Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Beech Street School recognized for superior energy efficiency


Beech Street Elementary School has earned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) ENERGY STAR certification, which signifies that the building performs in the top 25 percent of similar buildings nationwide for energy efficiency and meets strict energy efficiency performance levels set by the EPA.
"We are pleased to accept EPA’s ENERGY STAR certification in recognition of our energy efficiency efforts,” said Kevin O’Maley, chief facilities manager for the City of Manchester. "Through this achievement, we have demonstrated our commitment to environmental stewardship while also lowering our energy costs.”
Manchester School District currently has 9 energy star certified schools, and that number is expected to grow to 14 by the end of this school year.
Buildings that earn EPA’s ENERGY STAR certification use an average of 35 percent less energy than typical buildings and also release 35 percent less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Beech Street School improved its energy performance by managing energy strategically across the entire organization and by making cost-effective improvements to its building. The school has prevented greenhouse gas emissions equal to the electricity use from 29.8 households for a year.
“Improving the energy efficiency of our nation’s buildings is critical to protecting our environment,” said Jean Lupinacci, Chief of the ENERGY STAR Commercial & Industrial Branch. “From the boiler room to the board room, organizations are leading the way by making their buildings more efficient and earning EPA’s ENERGY STAR certification.”
To earn the ENERGY STAR, Beech Street School has reduced its energy consumption by 41.3% since 2009. To achieve these savings, city employees inspected the school with infrared cameras to determine areas of heat loss and improve efficiency. High efficiency mechanical systems were installed. Additionally, city employees ensured that the environmental quality in the school did not suffer as a result of efficiency. Air quality, temperature, humidity, and lighting levels were monitored.  
ENERGY STAR was introduced by EPA in 1992 as a voluntary partnership to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency. Today, the ENERGY STAR label can be found on more than 65 different kinds of products, 1.4 million new homes, and 20,000 commercial buildings, schools and industrial plants that meet strict energy-efficiency specifications set by the EPA. Over the past twenty years, American families and businesses have saved more than $230 billion on utility bills and prevented more than 1.8 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions with help from ENERGY STAR.

Monday, April 27, 2015

More students are staying in city high schools

The New Hampshire Department of Education’s 2013-2014 high school dropout statistics show the Manchester School District rate fell from 4.22% annually to 2.34%, compared to the statewide rate decreasing from 1.29% to 1.05%. The four-year rate in Manchester decreased from 15.84% to 9.05%, while the four-year state average dropped from 5.06% to 4.13%.

“These are very encouraging numbers that are the result of a lot of hard work by teachers, counselors, administrators and families,” said Superintendent Debra Livingston. “There are many people and programs to thank for re-engaging students who might have given up on learning.”

The percentage decrease in Manchester means 211 students left school during the 2012-13 academic year and 114 students left during the 2013-14 school year. Cutting the number nearly in half was accomplished through a concentrated effort in personalizing education programs for students who encountered obstacles to attending school regularly or preparing for it successfully.

“Guidance and administrative staff have made extraordinary efforts to reach out to students who were close to graduating but unable to finish, for myriad reasons,” said Dr. Livingston. “Having the flexibility to provide instruction for students who don’t fit into the traditional school model is a very powerful and, as we see, successful approach.”

Plans to continue re-engaging students who otherwise would not complete high school include the reorganization and location of adult and alternative learning programs, exploration of innovative summer learning programs, and advancing the outreach work already started in the schools by including more services for students with various challenges to their education.

Every high school offers ways to help students graduate, including flexibility in scheduling, allowing for interdisciplinary credit, and extended learning opportunities. Students’ progress is closely monitored.


“We are very pleased with the hard work and results to date, and we are confident that the rate will be even lower in the next school year. We will continue to work hard for each student in our school district,” said Dr. Livingston.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Nancy Tessier, school board member at-large

We welcome the newest at-large member of Manchester's Board of School Committee, Nancy Tessier.

She is a familiar face to many in our district, having served previously as principal of Beech Street Elementary School and interim assistant superintendent.

Nancy's contact information, along with all the other BOSC members, is available on our web site: http://bosc.mansd.org/.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Last day of school adjusted to June 18

The Commissioner of Education has approved a waiver request for three of the five snow days this winter.  The last day of school for students will be Thursday, June 18, 2015.  

The schedule for the last days for teachers:

Friday, June 19 will be a work day.
Monday, June 22 will be a professional development day.
Tuesday, June 23 will be a professional development day.
Wednesday, June 24 will be a District professional development half-day.

Central senior helps kids PLAY

What began as an extracurricular community service project has grown into a non-profit organization run by a Central High School student and her partners to sponsor underprivileged children who want to play organized sports. Project PLAY pays for team registration fees and equipment when children’s families can’t afford those costs.

“We realize that not every child has the same opportunities to play recreational sports because it can be expensive,” said Project PLAY cofounder and Central senior Kate Aiken. “We thought we could come up with a way to ease that financial burden for the families who need help.”

Project PLAY was created in June 2013 by Aiken, Luke Testa of Trinity High School, and Courtney Pederson of Bedford High School when they met as sophomores at a Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership (HOBY) conference.  HOBY provides students selected by their schools with leadership training, service-learning and motivation-building experiences. As HOBY ambassadors inspired to make a positive change in their community, Kate, Luke and Courtney made the commitment to work to provide every child up to age 12 with the opportunity to play.

The money needed to sponsor children is raised through private or corporate donations, fundraisers and grants. Two Youth Service America grants have totaled $2,000 since September 2013.
Last August, Aiken received the ABC Summer of Service Award on behalf of Project PLAY, which provided $500 from Disney ABC Television Group and recognition by the Disney Friends for Change national campaign that supports local service projects.

Since June 2014, Project PLAY has sponsored 72 kids in Manchester and distributed 300 pieces of sports gear collected through equipment drives.

One of the kids Aiken remembers most clearly is the boy who asked for help paying a team registration fee, but Aiken knew he also needed a new pair of sneakers. Aiken used Project PLAY funds to buy the sneakers then walked from Central to the Manchester Boys and Girls Club to deliver them to the boy after school. 

“Those are the stories that stick with me and remind me that it’s important to give back to the community because I've been so fortunate,” Aiken said. “We want to do more for more kids. But we need help getting the word out to donors and recipients that Project PLAY is a resource.”

Families can contact Project PLAY directly for assistance or sports leagues can ask for help on behalf of individual players unable to pay the related fees. Project PLAY simply asks that the children who will benefit from the financial help write a letter of intent to make an official request for assistance. Requests are reviewed, and when they are approved, Project PLAY pays the leagues directly.

Letters from kids and parents who have received Project PLAY funding prove how much the help means to them.

“They tell us being on a team helps their children make friends and build confidence,” Aiken said. “Without Project PLAY, those kids wouldn't have had the chance to experience that.”


New Hampshire senators Jeanne Shaheen and Kelly Ayotte also support the efforts of Project PLAY.

“Playing sports allows children to exercise, socialize and develop important life skills, which include teamwork and sportsmanship,” said Senator Shaheen. “The community is fortunate to have an organization like Project PLAY which gives all children the opportunity to participate.” 

Senator Ayotte even hosted an equipment drive at her state office last year, giving the proceeds to Project PLAY.

“Project PLAY is an innovative and important program that improves the lives of underprivileged youth in southern New Hampshire by affording them the ability to participate in organized sports when they would not otherwise have the opportunity to do so,” said Senator Ayotte. “I am proud to support Project PLAY and the efforts of the organization’s founders, Luke Testa, Kate Aiken, and Courtney Pederson to enrich the lives of children in the Granite State.” 

When Aiken and her co-founders graduate and move on to college, Project PLAY will continue its mission. They will remain consultants for the organization, while Pederson’s younger sister takes over the day-to-day operations along with new board members and current Central High School sophomores Andriana Skaperdas, Holly Darby, Lilly Hayward and Grace Kirstsy.

Learn more online at projectplaynh.wix.com/projectplaynh. Click on the “Get Involved” tab to find out how to donate, organize an equipment drive or make a request for funding.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Gossler Park Elementary School goes wild for learning

More than 60 animals in various habitats were on display at Gossler Park Elementary School this week. The Gator Zoo – named for Gossler Park’s mascot – included exhibits, a kids’ activity area, a snack shack and a gift shop, just like any other zoo.  The biggest difference, besides the fact that no live animals were involved, is that the Gator Zoo was entirely created, designed, researched and managed by eight- and nine-years-olds as part of an innovative learning project.

The third grade teachers at Gossler Park collaborated on the zoo idea with the goal of engaging their students and making research more fun.

“Most children learn informational writing in the traditional ways – they read a book about a topic, identify the relevant text, and paraphrase the ideas in a report,” said teacher Linda Whitmore. “Our students took ownership of this project from the beginning and got excited about showing off what they learned.”

To get started, each of the students in the three classes chose an animal to study. They researched those animals and together planned the ways they would present the information as a virtual zoo. Students created individual exhibits, made up of handmade habitats and models of their animals, fact sheets and posters, maps of where the animals live, vocabulary booklets, and Chromebooks set up for online viewing of animal photos and videos.

The third graders formed committees for the zoo. Assignments included tasks such as creating signs and admission tickets, deciding which items to sell, setting prices, scheduling zoo hours, filming a tour video, and writing invitations to special guests.

“Creating the Gator Zoo took teamwork, time management and some problem solving,” said teacher Margaret O’Leary. “Those are skills the children would not have gained doing a traditional research report.”

Indeed, when the students described the process and their roles in designing the Gator Zoo, they talked about the things they learned about the animals, as well as themselves.

“I didn’t think I could fill a whole tri-fold poster with words,” said Joey. “But the committee helped me.”

Parental involvement in the take-home portions of the assignment was another positive outcome of the project.

“I didn’t know how to make a 3D giraffe,” said Mariah. “Then my mom helped me, and we did it!”

After weeks of zoo committee meetings, planning and putting finishing touches on every detail, the Gator Zoo opened to visitors for one day. Gossler Park students, along with parents and other invited guests toured the exhibits.  The third grade “zoo keepers” manned their animal habitats and offered information about the animals as only expert guides could.

Among the zoo visitors were Mayor Ted Gatsas, board of school committee members John Avard, Katie Desrochers and Connie Van Houten, and superintendent Debra Livingston.

“Many of our schools are focusing on project-based learning, which puts students in the driver’s seat,” said Dr. Avard. “The Gator Zoo is a wonderful example of how it works and the pride students have in achieving their learning goals. The students even taught me some things about animals I didn’t know before!”


Money from the sale of Gator Zoo snacks and souvenirs will go to Squam Lakes Natural Science Center’s Sponsor a Species program, chosen by majority vote of the three classes. Donations to the program help to provide food, health care, and housing for animals at the center. It’s an especially appropriate charity recipient because the Gossler Park School third grade classes will take a field trip there this spring. 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Key Club honored at District conference

Central High School continues to uphold its reputation as one of the finest Key Clubs in New England! At the 66th Annual District Educational Conference held in Springfield, MA, 19 club members representing Central were among the 1,000 from Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont and Bermuda. 
Central's club and its members received several awards: 
* Sophomore Kaitlyn Martin received the Sandy Nininger Award, the most prestigious award for outstanding service to club, community and school.
* Senior Alexander Kivikoski received the Outstanding Key Club Officer Award
* Faculty Advisor Shelli Cook received the Key Club Advisor of the Year Award.
* The Annual Achievement Report Award and the Distinguished Club Award, which gives recognition to individual Key Clubs for their overall performance in the combined areas of club administration, membership & leadership development, Kiwanis Family involvement, service, and fundraising.
* Special Congratulations to:
Kate Aiken.....First place, Club Poster/ Digital
Ciaran Mahon.....Third place, Talent
Liza Goodman.....Second place, Oratorical Contest
Ja'kiea Williams.....Second place, Single Service Award

Manchester Schools Day with the Fisher Cats

More than 4,300 students from across Manchester enjoyed sunshine and blue skies for a morning New Hampshire Fisher Cats baseball game against the Reading Fightin' Phils.
 

We are grateful to the team and stadium staff for being wonderful hosts, and to Youk's Kids, the organization founded by former Red Sox player Kevin Youkilis, which provided the game tickets and buses so our students could attend. Thank you!




Internet safety presentation offered on April 21


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

2015-16 school calendar approved

The Board of School Committee approved the 2015-16 school year calendar on April 13. It is available for download.

A few notes to mention:
  • A day off will be added in January when the date of the NH Presidential Primary is determined.
  • Snow days will have to be made up in June.
  • Like this year, Presidents' Day will be a school day.
     
  • The official first day of school for pre-k and kindergarten is on September 8. Among the benefits, schools will be able to offer a kindergarten orientation prior to the first day, process new registrations, and take more time to thoughtfully create classroom assignments. Overall, our goal is to provide a smoother transition for our youngest students arriving at school for the first time. More information will become available during the summer to tell families what they need to know about their school's plan.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Partnership for a Drug-Free NH: Parents have a big influence on prevention

In an effort to address youth drug use in the Granite State, parents are being asked to make a very important pledge in 2015 – a promise to talk to their children about the dangers of drugs and alcohol.

Resolution 2015, created by the Partnership for a Drug-Free NH (PDFNH), along with Life of an Athlete (LOA), is part of PDFNH’s Check the Stats NH initiative. The initiative is part of the group’s statewide effort to engage parents and caregivers of children ages 9-17, with a goal of increasing awareness of the prevalence of drug and alcohol use/misuse by New Hampshire youth. Parents are asked to go online and electronically sign the pledge or download the pledge to print.

“Parenting is the most important and effective aspect of prevention,” said Jennifer Cusato, Executive Director of the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Hampshire. “Parents need to have an active role in their children’s lives when it comes to discussing substance use – and they need to start having these conversations earlier than they would think.”

By going signing the 2015 Resolution, parents commit to learning about NH’s youth substance abuse problem, seeking out strategies to help them talk with their children, finding help if needed, and most importantly, talking to their kids. Resolution 2015 has the goal of collecting at least 1,000 signed pledges by the end of the year.

“We need parents to become more educated and aware of what their children are doing, set expectations, be approachable and available for their kids to discuss their concerns, and to know what resources are available to them if they have a child that is abusing drugs or alcohol,” said Cusato.

Dr. Debra Livingston, Superintendent of Manchester School District, adds, “Educators recognize their critical role in the lives of children, and our schools play a part in promoting drug and alcohol prevention. The 2015 Resolution Pledge is one tool we can make available to parents and other community members to help start important conversations.”

Life of an Athlete program director, Donna Arias agrees. “If we can get parents to become very proactive about talking to their kids – all kids, even the ones who don’t seem to be at risk – we are well on our way to helping these kids succeed. We encourage every parent to sign the pledge and keep the promise.” LOA has assisted in getting the 2015 Resolution to parents through the school systems.

Concord High School has committed to helping the 2015 Resolution Pledge move forward. Principal Gene Connolly explains, “High school is a critical time for young people who are making decisions for themselves, maybe for the first time. Parents may find it difficult to judge when to give their children independence and when to step in and give guidance. They need to understand that talking to their kids about drugs and alcohol has to be a high priority.  Keeping the channels of communication open is not easy but it’s the best way to be sure kids are making decisions they support.”

PDFNH and its ongoing initiatives are funded through a grant by the NH Charitable Foundation.  More information on the campaign can be found at www.ChecktheStatsNH.org.

About The Partnership for a Drug Free NH
The Partnership for a Drug Free NH (PDFNH) is an independent nonprofit that coordinates media efforts to empower New Hampshire citizens to make healthy choices, and to increase awareness about substance issues in our state. The mission of the PDFNH is to develop and communicate consistent statewide messaging about the prevention of, treatment for and recovery from alcohol and drug misuse and abuse.  This is done through collaboration with state agencies, organizations, and others concerned with the alcohol and drug issues in the state of New Hampshire.


Good luck to Manchester's NH Teacher of the Year nominees

Manchester has two nominees for the 2016 New Hampshire Teacher of the Year! Good luck to Ashley Preston of Parker-Varney Elementary School and Karen Ricciardi of Hillside Middle School, who are in the running with 22 other New Hampshire teachers. Tomorrow they take the next step toward becoming semi-finalists at the Department of Education's celebration to honor all of the state's nominees.

Friday, April 10, 2015

A McLaughlin student's thank you letter to his favorite teacher wins contest

Back in February, students from McLaughlin Middle School submitted essays to Barnes & Noble's My Favorite Teacher contest. Below is the winning essay, written by sixth grader Aaron Triehy to honor his math teacher, Mary Wade. 
For their local prizes, the Manchester Barnes & Noble store allowed Aaron to choose a item of his choice -- a copy of The Hobbit -- and Mrs. Wade will receive a gift card. The essay now moves on to a regional Barnes & Noble competition. 
Aaron and Mrs. Wade also were recognized during an assembly at McLaughlin.

Dear Mrs. Wade,

I'd like to say, "Thank you." You haven't known me for a very long time, but you treat me like I've been your student for years. I have only been in your classes for 5 months. It seems longer. Not because it's a chore. You make math feel fun. You also make it feel easier because of the notes and the foldables. You even helped me organize my math book so I didn't lose track of stuff in my note book. If my mom has any questions, you always talk to her and are very helpful.

I have always liked math, but I was worried that I wouldn't do well in middle school, I'm not no worried about middle school anymore. Being in advisory has been great, too. We do not just sit there and do nothing, or just wait for our next class. We watch CNN Student News and play Around the World, and sometimes do challenges to win homework passes around the holidays. I like Around the World. A math game where we have to solve math problems to win. I think this is a great help, especially for someone who might be struggling, because it is a great way to help everyone remember math facts. I am so much more confident with math.

Thank you for the fun math games in advisory, Thank you for making school feel more fun. Thank you for setting aside your time to help kids out with their math after school. You are a really awesome teacher. In fact, out of all the 6th grade teachers, you are one of my favorites. That is why I wanted to write this letter. I want other people to know that McLaughlin Middle School has a really great math teacher in Gold 6-1. Her name is Mrs. Wade. I want those people to know that if they came to visit, they should go see you at work, in your classroom. They would like what they see,

Sincerely,
Aaron Triehy

P.S. I also think it's cool that you love Tom Brady and will sometimes wear your #12 shirt.

How to become a ball boy at a Celtics game

Fifth graders at Beech Street Elementary School recently had a chance to win the unique experience of being a ball girl or boy at a Boston Celtics game. All they had to do was enter an essay contest, answering the questions:

"What makes a person a good role model? How does this relate to good sportsmanship? Include a personal example of sportsmanship you've seen or experienced in your own life or from the media."

The essay by Christian Vazquez, in Mrs. Bouchard's class, stood out. As the winner, who also demonstrated good behavior and good attendance, he received the opportunity to go with his parents to the April 3 Celtics game, where he helped out during warm-ups by being the team's ball boy. His full essay is transcribed below.

A good role model is someone you look up to for either advice or positive choice-making. Positive choice-making is a fact of being a good role model. To be an example for someone looking up to their favorite basketball player, the basketball player has to be at their best. Role models are meant to inspire, instruct and to set good examples. Role models don't have to be perfect, but they do have to show that everyone makes mistakes and that it's important to be accountable for them.

Good sportsmanship is a key to being the best teams. Everyone has to try their hardest. Even if the team is losing, good sportsmanship is all that counts. A coach has to set an example to be a good role model for the best sportsmanship for their team. 

I experienced good sportsmanship from the media when Tom Brady gave Malcolm Butler his new truck. Tom Brady got a new truck for winning the 2015 Super Bowl MVP. Instead of Brady keeping the truck, he gave it to Malcolm for winning the game with his interception and the Patriots win against the Seattle Seahawks. That was the best sportsmanship and role model I have seen.
  

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month

Everyone in NH is a mandated reporter if one even suspects that there is abuse/neglect of a child. April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, a time to recognize that we each play a part in promoting the social and emotional well-being of children and families in our communities. To report child abuse or neglect, call 1-800-894-5533 or 603-271-6556. Learn more from the Division for Children, Youth and Families at the NH Department of Health and Human Services.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Group music lessons now offered to Manchester students by the community music school

The Manchester Community Music School is proud to partner with the Manchester School District to offer after school group music lessons for middle and high school students.

Students must have their own instrument to participate. Group lessons will run for 30 minutes after school between 3:00 and 6:00 pm. Lessons will last in 8-weeks sessions. Instrumental offerings and locations can be found below; additional instrumental lessons will be added as teachers become available.  

To register, please fill out the registration form and return it to your music teacher along with the deposit by Wednesday, April 8, 2015.

A confirmation of your start date will be provided once your registration is received. The cost for 8 weeks of after school group lessons is $120.00.  Please make checks payable to MCMS.

Instrument                                   Day                                 Location                                Time
Oboe
Tuesday
Central High School
3:00-4:00

Tuesday
Memorial High School
4:00-5:00
Clarinet/Flute
Tuesday
West High School
3:00-4:30

Tuesday
Central High School
5:00-6:00

Wednesday
Memorial High School
4:00-6:00
Trumpet
Monday
West High School
3:00-4:00

Monday
Memorial High School
4:00-6:00

Thursday
Central High School
3:00-4:00
Bassoon
Monday
MCMS
4:30 or 7:30
Saxophone/Euph/Tuba
Wednesday
West High School
3:00-4:00

Wednesday
Memorial High School
4:30-6:00

Thursday
Central High School
3:00-4:00
Trombone/Low Brass
Monday
Central High School
3:00-4:00

Monday
Memorial High School
4:30-5:30
Voice
Tuesday
Memorial High School
3:00-4:00
Violin
Monday
Schools to be Determined
3:00

Tuesday
By Registrations
3:30

Wednesday
|
3:30
Viola
Monday
|
3:00

Tuesday
|
3:30

Wednesday
|
3:30
Beginner Cello
Monday
|
3:00
Percussion
Wednesday
MCMS
5:00-6:00


If you have any questions, or would like additional information, please contact MCMS Director of Education, Judy Teehan at Jteehan@mcmusicschool.org or 603-644-4548.

Spring concert rehearsals begin

Get ready for something special during this year's spring concert season!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Salon-A-Thon fundraiser night at MST!

You can support Manchester School of Technology students who have qualified for the national Skills USA competition, the showcase for the best career and technical students in the country.

Twelve students are working to raise money to take the trip to Louisville in June:
6 cosmetology students
2 video production students
4 health occupation students

Come to the Salon-A-Thon at MST on April 13 from 2:30 to 7:30 pm.
Get your haircut by a licensed stylist and a manicure or brow wax! All services are $10.

Video Production students will be on hand taking orders for video and photo conversion:

  • VHS to DVD - $10 per tape ($5 extra for adding chapter markers)
  • CD or DVD Duplication - $3 per disc
  • VHS to Digital (shared on Google Drive) - $15 per tape
  • Photos to Digital (shared on Google Drive) - $1 per photo (volume discount available)
  • Slides to Digital (shared on Google Drive) - $1 per slide (volume discount available)

Health Occupation students will be selling baked goods, coffee/hot chocolate and do face painting for the kids!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Educator Appreciation Week events at Barnes & Noble


As it has every year, Barnes & Noble on South Willow Street is hosting several events to celebrate Educator Appreciation Week, April 11-19. The schedule includes a couple of special events involving two of our Manchester schools.
All faculty, staff and families are welcome to participate -- and don't forget to take advantage of your 25% educator discount on purchases all week long! 

Monday, April 13, 5pm - Marcia Amidon Lusted“Roaring Twenties: Discover the Era of Prohibition, Flappers, and Jazz”

“The Roaring Twenties” belongs in your classroom library, student bookshelf or media center for its treatment of major trends and issues.  History done well for today’s student.

Tuesday April 14, 5pm – To Kill A Mockingbird Open House Round Table

Join others for a discussion about how you use this classic in the classroom. One attendee will be chosen to win a copy of “Go Set A Watchman,” Harper Lee’s surprise sequel to this foundation of modern American Literature.

Wednesday, April 15, 5pm – My Favorite Teacher Award Presentation

Join us in appreciation of this years “My Favorite Teacher Award Wiinner” Mrs. Wade from McLaughlin Middle School. Aaron Triehy will be on hand to read the essay that was submitted.

Thursday, April 16, 6-8pm – Carrie Cariello

Join us for this event to observe Autism Awareness Month with Carrie Cariello, author of “Someone I’m With Has Autism,” the follow up to her best-seller “What Color is Monday?”

Thursday, April 16, 4pm - Henry Wilson School Book Fair

This week, educators get 25% off the list price of purchases. Why not make that count a little further by supporting the Wilson Elementary School’s book fair?

Saturday, April 18, 1-3pm


Join us for this event to observe Autism Awareness Month with Carrie Cariello, author of “Someone I’m With Has Autism,” the follow up to her best-seller “What Color is Monday?”

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

STEAM Ahead NH inspires learning and new ideas

It started with an English class book assignment. Freshmen students enrolled in the STEAM Ahead NH program at West High School were reading “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” by Sherman Alexie. The novel is a semi-autobiographical account of a teenager’s life on an Indian reservation. Poverty and daily struggles are major themes in the book. With that in mind, STEAM engineering teacher Dan Colburn had an idea for his own assignment.

“All of the STEAM teachers collaborate often, and we try to come up with projects that link disciplines together,” said Colburn. “This project gives the students a look into life in other parts of the country and prompts them to think about how they might be able to create something that would help people.”

Colburn asked his engineering students, “If there were one technological advance you could bring to a reservation to make life better, what would it be?” 

Their knowledge from the book and additional research on Native American reservations around the country sparked ideas which included a trap for food, hydroelectric power, irrigation systems, water filtration, air conditioning, and medical facilities.

For a final presentation, the students invited Governor Maggie Hassan, New Hampshire Education Commissioner Virginia Barry, Mayor Ted Gatsas and Paul Mailhot from STEAM Ahead NH business partner Dyn to hear about their design concepts and the real world problems they could solve. Five teams of students demonstrated how their inventions could turn dirty water into clean drinking water, heat or cool a small home, and water gardens.

Even when the mechanics of a device didn't go quite as expected, there was an understanding that problems are all part of a valuable learning process.

“In any field, in any project, there are times that some things don’t work well the first time,” Governor Hassan told the students. “You have to figure out what worked and what can be fixed. Solving the problem is as important as anything else you will learn.”

That is precisely the goal behind the STEAM Ahead NH curriculum. Empowering students to explore science, technology, engineering, arts and math in more meaningful ways will better prepare them for higher education and careers in those fields.


“West High School is the envy of so many schools in the state for having these opportunities,” said Dr. Barry.