Wednesday, September 16, 2015

School Year 2014-2015 Ends and Summer Takes Over

 The students and staff may have left for the summer but there continues to be much to report here at Barnard School.  The entire school is being scrubbed from stem to stern, with special attention given to reducing clutter and making our school a neater and cleaner learning environment for students, staff, and visitors.  I would like to send major kudos to recognize the extra efforts of Bill Cote, Head Custodian, Al Pierce, our other year-round part time custodian, and Barnard Alumnus Nick Fortuna who helps us out in the summer.
Before I continue with summer activities, there is still much to report about the last weeks of school as the 2014-2015 school year came to another amazing end on June 18.  We had excellent weather for our wonderful K-3 hike up Mount Major on May 13 with nearly as many parents as students joining in. During the following week we hiked Mount Monadnock with grades 4-8 with equally excellent conditions and I thank the faculty for flexibility in allowing me to participate in both trips.   Mrs. “D” and I had another great week with 8th Graders in Washington DC flying for the first time and enjoyed some last minute excitement with a cancelled flight and extra night in luxury accommodations!
Besides all the field trips and travel he school year came to a final end with the Grade 8 Graduation and student recognition assemblies.  This years graduating class are slated to attend Amesbury High School and St Thomas Aquinas and, although we will miss them all, we look forward to hearing about the success of their academic and other pursuits.  We also had another well attended Public Forum with valuable feedback from parents and opportunities to ask questions on scheduling and programming.
Our staff again enjoyed a Recognition Dinner Celebration on the last day of school.  As usual, the PTA outdid themselves again with a Pirates of the Caribbean theme including a gourmet dinner, and raucous pirate competitions!  I cannot express how much the staff appreciates this incredible annual tribute.  Thank you again on their (and my) behalf!
Year-end is also a time of new staffing and Mrs. Donabedian and I have been taking staff input to screen applicants, conduct interviews, and check references.  We spent the final weeks of school and part of the summer in this process and were fortunate enough to have filled our openings with very qualified and highly recommended candidates.  Mrs. Julie Sullivan will continue as Music Teacher and Band Director and we plan to add a Chorus offering.  Ms. Leah Nelson will join us as Art Teacher, and Mrs. Laurie Conley will expand her role in Community Outreach to double as Guidance Counselor.  Mrs. Betsy Leary will round out the field as Special Education Classroom Assistant.
The teachers are here periodically working in their classrooms and Mrs. Jones is busy ordering supplies and equipment, writing purchase orders, and sorting out deliveries of supplies and equipment. 
Summer is a time for enrichment and Tara Moran and Carmelina Cestrone conducted a weeklong “KEEPERS” Summer Camp in the Batchelder Gym during the first full week of July. KEEPERS stands for “Kids Eager for Engineering Programs with Elementary Research-based Science.”  We are so proud that these teachers have taken their own time to work with students, teaching assistants, and volunteers from all over the District. We look forward to their sharing their experience with our staff, parents, others in the SAU.  Thank you Mrs. Barbara Hopkins, Assistant Superintendent, for making it all happen.
In the last week of July, I attended Smarter Balanced Facilitator Training designed to prepare administrators to assist with interpretation and distribution the first round of these important test results from spring 2015.  Lastly, as I write this I am again participating it the 3-day NH Statewide Summer Summit at Keene Sate College entitled Transformation Through Leadership.  This is the second of a year of a process funded by federal grants and supported by the NH Dept. of Education.  The conference consists of breakout sessions and keynote presentations geared at understanding the change process and the latest in instructional practice.  I have also had the privilege of participating in facilitator training.  I am looking forward to sharing with the staff and community what I have learned and how we can continue to join together in this transformational process.
Construction continues on our Science Lab Project and we expect it to be completed on schedule.  We have also have projects including paint, carpentry, drainage, emergency lighting, public address enhancements, and gym roof repair.

That is a quick summary of year-end and our summer so far here at Barnard.  We look forward to welcoming our new and returning students and staff for the beginning of the 2015-2016 school year in a few short weeks.  We are especially excited about our new Science Lab and further enhancements of Next Generation Science Standards, and look forward to sharing the success of our endeavors.  Thanks to the School Board, SAU Administration, and especially the staff and South Hampton Community for all their support and hard work and support in preparation for the new school year.

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