Community Update 6/1515
Dear Dunbarton and Bow,
Graduation was celebrated this past weekend and the high school is in final exams, while the middle and elementary schools are having move-up days, end of the year field days and promotion recognition ceremonies. It is the end of another school year, a time of reflection on what was and a time of anticipating what will be.
This year was very busy and very successful. It was a good first year of service for SAU 67 as we started to support both the Dunbarton and Bow School Districts. Annual meetings brought All Day Kindergarten to Bow and a major community involved facility upgrade to Dunbarton. Bow High school was recognized as the High School of the Year by the Eddies, Marcel Duhaime put Bow on the “map” by winning recognition for his students use of GIS software to identify and help remediate illegal dumping and Heidi Pauer won the Christa McAuliffe sabbatical for her work on encouraging creativity. Looking forward we are planning to begin our implementation of the 1:1 Chromebook initiative and implement the teaching changes that come with more fully incorporating technology into our schools. We also will be going live with our updated web sites for all of our schools and the SAU.
We have had a busy spring of hiring as a number of teachers and administrators are completing careers or moving on to other places. We will be welcoming Kurt Gergler as principal of BES, Tam McAllister as out new SAU Special Services Director, Andrea Drolet as Bow’s prek-8 special education coordinator and Rene Ouellet as Bow’s new social worker. Rene has resigned from the Dunbarton Board, but he will continue to be involved in the appeal of the State Board ruling on the continuing obligations to Goffstown. The brief for that case has been submitted to the Supreme Court and will be heard next year.
Next year we will be getting and analyzing the results from the SBAC state accountability testing that was new to us this year. We will continue the work of identifying and assessing competencies and working on better ways to report our progress to our students, parents and community. We will also be negotiating Master Contracts with all three of our unions DEA (Dunbarton Teachers), BEA (Bow Teachers), and BESS (Bow Support Staff). It looks like it will be another busy year.
Below is part of the speech I gave at the BHS graduation. This spring I heard a speaker talk about the importance of public education in making our country strong. I have become a strong advocate of public education and I wanted to leave our graduates with an understanding of what they had received.
Today I want to talk about the gift of public education that has been bestowed on this class, and the responsibilities that come with that gift. The United States is one of the few countries that is committed to providing a tax supported, non-sectarian education that is available to all young people regardless of gender, economic status, race, creed, social class, ability to pay, natural ability, handicapping condition or any other factor. We also are committed to providing a balanced and well rounded education that not only emphasizes academics and learning, but supports arts, creativity and aesthetic expression as well as heath, physical fitness and athletic competition.
Bow has exemplary public education as has been recognized by quality by Rankings in US News and World Report and by Bow High School’s recent recognition as High School of the Year as part of the NH Eddie’s celebration.
Graduates, you have been given an awesome gift, but it does come with some responsibilities, for to whom much is given, much is expected.
First, I am asking that you go out and do your best with the gift you have been given. Steve Prefontaine, famous long distance runner would close his camps with this, “To give anything less than your best, is to sacrifice the gift.” Please don’t disrespect this gift, go out and do your best at whatever you choose to do.
Second, I am asking that you say thank you for the gift. Your families, your teachers, your community and your towns have sacrificed to give you the gift of a quality public education. Please find a way to say thank you. It does not have to be elaborate or grand, but remember, just because you are standing on third base, it does not mean that you hit a triple. Recognizing the contributions of those who have helped you get to this point is very important.
Third, I am asking you to pay the gift forward. Many people, some of whom you don’t know, have helped give you the gift of your public education. I’m asking you to go out and do the same for future students. Some would like to make k-12 education a private commodity, one that should be sold on the free market, instead of a right that should be given to all young people. My plea to you as you grow up and take your place in society is to pay the gift you have received forward and to be a strong supporter of the type of public education you have received.
In closing, I would like to say thank-you to the Dunbarton and Bow communities who have supported our efforts in SAU 67 this year. We do not take for granted your support and we take seriously our responsibility to fulfill the trust you have given us to educate the children and youth of these communities.