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Couch appointed to Barnstead School Board opening

by Tim Croes
Staff Writer - The Baysider
July 31, 2012
BARNSTEAD — The Barnstead School Board received two applications for the open school board position after member Shawn White chose to step down from his decision.

During its meeting on Tuesday, July 24, the school board reviewed the applications of J.J. Prune and Keith Couch.

Chair Diane Beijer, vice-chair Eunice Landry and member Maureen Fitzpatrick unanimously approved to the fill position with Couch.

Couch will take over for White at the next meeting and will be on the board until the March 2013 election. At that time, a single one-year position will be filled along with a pair of three-year spots.

The board approved the 2012-2013 Barnstead Elementary School student/parent handbook. Fitzpatrick asked a question about students wearing flip-flops and sandals.

Principal Tim Rice said that students often wear different footwear in the hotter months and that normally there are no issues with children injuring themselves and said that students are required to wear sneakers for participation in physical education classes.

Fitzpatrick requested that in the next handbook the language should include "footwear" and not shoes.

Rice reported that the school has submitted the plan to the New Hampshire Department of Education for the school and district being a School in Need of Improvement and District in Need of Improvement. Rice said he hadn't heard back from the NH DOE and doesn't expect much push back.

The proposal includes plans for re-structuring and financial support from the state should be coming to help support that plan.

Beijer questioned the whole the system, especially with the school and the state switching testing to the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium in two years.

The board approved a pair of resignations from Kim Hartford as the technology integration instructor and from Kerry Locke as a custodian.

The board approved the nominations of Kristin Whitworth for the technology integration position, Amy West as paraprofessional and for Rebecca Shreenan for the position of speech therapist.

The board also approved extended school year appointments and the nomination of Patty Moran for the position of Title I reading.

Rice said he is finalizing a list of candidates for an English as a second language teacher, which would be a contracted position working 10 to 12 hours a week.

Rice presented the board with a timetable for the school's transition into the Common Core Curriculum. This transition includes switching to the Smarter Balanced system in the spring of 2015. Rice said that the switching over to the new testing, which is all done on computers, will be challenging.

Beijer pointed out that grades six through eight are already full equipped with computers and that the school has two years to computerize grades three through five.

John Fauci, the new superintendent, pointed out that the new testing will be done in the spring and would be testing what the students have learned that year as opposed to the current system on testing in the fall and testing knowledge learned the previous year.

Beijer encouraged the administration to look at grants that could help in the cost of upgrading technology to meet the needs of the new testing.

Rice reported that the asbestos abatement in the kitchen was successful and that the paving project in the back of the school has been completed.

He also reported that a backstop has been installed at the softball field and that fire alarm and security system upgrades should be finished in the near future.

Rice said that some classroom lab sinks will installed once the floor has been waxed and a new drain has been installed in the front of the building.

Rice reported that there have no applications for four coaching positions in the fall; boys' and girls' soccer A and B teams.

Misty Lowe, the Director of Special Education, reported that she is finishing working on IDEA grants and updating the special education policy and manual, which hasn't been updated in several years.

The board approved a second reading of the technology coordinator position.

The board also approved the hiring of Debbie Walsh as the administrative assistant in the SAU office.

Landry said she has some questions about the auditor's report that was filed on June 30 and said she is working with the business administrator to get those questions answered.

Fauci reported that the transition from Dr. William Compton to himself has gone very smoothly. Compton left Fauci with lots of useful information. Fauci thanked Amy Burley for her efforts and said she has been very helpful in the transition.

"It's been a very smooth transition and I look forward to working with all those I am involved in a positive way," Fauci said.

Fauci reported that he has met with the administrative team several times and that he recently met with the superintendents from Alton Central School and Prospect Mountain High School. He reported that the school will be doing fingerprinting on site in the future and that a member of SAU staff will be trained to do fingerprinting at the SAU office.

Beijer questioned Fauci on the system set up when determining school closings and Fauci he said he would be working with the superintendents to develop good communications between the three schools.

With Fauci's recent appointment to the superintendent's position, the school board will be meeting monthly on the fourth Tuesday of each month, with Fauci having meetings for his position at superintendent in Gilmanton on other days.

The next scheduled meeting of the Barnstead School Board is on Tuesday, Aug. 28, at 6 p.m. at the Barnstead Elementary School library.

Tim Croes can be reached at tcroes@salmonpress.com or 569-3126

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