An Independent Weekly Newspaper
Pelham~Windham News National
Volume 9 Number 43 May 11, 2012 20 Pages
Opens Up About Being the NH Teacher of the Year WHS’s Bethany Bernasconi
Police Week May 13-19
by Doug Robinson In 1962, President John F.
Kennedy signed a proclamation which designated May 15 as Peace Offi cers Memorial Day and the week in which that date falls as Police Week. Currently, tens of thousands of law enforcement offi cers from around the world converge on Washington, DC to participate in a number of planned events which honor those that have paid the ultimate sacrifi ce. The Memorial Service began
in 1982 as a gathering in Senate Park of approximately 120 survivors and supporters of law enforcement. Decades later, the event, more commonly known as National Police Week, has grown to a series of events which attracts thousands of survivors and law enforcement offi cers to our Nation’s Capital each year. On average, one law
enforcement offi cer is killed in the line of duty somewhere in the United States every 53 hours. Since the fi rst known line-of-duty death in 1791, more than 19,000 U.S. law enforcement offi cers have made the ultimate sacrifi ce. The National Peace Offi cers’
Memorial Service, which is sponsored by the Grand Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police, is one in a series of events which includes the Candlelight Vigil. The Memorial features two
carvings, upon 304-foot-long blue-gray marble walls. Carved on these walls are the names of more than 19,000 offi cers who have been killed in the line of duty throughout U.S. history, dating back to the fi rst known death in 1791. Unlike many other memorials in Washington, DC, the National Law Enforcement Offi cers Memorial is ever-changing: new names of fallen offi cers are added to the monument each spring, in conjunction with National Police Week. The National Law
Enforcement Offi cers Memorial is the nation’s monument to law enforcement offi cers who have died in the line of duty. Dedicated on October 15, 1991, the Memorial honors federal, state and local law enforcement offi cers who have made the ultimate sacrifi ce for the safety and protection of our nation and its people. Today in the United States,
some 900,000 law enforcement offi cers put their lives on the line for the safety and protection of others. They serve with valor and distinction – and with great success. Federal statistics show that violent and property crime rates in the United States are at historic lows, thanks in large measure to the dedicated service of the men and women of law enforcement. That protection comes at
a price, however. Each year, there are approximately 60,000 assaults on law enforcement offi cers, resulting in nearly 16,000 injuries. Sadly, over the last decade, an average of 160 offi cers a year has been killed in the line of duty. And throughout U.S. history, over 19,000 law enforcement offi cers have made the ultimate sacrifi ce.
All the national teachers of the year met for a conference in Washington, DC earlier this spring, they were shuttled around in a bus, which solicited comments from people
by Kristen Hoffman Windham High School biology teacher, and New Hampshire Teacher of the year, Bethany Bernasconi, spends her days in a biology lab that looks like any other classroom across the country. A large fi sh tank and a lizard’s tank occupy one corner, and skeletal models of small mammals dot the perimeter. Homework assignments are written on the white board. Biology, Honors biology and AP biology, it looked like the students in all her classes were going to be busy that night. But according to Bernasconi, the real crux of learning is not contained within the four walls of the classroom, but within the students themselves. “I have the greatest job in the world. What can there be that’s any better than this-the opportunity to make a difference in the life of a child, to have that potential to impact, to build those relationships? I get to do that every single day,” Bernasconi said. The role of the classroom teacher is forever
changing and, perhaps, in this time, it is painfully obvious. The role of technology in the classroom and traditional teaching methods are constantly being blended with the defi nition of a classroom, and learning time. To Bernasconi, teaching is not just a job, but rather, a way of life, deeply ingrained in who she is.
“I think teaching has really moved, in a big
way, from that “sage on the stage,” the teacher just lecturing to something where we’re really refl ecting on our practice, and really refl ecting on the data and using it to make informed decisions on what we’re learning in the classroom and if we’re meeting our students needs,” Bernasconi said.
Bernasconi stepping behind the podium at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC
When she talks about teaching, she does not like to use the word “goal,” as in what the goals of the classroom are, or, what her goals for the students are. To Bernasconi, teaching and education is a journey. She doesn’t want the journey to end when a student leaves the classroom. To Bernasconi, “goal” outlines an endpoint, and she does not want a student to ever reach the end of the journey. “I hope my students never reach their destination, I hope their destination is a far way off because I believe the journey is what transforms them, and that is what lasts a lifetime. Once they reach their destination, they’re done.” She added, that personally, she never wants to reach her destination either, because there is always room to grow. Bernasconi refl ected on her time in the classroom. She stated that the teachers who put students at the center of the learning process were the ones who really made a difference in her life. Part of the honor of being selected as teacher
year includes acting as a diplomat for education. She just returned from The National Teacher of the Year conference in Washington, DC. She found that this new educational theory is gaining ground across the country “It’s a huge step we’re seeing nationwide,” Bernasconi added, “[students] are the ones guiding the discussions, they’re the ones guiding the learning, and the teacher’s job is really much more of the facilitator for the learning.” She likened it to acting as a trail guide, or a mentor in the classroom. “I always tell my students, you don’t need me
to tell you something you already understand, you need me to help you make connections to where you haven’t been able to do that on your own,” Bernasconi said.
continued to page 9- Bernasconi Pelham VFW Honors Community Contributors at Loyalty Day by Lynne Ober Pelham’s John H. Hargreaves Memorial VFW
Post 10722 held its second annual Loyalty Day Celebration Dinner at St. Patick’s Hall. Every table was fi lled and conversation fl owed throughout the room.
According to the Veterans of Foreign Wars,
Loyalty Day originally began as “Americanization Day” in 1921 as a counter to the Communists’ May 1 celebration of the Russian Revolution. On May 1, 1930, 10,000 VFW members staged a rally at New York’s Union Square to promote patriotism and according to Pelham’s VFW Commander, Mark McCabe, it is a celebration of patriotism. Through a resolution adopted in 1949, May 1 evolved into Loyalty Day with observances beginning in 1950 on April 28 and climaxed May 1 when more than fi ve million people across the nation held rallies. In New York City, more than 100,000 people rallied for America. In 1958 Congress enacted Public Law 529 proclaiming Loyalty Day a permanent fi xture on the nation’s calendar and now every VFW celebrates this event in May.
According to the VFW Ladies Auxiliary statements, “We realize that our freedom is truly unique, and that is why we take pride in it. Woodrow Wilson once said, “America was established not to create wealth but to realize
continued to page 8- VFW Loyalty Day Interim Superintendent to Stay on Job One More Year
by Barbara O’Brien The entire SAU 28 School Board wants the current interim superintendent to stay on the job for another year and he has agreed to do just that. It was during the semi-annual board meeting that all fi ve members of the Pelham School Board and all fi ve members of the Windham School Board voted to extend Dr. Henry LaBranche’s contract until June 30, 2013. LaBranche took over the duties of SAU 28 interim superintendent almost a year ago, following the resignation of Frank Bass. Initially, LaBranche had planned on leaving the job the end of next month, then agreed to stay until this coming September. All that changed, however, when the majority of Windham voters decided to withdraw from the SAU they have shared with Windham for approximately 25 years. The withdrawal from SAU 28 will not occur for a full year, however, as mandated by State Law. Rather than try to fi nd a new superintendent for the one remaining year that SAU 28 will remain a dual entity, it was decided that asking LaBranche to stay for the 2012-2013 school year would be a much wiser decision for both Windham and
Pelham. “The offer’s on the table,” LaBranche told school board members. “It’s up to you folks.” SAU board members were so united in their desire to keep LaBranche for another school year, that they chose not to go into non-public session to discuss the issue, instead, moving right to a public vote in his favor. Following the unanimous decision, SAU 28 Board Chairman Andy Ducharme said, “Welcome aboard, again, Dr. LaBranche!” LaBranche, whose history in Windham extends
back approximately a quarter of a century, said, “It’s a distinct pleasure to be back.” The past year has “been more than just challenging,” he continued, “but every board member has consistently put the kids fi rst. Their welfare has been the top priority,” LaBranche stated. LaBranche also said he has enjoyed mentoring “some outstanding rising stars” in both school districts. “And I still have a lot of enthusiasm and energy” to share, he assured school board members. Referring to Assistant Superintendent Amanda Lecaroz and Business Administrator Adam Steel, LaBranche said, “Adam and Amanda make me look good day in and day out.”
In addition to agreeing unanimously concerning
LaBranche remaining with SAU 28 for another year, board members also approved the promotion of Lecaroz from assistant superintendent to associate superintendent; a move that will include a redesignation of responsibilities between her and LaBranche. According to information provided following the meeting, Lecaroz will also be seeing an increase in salary for the 2012-2013 school year, from $100,000 to $110,000. As for the search for two new permanent superintendents, one for Pelham and one for Windham each of whom would take on the job as of July 1, 2013, both Pelham and Windham board members agreed to work with the New England School Development Education Council (NESDEC) to locate potential candidates. When Windham leaves SAU 28 next year, the
Windham School District will become known as SAU 95, while Pelham will retain the #28 designation.
It is expected that the formal superintendent’s search will begin this coming September. While
continued to page 8- Interim Superintendent
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View past issues and our other papers online.
Maura Bussiere earned an award for her Patriots Pen Essay
Staff photos by Lynne Ober
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