Silver Hill Horace Mann Charter School
Dear Silver Hill Families,
I hope everyone enjoyed fun family time over the holiday weekend!
Hard to believe it’s June first on Friday! I know that many of you have questions regarding the Charter closing. Here are the most frequently asked so far:
1. What will the grade levels be for 2018-2019?
We have been notified of the following changes:
Grade 2017-2018 #classes 2018-2019 #classes K 5 2 1 4 4 2 4 4 3 4 5 – 1 from Bartlett 4 4 6 – 2 from Tilton 5 4 4
With the exception of one kindergarten teacher who wanted to stay as a kindergarten teacher and requested a transfer, all teachers at Silver Hill requested internal transfers within their licensure to remain at the school. So the grade levels may be different, but the faces will be the same!
2. Will Professional Development continue?
Yes! I will not be renewing our contract with Teaching and Learning Alliance (TLA), our largest professional development expense paid out of grants. Instead that money will be used to retain Alex Handel as a kindergarten/grade 1 interventionist. We have worked with the TLA consultants for three years, two years for Lucy Calkins Units of Study in Writing, and this year Lucy Calkins Units of Study in Reading. Teachers feel they no longer require the on-site professional development. Our TLA consultant will be with us two days a week for the next three weeks and will work with all grade levels to review and revise the first unit and trajectories so everyone, including teachers new to the grade level, will be ready for September. We also use a “train the trainer model” for a great deal of professional development, and alternating each week once a month all grade levels meet with the math coach, reading specialists/coaches, ESL teachers, Social-Emotional staff (School Adjustment Counselor and Student Support Center teacher). Our reading specialists have received professional development from Lesley University as well as a number of other opportunities and approximately 80% of our staff attended a summer course in guided reading at Lesley three summers ago. Any new staff transferred to Silver Hill will work with grade level teams and coaches to learn the workshop model. When I have been given the opportunity to hire new staff, I look for candidates with solid background in the practices used successfully at Silver Hill. We are standards based, and I do not see our curriculum changing except in the area of increased time on learning in the Next Generation Science standards.
3. What will happen to programs and staffing covered by Silver Hill grants?
I met with Darshan Thakker, Chief Academic Officer for Haverhill Public Schools, who will be writing the Title 1 grants. I feel confidant that Dr. Thakker and I will reach agreement on how the Silver Hill portion of those monies will be spent, using Silver Hill data.
I have met several times with Brian O’Connell and Kathy Smith, form HPS Business Office, to discuss our staffing paid by grants. We have agreements on who will continue to be funded either through HPS or grants.
Our ESY Summer Program will not run this year, as it had been funded with carry over Silver Hill Horace Mann Charter School grant money. Since I start planning the ESY program back in January, I decided to not run it this year rather than anticipate funding that might not happen. But we would love to run it again! It was a very successful school based program, staffed with Silver Hill teachers who knew the students.
4. What are the neighborhood lines?
I have been told that Silver Hill has the neighborhoods on the Methuen side of 97, and Tilton will have those on the other side.
5. Will transportation be provided if you do not live within those lines?
I have been told that the same transportation will continue for “grandfathered” students who remain at Silver Hill.
6. How large will the classes be?
I do not have a firm answer on that, but when the Charter was at capacity our classes averaged around 24-25 students. I am hopeful that the class sizes will be equitable across the district. The two kindergarten classes are already almost full with our siblings (and children of staff!) and could reach 20 each class. I have requested that an ESP be assigned to kindergarten, the current practice in all other HPS.
7. Will we continue with PBIS?
Yes. PBIS and Second Step are the core of our Social-Emotional curriculum. The PBIS incentives (ROARS tickets/assemblies) are currently funded through our Student Activity account, and will continue. PTO also helps us out!
8. When does the Charter end?
The last day as Silver Hill Horace Mann Charter School is June 30. I am optimistic about our transition, and have been in frequent contact with the Department of Education about closing procedures. I have two more conference calls lined up to finalize the closing, all due by June 30 with the Annual Report.
The Charter status ends…but with the support of our families and commitment of our staff, we ARE Silver Hill and who we are and what we do will remain the same!
I will keep you posted on any news that I receive regarding the closing, and as always feel free to contact me if you have any questions!
We have some special events coming up each week! This week, as part of our school wide study of the history of Haverhill, grade 3 will visit the Whittier House. Ms. Alves and Mr. Rittenour’s classes will go today, and Mrs. Perez and Ms. Quigley tomorrow.
Wednesday, May 30, our kindergarten History of Haverhill Shoe Project Presentations will take place in the cafeteria from 9:30 to 10:00. The children are very excited to show off their hard work and tell you about Haverhill’s special shoes!
Field Day is Friday, June 1st. The Committee has been working hard and there will be some fun changes this year. And Kona Ice WILL be back! J
Special thank you to Colleen O’Connell for opening the School Store for us this Wednesday!
The weeks will fly by from here on in…Enjoy!