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School District Meeting

By Clayton Wood

On Thursday, March 14, approximately 130 Pittsfield citizens and interested non-residents attended the Annual School District Meeting in the PES Gym. The meeting started at 7:00 and ended just after 8:30.

Voters approved all the items in the $9.45 million dollar budget, including the over-all operating budget, a teacher contract with a modest salary increases, and a warrant article to replace the siding on the PES building along with most of the older windows.

Most discussion at the meeting was over the cost of the teacher contract and the replacement of siding on the building. The teachers’ contract includes a small salary increase; in exchange teachers pick up more of the cost of their health insurance. The siding and windows will be a one-time expense, rather than a multi-year bond.



NECAP Scores Released

By Clayton Wood

NECAP results were released to schools on January 31 and to the public the next day. NECAP is short for New England Comprehensive Assessment System. In the fall of the school year students in grades 3 through 8 and in grade 11 take NECAP tests in reading and math. Fifth, eighth, and eleventh graders also take a writing test.. Next October will be the final time NH students take NECAP tests before students take the Common-Core Smarter- Balanced assessments.

Grade-level NECAP reports are available through the NH Department of Education web site or at http:// reporting.measuredprogress.org/ nhprofile/. Individual student reports will be mailed to PES parents in March.

Teacher teams at PES are in the process of analyzing grade-level data to see how the subgroups performed. This analysis will help teachers adjust instruction for the remaining months of the school year..

Last year’s grade-three class performed strongly in both reading and math; this year’s grade-three class underperformed. For other grades, generally speaking, reading and writing scores are up this year and math scores held steady or slightly improved.

Five-year NECAP trends show, in general, a narrowing of the gap between PES students and the state. This year fourth graders broke the 80% mark in reading and outperformed the state. We still have some distance to cover to meet our district goal of 85% proficiency goal.



Attendance Matters: Chronic Absenteeism

By Clayton Wood

This year PES continues to focus on promoting good attendance. It’s just common sense that if a child isn’t in school he or she is not learning as much as the children who are. In the worst cases, poor attendance can become a habit that leads to future school failure, drop-out, and poor attendance at work.

Our PES Attendance Team meets quarterly to review attendance data and identify children who are having problems and to reach out to families to offer support. The team consists of the principal, guidance counselor, social worker, student support center supervisor, secretary and a teacher.

This year our focus has been on “chronically absent” students, those who miss 10% of days or more.

The Attendance Team met today. Next week we will be sending letters and making calls to the parents of students with attendance problems. We’ll offer support and ideas to get children here and learning.



Read with Children

By Clayton Wood

It’s that time of year again when new year’s resolutions are flying about. Don’t forget to include reading among your resolutions this year! It is one of the most important things adults can do with children to help ensure their success in school and life. Here are a few great resolutions to help make reading with your child a part of your daily lives:

Read in front of your children— Children who see their parents or caregivers reading are more likely to read themselves. Reading magazines, newspapers— even cereal boxes—counts as long as your children see you doing it.

Visit the library— Make sure you and your child have a library card. What can be better than new books every week? And the best part, it’s free.

Read every day— During lunch, after dinner or before bed are all great times for a story. Pick at least one time during the day and try to make it a regular habit. It makes it more likely that you and your children will remember, and reduces the risk that any reluctant readers will start to negotiate for another time.

Choose a series of books to read together— The Magic Tree House, Little House on the Prairie, or Harry Potter. Read them all together and celebrate when you finish the whole series.

Have fun with books!—Use funny voices when reading aloud, have your child draw his/her favorite scene from the book, be creative or silly to show your child that you enjoy reading and that books are fun.



PES @ Pittsfield Listens Community Awards

By Clayton Wood

PES community were recognized last night for their contributions to the community at the first annual Pittsfield Listens Awards. The awards were presented by Pittsfield Listens’ MC, Kristen Treacy and PES Principal Doug Kilmister.

Fifth-grader Morgan Morasse was recognized for her contributions as the youngest member of Pittsfield Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) In giving the award Ms. Treacy said, “Morgan is always and engaged and excited about SADD. She always gives thoughtful insight and is a positive image that her fellow peers and school mates should follow.”

Olivia Tobin, a second grade student, was recognized as,” very well rounded, playing many sports, achieving good grades, helping out at PYW, and participating in various community events. Her love of school and excitement to be a part of the community is easily seen by all.”

Sixth-grade Teacher David Patsos won the Elementary Teacher of the Year award. Ms. Tracy cited his dedication to Pittsfield students over years, his demonstrated concern for students as individuals, and his positive encouragement for each and all students.



PES Year of the Book: I Never Thought I’d Know So Much About Trucks

By Clayton Wood

By Susanne Loring

Children’s Literacy Foundation (CLiF)

For about a year now, my knowledge base regarding trucks has grown exponentially. In fact, just the other day I found myself in a deep discussion with my oldest, Tucker, about the workings of the piston on a dump truck. He was explaining it to me in terms that I could understand. He is three.

Since becoming a mom, I have been reminded that you can learn so much about a subject that you previously had very little knowledge on all by reading a book. I often tend to find myself being pulled toward the same types of books and interests out of habit. To be honest, trucks are probably not a topic that I would have chosen to delve into if given the choice, but with Tucker around, this subject is pretty much unavoidable.

We read about trucks every day. When we go to the library, we get books on trucks. I step on trucks in my living room. When I am asked by my twoyear- old to read a truck book even though I just finished reading it, I say yes. I love to listen to him name them all. I love to listen to him make his siren sounds when we turn to his favorite truck page, rescue vehicles.

The fact that I have an opportunity to share time with my son reading and learning about something that he is interested in while he is learning about it at the same time is pretty cool.

And, apparently, my son’s enthusiasm is wearing off on me. The other day, I found myself driving down the street and I screamed, “Oooh, look! A dump truck!” only to realize that I was the only one in the car.



Year of the Book Advice: It’s Never Too Late to Read Aloud to Your Child.

By Clayton Wood

by Suzanne Loring Children’s Literacy Foundation (CLiF)

Did you know that it is never too early or too late to start reading to your child? I know that reading aloud usually conjures up an image of a small child sitting on a caregiver’s lap cuddled up pointing at pictures and reading stories. But that’s only part of the picture. In fact, when sixth graders at Newbury Elementary School in Vermont were asked last spring how parents could become more involved with them in reading, there was an overwhelming response of, “Read aloud to us more at home!”

Reading aloud to or with your child has advantages to children at all ages. Regardless of whether you have an infant or a 10-yearold, reading aloud can be beneficial in building vocabulary and listening skills, expanding your child’s imagination, and encouraging a love of reading. Children who are read to at home have a better chance of scoring at the appropriate level on reading and writing tests in school.

Not only does reading aloud increase the likelihood of success in school, but it also creates quality time between reader and listener. It can be a wonderful conversation starter especially with older kids about topics that you might have otherwise avoided, or been too uncomfortable to discuss in the first place. It can bring you closer to your child by giving you the opportunity to learn their opinions and see their perspectives on different subjects.

Just take it slow: read a chapter a night, a picture book in the morning, laugh together over a comic strip, or listen to an audio book while you are driving in the car. Every little bit helps.

Note: This year PES is partnering with CLiF on year-long Year-ofthe- Book grant, which is bringing programming to our school and books to our students. Read the PES News and visit our website for upcoming YotB events.



Retirements & Staffing Changes at PES

By Clayton Wood

There are several staff changes in school personnel that parents will be interested to learn about.  Mr. Peter Eklof, our district’s Speech and Language Pathologist for many years, is retiring this June.  Ms. Faith Whittier, a kindergarten teacher for 20 years, will retire in October.  We thank these colleagues for their excellent service and wish both long and happy retirements.

Second-grade case manager, Rachel Levine and second-grade teacher, Nanine Venetos are leaving PES to work in other NH schools, as is Library Coordinator Susan Kinney, who will work as a school librarian in Hollis-Brookline MS.

District Nurse Mary Fiset will move on to work as a pediatric nurse at Wentworth Douglas Hospital,

Fourth-grade teacher, Katie Bass will teach second grade next year, and PE teacher Laura Smith will move to a 4th grade classroom position. Deb Doscher will move up with her students to teach grade six.

Finally, third grade teacher Carin Kilar will become the District Technology Coordinator, a position sponsored by the Nellie Mae Foundation Grant.

We wish everyone well  in their new role in our out of our district.



New PES Dismissal Plan Will Continue Until Year’s End

By Clayton Wood

We plan to continue our new dismissal routine until tear’s end. Twenty to thirty cars a day take advantage of pick up in the loop. Parents tell us they like it because they get home 10 – 20 minutes sooner with their child. Bus departures have not been affected.

In order to provide a smoother, faster, and more efficient dismissal at the end of the day, PES is piloting a new dismissal routine.  The new dismissal plan encourages walking and also makes car pick-up more convenient for parents by opening up the main loop to personal vehicles at 2:25.

Why are we changing the dismissal routine? 

Currently our dismissal routine takes too long.  On many occasions, students who walk or are picked up by parents are not dismissed until 2:45, fifteen minutes after the scheduled dismissal.  Buses are regularly delayed in arriving, holding up all students.  Prior to and during bus dismissal the hallway is usually crowded with parents waiting to pick up their children.  During this time the building is not secure; anyone can enter through the front doors. 

Under the new dismissal plan, dismissal will take less time, and the building will be more secure.  Dismissing children to cars will preclude the need for many parents to wait in the lobby, since car pick-up will be much more convenient.  Parents who wish to park and enter the lobby may still do so; they will need to park in the kindergarten loop and check in at the office.

What are options for the dismissal? (more…)



New Dismissal Plan Pilot for June 4

By Clayton Wood

Last week Mr. Kilmister presented a new dismissal plan to the Pittsfield School Board, which approved a pilot of the plan for the week of June 4-8. The plan was developed with input from the Board, the PES Safety Committee, the PES PTO, and the H.A. Marston Bus Company.

Under the new dismissal plan, walkers and students being picked up by parents will be dismissed earlier. Parents driving private vehicles will be allowed into the main loop in front of the school at 2:25, and students will be delivered by staff to waiting cars. Drivers will not need to park and enter the school. When cars are loaded, vehicles will exit onto Winsunvale.

The dismissal routine for bus riders or for kindergarteners being picked up outside the kindergarten classrooms will not be affected by this change.

A description of the plan will be distributed later next week and posted on the web site. If all works well , we will adopt the plan next year.