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Kingswood complex will be ready for classes next Monday

THE BOARD welcomed new Student Representative Matthew Lounsbury to their Sept. 12 meeting. While classes have not yet begun for the high school students, Lounsbury said things were well underway and updated the board on the groups that have been active regardless of the delay, such as sports teams and the theatre department, which is gearing up for its November production of “Grease.” (Heather Terragni photo) (click for larger version)
September 15, 2011
OSSIPEE — School will begin for the middle and high school students this coming Monday, Sept. 19 as planned – but don't expect the buildings to be perfect, cautioned Superintendent Jack Robertson at the Sept. 12 Governor Wentworth Regional School Board meeting at Ossipee Central School.

While all three buildings – the high school, middle school and vocational center – will meet specific requirements necessary for a certificate of occupancy, the utilizable areas will be limited as large portions of each remain under construction.

With ten to eleven more months of construction work to follow, the juggling act will continue as rooms are assigned temporary uses and completed areas become available.

"When you first learn to ride a horse you know you're in for a bumpy ride," quipped Building and Maintenance Chair Ernie Brown when describing the race against time North Branch Construction now faces, "but you know that you will reach your goal and achieve your objective if you keep riding that horse."

In this last week before the opening of the complex, North Branch has been pushing hard to get everything done, working ten-hour days on Saturday and Sunday and even prepared to work eight-hour shifts around the clock if need be.

Education has once again taken precedence, however, as North Branch has been working closely with each principal to establish priorities. For example, more classroom space will soon be needed in the middle and high schools in order to meet educational requirements and the completion of the new automotive and construction areas in the voc must be reached in order for its curriculum goals to be met.

In the meantime many of the high school classes will temporarily be conducted in the Kingswood Arts Center.

"It's important we all work together to minimize the educational disruption during this process," said Brown. "That will call up a lot of cooperation from the students, administration and teachers."

In the meantime the elementary schools are well into their second week of classes. The district's elementary students and staff have settled in to their routines without a hitch and are off to a smooth start, shared Robertson.

Having had a chance to visit each of the elementary schools during their first week of class Assistant Superintendent Kathleen Cuddy-Egbert added that across the board, "it was great to see everything very organized… the hallways were very quiet and visiting the classrooms the kids were right into the curriculum."

Other news

As if District Maintenance Supervisor Dick Falardeau hasn't been busy enough as an influential voice in the Kingswood complex project, Brown remarked, he has also continued on with his responsibilities across the district.

Using a portion of the $150,000 approved by voters this past March for the regular upkeep and maintenance of all the district's buildings, over the summer break Falardeau orchestrated, with the help of his staff, the completion of several much-needed repairs at each school. This list included everything from sidewalk and drainage repair to lighting and carpet replacement, and water sprinkler installment.

Brown said that Falardeau has been "very busy and doing very good work."

Cuddy-Egbert switched gears and reviewed changes to the district's technology plan.

Required by N.H. law, the district's technology committee, made up of representatives from each school, has addressed specific goals in the plan that illustrate how the district utilizes technology in order to make communication, learning and information distribution more efficient.

In addition to describing the numerous technology applications and programs used throughout the district, the plan highlights how learning and teaching technology, technology literacy, and safety and security in technology are implemented.

The board will take the next few weeks to review the plan before voting on its acceptance at their next board meeting.

The N.H. Department of Health and Human Services has asked that Crescent Lake School fifth and sixth graders participate in a Youth Tobacco Survey this year. Among other New Hampshire schools Crescent Lake was randomly selected to take part in the survey. The board agreed to allow a few classes within the school to take part in the anonymous survey.

Charlene Seibel, Chair of School Human Resources, reported that the committee has been meeting with the Governor Wentworth Education Association as well as the Governor Wentworth Administrative Team in hopes of reaching a final agreement regarding the following year's contracts.

The Governor Wentworth Regional School Board will meet for a second time in September for a new staff reception followed by a full board meeting on Monday, Sept. 26, in the middle school's new cafeteria area.

In October the board will be meeting at the Brookfield Town Hall on Wednesday, Oct. 19 for a regularly-scheduled meeting beginning at 7 p.m.

Varney Smith
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