The Manchester School District announced the results of its efforts to get kids in their Sophomore and Junior years to take the P S A T Test. They were quite pleased to say at last night’s meeting of the Curriculum and Instruction Committee that the district saw a seven fold increase in the numbers of Sophomores that took the test. Last year only ten percent took it. This year almost seventy three percent did. The district paid for the Sophomores’ testing. Juniors, who had to pay on their own, saw a more modest increase in their numbers, rising to thirty four percent from twenty percent the prior year. Assistant Superintendent David Ryan said the district was pleasantly surprised by the students’ participation and said that as a result, kids are already starting to receive collateral material from colleges who are marketing themselves to the kids. He said that will get kids thinking about things they’d never believed were possible before. The test scores will be used by the district to approach kids about taking A P classes.
Also last night at the Curriculum and Instruction Committee, school board members received a presentation from the man referred to as Dr. Bob on so called Micro Feedback Assessments. That’s part of the testing scheme now being used in Manchester classrooms. As listeners of this show know, it’s prompted protests from teachers like Kelley Tambouris who say there are too many tests and lots of redundancy. Dr. Bob Greenleaf, who I think it’s fair to say is overseeing the district’s math instruction from his perch at the State Department of Education, defended the use of these quick hit tests saying they don’t take much time and that they provide very valuable real time feedback every three weeks to determine whether or not kids are learning the material they’re being taught. He said if they’re not learning it in three weeks, teachers need to adjust because they just won’t learn it. He trotted out all kinds of scores from multiple schools where the method has been used, including from Manchester, to show significant gains in testing. Interestingly, not one of the school board members on the committee, who seemed bedazzled by the presentation, had any questions. We had lots, of course, and Dr. Bob has agreed to send the power point he used and be a guest on the show so we can ask.
The committee also heard from it’s four middle school principals on how the city is handling those grade levels and what should be done. Seems there’s going to be another working group to address the many issues raised last night. The principals seemed uniform in their belief that the city should move toward a more pure middle school model, but that would require significant increases in staff and would return the schools to a de-leveled heterogeneous grouping of students. We’ve linked to our Live Blog Forum of the meeting from this newscast at Girard at Large dot com.
News from our own back yard continues after this.
Seems political shenanigans are aplenty as we near Election Day, which is just six days away. Supporters of G O P U S Senate candidate Scott Brown are crying foul as his signs around the Queen City are being defaced with Jeanne Shaheen and Wrong for NH bumper stickers. Democrats are kinda freaked out by recent polls showing Brown up by about a point and a half as the end nears.
Meanwhile, Sheriff Eliezar Rivera, Democrat from Keene, is taking heat for putting a link to his reelection site on the Web site for the Sheriff’s Department. The Keene Sentinel reported yesterday that Rivera saw nothing wrong with that as he was just trying to help people who want to know more about him find additional information. The Attorney General’s Office isn’t so sure, however, given the state’s laws against using public property to advance a political campaign. For the uninitiated, that’s called electioneering and it’s against the law. You may recall there were issues in last year’s local election when our friends at Goffstown Today dot com caught the Goffstown Library using its Web site to promote a warrant article and we hammered the Hooksett School Board for using taxpayer resources to promote the contract it wanted with Pinkerton Academy. We’ve linked to the article in the Sentinel for your convenience. Our thanks to our listeners for bringing these items to our attention.
James Foley, the New Hampshire journalist murdered by ISIS in Syria last summer, is this year’s recipient of the Nackey S. Loeb First Amendment Award. Foley, a freelance journalist and videographer who grew up in Wolfeboro, was named recipient of the 12th annual award given by the Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications. “The Loeb School is honored to recognize James Foley for his work in telling the personal stories of people trapped by war and senseless violence,” said David Tirrell-Wysocki, executive director of the non-profit school. “He gave voice to people in places where there is no free speech or free press, and he gave his life because of it.” A panel of judges chose Foley from among nominees submitted by the public. The award will be presented posthumously at the Radisson Hotel in Manchester on Nov. 12. The evening event will feature an address by Donald Trump, who joins a notable group of national figures who have donated their appearances on behalf of the school. The First Amendment Award was established to honor New Hampshire organizations or residents who protect or exemplify the liberties granted in the First Amendment.
The Merrimack Police Department is warning of another phone scam. It’s the one allegedly from the IRS telling residents that they have an arrest warrant out for them. The caller will ask for payment to clear the warrant. Do not send money. If a message is left, don’t call back. It is a scam.
Trick or Treat in the town of Bow will be this Friday night, the thirty first, like so many others. However, unlike most others, it will run for three hours, from five to eight. Police are urging caution on the roadways. We’ve linked to a listing of Trick or Treat celebrations complied by New Hampshire Magazine from this newscast at Girard at Large to make it easy for you to see when your town will allow the little ghouls, goblins and ghosts to be out and about.
That’s news from our own backyard, Girard at Large hour ___ is next.