LACONIA — Chris Guilmett was elected chairman of the Laconia School Board last night.
Guilmett, of Ward 4, was unanimously elected by the board's six other members. Guilmett succeeds Joe Cormier who remains on the board representing Ward 6. Stacie Sirois was unanimously elected vice chairman.
The election of officers followed the swearing in of Scott Vachon and Beth Aresenault who were re-elected to the board in Tuesday's municipal elections. Both ran unopposed.
Much of the board's 45-minute meeting was taken up with a presentation on the Community Engagement Program at Woodland Heights School. Principal Dennis Dobe and Student Services Coordinator Marcy Kelley told the board how the program strives to involve parents and other community members in an effort to help students at the elementary school succeed, not only academically, but behaviorally.
"Social learning is as important as academic learning," Dobe told the board.
He explained that the program at Woodland Heights utilizes the Common Core academic standards, as well as basic learning requirements in basic studies, such as reading, writing and mathematics.
Vachon said he was pleased that the Woodland Heights' program is addressing what many educators nationally say is the need for a more comprehensive approach to early childhood education.
"It's nice to see we're already ahead of the research," Vachon said.
At-large board member Michael Persson said the program's use of community partnerships was important and he hoped that the school would tap even more community resources.
NOTES: Guilmett said that the board and the board's Budget Committee would meet again on Nov. 19. At that time the committee is expected to take up plans to undertake further improvements at Laconia High School. The School Board is looking for support for a $1,828,000 federal, interest-free bond to fund the project. The Laconia City Council has scheduled a public hearing on the bond request for next Tuesday and is expected to give the proposal a second reading after the hearing. . . . . . Superintendent Terri Forsten reported that 228 students had received various items from the Care Closet at Laconia Middle School. The items, which are issued to students from disadvantaged families, include personal care items, clothes and backpacks. The Care Closet has received 66 bags of donated items so far this year, she said.