Message from the Superintendent

January 3, 2018

As promised earlier this evening,

Hello again and Happy New Year to All,

As 2018 begins, we have a numerous projects in progress; a number of those initiatives reflect the support of and partnerships with parents at all levels. What follows is an update for some of the joint initiatives that involve so many of you.   Assistant Superintendent Dr. Jamie LaBillois and I especially appreciate that collaboration and the spirit and interest it reflects.

Hingham Tiered Systems of Support – Social-Emotional

Hingham Public Schools is developing a comprehensive multi-tiered model of social-emotional supports for students across all grades PK-12, known as our Hingham Tiered Systems of Support: Social-Emotional (HTSS).  This process began a few months ago with the anonymous surveying of students, teachers, and parents. The survey process was conducted in collaboration with researchers from the Boston University School of Education. On Monday, February 12, 2018 (7:30 p.m. in the school department conference room) the research team from BU will present the district results of the surveys to the Hingham School Committee. There will be additional school-specific presentations over the course of the coming months, please watch for the dates and times of these school-specific presentations from your principal/s.

SECITF

The Special Education Continuous Improvement Task Force has been busy and just a few weeks ago voted unanimously to approve a proposal from the Boston University School of Education to conduct a Program Evaluation of the Hingham Middle School Special Education Programs.  This needs assessment, being led by Dr. Michelle Porsche, Dr. Jennifer Green, and Dr. Zachary Rosetti, will commence this month and will examine the programs and services available at HMS.  There will be opportunities for parent, student, faculty, staff, and administrative input into this process.  Watch for more to come on this topic in the near future.

Foster School News

The Foster School Principal Recruiting Process has begun.  A Screening Committee, including parent, faculty, staff, and School Committee representation is in place and has met for an initial orientation.  The job has been posted and the timeline calls for a mid-to late April appointment of the successor to Dr. Debbie Stellar. I know all of you will join in expressing our appreciation and best wishes to one of “Foster’s Finest”.

Most of you know that our initial request to partner with the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) on a project at Foster School was not funded in this round; but we are not discouraged and we will resubmit a Statement of Interest (SOI) in the next cycle.  The School Building Committee will continue its efforts, including assessing the suitability of the site for a renovation or construction project and collaborating with the school administration to complete an independent, district-wide, school enrollment projection study.

Kindergarten Enrollment Discussions

Many of you are aware of the recent discussion about age of enrollment for students entering HPS kindergarten.  Two parent forums were held in late fall to hear parent perspectives on the topic.  The district committed to several next steps, including more information to parents about the K curriculum and expected readiness skills and a statement (and related protocols) about our belief that most children are ready for entry to kindergarten at age five; in Hingham that would be on or before August 31st of the year the child the child turns five.   We have announced the promised information-sharing forum to take place on January 9th at 7:00 pm at Town Hall, and here is where we need parent help!  There are many parents of young children who are not yet part of our school (and X 2 e-mail) community.  So, we need your help in getting the word of that forum out to those folks.  Please think about families who may be neighbors or part of your friendship community.  Please let them know about the forum on the 9th, and welcome them to the HPS!  The agenda for the forum, the timeline for the K registration process for 2018, and the new guidelines for enrollment are al available on the kindergarten page of the hinghamschools.com website for sharing.

Census Survey

At this point, all of you should have received the annual Town survey of residents from the Town Clerk’s Office that will be used to update the Hingham Street List; results (names and ages of children) will also be shared with the School Department, especially to inform our outreach to parents of potential kindergarteners for 2018.  Clerk Eileen McCracken has requested a 10-day response to the survey.  We urge your cooperation and your help in emphasizing to friends and neighbors how important this information is to our ability to plan appropriately for next year’s school population.

Parent Forum

On January 31st, there will be a parent information forum hosted by the PTO Presidents and the All Town PTO.  This “first ever” initiative will take place at HMS at 7:00 pm.  The event will bring together a panel of HPS Principals, Central Office Administrators, and other invited guests to respond to parent-posed questions in a moderated Q and A format.  Parents are asked to submit questions in advance to this address: [email protected] . The PTO planners will sort questions and forward common themes to the panel, in advance. The more efficient we can be in the process, the more questions that can be answered.  Some audience questions will be taken as well.  The building and central office administrators are excited about sharing facts and other information that parents want to know.  We are proud of what we do, and we welcome people talking to people in real time.  You can help by attending on the 31st and/or by sending questions.   Thank you All-Town PTO!

Well, that’s enough to read for now, although many of you can “sleep in” tomorrow.

Until the next time,

DG