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Welcome to the NEW Atkinson Reporter! Under new management, with new resolve.

The purpose of this Blog is to pick up where the Atkinson Reporter has left off. "The King is dead, Long live the King!" This Blog is a forum for the discussion of predominantly Atkinson; Officials, People, Ideas, and Events. You may give opinion, fact, or evaluation, but ad hominem personal attacks will not be tolerated, or published. The conversation begun on the Atkinson Reporter MUST be continued!

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

NECAPS are out! TRHS Achieves SINI statusfor it's 6th YEAR!!!

From Danville Delivery;

September 25, 2010
by danvilledelivery

…and our schools are still terrible.

I have been pointing out since before no tax impact kindergarten was passed that the longer kids are in the Timberlane schools, the worse they perform academically. This year’s NECAP results once again support this observation. Our high school has been categorized as SINI (School In Need of Improvement) for Reading and Restructuring/Level 5 for Math. The math designation means that our high school has not made AYP for the sixth year (it’s a really, really, really bad school — bottom 5%). Our middle school is nearly as bad. Its math status is Restructure Planning/Level 4 which means it has not made AYP for the fifth year (also bottom 5% of schools). All elementary schools except Pollard have been designated acceptable (not designated as in need of improvement). Pollard is SINI Year 1 for both math and reading. If you live in Plaistow, chances are your student has never attended an acceptable school. And we are paying $15k/year for that.

That’s the bottom line. I urge you to examine the school report cards (as well as your student’s individual assessment) to understand how bad our schools are. Be sure to attend the Tuesday 9/28/2010 when ‘experts’ from SAU 55 and the NH DoE try to convince us that there is no need to test our high schoolers.

Report Cards

Report Cards links can be found here

* TRHS Reading:SINI Year 2 Math:Restructuring/Level 5 AYP: No/No
* TRMS Reading:Acceptable Math:Restructuring/Level 4 AYP: Yes/No
* Atkinson Reading:Acceptable Math:Acceptable AYP: No/No
* Danville Reading:Acceptable Math:Acceptable AYP: Yes/Yes
* Pollard Reading:SINI Year 1 Math:SINI Year 1 AYP: No/No
* Sandown Central Reading:Acceptable Math:Acceptable AYP: No/Yes
* Sandown North Reading:Acceptable Math:Acceptable AYP: Yes/Yes

What do the designations mean?

* School In Need of Improvement (SINI) Designation. A school is designated as in need of improvement (SINI) when it does not make AYP for two consecutive years in the same performance indicator (i.e. Reading, Mathematics, Attendance Rate/Graduation Rate). A school can be designated for multiple areas at the same time. The school in need of improvement (SINI) designation is removed once the school has made AYP for two consecutive years in the same indicator that caused the designation.
* Acceptable. A school or district not designated as in need of improvement.
* SINI/DINI Year 1. A sanction for a school or school district not making AYP for two consecutive years in the same performance indicator. The term “Year 1” does not indicate the number of years the school or district may have been in need of improvement; the term indicates the sanction level of the school or district.
* SINI/DINI Year 2. A sanction for a school or district in need of improvement that has not made AYP for the third time in the indicator causing the original designation.
* Corrective Action/Level 3. A sanction for a school or district in need of improvement that has not made AYP for the fourth time in the indicator causing the original designation. Note: Title I schools and districts are subject to federal sanctions under the No Child Left Behind Act as well as state sanctions; non-Title I schools and districts are subject to only state sanctions. At this sanction level, Title I schools and districts enter Corrective Action.
* Restructure Planning/Level 4. The restructuring (planning year) sanction applies only to Title I schools that have not made AYP for the fifth year in the indicator causing the original designation.
* Restructuring/Levels 5 and 6. The restructuring (implementation year) sanction applies only to Title I schools that have not made AYP for the sixth year (Level 5) or seventh year (Level 6) in the indicator causing the original designation.

Aren’t all schools struggling?

No. Despite the rationalizations spewed by the SAU staff, our schools are particularly bad. These spinmasters talk about cohorts, subgroups, and internal metrics, but there is only one important measurement — how much do the kids know when they get out of high school.

The answer is: not much.

For the last year tested, our 67% of our 11th graders were proficient or better in reading, 31% were proficient or better in mathematics, and 40% were proficient or better in writing. Compared to third graders testes in the same year of whom 83% were proficient or better in reading and 86% proficient or better in mathematics.

In 2006, these 11th graders were tested as 8th graders. Before being subjected to our high school, they 73% were proficient or better in reading, 53% were proficient of better in mathematics, and 56% were proficient or better in writing.

My theory is very simple. Pollard is a terrible school. Because Social Engineering Principles will not allow the schools to stigmatize these kids, the middle school lowers its teaching standards to the level of the incoming Pollard kids. After three years of inclusiveness, none of the kids are ready for a high school education.

A new building isn’t going to fix this. Getting rid of Big Tests isn’t going to help. We need new teachers, a new curriculum, and a new calendar that has the kids learning the right things from good teachers 180 full days per year.


Anonymous said...

All this bad news is the PARENTS FAULT! If PARENTS would take charge of their kids, do their homework for them, make sure they don't waste valuable time on video games, and pay the teachers more, we would have better results. Don't blame the teachers for not being able to teach lazy kids. IT's the PARENTS FAULT...........PERIOD!

This message has been bought and paid for by THE TEACHERS UNION.

Anonymous said...

You heard Mr. Dube at the meeting last year;

" we dont raise these kids we only have them six hours a day" parents need to be more supportive of our poor teachers. $54,000/yr. for 8 months work, is dogs wages!

Anonymous said...

As long as Timberlane continues to employ quite a few sub-standard teachers (i.e, one teacher who sexually assaulted a former student on school grounds in 2002 while they should have been teaching the class that was in session), then nothing will change.

I agree that parents need to take a more proactive role in their kid's education, but the school board also needs to take a closer look at what is actually going on inside the schools.

How often does the superintendent drop in on classes to observe the teachers? How often do parents have conferences with the teachers about their child's progress? And why is it acceptable to both the superintendent and the parents for the schools and their students to perform below par year after year?

Len Mullen said...

Wait until you see what I post next. I spoke to a DoE rep at the coffee about our schools. He said the state could do nothing more than encourage TRSD to do better. He said local control means that only the school board can force the SAU to take action. Do you think OUR school board is going to insist on improvement?

Len Mullen said...

Also, there is an opening on the Budget Committee. The SAU is scouring the PTSAs for a replacement for Atkinson rep George Murray. If someone who is not a school teacher or PTSA president is interested, express your interest to the Budget Committee ( and its chair George Stokinger ( cc me if you want them to acknowledge that the email arrived (

MAcciard said...

The Problem is largely NOT the teachers. The Problem is as follows;

1.) Ineffective Administration that wastes money while failing to lead, inspire, or just get the hell out of the way.

2.) Weak curriculum, too many educational fads, low expectations, too much hand holding, not enough hard lines that will not be moved.

3.) A school board that NEVER does their job, but merely acts as bobble heads for Mr. LaSalle. they do not seem to understand that he works for them not vice versa.

4.) A budget committee that has no leadership, and no idea what their job is. They are quite content to allow the superintendent to write the budget, when he is the one who will spend it. So much for checks and balances.

MAcciard said...

How can Mr. Stokinger be the Budcom chair?

Isn't he the business manager? By law he is forbidden from being chairman, or even a member at large.

32:15 Budget Committee Membership.
V. No selectman, town manager, member of the school board, village district commissioner, full-time employee, or part-time department head of the town, school district or village district or other associated agency shall serve as a member-at-large.

Len Mullen said...

Well, George prepares the budget. According to RSA, that is the responsibility of the budget committee. He writes the calendar. He 'recommends' changes to the bylaws. He sends a script for each meeting to the committee. I'm being a little sarcastic, but you catch my drift.

The problem is not the teachers, but teachers should not be on the budget committee as they have a conflict of interest. Just as people who aspire to work at the SAU should not be on the budget committee.

MAcciard said...

Actually it is the budcom's job to appoint an interested party to fill a vacancy. The school board has no say in the matter. By law. But then again you are right, they are not supposed to have any say in scheduling, assigning liasons, or finalizing the budget either.

MAcciard said...

Teachers are forbidden from the budget committee as well, by RSA 32:15, no employees of the district.

Len Mullen said...

Mr. Murray worked in Salem. I still think there is a conflict of interest.

Anonymous said...

As stated in last night's coffee with the principal, the parent doesn't know what is in the best interest of the student, HS school administration DOES!

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

WOW! Welcome to our new progressive world!" We know what is better for you."

Len Mullen said...

You're right that the problem is largely not the teachers. A lot of the teachers oppose the change and many have privately expressed disappointment with the administration. Mr. D was in attendance at the Coffee. He sat in a corner of the library with arms folded and legs estended and crossed for most of the event -- pretty strong body language.

I find it hard to drop this on the administration. This is what they do. I don't think they are mailicious. Who is at fault? The school board.

We need ONE SINGLE person on the other side of the nonpublic sessions who is willing to break the rules. The threat of exposure would prevent most of the shenanigans.

Click my name to visit the New Hampshire School Boards Association policy positions. In my opinion, this group is an an extension of the PTSA -- representing the interests of the NEA not the community.

I don't believe the school board (with a few obvious exceptions) deliberately misserves the communuty, but I think they are polite, easily manipulated people.

Anonymous said...

Change of heart, Mr Mullen? I DO blame administration for lack of communication to parents, students, and teachers. The school board admitted to NOT knowing about these changes, well, maybe the chair did. IMO, administration has placed emphasize on the extremes and less care on the majority. I know my students feel that the best interest is being ignored.

MAcciard said...

The major problem here is that the people we elect to represent us, DONT! They do not know their jobs, they do not know the law regarding their jobs, and they have little interest in learning their jobs. They trust the superintendent to do the right thing, and he in turn does what he wants, with their approval.

Anonymous said...

Your comment at 10:08 is factually correct, but does not get to the root problem.

Intelligent, committed, qualified people no longer wish to serve their community. So we get few contested elections and few committee volunteers. The result is many of those we do get are well-intentioned but, shall we say, too often not vary capable.

In a big picture sense, we get the governance we deserve due to our collective indifference.

So while it is demonstrably correct that, in this case, the School Board does not serve us very well, it is not because they are bad people with persoanl agendas. They are just over-their-heads. But they are also among the very few who stepped forward to take the job in the first place.

MAcciard said...

This is true, but it is also true that the qualified people you speak of, if they are not team players, and will ask questions and rock the boat, do not get elected. Instead they have an organized campaign run against them using the time and effort of the PTSA, as well as the friends and families of school employees.

For example; 3 years ago, my wife ran against Mr. Baldwin. he had little college, no academic experience, and little management experience. She had run her own business in education, and currently ran her own company, a cheerleading gym, had been running schools, for 22 years. had 2 degrees, child psychology, and early childhood education, and is State certified in K-8 education. She was doing great, until the Eagle Tribune did their candidate sheet, a week before the election. Every office on the ballot had a picture of the candidate, and a three paragraph education/ profession bio, except Timberlane school board, that one had no comaprison like the other posts, but instead had a story about how I had put my wife up to run against the chief's right hand guy, and the contest was he and I by proxy.

Look at what happened at deliberative session this year. A room filled with teachers, and PTSA parents shouting and voting on measures.

It is a system that perpetuates itself.

Anonymous said...

why don't you apply for the position? you know more about budget law than anybody else in Atkinson.

Anonymous said...

Mark... Your point about qualified people not getting elected also makes my point.

I'm guessing those "in-the-know" probably voted for your wife by a 3-to-1 margin. Problem is, only 10% of voters are "in-the-know". For the rest, they cast a vote based only on vague name recognition.

Our problem in Atkinson (the whole country, for that matter) is a complacent, disinterested electorate. When they do get charged-up, it is based on star power, not according to well-considered convictions or political dogma.

Sadly, we are getting the governance we deserve.

Len Mullen said...

Change of heart, Mr Mullen?

Yes. And it happened Tuesday night. That's what I'm going to be blogging about as soon as I collect some details. After the Coffee, I cozied up to the Paul Leather (New Hampshire Deputy Commissioner of Education). I talked to him about the loopholes in the 180 day law and about remedies for SINI schools. Paul told me that all the state can do is ask the sau to submit a plan to make things better. That the state -- because we are a 'local control' state -- cannot takeover schools or enforce specific changes.

So, there you have it. The state cannot help up make our schools better. It's up to the 'governing body' to do that. The governing body, in this case, is the school board.

In other words, we have to fix this ourselves. We have to do that by electing school board members who are up to the task of managing our renegade SAU.

Anonymous said...

DOE person Paul Leather could not state one other HS in the state which has done away with finals and midterms.

There were parents telling what their kids were experiencing at college. Those parents were ignored by Woodworth and Strainge as exceptions. I think one school was GeorgeWashington and the other I am told was NorthEastern.

They promised to share all research. There is no negative research against what they are doing.

Anonymous said...

Strainge ead from a letter he got from the director of admissions which stated kids are not ready for the high stakes testing most colleges utilize

A parent asked why they were not preparing the kid for the testing. Parent was ignored.

There was one mother who was very happy no more finals as they stressed her child. Hope little child never leaves home, there is big bad world out there

Anonymous said...

I would love to see new faces and more aggressive school board members but the problem still exists with a superintendent who has a contract of guarantee employment for the next 3 years. How is it that Sanborn was able to get rid of their superintendent within 1 year? We need to hire a super is more interested with getting the best education for our students instead finding ways to spend money for a new bldg.

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Len Mullen said...

I would love to see new faces and more aggressive school board members but the problem still exists with a superintendent who has a contract of guarantee employment for the next 3 years.

In my eyes, the poor performance of the schools is the problem. So, the school board sets a target or academic achievement to be achieved in three years and tells the superintendent that his contract will be terminated if the target is not achieved and that salary actions in the interim will depend on achieving milestones on the way to the goal.

I believe La Salle is 100% focused on having a model school dedicated to him. Given this guidance, he will probably move on. I'm ok with that.

I would hire Tony DiBartolomeo to replace him. This guy oozes excellence. That is what you need at the top -- someone who will not let the kids fail.

Anonymous said...

Tell me about Tony?

Len Mullen said...

Tony DiBartolomeo is the music teacher at the high school and director of the PAC. Mr. D. is primarily responsible for the success of the band program. I have had the pleasure of sitting next to him during a couple of competitions. While he is the consumate cheerleader, he critiques every shortcoming -- always striving to rise to the next level of excellence. His kids practice during school hours, after school, and during the summer.

His leadership is reflected in the performance of the entire music department.

Len Mullen said...

No Finals or Midterms meeting video posted on vimeo...

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