Two New Support Programs Approved by Hudson School Board

August 8, 2014

by Len Lathrop

During its August 4 meeting the board approved two staff programs that were presented to them by Superintendent Bryan Lane.  Both were presented, discussed and passed by the board on a vote of 4-0.  Chairman Laurie Bissen was not in attendance.

A tech support program came from the technology subcommittee whose goal is to increase the amount of technology support available in each building within the district.  It would create technical support assistant (TSA) stipend positions in each building for the initial screening of requests for simple problems.  Staff would apply for these positions to provide assistance to fellow staff for simple computer issues that could range from jammed printers to disconnected wires.  School district computer network technicians estimate that more than 50 percent of their requests for assistance are of this nature.  The TSA would be a staff member who is comfortable in solving these basic problems.  There would be one TSA for every 30 staff members in a building.  Each elementary campus would have one, the middle school would have two, and at the high school there would be three.

The proposal is based on a time commitment of three hours per week and the stipend would be $2,300 per person.  Eight TSAs would require funding of $20,000, which includes NH Retirement and FICA.  For this first year, the funds would come from savings in the vacant staffing list of the budget.  After documentation and evaluation of the first-year operation, if successful, it would become part of the budget for the 2015-2016 school year.

The computer network technician in each building would keep a log that the district technology director would review on a quarterly basis.  In addition, an evaluation would be presented to the school board in May to determine its viability.

The second program came from a recent survey of teaching staff in which 98 percent responded that a “mentor program for teachers” would be an essential facet in creating a better educational environment within the district.  After meeting with SAU staff it was proposed and presented to the board.

The following was the bullet points of the presentation:

Two mentors would be in place for every 30 staff members in each building:  two mentors at each elementary, four mentors at Hudson Memorial and six mentors at Alvirne.  Mentor expectations would consist of one hour per week for 36 weeks at $25 per hour, $900 annually with an annual cost to the district of $14,400.  In the FY15 budget, funds would come from savings in salary costs and for future years, the cost of the program would be budgeted.

Two one-hour formal meetings would occur per month with the mentees.  This would be considered the “study committee” in the contract for new staff.  Informal meetings and responses to questions would satisfy the other two hours per month.

Teachers new to teaching would be involved for two years; teachers coming with experience would participate for only one year.

Activity logs would be kept by mentors.

On a quarterly basis, mentors would meet with the superintendent to monitor progress of the program.

If there was a minimal need in one school and a greater need in other schools, budgeted resources could be moved annually.

Assistant Superintendent Phyllis Schlichter mentioned that she already had a list of teachers wanting to be involved, and she saw this setting a tone of leadership.  Acting Chairman Patty Langlais asked Beth Lavoie, president of the Hudson teacher union, who was in the audience to speak to the board about this proposal, Lavoie was very positive and explained that Superintendant Lane had spoken with her about it.  While she felt that teachers always try to help the teacher across the hallway, she thought having a formal system with an assigned and compensated person would make it easier to get answers.  Board member Stacy Milbouer asked Lane if he felt that this would help hold on to people and overcome the lower salaries offered in Hudson.  Lane replied that it was moving in the right direction.