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WMRSD school board accepts long-term Athletic Fields Plan

February 26, 2014
WHITEFIELD — The WMRSD school board voted, 6 to 1, with Mollie White of Carroll voting "no," at its Feb. 17 meeting, to accept the Athletics Field Plan developed some time ago by Horizons Engineering of Littleton and then modified as the District's official long-term plan for WMRHS. Facilities subcommittee chairman Jim Brady of Jefferson said that the site of a playing field that could be sited in the future on the east side of the turn-around and small parking area in front of the WMRHS would be large enough to accommodate a track. There is no plan to go forward with any major changes on the athletic fields at WMRHS.

The board also voted, 6 to 1, with White voting "no," to consolidate an elementary school Life Skills program at the Lancaster School by moving certain special education students from the Whitefield School to LES in Sept. 2014.

The proposed 2014-2015 school budget includes capital dollars to install a kitchen equipment in a classroom to facilitate teaching Life Skills.

The understanding articulated by the school board is that busing will be provided for these youngsters at the District's expense and that busing will also be provided at no cost for their siblings should their parents or guardians prefer to have all their elementary-aged children attend the same school. The specific curriculum to be offered for students for part of the day will be presented to the school board's curriculum subcommittee for a recommendation to the whole board.

This proposal was initiated and recommended by Special Education Director Marie Fay, who will retire on June 30.

The Board also voted unanimously to approve a shared co-curricular appointment: Jen Barton and Rick Grima as FFA Co-Advisors.

The Board also voted unanimously to hire a new member of the support staff: Carol Gassek as a paraprofessional at LES at $9.93 an hour for 32.5 hours a week, Step 0-NC.

The Board also unanimously voted to approve the 2014-2015 school calendar.

The Board voted unanimously to approve a $735.90 donation from the Whitefield School PTO with its appreciation.

The Board met in executive session following the public session to consider an unpaid leave request. The teachers' union asked that these requests no longer be handled in public session and the Board agreed.

A report from Food Services Director Melodie Stevens details that a malfunction of the fire suppressant system in the hood over the cooking equipment at the Whitefield School caused a major mess, requiring extensive cleanup, a lot of "elbow grease," and closing down the WES kitchen for two days.

"A big thank you goes to Sonny's Pizza on King's Square in Whitefield for providing pizza on the first day with only two hours' notice," Stevens writes. The next day sandwiches were ferried to WES from WMRHS where they were made. Stevens thanked her staff for going "above and beyond" to handle the crisis.

The Lancaster School, under the aegis of FCS teacher Nora Beaton, won third place and $1,000 prize in the Popcorn Pep Club Contest.

Whitefield School principal Michael Cronin reports that this year special education teacher Cate Diblasi made arrangements with the New England Disabled Sports and Bretton Woods Ski Area to bring students in the Life Skills program out to ski on Wednesday afternoons. "Each student is set up with a trained instructor, and the progress that they have made has been incredible," Cronin writes. "This partnership has been a long time in coming, and there are indications that it may be supported by some grant opportunities for continuation in the future."

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