12-26-2013 News

Good morning everyone, It’s ____ and ____ degrees.  Be sure to catch Al Kaprielian’s forecast  just minutes from now.

Hooksett Superintendent Charles Littlefield delivered an estimate of the number of Hooksett students who may be attending Manchester schools next year.  In a letter dated December nineteenth, Littlefield estimated a total of four hundred fourteen Hooksett students would attend Manchester high schools next year, including seventy four students currently in the eighth grade.  In the letter, he said the number of eighth graders going to Manchester came from a poll of eighth grade students.  Board Vice Chair David Pearl, who said he didn’t receive the letter until Christmas Eve, said the poll, did not involve parents.  Inasmuch as the Hooksett School Board repeatedly voted down motions to poll the eighth grade class, including motions made during its meeting just two days before the date on the letter, that any information was solicited from the students came as a surprise to many.  If that number is accurate, it portends problems for Hooksett’s new agreement with Pinkerton Academy, which requires Hooksett to guarantee a minimum of seventy five incoming freshmen.  The estimated seventy four students expected to attend Manchester schools is half of the total number of public high schools students expected to come from Hooksett’s eighth grade.  If that number is accurate, and the unofficial estimates of the number of students expected to attend high school at Bow, Londonderry or Pembroke are accurate, it is unlikely Hooksett will meet the minimum number of students required by Pinkerton without having to force families who want to go elsewhere to go to Pinkerton.  Littlefield’s letter, which took a terse tone with Manchester Superintendent Debra Livingston, is posted with this newscast at Girard at Large dot com.  

CORRECTION:  A motion to poll the 8th grade class about their high school preferences at the Hooksett School Board’s meeting of December 17, 2013 did pass.  What caught people by surprise was that parents were not part of the process because it appears as if administrators went from classroom to class room asking kids interested in attending a Manchester high school to raise their hands and be counted.  We apologize for  the inaccuracy of our initial report. 

We may not have heard the last of the Hooksett School Board’s actions to strip Board Clerk John Lyscars of his email account.  As you may know, the board stripped Lyscars of his district email account allegedly because he violated policies, including those which prevent individual board members from acting on behalf of the board without authorization.  Immediately following that action, Girard at Large filed a Right to Know Request to obtain any and all email between Board Chair Trisha Korkosz, who leveled the specific policy violation allegations, and high school officials at Pinkerton, Bow, Londonderry and Pembroke,  to see whether or not she’d done the same thing.  The district released the information on Monday.  It contained some interesting information which could not only cause one to wonder whether or not Korkosz was acting on behalf of the board without authorization, but acting against the board’s vote to prohibit board members from being involved in negotiations with Pinkerton Academy.  We’ve posted the emails for all to see whether or not Korkosz in fact do what she wrongly accused Lyscars of doing.

News from our own backyard continues after this.

Manchester Assistant Superintendent of Schools David Ryan says it is quote un quote irrelevant whether or not members of the team working to develop The Manchester Academic Standards are in favor of Common Core or not.  He said that in reply to our request to know whether or not teachers we discovered publicly advocating for Common Core on various liberal education activist Web sites would be allowed to continue to work on the team writing the standards the school board voted to pursue instead of Common Core.  Ryan also said the list he sent, which did include some members of the coordinating committee overseeing the standards writers but did not include some teachers on previous lists was the team working on the standards.  We are awaiting clarification to see whether or not the missing members are no longer on the team.

Meanwhile, critics of the district’s handling of the standards development personnel and processes point to three grants on the last meeting of the Curriculum and Instruction Committee.  Doris Hohensee, President of New Hampshire Families for Education said three of the grants are designed to align the schools to Common Core.  We’ve linked to her post on Girard at Large with those details.  Girard at Large had reported before the December seventeenth meeting that was cancelled due to weather that several policies pending adoption that night would seem to require the district to align its curriculum to Common Core.  Committee Chair Sarah Ambrogi said the language was draft language and that she did not support language that would countermand, in any way, the district’s decision to develop its own standards.

That’s news from our own backyard, Girard at Large hour ___ is straight ahead!