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LRCC president asks Laconia schools for help in getting students to look at what his college offers

LACONIA — Lakes Region Community College President Scott Kalicki last night asked the School Board for their help in encouraging city students to consider the college as an option for their continuing education.

Kalicki, speaking for his first time before the Laconia board, noted that LRCC is "clearly affordable," is accessible, and offers a good pathway to higher education or to a career.

"We seek your support to allow the community college to be part of the dialogue," he said.

Kalicki noted that nationally, statistics show that of the graduating students who go on to a public higher education, 50 percent of them will attend a community college. In New Hampshire, Kalicki said, that percentage is just 25-percent.

He said he thinks people still think of Lakes Region Community College as "Voc-Tech" — one of the former nicknames for the two-year college on Prescott Hill when it offered degrees for trade careers only.

He also said many people think going to community college is "not the sexy thing to do."

He said while he is Laconia-centric, the state has seven community colleges and they are working on the ability to get much of their individual on-line classes available to all community college students.

Kalicki noted that for those who want a "campus" experience, there is New Hampshire Technical College in Concord and for those who want to save some money, he said that LRCC tuition is about half that of Keene State College or Plymouth State University and all of the credits are transferable.

He said the average class size is about 13 and there are 1,500 students enrolled at LRCC.

"We hope to be part of the communication," he said.

School Board member Mike Persson and Superintendent Terri Forsten are both members of the LRCC Board of Directors.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 04 December 2013 02:05

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Happy Cow! People still enjoy ice cream after Columbus Day

LACONIA — Calise Houle is only six years out of Laconia High School but she's already started her second business at the same Union Avenue location just up the street from the school where she was president of the Key Club in her senior year.
The Happy Cow Ice Cream Shop proved an instant hit this summer, so much so that she's added indoor seating and kept it open through the fall and into the early winter, proving that in the Happy Cow's case anyway, ice cream isn't just for summer anymore.
She serves up large portions of delicious ice cream, including soft serve, in a large variety of flavors in both sugar and waffle cones, huge hot sundaes, frappes and flurries.
The Happy Cow features an outdoor seating area of picnic tables and Adirondack chairs on our front lawn where customers enjoy watching the cars and bikes while relaxing with their favorite treats during the warmer months of the year.
She says that business has been good this fall and that many nights she's been busy right up until 10 p.m.
''It's really important to be a part of the community and we're getting that now with a lot of regular customers who stop by a couple of times a week,'' says Houle.
Happy Cow was recently voted as the top ice cream place in the Lakes Region and she and her staff recently raised enough money in their "Tips for Turkeys" jar to buy 18 Thanksgiving turkeys for the Salvation Army. Last Saturday she encouraged people to shop local by giving a 10 percent discount to customers who brought in a receipt from local businesses.
Houle says she attended Sierra Nevada College at Lake Tahoe, majoring in business, for two years after graduating from LHS in 2007, before she decided to plunge into the business world, partnering with her father, Don, who ran Pemi Glass, to open the Maui Oasis tanning salon, which she ran for four years.
''It was a good experience. You learn a lot more about business with the actual hands on experience. There are things you'd never learn in school. But it was time to move on and do something different.'' says Houle.
She established a business relationship with Blake's Creamery in Manchester, which supplies all of her ice cream, and opened for business in June. She says her business employs six people during the busy summer months and is down to half that now. She plans to remain open through December and close for two months before reopening in March.
Happy Cow's new hours run from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and from noon to 9 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

CAPTIONS;

ice cream

Elaine Morrison and Dick Smith are frequent customers at the Happy Cow Ice Cream Shop, which Calise Houle (rear) opened on Union Avenue this summer. (Roger Amsden photo for the Laconia Daily Sun)

ice cream turkey

Happy Cow Ice Cream Shop waitresses raised enough money from their tips to buy 18 turkeys which were donated to the Salvation Army. Shown are Felicia and Calise Houle. (Courtesy photo)

Last Updated on Wednesday, 04 December 2013 01:47

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Police charge man was selling pot at Normandin Square

LACONIA — A local man who police said was trying to sell marijuana to people in Normandin Square area of the city is now free on $5,000 personal recognizance bail.

Police said Peter P. Colson, Sr. 58, of 7 Church St. had 10 individual bags of marijuana in his possession when police arrested him near JD's Barber Shop at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday morning. They said he also had $500 in cash on him at the time.

Colson was charged with one count of attempting to sell a controlled drug as well as one count of possession of a controlled drug with intent to distribute.

Police said Colson also had additional bags of marijuana, scales and paraphernalia in his Church Street home.

Court records obtained through the N.H. Judiciary Call Center show Colson has a previous conviction for bail jumping in 2007.

He is scheduled to appear in the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division on January 9, 2014.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 04 December 2013 01:40

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GHS looking at ending practice of adding value to grades earned in tougher classes

GILFORD — The School Board got its first look at what could be a new approach to weighted-grading, class rankings and differentiated diplomas at its regular monthly meeting Monday night.

Presented by Superintendent Kent Hemingway and High School Principal Peter Sawyer, the focus was if and how the School District would change the way it reports student data.

Specifically, the district could move away from a so-called weighted grade — a process by which a student can earn additional points on his or her grade point average (GPA) by taking honors or Advanced Placement (AP) level classes.

In Sawyer's opinion and as a result of his research, "there is no benefit (or detriment) to a student applying for a college coming from a high school that weights or (does not weight) grades."

Largely, he said, this is because colleges typically have their own standards for determining admissions and GPAs are not the only standard used, adding standardized test scores (SAT, ACT) and community service are also some of the things that factor into college acceptance. Furthermore, he said, every school district has different ways of "weighting" the value of different classes so there is no common standard.

Sawyer also pointed out that students should be enrolling in courses that have the appropriate level of rigor and not necessarily taking a class because it can possibly lead to a higher grade point average. He cited one instance where a class valedictorian had a GPA of 4.6 and was headed into his senior year with four advanced placement (AP) classes and a study hall. The student didn't want the study hall and really wanted to take chorus — a class without any weight possibility. However, if he took the class and earned an A (4.0) in it, his overall GPA would have gone down as a result.

"We would much rather have a student enroll in a course than a study hall in his or her senior year," Sawyer wrote in his proposal.

School Board Vice Chair Kurt Webber said he was leery and was especially concerned that class rankings would be affected. A West Point graduate and a current member of that military academy's admission team, Webber noted that class rank is very important for admission to military academies and top-tier schools such as Harvard or Princeton.

Webber also noted that class rank can effect financial aid packages for students and he wouldn't want to see any financial harm come to any family in terms of college expenses.

"I don't want to impact the students who want to get into the top schools," Webber continued, saying that finishing in the top 20 percent of a class increases a student's chance of getting into a top 20 college.

Sawyer said he did a study of the current graduating class and said removing the weighted grades had minimal effect on who finished in the top 10. He said the top seven didn't change and the two people who are eighth and seventh switched positions. He assured the board he didn't want to do anything that would effect the top 10 students.

"How do we know this class isn't an anomaly?" asked Webber.

Sawyer said he didn't know and said he would research the last six or seven classes to make sure his results were accurate for previous classes as well.

Hemingway said yesterday that school districts in the Lakes Region are dissimilar when it comes to weighted grades. While Laconia, Inter-Lakes, and Winnisquam Regional weight grades, Belmont and Plymouth do not. In Newfound, AP classes are weighted at 1.05 percent — much less than the other weighted districts.

He also added that after listening to the initial input from the school board, he was going to recommend that class rankings remain as they are.

Hemingway and Sawyer said they would continue to do more research about grade-weighting and report back to the School Board in January or February. Ideally, they said if there were to be changes, the earliest they could take place would be for the incoming freshman class of 2019.

Hemingway is recommending the Gilford School District add a "diploma with distinction" that would require 26 class credits to earn — a Gilford High School diploma now requires 23.5, would require a minimum GPA of 3.5 and there would be a community service component for one-half of a credit that would require a minimum of 24 hours. In addition, a diploma with distinction would require a student earn 13.5 or more credits from honors or AP classes.

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 04 December 2013 01:35

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