Letter from the Superintendent 8-11-2022

Letter from the Superintendent 8-11-2022
Posted on 08/11/2022
August 11, 2022

Dear Chester Academy Families,

I hope you have had an enjoyable summer. I am writing to welcome you to the 2022-2023 school year and share with you many positive happenings at Chester Academy. We hope you continue to find useful dates and information on our website and like us on Facebook as we try to increase our communications with families. 
Sarah Muncey began her journey as our new principal on July 1, 2022. I wonder if you had a chance to meet her already as she has been popping up around town this summer. Jana Ruiz continues as our Director of Special Services. Zachary Champion is assuming the role of Assistant Principal and Athletic Director this year, and Jennifer Maio joins us as our new Director of Learning and Growth. I am very excited about the work our administrative team has been doing this summer to get ready for a successful school year. Below you will find highlights of all that we have been working on for the new school year with embedded links to more information.  

Facilities and Safety Measures
Martin McFarland, our Facilities Director, and his crew have been prepping the building so it is sparkling clean and safe when your children return. Your children will notice the main bathrooms by the cafeteria and the second floor have been completely remodeled. Air conditioning has been added to the PreK, K, and Art rooms in the main corridor (near the media center). There is new mulch on each playground, and the PTA has begun a fundraising effort for a playground renovation project within the next several years. These improvements are just a couple of examples of the many projects that were completed this summer to keep our facilities up-to-date.
Additionally this summer, we focused on security at Chester Academy. In July, we conducted a Security Assessment with NH Homeland Security and identified several security enhancements that are already in progress. We also applied for a NH grant to support our planned redesign of the front entrance and main office; a project that is scheduled to be completed next summer. 
The COVID Management Plan has been updated for the new school year and looks very similar to the plan that was in place as we ended last school year. It is important to note that remote learning will not be an option as part of this plan. Those in need of health-related care should contact Lora Howard, our school nurse. 

Learning and Growth
We listened and learned a lot last year as we returned to in-person learning. We used feedback from families, staff, and students, as well as assessment and survey data to improve our programs and services. Your child’s schedule is available in PowerSchool and reflects these changes - please contact our school counselors or administration if you have any questions. We will continue to invite your input as we strive to meet the needs of all our learners. 

  • Social and Emotional Learning: We continue to prioritize the wellness of our community members as we work together to ensure that each and every one of our children are thriving. Our school counselors have been reassigned to focus on targeted grade level needs. Ms. Hanninen will service grades 5-8 and Ms. Buck will focus on grades PK-4. We use Responsive Classroom to foster safe and welcoming communities in all of our classrooms.
  • Interventions and Special Education: Cheryl Taylor will serve as an interventionist this coming year. She will work together with our primary grade teams to help ensure that all of our students are progressing toward grade level standards. One of our major goals this year is to bolster our intervention processes and communications at all grade levels. The special education department has also adjusted its service delivery model in grades 5-8 with teachers focusing on specialty areas. Follow this link to learn more about Gr. 5-8 Special Services Delivery Model.
  • Spanish: This year, we will be offering Spanish in grades K-8. We are excited to welcome our new Spanish teacher, Colleen Forsyth (who happens to be a CA and PA alum). Follow this link to learn more about our Spanish Program Development.
  • Enrichment: Rebekah Bergeron continues in her second year as our enrichment teacher and will be scheduled into K-5 classes on a bi-weekly basis. She will also continue to oversee our Gifted and Talented identification process and services.
  • Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM): All of our middle school students have a science course in their schedule each day. Tracey Farrenkopf continues in her role as our technology teacher and will be scheduled into classes this year in grades 4,5,7 & 8. The science and computer standards in grades K-3 & 6 will be incorporated into the core classes. Follow this link for more information about STEM at Chester Academy.
  • ELA Curriculum: We begin our second year with EL in grades K-5 and will be integrating Reading Horizons Discovery this year. The middle level will begin using Amplify ELA as their core program this year and continue to supplement with Reading Horizons Elevate
  • Assessments: Our assessment schedule has been pared down this year to align more closely with our curriculum and instruction and also to reduce assessment burden on students; particularly in the Spring. Follow this link for more information about the Chester Academy Assessment Schedule.

Although this looks like a lot of change for the upcoming school year, I assure you these plans evolved in collaboration with staff and the school board over multiple years and throughout last school year.  I am proud to work alongside so many dedicated educators who are committed to working together to ensure that all children are thriving at Chester Academy. Our work on the Strategic Plan will continue to invite partnership to develop programs and services that respond to the needs of our students and our community.

I hope you enjoy the remainder of your summer and I look forward to seeing you as we welcome students back to school on Monday, August 29, 2022!

Wishing you a great school year,
Superintendent Locke