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Going forward, only AP courese will carry extra grade weight at GHS

GILFORD – Grades in advanced placement (AP) courses will continue to carry more weight at the High School, but grades for honors courses will no longer be weighted starting in the fall of 2018, if a proposed policy is approved next month.
The Gilford School Board held a first reading of the weighted grades policy Monday. The policy returns for a second reading and likely approval at the board's March meeting.
High School Principal Peter Sawyer, who had initially proposed eliminating weighted grades entirely, presented the modified proposal at Monday's meeting.
"It's really irrelevant to colleges whether we have weighted grades," said Sawyer who sought out the opinions of several college admissions officials on the subject.
Advance placement courses provide college level curriculum and tests to students in a variety of academic subject areas, such as mathematics, science, and literature. Honors courses are more accelerated and go over more material than the standard course in a given subject.
When the issue of weighted grades was first raised at the School Board's December meeting, Vice Chairman Kurt Webber said he was concerned that eliminating weighted grade would adversely affect students' class rank, and so possibly hurt their chances to get admitted to the more competitive colleges or universities.
But Sawyer said that judging from the feedback he received from admissions counselors, colleges do not place that much weight on an applicant's class rank, and Sawyer pointed out that only about half of the high schools nationally include a class rank on a student's transcript.
"What they look at is the rigor of the class and the grades they received," Sawyer explained. "It's not the SAT scores or the class rank."
And while acknowledging that some colleges and university are much harder to get into than others, Sawyer said that college admission personnel analyze student performance in much the same way. "From SNHU (Southern New Hampshire University) to Princeton they all look at students the same."
On Monday Webber said he was happy to see that grades for advanced placement courses will continue to have more weight.
"I thank weighting AP courses makes sense," he said.
Another part of the revised grading policy Gilford High would add a "diploma of distinction" that would require earning 26 class credits, 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.
NOTE: The board endorsed a proposal from Student Council representative Bridget Eldridge to include CPR training as part of health class at the high school. Eldridge, who is doing an internship with Gilford Fire-Rescue, said that Fire Department personnel who are certified CPR instructors would give CPR training twice a semester. "There are too many people who don't know what to do (when someone has a heart attack)," said Eldridge, in explaining the need to teach the procedure which helps restore partial flow of oxygenated blood to the brain and heart.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 04 February 2014 02:23

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Weekly Hands Across the Table dinner back at St. Andre Bessette Parish for a month

LACONIA — Hands Across the Table will be hosting their free Tuesday night meal at the Saint Andre Bessette Parish Hall on Gilford Avenue tonight and will continue to host their weekly meals there until the first week of March.
Doors open at 4 p.m. with the meal served at 5 p.m. The third annual HATT Soupathon and Silent Service Auction will be held Sunday, Feb. 9 from 5-7 p.m. at St. Andre Bessette Parish Hall.
The move was made necessary by the return of the Saint James Preschool to the Boys and Girls Club of the Lakes Region after temporarily being housed at the Lakes Region Child Care Services Early Learning Center on Normandin Square.
The upstairs area used as dining facility at the Boys and Girls Club will be used by the preschool until repairs are completed to its downstairs classrooms.
Gayle Sullivan, St. James preschool director, said that the preschool has been housed at Normandin Square for a month and moved back because the space it had been using is needed so that furniture can be moved around during a recarpeting project at the Lakes Region Child Care Services facility.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 04 February 2014 02:15

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Belmont had three way race for selectmen

BELMONT — Incumbent Selectman Ron Cormier has two opponents in the upcoming selectman's race.

Former Town Administrator Donald McLelland Sr. and former Selectman George Condodemetraky are running against Cormier for the one open seat on the board. Voting in March 11.

McLelland and Condodemetraky have both run for selectman in the past.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 04 February 2014 02:11

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Board sends $13.9M budget to Meredith voters

MEREDITH — Following a public hearing yesterday the Board of Selectmen unanimously voted to recommend a town budget that would appropriate $13,902,674 in 2014, which represents an increase of $275,005, or two-percent.

With revenues from sources other than property taxes virtually flat for the sixth consecutive year, the amount to be raised by property taxes would be $8,352,424, which represents an increase in the town portion of the tax rate of 25 cents, or 5.5 percent, from $4.55 to $4.80.

The selectmen applied $1,250,000 from the town's undesignated fund balance to supplement revenues and offset property taxes.

Town Manager Phil Warren said that once again "fiscal restraint" was the overriding theme of the budget, which includes no new positions or job reclassifications and neither expands nor reduces programs and services. However, the budget funds a "salary adjustment" of 1.25-percent and a 2.5-percent upon a successful performance review.

At a workshop yesterday the Selectboard reversed its earlier decision to withhold funding to install copper gutters at the library after learning that the New Hampshire Land and Community Heritage awarded the town a grant of $70,000 for the project. Other capital investments include funds to purchase to pickup trucks, a police cruiser, rescue van, a crane truck and a chipper along with applying $100,000 to an expendable trust fund for equipment for the Department of Public Works.

When the floor was opened to the public, David Sticht expressed concern about the growth in the Parks and Recreation budget, which he said has risen from $788,766 in 2006, when it included the first annual bond payment of $254,000 for the construction of the Community Center to over $1-million in 2007 and nearly $1-million again in 2014.

"The costs are going up and up and up," Sticht said, recalling that when the Community Center was built revenues from programming were expected to defray operating costs. "Something is wrong somewhere," he continued. "This sure isn't what we were promised in 2004.

Selectman Peter Brothers said that "the numbers by themselves don't mean that much," explaining that there was a strong commitment to the department, the building and its programs in the community. He said that the selectmen have looked for ways to increase revenues, which were at $149,055 in 2013, and control costs. The center, he noted "is close to being overused." While acknowledging Parks and Recreation is a significant cost center, Brothers remarked "I don't see it in quite the same way as you do."

"I agree with both," gegan Selectman Herb Vadney, "but I think Mr. Sticht makes a very good point." He suggested undertaking a cost-benefit analysis of the Community Center, stressing that school enrollments have declined "substantially."

Warren said that when the Community Center was planned and constructed the projected operating costs were "not as accurate as they should have been."

Last Updated on Tuesday, 04 February 2014 02:09

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