Superintendent

April 2018 Superintendent Message


Dover School Community,

 

I am slowly working my way through Thank You for Being Late by Thomas L. Friedman. In the book, he shares a portion of a sermon by Rabbi Kol Shalom that states:

A rabbi asked his students: “How do when know when the night has ended and the day has begun?” The students thought they grasped the importance of the question. There are, after all, prayers and rites and rituals that can only be done at night-time. And there are prayers and rites and rituals that belong to the day. So, it is important to know how we can tell when night has ended and day has begun.

So the first and brightest of the students offered an answer: “Rabbi, when I look out a field and I can distinguish between my field and the field of my neighbor, that’s when the night has ended and the day has begun.” A second student offered his answer: “rabbi, when I look from the fields and I see a house, and I can tell that’s it’s my house and not the house of my neighbors, that’s when the night has ended, and the day has begun.” A third student offered another answer: “Rabbi, when I see an animal in the distance, and I can tell what kind of animal it is, whether a cow or a horse or a sheep, that’s when the night has ended and the day has begun.” Then a fourth student offered yet another answer: “Rabbi, when I see a flower and I can make out the colors of the flower, whether they are red or yellow or blue, that’s when night has ended and the day has begun.

Each answer brought a sadder, more severe frown to the rabbi’s face. Until finally he shouted, “No! None of you understand! You only divide! You divide your house from the house of your neighbor, your field from your neighbor’s field, you distinguish one kind of animal from another, you separate one color from all the others. Is that all we can do-dividing, separating, and splitting the world into pieces? Isn’t the world broken enough? Isn’t world split into enough fragments? Is that what Torah is for? No, my dear students, it’s not that way, not that way at all!”

The shocked students looked into the sad face of their rabbi. “Then, Rabbi, tell us: How do we know that the night has ended and day has begun.”

The rabbi stared back into the faces of his students, and with a voice suddenly gentle and imploring, he responded: “When you look into the face of the person who is beside you, and you can see that person is  your brother or your sister, then finally the night has ended and the day has begun.”

If we saw all human kind as our brothers and sisters or just take the first step of seeing our neighbors and community members as our brothers and sisters, would we not act with a different level of kindness, consideration and respect? Very simple act of kindness to another can have a significant impact on the receiving person. The power of kindness has the power to limit or eliminate our divisions.

Our words and our actions can and do make a difference in the lives of others. I encourage all of us in our daily face-to-face or digital media interactions and communication to exercise kindness and respect in all situations. It is a time where the positive is needed through simple acts of kindness.

Your words and actions do make a difference.

Respectfully,

William R. Harbron, Ed.D.

Superintendent

 

 

Dover Schools Updates

SCHOOL SAFETY

The Dover School District has school safety and security plans in place and continues to collaborate with the Dover Police Department in the development and implementation of the plan. Training continues for school administrators and staff throughout the school year, as well as communication between the School District and Emergency Services.

A District Safety/Security Committee, comprised of staff, faculty members and representatives of the police and fire departments, meets regularly to plan and to coordinate efforts within the District. Dover Middle and High Schools are staffed with School Resource Officers who are trained and equipped to deal with the type of threats that may be specific to a school. Administrators and School Resource Officers continually share information so that all are well-informed on potential student issues.

Recently, the District was awarded grants from the state to improve schools’ surveillance systems and all systems will be updated with the newest technology.  Each campus regularly practices safety drills, and incidents such as what happened recently remind us all about the importance of preparation and continuous improvement. Safety is our top priority, and we are always working to provide a safe and supportive learning environment for our students and staff.

STATE ASSESSMENT SEASON

The state assessment season is starting in New Hampshire. The following is the testing window for the different state tests that will be administered:

 

  • March 13, 2018– April 6, 2018:  SAS Math/ELA Summative Assessment Testing Window (Grades 3 and 4)
  • April 11, 2018 – April 20, 2018:  SAS Math/ELA/Science Summative Assessment Testing Window (Grades 5 and 6)

     

  • May 2, 2018–May 18, 2018:  SAS Math/ELA/Science Summative Assessment Testing Window Grades 7 and 8)

     

  • April 2nd - April 20th (hard wired computers at DHS): - Science Summative Assessment (Grade 11)

     

    APRIL EVENTS

    • April 3                              Wentworth Douglass Hospital Anti-Smoking/Sun Prevention Event
    • April 12                           DARE Graduation at DMS
    • April 12-15                    Shrek Jr, DMS Drama Production                
    • April 19                           YMCA Social and Silent Auction
    • April 23-April 27        Spring Recess     

       

       

      WINTER NEWS

      To date, the Dover School District has had 7 inclement weather days. For your planning purposes, the current last day of school is Monday, June 25.  At the April 9th Board meeting, the Board will discuss if any adjustments need to be made to the 2017-2018 academic calendar.

       

       

      STRATEGIC PLAN

      The official Dover Strategic Plan has been completed and posted on the Dover School District’s website. It be accessed at http://www.dover.k12.nh.us/. The next step in the process is to develop an implementation and accountability plan. The first step in the development of the implementation and accountability plan was to identify priorities. It is important that the strategic plan has a successful start, and the right objectives of the goals are selected for priorities for the academic year 2018-2019. Goal 1 and Goal 2 contain most of the objectives related directly to education. A staff survey indicated the following priorities: ***Please click here to view the priorities. 

       

       

      On March 20, the Leadership Team reviewed the survey results and held the initial conversation to establish priorities for the 2018-2019 Strategic Plan’s Implementation and Accountability Plan. The priorities will be finalized on April 3. With the finalization of the priorities, work will start on the development of the implementation and accountability plan.

       

      COMPETENCY-BASED EDUCATION

      Strategic Plan Goal 1 and Goal 2 emphasizes a transformation to competency-based learning system. Over the past five years, the state of New Hampshire has become increasingly committed to competency-based learning. In a competency-based system, students advance upon mastery. Competencies describe what students should know, as well as what they should be able to do, not only in terms of academic skills, but also in terms of social skills students need to succeed.

       

      Competency-based learning places emphasis on targeting individual student needs. With competency-based learning, students are provided with flexible pacing, multiple pathways to competency, and multiple forms of assessment that they need to learn and to demonstrate competency. Competency-based education recognizes the individual learning needs of the students and focuses on learning the personalization of learning.

       

      The following is a brief summary of what has been accomplished to date by the Dover School District with competency-based education:

       

  • The Leadership Team received professional development from Bob Renshaw on the next steps in developing action items for our strategic plan and competency education and is ready to begin that work.
  • The Teaching and Learning Committee has begun the process of creating Bridge Documents to facilitate the implementation of the strategic plan and competency work. 
  • K-8 math competencies have been merged into Dover K-8 curriculum maps. Teachers began creating math performance tasks at the January workshop day. Each grade level at each school worked on one performance task that will be shared with the other schools.
  • The strategic plan was introduced to the City Council at the joint fiscal meeting.

     

    FY19 DISTRICT BUDGET

    Following several months of work, the Dover School Board has approved a proposed budget to present to the Dover City Council.  The budget has been based on the Dover School District Strategic Plan and provides the necessary leadership and staff to start the initial work with the strategic plan. 

    The Board has approved the addition of an Assistant Director of Teaching and Learning as well as the addition of a Dean of Teaching and Learning for elementary schools.  Moving to competency-based education will require leadership to guide the process and support the implementation of competency-based education.  The curriculum department is being renamed Teaching and Learning.  In addition, Paula Glynn’s title will be changed to Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning.

    Pupil Personnel will be changed to Student Services with Christine Boston’s title changing to Assistant Superintendent of Student Services.  Neither of these title changes reflect a change in salary.  The current Special Education Coordinator positions will become Deans of Student Services which will allow for a greater level of supervision.

    Other additional positions in the budget are an ESL teacher, IT Technician and a Special Educator for the Dover Middle School.

    The Board has decided to move a budget forward that reflects the actual needs of the District.  During the next several months, the Board will be working with the City Council on the finalization of a budget. The following are the remaining dates in the budget process.

    • April 4 - Budget presentation to the City Council
    • April 11 – School Public Hearing
    • May 2 – City Council action on FY19 budget

 

 

 

CONGRATULATIONS

Congratulations on to the following students for their successes:

 

CAREER TECH CENTER Skills Awards: 

Taylor Hopkins:  Gold Medal in Cosmetology

John Carbaugh:  Gold Medal in Electrical Construction Wiring

Issac Dutkowski:  Gold Medal in Industrial Motor Control

Katelin Dedeo:  Silver Medal in Restaurant Service

Robert Hamrick:  Bronze Medal in Industrial Motor Control

Alexander Edwards:  Bronze Medal in Restaurant Service

Ben Sanderell:   Bronze Medal in Telecommunications Cabling

 

Athletic Scholars:

Jacob Adams, Michael Andrecyk, Peyton Aubin, Allrose Beauregard, David Beauregard, Caleb Bolden, Nicholas Brown, Madeline Cannon, Maggie Casey, Iris Clemons, Emily Dennis, Hannah Donahue, Risten Drew, Cameron Duchesne, Emily Fagundo, Michael Fraser, Emma Goodridge, Clayton Greig, Elizabeth Hyson, Danielle Jewell, Sydney Jones, Logan Katz, Emily Lopez, Caleb Mace, Aidan Mattingly, Kyle Mau, Cameron McNally, Oriah Milne, Megan Morrison, Emmanuel Nkounkou, Ailia Rochefort, Kayla Schneider, Noah Schwartz, Yosua Siagian, Dominic Silverio, Jackson Smith, Jayden Smith, Brooke Sorbello, Amanda Stegman, Erik Stephens, Kayleigh Swierk, Joshua Thompson, Nicholas Thompson, Jared Turgeon, Jessica Walsh, Carson Webb, Sarah Williams, Helena Wingren

 

NEW CTC DIRECTOR TIMELINE

The finalist for the new Dover CTC Director has been selected, but there are several items that need to be finalized before the candidate is officially announced. The candidate will be nominated to the Board at the April 9th Regular Board Meeting.

 

UPDATE ON THE NEW DOVER HIGH SCHOOL & CTC CENTER

The Dover High School and Career Technical Center project is progressing, and finish work is ongoing.  The project continues to be on schedule and on budget.  The construction of the animal science building recently began, and bids were received on March 13th for school furnishings.  They are currently being reviewed and a vendor will be selected soon.  The City Council and School Board toured the construction area in late March and all were impressed with progress to date.  The fundraising subcommittee continues to meet every other week and are planning events for the public with a possible “Gala” to be held at the old Dover High School on July 14.  This is still in the planning stages and more information will follow as details are finalized.  If anyone would like to donate a bench or tree to the project, please contact Evonne Kill-Kish at 516-6241 for more details.  JBC meetings are held every other Tuesday at 4:30 pm at the superintendent’s office.  Dates and agendas are posted on the City of Dover website.  Meetings are public, and all are invited to attend.  The link below will take you to more information on the project.

 

http://www.dover.nh.gov/government/city-operations/public-education/high-school-project/

 

DOVER SCHOOL’S FACEBOOK

Check-out the Dover School Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/DoverNHSchoolDistrict. It is a way to stay informed of the current events of the Dover School District. There are many good happenings occurring in your Dover School District.

 

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT

Two-Way Conversations Nurture Young Children’s Language Skills

In this Education Gadfly article, Jeff Murray reports on an MIT study on a key characteristic of adult-child verbal interactions that boosts children’s language abilities: “conversational turns.” These are an adult utterance, followed by a child utterance (or vice versa), with no more than a five-second gap between them. The more of these reciprocal interactions children had (the researchers studied average 4-6-year-olds), the more brain activity they had in Broca’s area (the part of the brain that handles language production and processing), and the better the children did on standardized tests of vocabulary, grammar, and verbal reasoning. This was true regardless of socioeconomic status, parents’ educational attainment, or the number of words to which they were exposed at home. Lead researcher Rachel Romeo said conversational turns were “almost magical” in their power to build children’s language ability.

 

“Conversation and Language Development” by Jeff Murray in The Education Gadfly, February 28, 2018 (Vol. 18, #9), https://edexcellence.net/articles/conversation-and-language-development; the full study is “Beyond the 30-Million-Word Gap: Children’s Conversational Exposure Is Associated with Language-Related Brain Function” by Rachel Romeo et al., Psychological Science, February 2018

http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0956797617742725