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White Mountains School Board discusses Futures Summer Camp

by Tara Giles
Sports reporter - Coos County Democrat and Berlin Reporter
April 16, 2018
WHITEFIELD — The April 9 WMRSD School Board meeting brought with it teacher resignations and a few new staff approvals. Hired as the full time Assistant Principal at WMRHS was interim AP Jacob Hess, with a unanimous vote.

Mike Curtis, the Futures Program Director, updated the board on the progress of the newly implemented program.

Curtis began, "One of the domains we're focused on is the transition for ninth graders. We continue to try to make it just a little better and bigger."

Curtis explained how over the last few years, the incoming freshmen participate in an overnight outing with the AMC during the first week of school. The students discussed dream boards and ways to open doors and create positive opportunities for themselves.

Beginning next year each student will have to complete an ELO (extended learning opportunity) as a requirement to graduate WMRHS. Curtis explained how the ELO programs across the state are growing and brought those in attendance up to date on the ELO network that meets each month in Concord. This year, there were 43 students who participated in the program.

WMRHS Principal Mike Berry discussed a job description for a new College and Career Transition Facilitator.

"We're running our educational business differently now, [and] part of that is the venture into ELO. With that, we have seen intended and unintended results as well as known and unknown," he mused.

Berry continued, "Mr. Curtis has hit the ground running and has established a lot of connections locally as well as outside the district as well."

Berry said that White Mountains is the most rural school in the state participating in ELO and explained how with that comes it's own challenges including transportation. "We want to reallocate resources so we can create the jobs that we need. One position we created was the CTE Facilitator to aid that program. We need another person to aid the program to work with businesses and to continue to establish connections and to figure out transportation. This person can monitor online learning. We will not likely need as many teachers to run this building when kids are earning credits this way. To me it's fiscally responsible and helps us personalize this learning."

Berry added that because there are 76 students enrolled in the STEAM program, those students are not enrolled in math or English and said therefore not as many English or math teachers are needed.

"Our schedule is build off of student demand," he said. "I know we'll always have two to three openings. The benefit is that we can play around when someone leaves."

The new position will be a non-union position.

Lastly, Berry said, "We budgeted for a certain number of faculty and staff and have remained within our budget as we have re-allocated our resources to meet the needs of our students and the educational opportunities of our students as we personalize their educational experience. We are also in the process of hiring extremely qualified teachers to join our faculty."

The job description for the College and Career Transition Facilitator was approved however the board has yet to approve the position.

Curtis explained, "If approved, this position will work directly with the majority of the student body, as we look to provide each student an ELO opportunity. WMRHS students will be required to complete an ELO as part of their graduation requirement. This person will be out in the community working with our community partners building relationships (so we can provide more internships, Co-ops, and job shadows, and will have a vital role in the summer camp process."

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