Category Archives: Feature

Veterans Day Assembly

On Friday, November 8, we will have a short assembly in the PES gymnasium in honor of Veterans Day at 2:00 p.m. Members of the Boy Scouts will present the colors, students will sing a verse of “My Country Tis of Thee”, and Luke Koladish, a parent and veteran, will share a brief address on the meaning of Veterans Day. Veterans, families, and friends are welcome to join us for the assembly. We hope to see you there!

PACE & Smarter Balanced Update

For the first time, NH is providing accountability data for those schools and districts who are participating in Performance Assessment of Competency Education (PACE), integrated into the state-level overall accountability information. Commissioner Barry commented, “The results of NH’s first-in-the-nation innovative assessment and accountability pilot demonstrates that NH educators can fully participate in and manage their accountability and assessment system with state level support and review. Rigorous comparability studies completed by the National Center for the Improvement of Educational Assessment in Dover, NH, show that assessment results produced by NH educators are as rigorous in evaluating student performance as state or national assessments.” In addition, for the first time, NH grade 11 students participated in the College Board’s School Day SAT as a part of the statewide assessment program. The move to SAT was part of the state’s effort to reduce testing burden and give all grade 11 students the opportunity to participate in a college-entrance exam. The feedback from students, parents and educators has been overwhelming positive.

Robert Rossel: Third Grade Artist-in-Residence

Governor Hassan Comments About Pittsfield Schools

I thought you would be interested in the complimentary comments that Governor Hassan made about our Pittsfield schools in her state-of-the-state address delivered at the State House in Concord on Thursday, February 6, which are excerpted from her speech below. Thank you for your ongoing support of our students and school.
John J. Freeman, Ph.D.
Superintendent of Schools

… New Hampshire’s public schools are often ranked among the nation’s best in graduation rates, in reading proficiency and in math proficiency. And many of our schools are innovating and working to find better ways to edu-cate our students. Pittsfield Middle High School, for example, has brought businesses, parents and the entire community together to develop a student-centered learning program. Educators are working collaboratively with students to identify what they need to learn and what they are having trouble learning. Then together they build plans, including opportunities outside the classroom, that help each student thrive. Pittsfield students are seeing the results in their test scores, with the number of 11th-graders testing proficient in math nearly doubling since the program began. Pittsfield is seeing improvements because they were willing to look at education differently. And that is what we need to do across our state. We may be doing better than most states, but we have heard from our businesses that we still have work to do to ensure that we have a workforce that can compete in the future. That is why, across New Hampshire, local school districts are pursuing college- and career-readiness standards that include the Common Core, an effort that has the support of educators and businesses, of Republicans and Democrats. States came together to develop these robust standards in order to provide a consistent, clear under-standing of what students are expected to learn, so that they can develop the skills they need and the ability to think critically – helping our young people succeed in their careers, in higher education and in life. Local school districts continue to have the flexibility to determine whether and how to implement these standards — and they should be implemented. For our students to succeed, we must work together to ensure that communities are able to implement college- and career-readiness standards effectively, through collaboration with parents, students and educators. These standards are an important step forward, but we must build upon them and make sure that students have access to a strong curriculum in a full range of subjects, from English – to math – to the arts. And to help young people fill the jobs that growing businesses are creating here in New Hampshire, we need to come together as a state to ask tough questions about how we can best educate our young people, especially in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and math. Is it acceptable in today’s economy to only require two years of math from our high school students? Should we be requiring computer science as well as biology? How can we better integrate engineering and technology into our classrooms? For New Hampshire to lead the way in building a workforce that is prepared for the high-tech jobs of today and tomorrow, our schools need to provide an even more rigorous STEM education that our businesses believe in, our educators believe in, and our students and families believe in. That is why I will be creating a STEM Education Task Force made up of diverse stake-holders who will make recommendations for modernizing STEM education in our schools. Strengthening educa-tion in the STEM fields is just one part of the equation. New Hampshire’s high-tech and advanced manufacturing companies are struggling to fill job openings, even for jobs with wages over 25 percent higher than average. We need to reach our students at a young age and help them understand that they can stay in New Hampshire, find jobs here that are interesting and exciting, and build careers that will allow them to support their families and climb the ladder of opportunity…

Student-Led Conferences Video

Please watch “Student-Led Conferences at Pittsfield Middle High School”……..

Pittsfield School Board Wins “School Board of Excellence”

Our Pittsfield School Board has been selected as the 2013 School Board of Excellence by the New Hampshire School Boards Association (NHSBA); the NHSBA has recognized the work of the Board in community outreach. The Board will be honored at two events: first, at the annual NH Education “Eddies” awards banquet held in Manchester on Saturday, June 8, and second, at a presentation at the June 20 Board meeting in the PMHS Media Center. Community members faculty and staff are invited to attend.

Lisa Steven – Chichester Grange Teacher of the Year!

Congratulations to PES art teacher Lisa Stevens, who has been selected as Chichester Grange Teacher of the Year. Ms. Stevens has served as the art teacher at Pittsfield Elementary School since 1997. As a visual arts teacher, Ms. Stevens works energetically and enthusiastically with over 300 students each week, and her students consistently produce quality original art work.

At PES students’ art work is always on display in our hallways. Ms. Steven’s students work in drawing, painting, ceramics, photography, and other mediums. She seeks to display PES student art in and out of the school. For the last several years she has shown student  art at the Deerfield Fair, where PES collections regularly win ribbons. Ms. Stevens has also been active in the state network of art teachers and influential in promoting a regional traveling art show featuring k-12 artists in the Suncook Valley. Last school year she served as the chair person for the traveling show.

Over the years Ms. Stevens has brought several artists-inresidence to PES, enriching children’s live and exposing them to artists from the region and the world. Ms. Stevens is the Team Leader for the Unified Arts team at PES and this year worked with the second-grade students to improve reading skills. She works to tie in the curriculum at the grade-levels into projects in art. Ms. Stevens is an accomplished teacher and leader who brings beauty and the joy of creation to the PES community.

Teacher Communication: One Educator’s Journey

Note: Author Katie Bass is a second-grade classroom teacher, who also serves as PES’s Responsive Classroom Lead TeacherShe taught grade four for her first four years at PES.

In looking back at my five years here at Pittsfield Elementary, I can easily say that I have come a long way in my communication with parents.

In my first year of teaching fourth grade, my stomach would drop whenever I returned to my classroom to see the red light illuminated on my phone telling me that I had a voicemail. I remember being nothing short of fearful of parents then. I knew I was young and had less experience than most of my colleagues, and I was nervous that someone would call me out on it. I sought counsel from my peers and superiors often, even though I was doing the best I could for my students. While I had no negative interactions with parents, I certainly did not feel that this was a strong area in my teaching.

After my first year here, I was fortunate enough to attend Responsive Classroom I training. There, I was able to spend a full day with other teacher reflecting on the importance of parent input as well as learning strategies I could use immediately to improve this aspect of my teacher role. From that day forward, I was fully committed to improving my communications with families.

Eight Suggestions for Improving Parent-Teacher Relations

Note: The following article summary is shared with permission from Kim Marshall, a former Boston principal, author, and nationally recognized educator. This is from his weekly educator e-newsletter, The Marshall Memo.

In this New York Times article, sixth-grade teacher Sara Mosle says some parents are overly intrusive, which robs children of the opportunity to solve problems themselves and puts teachers on the defensive. At the other extreme is parents holding back for fear of irritating teachers and sparking retaliation against their children. Here are Mosle’s ideas for a productive middle ground: Parents should encourage their children to take the lead in sorting out difficulties with teachers. College admissions officers tell school people that they look for students who have developed confidence and “voice.”