Category Archives: Administration

Choose Love

Choose Love has been adopted by the School Board as the district’s social and emotional learning (SEL) curriculum. The Choose Love programs teach the foundational concepts and skills of SEL, and is informed by current brain research and neuroscience. Students in K-12 are engaged in lessons that support:

  • Understanding and managing emotions
  • Setting and achieving positive goals
  • Feeling and showing empathy and compassion for others
  • Establishing and maintaining positive relationships
  • Making responsible decisions

For more information on Choose Love, visit the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement website.

Student Centered Learning in Pittsfield

As Pittsfield readers may know, we have been on a journey of redesign of our schools for several years; this work may be thought of as a reinvention of our schools to become more student-centered.  This means that we are becoming more responsive than ever to individual student needs, strengths, and interests.

One of the most important reasons for creating student-centered learning for our students is that we now know more about how people learn than ever before.  Thanks to the discoveries of brain researchers, parents and educators can now offer our children and youth higher quality learning experiences than those that most of us remember from our own school days.

To put it briefly, we are now working to provide our students with learning experiences that reflect new discoveries in how our brains work.  This is why we are minimizing practices like lecturing or assigning workbook page after workbook page.  Instead, we are engaging our students in more firsthand learning, team or group learning, and thinking about their leaning than most of us experienced in school.

For example, I can remember how much I enjoyed preparing a project for my school science fair when I was a middle school student.  It was so much more interesting than reading a book chapter (though I loved reading immensely!) and taking a paper and pencil test at the end of the chapter.  And, I remember learning so much from my own investigation needed to prepare my project, not only about science, but also about time management, presentation skills, and determination.

As our practices in our schools continue to evolve, we’re working to help students enjoy the most powerful learning experiences that we can provide for them.  We’re asking students to take on new, more active roles in their own learning, in ways that are similar to my middle school science fair project.

Rather than asking students to sit quietly and absorb everything they’re told, we’re more and more asking them to be actively involved in researching, experimenting, and talking about what’s important to them in the context of both traditional school subjects and subjects that interest them as they grow to become successful learners in their post-high school learning and in their careers.

By Dr. John Freeman, Superintendent Of Schools SAU 51

This article was featured in the Suncook Valley Sun on May 18, 2016.

Smarter Balanced Testing

New Hampshire children have taken the annual NECAP – the New England Common Assessment Program – assessment each fall for years. The Smarter Balanced Assessment replaces the NECAP.  State and federal law require all schools to give an annual assessment to students in grades 3-8 and once in high school. Starting this year, New Hampshire is using Smarter Balanced for that required annual assessment. The testing schedule will be posted on the website. PES students grades 3-6 will start March 30th and be done before April break. There are two tests for math and two tests for English Language Arts. Students will only take one test per day, so it will be spread out over four days. This is the first time this test will be given and it will be a learning experience. They expectations for this assessment are different, and teachers have been working to introduce students to the test format so that it is not overwhelming. Students will have breaks during the assessment. At this time we don’t know when the results will be available, but we will update you when we know. See the testing schedule here!

National Assessment of Educational Progress

The Pittsfield School District has been selected to represent schools across the nation by participating in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), the largest nationally representative and continuing assessment of what students know and can do in various subject areas. It is administered by the National Center for Education Statistics, within the U.S. Department of Education. The results of NAEP are released as The Nation’s Report Card, which provides information about student achievement to educators, parents, policymakers, and the public. Students in fourth and eighth will be participating in the assessment. Participation in NAEP is voluntary. If you wish for your son or daughter not to participate, please notify Mrs. Harvey by February 20, 2015

Eagle Scout Makeover of PES Nature Trail

Not everybody knows about the quarter-mile nature trail behind PES. In recent years, brush , tree limbs, and muddy areas have made passage challenging.

Thanks to PMHS 9th grader Kyle Hamel, the trail is now the best it’s ever been. For his Eagle Scout project, Kyle and friends have transformed the trail, brought light, firm footing, and even furniture to our wooded backyard.

Kyle has constructed three wooden benches with views of the wetland and constructed a small amphitheatre, suitable for a class meeting. Barton Lumbar donated building materials. Several scouts and scout leaders donated labor and equipment.

We thank Kyle for leading this project for all Pittsfield residents to enjoy.

School District Meeting

On Thursday, March 14, approximately 130 Pittsfield citizens and interested non-residents attended the Annual School District Meeting in the PES Gym. The meeting started at 7:00 and ended just after 8:30.

Voters approved all the items in the $9.45 million dollar budget, including the over-all operating budget, a teacher contract with a modest salary increases, and a warrant article to replace the siding on the PES building along with most of the older windows.

Most discussion at the meeting was over the cost of the teacher contract and the replacement of siding on the building. The teachers’ contract includes a small salary increase; in exchange teachers pick up more of the cost of their health insurance. The siding and windows will be a one-time expense, rather than a multi-year bond.