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School board updated on special education, Kingswood progress

October 14, 2010
WOLFEBORO — The Oct. 4 Governor Wentworth Regional School Board meeting held at Ossipee Elementary School proved challenging for board members when their math skills were put to the test by a handful of Ms. Hemingway's sixth grade students.

Part of the Everyday Mathematics Program, students learn through hands-on "manipulatives" and games requiring critical thinking and problem solving skills. Krypto, one of the games demonstrated by the students, involved reaching a predetermined target number by adding, subtracting, multiplying and/or dividing five other randomly picked numbers. It was clear after watching the students play a round, that the program is successful in making challenging mathematic problems both fun and achievable for students.

Ossipee Elementary, like many of the other elementary schools in the district, has recently implemented the program into its curriculum and is working closely with a consultant to fine-tune lessons and teaching techniques.

Special needs

There are currently 414 students identified with special needs in the district, said Susan Merrell, the district's Special Education Program Coordinator. Merrell updated the board on the Special Education Program, added that though the identified needs vary, learning disabilities are most commonly diagnosed.

This year's number of students with needs is consistent with years past though more and more preschoolers are entering the school system with more complex needs and medical disabilities, said Merrell. She went on to highlight four components of the State Performance Plan, which the district needs to comply with in order to meet federal requirements: enrollment process, early support, post-secondary transition, and an annual parent involvement survey. So far, the district has maintained compliance in each of these areas, even reaching 92 percent and 100 percent compliance in the enrollment procedure and early support respectively.

"One of the most important parts of that job is to be truly a kid advocate," concluded Superintendent Jack Robertson, "[that means] trying to do the best you can for every student and that is how Susan operates. She tries to do the best she can for every single child and we are lucky to have her."

Kingswood construction update

Progress on the Kingswood Complex building project continues. The board viewed a virtual tour of the nearly completed Kingswood Arts Center, evidence that North Branch Construction continues to meet, even exceed, the district's needs and expectations as each obstacle of the multi-phase project is overcome and deadlines are met.

Workers are currently installing the final interior details, increasing parking and testing the newly installed geothermal system. With the possibility of the district taking over the building in November, the middle school administration will be faced with the task of temporarily relocating 19 classrooms the entire second floor of the existing school to the Arts building for an anticipated six-month period, beginning with the conclusion of winter vacation. During this time the upper floor of the middle school will undergo extensive renovations. By the end of next August, the renovated middle school and new additions will be complete and some high school classrooms will then take a turn in the Art building while renovations to the existing high school are made.

The main entrance to the high school will soon temporarily move to the left of the current entryway, said Robertson. This change will accommodate workers as they construct the new front lobby to the high school and is anticipated to affect the current bus and parent pick up and drop off route in front of the building.

The board will meet again at the Tuftonboro Central School on Monday evening, Nov. 1 beginning at 7 p.m.

Heather Terragni can be reached at 569-3126 or hterragni@salmonpress.com

Martin Lord Osman
Littleton Chmber
Varney Smith
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