Please Don’t Use Muldoon Park Fields
Spring is just around the corner. It’s the time that people want to be outside, but please stay off the fields at Muldoon Park because premature use of these fields can result in costly damage and deteriorating conditions that could make it dangerous for Little League teams when the season starts. Pelham Parks and Recreation and Pelham Little League are asking all residents to stay off of the fields at Muldoon Park until further notice. If you have any questions feel free to call Parks and Recreation at 635-2721.
Guys and Gals Square Dance Packs the Gym at Pelham Memorial
by Karen Plumley
The annual Guys and Gals Square Dance on Saturday night sponsored by the Pelham Girl Scouts was a huge success and saw and even larger turnout than the previous two years. It was held at the Pelham Memorial gymnasium, and by 7:00 p.m. there was barely enough elbow room for one more person. Open to all ages of Girl Scouts, this event usually sees the kindergarten through third grade levels of Daisies and Brownies. For a mere $2 per person, the date was filled with enjoyable dancing and snacks, and memories to last a lifetime for the youngsters and their daddies, grandfathers, or other significant male figures in their lives. Caller Jerry Porter did a wonderful job, and that, combined with the western attire donned by most of the attendees, created an authentic feel to the evening, which did not let up until well after 8:30 p.m.
Sixth Graders Journey to 40 Other Countries without Leaving Windham
by Lynne Ober
Windham sixth graders have just completed an interdisciplinary unit about other countries. According to Don Shirley, who teaches social studies, language arts and reading, the goal is to learn about a country that students would not have studied in this school year. “They are required to do an in-depth study of a specific country and answer specific questions.”
This year there are 157 sixth grade students. Their first step was to divide into groups of three or four. Then a lottery was held and each group drew a number.
“Number one gets to pick a country first,” smiled Shirley, “and then we continue until all groups have picked numbers.”
Approximately 40 countries were studied by the sixth grade groups. Because it is an interdisciplinary unit, students work in their math, language arts, reading, and social studies classes. They have specific requirements from each class and have to incorporate those diverse requirements into the final product.
“There’s a lot of across-the-curriculum writing involved in this unit, as well as creativity and artistic expression,” stated Shirley.
Students examined a specific country in relation to its history, culture, religion, natural resources, and economy. In order to determine its importance to the world, students participated in a variety of math, science, social studies, and language arts learning activities, which will center around four essential questions. The questions included:
The final projects are proudly displayed in the cafeteria for other students to enjoy. Completed projects displayed the country’s flag, fun facts, economical information, as well as cultural information.
The second grade “reading buddies” of Mr. Shirley’s class came up from Golden Brook School with their teacher, Carolyn Longo, to view the projects.
Parents and siblings were also invited to view the projects, take pictures, and talk with the students. Each of the projects will be displayed during Curriculum Night as well.
Alex, Bryan, Nick, and Andrew worked on Switzerland. They designed a multi-media poster of the Swiss Alps and could cheerfully answer a variety of questions about Swiss culture and the people who live in Switzerland. Their most unusual finding was that this small country does not have one language, but instead the people speak several languages and it depends where you live as to which language is primary.
Chip, Zack, and Harry studied Vietnam. “Do you know that 15,000 dong equals one American dollar?” asked Harry.
They learned that the people of Vietnam were very poor and had a lot in common with the people and culture of China. “There’s been a lot of conflicts in Vietnam and we made a timeline of all of them,” explained Chip.
Colby Putnam said that he wanted to study the Ivory Coast because he had a friend at church from the Ivory Coast. “He’s just completing his bachelor’s degree and I wanted to learn about his country.”
Other groups chose a country because they had ties through relatives to the country. Sammy Goldfnith said that her relatives had come from Poland.
Still others picked a country because they didn’t know anything about it and could learn about it. “We picked New Zealand because it sounded cool. You can ski and surf,” grinned Mitch Dolloff.
“I enjoy this unit every year,” said Don Shirley. “You can really see the students use all of their disciplines and incorporate it into one complete project.”
Board to Face Overcrowding and Other Challenges in Coming Term
by Diane Chubb
The new term brings new challenges to the Pelham School Board. At the board meeting on March 22, the board will set goals for the coming year. Meanwhile, board members were asked by the Pelham~Windham News about their own goals for the new term.
Overall, the board was pleased that voters approved the 2006/07 school district budget. However, the overcrowding at Pelham High School remains the biggest challenge. Although voters overwhelmingly rejected the plan to build an addition to PHS, the request for $350,000 for architectural studies also failed to pass. The request for two modular classroom units also failed for a second time.
Mike Conrad acknowledged the challenges of long-term facilities planning without the necessary resources. “We need to continue our long-term planning. However, it will be more difficult without the finances to hire an architect. We need to develop a strategy that the town of Pelham can embrace and move toward a long-term solution for our space needs.”
Conrad also pointed out that the board will start negotiations on a new teachers’ contract. “The school board will need to balance the needs and requests of the teachers’ union with the fiscal needs of the town.”
As indicated in his campaign, Conrad intends to remain focused on streamlining the curriculum and working to meet all student needs. “We need to continue to strengthen our curriculum from Readiness through 12th grade. With the passing of the technology warrant article, I envision better communications between our schools. This will help our students who are moving up to the middle school or high school. I want to be able to identify students who may need extra help in certain subjects and get them the help they need.”
School Board member Eleanor Burton would like to see increased communication between the board and Pelham residents using all available media.
While Burton also acknowledges the ongoing issue of critical space needs at all of the Pelham schools, she would also like to promote a better awareness of the achievements and efforts of the students. Burton's concern is that, with all of the focus on pleasing the people of the community, we might be forgetting all of the wonderful things that the students are currently doing in the schools.
Board member Linda Mahoney hopes to find long-term solutions to facility needs that will be supported by voters. “The four-school model presented last year has merit; however, I also fully understand the challenge of attaining a 3/5ths majority vote on a new high school, especially if you consider the results of this year’s election. The time has passed for 'pie in the sky.' We must present an option that the voters will support.”
Mahoney also wants to explore why PHS students' SAT scores continue to be low and identify the means to improve them.
New member Bruce Couture echoed comments he made during his campaign, namely the need to focus on curriculum and long-term planning.
“My first concern is to address the upgrading of the current school curriculum. Providing comprehensive math and science courses for all levels is paramount to student success in secondary education. Offering enhancements to the current curriculum will require a commitment on the part of the School Board, administration, and faculty.
The ongoing space issues need to be researched and presented to the town with options that meet the needs of the students and the town of Pelham. The voters were clear that the options presented at last week's election did not meet their needs or address their concerns. The School Board will need to work as a cohesive unit to provide leadership, direction, and solutions for the space issues of the Pelham schools.”
Project Running Start Allows High School Students to Earn College Credits
by Lynne Ober
College bound-high school students throughout New Hampshire can earn both high school graduation credit and college credit for some approved courses under the auspices of Project Running Start.
Project Running Start began in 1999 in seven New Hampshire high schools. Currently, almost 70 high schools offer New Hampshire Community Technical College courses through Project Running Start. Project Running Start is intended to recognize excellence in instruction and student performance.
For students this excellent program provides a way to get a jump start on college at an extremely reasonable fee. The credits that are earned are recorded on a NHCTC college transcript if the grade earned is C or better and can be transferred just like any other college credit can be transferred.
Students must register through the college prior to the beginning of a semester in an approved class and not all classes are approved for credit. Students pay $100 per course which covers the cost of processing the registration, setting up the student’s file, and managing the transcript. This cost has not risen in over six years and is much less than the cost students will pay for tuition under any other program. It is currently less than 85 percent of regular NHCTC tuition.
Some students graduate from college with their freshman year at college completed. Others receive from three to 30 credit hours that can be used at NHCTC or transferred to their college.
Project Running Start is a win–win program for everyone. High school educators report that they are able to raise the expectations of student performance in dual enrollment courses. Educators also use dual enrollment courses as opportunities to prepare students for the college experience, where they will have more responsibility for their own learning.
For students the opportunity to experience college-level course work while still in high school and the chance to get a head start on their postsecondary courses at reduced tuition is a great bonus.
Project Running Start is effective because there is a strong partnership between participating high schools and the community college system. High school faculty work hand in hand with NHCTC faculty – including department chairpeople.
Before a class can become part of the program, the materials, and syllabus are reviewed by the college partner. In many cases, students at the high school use the same textbooks and complete the same syllabus as their peers taking the course on the college campus, but where the books are different the high school instructor and college instructor must work together to ensure that the equivalent of the college curriculum is delivered to the high school student.
“After reviewing the college course selection book and the Pelham High School course selection book, the course is recommended by me in collaboration with the PHS teacher,” stated Mrs. Louise Paulauskas, PHS School to Career District Coordinator. Paulauskas has an MBA and is well qualified to coordinate not only the School to Work program, but also be the PHS evaluator for Project Running Start. “We look for courses that would benefit our students in the preparation for post-secondary work. If we feel there's a match, I bring it to Dr. Mohr for approval.”
Not every course is offered every year, but the range of courses offered to PHS students is wide and they have opportunities to complete a number of college credits while still in high school.
“Course outcomes must be the same as those of the college course. The teacher must have a master’s degree or above in the discipline being taught. The PHS syllabus and teacher's credentials are evaluated by the college department chair and approved by the college vice president / president for academic affairs,” explained Paulauskas.
This year alone there have been 218 student registrations. “We tally by registration not student, so there may be some students in that number who took more than one course and perhaps some who took courses both semesters. Usually only four to five students take more than one course per semester,” commented Mrs. Paulauskas. “The above  registrations will total 772 colleges credits received if students pass the courses with a minimum grade of C.”
That’s a significant running start on college for students in Pelham.
Pelham Memorial School Music Bands Receive High Notes
The Pelham Memorial School Music Department recently participated in the New Hampshire Large Group Music Festival sponsored by the New Hampshire Music Educators Association. The festival was held on Saturday, March 18 at Goffstown High School in Goffstown, New Hampshire. Several middle school and high school orchestras and bands from all over New Hampshire participated in this adjudicated festival.
Both the Pelham Memorial Middle School seventh and eighth grade band and the sixth grade band received overall “A” ratings at this festival. The seventh and eighth grade band, directed by Paul A. Santerre, received straight A ratings from all three adjudicators and an A rating in sight reading. The sixth grade band participated in this festival for the first time in the history of the school. Under the direction of Michael Seckla, this band received two A ratings and one B rating from the three adjudicators and a B rating in sight reading. Both groups received an “A Rating” plaque and New Hampshire state certificates at the festival site.
The New Hampshire Large Group Festival provides an opportunity for large musical ensembles to perform and receive a rating and comments from three adjudicators. One adjudicator then follows the group into another area where the group reads through a piece of music they have never seen before. The adjudicator in that room then clinics and critiques the students on their performance music. This year the festival was adjudicated by professors of music from Salem Sate College, Gordon College, Keene State College and Brandeis University.
Meet the New Pelham School Board Member
by Lynne Ober
Bruce Couture may be new to the Pelham School Board, but he’s not new to the community.
Couture was varsity coach at Pelham High School for softball and soccer from 1996 through 2004. “I loved coaching,” he smiled.
Before he coached at the high school he was president of the Pelham High School Booster Club from 2000 to 2003. Under his leadership the Booster Club annually raised more than $15,000 for high school athletic facilities and team expenses as well as raising more than $5,000 per year in scholarship money. Couture organized many banquet dinners to hone athletes and their accomplishments as well as managing parent volunteers at sporting and fund raising events.
He was a member of the Pelham School District Search Committee in 1994 when the district was searching for a new vice principal at the middle school.
Couture attended the University of New Hampshire in Durham. He earned a Bachelor of Science in business administration in 1965.
Since 1983 he’s been the pressman chairman at The Boston Globe newspaper where he’s been the liaison between management and union workers. He hopes that his labor negotiating skills will be useful to the school district as he’s also had a lot of experience in interpreting employee contracts as well as working with unions and management.
When he ran for school board, Couture said his objective was “to give back to the community by becoming an elected member of the school board and by offering my leadership and integrity to the schools of Pelham.” He wants to become “a strong curriculum-driven board member dedicated to improving Pelham’s educational goals.”
Roadway Improvement Plans Take Hit Since $1 Million from Warrant Didn’t Pass
by Lynne Ober
Do you know how many roads Pelham has? If you guessed 341, you would be correct. Of that number eight of them begin with a “V.” Can you name them all? Highway Agent Don Foss can.
Selectmen had included $1 million for roadway improvements in Warrant Article Number 8, but that bundled article did not pass in last week’s election. Foss had hoped that he would be able to maintain the rest of Pelham’s roads with the Highway Block Grant. But, because he was running behind in road maintenance, he needed the additional money to bring roads back up to par.
When asked to provide a three-year plan for roadwork, Foss looked at the roads that are most deteriorated with potholes, wheel ruts and a lack of a crown. It’s not surprising that these roads also have many cracks in the pavement that require frequent fixing into to keep water from seeping into them, freezing and creating more potholes.
Foss estimated the cost of hot top, gravel, tack, and crack seal over the three-year period and knows that his estimates are just that – estimates. “Some roads will have to be moved out to year four or five depending on the amount approved and the actual cost,” he noted.
“The goal is to get caught up,” said Town Administrator Tom Gaydos. “Then we can maintain with the highway block grant.”
Foss identified the following roads as in immediate need of repair and wants to get them completed in 2006:
In addition, he hopes that the work on Tallant Road Bridge will be completed. The town has to pay its share of $30,000 and the state pays the rest of that work.