8 - December 2, 2011 | Pelham - Windham News 17th Annual Turkey Trot Draws Record Turnout
Te 2011 Turkey Trot is underway
by Chris White Friends and families gathered at 70 Blossom Road for the 17th annual Windham Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning. The event
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Turkey Trot participants get ready to run the course
enjoyed its largest turnout ever, drawing approximately 1,270 participants who raised a record $20,012 for local charities. The attendance record shows just how popular the event has become over the years with the inaugural Turkey Trot hosting 50 people in 1995. It has become a staple in the Windham community as more families and groups of friends have chosen to make the Turkey Trot part of their Thanksgiving morning routine. “I can’t imagine what our family’s Thanksgiving morning would be like without it,” said Louise Peltz, host and coordinator of the Turkey Trot.
“It’s become a family tradition.”
Participants have the option of a five-mile or five-kilometer (3.1- mile) course. They may walk, run, bike, or rollerblade the course. Participants can also donate as much or as little as they want, and all of it goes to charity. Rockingham Orthopedics and Windham Orthodontics helped make this possible by sponsoring the event and paying for expenses such as T-shirts and parking attendants.
Parking attendants were on hand to direct the crowd of nearly 1,300 people at the Turkey Trot
This year’s donation total will be divided amongst three local
charities - Windham’s Helping Hands, the Shepherd’s Pantry, and Family Promise (an organization that helps to provide temporary housing for homeless families). While the Turkey Trot has raised a lot of money to benefit charities year after year, Peltz still points to the fact that the event is only a small piece of the puzzle. “I feel really grateful for how it has evolved,” Peltz said of the “It’s had a worthwhile impact on a number of charities,
but we’re just a small cog in the big picture. I never want to take more credit than we deserve. There are so many other people doing so much at these charities every week.” With the success it’s had in raising money, Peltz said she wants to make sure the Turkey Trot carries on in similar fashion for the future. “My number one goal is that 100 percent of the donations are still going to charity,” Peltz said. “I want people to feel good that every nickel is going to charity.”
Baseline Data Garnered for SAT Tests
Windham High School’s very first SAT testing shows that last year’s juniors performed close to the State average and above the national average for both public and private high schools.
Dr. Henry LaBranche commented on this past spring’s testing, noting that the two-year-old high school is still in its formative stage of development. Windham High School opened in September 2009 with only freshmen and sophomores. This year is the first that all four grade levels are in attendance. According to Windham High School Principal Tom Murphy, 82 juniors (63 %) took the SAT last spring. It is expected that many of the
remaining students, who are now seniors, will take the test this fall. Murphy also said that New Hampshire has one of the higher participation rates in the country at approximately 77 percent. “This is a great sign for the State,” Murphy said. Based on information
provided by Murphy, the SAT results for the 2010-2011 school year were as follows: • Mathematics – Windham High School (516), State average (525) and National average (514)
• Critical Reading – Windham High School (523), State average (523) and National average (497)
• Writing – Windham High School (508), State average (511) and National average (489).
When asked how Windham High stands in regard to where it should be versus where it is in SAT performance, Murphy said it’s not where he wants the school to be, yet. “What’s the plan?” School Board Chairman Ed Gallagher asked. “This is a big deal!” “We’re working to make the results better next spring,” Murphy explained. “We’re trying to be as proactive as we can.” Murphy added that he feels student participation in the testing will go up with each successive year.
As for efforts being made to
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improve the results, Murphy cited increased vocabulary instruction, more literary offerings, as well as changing a critical writing program from a sophomore class to freshman. Specific daily math intervention is also offered to interested students. “Our focus is on instruction,” Dr. LaBranche told school board members during a workshop held last month. “We’re targeting the areas of need,” Murphy added, “breaking down the strengths and the weaknesses.”
In addition, 38 students in the eighth-grade at Windham Middle School have been
identified as needing additional assistance in mathematics and are now receiving intervention one day per week. Administrators are striving to coordinate the curriculum at the middle school with that being taught at the high school. Windham High is also offering a Princeton Review Course, which allows students to familiarize themselves with the SAT process and format. According to Murphy, however, the participation in the $499 course has been very low. There are other practice alternatives for students, however, Murphy said, including no-cost online programs. Dr. LaBranche emphasized the need to continue fostering a strong connection between home and school so that students receive as much encouragement as possible to prepare themselves for college-bound testing. School Board Vice-Chairman
Bruce Anderson wanted to know how Windham High’s initial test results compare to other new high schools, where students were transitioned from elsewhere. Murphy responded that he had contacted other high schools and discovered that these schools had no desire to share their data. This information is not public record, Dr.La
Branche noted. “Schools should want to share this information,” School Board member Jeff Bostic commented. “We all want our kids to get into college” and sharing the successes and failures helps everyone do better, he added. Although referring to the fact that Windham students are doing slightly better than average so far on the SAT, Gallagher emphasized that he wants them “to do better.” “We all want our kids to do well,” Gallagher stated. There are two tracks to SAT
preparation, it was noted, “knowledge and test-taking skills,” both of which should be of equal importance.
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Courtesy photo Louise Peltz
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