November marked a number of important milestones for the 2016-2017 school year. First quarter report cards were distributed and the good news is that nearly 37% of students made Honor Roll. This is up over last year’s 28% of students achieving Honor Roll during the first quarter. We are looking closely at data as it relates to student goals regarding personal achievement and college/career readiness.
Winter athletics are well underway as our varsity and junior varsity girls basketball teams won their season openers at the beginning of December with the boys opening the following week. Our ski team and spirit squad are both practicing hard anticipating their first competitions.
Our math team continues success placing first in the small school division at November’s meet and third overall including all schools. Sophomores Quentin Dancewicz-Helmers and Reid Wilkins with 16 points each tied for second amongst all schools and junior Emma Lagueux is the season team leader thus far with 26 total points.
In civic news, junior Kaylan Santamaria was selected by the local chapter of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) to advance to the regional competition for the VFW’s annual “Voice of Democracy” audio-essay contest. Kaylan’s speech on “What is my responsibility to America?” impressed judges. After regionals, there are state and national competitions that include college scholarships. Junior Dacoda McGee was selected as a finalist to represent New Hampshire in the Senate Youth Program where two students from each state work with our US Senate in Washington, DC, in March. Although Cody was not selected to go to DC, we are proud that he made it to the finalist level. The commissioner of education complimented him on his essay and interview and encouraged him to reapply next year as the competition is open to both juniors and seniors.
In the arts, audiences were treated with the seniors’ rendition of Alice in Wonderland. This play kicked off our theater season and raised money for the senior class. The winter concert is slated for the second week of December promising inspiring band, choral, select choir, jazz band, and a cappella performances. Exchange student Lisa Kato was selected to play at the New Hampshire Music Educators Association Spring Conference and All State Music Festival – only one of five New Hampshire students selected for the All Chambers Orchestra. Lisa plans on sharing some of her violin music talent by playing for students during lunches at the high, middle, and elementary schools during the week leading into the holiday break.
Speaking of exchange students, social studies teacher Amy Doolin worked with our visiting scholars to hold an International Student Festival highlighting various aspects of culture including food, music, clothing, and other customs. The four countries featured were Tajikistan (Sophie Bakhtdavlatova), Japan (Lisa Kato), Belgium (Solene Bille) and Hong Kong (Suez Lai). We are fortunate to have such involved exchange students who are willing to take part in school activities and to share their culture with us.
Also in November, our Guidance Department organized our third annual Challenge Day. On this day, 100 students and 30 adults from the school and community take part in activities that break down barriers and stereotypes and build empathy and relationships. The day has had a powerful impact on school culture which can be seen by decreased disciplinary incidences and a follow up group initiated by students and staff called “Be the Change” where they hope to continue the movement.
Staff, students, and parents have taken part in our work on core values and in developing a school mission. This work will continue in January as we develop a new mission statement that supports our school goals. This movement started last year concurrent with our self-study for reaccreditation. We would like to expand this involvement to include the Board and other community members as well. Stay tuned for upcoming dates to participate.
As we look forward to the holiday break, December will bring us more news of student achievement and success. PSAT scores are slated to come out this month and student acceptances to college are starting to roll in. We enjoy celebrating with students as their plans start to come to fruition and their goals are realized. Enjoy the season.
Congratulations to our National Honor Society members and inductees October Students of the Month
I do not know how I had forgotten from last year what a whirlwind October can be. The month began with Homecoming festivities including a lip sync, a bonfire, and football under the lights. Student Council did a great job organizing both the lip sync and the bonfire. October was also a competitive month for athletics with soccer and volleyball making the playoffs and football securing some strong wins and building skill and morale. Speaking of morale, our cross country students built up quite a noticeable sense of teamwork in what is traditionally such an individual sport. Congratulations to our field hockey team for fighting hard all the way to the semi-finals. I am proud of our players as they showed skill, endurance, and sportsmanship. I am already looking forward to next year. Parents, coaches, students, and staff celebrated the fall season at an awards ceremony on November 3rd.
The month also brought the first Progress Reports for the academic year giving students and families a glimpse of how our students are progressing in their learning. This came at the perfect time as shortly thereafter all Newfound students set two personal goals for themselves regarding academic and personal success. This goal-setting supports our overall school goal that all Newfound Regional High School graduates will have an actionable post-secondary plan. During Advisories, staff worked with students on setting goals, creating action steps in order to achieve these goals, and identifying resources that would help them achieve their goals. We have encouraged parents to ask their child about what goals they set for themselves and how they can support them at home.
Speaking of goals and achievement, all of our juniors (and some of our sophomores) took the PSAT in October helping them prepare for the spring’s high stakes SAT exam which will count toward our state accountability testing as well as provide students with a meaningful score they can use when applying for college. PSAT results should come back in December so that our staff and students have time to study the data in order to determine what areas need work before April’s SAT.
Speaking of college, students from all grades attended a college mini-fair in our gym. Forty-seven colleges along with representatives from the military interacted with our students providing information about programs that match student interests and aspirations. Both of these endeavors (PSATs and the College Fair) were organized by our Guidance Department who did a great job executing these events.
Another area of note over the month included hosting a home Math Team meet where our White team (as in Green and White teams) placed second overall. Our Granite State Challenge team is practicing hard to compete on November 13th in Manchester.
Our junior class enjoyed a day in Salem, Massachusetts, visiting the House of Seven Gables and enjoying a witch trial reenactment. This set the mood as they commenced their study of The Crucible.
At the beginning of November, our Social Studies Department held exercises centered around both the elections and the observance of Veterans’ Day. This included teaching the meaning behind the Pledge of Allegiance and the Star Spangled Banner. This occurred the same week of issuing the first report cards of the year along with Parent-Teacher Conferences. Quarter 1 performance data should be ready by the end of November.
We look forward to a number of upcoming events. In November, please join us for the senior play Alice in Wonderland on November 18th and 19th in our auditorium. Come experience our upgraded lighting and sound system. On November 16th, many Newfound students, staff, and community members will participate in our 3rd annual Challenge Day where participants engage in activities that forge relationships and understanding while breaking down barriers and stereotypes. On November 21st, the National Honor Society will be inducting one of our largest classes of inductees. The ceremony will take place at 7:00 pm in the auditorium.Finally, I would like to invite board members, parents, and community members to a roundtable discussion from 6:00 – 7:30 pm in the LMC on November 17th. Last year, we worked with us on defining our core values as a school and our work is moving forward as we now create a vision and mission based on those values. This is all part of our reaccreditation efforts through the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEAS&C). Your voice is an important part of this work. I look forward to seeing you there.
The new banners arrived and hang from our light posts proclaiming “We Are Newfound” thanks to a grant from Hannaford’s. These banners were hung just in time for two important events at Newfound Regional High School. The first event was Homecoming where our sports teams and student body celebrated victories. Our field hockey team won their homecoming game remaining undefeated putting them in a great position to make the playoffs. Our volley ball team unfortunately took a close loss while our soccer team tied. Congratulations to our cross-country girls’ team who placed second in the Newfound Invitational and our football team who won their first game of the season – under the lights! Other Homecoming activities included a bonfire and a lip sync sponsored by Student Council and included a surprise faculty act.
Also over the Homecoming weekend, NRHS celebrated its first annual Newfound Regional High School Athletic Hall of Fame induction ceremony. The Athletic Hall of Fame is a result of the hard work of Athletic Director Peter Cofran along with some distinguished retired staff members. Eight individuals and one team were inducted. The individuals included former student athletes and coaches (two of which were inducted posthumously). The team inducted was the 1972 Girls’ Basketball state champions (the Lady Pandas as they were known then). The induction included video and in-person tributes as well as a reception.
Thanks to another community partner grant from Circle K, NRHS launched its March to a Million campaign. Students and staff members were give pedometers and registered to count their steps with the goal of reaching 1 million steps by the end of the school year. This effort is led by Assistant Principal Chris Ulrich, coach and para professional Michael LaPlumme, and the Student Athletic Leadership Team in the hopes of promoting health and wellness.
Four NRHS students were selected to be a part of the Plymouth State University All New England Festival Choir. Congratulations to seniors Crystal Conkey and Josh Whitney, junior Emma Woodbury, and sophomore Mason Martin. Speaking of music, our school band played an integral part of the Homecoming festivities with its drum corps leading the captains in to the lighting of the bonfire and the full band performing at the football game.
All juniors are taking the PSAT’s this month in preparation for the spring SAT which serves as both the high stakes state test as well as a useful tool for college admissions. Finally, the first progress reports of the year were issued early this month – the first benchmark of student academic progress for the year.
Next month brings Challenge Day and the senior play. Stay tuned for more exciting events at Newfound Regional High School!
Despite planning and working up until the 11th hour, the high school opened without a hitch. Paint, new furniture, new equipment, and a thorough cleaning were all executed in time and place thanks to the fantastic efforts of our custodial and facilities folks led by Jayne Braley and Alan Finitsis respectively. Still in progress are an auditorium light/sound upgrade, a new sign for the road, and banners for our parking lot and entry way. The sign is being paid for with funds awarded by the EDies “School of Excellence” committee and the banners thanks to a grant from Hannaford. Speaking of grants, NRHS also won a grant from Circle K through its “Fueling our Schools” initiative. The money from this grant will go towards a fitness initiative led by Assistant Principal Ulrich involving pedometers challenging students and staff to reach a million steps before the end of the school year.
NRHS welcomed new staff this year. The new teachers include Lori Mayo (Computer Science), Craig Wilkins (Math), Susan Murphy (Math), Matt Bonin (Special Education), and Stephanie Burge (Special Education). Two new interventionists include Trudy Leask (School Psychologist shared with NMMS) and Kali Dore (part-time LADC paid for with an entitlement grant). Two new paraprofessionals joined our Special Education Department – Stephanie Anderson and Alex Sobolov. Finally, NRHS welcomes Abigail Symonds (Class of 2012) returning “home” after graduating from Colby Sawyer to student teach in Biology and Chemistry.
Our faculty and staff have returned refreshed and determined to implement curriculum, instruction, and assessment that maximizes our students’ learning. All have embraced the new grading policy and included clear expectations in their materials. As we go through our self-study this year towards reaccreditation for NEAS&C, our entire staff will reflect on the above implemented practices as well as on our resources, culture, and mission. So far, the process has identified our shared core values and beliefs as a staff, student body, and community. A draft of these statements are included with this report. These core values and beliefs will serve to refine our 21st Century Expectations rubrics and our school Mission Statement.
Our staff is also ready and eager to continue to make progress on our school goal that by graduation, every NRHS students will have an actionable post-secondary plan (college and/or career). Our programming continues to support this goal through Freshman Seminar, our new Sophomore Seminar (focusing on career aptitude and college search), and Senior Project. As part of our short-term goal this year, we plan to work with students in setting and tracking yearly goals through our Advisory program.
We will also continue to study data as student achievement in the classroom has increased over the past two years. Our AP scores which were released over the summer show that 76% of students who took an AP class at NRHS last year scored a 3 or above on the exam making them eligible for advanced course placement in college. The most notable area of improvement was in AP Calculus where every student scored a 3 or above (four students scoring a perfect 5) and Computer Science where every student scored 3’s and 4’s. SAT scores were released from last year as well, giving us a baseline on this new state accountability assessment. This baseline will help drive our math and ELA curriculum and instruction. Although the results haven’t been fully unpacked and studied, we know that last year’s juniors scored above the national average in proficiency in both ELA (by 12%) and Math (by 1%), and 2% and 9% below the state average respectively. A benefit to this new state assessment is that all juniors now take the SAT which supports our post-secondary readiness goal. This year, all juniors will take the PSAT prepping them for the spring’s SAT.
Fall sports are well underway. Our Field Hockey team is celebrating early wins. Our soccer and football teams are excited to play under new coaches. Homecoming is set for the weekend of September 30th and will include a bonfire, dance, football game under the lights, and our first annual NRHS Athletic Hall of Fame inductions. In the arts, our theater department is already looking forward to its fall Senior Play, winter One-Acts, and the spring Community Musical – which this year will be Shrek.
Our Open House is scheduled for Thursday, September 22nd. The evening will start with a barbecue at 5:30 followed by an Open House at 6:30 featuring classroom demonstrations, informational panels, and a co-curricular fair. Community partners such as the police, military, the TTCC, and CADY have also been invited. It is our hope that in bringing together staff, students, parents, and the community, our students will benefit from such a wide array of support. Hope to see you there.
August 10, 2016
Where did the summer go? Despite how seemingly quick the season passes, I truly look forward to August 31st which is the day that school starts for all Newfound students. Our building and maintenance crew have been hard at work ensuring that our school facilities inspire school pride. Upon return, students will notice improvement to our sidewalks leading to the building as well as a fresh coat of paint in the halls. Other improvements include new cafeteria furniture and an upgraded lighting and sound system in the auditorium.
Administration and staff have been working this summer on curriculum, instructional practices, assessment practices, programming, and schedules that will continue to improve your child’s education and experience at Newfound Regional High School. Some of this summer work has focused on preparing for our self-study year as we start our reaccreditation process with the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEAS&C). During this self-study we look at our curriculum, instruction, assessment, and resources along with the culture of the school. Parents, staff, students, and community members took part in discussions last year about our core values as a school. There will be further opportunities this year for your voice to be heard as we look at the school’s programming and environment.
Another highlight from summer work is the development of a Sophomore Seminar. Last year, we rolled out a Freshman Seminar that helped students become acclimated to life at the high school. Sophomore Seminar will help students start thinking about the future: college and/or other post-secondary plans. Sophomore Seminar consists of online modules that the student can work on “anytime, anywhere” at their own pace.
Be sure to look out for first day paperwork sent home with students on the first day. This includes updated registration and medical information in which accuracy is important as we strive to keep the stream of communication flowing and providing the best care for our students. Also, our monthly newsletter will be sent via email. If you would like to receive a paper copy mailed home, you need to indicate so on the Student Registration form. Don’t forget to take a look at the Student/Parent Handbook which provides a great deal of information regarding academics as well as social/civic expectations. Please review with your teenager the importance of appropriate use of electronic devices as well as dress code in order to minimize interruptions to the educational process and so that no one is taken by surprise regarding school-wide expectations. There is an important signature page for you and your child to sign in the handbook that should be torn out and returned. Thank you in advance for your support! By working as a team, we become powerful partners in assuring your child’s success.
Student schedules can be accessed through the Web2School portal online. A hard copy will be distributed to students on the first day of school. As you look at the schedule, please keep in mind that due to some personnel changes, there could be a change in a student’s schedule. These changes along with study hall and advisory assignments should be finalized during the week of August 15th. If you have any questions, contact our Guidance Department.
Please join us on Thursday, September 22nd at 5:30 pm for a barbecue followed by an Open House at 6:30. Come to meet our dedicated faculty and hear about the exciting programming we have to offer. One last important date to keep in mind is Student Picture Day on Thursday, September 15th.
It is a privilege and pleasure to continue to serve the Newfound community as principal at Newfound Regional High School. I look forward to working with all students and parents this year as we strive for excellence. I also welcome and invite feedback, questions, and participation. Please do not hesitate to contact me via telephone at 744-6006 ext. 1500 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
May was a busy month for academics and enrichment. Students completed Advanced Placement (AP) examinations in Computer Science, English Literature, Calculus, US History, Biology, and English Language. Scores will come out this summer and will help determine college placement in those subject areas. Thirty-two seniors were honored as New Hampshire Scholars on May 5th exceeding the required credits in STEM and the Arts. The ceremony and celebration took place at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium where the students were then treated to a Fisher Cats game.
On May 24th, the Student Music Project featured a number of student musical numbers earning two students a scholarship. The Music Department trip to Lexington and Boston exposed students to history and entertainment. Students explored Lexington Green, a historical hot spot during the Revolutionary War. There, they met a fife player and were treated with some revolutionary tunes and provided with the history behind some of the toons. The group then moved on to see “Blue Man Group” in Boston as they were in awe at the alternative use of sound and percussion in performance art outside of the traditional school band format. During the last week of May, students and staff celebrated the ribbon cutting for the O’Malley Greenhouse which is run and supported by the 18-21-Year Old Program and the Horticulture class. This greenhouse was dedicated to retired principal Michael O’Malley whose support was key in establishing an 18-21-year old program at NRHS. Students ended the month with a “Spring Fling” devoting a half day to service and recreation followed by Underclassmen Awards Night.
Now, our thoughts turn to June where we celebrate some milestones. On June 2nd, we honored our seniors with awards and scholarships at Senior Recognition Night. This is the first of exciting events for seniors which include a class trip to Lake George, New York; a “Senior Walk” through the middle school; Baccalaureate; and finally, a June 11th graduation. It is with mixed emotions that I bid farewell to the Class of 2016. They are the last class I taught as a teacher. I will miss their inquisitiveness, playfulness, and school spirit. However, it is their time to make their mark on the world. It is with much pride and pleasure that I wish them good luck knowing their time at Newfound helped to shape who they are.
Where did the time go? With the dissemination of 3rd quarter report cards in April, we are down to less than nine weeks of school. Speaking of third quarter report cards, the Honor Roll numbers are in – 31% of students made the list. This is up over 28% during 3rd quarter of last year. A reminder that Newfound’s Honor Roll includes students who have all A’s and B’s and is not measured by GPA.
As our ten-year reaccreditation with the New England Association of Schools & Colleges approaches in 2017, we have begun a self-study of our core values as a school. Staff and students have both participated in this process throughout March and April. And on May 5th, now parents and community members have taken part as well. Stay tuned for the synthesized results as we finalize our core values.
There were a number of culminating events and new beginnings during the month of April. The spring community musical was a huge success selling out all of its shows. The cast did an incredible job as did all of the supporting members including the Tech Crew, costume designers, set designers, choreographers, musical director, and of course, our director Stephanie Wiencek.
Another culminating event was the completion of Senior Projects just prior to April vacation. Students seeking distinction presented on an Exhibition Night on May 11th at 4:30 just prior to the Spring Concert and Arts Exhibition. The Art Exhibition was at 6:00 followed by the musical performance at 7:00.
Thirty-two seniors were celebrated as NH Scholars. A ceremony was held at Fisher Cat Stadium.
Our new beginnings include spring sports where both our baseball and softball teams celebrated home openers in April. Our track team hosted a home meet with the annual Corneliusen Relays. Also, looking forward in May, Newfoundations will launch its second round of student/teacher shadowing. Before you know it, we will be celebrating those end-of-the-year events. Mark your calendars for the Underclassmen Awards Night on May 26th at 6:30 and the Senior Awards Night on June 2nd at 6:30. Finally, we will celebrate our seniors graduating on June 11th at 9:30 am.
Art Show winners: Alaina Plankey and Patrick O'Neill
On March 16th, NRHS students and staff hosted an 8th Grade Step Up Night providing tours and demonstrations of what life is like at the high school. Eighth grade students also selected their courses for their freshman year. The night was a huge success with 73 families turning out giving comments that this new format was both informative and welcoming. A special thanks to all of our staff, students, parents, and community partners who supported this transition night.
In March, we celebrated our winter athletes at our annual Winter Sports Awards night. This was quickly followed by spring sports practices and try outs. We are already looking forward to our April baseball games, softball games, and track meets. Also in March, our Math Team celebrated a first place win in our regional contest with Emma Lagueux receiving honors as top scoring sophomore and Reid Wilkins and Gabe Bauer tying as top scoring freshmen. The team finished its season at the state competition at Plymouth State University with a respectable showing against some highly competitive schools.
On March 10th, we had our second Parent Advisory Group meeting. The group grew to 19 parents from four the previous month. The group discussed academics, course selection, co-curriculars, dress code, and student use of technology. The group also talked about ways to bring in more support through posting of events in more central locations. There was also a discussion about honor roll and our Quarter 2 results of 28% of students making the honor roll. Some parents asked how this compares to other schools. In talking with three other area schools, their honor roll numbers came in between 40-51% for the same quarter. However, here’s the catch – these other schools base honor roll on GPA of 3.0 and above which allows for students to receive grades below A and B. At Newfound, our honor is strictly all A’s and B’s. As an experiment, we ran our honor roll for Quarter 2 using the 3.0 standard and we came in at 42%. Great questions, great discussions. I have not set a next date for the Parent Advisory Group yet. I am looking at early May after the April vacation. As we do our self-study for reaccreditation, I am hoping that parents will attend an evening where we can talk about our core values as a school. Parent voice in this topic is valuable and strongly desired.
April will be another short month, but packed full of events. In addition to athletics, the arts are alive at Newfound. The month starts with a Jazz Night on April 5th and the community musical production of “The Little Mermaid” on April 15th and 16th. Senior project presentations will wrap up with a distinction night to follow in May. Finally, third quarter report cards will come out mid-month. Happy Spring!
For such a short month, February was jam-packed with activity at the high school. In athletics, our girls’ basketball team finished 15-3 then receiving a bye in the first round of the playoffs. Unfortunately, they were knocked out in the second round by what WMUR called an “upset” by Campbell. Our boys’ team found a win this season giving them more hope and momentum. After last month’s recognition from Franklin for their great sportsmanship when one of the Franklin players scored his 1000th point, Franklin returned the favor this month. Unfortunately, due to a water pump issue with the well at the high school, the boys’ basketball senior game was moved to Franklin where their Athletic Director recognized our seniors. The ski team ended the season with students achieving personal bests. Winter Sports Awards will be held on Thursday, March 10th. Spring sports sign-ups have already started and practice commences March 21st.
The results are in and our Math Team placed first in Lakes Region Math League Small Division besting Inter-Lakes, Moultonborough, Belmont, and Franklin. Sophomore Emma Lagueux was named highest scoring sophomore and Gabriel Bauer and Reid Wilkins tied for highest scoring freshmen. A special congratulations goes out to Math Team Coaches Rob Messier and Amy Ballou as well as to our “mathletes.”
We celebrated music teacher Ed Judd last month for his organization of the Lakes Region Music Festival. We have cause to celebrate again this month as all 9 of our students received an A-rating at the NHMEA Solo & Ensemble Festival at Keene State – with Megan Gilpatric and Sean Holden scoring a 98 for their duet.
We concluded February with our annual Winter Carnival leading into February vacation. Students engaged in events and games that brought lots of school spirit and friendly competition among classes. The Student Council along with math teacher Rob Messier organized this event and it was a great success. At the conclusion of the day on Friday, February 19th, the whole school came together to celebrate student Tyler Nickerson as it was his last day of the 18-21 year old program as he aged out over February vacation. Tributes were read and slides were projected as the whole school applauded this young man’s accomplishments during his tenure in our district. Tyler helped found both the “Bear Trap” school store and the O’Malley Greenhouse. As Tyler exited the auditorium, the entire senior class lined the way up the aisle and out the front door giving him high fives as he left.
All juniors took the SAT exam on March 2nd as the new high stakes mandated state test. Students worked hard as they endured this 4 ½ hour test in Reading, Writing, and Mathematics. The scores not only provide us with a baseline as we continue to improve our curriculum, the students can use these scores in applying to colleges. Our staff did a great job proctoring and supporting the exam. Special thanks to Guidance Director Monica Jackson for her months of planning and preparation for this exam including registering students, training proctors, and scheduling the logistics.
March brings us spring weathers, a community musical, and outdoor sports. As a staff, we continue to implement our long-term goal of college and career readiness for all students as well as start our NEAS&C self-study for our ten-year reaccreditation.
For such a short month, February is bringing us a lot of bang for its buck. Our staff and students have been busy academically and in other areas of student life. The numbers are in from Quarter 2 and 28% of the student body made Honor Roll (the same rate as Quarter 2 last year). Combined with the Quarter 1 Honor Roll increase over last year, we achieved our school goal of raising overall whole school GPA. Congratulations to our students for their academic achievement and to our staff who work tirelessly at delivering meaningful and rigorous curriculum, instruction, and assessment.
In the arts, students competed in the annual One Act Play competition. Each class put on a comedy that kept audiences roaring in the aisles. Congratulations to all of those individuals, ensembles, and classes recognized with an award. Students, staff, and community members are already hard at work as rehearsals have begun for our spring musical “The Little Mermaid.” Also, rounding out the arts was the 8th annual Poetry Out Loud competition. Congratulations to junior Crystal Conkey for coming in first place and Megan Gebhardt placing second. Crystal goes on to compete in a regional competition.
In athletics, our girls’ basketball team continues with a winning season and our boys found their first victory. Congratulations to both teams for their hard work and dedication. Our ski team members continue to celebrate personal bests. Congratulations to them as well.
Students are celebrating winter in style towards with a winter semi-formal dance at the Marion Center and with Winter Carnival Week leading into February vacation. The week will see athletic competitions, lip syncs, a lip dub, academic bowls, and a number of other events meant to promote school spirit and friendly class competition. A highlight of the week will be an all-school assembly bidding farewell to one of our beloved students who is graduating out of the 18-21-year old program – Tyler Nickerson, one of the founders and friendly faces behind the school store “The Bear Trap.” An article paying tribute to Tyler can be found in the March newsletter.
The first Parent Advisory Group met on February 11th. I enjoyed the opportunity to meet with parents discussing both aspirations and concerns they have for their students at Newfound Regional High School. Great conversations were had about college/career readiness, communication, rigorous course options, Office Hours, grading/redo’s, public relations, additional co-curricular opportunities, and community service. Concerns were also shared about drugs and alcohol as we discussed continued efforts to educate students on the perils of substance abuse as well as continue to improve efforts to keep these substances out of the schools. The next Parent Advisory Group meeting will be Thursday, March 10th from 5:30 – 6:30 pm just before Winter Sports Awards. All are welcome to drop in!
Finally, a reminder that all NRHS juniors will be taking the SAT on Wednesday, March 2nd, as the new high stakes standardized exam for the State of New Hampshire. A true benefit to the SAT over Smarter Balanced is that NRHS students can use these scores in applying to colleges. Students are strongly encouraged to get some rest the night before. Breakfast, snacks, and lunch will be provided followed by an afternoon movie. These scores will provide an important baseline as we continue our efforts of improving the education at Newfound for all students. Let’s go, juniors, you’ve got this!
As we enter February, we find ourselves over half way through the school year begging us to ask the question where has the time gone? With the completion of mid-year examinations and second quarter report cards, students are able to reflect on their achievement so far this year and set goals on how they would like to finish the year. Soon they will start planning for next year as they select their courses. For many, this provides an opportunity to elect to take classes that will support their future college and career aspirations which may include the arts, STEM, business, and many other areas of study.
In January, we are hosting three important events at the high school. The first is the Lakes Region Music Festival bringing together 12 area high schools’ finest student musicians collaborating in ensemble choral and band performances. The Saturday performance at the high school proves to be impressive and inspiring reminding us how the arts support the whole student experience as well as thinking and learning.
The next major event is an assembly focusing on the perils of heroin and opiate addiction as we welcome a presentation from Manchester firefighter/EMS Officer Chris Hickey on Monday, January 25th. The presentation will be informative, direct, and realistic – important elements as we support prevention efforts for our students. In presenting such sensitive material, we felt this honest approach combined with our continued commitment to drug education and prevention methods will support student safety.
Lastly, on Friday, January 29th, our Drama Department presents the annual One-Act Play competition. Come one, come all to enjoy the show as each class performs their one act snippet.
Winter sports are entering the second half of the season with our girls’ basketball team charging forward with only one loss. Some of our skiers are demonstrating some personal bests. Of special note is the email our Athletic Director Peter Cofran received from the Franklin boys’ basketball coach commending the character of our players in celebrating a Franklin student’s 1000th point. This recognition of sportsmanship by our players makes me proud and makes Newfound strong.
February brings us more athletic competitions, math meets, spring musical auditions, and Winter Carnival in which this year’s theme is the “Four Seasons.” This is a lot to fit in to a three-week month as we adjourn for a winter break during the last week of the month. I would like to highlight two specific dates – one in February and one in March.
On Thursday, February 11th, I would like to invite any interested parents to join me for coffee at 6:00 pm at the high school in our Library Media Center as part of a Parent Advisory Group. My hope is to provide parents to opportunity to discuss any ideas, concerns, and aspirations regarding their children’s education at Newfound Regional High School. I am hoping that this event will also create opportunities for parents to become involved at the school as well as give parents a voice. Working together will only serve to benefit student achievement.
The second date I would like to highlight is March 2nd – shortly after we return from winter break. On this day, all 11th graders will be taking the SAT during the school day as New Hampshire’s new high stakes test in place of Smarter Balanced. The benefit is that these are scores that students can use in applying for college. Students will be practicing during math and English classes in the weeks leading up to the test. It is recommended that students get a good night’s rest before the exam. We will provide breakfast, snacks, and lunch on the day of the test. This is a great opportunity for us to get a baseline on our student achievement as we continue to set and execute goals for school improvement.
With Progress Reports released shortly before Christmas, students were given a snapshot of how they are doing Quarter 2. This report validates their efforts as well as reminds students what still needs to be done before grades close during the third week of January. It is our hope that we build upon our growing Honor Roll numbers and exceed the 30% achieved during Quarter 1.
Following the closing of Quarter 2 grades is Mid-year examinations. These count for 10% of year-long courses and up to 20% for semester courses. Preparing for these exams is important. Reviewing and organizing notes, creating study guides, and staying up to date on all formative and summative assignments are key ways to prepare for these high stakes assessments. Seeking extra help from teachers during Office Hours or after school is another great strategy. Finally, getting lots of rest and eating breakfast help the body and brain endure and strive.
On the athletic front, our Lady Bears basketball team is off to a great start while our boys are working hard under two new coaches. The Winter Concert celebrated high attendance numbers while the seniors enjoyed one another in performing “Scenes from a Dance,” this year’s senior play. Teacher Alan Merrifield played a “groovy” DJ while Assistant Principal Chris Ulrich played his polar opposite – a flat, monotone administrator likened to Eeyore rather than his upbeat, enthusiastic self that he shares with us daily. Quite a performance!
On December 17th, we hosted our second Challenge Day. One hundred students and thirty-two adults engaged in a full day of events and team-building activities that promote positive school climate. It was amazing to see walls come down and relationships forged further supporting our motto, “We are Newfound.” Special thanks to our Guidance Department for organizing this event, in particular Shelly Philbrick. Another special thanks to Superintendent Buckley who also participated in the event and is working with administration on making this an annual event at the high school.
Hopefully, the holiday break will provide us all – staff, students, and parents – with opportunities to rest, catch-up, and recharge for a successful 2016. Best wishes and be well.
Below are the December Students of the Month.
As the song says, “…there is a season, turn, turn, turn.” We here at Newfound Regional High School are doing just that. Quarter 1 is behind us as we celebrate nearly 30% of our students achieving Honor Roll. Many others came close – a perfect reminder as goals are set for Quarter 2 to take advantage of the variety of interventions offered to support student achievement including Homework Club, Office Hours, and Reassessment Plans. At Parent-Teacher conferences, our teachers hosted 300 conferences – more than we usually host. As was the case with Open House, we are seeing more attendance and communication from home. I hope this trend continues. Soon, I am hoping to schedule a Parent Advisory Group. Look for upcoming emails and announcements inviting you to participate.
Speaking of achievement – eleven NRHS students were inducted into our National Honor Society chapter. This is the largest inducted class I’ve seen in my tenure at Newfound. Students selected for membership are not only top scholars, but also demonstrate strong character, leadership ability, and a commitment to community service. These students are exemplars of Newfound pride and of our mission.
Representatives from NEEF and local community colleges worked along side our guidance counselors in assisting 30 students in completing their college applications during the second annual College Application Day held across the state. This is an exciting milestone for our students as they prepare for life after high school.
Another literal turning of the season is from fall sports and activities to winter ones. Practices are underway for boys and girls basketball, ski team, and spirit team. We invite you to come out and root for our winter athletes with our first home basketball games during the second week of December. The Winter Concert and Senior Class Play also round out our co-curricular schedule prior to the winter holiday break – two more great opportunities to support our talented students.
Challenge Day is December 17th. This is the second one of these events we are hosting. About 100 students and 30 staff/community members are expected to participate in this day which promotes positive school climate. We are committed to this aim in that we believe positive relationships support academic success.
October 30, 2015
Where did the fall go? October was packed with a number of meaningful events. Report cards will be mailed on November 13th – the same week we are hosting Parent-Teacher Conferences. If you haven't signed up for a conference yet, please contact the teacher(s) you would like to meet either by email or sending in the schedule form. This will be a great time to celebrate success as we announce our Quarter 1 Honor Roll as well as to set some goals for those who are struggling. Part of that goal setting will involve taking stock of our resources. You may want to ask your child: have you gone to Homework Club, have you utilized Office Hours and Guided Study, have you asked for a re-assessment if you didn’t understand the material or perform with proficiency? There are a number of interventions and supports. Please contact us with any questions.
Forty-four students took PSATs as practice for the SAT that will soon serve dual purpose for consideration in college acceptance as well as serving as NH’s high stakes test for juniors. Our Guidance folks also hosted a College Mini Fair where students spoke with college, military, and technical school representatives about courses of study and career options. In addition, Guidance has been busy assisting students with the college application process.
Several of our teams made the playoffs. Congratulations Soccer, Volleyball, and Field Hockey. Our Cross Country students celebrated personal victories as well. Football celebrated late season success, but should be commended for its team spirit that endured throughout the entire season.
Our students engaged in some meaningful field trips to UNH, PSU, and to Salem, Massachusetts. These trips not only supported college readiness, but served to reinforce curriculum in both science and English. Several of our staff have been busy engaging in professional development in learning best practices that support student learning such as developing meaningful student performance scales, Universal Design for Learning, and competency-based assessment.
Endeavors involving the arts are under way as well. The Drama Department put on a variety show in October raising over $800 towards the spring musical. The seniors have cast the senior play to be performed in December. And the Music Department is not only preparing for the Winter Concert in December, but will be hosting the Lakes Region Musical Festival in January. Whew! Lots behind us, lots to come.
NEWFOUND REGIONAL HIGH SCHOOL October 2015
The energy and excitement levels continue to run high at NRHS. This was evident by the record attendance at our Open House on September 22nd. The evening started with a barbecue that served around 143 people. The programming format was altered this year to include three half-hour sessions in which parents, students, and community members could drop in and out of throughout the course of the evening. These sessions were demonstrations of what types of activities our students engage with in the classroom. The evening also included a Co-curricular Fair and tables set up by some of our community partners.
Our plans in taking advantage of the benefits of the Fourth Period Study Hour are coming to fruition. One teacher noted that by the beginning of October, she had already met with 84 students in a 1:1 setting during Office Hours or Study Hour. Our Senior Project Coordinator has been able to meet with every senior as they finalize their Senior Project proposals. And finally, the feedback from the freshmen on Freshman Seminar has been quite positive. Many have noted how helpful this has been in acclimating them to the high school and preparing them for the rigor of high school academics. Freshman Seminar highlights research skills, note-taking, organization, information and media literacy, and career exploration.
Field Hockey kicked off our Homecoming festivities this year with a victory over Stevens on Thursday, October 1st, followed by Friday wins by Soccer and Volleyball over Laconia. Soccer won this year’s Lip Sync contest and was awarded a trophy at Friday’s pep rally. Students, staff, alumni, and guests enjoyed a bonfire dance on Friday night. Our first Saturday night home football game concluded our Homecoming festivities. Newfound started strong with scoring first, but unfortunately, did not prevail in the end. Attendance and team/school spirit were both quite strong.
The staff at NRHS are not only busy in the classroom, but are engaging in a number of meaningful professional development activities including Universal Design for Learning, Competency and Grading, Curriculum Mapping, and in setting school-wide goals.
Student Council and Student-Staff Senate have held elections and new leadership is in place. Both groups are running full force. Student Council planned and executed the Homecoming festivities while Student-Staff Senate has convened a subcommittee of students and staff members to examine the Student Handbook.
All of our vacancies are now filled as we welcome two new employees – Vivica Duffield as the new Administrative Assistant and Kellie Latulippe as a special education 1:1 aide. Both are great additions to the staff and are fitting in nicely as they support our staff and students.
Some important upcoming events include a variety show on October 16th at 7:30 pm in the auditorium. Proceeds go towards the cost of the spring musical. On October 21st, we will host a College Mini-Fair in the gym allowing our students to meet with representatives from dozens of colleges and representatives from the military. This supports our goal of college and career readiness for all students.
September 16, 2015
Despite Mother Nature’s attempt at convincing us that summer break should have been extended for a couple of more weeks, the 2015-2016 school year opened with a positive vibe felt by staff and students alike. The sweltering heat was not able to quash the enthusiasm of either group. The school year commenced with an all-school assembly welcoming the incoming Class of 2019. A warm welcome was also extended to new staff, students transferring into our district, and to students from the Town of Hill who have now joined the Newfound family. We also welcome our exchange student from Germany Lena Eberstein.
As the weather settles, we find ourselves up and running already moving at a quick pace. Athletics are well under way and programming is up and running. We have continued to find more value in our Fourth Period Study Hour adding programming to support incoming freshmen who engage in Freshman Seminar each day acclimating them to life at the high school as well as providing them with the skills they need for the 21st century. Seniors are supported with a weekly Senior Seminar as they start their Senior Project. This seminar is meant to support their research, writing, and organizational efforts of this thorough, comprehensive, and multi-stepped project.
Fine tuning curriculum, instruction, assessment, and other programming was a priority for many teachers and staff members this summer. I am confident that this hard work will translate into noticeable changes in the classroom and in student performance. Please look for upcoming highlights on our curriculum mapping, common assessment, and co-teach efforts.
Another exciting event to come includes the opening of the Michael O’Malley Greenhouse. Construction is nearly complete. The Science Department along with our students in the 18-21 year old program are in the planning phase of agricultural ventures. A formal dedication of the greenhouse honoring retired principal Mike O’Malley will take place later this fall.
As I stated in the opening of this message, there is a positive vibe in the air. I believe this comes from a shared sense of pride. An opportunity to see this first hand exists this Tuesday, September 22nd, at our annual Open House from 6:30 – 8:00 pm. Parents, students, and community members will have an opportunity to see some of our programs first hand and meet our staff in various sessions offered throughout the building. Examples include Robotics, Science A to Z, and Online Math Resources. Join us at 5:30 for grilled hot dogs and burgers.
August 7, 2015
School starts in less than a month! This statement may cause some to be a little anxious asking “Where did the summer go?” or “Does that leave me enough time for back-to-school shopping?” As indicated by the exclamation point, I hope you can see that we are excited by this statement. All students will return to school on September 2nd.
Administration and staff have been hard at work over the summer working on curriculum, instructional practices, programming, and schedules that will continue to improve your child’s education and experience at Newfound Regional High School. Our building and maintenance crew have also been hard at work ensuring that our school facilities inspire school pride.
Speaking of staff -- we have a few new folks joining us here at the high school. Be sure to check back here on the website as we will make introductions as they join us later this month. A new staff member that has already been hard at work this summer is the new Assistant Principal -- Mr. Chris Ulrich. Many of you may have already met him or heard from him as he has quickly plugged into our school community making it a point to get to know students, parents, and other community members.
Academic support and intervention continue to be a priority as we roll out the second year of “Study Hour” during fourth period. For those who may be unfamiliar with Study Hour, it is a school-wide time each day set aside for students to work individually, collaboratively, or accessing resources or teachers in order to further their comprehension and maximize their academic performance.
NRHS Staff have also concentrated on another effort meant to support student success. This fall, we will roll out Freshman Seminar for all ninth-graders during the first part of Study Hour. Freshmen will work with five different teachers on a rotating basis where they will receive instruction and support on skills and programming necessary for high school success. These skills includes information literacy; information technology and use of electronic portfolio; life skills and career exploration; research and critical thinking; and decision-making and self-advocacy. It is our goal that this seminar not only prepares students for success in high school, but also provides them with skills and habits of mind that will serve them in their college and career endeavors.
Some look-for’s include first day paperwork sent home which includes updated registration and medical information in which accuracy is important as we strive to keep the stream of communication flowing and providing the best care for our students. Don’t forget to take a look at the Student/Parent Handbook which provides a great deal of information regarding academics as well as social/civic expectations. Please review with your teenager the importance of appropriate use of electronic devices as well as dress code in order to minimize interruptions to the educational process and so that no one is taken by surprise regarding school-wide expectations. There is an important signature page for you and your child to sign in the handbook that should be torn out and returned. Thank you in advance for your support! By working as a team, we become powerful partners in assuring your child’s success.
There are a number of other exciting items I would love to write about ranging from athletics to senior projects to increasing parental input and involvement at NRHS. Don't forget to join us on Tuesday, September 22nd at 6:30 pm for an Open House. More details to follow. Come to meet our dedicated faculty and hear about the exciting programming we have to offer. One last important date to keep in mind is Student Picture Day on Thursday, September 17th.
It is a privilege and pleasure to serve the Newfound community as I start this venture as principal at Newfound Regional High School. I look forward to working with all students and parents as we strive for excellence. I also welcome and invite feedback, questions, and participation. Please do not hesitate to contact me via telephone at 744-6006 ext. 1500 or email at email@example.com.