Principals Message, Whitefield Elementary School
Michael Cronin, Principal Whitefield Elementary School
Whitefield School students are ready to be thinkers who are connected and contributing members of society.
It has been a very busy summer at Whitefield School and it feels like yesterday that everyone left. The building has been cleaned from top to bottom. There is some new paint in the middle school area, new flooring in a few rooms and a couple of new rooms. Every year we are looking to use the space as efficiently and effectively as possible. Out front a few parents have contributed their time and expertise to beautify the area by the sign. Mr. Lepine and his crew have spent a good deal of time repairing the play structure on the lower playground, and Mrs. Mooney has facilitated a group of parents in creating an outdoor classroom. The building and grounds are ready.
Throughout the summer a number of professionals have been in to provide tutoring through our Title I program.
Professional development addressing competency standards brought a few to Manchester for an intense three days of work. Work on our Multi Tier System of Support and Student Wellness Center has resulted in some exciting opportunities for students and staff as we go through the year. Lastly, a group has continued to expand their skills in using mindfulness to help develop self-regulation and academic engagement. Many of the staff have been here on a regular basis throughout the summer to prepare for the coming year.
We are happy to welcome two new teachers to the building. Emily McBride will be joining us to teach math in the middle school and Kaylie Lapointe will be joining Jean Jacobs to support the Title I program. Marie St. Martin is returning from JES. Kelsey Bernard is reprising her role in fifth grade while Jessica Hallee will be our second middle school Science teacher. Alayna Signorello will be doing her teaching internship with Mrs. Mooney through the TRRE program. Patricia Belanger, RN will be joining the staff of WES and LES. Our support staff will be bolstered by Diane McDonald, Michelle Gilbert, Tayla Cummings and one or two more waiting in the wings.
The IT department has replaced the Chromebooks in grades six through eight and used the others to supplement access in the elementary grades. A new monitor has been placed in the middle school common area for student information. Our technology infrastructure and support is world class!
Please note that our Open Houses will be held during the week of September 24th. Mrs. Plumley and I will be inviting you to a presentation in the gym each evening to talk about the vision for the school and practices to support that. We hope to see you there.
Dear Parents & Guardians, June 25, 2018
As another school year has come to a close I want to thank you for your continued support of Whitefield School. Our learning community has many things to be thankful for and community support and involvement is one of them. As we go into the summer we are retaining 88% of our staff; that makes for a very stable professional roster and benefits our students in the coming school year. We are looking forward to welcoming a small group of students from the Jefferson School next year as well as the transfer of three professionals into the building.
Physically, the building will be cleaned, top to bottom, this summer. Painting our doors and frames on the second floor as well as some room remodeling are in the works. We are working closely with NH DOE and Homeland Security on a securing a grant to redesign and remodel the front entrance and office to enhance security. We are also talking with the Facilities Committee regarding modifications to our traffic plan on the grounds. We’ll keep you in the loop on both as they develop.
Academically, we have had a good year. The percentage of students in the building who met or exceeded their projected growth rates on NWEA Math is 70% and in Reading, 58%. Data on the Statewide Assessment System is still being analyzed at the building level, but you will see your child’s individual performance within the next week. We are seeing some nice early results from the adoption of the BRIDGES math program in terms of personal growth rates and overall end of year proficiency in grades K-5. We will enter into our third year of the Lucy Calkins Writing program next year and I am looking forward to exploring our instructional approaches to literature and non-fiction across the grade spans in an effort to boost those proficiency and growth rates.
Lastly, we spent a good deal of time looking at opportunities to support the social-emotional learning of all of our students. Our children live in a much more complex social world than we ever did. 24 hour online connections to social media, gaming and other social pressures are making academic engagement a challenge at times. Our efforts to reexamine how we support students from the universal through the individualized levels will continue next year. We are looking forward to expanding mindfulness and bringing more structured social-emotional supports to our students. The System of Care grant has been instrumental in this and we are looking forward the training and personnel that it can give us next year.
Mrs. Plumley and I had the chance to stop in to every classroom on the last day of school to wish everyone a fun and safe summer. We encouraged them to get out, ride their bikes, go fishing, play in the dirt, listen to the birds and read a good book. We hope that the summer gives our students an opportunity to be kids and recharge. Summer is fleeting in the North Country so we need to enjoy every little bit we have.
All the best,
Mike Cronin & Sharal Plumley
The Whitefield Way: Respect, Responsibility, Kindness, Engagement, and Safety
The mission of the Whitefield School is the same as that of the school district:
“…to form a partnership with parents and the community to prepare all students to become lifelong learners in a safe environment with high expectations so that they will become responsible, productive citizens in an ever-changing society.”
Whitefield School is a preK-8 school of 320 students from the towns of Whitefield, Dalton and Carroll, New Hampshire. We live at the foot of the Presidential Range, nestled in the White Mountains. In contrast to the surrounding natural beauty, our families face a stressful economic climate-- The unemployment rate in Coos County is 9.1% . 13% of our community lives below the poverty level and our free and reduced lunch rate is 54%. The local economy is based in the service industry. The population is the slowest in terms of growth in the State, and the number of residents above the age of 65 is expected to double, to 37% by 2030. These factors place our students at higher risk for school failure. Through our practices and traditions however, Whitefield School, supported by the community of families is a place that supports academic and personal achievement.
At the start of each academic year, the building sets annual goals and staff set their professional goals. Students write their hopes and dreams for the year, using them as a springboard for setting personal goals. Their goal documents adorn the school walls for all to see. Whitefield’s teachers and parents hold high standards for their children. When queried at an Open House about hopes and dreams for their children, parents responded that they did not want their children to settle for mediocrity. They wanted their children to know that they can achieve anything, and parents have confidence that our school will provide students with the necessary tools. We typically achieve 90% attendance rates at Parent-Teacher Conferences, full houses for our Open Houses, and standing room only for our holiday musical presentations. Our community values its school and supports us by volunteering, attending PTO, and supporting our budgets. The strength of the school comes from the whole school community and we feel that we have created the family-school partnership our mission speaks of.
Whitefield School offers a challenging, standards-based curriculum and is integrating authentic, collaborative problem solving experiences for students. Technology is well-supported in our budget and the arts are cherished. Our athletic teams routinely have cheering sections made up of parents and staff, even when they are struggling to find a win during the season. Our extracurricular groups are well populated and range from our outdoor club that sets a yearly goal of climbing Mt.Washington, the highest mountain in the Northeast, to board game clubs and our Student Council. The Technology Student Association (TSA) has met with great success at state and national competitions. Service learning and community engagement take the forms of organizing and collecting donations for our local food pantry, visiting residents at the Morrison Nursing Home and student organized dances to support the Susan G Komen breast cancer foundation. Through these academic, athletic and social endeavors we create lifelong learners who are responsible, productive citizens that can adapt to an ever changing society.
Over the years we have been recognized by state and regional associations for excellence. We were recognized by the “Edies” in 2005 for excellence as an elementary school. We have been a New England League of Middle Schools Spotlight School and have been asked to speak at a number of professional conferences regarding our practices. Numerous staff have been recognized for excellence in their craft, including Technology Education, Math and Science, School Psychology, Administration and middle school programming. Our Response to Intervention (RtI), and Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports (PBIS) implementations have been used as models within the state. Finally, our ability to make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) two consecutive years, took us off the School in Need of Improvement list.
At the end of each year, we hold a traditional graduation ceremony for our departing eighth graders. Choral and instrumental performances, award presentations and a guest speaker prefaces the conference of diplomas. Upon the presentation of the graduating class there is deafening applause as the pride of families, school board members, staff and community is released. This is the culmination of years of goal setting by students, teachers, parents and families. We are proud of our school, our students and our community.