By DAVID CARKHUFF, LACONIA DAILY SUN
GILFORD — The second phase of an elementary school construction project started during Christmas vacation, one of several highlights of a transitional year where a new superintendent arrived on the job in the Gilford School District.
"The first phase of the Gilford Elementary School construction project was completed on time and on budget," reported School Board Chairman Karen Thurston. "The elementary school was closed for the summer while plumbing and cabinet work was completed. Classroom and hallway bathrooms fixtures were changed and updated. There were pipes and outside drains that needed to be replaced and unclogged throughout the summer."
Thurston reported, "Crews will be replacing hot water heaters and clocks throughout the building. The bulk of the second phase will happen over the 2017 summer when electrical and data wiring upgrades will be completed. The second phase of construction will also include duct work this summer."
Voters approved a $2.4 million bond at the March 2016 annual School District Meeting to upgrade the elementary school's entire mechanical, heating/ventilation/air conditioning and plumbing systems. Constructions crews started work last summer.
The Gilford School District brought two new members to the SAU 73 office this past summer, Superintendent Kirk Beitler and Curriculum Director Steve Tucker, Thurston noted.
Beitler, the former assistant superintendent in the Laconia School District, said that one of his major tasks upon arrival would be overseeing the mechanical renovation project at the elementary school. He is the former assistant principal at Gilford High School, as well as former athletic director for Franklin High School and former principal at Raymond High School.
Thurston reported that the mission of the Gilford School District, in partnership with the community, is to actively engage all students "in a broad range of educational opportunities that enables them to make responsible choices and succeed throughout life in a changing society."
Last July, the Gilford School Board identified four goal areas for the 2016-2017 school year including:
• Student learning: Using a common, standards-based, curricular framework across the Gilford School District and writing curriculum using it. This effort includes working with all schools in the district (including Gilmanton) to clarify and develop curriculum; and developing a curricular overview map, reviewing and analyzing student-performance data, developing a common definition of personalized learning and clarifying most effective lesson structures and best instructional practices, and creating a committee that evaluates the district's World Language program.
Gilford School District is in the first full year of implementing a new math program (K-8), Eureka Math, Thurston reported. One of the school board goals is to monitor and check the progress of the K-8 Eureka Math program and provide teachers with professional development opportunities.
• Families and communities: Working with community partners to provide information, programs, interventions and supports for the health and well-being of students; addressing budget, program, resource and curricular issues at two meetings of the Gilford and Gilmanton school boards and the superintendent, two meetings of the selectmen, school board, superintendent and any other needed school and/or community representatives, and school Parent-Teacher Association meetings.
• Resource management: Develop staffing, capital improvement and resource needs/allocation plans based on projected student enrollment; programmatic goals, curriculum, instruction and assessment goals; and facility needs. Other goals include working collaboratively with the Budget Committee and the school board to develop "a fiscally responsible budget" and negotiating a contract with the Gilford Education Association and the Gilford School Board.
• Safety and facilities: Phase 2 of the Gilford Elementary School construction project; a new Meadows Committee to develop and present a plan for Phase 2 for the Meadows property to upgrade or build restrooms, locker rooms and a concession stand; and review School Security Assessments conducted by the State of New Hampshire Department of Safety Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management and update entry protocols.
Thurston also credited student performance on standardized assessments in the 2015-2016 school year. The 11th grade Scholastic Assessment Test, or SAT, scores in the area of Evidence-Based Reading and Writing were the highest in the Lakes Region (71 percent proficient), she reported.
"Over the past five years, 85 percent of Gilford High School students taking Advanced Placement assessments have scored a 3 or above, often making them eligible for college credit. On the new Smarter Balanced assessment in English Language Arts and math the percentage of students in the Gilford School District who were proficient or above in grades 3, 4, 5, 7 and 8 has been near or above the state average," Thurston reported.
On Thursday, Feb. 9, at 7 p.m., the deliberative session of Gilford School School District Meeting will be held in the Gilford High School auditorium.
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