Northwood NH News

January 4, 2017


Letter To The Editor


For years now we’ve known that in order to improve our school, we need to address the stagnant curriculum and provide extra support/time to the younger kids.  Nottingham has had great success with their curriculum coordinator, and we’ve taken some successful steps in that direction.  Similarly, we see the benefits of full-day kindergarten upon the millions who have access to it in this country.  Implementing these programs are the top things that will improve education in this town.


This year, instead of asking the taxpayers to fund these priorities, the school board has instead made significant cuts to the elementary school budget and re-organized existing staff positions to self-fund these improvements without asking for additional taxpayer money or adding any new positions in the school.  In fact, they’re able to do this with a budget that is less than last year’s budget and significantly less than the default budget.


Were it not for an influx of over 16 high-school-aged students this year (which at $15K+ a pop adds up to more than $250,000 in additional tuition costs), the proposed budget would have shown savings of more than a $300,000 over last year, due to an expiring building bond payment.  One can see on the proposed 2017-2018 budget (available on the SAU website) that a reduction of over $313,000 from the elementary school budget is offset by an increase of over $300,000 in high school tuition costs.  I suppose this is the blessing and the curse of having a top-notch high school in town.


On Monday, February 6th, at 6:30pm is the deliberative session to set the budget numbers on the warrant.  I hope that everyone will be able to make it, and will support a budget number that is a reasonable compromise and will improve our town’s education.


Keith McGuigan,

Northwood School Board



Letter To The Editor

More Than You Know


In his letter of Dec. 21, Paul Johnston dismisses the need for full-day kindergarten by listing what he thinks kindergarteners need to learn: 


“1) learn to share, 2) learn to play nice, 3) socialize with peers, 4) learn “how” to be a student, and 5) learn to color inside the lines.”  And he asks, rhetorically, “Does it take all day for a year … for kids to learn that?”


While learning these social and emotional skills are important, they are hardly sufficient to prepare a child for the curriculum he or she will encounter in the First Grade.


To get a flavor of what is expected of kindergarteners across the state, I went to the Department of Education’s website where the College and Career Ready Standards (CCRS) are presented. To keep things simple and relatively jargon-free, I looked at the Mathematics Standards for Kindergarten




It begins with the Section on Counting and Cardinality: 1: Count to 100 by ones and tens, and progresses to 3. Write numbers from 0 to 20 to 6. Identify whether the number of objects in one group is greater than, less than, or equal to the number of objects in another group. The next four Sections deal with Operations and Algebraic Thinking, Number and Operations in Base Ten, Measurement and Data, and Geometry.


Now think about a comparable curriculum for English/Language Arts, Social Studies and Science. And allow time for “Specials:” music, P.E., health, etc. And lunch and snack!


So to answer the question, “does it take a full school day” to prepare kids to enter First Grade, the answer is “yes.”


And parents, it also helps to play card games, dominoes and checkers with your kids, and not just video games.


Tom Chase

Northwood, NH












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