Superintendent

January 2018 Superintendent Message


Dover School Community,

 

During the holidays, my wife and I had the opportunity to spend time with our two daughters and their families. It was exciting to be in a house of children ages 3 months to 10 years old. The energy level was high with the anticipation of Christmas morning and finally the arrival of Christmas. The grandchildren spent the day playing with new toys. In addition, Mother French, my mother-in-law, celebrated her 98th Christmas. She continues to be active and highly involved with the family and took the opportunity to share her stories and reflections of past holiday seasons. I appreciated the opportunity to with the family for extended time.  

 

With the holiday season ending, the gifts slowly migrate to their new storage areas in the house. The decorations are taken down and stored for another season and the house returns to its pre-holiday state. I recognize how much I enjoy all the family traditions and all aspects of the holiday. The holiday passes much too quickly for me as I prepare to transition into a new year.

 

Generally, I take some quiet time to reflect upon the year. With travel associated with the trip to Ohio and Wisconsin driving and flying, I had ample opportunity to reflect on the many blessings I have received in 2017 inclusive of the good and the challenging times. Both were beneficial as I continue to move forward with my life.  I also thought about Mother French, and the legacy she will leave with her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.

 

I also began to think of the exchange of gifts that were given unconditionally. Some will be cherished and others in a few months will be forgotten. Yet, I often think of what could I give my children and grandchildren that will serve them well into the future. Mother French will leave a legacy of her ethics, faith and character that will be everlasting with the members of her family.

 

As a member of Rotary, the Four-Way Test came to mind. If I could help my grandchildren to develop these four-habits of the mind and heart, I believe I could be on the road to developing a legacy that could have a dynamic outcome for them and others. I believe it will cause them to pause before deciding and taking action.

 

The Four-Way Test is a nonpartisan and nonsectarian ethical guide for Rotarians to use for their personal professional relationships. The test has been translated into more than 100 languages, and Rotarians recite it at club meetings:

 

Of the things we think, say, or do:

  1. Is it the TRUTH?
  2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?
  3. Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FREIENDSHIPS?
  4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?

     

    As you prepare to make resolutions for 2018, may I encourage to resolve with your family to teach and practice with your children the use of the Four-Way Test in times of making decisions and choices. I believe it is an effective way to stop and think through a decision that will affect will affect the individual, family, or the greater community.

     

    During this New Year, I wish your family abundance of love, hope, care, and joy.

     

    Happy New Year!

     

    William R. Harbron, Ed.D.

    Superintendent

     

    JOIN US

    During January, there will be several opportunities to enjoy the talents of the Dover School District students. You are invited to attend:

     

  • Fifth Grade Band/Chorus Concert – January 17 – 7 p.m. –  Dover High School
  • Horne Street Band/Chorus Concert – January 23 – 7 p.m. – Horne Street School
  • Woodman Park Band/Chorus Concert – January 24 – 7 p.m. – Woodman Park School
  • Garrison Band/Chorus Concert – January 25 – 7 p.m. - – Garrison School

     

    STRATEGIC PLAN

    At the December 11 Regular Board Meeting, the Board adopted the five-year strategic plan. A copy of the plan is posted on the Dover School District Website - www.dover.k12.nh.us.

     

    The following are the strategic plan goals:

    GOAL 1: The Dover School District will improve educational outcomes for students by effectively engaging with the broader community.

    GOAL 2: The Dover School District will develop and sustain a culture that is characterized by optimizing social, emotional, civic, physical, and rigorous academic learning.

    GOAL 3: The Dover School District is committed to continue investments in infrastructure to support student learning inclusive of facilities, technology, and safety-security.

    GOAL 4: The Dover School District will recruit, hire, develop and retain effective and caring educators and support them in their growth as strong community members.

     

    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 the flexible pacing, multiple pathways to competency, and multiple form of assessment that they need to learn and to demonstrate competency. Competency-based education recognizes the individual learning needs of the students. Competency-based focuses on learning the personalization of learning.

     

    The hallmarks of an effective competency-based education are:

     

  • Students advance upon demonstration of mastery.
  • Competencies include explicit. measurable, transferable learning objectives, that empower students.
  • Assessment is meaningful and is a positive learning experience for students.
  • Students receive timely, differentiated support, based on their individual learning needs.
  • Learning outcomes emphasize competencies that include application and creation of knowledge, along with the development of important skills and dispositions.

 

SCHOOL BOARD

The new School Board for the Dover School District was inaugurated during a special session at the Dover City Hall on Tuesday, January 2. Board members will include: Amanda Russell, Kathleen Morrison, Keith Holt, Matthew Lahr, Carolyn Mebert, Zak Koehler, and Andrew Wallace. During organizational meeting, the Board elected the following officers:

 

Amanda Russell, Chair

Keith Holt, Vice Chair

Kathleen Morrison, Secretary

 

FY19 DISTRICT BUDGET

What is the role and purpose of the school budget? The school budget—and accompanying process—provides school districts and their leaders with an opportunity to justify the collection and expenditure of public funds. In its most simple definition, a school budget describes a district’s plan for the upcoming year as related to anticipated revenues and expenditures. School budgets allow districts to translate sometimes intangible missions, operations and objectives into reality by outlining and providing specific programs and funding/financial terms. A school budget helps bridge the gap that can exist between a district’s stated goals and resource allocation. The budget process forces the discussion that will inform choices among various programs competing for the limited available resources. As William Hartman writes, key steps of the school budget process include, “…establishing the district’s objectives and priorities; allocating resources; involving the public through budget hearings, school board decisions and other means of representative democracy; and, in some states, conducting budget elections.” (Hartman, 1999).

The development of the Fiscal Year 2019 budget is underway. During January, the Board will have a series of Board workshops and/or special sessions to develop the proposed FY 2019 Dover School Budget. The dates of the workshops and/or special sessions are January 4, 8, 16, 22, and 29 and February 5 and 12. Please note meeting dates may be changed in the event of snow causing a school cancellation.

 

BUILDING IT BRIGHTER FUND TO SUPPORT HIGH SCHOOL & CTC ENHANCEMENTS

The Dover High School Joint Building Committee (DHS JBC) has launched the Building it Brighter Campaign, a fundraising initiative to offset the cost of building enhancements that were not included in the original building scope of the new Dover High School and Regional Career Technical Center currently under construction in Dover. All funds raised will be used to expand school resources and programs including technology, athletics and athletic fields and facilities, landscaping, the performing arts, an animal science barn, new programs, media center and more.

 

The DHS JBC is seeking in-kind and monetary donations, including contributions from businesses and organizations interested in directing support to specific facilities or programs. When the doors open in the fall of 2018, the new high school and technical center will be a state-of-the-art facility that fosters innovation and helps students prepare with confidence for the ever-changing face of the future.

 

“The JBC has been diligent in making sure that our new school is built on time and on budget,” said JBC Chair and Deputy Mayor Robert Carrier said. “Building It Brighter Campaign provides for programs the construction budget did not cover and is a way for members of the community to offer additional support for the programs they value most.”

 

“Our new high school will be the pride of Dover for decades,” said City Councilor and Joint Building Committee member Sarah Greenshields. “We know there are people and organizations passionate about particular focus areas, this is a wonderful opportunity to have a direct impact on the future of education in Dover.”  For more information on the Building It Brighter Campaign, or to make a donation, visit https://go.usa.gov/xRt5z  or contact Evonne Kill-Kish, Dover School Business Office Assistant, at e.kill-kish@dover.k12.nh.us.

 

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.

 

NEW WEBSITE COMING

The District recognizes its website needs improvement. The District is researching three proposals and interviewing the providers. The District has selected a new website provider. The design of the new website will start in late spring of 2018 and be ready for the start of the 2018-2019 school year. The District is interested in learning what you would like to have on the new website. Please send your suggestions and ideas to r.lafleur@dover.k12.nh.us.

 

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT

The following is a summary of the article Usable Knowledge, Richard Weissbourd and Alison Cashin (Harvard Graduate School of Education/Making Caring Common) as shared in Marshall Memo 175.

 

In this article in Usable Knowledge, Richard Weissbourd and Alison Cashin (Harvard Graduate School of Education/Making Caring Common) say that disrespectful, sexualized interactions and sexual harassment are “stunningly common in young people’s lives – in the music and media they consume, in school hallways and classrooms, and on college campuses. They’re happening among our children, and we are doing shockingly little about it.” Specifically, 72 percent of male students and 80 percent of female students told researchers they had never had a conversation with their parents about how to avoid sexually harassing others, and similar percentages had never had conversations about various forms of disrespect and harassment. Weissbourd and Cashin suggest six ways parents and educators can talk to teens about these issues:

                  • Define the problem. Many young people don’t have a clear picture of what harassment looks and sounds like. They need specifics to help them establish clear boundaries in their minds – to understand, for example, that comments on someone’s clothes or appearance can be unwanted, that catcalling (which many men think is a form of flattery) is frightening and infuriating to many women, and that even if words or behaviors are meant to be funny, they may scare and offend others.

                  • Step in when you hear a sexist or degrading comment and stick with it. Too many adults don’t say anything when young people use language that offends them. “Passivity not only condones these comments,” say Weissbourd and Cashin. “It can also diminish young people’s respect for us as adults and role models. Even if teens can’t absorb or act on our words in the moment, they often still register our words and internalize them as they mature.” It’s a good idea to think through what you might say if you hear words like “bitch” or “hoe” and how you’ll respond if kids say, “We’re just joking” or “You don’t understand.” Don’t give up easily. Work to build young people’s empathy for others. And this isn’t just a male-to-female problem. “Sometimes girls and young women in particular can demean and undercut each other in the context of romantic and sexual relationships…” say Weissbourd and Cashin.

                  • Teach kids to be critical consumers of media and culture. Many teens have never critically examined the online and entertainment waters in which they are immersed 24/7. Teachable moments occur when you’re with young people and listen to song lyrics or hear news reports. In some cases, it’s effective for adults to share their own experiences with harassment or disrespect.

                  • Talk about what kids should do if they’re a target. Teens need strategies to deal with everything from a friend jokingly calling them a “slut” or “bitch” to being sexually harassed by a stranger. Ask young people about their experiences and reactions so far, what worked and what didn’t, and how they might respond to hypothetical scenarios. They need to think through whether they should confront perpetrators, get support, tell a teacher or school counselor, or talk to a parent or another respected adult. Role-playing can be very helpful.

                  • Encourage and expect upstanding. When teens witness harassment and disrespect, they have the advantage of understanding peer dynamics and being more credible than adults. But first they have to have the courage and wisdom to intervene. “Learning to be an ‘upstander’ is a vital part of becoming an ethical, courageous person,” say Weissbourd and Cashin. “Yet upstanding can be risky – perpetrators can turn on upstanders. That’s why it’s important to brainstorm strategies with young people that protect both them and the victim.” Again, role-playing can provide practice at using words, gestures, and body language.

                  • Help kids build a broad base of recognition and self-worth. The most vulnerable teens are those who are highly dependent on romantic and sexual attention, who crave peer approval, and who have lower social status or are part of a marginalized group (this can include LGBTQ youth). Kids need to build skills and a sense of efficacy in academics, the arts, sports, service, student government, and other activities. They might also decide to take collective action against harassment and degradation, which can be another source of self-worth.

“What Parents Can Do to Stop Sexual Harassment” by Richard Weissbourd and Alison Cashin in Usable Knowledge, October 18, 2017, http://bit.ly/2BDvbwc; Weissbourd can be reached at richard_weissbourd@gse.harvard.edu.