Fitzpatrick presents NECAP scores to school board

March 11, 2014
ALTON — The Prospect Mountain High School Board met in the library for its scheduled March 4 meeting and began with public input, of which there was none.

School board member Steve Miller wanted items added to the agenda during the agenda review. However, Chairperson Eunice Landry was hesitant to comply with Miller's requests.

He accused Landry of changing the rules regarding agenda review by her lack of compliance with his wishes.

When member Terri Noyes also spoke up questioning why certain items couldn't be added, Landry conceded and allowed some topics to move forward on the agenda.

Student representative to the board Melony Rice updated the board on recent and current happenings at the school among the student population. She acknowledged the success of "Poetry Out Loud" recently at the school and that the top two contestants were currently at the regional competition and Rice wished luck to Megan Stackhouse as she competed in the evening's event.

Rice also gave kudos to the school's girls' ski team, which recently won the state championship.

Lastly, Rice reminded the board that the grades for progress reports closed that Friday.

Superintendent Robert Cullison presented his report to the board as well. Cullison also focused on what a successful event Poetry Out Loud was for the school and how the students did, especially in light of it being the first year that PMHS participated in this competition.

Cullison read to the board a letter of special recognition from the NH state coordinator of the program stating that "schools who have participated for years did not do as well [as PMHS]."

Cullison also proudly shared that currently 103 of 135 students so far have received post secondary acceptances.

Principal J Fitzpatrick informed the school board that an author would soon be visiting freshmen English classes and it was all due to a first-year teacher writing to tell this particular author how much her students enjoyed her work.

Author Laura Schroff, responded to the letter and the overwhelming response to her book An Invisible Thread by offering to visit the students who have read the book and have a discussion.

Fitzpatrick stated the entire freshmen class has read the book.

Fitzpatrick also shared the results of the 2013 NECAP tests.

He prefaced the test as a "test that means nothing…but means something to us."

The test scoring gives students a 4 for being proficient with distinction, a 3 for basic proficiency, a 2 for partial proficiency and a 1 for substantially below proficiency.

In writing, five percent of PMHS students earned a level 4 in comparison to eight percent of the students doing so statewide. However, overall 81 percent of the students achieved proficiency compared to only 77 percent of the state.

In reading, Fitzpatrick shared there has been a three-year consistency, however in math, 61 percent of PMHS students were below proficiency compared to the state's 63 percent.

"We don't make our decisions based on improvement of our scores, we make our decisions on what our kids need," emphasized Fitzpatrick.

He went on to say the school "targets learning, not targeting the test."

He also shared numbers that showed PMHS was in the top tier for both reading and math when compared to other local schools.

Miller brought up the question of the "smarter balance" program coming from the state.

Cullison answered the program was still evolving at the state level. He mentioned that the state is moving forward with it like it is a pilot program and Londonderry seems to be spearheading this program.

Vice-Chair Krista Argiropolis voiced she believes the program is still two years from being vetted.

Miller wanted to go over some budgetary problems that seemed to have occurred on the Alton end of the partnership.

Miller claimed there was a "pattern of incorrect deposits on Barnstead's end."

Landry conceded there have been some problems, which she has explained to the finance committee. She mentioned this was partially due to a serious health problem of an employee in the finance department, which caused things to "fall through the cracks."

She went on to state that both towns should look at their procedures and that currently both balances are correct.

Member Sandy Wyatt stated the joint budget committee wants to hold a reorganization meeting "to help with these issues going forward."

The next meeting is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, April 1, at 6:30 p.m.

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