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Board gets update on enrichment program

June 07, 2011
BARNSTEAD — The Barnstead School Board met on Tuesday, May 31, and a presentation on the math and reading enrichment programs was given.

Judi Phelps, the math enrichment teacher, and Linda Nelson, the reading enrichment teacher, gave a detailed presentation of each program.

Phelps said she has been impressed with the environment in the district with the use of the every day math program. Through enrichment, Phelps said that the children work on real world problem solving, work at a faster pace and work collaboratively and independently throughout the year.

Children enrolled in the enrichment program complete additional problems and lesson work and complete a project each trimester.

Phelps is continuing to develop, revise and implement new materials into the enrichment program.

Nelson broke down the reading enrichment program by each grade.

In fourth grade, students work with picture books and created a final project in which they practice speaking to an audience. They complete novel studies and create a project after each book is completed, and they begin to study to the elements of literacy.

In fifth grade, students continue to study the elements of literacy and continue novel studies. Students also create a journal and work on "Best of the Bears" articles for inclusion in this newspaper.

Nelson said that students who are enrolled in the reading enrichment program in grades fourth through sixth would complete a total of 36 projects.

Nelson said that favorite books tend to get passed around throughout the students enrolled in the enrichment program and that students start to write like their favorite authors.

Member Kathy Preston asked if students in the enrichment program share books with other students who aren't enrolled in the program, and Nelson wasn't sure if that occurs.

Member Shawn White asked what the ratio of female to male students in each program and was told that there are more females in each grade in the reading program, but the numbers are more even in math program.

Students are invited into the enrichment programs after their test scores from the NECAPs and the STAR testing are looked at and the teachers submit recommendations.

White asked about teachers recommending students who don't have the test scores, and Nelson said some of the students work out and some do not.

Nelson said some students read larger books throughout the year and some of the upcoming projects are very time consuming. She said one student is planning on building a model of Troy and one is planning on building a model of Hogwarts.

Principal Tim Rice talked about a Literacy Night that will be held at Barnstead Elementary School on Tuesday, June 14, from 4 to 6 p.m.

The night will be held on the same night as the next scheduled school board meeting and will feature projects created by the students and will welcome parents to review the projects.

Chair Diane Beijer asked Rice about creating a summer reading list for students, and Rice said that is something that is in the works and more requests have been coming in from parents.

Rice talked about a proposal for Blizzard Bags, a program that would allow the school to make up for a snow day by creating projects for all students.

Rice has talked to the administration at Kearsarge, where the program has enjoyed a 90 percent success rate.

The program requires 80 percent of the students to participate during the snow day, and the department of education must approve it.

Rice suggested testing it out during an early release day, and the board supported the implementation of the program.

Anna Williams, Director of Pupil Services, announced that the school would be short two paraprofessionals next year. Williams said one student is coming into the district that will need one-to-one coverage and another student in the district now, who has been covered on a substitute basis, will need a one-to-one instructor next year.

Assistant Principal Jeff Drouin reviewed the Positive Behavioral Intervention and Support (PBIS) report.

Drouin has seen a significant drop in referrals in the program since the 2007-2008 school year. That year 780 referrals were reported, while this year only 370 referrals have been reported.

Drouin said that last year 94 referrals were reported for the month of May compared to this year only 38.

Vice chair Eunice Landry voiced concerns about the students in sixth, seventh and eighth grade and noted the big discrepancy of students in sixth grade this year totaling 119 referrals that had totaled only 42 referrals in fifth grade.

Drouin chalked up some of the numbers to hormones of the students.

Beijer said she is proud that there have been no bullying incidents since December.

Rice said the reduction in numbers is due to all the teachers and the administration working together.

Rice reported the current enrollment of 502 students and expects the number to increase towards the end of the school year. Rice also reported that 54 students have enrolled in kindergarten and expects the number to be more than 60 by the end of the summer.

Rice also announced that he had he been contacted by the department of education about Title IIA funding that went unspent a couple of years ago. Rice said that a total of $26,000 is available and suggested investing in the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) testing that is computer-based.

Rice said that the results from the testing would be real time and that STAR testing would be phased out. Rice said that there a cost for the initial buy in, but the per student rate is very manageable.

Rice said the testing would be held after the NECAPs and could be held up to four times a year but doesn't see the school testing four times a year.

Rice said the license is based on how many students are tested and that students would be tested in sixth, seventh and eighth grade, which would provide a good transition to high school. The board approved using the Title IIA funding for the NWEA testing.

The board approved a leave of absence request by Kyra Butts. Butts will be going on maternity leave for the last four weeks of this school year and will go continue maternity leave during the first eight weeks of next school year.

After that period, she will be required to pay her own health insurance until her expected return at the end of November.

Landry wanted to make sure that Butts was aware that that she would have to pay her own health insurance after the 12 weeks of FMLA runs out.

The board gave Superintendent Dr. William Compton the authority to hire. Compton should be presenting the board with list of faculty positions for final approval at the next board meeting.

The board voted against a recommendation by the selectmen to receive a free energy efficiency inspection. Landry said that the buildings and grounds committee has found a company that the does a similar inspection and specializes in schools.

Compton brought forward a request to possibly meet once a month. Landry said that the board could hold one meeting focused on financials and one not focused on financials.

Compton said that it was only a suggestion and asked that the board consider it because of the superintendent's reduced hours.

An FMLA notice was presented to the board. Cynthia Spence will be out for the remainder of the year.

Rice said that an FMLA request could be coming from Kim Hartford, who recently got in a car accident.

Compton gave a NHSBA update and pointed out a law that was recently passed that will change the period from when teachers are given tenure from three years to five years. He isn't sure about the effective date. Compton said that it has been a constantly changing legislative season and updates will continue to come in.

The board will review bids at the next meeting, look at policy updates and look at financials.

The next scheduled Barnstead School Board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, June 14, at 6 p.m. at the BES library.

Tim Croes can be reached at tcroes@salmonpress.com or 569-3126

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