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‘Tight numbers’ at SMS this year

  • ConVal School Board Chair Myron Steere. (Brandon Latham / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Brandon Latham—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript...

  • ConVal Superintendent Kim Saunders. (Brandon Latham / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Brandon Latham—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript...

  • School Board Student Representative Maeve Newman. (Brandon Latham / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Brandon Latham—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript...

  • ConVal Superintendent Kim Saunders. (Brandon Latham / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Brandon Latham—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript...



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Wednesday, August 24, 2016

ConVal’s School Board had its final meeting before students return to classrooms next week, using this eleventh hour to ready for the school year.

Superintendent Kimberly Saunders, beginning her first academic year in the role, informed the board of many developments from the district’s various schools, including student enrollment.

“We always had tight numbers for sixth grade at SMS,” Saunders said of the student-to-teacher ratio at South Meadow School, the middle school in Peterborough which hosts the SAU #1 district office where the meeting took place.

She recommended hiring a new teacher for part-time service to teach English/Language Arts, and Social Studies. Sauders’s plan was to hire someone for “point-8,” meaning part-time working about 80 percent the commitment of a full-time teacher.

The board approved of the recommendation, and added the flexibility in its approval for the district to hire someone full-time, which would cost between $7,000 and $8,000 more, because of how much easier that is to schedule.

She said that since the last update, six new students enrolled in the grade level, making those numbers tighter still.

Saunders said the plan is to hire the teacher and eliminate the position of the schoolwide paraeducator. The current occupant of that position is a certified teacher and would be welcome to apply for the new role.

“We’re going to have to open a discussion of how we’re going to solve that problem over a long term, not just last minute,” she said.

While sixth grade is growing, kindergarten remains undersized, but hard to predict. The board acknowledged that it can take until the final day of summer to know exactly how many students they can expect in kindergarten.

As of the meeting, there were 122 enrolled, down from 130 last year, but way up from about 90 earlier this summer.

Due to weak attendance, the board was limited on what administrative work it could do, and even had to call a member on speaker phone to have enough votes for a quorum on opening the new teacher position.

The board also discussed the near completion of the new track at ConVal High School, and the chance to now bring a state track meet to Peterborough. They also unveiled new environmentally friendly initiatives, including reusable plastic cups for water.

The board also greeted its new student representative, Maeve Newman, a ConVal High School senior.

“A lot of members of the ConVal class of 2016 are transitioning into college, employment or military service,” she said, noting that it is important to help all of those diverse student goals in the future.

 

Brandon Latham can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 228 or blatham@ledgertranscript.com.