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Volume 8 Number 8 September 10, 2010 16 Pages
Parents Boo Hoo on First Day of School
by Karen Plumley
Early in the morning of September 1, parents of first graders watched from a distance as their little ones drove away to school, many for the first time, aboard big yellow buses. Following behind in their cars, parents pulled into the crowded parking lot and gathered in the cafeteria at Pelham Elementary for a continental breakfast, arranged by the PES-PTA. There were many parents in attendance looking for moral support and, in some cases, celebrating their new freedom during this exciting first school day for their kids. Folks got to know each other during this annual “Boo-Hoo Breakfast” while enjoying pastries, muffins, and teacakes and a warm cup of coffee or tea. Principal Alicia LaFrance welcomed new parents and recited a touching poem about the difficulties of letting go, which brought tears to the eyes of everyone there. Kristen Rodrigue, President of the PTA, also shared some words with attendees, as well as School Board member Deb Ryan, who was in attendance along with a fellow Board member, Andy Ducharme.
Cheaper to Settle
by Barbara O’Brien Windham School Board members are saying that it was cheaper to settle the problem with former Center School assistant principal Cherrie Fulton than it would have been to fight the battle in court.
With her husband peeking in the background, mom Sheri Callihan and friends Kristie Remis and Diane Chubb tear up at the annual PES Boo-Hoo Breakfast on Wednesday in the student dining area
Also introduced at the gathering were the two recently appointed vice principals of the elementary school, long- time Pelham teacher and reading specialist Mrs. Michelle Viger, as well as math specialist and former Manchester schoolteacher, Ms. Jessica VanVranken. Each will be splitting the responsibilities of the administrative position after the
recent departure of former Vice Principal Kathleen Turner. Viger and VanVranken will also carry the hefty responsibilities as specialists, working with children to help improve reading and math skills, respectively. Following the introductions, both women mingled with guests and helped to ease emotions, while sharing humorous stories of their teaching experiences. PTA members handed out flowers to moms and official
towels marked with PES first graders’ graduating year – 2022 – a date that seems so far away, but really isn’t.
Vice Chairman Ed Gallagher talked about the issue during the School Board’s meeting on September 7. Gallagher said Board members want to be as open as possible and to share as much information as they can, but the situation does involve a personnel issue, which limits what they can legally disclose. Last month, Fulton received a settlement of $40,000 from the Windham School District. The payment was made after Fulton, who had been promoted to principal at Center School, effective July 1, was suddenly placed on administrative leave, about two weeks before she was to assume the duties of principal. Fulton requested a public hearing on the matter, but following discussions with legal counsel, the hearing was postponed, and later canceled. A couple of weeks later, it was announced that Fulton had resigned from the job and was no longer employed by the Windham School District. “The cost to litigate, in both time and money, would surpass the cost of settling out of court,” Gallagher said. To settle without going to court “is a financial benefit to the town,” he added. No information was provided as to where the money to pay Fulton came from.
Making a reference to the
change of administration at Windham Center School, Gallagher commented that Center School “is a school in need of improvement.”
Moms – some new and others experienced veterans of the school – enjoy the company of siblings and one another during the PES Boo-Hoo Breakfast on Wednesday morning
Principal LaFrance reads the touching
Boo-Hoo poem to parents of first graders at the breakfast in their honor
At the urging of School Board member John Hollinger, Assistant Superintendent Amanda Lecaroz explained what is meant by a “School in Need of Improvement.” Based on the federal No Child Left
Behind legislation, schools are required to make what is termed “Adequate Yearly Progress,” which is determined by annual testing. A school is listed as being in need of improvement if it fails to reach its annual target for two consecutive years. Two years ago, Center School failed to reach its required target in reading and was, therefore, listed as a School in Need of Improvement. According to Lecaroz, in order to lose the School in Need of Improvement designation, a school must meet its target or see a minimum 10- percent improvement for two consecutive years. Center School has not yet regained its prior status. The annual statewide testing is scheduled for next month, she said. “The [Windham] School District is actually doing very well,” School Board member Michelle Farrell said. “This process [Adequate Yearly Progress] allows us to do even better,” she said. Windham is not alone in its “need of improvement” designation. According to Lecaroz, 87 of the total 163 school districts in New Hampshire are designated as needing improvement in either math or reading or both.
Gallagher said he believes that the new administration at Center School will be able to turn the status of the school around. “I am delighted that Kori Becht stepped up,” he said. “There’s no better leader in the school district.” Previously, Becht was the principal of Windham Middle School. She was appointed as Center School principal following Fulton being placed on administrative leave. “I know she will be successful,” Gallagher said of Becht. “It’s quite a team we have at all our schools,” School Board Chairman Bruce Anderson said. “It’s the most exciting team I’ve seen in the six years I’ve been on the School Board,” he said. “I think we’ve got it right now,” he added.
Windham Football Wins Friday Night Opener by Chris White
Not only did some gusts and winds from Hurricane Earl fill the air last Friday night, but so did the sheer excitement surrounding the first varsity football game ever to be played at Windham High School. Two factors helped the Jaguars open their
inaugural varsity season in style. First of all, thanks to some rentals, they played the game “under the lights.” And secondly (and probably more importantly), they knocked off the visiting team, Sanborn, by a convincing score of 43-23. “Not too many new programs come out of the gate and get a victory, let alone play all three phases of the game as well as they did,” Windham coach Bill Raycraft said of his players. “I’m proud of them. They worked hard this pre- season and they got it done tonight.” Early on, it looked like Sanborn’s offense was
going to control most of the game. Sanborn kept the ball for nearly the entire first quarter (time of possession: 11:31), finishing its first drive with a touchdown to take a 7-0 lead. Windham responded in the second frame, however, when running back James Beaulieu found a gap and rushed to the end zone for the first touchdown in Windham history, cutting the score to 7-6 with a missed extra-point try. The Jags then came up with a big play on special teams later in the second when they recovered a fumble on a Sanborn punt return. That set up a 25-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Joe Lorenz to running back Colby Larsen with 27 seconds before halftime, allowing Windham to take a 14-7 advantage by adding the two-point conversion. The Jaguars would not relinquish their lead in
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Jaguar running back Colby Larsen tries to break free from a Sanborn tackler
the second half as they went on to score four more touchdowns. Running back Kevin Cooney ran home two of Windham’s second-half touchdowns, while Beaulieu and Scott Priestley Jr. added one more touchdown apiece. Overall, the Jags’ first night can be deemed a successful one. Much of it came from the team’s preparation leading up to the game, as well as its
players collectively working towards establishing themselves on the varsity level this year. “I think we’ve come together as a team,” Raycraft
said. “They believe in each other, and they know that when they step on the field, they’re committed to each other. That makes a difference. You see that some other teams would break down, but this team stays together and fights to the end.”
Windham linebacker Kevin Cooney makes a tackle on Sanborn’s opening drive, while teammate DJ O’Brien (# 90) looks to help on the play
are Tuesday - Please Remember to VOTE!!
staff photos by Chris White
staff photos by Karen Plumley
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