A Message from the Chester School Board

A Message from the Chester School Board
Posted on 06/12/2020
Messages ImageAs of May 29th the Chester Academy students and educators have now completed the 2019 – 2020 school year which included 51 days of Remote Instruction and Remote Support from the Chester Academy Staff.

In addition, the staff at Chester Academy held a voluntary “Intervention Camp” the first week of June for students based upon staff recommendations. This was also a Remote Learning program focused on skill building.

The Board was impressed with the reaction to this fundamental change in instruction and we are very proud of the work that both our students and our staff have done during New Hampshire’s move to Remote Instruction / Remote Support and Remote Learning. However, we also realize that this is not a substitute for classroom instruction and the special relationship that develops between the students and their teacher(s) each year.

There were many areas related to Remote Instruction where the staff observed opportunities for improvement. The Superintendent has already organized a series of “debriefings” with the Chester Academy Administrators, teachers and support staff to identify both “best practices” to adopt going forward and areas that we will need to address related to Remote Instruction and Remote Support of our students. Likewise, both the Superintendent and the School Board have reached out to our colleagues in other School Districts to tap into their experience to identify strategies and practices that those districts developed which we may want to adopt going forward.

The Board appreciates the impact of the implementation of Remote Learning on our Chester Academy families given how disruptive and, in many cases, difficult this was for both our parents and students. The Board and the School District greatly appreciate the support that the Administration has received from the families of the Chester Academy community. Without the families embracing role to support our students and staff, we would not have been successful in this implementation of Remote Learning.

During the last three months, the Board has also seen what an important role our school plays in the fabric of our community. While we always knew this at heart, as Joni Mitchell put it so eloquently, “...Don't it always seem to go, That you don't know what you've got til its gone..” (from “Big Yellow Taxi” ~ lyrics © Crazy Crow Music / Siquomb Music Publishing). That was especially evident in the faces of the students (and parents) that took part in the “Last Day Parade” on May 29th. Many vehicles were emblazoned with signs of gratitude and encouragement. In addition to the teachers and support staff, families were greeted with placards recognizing our graduating eighth graders.

With the 2019 – 2020 school year now behind us the Chester School Board is working closely with the Superintendent to develop and implement the plans necessary to begin the 2020 – 2021 school year. That will entail information gathering from our stakeholders, planning meetings and strategy sessions. Just as we’ve seen over the last several months, we anticipate the situation will continue to evolve throughout the summer. While this makes it very difficult to solidify plans, it requires us to have several strategies developing simultaneously. In order to reduce confusion, we will continue to communicate our planning meetings without providing specifics as to dates or on campus events. The initial feedback and input that we have received have been instructive and will help us to figure out what it is that we need to figure out in order to be successful. Also, we recognize that in this situation we have the opportunity ~ and the latitude ~ to redefine how we plan to deliver education services to our students in the coming year.

As we look ahead to the 2020 – 2021 school year, the Board is confident that Superintendent Lockwood, Principal Lacroix and the staff of Chester Academy will continue to do their absolute best to meet the needs of our community. The Board is committed to consider and evaluate innovative solutions to meet the needs of the students and families of our community and to meet our financial responsibility to the community of Chester.

Please enjoy your summer break... and continue to stay safe and stay healthy.