Hollis School Board
September 10, 2008
BOARD MEMBERS PRESENT:
Bill Beauregard, Chairperson
Jim McCann, Vice Chairperson
Alison Haytayan, Board Secretary
STAFF: Betsy Packard, Temporary Recording Secretary
Susan Hodgdon, Superintendent of Schools
Elizabeth Allen, Principal, Hollis Primary School
Candice Fowler, Principal, Hollis Upper Elementary School
Dawna Duhamel, Business Administrator
Carol Mace, Director of Curriculum
Bob Kelly, Director of Special Education
Bob Blais, Director of Maintenance
Others present included members of the Public.
1. CALL TO ORDER
Chair. Beauregard called the meeting to order at 5:05 p.m.
AGENDA ADDITIONS AND DELETIONS
i) School calendar
Rich Raymond – Student notification system
Policy Waiver – KHC Information Distribution
Dennis Johnson, 7 Main Street, addressed the Board. He informed the Board that there were documented incidents of his child’s bus driver putting hands on the children. A police report was filed. He requested that the Board allow his daughter to ride a different bus. Several buses pass by his house on their way to the school. Supt. Hodgdon stated that the situation had been brought forth to her. She explained that she needed to talk with Nancy Orde. She informed Mr. Johnson that he would be hearing back from Ms. Orde with a new bus number.
Chair. Beauregard stated that he had sent some feedback out on the minutes that afternoon.
Jim McCann moved that the Board accept the public minutes of July 17, 2008 as written. Susan Benz seconded. Motion carried. 3 – 0 – 2 (Loftus, Haytayan abstained.)
Jim McCann moved that the Board accept the non-public minutes of July 17, 2008 as written. Susan Benz seconded. Motion carried. 3 – 0 – 2 (Loftus, Haytayan abstained.)
Supt. Hodgdon that she had received the following pieces of correspondence:
A letter of resignation from Mary Kay McFarland as Board Secretary.
A letter requesting a bus route change, where the route would be reversed for the safety of several first graders on the bus route.
A memorandum to the Hollis Transportation to provide bus driver uniforms.
Two letters requesting non-resident students to attend the school.
Chair. Beauregard added that he had received a thank you note from Dr. Pauldi for the going away gift the Board had given her.
DISCUSSION AND ADMINISTRATION BRIEFING
A. Director of Maintenance
Chair. Beauregard said that the Chair. of the Budget Committee had proposed a meeting between Hollis School Board, the Coop School Board, the Coop Budget Committee and the Selectmen, to plan capital expenditures in Hollis with the goal of better managing tax increases.
The Hollis school district owns and manages the water system that services both elementary schools, the Coop Middle School, the Farley Building, the Community Center, the Town Hall, and some private residences. It is a likely source of capital expenditures. The Board requested a report that includes an inventory, status, and recommendations with cost estimates for all components of the water system for the upcoming joint town meeting happening some time in October.
Mr. Blais said he had found a letter that contained information and clarification of the system, stated that pressure testing existing lines could cause harm, explained that replacing sections of line with shut-off valves would help isolate problems and improve system availability and observed that no repairs from Rocky Pond to the Middle School have ever been done, the lines are old. He is obtaining quotes. He said the following components needed to be considered: a separate system at the Middle School, evaluating sections of line from the Middle School to Rocky Pond, storage and pressure tanks.
Mr. McCann asked how many private residences were supplied by the system. The apartment building, as well as the Town Hall, Farley Building, the Barn/rec area. He added there is another potential well source at the town fields.
District Maintenance Hutter Evaluation Report:
Chair. Beauregard asked for an update to the checklist of projects provided in a spreadsheet last June. Mr. Blais reported that they are waiting for approval to repair HPS siding and ductwork. Completed items include HPS roof, furniture, interior painting, and landscaping with help from parent volunteers. The heating system needed the following repairs: water heater, check valve, small circulator, and other minor things at HPS.
Chair Beauregard asked about the large temperature changes reported in some HUES classrooms. Mr. Blais stated that he is encouraging teachers to contact him anytime when the room temperature is uncomfortable. He added that all of the HUES heating units are on the outside wall and have individual thermostats. They intake outside air directly and blow large volumes of air so the air temperature is deceiving. The air blowing out is 70 degrees, but it feels cooler than it is. Heating unit set points are correct. Room use can also affect the temperature in the room. He added that he was looking to trying to separate the operation of the two units in each classroom, so hopefully they won’t blast extremes of cold/hot, hot/cold.
FY2007-2008 Expenditure Report: Ms. Duhamel gave a summary.
· At year end $73,632 was put in the Expendable Trust and approximately $264,000 will go back to the town.
· Regular Education was over by approximately $29,000 due to substitutes. Chair. Beauregard said the overruns have happened two years in a row and asked if they need to budget more for FY10. Ms. Duhamel will speak with HR director.
· A part-time aide position in the library was budgeted but not spent for a $16,000 savings
· Special Education line items that have a surplus were mostly due to IDEA Federal funds grants that were received rather than a reduced need for services in the district, e.g., Speech Pathology (2159) would have been much higher if not for an IDEA grant. IDEA grants are not guaranteed so they must be forecast conservatively
· Mr. Kelly said line item 2152.330 had a surplus because an expected need for a contracted aide position did not come about. Other 1200 accounts were over budget due to unforeseen increase in programming and tuition needs for specialized programming.
· The overage under Legal was due to union negotiations. Ms. Duhamel will look into transferring it to Negotiations.
· The $82,000 surplus includes the contingency fund.
· line item 2319 is Child Find Services.
· Fuel and transportation was $27,000 over budget. Ms. Duhamel will get back to the Board about the number of gallons used.
· Question about whether HPS wall repair, and maintenance and improvements to the heating systems last year resulted in any savings. Ms. Duhamel said that gallons delivered figures can be skewed depending on when the oil tanks were topped off and degree day difference. A little over 40,000 gallons were delivered to the district in FY07 versus 35,000 in FY08.
· Maintenance salaries had a approximately $9,000. Last Fall the Board was told there was a shortage of staff and funding for HPS. Ms. Duhamel notes an extended workman’s compensation case that contributed to this surplus. Mr. Blais filled in. Mr. Blais is trying to develop a substitutes list. High school students are not available during the day. Ms. Allen suggested that the evening help could perhaps cover the day hours, then they could get student help for the night. Mr. McCann wondered if they could get retiree help. Ms. Loftus asked whether the town knew of interested people. Mr. Beauregard asked if between the town and schools if they could utilize a full position.
· The maintenance budget had a $1,500 surplus on a $864,000 budget.
FY09 fuel: Ms. Duhamel has not yet locked-in the fuel contract for FY09. The current price is $3.84 ($48,000 over fuel budget), down from $3.99 ( $74,000 over fuel budget) Ms. Duhamel is watching the market and will lock-in when she sees the market change or the vendor requires it. She is talking to Lorden Oil and Fuller and watching others. Chair. Beauregard reported the Budget Committee suggested that they lock into a price for half of the oil they need, then by on the spot for the rest. Ms. Duhamel does not advise doing this. Mr. McCann asked whether the buying consortiums have locked in.
FY 09 expenditure report: Ms. Duhamel will email the to the Board. There are no surprises.
Budget Committee report: Ms. Duhamel is working on it.
Food service update: Ms. Duhamel expects Food Service to be self-funded this year given the price increase for lunches and is keeping an eye on it. Ms. Fowler responded that they had not gotten any feedback from parents on increase in the price of lunches. They were having a problem with students ordering lunches and then not picking them up. Chair. Beauregard asked if the Nashua Soup Kitchen could use the food. Ms. Benz noted the Soup Kitchen was in dire straits and one might be surprised at what they would accept. Ms. Fowler will ask the Food Service director to look into it.
FY10 budget process: Chair. Beauregard outlined the process used last year. Start with the FY09 budget, remove any one-time items such as the additional sixth grade Instructional Assistants, add mandatory increases such as salaries and benefits, etc., and prioritize a separate list of new requests across both buildings. Assume no reduction in services. The Budget Committee had not yet set guidance and is looking at factoring in the decline in student population. Ms. Duhamel reminded the Board that FY10 retirement will affect the budget. She added that in October they will have a conceptual budget, and in November there will be hard numbers on spreadsheets.
FTE Report: Ms. Duhamel can provide budgeted numbers, not actuals but the difference should not be material. She could get FY07, FY08 and FY09 numbers from the new system.
Rich Raymond addressed the Board to report that he had been looking at student notification systems. Alert Now is the system. He explained that the system would send out multiple emails with attachments to replace backpack mail, dial large quantities of phone numbers in just a few minutes, and send text messages. It is Web based, can also be accessed by phone remotely, has a spam filter, and distribution groups can be set up. It has a parental portal, where parents have a link, so by using a password, they can make sure their personal contact information is accurate and customize they way they are contacted based on the category of message. Messages can have designated levels, such as high level emergency, where it would call everyone, and can not be overrided.
Mr. Raymond explained that the phone numbers and email addresses that are in WIN School can be exported to Alert Now. If a change is made in WIN School software system, it will automatically upload the change to Alert Now. It would take 1 – 2 weeks to get it up and running.
Mr. Raymond stated that Alert Now will generate reports about who received the message. It also has the technology to recognize if the phone call that has been made went to an answer machine or by a person. It will retry a busy number up to one hour.
Mr. Raymond reported that the cost of the software is $3.00 per student, with staff and School Board members being free. It is estimated to cost approximately $2,100.
Chair. Beauregard pointed out that there were 744 students enrolled as of September 1st and at $3.00 per student, the cost would be $2,232 per year. Ms. Fowler stated that there would be savings in paper costs, plus staff time.
Jim McCann moved that the Hollis School District enter into a one-year agreement with Alert Now at a cost of $3.00 per student. Maura Loftus seconded.
Jim McCann amended his motion to add “subject to the Business Administrator finding money in the budget.” Motion carried unanimously. 5 – 0 – 0.
Director of Curriculum
Ms. Mace reported on the summer research projects. A draft document is complete. It was shared with Hollis School District Administrators on August 19. She added that she would be sharing it with the SAU leadership team the next day, as it had K –12 implications. She stated that she wanted to present it to the Hollis facility on September 17. A final draft will be presented at the October School Board meeting.
The committee investigated five areas of the research phase. They also looked in depth at the National Math Advisory Panel report to pull out findings and recommendations. When they looked at benchmarking NH and local GLEs against other states: Massachusetts, California, Connecticut, and Missouri.
Chair Beauregard asked whether any requests for Board decisions would be forth coming Ms. Mace stated they would be likely looking for a Board consensus and support for the recommends.
Chair Beauregard asked whether the Board could review the draft this month while other groups are doing so since it is over 30 pages. Ms. Mace said there would be time after the 17th and before the Board meeting.
Chair Beauregard asked how the report would be presented to staff. Ms Fowler stated the principals will distribute copies to their staff on Friday to give them time to review it. Ms. Allen noted there would be one presentation to HUES and HPS staff the following Wednesday.
Ms. Mace stated that she was ask by the Superintendent to follow-up on Board questions about two open items from the Curriculum Adminstrators’ reports in June:
· Analysis of District sub-groups to see how they affect the overall writing score and percentile ranking relative to the rest of the state. Performance Pathways shows:
o Hollis Special Education sub-group’s performance is slightly below the state average. Hollis Students as a whole are slightly above average. She felt that the Special Education sub-group is not substantially impacting the overall rating.
o Chair. Beauregard said the Board wasn’t looking to single out any one group, but rather can the data show any meaningful trend or pattern or source or factor that helps identify why almost 50% of the students were below proficient in writing.
· What are other high performing districts doing. She has identified the districts she will be contacting. A newspaper article reported that Bedford is doing pretty well and so has hired writing coaches to: Work with teachers in the classroom and at grade level meetings and lead a committee to look at curriculum revision at the elementary level
Comparing Bedford’s approach of writing coaches to the Hollis process with Readers and Writers Workshop and the Tufts University consultant visits, with a curriculum coordinator to carry it forward between consultant visits, Ms. Mace said Curriculum Administrator job descriptions did not give them enough time in the classroom. Ms. Hodgdon mentioned The Bedford Website listed a part-time position this year and the newspaper article reported it would become a full-time position with an on-going need due to number of teachers retiring.
Ms. Mace will find out what kind of writing program Bedford uses and how writing is integrated across the curriculum. Ms. Mace stated that she had talked with the Assistant Superintendent in Bedford, who told her that program was secondary to consistency of implementation.
Ms. Mace said NECAPS must be kept in prospective. They are only one data point.
Tim Kurtz, The Director of Assessment for the State has said in workshops that the writing assessment, is not a good assessment for drawing valid conclusions about writing achievement primarily because there were not enough items on the tests, and since the genre changes from year to year. If it was up to him they would not be a writing section.
Ms. Fowler stated that they are looking into publishing the results of the local writing prompts given at the beginning, middle and end of the year and the rubric looking at the writing prompts to make sure the students were getting writing prompts that ask them to do the same kinds of tasks as the NECAP writing prompt. The writing section is given on the fifth day of testing and students must do a complete, final piece. In school, students write multiple drafts and get feed backbefore getting to a final piece.
Chair. Beauregard suggested that NECAP presentation in the spring include local assessment data for context.
Director of Special Education
Mr. Kelly reported that he had sent out an electronic copy of the DOE on-site Corrective Action and Improvement Plan letter. He stated that there were 3 compliance issues. One of the corrective actions was germane to Hollis, which was adopting IAA policy, which has been done. Mr. Ayer’s letter is the follow-up, which states that the school (SAU) has been observed and they are more than satisfied with the improvements.
Chair. Beauregard asked whether any program level recommendations have come from the parent surveys that are now offered after every IEP meeting. Ms. Fowler mentioned every survey came back with a score of completely satisfied.
Special Education Coordinators track staff training. Ms. Fowler commented that Special Education Coordinators deliver training during weekly team meetings and in workshops as needed. Mr. Kelly stated that the DOE looks at programs and staff certifications, but doesn’t require reporting on training. The administration looks at the needs of students programmatically and works with staff on their development goals to met the need.
Chair. Beauregard asked if there was any interest in a Parents Special Education Advisory Council. Ms. Fowler responded that she had talked with parents at the coffee hours at length about to how to do it, and there was never any follow-up.
Chair. Beauregard asked about the DOE report suggested more frequency of updates/progress reports. Mr. Kelly responded that the district is on a trimester schedule of report cards and the frequency of IEP progress reporting is mandated by the state reporting system. Ms. Fowler stated that they have added longitudinal graphs to the reports, and are incorporating data into reports. Parents are pleased.
Supt. Hodgdon reported that she had had a conversation with Town DPW director, Jeff Babel regarding an application for sidewalk construction from HPS toward town center to connect to the Town project that the Town is seeking. The construction would be 100% funded. She will be working with Jeff on this.
Supt. Hodgdon informed the Board that Don McCoy would like to meet regarding emergency response.
Supt. Hodgdon stated that in regards to Project Green Energy, it is hoped that in 5-7 years, the SAU will become fossil free for energy needs. She added that there will be a booth this Saturday at Hollis Old Home days. The group has proposed a Academic Advisory Council. Supt. Hodgdon is looking into embedding this work into existing structures/committees.
Supt. Hodgdon reported that Atty. Dresher would be addressing the legal ramifications of withdrawing from the Coop with the Coop School Board on September 17th.
On September 24th, Hollis and Brookline Study groups will be meeting with legislators regarding upcoming changes. The meeting will be held at the Middle School.
Supt. Hodgdon stated that she had had a conversation with John Kennedy and Art Bettincourt at NESDEC who specialize in facilities planning process. They cautioned that it is important to see students and staff in session to do a proper facilities space needs assessment. It is also important to look at impact of a shortage of space in one area on other areas, for example the HBHS cafeteria. Need the school and staff in session to get a proper assessment.
Supt. Hodgdon reported that as part of the opening of school ceremonies, they recognized the following staff for their years of service:
Amy Young – 15 years Chuck Stohl – 20 years
Tonda Davies – 15 years Susan Manigan – 35 years
Hollis Pre-School registration: There was a question about how non identified students qualify or access the program. Why is there a preference given to students with siblings who have been in the system, even if the siblings that have moved beyond the HELP program into higher grades. Mr. Kelly responded that there was not an operational definition, but it was a practice left over from when the program was first implemented as an inducement to fill the typical peer slots and achieve the ratio between identified and typical peers needed for DOE program approval. As long as a sibling is in the program, then the child is given bias. Open registration is in January. Those in the 3-year old group enroll in December/mid-January.
Ms. Haytayan asked if the program was self-funded, does tuition cover student’s costs. Mr. Kelly responded tuition for typical peers is competitive with market rates and programmatically funded through the district special education budget This approach is more cost and educationally effective compared to out-of-district placements.. The program is “least restrictive,” which is not only better for the student, but is also better for staff, and provides daily contact with parents.
Mr. McCann felt that they needed to give preference to those who have siblings in the school. Mr. Kelly reminded the Board that the program helps to promote optimal growth of the children under IDEA.
Supt. Hodgdon felt that the issue was too important to be resolved that night. She felt it should be a full agenda item so that teachers and parents could have the opportunity to speak. It was decided to put it on a future agenda.
Calling for substitute teachers: Supt. Hodgdon stated that she had been working with Ms. Allen on the issue of a resource to call and find teacher substitutes when a teacher calls in sick, a “sub caller”. Ms. Allen stated that they have been paying someone $10.00 a day for 3-4 hours work per day. She felt they needed to look at making it a stipend position. Supt. Hodgdon stated that she has authorized $30 per day for 6 days per week. She added that they will track this, then make a decision as to whether it is the correct amount.
School Board Recording Secretary: Supt. Hodgdon is looking at secretarial applicants for the position. She stated that she would like to propose that instead of paying $11.50 per hour, that they hire a professional at a rate of $15.00 per hour.
2. Staffing Recommendations
Supt. Hodgdon informed the Board that she had received a letter from a staff member requesting maternity leave in January.
Supt. Hodgdon recommended Deborah Enright for the speech position. She currently is a long-term sub for Sue Morelli. Ms. Enright is a Masters Step 6 at a salary of $45,436.
Susan Benz moved that the Board accept Supt. Hodgdon’s recommendation of Deborah Enright for the speech position at Masters Step 6, and salary of $45,436. Jim McCann seconded. Motion carried unanimously. 5 – 0 – 0.
Supt. Hodgdon recommended JoAnna Wenger as a 5th grade teacher at B Step 1 and a salary of $34,725.
Susan Benz moved that the Board accept Supt. Hodgdon’s recommendation of JoAnna Winger for the 5th grade position at B Step1, and a salary of $34,725. Jim McCann seconded. Motion carried unanimously. 5 – 0 – 0.
Supt. Hodgdon recommended Katherine Baines for a long-term sub for a staff member on maternity leave. Ms. Baines is B Step 1, at a pro-rated salary of $34,725.
Susan Benz moved that the Board accept Supt. Hodgdon’s recommendation of Katherine Baines as a long-term sub at B Step1, and a pro-rated salary of $34,725. Jim McCann seconded. Motion carried unanimously. 5 – 0 – 0.
Supt. Hodgdon recommended Susan Lewis (0.5 FTE) to replace Jay Jobin at M Step 12 and a salary of $27,494.
Susan Benz moved that the Board accept Supt. Hodgdon’s recommendation of Susan Lewis for 0.5 FTE at M Step12, and a salary of $27,494. Jim McCann seconded. Motion carried unanimously. 5 – 0 – 0.
Supt. Hodgdon recommended Ruth Tuttle as long-term sub in music at M +30 and at a salary of $67,981. Supt. Hodgdon added that Ms. Tuttle was also certified in instruments.
Susan Benz moved that the Board accept Supt. Hodgdon’s recommendation of Ruth Tuttle at M +30, and a salary of $67,981. Jim McCann seconded. Motion carried unanimously. 5 – 0 – 0.
Supt. Hodgdon stated that she received a letter requesting maternity leave for Caryn Miller. Ms. Miller’s due date is January 8, 2008. She is expected to return the 2009-2010 school year.
Susan Benz moved that the Board accept Caryn Miller’s request for maternity leave. Jim McCann seconded.
Mr. McCann asked if there would be an overlap scenario. Ms. Fowler stated that she did anticipate it around mid-December.
Motion carried unanimously. 5 – 0 – 0.
Supt. Hodgdon requested that the Board waive the 20 day sub pay down to 0 for Deb Enright. She added that Ms. Enright had been contracted before, and for her to take sub-pay for 10 days would be a dramatic cut in pay. Mr. Kelly added that last year they could not get anyone for the position, so they had to contract it out. Calculating the hourly rate vs. salary, they would be saving with the salary.
Susan Benz moved that the Board reduce the 10 day sub pay to 0 for Deborah Enright. Jim McCann seconded.
Motion carried unanimously. 5 – 0 – 0.
3. Policy KHC – Information Distribution
Supt. Hodgdon informed the Board that Hollis PTA, Hollis Recreation Department, and Beaver Brook were looking to waive the Distribution of Information Policy (KHC). She explained that the policy governs what kind of information can be distributed through the schools. The policy states that they have to be non-profit organizations, must be affiliated with town, or another school.
It was decided that the policy should stand, and waivers not be given.
4. SERESC Curriculum Management
Supt. Hodgdon reported that she and Ms. Mace had looked at the SERESC report in detail and had condensed it. See attachment.
Supt. Hodgdon stated that they would like to craft a short-term strategy to start in the fall: 1) curriculum oversight; 2) assessment – utilizing data. She added that she would be using the report as a tool for staff and for the public.
Ms. Fowler stated some of the short-term strategies they would like to achieve would be helping teachers to become better practitioners. They looked at the peer coaching model. Last year they funded a literary coach, a former Hollis teacher to help teachers become better practitioners. Workshops were given. Ms. Fowler felt this gave a big bang for the buck.
Supt. Hodgdon stated that they looked at the curriculum administrator’s position. Spending time with new staff was a key piece that needed to be picked up.
Ms. Fowler stated since the peer coaching worked well with the language arts, it was felt that it would also work well with math/science. She added that they would like to see teachers take more ownership of the school. It was felt that if a K-6 language arts team was put together to work after school (stipends given) that that would encourage more ownership of the school. They would then learn how to keep students on a progressive continuum.
Ms. Allen stated that the short-term solution would be to bring on board a literary coach and a math/science coach. It is felt that peer coaches would provide support and continuity for instruction. She proposed that the peer coaches be paid from the salary line item of the curriculum administrators. She added that peer coaches focus on instruction.
Chair. Beauregard pointed out that they had put $15000 in the budget for data analysis. Ms. Allen felt that it was better for teachers to analyze their own data.
Ms. Haytayan asked if it would be one language coach and one math/science coach for both buildings? Ms. Allen responded that it would be, adding that having one coach for each of the two disciplines between the two schools was better for continuity. Each coach would spend approximately 10 hours per week at each school.
Ms. Allen stated that she had talked with one potential coach and it was brought forth that they are looking to have coaching for both ends of the spectrum of students’ different learning abilities.
Ms. Fowler recommended that they hire Shayla Klicker (last year’s peer coach) for up to 20 hours per week, alternating between the schools. Ms. Allen stated that she had a person in mind for the math/science coach. This person is a certified math trainer, and has worked with children at the upper end of the learning scope.
Supt. Hodgdon stated that one step that needed to be taken was to train teachers on how to analyze information. She felt it builds strength across staff, and it created better ownership if teachers did it themselves.
Mr. McCann stated that in the 08-09 budget, they have two positions, plus subs for a total of $85,000. He wondered if they had plans to set aside money for next year. Ms. Allen stated that they were focusing on the model for this year. Mr. McCann hoped that they would have some data by November/December for the budget. Ms. Allen felt that with all her new staff, it was best to take it in steps and do it well.
Susan Benz moved that the Board support the administration’s recommendation for two contracted positions. Jim McCann seconded. Motion carried unanimously. 5 – 0 – 0.
7. BOARD DISCUSSION
Chair. Beauregard proposed that the Board members look at the policies using track changes so they could see what changes had been made.
Ms. Benz stated that she had looked at the Coop’s and Brookline’s websites and liked them. Mr. McCann stated that he would have a mock-up of the new website for the next meeting.
Ms. Loftus stated that she would like to see a link from the school’s website to the PTA’s website.
8. COMMITTEE REPORTS
Ms. Benz stated that she would like to ask for approval of the addendum, which is a comparison of the NWEA scores from fall to spring. She will send a draft to the Board and ask for their approval.
It was suggested that copies be made to send home via email and/or distribute during voting, as it was good material for voters to see how their schools are doing.
9. NON-PUBLIC SESSION
Susan Benz moved that the Board enter non-public session under the provisions of RSA 91-A:3 II (c) compensation. Alison Haytayan seconded. A roll call vote was taken with all members present voting in the affirmative. 5 - 0 - 0.
The Board entered non-public session at 9:20 p.m.