HOLLIS SCHOOL BOARD

 

 MAY 13, 2009

 

MEETING MINUTES

 

A regular meeting of the Hollis School Board was held on Wednesday, May 13, 2009 at 5:40 p.m. in the Community Room of Hollis Town Hall. 

 

Chairman Jim McCann presided:

 

Members of the Board Present:         Bill Beauregard, Vice-Chairman

Susan Benz

Rich Manley

 

Members of the Board Absent:           Alison Haytayan, Board Secretary

                                               

Also in Attendance:                             Susan Hodgdon, SAU41 Superintendent

Elizabeth Allen, Principal, HPS

Candice Fowler, Principal, HUES

Carol Mace, Dir. of Curriculum

Bob Kelly, Dir. of Special Education

Liz Barbour, PTA Wellness Committee

 

 

 

AGENDA ADDITIONS AND DELETIONS – None

 

PUBLIC COMMENTARY

 

David Olszewski – HPS Physical Education Teacher/President, Hollis Education Association

 

Questioned where the board/district is with regard to consideration of newer technologies for security at the schools. 

 

Principal Allen replied the fall budget factored monies in for a keypad entry system.  The Director of Maintenance is currently acquiring bids.  It appears we will have some kind of swipe system to gain access.  The front door will remain unlocked.  The concept has been in the works for a while, and is expected to be included in the next fiscal year budget.

 

Principal Fowler commented HUES utilizes a key system where, with the exception of the front door, all doors remain locked.  They are looking at a way to restructure the entrance to lead directly into the office.  Quotes for removal of the window and door relocation have come in at approximately $9,000. 

 

Principal Allen added what was being addressed at the HPS was geared towards convenience of staff for instances such as a reverse evacuation from the playground.  Presently there is one adult with a key.  In a reverse evacuation it would be necessary to utilize multiple entrances into the building.  It was noted the two buildings have different layouts and playground placement.

 

Mr. Beauregard questioned whether DOE guidelines exist on the degree of security.  Superintendent Hodgdon responded the state perspective is for cities/towns to address the issue on a local level.  She went on to state, from her experiences as well as what she has been told by individuals from state police to national security is the best security is people.  Having staff aware and addressing people that are further into the building than they should be without some kind of a visitor’s pass is the best form of security.  Mr. Beauregard suggested it would be worthwhile to discuss the issue with the Police Chief. 


Pamela Banks, Speech Pathologist, HPS

 

Remarked a lot of schools lock all of their doors and have a doorbell to get the attention of office staff to gain entrance.

 

APPROVAL OF SCHOOL BOARD MINUTES

                        

Hollis School Board . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . April, 8, 2009

 

The following corrections were noted:

 

1st page, 4th paragraph - second line is not a full sentence.

2nd page, 3rd paragraph “establish a” should be replaced with “review”.

7th page, 3rd paragraph has a typo.

Approval of meeting minutes of 1/14/09 and 2/11/09 should indicate Mr. Manley abstained.

4th & 5th pages - comments made by Mr. Olszewski were attributed to Mr. Ward and “unidentified speaker.

6th page 2nd paragraph “competency” should be “competence”.

7th page – add Data Analysis Update heading

7th page, 4th paragraph addfocus” after “to provide”.

7th page, 6th paragraph “Performance pathways and performance tracker” should be initial caps.

8th page, 2nd paragraph should read “The one located between the pump house and the middle school is the oldest and least understood. “

11th page - remove “4”.

 

MOTION BY MEMBER BEAUREGARD TO APPROVE AS AMENDED

MOTION SECONDED BY MEMBER BENZ

MOTION CARRIED

4/0

Chairman McCann Abstained

 

POLICIES – SECOND READING

 

IHBAA, DFA, EBBC, GBAA, JBAA, JICK, GBCD, JLC, ILBA, JLDBA, IJOC, EEAEA

 

A brief discussion ensued with regard to the necessity to rescind the GDPA Policy.

 

MOTION BY MEMBER BEAUREGARD TO RESCIND THE GDPA POLICY FROM JUNE OF 1989

MOTION SECONDED BY MEMBER BENZ

MOTION CARRIED

4/0

 

The policy discussion was tabled until the June meeting.

 

Mr. Beauregard remarked there are still 25 policies that need to be placed on the web site in a form that can be edited.  Superintendent Hodgdon responded Ms. Duhamel is researching the type of scanner that will help facilitate that.

 

ADMINISTRATIVE REPORTS

 

Principal Allen informed the board of a survey conducted on the possibility of kindergarten students being bused.  The response was overwhelmingly positive.  Only two parents cited concern with the age of the children.  The bus routes and capacity would have to be studied.  She cited the possibility of additional instruction time as a result of students being bused.  Are targeting next fall for a pilot program. 

The Shared Decision Making Team mapped out a new lunch and recess schedule (recess before lunch) for HPS.  The seven-week pilot program began May 11th.  The challenge will be to see how the new schedule works during winter months when clothing is an issue.  June 16th is the dedication for outdoor classrooms (Turtle Island).

 

Mr. Manley questioned how we would meet the state mandated 2.5 hours for the kindergarten program.   Principal Allen stated she has been informed the state allows for the inclusion of recess time when determining total program time.  Therefore, the 2.5 hours of program time is being met. 

 

Mr. Manley asked whether information is available on the possibility of full-day kindergarten.  Principal Allen responded she is in favor of full-day kindergarten; however, it would have budgetary implications in that they may need to move a part-time position to a full-time position.  She indicated enrollment numbers would likely increase as the program would be an alternative to private schooling.  The school would have to be prepared to accept everyone that registers.  Mr. Beauregard suggested placing the issue of full-day kindergarten on a list for consideration during the next budget cycle. 

 

Principal Fowler informed the board the Math Curriculum SAU Staff Checklist is complete, has been placed on the web site, and is ready for implementation in the coming school year.  Cited the value of collaboration across districts and grade levels and the plans to incorporate more time to work together in the coming year.

 

Mr. Beauregard referred to the report as well written, compelling, and well reasoned. 

 

The Memorial Day Ceremony will take place on the 22nd at 8:45 a.m. in front of the flagpole at HUES.

 

Director of Special Education

 

Report on Stimulus Money for Special Education

 

Mr. Kelly informed the board he receives ongoing updates from the DOE with regard to determination factors having to do with indicators the state has to monitor districts by for stimulus funding.  That report will not be out before June.  The timeline indicates the availability of a web-based application May 15th.  The obligation of the first 50% is not due until September 30th

 

With regard to the total eligible IDEA Part B stimulus monies, Hollis is eligible for $152,425 and the preschool is eligible for $9,288.  Of the total, fifty percent (50%) is available to be applied for and drawn on now.  The second fifty percent (50%) can be applied for and drawn on after September 30, 2009.  Those grants can continue to be edited until September 30, 2011.  One hundred percent (100%) has to be expended by December 30, 2011.

 

Mr. Beauregard questioned the “maintenance of effort” requirement.  Mr. Kelly responded he has now been lead to believe maintenance of effort is not a requirement with federal funding.  However, he is awaiting confirmation from the DOE. 

 

Mr. Kelly remarked the coordinators across the SAU and the Principals have met and composed a list of proposed activities that would be within the window of the grant and not sustained thereafter.  He stressed IDEA funding can only be used for activities or purchases that have an impact on outcomes of students who are under IDEA; can have an overflow affect to others, but has to have impact directly to those students. 

 

Monthly reporting will include; what was expended, what activities were conducted, and the outcome or results of the activities.


Chairman McCann questioned the timeframe for knowing what will be applied for.  Mr. Kelly informed the board a workshop on the application completion has been scheduled.  The board will be kept abreast of the progress throughout the summer.  Superintendent Hodgdon added the commissioner is considering tailoring the grants to the unique needs of each district. 

 

Chairman McCann touched on the need to understand budgetary impacts.  Superintendent Hodgdon reminded the board the grant is a reimbursement program.  Mr. Kelly has yet to receive definitive feedback from the DOE with regard to the reimbursement schedule and whether it will coincide with reporting requirements.

Special Education Policy

 

With regard to IHBAA, Mr. Kelley stated the DOE has reversed its decision and will allow policies to reference procedures included in an appendix.  The appendix would be included in the SAU procedure manual as well as attached to the policy on the web site.   Mr. Beauregard questioned whether a legal review has been completed, and was informed it has.  He further asked if there was concern with incorporating the procedural detail, by reference, in the policy.  Stated once you incorporate by reference, you have no discretion to waiver in the way you deliver procedure.  Provided an example of the document being used as a checklist by an opposing party, where, if any step in the process were missed, the possibility exists for the school to be found liable.  Added every time a deviation was warranted the request would have to come before the board.

 

Mr. Beauregard felt the procedure should be separate and not referenced in policy.  Mr. Kelly will seek the advice of legal counsel and report back at the June meeting.   Mr. Manley suggested, even if council is acceptable to incorporating procedure into policy, it may not be advisable as it opens a door that need not be opened.

 

Mr. Beauregard expressed a concern with the policy language surrounding the use of the discrepancy model in that it conflicts with what is called out in the New Hampshire Rules for the Education of Children with Disabilities Part 300.307.  New Hampshire rules say “must not require the use of a severe discrepancy between intellectual ability and achievement for determining whether a child has a specific learning disability” where the policy reads “the school district shall utilize the discrepancy model”. 

 

Mr. Kelly explained the language prohibits a state educational agency from dictating to a local educational agency that they must use the discrepancy model.  The state dictates that a model must be established, and provides three models for the local educational agency to choose from.  Mr. Kelley will ask council to provide written clarification of the language. 

 

Mr. Beauregard spoke of a communication received back in November that referenced URLs and talked about best practices.  The communication seemed to say the Discrepancy Model was not the way to go and that the Response to Scientific Research Based Best Practices Intervention was the way to go.  It also stated the Discrepancy Model is not the model that would be in the best interest of our district.  Chairman McCann requested Director Kelly provide a write-up of the pros and cons of each of the models.

 

KED Policy

 

The KED policy change is in the number of days allowed for particular actions going from five (5) to ten (10).

 

Mr. Beauregard questioned why the grievance procedure is only applicable to 504/ADA as he did not understand why we would want a policy that was limited to that.  Believing there would be other types of grievances, wondered if the policy could be generalized for inclusion.  Mr. Kelly responded he was not sure as that is not within his area of responsibility.  This particular policy exists because ADA Section 504 requires a policy describing a grievance procedure. 


Mr. Manley questioned the terminology used for the individual going through the steps of the policy.  Reference starts with “qualified handicapped” and then at some point in the process moves to “aggrieved party”, which seems to change the status and make a finding of fact. 

 

Mr. Beauregard stated he would recommend we go along with the changes as it gives the administration a little more time to respond.  Mr. Kelly will follow up on the question of terminology used within the policy. 

 

Director of Curriculum

 

Ms. Mace introduced Ms. Lauren Heiter, the consultant who is working with the Hollis District Data Team on gathering, analyzing, and storing student data.

 

Ms. Heiter informed the board she has been working since the beginning of February.  After substantial set up work (gaining access to data, confidentiality agreements, etc.), she is now trying to get her hands around where the district is, what we are trying to do, what questions we want to answer with the data, and to understand the data we are trying to work with.  The first thing they did was document questions to answer from the data.  They also documented where data was stored (data inventory included in attached handout).   

 

Found the NECAP and NWEA data was not in a format analysis could be performed on because it was in spreadsheets broken down per year, per grade per testing cycle or teaching cycle, etc.  When asked about performing an analysis in the state database, Ms. Heiter responded reports can be done out of the state database on a yearly basis, but there is no longitudinal data.  What is provided by the state is raw data in Excel, separated files.  Mr. Beauregard suggested a relational query should be able to be done and the result set that comes out of that query should be going into a spreadsheet that will provide longitudinal data.  He suggested the use of a query interface that allows you to pick and choose all the parameters of your query.  He felt it technically easy and possible to write a sequel query that goes against that data and dumps it into a spreadsheet exactly how you want it.

 

Chairman McCann remarked that assumes the state is opening up the database for queries.  Ms. Heiter stated she does not believe they actually have a database.  They have a data warehousing initiative that is going on now.  They have just selected a vendor for that initiative.  What they provide is the ability to query by grade and year into an Excel spreadsheet.   Felt the basic data could provide a lot of information if they were able to work with it in one dataset to be able to query and report on it.

 

Mr. Hanley asked for a big picture view of the data-gathering project.  Chairman McCann stated the need to have data easily accessible to those making curriculum decisions for the district.  Ms. Heiter added the desire is to utilize the available data to make better-informed decisions, but the data has to be in a format that can be used.  Remarked there are tools available in Performance Pathways that allow you to do some analysis work, but we are not as familiar with those tools as we could be to be able to use them effectively.  Getting the data is a combination of physically retrieving the data, making sure you understand what the data means, making sure you are comfortable that the data is correct and valid, and putting it together in the right way, but also if there are other tools our there that allow you to get to the data use those tools to their effectiveness. 

 

Two major assessments (NECAP and NWEA) were selected and brought into an Access database to see what the data looks like, what the format is, what could be done with the data, etc.  Some data normalization was done as well as prototyping of some of the work we could do with the data.  At the same time, they started looking at some of the tools that are out there to understand what the data and tools provide. 

 

Attended a workshop where it was mentioned the NECAP release items could be used as a teaching tool.  NECAP release items could provide information on incorrect answers.  If we could analyze incorrect answers, over time we could pinpoint target practice questions.  It is hoped some of that analysis can be performed during summer camp. 

Ms. Heiter remarked they looked at doing a student profile report.  Although some information can come from Performance Pathways, it is not in a format that our educators can use effectively so they started looking at prototyping that.  She believes the DRA data would be helpful as well.  Ms. Heiter is looking at providing a very basic profile report, but needs extra data to come into the database in order to do that.  As an example, the data that is provided tells how many points were scored in a particular strand such as reading, vocabulary, etc., but doesn’t explain what the score means (ten points does not indicate whether that is 100% of 10 questions or 10% of 100 questions).  

 

What she felt is extremely important is that staff has a better understanding of existing tools that are available to them.  Some issues found were the ability to understand what the data means and where the state is going with their data warehousing initiative.  If this is a data store and the state is going to be providing a data warehouse at some point in the future, all of the features may not be needed. 

 

End of June deliverables are:

 

-           Basic Microsoft Access database with NECAP 2005-2008, NWEA 2005-2009, DRA & Goals 2008 – reading/writing (no automated routines, no security),

-           Basic student profile report with extra data to support it,

-           Identification of targeted questions for summer camp/fall,

-           List of questions to be answered by data,

-           Current data storage inventory; and

-           Better understanding by staff of existing tools, data, issues and state’s data warehousing initiative.

 

Chairman McCann stated he was under the impression we would be relying on PowerSchool to be our data warehouse.  Ms. Heiter’s response was that PowerSchool is a data information system that will track who the student is, attendance, etc., but she is not sure if they are set up to import NECAP, NWEA, or DRA data.  They may be able to provide that, but we don’t know the answer to that question at this time.  Principal Allen added PowerSchool could store the data, but we need to be able to retrieve it in a useful form, which she was not sure could be done.

 

Mr. Beauregard commented some software schema packages are proprietary and some are not.  We have not received an answer to the basic question of how much configurability there is within PowerSchool.  Principal Allen remarked in the couple of months they have worked with Ms. Heiter they have increased their knowledge base so that they do not know if PowerSchool will do everything they need or want it to do.  Chairman McCann expressed his desire to get to the point of determining whether or not it will address their needs.  Ms. Heiter remarked she looked into PowerSchool and she could not locate a place to input true assessment data.  She questions whether we could add to the database so that we could use their Oracle database and store the data in there. 

 

Mr. Beauregard questioned the requirements that were requested of the software package.   Superintendent Hodgdon explained the group (Superintendent Hodgdon, administrators, Principal Fowler, Rich Raymond     and School Board Members) outlined all of the kinds of things they wanted the software to be able to do.  The presentation was from an individual in another district who is using PowerSchool.  That district was in the early stages of implementing PowerSchool and did not have everything up and running.  The group did not receive finalized information about some of the functions they wanted. 

 

What they learned from the paper information they had and from conversations with other school districts is that there are countless numbers of reports we can create.  Mr. Beauregard commented those reports would be based on their data.  If we have our own local assessment data, those reports will not be any good to us unless they can be customized.  Superintendent Hodgdon stated her understanding they can be customized, however, we were not far enough along with this work to pose those kinds of questions.  Ms. Heiter commented on the large amount of work just to get running if we were to move forward and start using this in the fall. 

Principal Fowler remarked Ms. Heiter has helped the administration realize they need to have a better understanding of the data (is a score of 10 100% or 10%).  She is not sure PowerSchool can accomplish that.  It can store any data we put in there, and we can view a particular student’s profile, but she questions if that data will make sense when the student is in high school and they are not using NWEA (will the score be meaningful). 

 

Mr. Beauregard suggested the use of master data management where you have static test data and a separate table that would describe the test.  Queries could ask for information from the table and the raw data to come up with a derived answer that it is 10% or 100% based on the two pieces of information.  Commented what needs to be known is whether PowerSchool has a general query interface to their data.  If they have a general query database and the flexibility to allow you to do what you want with the schema then Crystal Reports can go in and query to customized reports.  Ms. Heiter believes fields can be added to the forms in PowerSchool, but that needs to be verified so we can understand if that is a permanent solution for data storage.   

 

Ms. Heiter cited her belief the district needs answers now, based on the data we have, to be able to move forward.  She sees it as an effort to get some analysis on these critical sources of data to work with and start utilizing the data.  This effort can take place while we are looking at PowerSchool.  We should also know what the state is doing to determine if we will be able to feed into their data warehousing system.

 

Chairman McCann understood the recommendation to be to use a Microsoft Access database in the short-term (not automatic), and questioned how much effort will be put into that, how much benefit will be derived from that data, and when we would switch over to PowerSchool or whichever product.  He is fearful going down this path would create a different problem.   He is looking for something that is more permanent and ultimately push-button.   Requested PowerSchool be contacted for a presentation.

 

Mr. Beauregard cited the need to look at this from an information management systems perspective in that PowerSchool is a hosted system, and, therefore, would have a service level agreement that guarantees up time, response time, etc.  Those are items you need to understand before trusting offsite storage of data.  Ms. Mace will contact the PowerSchool representative for a presentation.

 

Mr. Manley remarked PowerSchool should be thought of as a student management system.  It is excellent at communicating from the school to the home and back with the kinds of things parents would like to know.  However, it is questionable with regard to its ability to generate data over time for large groups of kids.  He questioned the goal of the data; what we are trying to yield from that.  Mr. Beauregard stated two main goals as; accessing district performance and diagnostic (correlate the assessment information with past data to see where the kids are that are at risk, on track, and high performers).

 

The reports we are looking at creating will be based off a query, and that query can really be put anywhere.  There is a layer between where the data is stored and the report.  The data can be stored elsewhere without affecting her query or reports as long as the same data elements are available.   

 

Mr. Beauregard questioned the resources that are being applied to the problem and whether they are sufficient.  Commented the work that would be done to restructure the data into a viable schema for the kind of analysis desired takes away from actually generating the reports, but if it is not done you can’t get as much out of it.  Ms. Heiter stated she received information for the release items.  The data is not as robust as it could be.  If we wanted to do that year- to-year we would have to put it into that format.  For that particular analysis, she believes she has the information needed and can go forward with it. 

The student profile, which is what is being looked at next, most likely isn’t going to need much restructuring of the data.  What it really needs is all of the additional data (is 10 points 10% or 100%).  Then they will be looking at what the grade level expectations for NWEA are to understand whether a student is performing at average, etc. 

Chairman McCann cited concerns with the amount of manual effort involved.  Ms. Heiter remarked the major amount of work (bringing in 2005-2008 data) has been done.  If you are thinking of even using it for one year, you only have ’09 NWEA data to bring in, one set of NECAP data and then 3 more sets of NWEA data.  She did not feel local assessment data should be incorporated beyond the DRA.  She felt PowerSchool was a better place to store that information, and that a lot of questions could be answered now with the current data.

 

When asked about the use of Performance Pathways, Ms. Heiter remarked you cannot use your own queries.  You can manipulate the data in some ways, but it is very cumbersome.  Mr. Beauregard stated a decision needs to be made on whether the district should purchase software or buy a basic database product and invest in consulting time to generate schema, scripts that load data, queries, reports, etc. manually.  He commented we are moving forward, but by no means, at this point, do we have sufficient funding and resources applied to the problem to get us where we need to be in a timely fashion.  The board and the administration need to think through the scope of this and determine when we want to solve the problem and what resources we can allocate to solve the problem.  Then goals need to be set for how much we can do this year, next year, and the following year.

 

Mr. Manley believes part of the discussion would be to identify the data that is really important to the district.  The real challenge, in his opinion, is the next step; when you get to that point and have accomplished all of that - then what?  How do you modify curriculum, professional training, lengthen the school day or whatever it might be?  The most difficult part is obtaining the data results and then moving into some course of action.

 

Principal Allen commented the work Ms. Heiter has done has been significant and time consuming.  She cited a chart that was produced that shows where the strengths and weaknesses of a sub-group are and where we need to focus.  This is something she has not had before.  Staff spent an early release day doing it manually, but Mr. Heiter was able to pull the information together and generate a report for a particular sub-group of students (page 6 of the handout).  This is what she needs to make curriculum decisions. 

 

Ms. Heiter commented the report has not been verified as the data is inconsistent with what is coming from Performance Tracker.  She has placed calls inquiring why that is (is it because we didn’t use the tools properly or is there something wrong with the data or a gap between when the data is provided and updates, etc). 

 

Ms. Heiter has questioned what others are using in terms of purchased or built software, and has found a lot of people are using Performance Tracker to do their work.  However, she is not sure anyone in the state is doing data tracking to the same level and invested in that type of analysis.  She believes some districts are utilizing the state provided information in their decision-making.  Another path would be to invest in an individual who is very knowledgeable of Performance Tracker.  Some people are putting their local assessments into Performance Tracker and using that for analysis.  Some are creating their own local assessments using the assessment building in Performance tracker.  Ms. Heiter stated her understanding that when you create an assessment within Performance Tracker anything you put in has to align to a GLE standard. 

 

Ms. Mace cited the need for feedback from the board as to whether they believe the administration is on the right track.    

 

Mr. Beauregard felt it would be helpful to hear administration’s recommendations on the two top level goals (evaluate performance of district and ability to perform diagnostic reporting and analysis); as far as district level performance, how is the administration prioritizing that, what do you see as the top tactical problems in instruction, curriculum, and professional development that you would like to get answers to, and what do you see as the measures that tell us whether our district is performing well and how well? 

Mr. Beauregard asked for answers to questions such as is Performance Pathways an open schema, can you connect Crystal reports to it, do they have service level agreements that we could count on, is it viable, etc. The same questions exist for PowerSchool. Mr. Beauregard asked, with regard to the top-level goals, what is believed to be a reasonable estimate of time to derive answers? 

Mr. Manley questioned what kind of data we have that will guide us short-term and tell us where we get the most yield from what we have and where we need to focus now for next year.  Ms. Heiter stated the data we have now that can guide us is the NWEA, NECAP, and DRA data; doing some of the reports that have been done, looking at that information, and trying to understand what that means over cohort groups, grade levels, and IEP versus non-IEP student, the general population, and the state.   Mr. Manley cited a question to be “What is it telling us to do short-term and medium-term”.  Mr. Beauregard remarked that raised the question of where the holes are.  It would not cover writing, kindergarteners, first graders, the second graders who will not be taking the NWEA until November, etc.  Superintendent Hodgdon stated we are relying on two national level pieces of data that may or may not be in sync with our local data.  Believes we need to determine what local data ought to be included. 

 

Principal Allen commented information is needed at the primary level when looking at intervention and where children need extension.

 

Math Textbook Selection Process

 

Principal Fowler informed the board the Math Textbook Selection Committee has completed its work, and has done a phenomenal job.  The work was comprehensive, thorough, well thought out and within the timeline. 

 

Mr. Beauregard expressed his concern in discussing the item when it had not appeared on the agenda.  He felt the audience may be different had the subject appeared on the agenda.  Chairman McCann asked what the effect of delaying a decision until June would be.  Principal Fowler responded, if the board were to choose to delay accepting the recommendation, she does not think she would be able to get the implementation plan done for the ‘09/’10 school year.  Knowing the process would start all over if the recommendation were not accepted; she would not want to undertake the tremendous amount of work required without a decision of the board. 

 

Chairman McCann concurred with the concern for public notice.  He did not believe the opinion of the board would be changed by the attendance, but understood the concern.  Stated his sense the board should wait until June to make the decision, but requested the discussion take place.  Principal Fowler asked if a special meeting could be conducted prior to the June meeting.  She cited the need for several more meetings of the Math Textbook Committee, to provide accurate costing to the Business Administrator, and for coordination of meetings with program representatives to complete the ordering and plan for professional development times (three companies have penciled in dates pending the decision).

 

Mr. Beauregard remarked, although he has a concern for public input, at the same time, he understands he has been elected to make a decision on this and that the board members are the ones who have been tied into this.   He questioned the cost and whether the budget report includes an encumbrance for the expenditure.  Principal Fowler responded early in the process quotes were received and provided to Ms. Duhamel who encumbered the amount of $85,000.  The ballpark figure provided for the program cost was $75,000 – $78,000, however, the quote received was standard, and decisions still remain on technology pieces, access to the web site for online student math textbooks, etc.  Although electronic textbooks may be desirable (dependent upon the age group), they are expensive, and hard cover textbooks are still necessary for the classroom.

 

Comparably sized districts utilizing the selected math program are; Gilford, NH, the ConVal School District, Litchfield, NH, and Holliston, MA. 

Chairman McCann understood enVision combines Everyday Math with other components.  Principal Fowler remarked when thinking of the continuum of math there is traditional (Saxon is an ultra-traditional approach) and then Everyday Math on the other side of the continuum.  The enVision math series and the Harcourt series are sort of meshing those two approaches together.  Looking at spiraling through skills, the team felt perhaps the spiraling might not be as quick as it is in Everyday Math.  There are longer amounts of time spent on topics for mastery.  Looking at the checks and balances in the program; the program is very rigorous, every lesson has a quick check in there, the cut-off for being on grade level is pretty stringent, and if you don’t get most of your points on your quick check you are in the intervention model of getting re-taught.

 

Chairman McCann remarked we have Everyday Math now and have made modifications to it in the past year to incorporate more of the traditional elements.  Questioned how much different this program is from what we have already done internally.  Mr. Ward responded; Everyday Math changes topics frequently, which is an advantage in that it is something new every day and EnVision and Harcourt both seem to linger on topics longer and use more of a push towards standard algorithms although other algorithms do show up.  The big difference is in the grade where they would be going from a workbook that can be written in to a regular textbook.  The program is user friendly in how it is set up in terms of finding things for each lesson.  There are ways to easily differentiate depending on how they did that day on homework.  There is a lot of quick assessment.

 

Principal Fowler added it tries to bring the electronic world into the lessons in that every lesson comes with an interactive video that teachers can use in the classroom and can be accessed by parents for reinforcement.  Principal Fowler stated following this program will ensure every child is getting the same amount of exposure to problem solving, math computation drills, etc.

 

Mr. Manley touched on the importance of the readiness of the teachers to implement the program.  Questioned whether there is professional development required for this and if so how we are prepared to give that to the teachers.  Principal Fowler responded; there is a professional development day penciled in for June during the five (5) days they will be working without students and an additional day when the Principals will work with the staff in the area of math so that they can review the materials and have the benefit of having had the presentation and the professional development the previous day, and, depending on the calendar, would like to use a day in October for additional professional development to address questions that will undoubtedly arise once the program is in use. 

 

Mr. Manley felt it key enough time and training be provided.  Felt if this program is adopted and requires teachers to teach differently, perhaps administration should consider using the final week of school to make math a priority.  Principal Fowler replied they are going on the advice of the company as to how much professional development is needed.  There are variables to be considered such as if we receive stimulus funding and can purchase more of the technology aspects such as Smartboards, then discussions need to be conducted on how we integrate that and to what level.  Ms. Mace remarked she does not believe it would be a difficult implementation.

 

Ms. Mace cited another piece of professional development being planned is visits to other districts using the program as research indicates that is some of most effective professional development.  Administration may try to get some of that done before the end of the year if the recommendation is approved.  Questions the textbook committee can focus on are; is this program differentiated enough, what are other high-performing districts doing with this program, and are the blocks of math time sufficient amounts of time. 

 

Because we have high-performing students it is felt we should be looking at the higher-level pieces.  The committee can address how we can find materials that not only give kids more work, but integrate; what projects can we get that will synthesize their knowledge as opposed to let’s just give them harder wok for longer.

 

Mr. Beauregard touched on the sense that this program provides a lot of support to the teacher.  He questioned whether the problem solving is embedded in the tool itself, and if the problem solving is of critical thinking.  Principal Fowler responded the problem solving they saw in the book is aligned to the problem solving extra pieces they have been working on now.  Mr. Ward remarked the program has a problem solving worksheet that lists out the different strategies and the students are required to select the strategies to use.  There are seven (7) different strategies they have been focused on and will continue to focus on.

Ms. Benz questioned whether the decision of the Math Textbook Selection Committee was unanimous.  Principal Fowler indicated it was.

 

Ms. Karen Kelley, an Everyday Math advocate, stated she loves this program and the kids love the program.  She was able to show the textbooks to the kids, and they were very excited about the program.  She touched on the technology and visual components of the program so that when it goes home to parents there is no question about what the lesson was all about.  Feels the differentiation is exciting for the below level, average, and extension kids. 

 

Mr. Manley asked what the assessment is of the checklist in terms of support of curriculum.  Principal Fowler replied enVision Math was “strongly agree” in both areas (as referenced in the chart on page 4 of the handout).  Stated the Math Textbook Selection Committee spent a day going through the updated checklist and grade level expectations.  EnVision Math has already done the work of where every lesson is with GLEs.  What the committee did was took the asterisk pieces of each of the checklists to see if those added pieces were in the program.  Then they found examples and had to justify to themselves how much supplementation will have to be done to get the checklist complete.  What was found were a couple of things that had been added to the 4th grade that are largely covered in the 5th grade.  Those were moved to the 5th grade. 

 

There are areas on the checklist that teachers will have to be aware of and perhaps do a little extra for.  For example, in 3rd grade it does rounding to 10s and 100s.  We added the extra rigor of rounding to thousands.  Every grade level has a few things that aren’t a perfect match but the program requires nowhere near the supplementation we are doing now with Everyday Math.

 

Principal Fowler cited one of the nice things about the program as the 140 days of lessons and 20 additional days for assessment.  Having 180 days we can talk about the pacing; if we truly are implementing flexible groups across the grade levels, we can take those extra days to hone in and make sure children understand the skill.   Another unique item is that teacher manuals come in folders of 20 (chapters) so we can determine where to start lessons and teach out of sequence. 

 

Principal Fowler remarked our advanced students are very advanced.  Although the team liked the extension work they felt more was going to be needed in terms of providing a richer synthesis.

Ms. Benz questioned if Everyday Math has this kind of differentiated program.  Ms. Kelley responded it is available, but in three different books that you really have to search through.

 

Mr. Beauregard commented the program seems very labor saving so the teachers can focus more on the students than the materials.  Principal Fowler added there is a writing to explain component.  We know the writing piece is where we fall down.  

 

Mr. Beauregard questioned if the intensive intervention piece would change what is done with the early intervening services.  Principal Fowler stated they have ideas on how to use the math support teacher.  She believes the ideas will change a lot of how we can provide more early intervening services.  The tools will be available now, and should the model proceed as she envisions, there will be the ability for co-teaching where the math support person would be focusing on the flexible group.  Principal Allen added, at present, we don’t have a common intervention tool.  Depending on which adult you are working with they are developing their own tools.  This would be an across-the-board system. 

MOTION BY MEMBER BEAUREGARD TO ACCEPT THE ADMINISTRATION’S RECOMMENDATION FOR THE MATH TOOL TO BE THE ENVISION MATH PROGRAM

MOTION SECONDED BY MEMBER BENZ


ON THE QUESTION

 

Ms. Benz questioned the concern of public awareness.  Mr. Manley stated his opinion is based on the strength of the research.  He suggested the information be made accessible to the public.  Reiterated the need to prioritize teacher preparedness.

 

Mr. Beauregard stated his interest in knowing how much more effective the program would be with the use of the multi-media portion.

MOTION CARRIED

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PTA Wellness

 

Ms. Barbour informed the board the initial goal of the PTA Wellness Committee is to support the school staff in making our schools “healthy schools”.  Stated she has received assistance from some of the Nashua schools in how to implement programs to help with the wellness of children in respect to the snack and school lunch programs, and then moving into fitness.

 

They had been asked by the principals to work with the cafeteria staff and families.  They have been providing an introduction of foods each month by creating recipes to be sent home via the newsletter and then exposing the cafeteria staff to the recipes.  In February, a survey was sent out to elementary school parents.  Of the 124 parents who completed the online survey; 95% are satisfied with the foods their family eats at home and nearly 66% like to try new foods.  The majority of parents are concerned with increasing healthy choices available at school and 63% are concerned the children do not eat as well as they should in school.  Particular areas of concern raised were snack and desert options, information and control over the children’s choices, a lack of fresh fruits and vegetables, and amount of time children have to eat lunch.  The survey also showed 60% of parents would be willing to pay more for healthy lunch choices and 20% said it would make the cost much too high.  All of these things need to be considered. 

 

Ms. Barbour commented the people responding are very interested in what their children eat and have time to respond.  The response is the perception parents have of the lunch program.   She believes there is information available that parents are not taking advantage of.  She would like to make the national food lunch program standards available to all parents next fall.  Questions if we can expand or improve on the menu to better identify the fresh fruit and veggie options.

 

Based on the results of the survey, the committee recommends:

 

-           More communication with parents about menu items and national standards,

-           Cafeteria workers could be available at open house and perhaps have a booth for sampling of food items,

-           Offer salad bar at HUES on a regular basis,

-           Increase amount of fresh fruits, 

-           Make lunch and snack purchase information available to parents on line (monitor individual spending),

-           Menus should include more vegetable options and the students should be educated on what that means – could identify protein options over items,

-                      School should increase the number of in-house whole grain baked items to include healthy muffins, cooked breads, cookies, etc. 

-                      Water should be available during lunch inside the cafeteria to be dispensed by pitchers or water dispensers,

-           Reduce portion size of some sweeter snacks and offer cookies and ice cream for sale only 1-2 days a week; and

-           Consider professional days for head cooks. 

Ms. Barbour spoke of the stumbling blocks with increasing the number of baked items such as the lack of a mixer with the required capacity.  At present we are purchasing muffins, etc. from outside.  Will need to consider what equipment is required and things such as whether all of the baking should take place at HUES as the kitchen and staff are larger. 

 

She mentioned the Farm-to-School Program.  Stated what is desired is to see Hollis produce in Hollis schools.  There is a cost associated with that, which needs to be determined.  Ms. Barbour acknowledged there are budgetary impacts to consider, however, stated it requires very little more to provide meals for 150 kids versus 100.  If you can get up to that 100 then you start making your money. 

 

Ms. Barbour remarked one of the events the committee participated in was joining with the school nurse at HPS for National Nutrition Week by supplying her with the foods she was talking to the kids about.  They will also be providing food and water for the Walk New Hampshire.

 

Chairman McCann remarked the cafeteria is self-funded.  The food price was raised last year to cover a small deficit.  Suggested consideration could be given during budget discussions on the purchase of items such as a large capacity mixer.

 

Superintendent

 

Staffing

 

Superintendent Hodgdon informed the board she and Principal Allen had filed an AYP appeal, which was denied in a letter dated May 8th.  The reason for denial was, in their opinion, there was not enough substance to the reasons.  Mr. Manley stated an important feature, since it has been denied, is to come back to the idea of looking at not only that group, but also the next group of kids who will be tested who will determine our status.  Principal Allen remarked she believes the work being done with Ms. Heiter supports that. 

 

Superintendent Hodgdon informed the board she received notification from Penny regarding a solicitation to begin bargaining the Support Staff Master Contract for 09/10.  She also received correspondence from David Olszewski stating the HEA accepts the title of Interim 3rd grade teacher for the position discussed previously. 

 

Hiring

 

Superintendent Hodgdon recommended the following candidates to fill vacancies at HPS and HUES:

 

At HPS, Catherine Baines replacing Heather Nelson in the third grade for the remainder of the year.   Ms. Baines has a BS and BA from Keene State College and one year’s experience.  Recommendation is Step 2 at a salary of $36,478.

 

MOTION BY MEMBER BEAUREGARD TO ACCEPT THE SUPERINTENDENT’S RECOMMENDATION OF CATHERINE BAINES’ ANNUAL CONTRACT AT STEP 2 WITH A SALARY OF THIRTY SIX THOUSAND FOUR HUNDRED SEVENTY EIGHT DOLLARS ($36,478)

MOTION SECONDED BY MEMBER BENZ

MOTION CARRIED

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At HUES, Colleen VanCura replacing Lisa Stone in the 4th grade (long-term teacher for the remainder of this year).  Ms. VanCura has a BS and finished her student teaching at HUES.  She is very well known and has received excellent reviews.  The experience level is zero.  Recommendation is Step 1 at a pro-rated salary of $35,072.

 

MOTION BY MEMBER BEAUREGARD TO ACCEPT THE SUPERINTENDENT’S RECOMMENDATION OF COLLEEN VANCURA’S CONTRACT TO BE A LONG TERM TEACHER FOR THE REMAINDER OF THE SCHOOL YEAR AT STEP 1 WITH A PRO-RATED SALARY OF THIRTY FIVE THOUSAND SEVENTY TWO DOLLARS ($35,072)

MOTION SECONDED BY MEMBER BENZ

MOTION CARRIED

 

Superintendent Hodgdon informed the board the contract was quoted incorrectly in the request for maternity leave for Maureen Chorma considered at the last meeting.  The contract language references grading periods not trimesters when considering start and end dates of leave requests.  It was her recommendation the board support Ms. Chorma in her request to continue through September 11, 2009 and take leave for six (6) weeks following the birth of her child.  She would like to use accrued sick time for a portion of her leave, and would anticipate returning on February 1, 2010.

 

MOTION BY MEMBER BEAUREGARD TO ACCEPT THE RECOMMENDATION OF THE SUPERINTENDENT ON MAUREEN CHARMA’S REQUEST FOR A RETURN DATE OF FEBRUARY 1, 2010

MOTION SECONDED BY MEMBER BENZ

MOTION CARRIED

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Superintendent Hodgdon informed the board of a request for maternity leave by Amy Young.  Ms. Young is expecting her child on September 29, 2009.  She plans to begin the 09/10 school year and teach until the birth of her child.  She would like to take the following six (6) weeks as maternity leave and would like an extension for the remainder of the first kindergarten marking period.  She would return full-time on February 1, 2010.

 

As the calendar has yet to be finalized, Principal Allen would prefer the request reference the end of the first trimester, which is on or about February 1, 2010.  Superintendent Hodgdon will list that as the intent of the board in her response letter.

 

MOTION BY MEMBER BEAUREGARD TO ACCEPT THE RECOMMENDATION OF THE SUPERINTENDENT ON AMY YOUNG’S REQUEST FOR MATERNITY LEAVE

MOTION SECONDED BY MEMBER BENZ

MOTION CARRIED

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Superintendent Hodgdon informed the board of four (4) requests for early return from leave.  The teachers are currently on approved leave until the start of the 09/10 school year (Nichole Cailler, Sarah Proulx, Lisa Stone, and Caryn Miller), however, would like to return in time to take part in the staff training scheduled for June 22nd through the 26th

 

MOTION BY MEMBER BEAUREGARD TO ACCEPT THE SUPERINTENDENT’S RECOMMENDATION TO APPROVE THE FOUR (4) REQUESTS FOR EARLY RETURN TO ALLOW THE TEACHERS TO PARTICIPATE IN PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT DAYS 

MOTION SECONDED BY MEMBER BENZ


ON THE QUESTION

 

Mr. Beauregard noted the special exception in that the purpose is to allow for teacher participation in professional development.

 

Mr. Manley questioned whether other requests have been received for return at a date other than the start of a grading period, which may have been denied.  Principal Fowler remarked in the years she has been with the district there have been no such requests.  Mr. Manley questioned how it might impact scenarios that are not related.  Superintendent Hodgdon stated her desire for a conversation with the Association and a Sidebar Agreement that this is not precedent setting.

 

Principal Allen spoke of two (2) other teachers in similar positions.

 

AMENDED MOTION BY MEMBER BEAUREGARD TO ACCEPT THE SUPERINTENDENT’S RECOMMENDATION TO APPROVE THE FOUR (4) REQUESTS FOR EARLY RETURN, CONTINGENT UPON THE ASSOCIATION AGREEING THIS DOES NOT SET A PRECEDENT

MOTION CARRIED

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Speaking on the budget, Mr. Beauregard remarked it appears as though we are dipping into contingency to the tune of almost $8,800.  As has been the practice in the past, the board should bring this to the attention of the Budget Committee at their next meeting.  Had hoped Ms. Duhamel would come with a recommendation and justification stating the amount and reason.  Mr. Beauregard questioned if there is anything else that may require the use of contingency funds.  Superintendent Hodgdon stated she had not had the opportunity to speak with Ms. Duhamel about this.  However, the issue can be discussed at the May 18th meeting.

 

Mr. Beauregard commented it is at the next meeting when the board will have to deliberate on salary actions for non-union personnel.  The recommendation that came out of the Curriculum Management consultant’s report last summer was we don’t have consistent job descriptions.  Asked if they would be available in the timeframe of deliberating on the salary actions and renewing the contract.  Superintendent Hodgdon responded it would be a challenge to get them in that timeframe.  It was remarked the information is most important for negotiations going into next year.  The updated job descriptions will be available by September.  Ms. Benz remarked she would be satisfied to have them in place prior to the school year. 

 

SAU Lease

 

This discussion item will be tabled until Ms. Duhamel is in attendance.

 

SCHOOL CALENDAR

 

2009-10 Approval

 

Superintendent Hodgdon remarked she had sent an electronic copy of the proposed calendar out, which abridges, to some degree, what was discussed at the SAU level.  What she believed was not clear at the SAU level was that we would be adding an additional day for staff by having the third orientation day in the first week of school.  The sacrifice would be that we would have to take one of the professional development days further on in the calendar. 

 

The principals and other administrators in the district felt strongly about losing any professional development time.  The proposal is to collapse the week into two (2) rather than three (3) staff days.  They would still be able to do the orientations on the Friday, still have students start back full time on Monday, and still provide the professional development time.  The Friday orientation does not count as a school day, but would be counted as a professional development day for staff.

Superintendent Hodgdon clarified the SAU proposal was for all staff to return on Wednesday August 26th.  If the calendar were approved, they would return on Thursday, August 27th.

 

Principal Allen remarked the first grade staff would be obligated for an hour as they greet the children and parents.  Kindergarten staff would be obligated for a bit more time in the day as they have small groups of parents and children coming in to meet and greet.

 

Superintendent Hodgdon reiterated the need for teachers to have some time with the math program before they are pulled in for additional training, which makes October 2nd a more suitable professional development day.

 

Mr. Beauregard touched on the traditional start up of school being a three-day week, a four-day week, and then a five-day week, which the principals in the past have found helpful.  Being proposed is a five-day-week, a four-day week, and a five-day week.  When asked, Principal Allen commented it could be devastating in the early primary grades (1st graders all day for the first time/younger children with transition issues).

 

Mr. Beauregard made mention of how some of the dates identified as professional days are used in Hollis (November 25th and March 26th) and how they are used at the COOP.  Stated a concern about the fact that traditionally those are two of the 186 contracted teacher days for Hollis; not doing instruction or professional development.

 

Principal Fowler remarked those days are compensation for the amount of hours dedicated to parent conference week.  Cited the amount of time required for parent meetings as well as preparation time for those meetings.  Those days begin early in the morning hours and continue late into the evening hours.

 

MOTION BY MEMBER BEAUREGARD TO ACCEPT THE CALENDAR AS RECOMMENDED BY THE SUPERINTENDENT

MOTION SECONDED BY MEMBER MANLEY

MOTION CARRIED

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Superintendent Hodgdon informed the board the last day of school for the 08/09 school year would be June 18th for kindergarten and June 19th for all other students.  The last teacher day is June 26th.  The Promotion Ceremony for the 6th grade is June 18th

 

Superintendent Hodgdon remarked the last day for support staff is penciled in as she was unsure if the board wished to discuss the issue.  Mr. Beauregard remarked on the comments made earlier in the evening about the desire for food service personnel to have a professional day.  However, he felt the decision was that of administration. 

 

Principal Fowler stated we have contracted with para educators for a certain amount of days.  They will be participating as appropriate in the professional development opportunities as well as other tasks assigned during those times.  We do have special education paraprofessionals work one (1) additional day beyond the last student day, which is usually the 180th day.  That would put them all working on Monday.  Instructional Assistants work two (2) days after the 180th day.

 

Mr. Beauregard questioned the scenario that occurred this year due to the snow days.  He had believed they would be working at the end of the year so they would still get paid for the same number of days.  Principal Fowler explained we have to allow them to work.  In their contract, if they want to work, they can until the 26th of June.  The special education paraprofessionals have in their contract one (1) day after the end of the school year (180 days) and the other day we have contracted with the special education paraprofessionals.  Instructional assistants have two (2) additional days that bring them to the 30th

Principal Allen informed the board she has been asked by some who have children of their own who will be out of school on the 19th, if they have an option to sign something saying the will forego five (5) days of pay and take the days unpaid. 

 

Mr. Beauregard requested a recommendation from the Superintendent based on the input she is receiving from the principals, discussions with union leadership with regard to implications of letting an individual out of their contractual obligation, is it precedent setting, etc.  Superintendent Hodgdon responded she has not heard from the Association leadership on the issue. 

 

Mr. Manley commented on unpaid leave being an option that is covered in the contract.   Mr. Beauregard believed there was no right in the contract.  Principal Allen explained there is no right in the contract, but, as an example, if she were to receive a request for a vacation day the Friday before the start of a vacation, the request can be approved, however, the day would be unpaid.  The contract does state a personal day may not be taken prior to a vacation period, but does not prohibit an unpaid day from being taken. 

 

It was the general consensus of the board the decision was that of the administration and principals based on their particular circumstances.

   

TOPICS FOR FUTURE MEETINGS

 

This discussion item will be placed on the agenda for the June meeting.

 

ADJOURNMENT
 
MOTION BY MEMBER BENZ TO ADJOURN
MOTION SECONDED BY MEMBER MANLEY           
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The Hollis School Board meeting of May 13, 2009 was adjourned at 10:38 p.m.
 
 
 

Date __________________________      Signed       ________________________


ACTION ITEMS (5-13-09)

 

Superintendent Hodgdon

 

Discuss the issue of school security with Police Chief.

 

Updated job descriptions to be made available by September.

 

Compile a list of FY11 budget discussion items to include:

 

-           Full-day kindergarten

 

-           PTA Requests

-           Consideration of farm-to-school program

-           Equipment needs (large mixer) for possible in-house baking

 

Dawna Duhamel, Business Administrator

 

Status of scanner purchase (25 policies require placement on the web site).

 

Director Kelly

 

Update on items being applied for under stimulus funding.

 

Obtain legal opinion on the incorporation, by reference, of procedural detail in KED Policy.

 

Obtain legal opinion on conflict between state and district language surrounding the type of model used for children with disabilities.

 

Provide a write-up of the pros and cons of each of the models that could be used for determining whether a child has a specific learning disability with respect to best practices web sites cited in public correspondence dated November 2008.

Director Mace

 

Facilitate a presentation by PowerSchool.

 

Principal Allen

 

Kindergarten busing pilot program targeted for next fall.