paul Leather that the NH Department of Education is prepared to roll out information to school districts as soon as word is received. Deputy Leather has assured Superintendents that the Department of Education has planned for both scenarios and will be able to act quickly. If the waiver is granted, New Hampshire would change the way schools are ranked. The lowest-performing schools would be identified as either “priority” or “focus” schools. Schools who receive such a designation would be assigned a liaison from the education department to help the school develop a progress monitoring plan that would include reforming instructional practices and would increase instructional time and teacher support.
If the state does not receive a waiver, the Keene School District will likely enter its fourth year as a district in need of improvement in math, and as a result will need to prepare to address penalties that will be imposed. At the request of Keene Board Chair, Chris Coates, I have contacted the offices of Senator Shaheen and Senator Ayotte regarding the waiver request to see if there is anything they can do to expedite the approval process. I will continue to provide updates as soon as new information becomes available.
READY FOR KINDERGARTEN:
On Wednesday, June 5, a Preschool Panel was taped by Cheshire TV at the Central Office. The panel discussion focused on what parents can do to help their children thrive during early childhood. The panel discussion is slated to be broadcast on either June 16 or 17 and will be replayed 4-5 times per week over the summer. Jan Barry reported that Dartmouth Hitchcock has agreed to have their pediatricians hand out Ready flyers during regularly scheduled physicals to families who might most benefit from the information. Ms. Barry will also be meeting with the Director of Keene Housing Authority to discuss holding programs on-site at certain locations with their organization offering a discount on rent for families who participate as an incentive. Ms. Barry also reported that she is working with Keene School District grant writer, Ben Daviss to look for additional funding for the program to offset the yet-to-be determined Title I allocation.
NINETY-PERCENT PROFICIENCY OF THIRD GRADE STUDENTS IN READING BY 2015:
Mr. Duncan will present a final report based on the findings of the Data and ELA teams to the Education Committee on June 18.
SPECIAL EDUCATION – DELIVERY OF SERVICES:
On Thursday, June 6, Dr. Richard Ayers and Ms. Jane Bergeron-Beaulieu met with Assistant Superintendent Reuben Duncan at the Central Office. The interviews conducted by SERESC have been completed with a final report to be provided to the administration shortly. The next step in the process will be to develop and recruit a “monitoring team”. The organizational efficiency goal will dovetail with the financial piece as strategic planning continues to evolve.
GOAL 2: ORGANIZATIONAL – INCREASE ORGANIZATIONAL EFFICIENCY
TEACHER EVALUATION SYSTEM:
Members of the Teacher Performance Evaluation Committee include Assistant Superintendent Reuben Duncan, Maureen Meyer, John McMahon, Carl Panza, Rob Stack, Matt Brady, Kristen Hill, Lynne Wagner, Kim Milliken, Susan Hay, Tom Kane, Dotty Frazier, Sharyn D'Eon, Chris Coates, and myself.
The evaluation committee continues to meet on a weekly basis with extended meetings planned for the next two weeks. At present, the committee is preparing to pilot the new SAU 29 evaluation system beginning in the fall, with a focus on entry level 1 and entry level 2 professional staff in all districts.
KEENE HIGH SCHOOL BLOCK SCHEDULING UPDATE:
The committee provided KHS staff with survey results from the second I-Time pilot. The committee continues to work with the software developers to make changes to the program (based on staff feedback) in order to utilize the software more efficiently and effectively when scheduling students. The committee also released to staff the 2013-2014 bell schedule including the schedule for early release days, late arrival days, and January 2014 finals week schedule.
The week of June 17-21 all students will be scheduled for I-Time activities using the Enriching Students Software. The goal of the pilot is to identify courses/teachers who may be under or over-subscribed and to ensure that there are enough open seats (based on the max enrollments of 8-15) to meet all student requests. Students will not physically attend the scheduled I-Time pilot, however, teachers and students have been asked to treat the mock scheduling as a real-time activity.
I-Time planning will take place over the summer with work to be completed by July 26 in order to share the information with the full staff before the start of school in August. The I-Time sub-committee has established the following priorities for the 2013-2014 school year: Remediation, Intervention, Course Continuity, and College and Career Readiness.
GOAL 3: FINANCIAL – MANAGE RESPONSIBLE AND EFFICIENT ALLOCATION OF THE SCHOOL DISTRICT BUDGET
The NH Senate adopted the budget recommendations of the Senate Finance Committee. The Senate’s version of the state’s two-year budget is based on lower revenues than the House version. The Senate budget continues the building aid moratorium, not funding any new projects through June 30, 2015. The budget continues to fully fund existing commitments for school building aid payments. The fiscal year 2015 increases the House adoption of $2 million in Catastrophic Special Education Aid and $1 million in Vocation Tuition and Transportation Aid to instead be spread over both years of the biennium, with half allocated in fiscal year 2014 and half in fiscal year 2015. Adequacy aid continues to be fully funded, based on projections of lower pupil counts and therefore less total aid. The Senate has also recommended increasing the current “adequacy collar” by 2.5%. Current law limits any increase in Adequacy aid to 5.5% over the previous year; the Senate has recommended increasing the limit to 8%. Funds to cover this increase are expected from state savings due to the overall declines in enrollments, especially when using current fiscal year average daily membership (ADM) counts for determining aid in the next fiscal year.
ALLOCATION OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT PERFORMANCE GRANT (EMPG) FUNDS FOR SCHOOL SECURITY ENHANCEMENTS:
The New Hampshire Department of Safety, through the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management is making funds available to enhance school building security. The purpose of this grant is to assist SAUs with funding for projects that will improve and enhance their schools’ physical security. Funds may be used for securing and controlling access points, extra security equipment and improving school security technologies. Each grant shall not exceed $50,000 per SAU during this grant program’s performance period of June 1, 2013 through September 30, 2014. Funds will be allocated on a first come, first served basis and I have ask district grant writer, Ben Daviss to look into the grant further. It is likely that a small committee will need to be formed rather quickly in order to address the requirements of the grant and to answer school safety related questions to complete the application process.
FROM THE DESK OF THE SUPERINTENDENT…
KHS Top Ten:
Kudos to the top ten seniors of the graduating class of 2013:
- Valedictorian Miles Walter, son of Sandra Van de Kauter and John Walter, M.D. of Keene
- Salutatorian Tiffany Winn, daughter of Diane and Terry Winn of West Chesterfield
- Stephanie Bilodeau, daughter of Susan Rueter and Wilfred Bilodeau of Keene
- Sophie Kosmacher, daughter of Amy Benedict and Jeffrey Kosmacher of Keene
- Grace Puksta, daughter of Leeann and Fred Puksta of Keene
- Emily Wilson, daughter of Sarah and Andrew Wilson of Keene
- Katherine Marinoff, daughter of Phyllis and Keith Marinoff of Keene
- Katelyn McStravick, daughter of Tania McStravick of Keene and Mark McStravick of Roxbury
- Reyna Joyce, daughter of Indira Singh and Patrick Joyce of Keene
- Madison Myers, daughter of Cherie Myers of Keene and Michael Myers of Turner Falls, Massachusetts
National Merit Scholar:
Keene High School Valedictorian Miles Walter was named as a National Merit Scholar Finalist. Miles is one of 8,300 students across the United States to be honored with this distinction. Approximately 1.5 million students entered the 2013 National Merit Scholarship Program with 16,000 named as semifinalists.
Cheshire Career Center Awards:
On May 29, there were 159 certificates of completion presented to seniors during the Cheshire Career Center Awards program. Fourteen plaques were awarded to students for outstanding accomplishments in their particular field, and forty-six scholarships were awarded to students planning to attend two and four-year colleges as well as to those students who will be in an apprenticeship program.
Keene High School Book/Science Awards:
On June 6, Keene High School students received book and science awards at a special recognition ceremony.
- Adam Burnett, son of Jayne and Rand Burnett of Westmoreland, received the Brown Book Award presented to a student in the junior class who best combines academic excellence with clarity in written and spoken expression.
- Abbegale Hoye, daughter of Cynthia and Frank Hoye of Marlborough, received the Dartmouth College Book Award presented to a sophomore who is of strong character and of the highest academic caliber. The student must have a positive impact on the life of the school community and excel in at least one non-academic area.
- Forest Hall, son of Helen and David Hall of Keene, received the Franklin Pierce Book Award which honors a junior with a strong academic record, considerable extracurricular involvement and a record of service to the community.
- Peter Fedrizzi, son of Heidi Rinehart and Rudolph Fedrizzi of Keene, received the Harvard Prize Book Award given to an outstanding junior who combines excellence in scholarship and high character and achievement in other fields.
- Amanda Livernois, daughter of Deb and Greg Livernois of Chesterfield, received the Middlebury Book Award given to a member of the junior class who is an exceptional student who has shown remarkable commitment to or achievement in, environmental studies.
- Lauren Russell, daughter of Jennifer and Thomas Russell of Keene, received the Rhode Island School of Design Book Award given to a student who exemplifies artistic strength and promise.
- Emily Haley, daughter of Elizabeth and Robert Haley II of Stoddard and Peter Murphy, son of Joan and Erik Murphy of Keene, received St. Michael’s College Scholarship and Service Book Awards given to outstanding students who demonstrate a commitment to volunteerism and leadership in their community service endeavors.
- Ivy Pepin, daughter of Jennifer and Victor Pepin of Spofford, received the Smith College Book Award presented to an outstanding junior who exemplifies the academic achievement, leadership qualities, and concern for others that characterizes the thousands of women who have graduated Smith College.
- Peter Fedrizzi, son of Heidi Rinehart and Rudolph Fedrizzi of Keene, received the Bausch and Lomb Award given to a junior who has demonstrated academic excellence in science.
- Eileen Cormier, daughter of Kathleen and Kevin Cormier of Keene, received the Rensselaer Medal which recognizes the superlative academic achievement of young men and women, and supports and motivates students toward careers in science, engineering and technology. This $15,000 per year merit scholarship is guaranteed for four years for each medalist who is accepted and chooses to enroll at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York.