Hartford Public Schools balance is the key
By Jon Bisnett If one were to ask the question of how many public schools with an enrollment of less than 550 in the high school can claim a District Title in soccer, qualification for the MHSAA football playoffs, and a Division 1 rating in marching band to start off the 2019-20 school year, that number is only two in the entire state of Michigan and Hartford is one. But the balance in district operations extends much further than the turf of the recently restored Indian Stadium. New Advanced Placement (AP) classes added to the high school curriculum brings Hartford’s total to four distinct AP offerings.
AUTHOR VISITS REDWOOD… Author Gail Boushey visited to work with Hartford Redwood Elementary students and staff in an ongoing initiative to support literacy. Daily 5 is a literacy framework that instills behaviors of independence and creates a classroom of highly engaged readers, writers, and learners. This provides teachers with time and structure to meet diverse student needs. The Daily 5 Essential Elements are to Understand, Prepare, Teach, and Support. Boushey is an educator, author, speaker, and entrepreneur. She is also co-creator of the Daily 5 Framework and CAFE Literacy System and co-owner of The Daily CAFE company where she leads her development team to empower educators to individualize instruction and increase student independence.
In the wake of the Redwood Elementary construction project and updating of the high school/ middle school campus from the School Bond of 2014, the Board of Education Site Committee has addressed and continues to consider a myriad of needs and projections for facility and equipment needs around the district, most recently addressing updated lighting for the gymnasiums and a complete overhaul of audio and lighting in the auditorium. Recognizing that any new “stuff” must be used effectively to see a return on the investment, the Hartford School Board convened their October Workshop at Redwood Elementary complete with a building tour and a pleasing report of administrative improvements. Redwood Redwood Principal Chris Quist led a tour which showed some incredibly creative and welcoming classroom environments created by her teachers. Quist then presented the nuts and bolts of changes within the building and the positive results achieved. Implementation of the Daily-5 Literacy Development System is well underway and addresses the challenge of goal attainment in terms of the State of Michigan 3rd Grade Reading Law. A simple change in protocol for parents entering the building when dropping off students both improves student safety and gained 10 minutes a day of what in the past was lost learning time, now translates to 30 hours of additional classroom time over the course of the school year. With a compliment of 32 working cameras throughout the campus, discipline issue and acts of vandalism are more easily identified. Discipline referrals are down just short of 20% from just one year ago under Quist’s watch with decline in all major categories: Aggression, Insubordination, Disrespect, and Disruption with Disrespect as largest decrease – down a full 12%. Finance Aside from normal bills, Business Manager Rebecca Drake noted significant expense as the district tech guru Rob Sheffey has been busy upgrading all Wi-Fi access points in the district along with adding points in dark areas. Eighty-five percent of the purchase and installation cost will be reimbursed to the district through federal E-rate dollars. Business Jeff Staley from Manor Costerisan was in attendance to present the 2018 – 2019 financial audit. Staley met from 5:30 to 6:45 with the Finance Committee for an in-depth review of the audit. Staley further noted: It was a clean audit report with an “unmodified opinion,” the district has a stable fund balance. He further commented this was by far the smoothest first year audit he has seen in his 20-plus year career. The board recognized Rebecca Drake, Darcel Hildebrand and Debbie Galvan for their good work throughout the process. Rebecca Drake was formally approved as the district representative on the Casino Revenue Sharing Committee following Mike Hallgren resigning his position at the committee’s annual October meeting. The board approved payment of the annual interest due on the 2014 Refunding Bonds and the 2015 Building Bonds. Also approved were conference expenses for Jason Meachum, Ginny Rice, and Rick Vawter to attend the MASB Annual Leadership Conference in Traverse City.
Safety The board approved the District Emergency Operations Plan as required by Michigan law. Thanks go out to District Safety Director Dave Janicki for his work.
Superintendent’s Report Jessica Lehnert has accepted the Special Education Paraprofessional position at Redwood. Jessica was worked previously in district food service. Jessica Rosales, a 2017 alumnus, has been hired for the Grade 2-3 Paraprofessional position at Redwood. Hubbard noted that this year’s Casino Revenue Sharing check came in at $344,000, up from the prior year. The Casino continues to represent an asset to the community and along with the tribe and Pokagon Fund, a great long-term partnership for the district. Hubbard closed the Monday, Nov. 4 workshop reporting on his attendance at the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Arthur and Bonna Vanderlyn Community Center/ Hartford Public Library at the former Red Arrow Elementary site. Adding that he believes Bonna Vanderlyn was present and appreciated everyone being there. Library Director Stephanie Daniels was very gracious during her remarks recognizing the Board of Education for all of the effort in helping make the project a reality.