Pelham - Windham News 4 - June 11, 2010
The Word Around Town... Letters to our Editor
Thumbs Reply I am writing this letter as a response to one of
the Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down comments of the June 4 edition of the Pelham~Windham News. The writer criticized the fact that I did not attend a recent School Board meeting. I was not at the meeting because I was at the hospital with a family member who had major surgery. I can only hope that the person who wrote such a sorry comment never has to experience seeing someone they love suffer with a serious illness, or undergo major surgery. But if they are ever faced with that situation, I hope they choose to be with their loved one instead of opting to attend a School Board meeting.
Lorraine Dube, Pelham School Board - Pelham
Pelham Youth Lacrosse Thanks You I would like to say a big thank-you to the
following businesses for allowing the Pelham Youth Lacrosse to fundraise outside their businesses this past Memorial Day weekend and this coming weekend: Gage Hill Farms, Sovereign Bank, Hillside Country Store, Cousins Convenience, Alicia’s Diner, Mobil First Chance Convenience, Beaver Valley Farms, Suppa Pizza Shop, Market Basket, Discount Madness, R+B Superette, and Ray’s Stateline Market. I would like to thank every person who put a donation in one of the cans; your kindness and generosity made this a rewarding and enjoyable experience for all our team members. Last, but certainly not least, I would like to say a huge thank-you to all our team members and their parents for taking time out of their weekend to help further their lacrosse program and its future! I am very proud to have a child part of such a great organization!
Erica Holdsworth - Pelham
Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Raffle
The Windham Police Association will host
the Fourth Annual Knight Ride on June 26. All proceeds from this event will benefit the Mark W. Knight Memorial Scholarship Fund. Officer Mark W. Knight, a former Windham Police Officer, lost his courageous battle to cancer in July 2007. This scholarship fund is a great way to support our community while honoring the memory of Officer Knight.
An exciting part of our fundraiser is the Harley-
Davidson motorcycle raffle. We are raffling off a 2010 Harley-Davidson Street Glide, which will take place at our Cookout located at the Derry Salem Elks following the ride. Only 300 tickets are being sold. Tickets for the Cookout may be purchased separately. If you would like to purchase a ticket, contact
Jessica Flynn at 434-5577. Call today! Last year, every ticket was sold well before the drawing! Anyone who likes to ride won’t want to miss this … last year, over 300 bikes participated in a police-escorted ride of New Hampshire’s back roads and scenic seacoast! It was awesome! For more information, check out our Website at www.knightride.org
. Thanks so much for your continued support!
Windham Police Association - Windham Delay the Delay
It is time that the Windham School Board does the right thing! They need to listen to the overwhelming voices of Windham High School’s parents and students and postpone the plans for a 24-minute delay. At the June 1 Board of Education meeting, both parents and students brought forth valid arguments against changing the start time at Windham High School. These efforts were met by members of the Board who minimized the delay’s impact as mere “logistics” that could later be worked out. Furthermore, rather than have an open forum where parents, administrators, and the Board could ask questions openly and exchange ideas, administration insists upon publishing articles with selective data that cannot be questioned out in the open. In their rush to pass this measure for next September, officials have been promoting this change with narrowed vision. They need to realize that the “logistics” are not just simple sacrifices, but they have the potential to create havoc to many Windham’s students and their families.
Unfortunately, there is evidence that school officials have not thought through the implications of this decision. Windham voters can judge this for themselves by watching both the May 4 and June 1 Board of Education meetings (May 4 School Board Meeting: http://wctv.pegcentral.com/player
. php?video=f9ca097654b421856ab96416260cb c04; June 1 School Board Meeting: http://wctv. pegcentral.com/player.php?video=a1f36e7a44c746
07e643c95fac2b5835). Discrepancies are plentiful throughout both of these meetings regarding major “logistical” concerns. Whether it is misinformation about the bus scheduling, when Career Technology Education courses are held, the percentage of eligible students participating in these courses, or the impact to athletics, there are vastly different accounts by officials on all of these issues. One of the most troubling, and obvious, issues is the continued statement that “school busses will not be impacted by the delayed start.” On June 1, it was admitted that there will need to be a bus that will need to pick up any students who will be taking a Block One class in the year 2011- 2012. While next year there are only 14 students enrolled in block one, we have no way of knowing how many students will be taking a block one class in 2011-2012. Considering that the current freshmen class is twice the size of the sophomore class, wouldn’t it be logical to assume that more students will be on this bus? How many busses would be needed? How long will these students be on the bus? Also, what is the educational price that these students will have to endure because they are now attending school for an extra half- hour? Other transportation concerns that have not been taken into consideration include the fact that students who have block one courses at Salem and participate in after-school activities will not be able to have their car at Windham High School. This leaves a hardship for the children of working parents who will be unable to pick their children up from school. Even more troubling is the downplay of the importance of Career Technology Education (CTE) Courses and the value of electives that will need to be dropped from student schedules. It is noteworthy that an e-newsletter that was sent out to Windham High School parents in May informed them that the delay was going to happen and that there would be no impact to vocational courses. While vocational classes are excellent programs, it is odd that officials would focus
solely on vocational opportunities and not other courses such as Engineering, Biotechnology, Health Occupations, Marketing, Early Childhood Education, etc. These courses are invaluable because it gives students the opportunity to “learn by doing.” Ironically, at the June 1 meeting, Colby Putnam, WHS Student Representative to the School Board, won the Parker Award. It was stated that this award was based on the educational commitment for students to learn by doing. Yet on the same night, this award was bestowed—School Board members continued to downplay CTE program’s value and the sacrifice students would be faced with, deciding between needed electives and hands on courses. The current schedule allows for the opportunity for them to have both. Another “CTE” misconception argued was the statistic that approximately four percent of Windham High School would be participating in these courses. Officials failed to inform the public that at this time, only juniors and seniors are able to take CTE classes. Therefore, next year (2010- 2011), the 21 students who will be participating in CTE courses make up approximately 20 percent of eligible students. Furthermore, this number is actually down from years past, in part due to the proposed schedule. It is also noteworthy that the two classes behind our current sophomores have double the students; therefore, if Windham’s participation stays as strong as it has since their entrance to Salem High (which would be great for our students), far more CTE participants will be affected by this change than what we are looking at for next year. Proposed schedule changes affect not only CTE students, but also all athletic teams. While yet another chart has been published, it again does not tell the entire story. For instance, the chart focuses on the number of students enrolled in athletics – which is a vast majority of the school – and the number of CTE students who will be affected by the change. Hidden in the numbers is the fact that most students, over a 12-week period (some longer), will be dismissed at 1:45, 2:15, or 2:30 p.m. This means that these students would regularly miss class time or practice time with the proposed schedule, whereas if the schedule is left alone, they will miss far less. Officials still have not released the exact numbers of how much school time will be missed, and that important figure must be released before the Board makes a decision.
Athletics are not the only programs that will be affected negatively by this change. At no time has the district discussed the issues with other after- school activities, such as drama, extra help, and drivers’ education. The delay would be forcing these students to have longer days, and cause the cancellation of some activities. School officials have not given merit to the hardships this change will bring to students who need to work and that most jobs start at 3 p.m. Many of our students who work need to travel to either Salem or Derry for job opportunities; they need to compete with students at Salem High and Pinkerton Academy who will be able to get to work on time. This change will result not only in a loss of money for these students, but lost work opportunities altogether. The School Board is planning on voting on the
delay next Monday, June 14, at 7 p.m., in the SAU building, during their “workshop” meeting that is not videotaped live. It is easy to infer that they are afraid of the consequences of a live vote; further supported by the way that they have preferred dictating information with newspapers rather than citizens openly asking questions and exchanging ideas
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these questions before they consider passing this measure. Those officials who want this delay passed continue to depend on citizens who are too busy to attend meetings, or those who have resigned themselves to accept his imposed change because they feel they can’t make a difference. Residents of Windham, it is your right to have
your voices heard. It is your right to be taken seriously and for your concerns to be considered and validated. Our students, and their educational opportunities, depend upon your democratic participation. Please consider participating with the “Delay the Delay” movement by attending the SAU Board meeting on June 14, calling School Board members, the Superintendent, and Windham High School Assistant Principal Murphy. Let them know that you want them to Delay the Delay!
Mabel K. Brown - Windham
Proposed Change to Windham High School Start/End Time Over the past several months, parents and
students of Windham High School (WHS) have begun to learn of a plan to implement a change to the starting/ending time at WHS for the purpose of letting high school students capture 24 minutes of sleep in the morning, with the hope of increasing student performance. Although there are many studies that indicate
that sleeping in is good for teenagers, and some of the studies point to an increase in student performance, many parents and students are questioning why they were not involved in the process to make this change after only one year at WHS. The sophomore class, in particular, has
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endured three transitions over the past year— from Windham Middle School to Salem High School and back over for the first year at WHS. Next year, they will get used to their fourth administrator in four years. Their curriculum is brand-new not only for this year, but for the next two. Their grading policy has been adjusted and will be completely different next year. Even the graduation credit requirements have been adjusted. Another major change would be yet another disruption for students and staff alike. At a time when sophomores (and some
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about this issue. The “logistics” of this issue are substantial, and the
Board needs to answer
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freshmen) are venturing out, securing a first job, taking driver’s education, volunteering for community service assignments, and taking part in after school sports and activities, their lives are increasingly complicated. Many are already involved in activities that they may be forced to give up if the school day is extended an extra 24 minutes. Although I agree that sleep is a good thing, and
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more sleep is a better thing, the School Board and Administrators have ignored the stakeholders in this matter. The first time this issue even appeared as a School Board agenda item was May 4. There has never been a meeting for WHS students and parents, nor were there any surveys, letters, e- mails, or alert-now messages so that the school community could have input. The communication that has been done has been through one-way methods, as in a couple of press releases and one blurb in a WHS newsletter, thereby limiting discussion. Now there is pushback from parents and students against this change. Yes, school is about learning. But so are a
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myriad of other life experiences. Those who are most affected deserve to be heard! I urge the School Board and Administration
to take a step back and form a study committee to truly examine how this proposed change will affect the WHS school community. If changing the start/end time of WHS is really the best thing for the most involved, then it will be supported for the 2011-2012 school year.
OFFICE, WAREHOUSE, HOMES Bev Donovan - Windham
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