May 2018 Superintendent Message

Dover School Community,


Several months ago, I shared information about the importance of hope in our lives. Since that time, I had the opportunity to speak to a representative from Gallup pertaining to a student survey on hope and engagement for grades 5-12. During our discussion, I requested additional information on the connection of student’s hope to school performance and avoidance of potential destructive behaviors. Gallup shared with the article Making Hope Happen in the Classroom by Shane J. Lopez.

During the next three issues of the Superintendent’s Message, I will share selections from the article. As you read this portion of Lopez’s article, substitute parent for teacher/educator. Hope has a powerful influence on us and has implications for our families and our experience in schools. Shane Lopez shares the following insight:

My son and I do lots of nexting on our morning walks to his elementary school. We talk about his next big project at school, his next basketball game, the next movie we’ll watch. Nexting, thinking and talking about a desired future comes naturally to kids. I have never met a child who couldn’t do it.

If all children are capable of nexting, which requires thinking about the future in a fairly complex way, then why are only half of American children hopeful, according to the Gallup Student Poll? Why does only one of every two children believe their future will be better than their present and believe that they have the power to make that future a reality?

We can answer these questions by focusing on the harsh realities of our modern world that we can do little about. Or, we can exercise our own hope as educators to teach children how to hope. That starts with a common understanding of what hope is and is not, why it is important, and how it works.

Three Myths about future thinking

Hopeful thinking combines future thinking with a sense of agency or efficacy. While most teachers know the value of building personal efficacy, future thinking’s role in student learning and development is not well understood. This may be due to our assumptions about daydreaming, motivation, and hope itself.

Daydreaming is bad for students. Thinking about the future is something children do naturally. When their minds wander they might reflect on the past or examine the present, but most of the time they’re daydreaming about the future.

While teachers may interpret students’ dreamy gazes as off-task behavior, they may be considering something inspired by the teacher, a peer’s comment about a lesson, or a deep thought about how what they just learned in class relates to some other knowledge.

 Daydreaming gives a child a chance to take a future for a test drive. It is where imagination sparks creativity and where plans and designs for the future are developed.

All goals are created equal. Through daydreaming, students entertain aims beyond school. With the help of others, students begin to sort through the images of the future, or goals, and decide where they want to devote their time and energy.

Not all goals are created equal. The most motivating student goals are the ones they own and find personally meaningful. What’s salient to young people are the same goals that captivate most adults. Specifically, they want a good job. The image of having a good job pulls people through the years required to finish high school and undergraduate education. And they want that good job to provide security for the second outcome they’re pursuing: a happy family. Although ideas about what a happy family looks like differ vastly from person to person, all covet an image of a group of people coexisting and helping one another in daily life. These goals — the good job and happy family — help young people overcome the rigors of high school and college. These expectations, the foundations of a good life, are what draw students forward. Their goals motivate them.

Wishing is the same as hoping. Future thinking that is rich with imagery is a core ingredient of both hoping and wishing. If a child is thinking about a desirable outcome, she may be hopeful. Then again, she may be just wishing.

Both future visions are immediately self-reinforcing — priming the pleasure pump with thoughts about accomplishment and celebration. Both can also help individuals relax and buffer themselves against stress, anxiety, and other negative emotions.

The difference is that hopes are sustainable; wishes are not. Wishes are mental fast food. They are mind candy that satisfies for the moment but do nothing to nourish us for the long haul. Distinguishing a wish from a hope is not always easy. The telltale sign of a wish is that its benefits are fleeting. Wishing is future thinking that sparks no action. Only hope starts an individual thinking about ways to make life better and gets them moving.

Why hope is important

More than 50 studies have examined the role of hope in predicting the performance of elementary, middle school, high school, and college students. In each, hope predicted test scores and term GPA. In many studies, hope was a significant predictor of student success even when controlling for previous grades, intelligence, and other psychological variables (like engagement, optimism, and self-efficacy). The takeaway from all the studies is that, other conditions being equal, hope leads to a 12% bump in school outcomes.

While a great deal of research has been done with K-12 students, the most compelling evidence for the added value of hope comes from four longitudinal studies of college students. These long-term studies give us the opportunity to assess how the passage of time influences the link between hope and academic success.

For the longitudinal studies, researchers recruited first-semester college students to complete a standardized measure of hope along with other scales and requested access to their personal school records for some years to come. Researchers then unobtrusively followed the students by examining academic records each term or so. Statistical models were used to determine the relationship between hope and outcomes such as GPA, ongoing enrollment, and graduation. Each study controlled for the other determinants of school success, such as GPA at previous academic levels and entrance exam scores. The main finding is clear: How students think about the future predicts benchmarks of academic progress and success, including how many courses they enroll in, how many credits they earn, their GPA across those courses, their cumulative GPA, and the likelihood that they’ll graduate. Of note, one study showed that low-hope students are three times more likely to be dismissed from school for poor grades. Another study, which pitted hope against ACT scores, found that hope is a better predictor of ongoing enrollment and graduation than this standardized entrance exam.

In the June issue of the Superintendent’s Message, I will share the remainder of the article which focuses on three ways to make hope happen. It is important to help our children to view their future with great hope. As schools and families, I believe we can help our children and youth develop a healthy and hopeful outlook about their futures.


William R. Harbron, Ed.D.



SHANE J. LOPEZ (@hopemonger) is a senior scientist at Gallup, Omaha, Neb. Portions of this article were adapted from his new book, Making Hope Happen: Create the Future You Want for Yourself and Others (Atria Books, 2013). Learn more at


Dover Schools Updates


At the April 9th Board Meeting, the Board adopted the following revised policy:

  • Policy EFD – Meal Charging Policy – The Policy was revised to read: “At any time during the school year, balances that reach $40.00, upon the decision of the Superintendent of Schools, maybe assigned to a collection agency.



    Following several months of work, the Dover School Board has approved a proposed budget to present to the Dover City Council.  On April 4, the Dover School Department FY 19 Budget was presented to the Dover City Council and on April 11, the public hearing was held. The following are the additional dates related to the FY19 Budget process:


    • May 2 – City Council action on FY19 budget
    • May 7 – Board Special Session to approve teacher nominations
    • May 8 to May 10 – Contracts and recall letters


      The Board for the Dover School District has approved a budget that aligns with the initiatives identified in the Dover School District Strategic Plan. This includes additional positions in the Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment Department of the District. In addition. The Board approved budget sustains the current level of programs and services in the District’s schools.



      Lisa Danley was appointed by the Board as the new CTC Director. Lisa had the opportunity this week to tour the current CTC and the new CTC. In addition, she met with staff and Dover High School Leadership Team. Lisa is excited about the opportunity to serve in Dover.


      In her previous life, Lisa served in the New Hampshire DOE as the State CTC Director. Currently, she is serving as the CTC Director for the Keene High School and Monadnock Regional High School and Fall Mountain Regional High School which is inclusive of 16 two-year career and technical education programs.


      Her references describe her as being student-centered and being an effective advocate for all students. Among her peers Lisa is considered most knowledgeable about CTE and viewed as a highly influential leader for CTE. One reference, shared he would come out of retirement to work with Lisa and saw her as best State Director of CTE he has worked with during his tenure.   Lisa will begin employment with the Dover School District on July 1, 2018.



      The 2018 Dover High School graduation will be held on Thursday, June 14 starting at 7 p.m. at the Whittemore Center, UNH, Durham, NH.



      With the additional snow days in March, the 2017-2018 academic calendar was adjusted as follows:


  • The final professional development day remain on Friday, May 25. The District has a difficult time identifying time for professional development. In past years, when moved to the end-of-the-year, it has been indicated to be the least effective.


  • Eliminate the half-day on Monday, June 25 and the final student day be a full-day on Friday, June 22.


  • On Monday, June 25, full-day for teachers with half-day school based professional development and half-day records day.



The District has been awarded several grants from the state to improve school security. The grants total approximately $393,600 which is 80% of the estimated total project cost. Projects include: Security vestibules at Woodman Park School and the Alternative School, Surveillance Systems at each school, and an Electronic Access Control System.



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.



In the Dover School District’s Strategic Plan, the District will move to develop and implement competency-based education. Objective 2.4 – Competency Based Education states, “We will optimize student learning and achievement by developing and implementing a competency-based education model.” The following YouTube videos illustrate the concept of competency-based education: and  


In future issues of the Superintendent’s Message, additional information will be shared pertaining to competency-based education.





Congratulations on to the following students for their successes:



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



This year seven students competed at the Granite State FFA Convention. During the convention, students competed in both a team event and an individual event. At this year's convention, Sean Pendleton, competed in the individual event "Impromptu Speaking" and earned first place.


Results from Spring Interscholastics at UNH:


2nd Place- Veterinary Science Team- Competing for Dover were: Lexi York, Tiffany Hall, Piper Goodman, Brittany Willis, Sophie Porter, Hannah Bryant, Sarah Barrer, Ciana Vaz, and Abygail Sandven


Results from FFA Convention:


1st Place - Impromptu Speaking - Novice Division- Sean Pendleton

Silver - Proficiency in Diversified Livestock Production - Alexis Longey

4th Place - Impromptu Speaking-Experienced Division - Chris Page

4th Place - Food Science Team - Abygail Sandven, Ciana Vaz, Isabella Ecker, Ella Dunker-Bendigo

4th Place - Floral Design - Abygail Sandven




The following are events that you may wish to participate during May:


May 9 DHS Gourmet’s Table   Empty Bowls Fundraiser  5-7 pm

May 17 WPS Multicultural Event   5:30-7:30 pm                                              May 22-30   Spring Concerts—check with schools on specific date and time                     


Check-out the Dover School Facebook Page at 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.



Digital media is a main stay in the lives of our children and young adults. The following are a collection of YouTube Videos that you may want to view and consider: