HOLLIS SCHOOL DISTRICT
Public Minutes of September 27, 2007 Meeting
Hollis Brookline Middle School Multi-purpose Room (Televised on Channel 12)
Members of the School Board: William Beauregard, Chairperson; Jennifer MacLeod, Vice Chairperson; James McCann, Board Secretary; Susan Benz; (Harry Haytayan - not present)
Administration: Richard Pike, SAU41 Superintendent; Gail Paludi, HPS Principal; Carol Thibaudeau, HUES Principal; Dawn Duhamel, Business Administrator; Carol Mace, Dir. of Curriculum; Robert Blais, Dir. Of Maintenance
Staff: Annabelle Harris, Recording Secretary
Chair. Beauregard called the meeting to order at 6:10 p.m.
Approval of School Board Meeting Minutes
The approval of the August 30, 2007 minutes was tabled until October’s meeting.
Business Office Report – Ms. Duhamel
DOE 25 and MS 25 reports will be mailed to the State on October 2. The Board will sign the approval sheets in advance in order to meet the deadline but will reserve the right to give feedback once they receive it.
The Jul/Aug expenditure reports were given to the Board.
· The unreserved balance prior to adjustments is $192,804 to be returned to the town.
· The encumberage total at year end is $137,000.
· The reserve for special purposes trust fund is $79,600.
It was suggested that they look into possible assistance for the personnel modulation for BudgetSense.
Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) & Follow the Child Initiatives – Ms. Mace
AYP is required by No Child Left Behind and is determined by NECAP performance.
· The 2007 report is based on October 2006 NECAP results for grades 3-8, and the 2006/2006 NH results for grades 2-7.
· Students are given 100 points for being proficient or better. Students that score less than proficient receive scores of 20, 40, 60 or 80 points. There is no extra credit for high-performing students. All scores are then added together and averaged for the school and subgroups.
· To make AYP, the school must meet performance targets established for reading and math. They increase each year until 2013/2014 when all students are expected to reach proficiency.
· Academic performance is based on the school as a whole, as well as different subgroups of students. The subgroups are: ethnicity, socioeconomic status, educational disability, and non- or limited English proficiency students.
· In order to make AYP, the school as a whole and each subgroup has to meet the performance targets.
· The student participation target rate is 95%.
· The attendance target rate, based on the end-of-the-year reports submitted to the state, is 90%.
The Hollis School District made all AYP in all areas and for all subgroups.
· The State’s target in reading is76 points, and the District as a whole scored 94.7 points.
· The State’s target in mathematics is 76 points, and the District scored 94.7 points.
· 100% of the student population took that test.
HPS as a whole performed well. The educational disability subgroup did not meet the AYP target, which means the entire school did not make AYP.
· The school as a whole had a reading score of 92.1 and a math score of 93.3.
· The educational disability subgroup, which was 35 students, had a reading score of 64 and a math score of 77.7. The score did meet the AYP target in math.
· Every student with an IEP is categorized as educationally disabled.
HUES made AYP in all areas.
· The school’s reading score was 96.4.
· The school’s math score was 95.6.
Some steps being taken to help support students:
· Power reading program
· There is an additional classroom teacher at HUES to keep class sizes appropriate.
· They are monitoring modifications that students receive day to day and ensuring they are carried over in the testing environment.
There are 75 students in the district in the educationally disabled category. Around half of that subcategory scored below proficient. It is hoped that NWEA helps predict children who are going to experience difficulties on NECAP so intervention can be provided. The Follow the Child initiative is going to allow individual children to be tracked so that intervention can be planned.
It is hoped that once the schools are able to do more data analysis, they will be able to provide parents better information on how their children are doing based on multiple assessments.
If a school does not make AYP in a content area for two years in a row, they will then be labeled “a school in need of improvement,” and district improvement plans must be developed.
HPS Report – Dr. Paludi
Open house had almost 100% participation. Dr. Paludi thanked the parents and teachers for their efforts.
The nurses and PE teachers submitted a grant proposal, and they were awarded a $1,485 grant to increase physical activity and promote healthy eating habits. It will be used for physical activity equipment, nutrition education supplies, and additional education programs. Health and PE programs will benefit from this grant. The grant money can be applied to this school year.
The school has had several fire drills and has had the fire mobile all week this week. They have been faster this year in getting everyone out of the building.
HPS is looking at NWEA results from the spring, 2nd graders going into 3rd grade, and is trying to identify students and prepare them as they move forward with NECAP and other curriculum areas. More information about this will be presented at next month’s meeting.
Curriculum administrators are performing informal classroom observations. The formal observation process has not been started yet with goal setting.
HUES Report – Ms. Thibaudeau
The theme of “Celebrating Learning” is continuing at HUES.
New “choice schedule” offerings:
· Spanish for 5th grade
· Students Advanced Individual Learning (SAIL) – organizational management for 6th grade
· Jazz band for 6th grade
Ms. Thibaudeau thanked the Board for funding the Information Communication Technology (ICT) mini-lab. It has been a wonderful tool to help students with their projects and has also helped with NWEA testing.
The playground is almost complete. The sign has arrived and is waiting for installation.
The school received a generous donation of thousands of hand wipes from Wal-Mart. Those were shared with HPS.
Senior luncheon schedule has been set. Each grade level has an opportunity to host. It is a wonderful outreach program that has been going on for several years. It would also be a good opportunity for the Board to interact with students.
There will be a mentor/protégé meeting on October 9th. It is an initiation/support program for new staff members.
Ms. Keegan was recognized for starting the technology club. It will start in October. Spanish club will happen this year.
Maintenance Report – Mr. Blais
The Board is looking for the Hutter Report and having the maintenance needs broken down to where funding would come from, i.e., FY07 funds, FY08 operational funds, expendable trust, and FY09 budget.
Outside lighting might be able to come out of the FY07 budget. It was originally anticipated to cost $5,000, but a recent quote came back at $2,600.
The T-111 repair at HPS may be more of a cosmetic issue rather than damage. Options for repair are being looked at.
The cost of maintenance is going to go down from last year.
Mr. Blais is looking into changing the trash vendor. The supplies vendor is in the process of being changed.
The HPS budget itemizes $1,000 for an athletic field. That is for the field behind the SAU building. That money would be for mowing, tree trimming, fertilizing, fencing, etc.
The difference in oil heating costs between the two schools is due to the different heating systems, the age of equipment, and windows. The goal for HPS is to upgrade the system to become more energy efficient.
Every Day Math Evaluation – Committee Progress Report – Ms. Thibaudeau
The Mathematics Review Committee is composed of 17 members. Their goal is to determine if Every Day Math is meeting their needs. They are hoping to complete meetings by December and have recommendations by January. The report will include if there is any budget impact.
All surveys are ready for the committee to review, and they will come back with their research for the October meeting. There were approximately 300 parent surveys completed.
Grade Level Expectations (GLEs) are the driving force of this committee. The data the committee is looking at is the GLEs, student performance, surveys to parents and teachers, and current research. GLEs are grade specific and can be found on the state website.
Summer Camp Results – Ms. Thibaudeau
The Summer Literacy Program report was created by Betsy Keegan. This is a self-funding program.
Camp was very successful. The math program is a maintenance program to address comprehension weaknesses and to maintain skills throughout the summer. Parents were positive about the program. They will continue the program next year if the need is there.
Budget Committee – Chair. Beauregard
· The Hollis Budget Committee provides a standard guidance formula for budget increases to the town and Hollis School District. The guidance formula for next year’s budget s is based on the current budget that was approved by the voters last March, The FY08 budget is $10,880,959.
The formula subtracts from the current budget mandatory and self-funding items: –food service, debt service, and special education non-administrative services . Subtracting those items yields the Adjusted Operating Budget which is the base upon which the Budget Committee gives guidance for a percentage increase.
is Guidance is based on the July to July 12-month average Consumer Price Index (CPI) for Boston, Nashua, Brockton. CPI for July 2006 to July 2007. was 1.8%.
· Using the recommended base and the CPI, the recommended increase for the FY09 budget is $154,380.
The budget committee’s philosophy is that new programs and increased services should be presented in a separate warrant article voted on by the public.
Paraprofessional Committee – Mr. McCann
In two weeks we will deliver the results of research to both negotiation teams (Hessa and the BOE) that was conducted by the committee showing examples of benefits plans in other school districts as well as survey results of support staff regarding their interest in health and retirement benefits.
This year we have negotiations for both teacher and support staff contracts. They will meet with the unions to set ground rules on October 2. That report would come a week after that to aide substantive discussion.
Patricia Kittredge, 1st grade teacher at HPS, submitted a letter stating she would be retiring at the end of this academic year.
Ms. Benz made motion to accept Ms. Kittredge’s retirement letter, with regrets. Mr. McCann seconded the motion. The motion passed 4-0.
There was a letter from the auditors talking about changes in auditing/accounting standards. The auditing report may not be done in time to be included with the 2008 town reports.
The Board received closing documents for the Farley property and a check for $1.
Data Driven Decision Making Initiative – Goals for this Year – Ms. Mace
The overall goal is to utilize assessment data to inform curriculum and instruction and improve student achievement.
The first step would be to start with the formation of a Hollis Data Team. They would work from October to January and then expand to develop an SAU-wide data team. Keith Burke, retired superintendent of the Conval School District, will facilitate the work of the data team. Committee members are: Gail Paludi, Carol Thibaudeau, Candi Fowler, Linda Walsh, Karen Kelley, a reading team representative, Sue Caron, Carol Mace and Rich Raymond.
The first meeting is set for October. The preliminary plan is to form the critical questions they’d like to have answered. Then they’ll look at the data they already have to work with and see what reports they can generate and what pieces might be missing in order to develop a more comprehensive system.
Mr. Burke is going to conduct in-depth training for the data team in how to use the new state assessment tool Performance Tracker so they can do some sophisticated analysis and generate meaningful reports. He will generate the reports initially and at the same time be teaching them how to use the tool and generate reports themselves.
They will be looking at budgetary considerations and whether they have enough resources.
Now that they have NWEA data, a practical goal for this year is to be able to identify every student that is ready to learn at a level above or below the semester’s curriculum.
There will be a parent information night for November 1st. The trainer will work with the teachers all that day and then provide an overview of the NWEA system that night. It will be an opportunity to ask general questions.
The Board discussed the need for budgeting for Assessment Builder so that local assessment data can be included in their data analysis.
The committee would benefit from having members of the community participate as appropriate.
District Communications Strategy Committee – Finalize the Charter
This is a Board committee to be done in conjunction with the PTA. The purpose is to determine the various kinds of information that needs to be communicated and the different information vehicles for getting that information out.
There are needs at a district level for outgoing communications - operational communications, information about what is going on in the school, innovative programs that teachers are doing, accomplishments of students, budget information, policies, and legislative information. One challenge is they don’t have any inbound mechanism to use for inbound surveys from parents/teachers/students.
One person with survey experience has volunteered. They still need more volunteers. If people can’t commit to being on a committee, they might be able to help in some other capacity.
This committee needs to determine what the community wants and make a recommendation to the board which may result in policy or operational changes. Communication is critical to understand what the parents and administration needs.
The PTA is happy to help with this initiative. There is some concern that there could be a conflict of interest when it came to salary negotiations and budget issues where parties would have different viewpoints. Supt. Pike suggested starting with items of common interest. This is more than just communication; it’s about educating the public and public relations.
People interested in volunteering for this committee can contact the SAU office at 465-7118 or send at email to email@example.com. This would be a great service to the district.
The Board has initial reports. They will have more detailed reports at the next meeting. The Board needs to know if there’s any expected large items and their priorities. The possibility of increasing PE and Health funds was discussed.
The Board has limited or no discretion over 94% of the budget. Last year salaries were 60% of the budget, and benefits were 15%. If there is a 3% increase in salaries, then that would be $193,000. If there is a 7% increase in benefits like last year, then that would be another $114,000. That would have an impact of $307,000 on the budget.
Peter Graves, 84 Keegan Road, Hollis
Mr. Graves asked for clarification of NWEA testing. The testing process was explained.
He asked if this was the second year in a row that the educationally disabled subcategory did not meet AYP. He was informed that this was the first year.
Mr. Graves expressed concern that 50% of students with IEPs did not meet proficiency. He inquired what’s being done to help those children. He also wanted to know what is being done for children with IEPs in 1st and 2nd grade so that they will have a better chance of passing the testing in third grade. Every Day Math is being reviewed, but he inquired if reading or writing programs are being reviewed also. Supt. Pike responded that each of the curriculum areas goes through a review on an annual basis.
Supt. Pike stated that these test scores are important, but they are only one measure of how students or schools perform. The Data Team will see how they can take all of this data they have and put it in a usable way so that teachers can make progress. Parents going into a conference would want to know how their child is doing and measuring up and what their growth is. That is the idea of Following the Child.
Mr. Beauregard stated that some steps being taken are the extended-day kindergarten for children that need it. There is also now an early-intervening math teacher that is reviewing the test data to find the children that need assistance in math. Last year HUES implemented a reading program so that students could be grouped according to level and get assistance they need. The preschool is expanding their program.
Mr. Graves requested that the Board keep Special Education in mind during budget discussions.
Chair. Beauregard stated that there was a full evaluation of the Special Education program last March. Recommendations were made, and those are being looked into. There will be a full report next month.
Mara Loftus – PTA President - Hollis
Ms. Loftus’ question was in reference to the statute for criminal background checks for employees and volunteers. She inquired if the district would come up with a written policy that would address which volunteers would be classified as “designated volunteers” under the statute. She asked if the policy would cover volunteers working with a PTA committee not in the building, whether volunteers in the building would need a background check if they will be with a teacher at all times. Ms. Loftus inquired how often background checks would be performed and if they are the same for volunteers and substitute teachers with a cost of $25.50. Since this is a state statute with state police and public schools involved, had there been any requests that the state waive the fees?
Chair. Beauregard responded that the administration is responsible for operations such as who would get checked and how often.
Supt. Pike hopes to have the first reading of the policy and then get input from the administrators and others. All three districts are looking at the same policy. Brookline will do their second reading of the policy next month. The SAU’s primary goal is the protection of students and not to be restrictive. Some issues with the policy will be distinguishing visitors and designated volunteers, defining regular contact. There is only one background check done. There will have to be a background check for each school district you’re in. It is the same check for teachers, substitutes, and new employees. The fee has been reduced to $22.50 for volunteers.
Ms. Loftus inquired if volunteers will be asked to pay for the background check or if the school would be willing to pay part of it. She also asked what the interim procedure would be before the policy is in place seeing that field trips are already being planned. Supt. Pike responded that volunteers should go ahead and get the check done if possible. In the meantime, principals are going to be reluctant to authorize chaperones for field trips that have not been screened.
Supt. Pike stated that the policy they end up with should be broad enough to capture the spirit of what they want to emphasize about protecting the children. He does not foresee the districts being able to bear the cost of the background checks.
Audrey Augin - Sherwood Drive, Hollis
Ms. Augin stated that the background checks will only cover things that have occurred in NH. It will not show offenses from other states.
Supt. Pike stated that someone can have an initial criminal record check come back clean, but that doesn’t give any assurance that there might not be something later. Ms. Augin stated that most social workers are checked every few years, and usually the employer picks up that cost.
Ms. Augin pointed out that some people need background checks for teaching Sunday school or other things. If they have to have separate checks for each thing they are involved in, the cost is going to really add up. Given the cost that could be involved, they should also be thinking of alternatives to achieve the goal of protecting the students. One thing would be ensuring students are always with an employee that has more extensive background checks.
Venu Rao - Hollis
Mr. Rao expressed that since one subgroup failed for this year in AYP, the schools should be taking a proactive approach to improve the group’s chances of passing the test in the future.
Mr. Rao stated that both data driven decision making and a district communication strategy are very good initiatives. It is very difficult to bring volunteers. If there is a good district communications strategy that communicates specific needs, then people will be more likely to respond if they have some special expertise they can help with.
Mr. Rao stated that first they need to determine what information needs to be communicated to parents and the community and then determine what information the school wants in return. He stated that something he would like to see communicated is what teaching strategies the teachers are using so that he can help at home.
Ms. Augin suggested that legal counsel be consulted to see if it is allowable for the individual to get their own background check done and then submit that to the school. Then the school does not have to hold personal information about the volunteers. It also gives the individual access to their information and can then determine if they want to share that information with the school. Superintendent Pike stated that the SAU gets that information, and it does not go to the school staff. All that will be known by the schools is a list of who cleared the background check.
Policy First Readings
Mr. McCann made a motion to table all policy readings (4 D and E of the agenda). Ms. MacLeod seconded the motion. The motion passed 4-0.
Legal Calendar for the Hollis School District
December 20 - First review of the school budget -Town Hall, 7:00 p.m.
January 22 - Second review of the school budget
January 23 - Filing for school district offices. Three board positions are coming up for election.
February 1 - Budget submission for collective bargaining cost items
February 6 - Budget hearing for the town office to publish
February 13 – Budget hearing for the school portion of the Hollis budget.
February 15 - Deadline for petition warrant articles
February 25 – Posting the warrant for the election of school district offices
March 3 - Posting date for the school district budget
March 11 – School and town elections
March 12 – Town meeting
March 18 - Annual school district meeting for the Town of Hollis.
The calendar will be posted on the web site.
Mr. McCann made a motion to adjourn the meeting. Ms. MacLeod seconded the motion. Motion passed 4-0.
The public session adjourned at 9:50 p.m.
Date __________________________ Signed ________________________