2013 - Year In Review Part I continued

Technology upgrades make their mark at Barnstead El

by Tim Croes
Staff Writer - The Baysider
December 31, 2013
BARNSTEAD — Barnstead Elementary School had a good year, and the school board welcomed Kathy Grillo to the board in March of 2013, along with Keith Couch, who ran to fill an open position on the board.

In late January, State Senator Sam Cataldo made a special visit to Jennifer Miller's class at BES. He talked about his role as State Senator, how he got into politics and how the state government works.

In February, the school board approved an upgrade at BES to add a second DSL line that doubled the Internet speed at the school.

Principal Tim Rice talked to the board about the fall NECAP scores. Later in the year after a waiver was accepted for the No Child Left Behind grant, it was determined that Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) wouldn't be determined by the test scores.

Superintendent John Fauci refuted a story that had run on WMUR-TV and claimed that students had accessed pornography while working on a school project. Fauci explained that no inappropriate sites were visited for the projects and that no students were disciplined for visiting inappropriate sites. Fauci also said that the teacher involved wasn't reprimanded for the school project.

During the annual school district meeting held on March 23, Kathy Preston was recognized for 15 years of service as a school board member. The meeting was relatively short, and every article presented to the public was approved.

It was announced that Couch was elected to the one-year position on the school board, Grillo was elected to the three-year position, Vernon Hipkiss was elected as the moderator and Paul Landry was elected as the treasurer. A bottom line budget of $10,819,862 was approved during the meeting. Other articles approved included a new teachers' contract at Prospect Mountain High School, unanticipated utilities at BES and PMHS and funding and dissolving the BES expansion fund and creating a future expansion fund and adding to the building maintenance fund.

Grillo was welcomed to the school board as its newest member on March 26. Heather Driscoll gave the board a presentation on the curriculum. Strobel came before the board and talked about the upgrade to the DSL line and said it was moving forward.

Misty Lowe, the Director of Special Education, reported that 92 students had been identified as special education students.

Diane Beijer was selected as the board chair, Couch was selected as the vice-chair and Maureen Fitzpatrick was chosen as the secretary.

The board in April and accepted a letter of resignation with gratitude from Linda Nelson. Nelson worked at BES for 41 years.

Principal Tim Rice presented the board with a plan for restructuring staff at BES. Guidance would be increased to a full-time position, a second speech pathologist would be added, the technology integration teacher would be made a full-time position and math and reading enrichment positions would be eliminated to fund the new positions. The board approved the proposed changes from Rice.

The board met in late April and was given an update on technology at BES by Strobel. He talked about the new DSL line and that it would be tied into the network soon.

Cathleen White came before the board and gave them a presentation on reading at BES. The board approved a recommendation by Rice to move one of the first grade teachers to Kindergarten.

In late May, the board approved having three Kindergarten teachers for the 2013-2014 school year. This would create a full-day Kindergarten program, but it would only be a temporary creation.

Assistant Principal Scott Young talked about a recent student survey and said the results would be coming forth soon. Rice talked about updating the Strategic Plan and going on a retreat to create the plan. The board approved for the maintenance department to do landscaping in-house, saving the school about $4,000.

On June 17, 65 students were given promotion certificates at BES and celebrated moving on to PMHS in the fall.

At a school board meeting on June 25, a pair of complaints were brought forward about students riding the busses at BES. Fauci suggested working out the issues at the beginning of the school year. Beijer suggested that any future concerns should be brought forward as soon as problems arise.

Fauci reported that the oil consortium locked in a price of $3.518 per gallon. The school board received no bids on replacing an oil tank and agreed to address the issue next year.

July and August were slow months at BES, as the school board didn't meet again until September.

During the meeting in September, Rice talked about the school switching over to the Smarter Balance test in the spring of 2015. Rice reported that the new tests would be taken strictly on computers and said the school was ready for this transition. Rice talked about the change in the testing period. The new test would be taken at the end of the school year and would test the students on what they have learned during the current school year.

The board approved a request by the athletic director to hire an assistant. The assistant and the athletic director agreed to split the stipend 50/50, with no additional monies needed.

Donna Clairmont, the business administrator, reported that the fund balance at the time was approximately $145,000.

During the October school board meeting, Julie Couch gave the board a presentation on classroom walkthroughs. She explained that the walkthroughs would be occurring more often, and the follow-up between the administration and the staff is an important part of the process.

A request was made from the planning board to submit a vision statement and the board sent over the information to the planning board regarding plans for the future.

Fauci talked about the Common Core State Standards and Rice explained that BES would be moving to the Smarter Balance test in the spring of 2015. Fauci talked about rumors of biometric bracelets and data mining and said the rumors weren't true. The board approved an updated technology plan for 2013 through 2016.

During its November meeting, the board approved a recommendation by Rice to hire a nurse's assistant as a part-time member of the staff.

Lower reported that 104 special education students were enrolled at BES, which represented 20 percent of the student population.

During its final meeting of the year on Dec. 19, the board approved a new collective bargaining agreement between the school board and the Barnstead Education Association.

The board approved a bottom-line budget for the Fiscal Year 2015 totaling $11,260,844. It's important to note that this includes the PMHS budget numbers that haven't been finalized yet. Clairmont said the revenues haven't been reported yet and an overview has to be done.

The board approved recommendations from Strobel regarding increases in the technology budget.

Couch questioned Rice about transportation for the summer school programs. The issue of funding and a policy will be addressed in the future.

The board approved supporting the New Hampshire School Board Association resolutions.

Tim Croes can be reached at or 569-3126

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