APRIL 8, 2009




A regular meeting of the Hollis School Board was held on Wednesday, April 8, 2009 at 5:40 p.m. in the Community Room of Hollis Town Hall. 


Vice Chairman Bill Beauregard presided:


Members of the Board Present:         Alison Haytayan, Board Secretary

Susan Benz

Rich Manley


Members of the Board Absent:           Jim McCann, Chairman


Also in Attendance:                             Susan Hodgdon, SAU41 Superintendent

Elizabeth Allen, Principal, HPS

Candice Fowler, Principal, HUES

Dawna Duhamel, Business Administrator

Carol Mace, Dir. of Curriculum

Christopher Siegfried, Director of Maintenance







David Ward, 3rd Grade Teacher, HPS


Spoke in regard to a concern with the math program.  Cited the SAU Math Task Force formed last summer to beef up the curriculum checklist to standards found in Massachusetts and California.  A new group was formed this winter to formally place the added rigor into the checklist.  The checklist has been provided to most grade levels for input.  The feeling at Hollis Primary School (HPS) was they were meeting the added rigor with the exception of kindergarten where it is believed to be a stretch and felt everyday math is already covering the added items. 


The Textbook Selection Committee, charged with selecting a math program to replace Everyday Math, has narrowed the choices to three; Houghton-Mifflin, Saxon Math, and Envision.  Mr. Ward felt the committee was faced with an impossible choice; either choose a book that will likely not meet the standards being created (which would require supplementing in a year or so), pick one of the programs and lower standards, stay with Everyday Math (which they have been told is not an option) or delay purchase to allow time to find other programs that may meet all requirements. 


Asked the Board to consider; whether they are willing to do away with Everyday Math even if it means lowering standards, decide that the greater rigor is worth the issues Everyday Math brings; or delay the purchase to allow time to get programs that maintain the standards. Hoped the board would come to the decision that Everyday Math, despite its hassles, is worth considering until a better program can be found.  Stated his belief the decision is one to be addressed at the district level.  


Vice-Chairman Beauregard remarked the Board is looking to the Superintendent to drive the process and the community participation.  The board is not biased one way or the other.  The board is not looking for a particular outcome, but waiting for the recommendation of administration.


Superintendent Hodgdon thanked Mr. Ward for his attendance and for bringing the issue forward.  Stated her understanding the textbook selection committee has just started their work.  Commented there are people on the committee who are able to report back to the school creating the connection to the staff and the work of the committee.


Ms. Mace remarked the first step last summer was for the committee of teachers to study the National Math Panel Report, a major research project.  That effort resulted in recommendations that had some implications for local curriculum (rigor might not be the most accurate term).   The school is looking at a shift in the philosophical approach that is in alignment with the recommendations of the National Math Plan Report.


Next step is to review curriculum and identify what students are expected to know.  Then we need to find the textbook to best match that curriculum.  While Everyday Math is a good program, there is an emphasis on non-traditional algorithms, which contradicts the panel report that emphasis be placed on traditional algorithms.


Principal Fowler commented the checklist work is really in its final stages where it is looking at K-6 with the SAU Math Task Force.  Once the list is complete, and time has allowed for piloting, we will ensure the checklist matches whatever program we are using.


It has been decided to look at three programs; Houghton-Mifflin, which is being successfully used by Brookline, Envision, as a blend between Everyday Math and traditional (which some large districts including some in Massachusetts have adopted), and at the suggestion of a community member as the most traditional approach, Saxon Math.


Her vision for the textbook committee was to have an equal opportunity to understand what the various options provide.  Each of the companies have provided materials and sent in representatives.  All three can be piloted at no charge to the district.  Over the next 6-8 weeks, teachers will be going into the classrooms and picking different lessons from each of the three for piloting.  Will meet half way through to make sure grade level expectations will be met.


Ms. Benz commented, from a board perspective, we are letting the administrators do their jobs.  Is confident in the summer committee’s job and that this is a road we need to go down that will result in the best tool for our district.


Principal Fowler informed the board the textbook committee was opened up to anyone who wished to volunteer their time.  It is a 13-14 member committee.


Mr. Manley commented it has been 9 years since the last time this task was undertaken.  Questioned whether there was a compelling reason.


Principal Fowler explained the driving force was the National Math Panel Report that indicated children taught with non-traditional algorithms were not as successful as children who first mastered the traditional algorithms.


Vice-Chairman Beauregard commented on the TIMS Report where Massachusetts and Minnesota requested their results be pulled out separately from the United States’ results.  Massachusetts ranked second in the world. They attributed it to the rigorous standards.


Ms. Haytayan questioned whether review has been done of what is being successfully used in Massachusetts.


Principal Fowler responded they have cross-referenced their grade level expectations, which is where we are adding rigor.  Have contacted some of the top districts in Massachusetts and New Hampshire and are looking at how they are doing it.  Finding it is more about what they have done for training and professional development than the program.  Commented we have not done the best job, in a systematic way, of training our teachers.  This is something that will be improved upon.  The math and literacy coaches are another step in the right direction.


Vice-Chairman Beauregard remarked it sounded like an open and inclusive process.  Asked how communication was getting back to each community at large. 


Principal Fowler cited the presence of teacher representatives on the textbook committee.  One requirement outlined is for them to be the liaison to their grade level for the sharing of pilot programs.


Principal Allen added time is allotted at each of the faculty and team meetings for Mr. Ward to discuss the progress of the SAU task force.  Mr. Ward will be taking on the roll of 3rd grade teacher representative.


Mr. Ward commented communication from the committee to the textbook group was one of his concerns.     Remains concerned we are looking at programs that will be a step back.  Questioned, given the timeline, if one of the three programs does not rise to the standards we are setting then what will be done.




Hollis School Board – Non-Public. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . January 14, 2009






Mr. Manley Abstained


Hollis School Board . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . February 11, 2009






Mr. Manley Abstained


Hollis School Board – Non-Public. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . March 18, 2009


The following corrections were noted;

            The word “opened” should be replaced with “open”

            Member Manley’s name misspelled – missing “e”

Member Benz made the motion attributed to Chairman Beauregard

The motion to adjourn should have reflected a motion to come out of non-public.







Organizational Meeting. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . March 18, 2009


The following corrections were noted;

                        Member Manley’s name misspelled – missing “e”

                        Page 2, paragraph 3 - Ms. Haytayan motioned to “reappoint” Mr. Beauregard “as”

Last line of same paragraph delete “so”

Last line of second page “board” misspelled

Top of third page “not” to grant request

                        On Addendum – Member Manley made motion to adjourn









Ms. Benz expressed her pleasure with the number of teachers in attendance as well as their support of the budget.  Was also pleased townspeople understood the difficulty in re-opening contracts.


Mr. Olszewski thanked the Chairman and Vice Chairman for their presentation of the Warrant Article.  Commented they did the best they could to get as many people out as possible.  Anticipated resistance, based on current economic times, and numbers were able to push it through.


Ms. Haytayan wanted to publicly say how pleased she was to be part of a budget that came together so cohesively.  The representatives and administrators did a fantastic job.  Praised the job done by the Budget Committee in providing guidance.


Ms. Benz questioned how the board could better communicate an understanding of the complexities of the budget to the public.   


Principal Fowler informed the board, during a morning meeting following the budget hearing, feedback was overwhelming that staff members wanted to thank Chairman Beauregard and the Board for how well they represented them and the knowledge they brought to the meeting.  They understood the programs and were able to answer all questions.


Principal Allen echoed Principal Fowler’s comments.  Staff is pleased to see a cohesive and supportive board, and appreciated all that was done.  Commented on the amazing work performed by Ms. Duhamel. 


A brief discussion ensued regarding potential ways to distribute a Frequently Asked Questions pamphlet (annual report card/posting on web site).


Superintendent Hodgdon remarked what she most appreciated, in addition to collaboration and good work, was maintaining an emphasis on students and student programming while also addressing the bottom line.  In these times it is easy to look at the financial aspect and not keep in mind the students and staff.


Vice-Chairman Beauregard remarked the board could not have done what it did if it were not for the caliber of work performed by staff.  Commented principals had schools to run while preparing budgets, Superintendent Hodgdon had districts to run, and Ms. Duhamel was charged with simultaneously preparing other budgets in addition to keeping the SAU running.


Vice-Chairman Beauregard remarked there are two action items going forward; 1) the board will be facing the same set of pressures, only worse, this year as there will be the same economic situation along with declining populations and 2) will have new contract negotiations while items such as healthcare continue to grow.


Remarked the budget process should start now with a solid base budget in place by September. Have to meet with teachers and support staff by October so we are working as one team.  Spoke of the need to understand cost-per-pupil.  Ms. Benz suggested the report card committee could look at adding that task.  Superintendent Hodgdon touched on the necessity to agree on criteria.






Principal Allen  


April 15th will continue professional development for new sequential phonics program.


Parent letters went out seeking placement input.  Met with Principal Fowler to put together form for parents to fill out and return, which was sent home via backpack mail and AlertNow with attachment. 


NWEA testing will be performed on 2nd and 3rd graders in May. 


May 5th is the Information Night for 1st grade parents.  May 7th is the Information Night for Kindergarten parents.


A community event was held March 25th to unveil the design of the outdoor classroom.  Thrilled to have rotary and garden club members attend and anxious to be involved.


Principal Fowler


Girl Scouts, working on bronze awards for community service, conducted a bread drive.  Three hundred loaves were donated to the Nashua Soup Kitchen.  King Arthur Flour Company performed a cooking show in the café. 


Two girls are conducting a homeless pet bed drive.  Another Girl Scout pair is working on a food drive.  The annual Pennies for Patients fundraiser generated approximately $1,200 for cancer patients.  Funds are donated to the American Heart Association.  A portion of the funds is designated for physical education programs (approx. $200.00).


Principal Allen


The Jump Rope for Heart fundraiser finished last week. Children did a wonderful job. 


Mr. Olszewski commented New Hampshire ranks near top in terms of fundraising.  This year raised a little over $3,000.  Has heard of one student who raised $1,000.


Principal Fowler


Cited the unconfirmed number of approx. $3,000 for HUES.


Mr. Olszewski


Offered to write an article for the Journal.


Director of Curriculum


Ms. Mace informed the board the Adequate Yearly Program Report (AYP) was released this week.   Hollis, as a whole, and all sub-groups, made AYP in both reading and math as did HUES and sub-groups.  At HPS, while school as whole made performance target, the educational disability sub-group did not make the performance target in reading.


Principal Allen and she met yesterday and reviewed the results.  They were amazed at how close the numbers were.  In determining AYP the state looks at actual target index score, if you don’t make that score, they look at competence interval range (the range for a larger group of students would be smaller, but smaller sub-group of students would have a larger acceptable range).  Our competence interval range for 22 students in the educational disability sub-group needed to reach 74.7 and reached 73.6.


Spoke of a report released in February called Accountability Illusion.  The report looked at the accountability systems of 28 different states, and found there are striking differences; no consistency from one system to another.  Noteworthy in the New Hampshire accountability system, although states are allowed to determine how many students should make up the minimum number for a sub-group (which normally range from 10-100) New Hampshire is very stringent at 11 students per sub-group.  We are held accountable for significantly more sub-group performance than many other states. 


Looked at the two neighboring states (RI and VT), and found the minimum sub-group number for Rhode Island is 45 and Vermont is 40.  These states also participate in NECAP.  Crux of report is if you want to raise scores or meet AYP get larger sub-groups.  Recommending we have more consistent standards and accountability measures so playing field is equal.


Will be attending a workshop in Concord on understanding the reports.  Will also attend discussion on ins/outs of filing an appeal.  Feels it would be worthwhile to look at the numbers and be sure everything is accurate before accepting report.


Ms. Mace explained the designation of needing improvement is in the instance of two consecutive years of not meeting the performance target by the same sub-group in the same content area.  The designation sets off a chain of additional requirements.


Vice-Chairman Beauregard commented on the 3rd grade class of two years ago that failed to meet the standards that then became the 4th grade class last year who again did not meet the standards, yet somehow that very cohort became the 5th grade class that did meet the standards.


Principal Fowler commented on the need to look for efficiencies and make sure we’re providing early intervening services.  Stated she has talked to staff who believes we will not make AYP.  Good news is a lot of efficiencies are planned for next year. 


Principal Allen remarked the cohort is not tracked but rather the two grade levels.


Mr. Manley suggested another informational pamphlet could be created with regard to AYP, sub-groups, etc.


Principal Allen commented she was approached by the media.  An article should appear in Friday’s paper.  She provided the reporter with an outline of how the system works and left it to her to arrive at the conclusion that it is really an impossible system.  Is confident the full picture will be explained.


Vice-Chairman Beauregard questioned whether the group of students who will be participating in the NECAP testing in early October could benefit from a program such as sending home specific activities or exercises to be done over the summer.


Data Analysis Update


Ms. Mace remarked they have had those conversations.  The data consultant asked probing questions to determine exactly what it was we were looking to accomplish and identified both long-term and short-term goals. 


Long-term goal is to build a data warehouse.  The consultant began by asking what types of questions we wanted answered so she would understand what types of reports we would need to answer those questions, has been looking at data already in place, where it is housed, and becoming familiar with PowerSchool and Performance Pathways to see how those two systems can be integrated into a data warehouse.  Long-range, one of the reports we would like to have is a student profile - have been discussing the information to be included in that profile. 


Short range; have been talking about reviewing data and the systems that we have in place to determine how we can make immediate use of that.  The consultant has identified some reports and resources that are part of performance tracker that can help identify curriculum weaknesses.


Principal Fowler added the consultant is creating a database that will organize things in a way to provide focus areas of GLEs for a specific cohort so that review can be made of a specific cohort that didn’t make AYP and allow us to focus work in May and June for the September practice.


Ms. Mace commented a resource provided by performance track is a content library where you can look at sample questions tied to the strands.  Have talked about putting together packets for particular students. 


Principal Allen added they are looking at Performance Pathways/Performance Trackers to hone in on their students to determine what questions they are struggling with and using that in their daily work.  Believe, especially for students with disability, changing up language in how you are presenting material to them can make a difference.


Principal Fowler added they are conducting a summer academic camp that looks at NWEA and NECAP scores as well as different pieces from informal assessments taken in the classroom.  They now have several years’ worth of NECAP data and can see trends over time to determine if there are changes that can be made.


Mr. Manley asked whether the strategies were for pre or post testing (cohort being post testing and identification) Principal Fowler responded the assessments that may be built would start with the grade level that had the cohort and look to create practice test questions. 


Principal Fowler remarked the consultant will be able to assist in focusing down to strand level.


Mr. Manley clarified what we are preparing for is the next cohort to be measured.  Ms. Mace added they desired to start small in trying it with this cohort first and expanding from there.


Director of Maintenance


Mr. Siegfried, Director of Maintenance, informed the board he is currently assessing buildings and reviewing the Hutter report.  Hope to be completed by the end of the month.  When asked, stated he is in possession of the spreadsheet checklist. 


Vice-Chairman Beauregard stated a liability of the district as the water system.  Mr. Siegfried informed the board a visual inspection was done by a state inspector and Skillings.  As a visual inspection, everything went well (general cleanup required, fencing to restrict access, etc.).


Vice-Chairman Beauregard remarked there are multiple segments at different ages and stages of disrepair.  The one located between the pump house and the middle school is the oldest and least understood.  Mr. Siegfried commented the only way to know how the underground piping is fairing is to send cameras through.  Ms. Duhamel informed Vice-Chairman Beauregard she has provided Mr. Siegfried with his questions.


Vice-Chairman Beauregard informed the board the Budget Committee has decided to conduct a joint meeting with the town and the COOP to address large scale needs.


Mr. Siegfried informed the board updated proposals are being sought for items associated with the Expendable Trust Fund.  It is believed there is room to work to lower the cost of some of the items.  Ms. Duhamel provided a copy of the list of projects included on the Expendable Trust Fund.  Hope to come forward with quotes in May or June so work can be done over the summer.


Vice-Chairman Beauregard questioned an asset management system for tracking.  Ms. Duhamel has been visiting school districts to look at the program.  Superintendent Hodgdon stated the leadership team and she will discuss it at an upcoming meeting. 


Business Administrator


Ms. Duhamel provided the board with an FY09 budget status handout.  Revenue was not included, and will be sent by e-mail next week.   Vice-Chairman Beauregard commented as of the end of March we are at 65% of budget.


Ms. Duhamel will work with the school principals, Mr. Kelley and Mr. Siegfried to outline planned encumbrances and to understand where we are with employees on maternity leave, disability leaves, etc. 


Vice-Chairman Beauregard remarked, with major items such as the water system, if it is not something that can be covered within the budget, it could be brought up for discussion at the Budget Committee meeting to determine if the item is seen as an undue burden on the budget.


Vice-Chairman Beauregard asked if progress has been made with purchasing supplies at a discount.  Ms. Duhamel informed the board they have been consolidating purchases to get discounts.  Determining best practices based on materials.  Purchasing card project is in cue and requires work.


Mr. Manley questioned the differential between the electric bills at the two schools.  Vice-Chairman Beauregard remarked HPS has a series of boilers where HUES has electric heating elements in each classroom.  Principal Fowler commented there is a lot more public use of the building on weekends, nights, etc.  Mr. Manley questioned whether the schools are reimbursed by the town for the expense?  Vice-Chairman Beauregard replied they have never been able to efficiently track the town usage of the building.


Ms. Duhamel is making appointments with energy brokers to see if purchases can be made large scale.  Working to acquire best price for diesel.  Vice-Chairman Beauregard would like to understand how we can purchase large scale for oil next year to manage the risk of going over budget. 


Ms. Duhamel stated her desire for the brokers to give presentations.  Vice-Chairman Beauregard suggested that discussion was best held at the SAU level.




Superintendent Hodgdon informed the Board, the Commissioner has approved the Request for Waiver of Days.  The last student day is June 19th.  Remarked the school had a compelling argument in that the requirement is 945 hours/180 day per year.  HPS has 1,045 hours and HUES has 1,080 hours. 


Superintendent Hodgdon informed the board of communications received:


From:  Luke Scarano, 4th Grade, HUES

Re:      Recess at Middle School


From:  Courtney Curran, 4th Grade, HUES

Re:      Shorter School Day


Informed the board of her receipt of letters of gratitude from staff returning from maternity leave (Julie Somorrostro, Sarah Proulx, Lauren Melia).


Informed the Board of a communication from Daniel Mock. The communication thanked the board for review and consideration of leave request for 2009-2010, and stated understanding of rationale for denying the request for extension to leave of absence.  As this time is an integral part of her son’s growth, she has resigned her position.


Vice-Chairman Beauregard remarked the board is sad to see her go.  Superintendent Hodgdon will write an acceptance letter.


Superintendent Hodgdon informed the board of the following Maternity Leave Requests:


Nichole Cailler and her Husband welcomed their child last week.  Nichole plans to return at the beginning of the second trimester for 2009/2010.  The board has already taken action.  The request for job share will be back before the board.


Maureen Chorma, the Preschool Coordinator and Speech Language Pathologist at HPS has informed the administration she and her husband are expecting their 1st child on 9-25-09.  Desires working until September 11th, and following birth take 6 weeks (using some accrued sick time and requesting family leave for remaining half of school year) with an anticipated return date of February 1, 2010


It was mentioned such an arrangement would be outside of the usual contract language of starting at the beginning of a trimester.  Superintendent Hodgdon’s concern was in regard to contractual obligations.  Commented she might ask her to return at an earlier date but leave the door open for her to come back with an additional request, something she believes has occurred before.


Principal Allen remarked this particular individual is in a unique position because she is not instructing students.  Superintendent Hodgdon added the position is recognized under the teacher contract.


Ms. Haytayan stated her belief return dates have to be consistent with contract language.  Concerned with setting precedent as well as contractual agreements.    Superintendent Hodgdon suggested she could go to the Teacher’s Association and ask to come forward with a side letter that, if approved, the request would not be precedent setting. 


Principal Allen touched on the need to be able to tell perspective candidates start and end dates.  Need a decision as to a definitive return date.  Superintendent Hodgdon advocated the board stay with contract and try to find ways internally to work with her.


Vice-Chairman Beauregard stated the board has to go with the language in the contract, and asked Superintendent Hodgdon to inform Mrs. Chorma.


Superintendent Hodgdon informed the board the stimulus money is still in flux.  She had a telephone conference with IDEA and Mr. Kelley.  A few key issues are maintenance of effort.  There is concern with accepting stimulus funding and whether services drop back down when that funding stops.  It is not intended that operating budgets be supplanted with this funding source.  These funds should be used for items such as professional development, equipment, or software, etc.




Vice-Chairman Beauregard provided the board members with copies of marked up versions of the policies for review and comment at a later date.




-                      Approval of Counsel for Negotiations


Superintendent Hodgdon reminded the board two years ago they utilized the services of a professional negotiator, Tom Flygare, along with Members Beauregard and McCann as the negotiating team.  The Board found it extremely helpful to have the services of a professional negotiator.  Funding has been placed in the budget for a professional negotiator for this round of negotiations.


Vice-Chairman Beauregard commented neither the town nor the COOP utilized the services of a professional negotiation in the last round of negotiations, and neither ended up with contracts.


Superintendent Hodgdon has had conversations with Mr. Flygare who has said he would be very interested in working with the board again. 









Goal Setting Workshop and Business Meeting


Vice-Chairman Beauregard informed the board Chairman McCann would like to perform the review of district three year goals at a regular board meeting, and suggested it be done during the May meeting.  Suggested the meeting could be held during daytime hours to avoid conversation running late into the evening.


Principal Allen commented on the importance of having goals set in May.


Ms. Benz commented on the need for regular meetings for regular board business.  Suggested the goal setting could be done in a workshop.  Mr. Manley cited difficulties with daytime meetings on work days. 

Both Mr. Manley and Principal Allen could accommodate a Saturday morning meeting.


Superintendent Hodgdon, Principal Fowler, Ms. Haytayan and Ms. Benz all commented it would be easiest to conduct the regular May meeting and a workshop on three year goals on two separate week nights. 


The general consensus of the board was to conduct the workshop on Monday May 18th beginning at 4:30 p.m. 


Chairman Beauregard requested the board gather ideas about goals in advance of the meeting and that each member provide suggestions to Chairman McCann by Monday April 20th.  Chairman McCann will combine the suggestions and provide them to Superintendent Hodgdon by April 21st.  That will provide Superintendent Hodgdon and Principals Allen and Fowler the rest of the week to review and be prepared to provide their opinions for goals to the board prior to the meeting.  Superintendent Hodgdon will arrange for a meeting place.








A Viva Voce roll was conducted, which resulted as follows:


Yea:     Bill Beauregard, Alison Haytayan, Susan Benz, Rich Manley


Nay:                                                                                         0




The Board went into non-public session at 8:51 p.m.



Date __________________________      Signed       ________________________