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School board reviews SAT scores, considers using blizzard bags

CARPENTER SCHOOL THIRD GRADER William Ahlgren presented his rainforest book to the Governor Wentworth Regional School District board on Monday, Dec. 5. The book was made as part of the school’s Jump Start program, a two-week summer math and reading refresher course. “We really believe that it’s 12 months a year that we want our students to be learning,” said Carpenter Principal Janice E.N. Brooks of the school’s summer learning initiatives. Other ways Brooks and her staff try to keep the students engaged during the summer months are by holding a summer reading challenge (in all the students read 2,697 books or 93,313 pages this summer), a five-week reading and math program, and by encouraging on-line IXL math practice. (Heather Terragni photo) (click for larger version)
December 15, 2011
WOLFEBORO — There was more to the Governor Wentworth Regional School Board meeting held Monday, Dec. 5, than just the budget hearing, which was reported on in last week's Granite State News.

Also discussed was that the public would be voting on three open school board seats in March as the Tuftonboro, New Durham, and one at-large seat are up for consideration. It is unknown if Jack Widmer, Wendi Fenderson and Ernie Brown, who currently fill these seats respectively, intend to re-run for the upcoming term. The filing period for open positions is not until the last 10 days in January.

During a building project update, Brown said North Branch Construction and all those involved at the Kingswood complex were "making good progress." Classrooms in both the middle and high schools were being buttoned up in order to meet curriculum needs as the project continues to move forward on target.

Board member Donald Meader, who had recently toured the site, pointed out that the prominent new clock on the school's entrance tower was still not reading the correct time, a fact that irks him to no end. Despite that he said he was "very proud of this facility."

Board member and Academic Affairs group leader Stacy Trites briefly reviewed the high school's 2010-11 SAT scores.

The overall combined SAT score, which encompass a reading, math and writing portion, went down by five points when compared to the previous year. One factor contributing to the decrease is that approximately 10 more students took the test this year than last.

Also of note, throughout the district a letter was sent home in early December pertaining to the possible implementation of "blizzard bags."

Ultimately blizzard bags are a way for the district to make a cancelled school day count as a full day via online and/or take-home lessons.

During a designated blizzard bag day students would use the material in the prepared blizzard bags or online to complete the day's requirements. Throughout the regular school hours teachers would be available online to help and support the students and the completed work would be passed in the following day.

While other New Hampshire school districts have successfully put the concept into practice, one condition is that in order to count as a full school day the N.H. Department of Education requires that the participation rate of both teachers and students be at least 80 percent.

To see if this would even be possible for Governor Wentworth students, as a first step the district is conducting an anonymous survey to determine who would have access to the Internet on these days either at home or through a child care setting.

Once survey results are available, the district's technology task force, teachers and school board will work together to determine the next steps.

The Governor Wentworth Regional School Board will meet again on Monday evening, Jan. 2, beginning at 7 p.m. in the Skylight Dining Room, during which the final budget hearing and adoption will be held.

The district's Deliberative Session will be held on Saturday, Feb. 4, at 10 a.m. in the Kingswood Arts Center.

Martin Lord Osman
Varney Smith
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