Report From FMRSD

Gabriel St. Pierre, School Board Chairperson

Whereas the citizens of Acworth, Alstead, Charlestown, Langdon and Walpole conceived in their hearts
and in their minds that the education of their young people would be greatly enhanced by a cooperative
effort on their part;
And whereas by the construction of the Fall Mountain Regional High School and other facilities, and by
the creation and adoption of Articles of Agreement the concept has become fact:
So therefore, let the Fall Mountain Regional School District be dedicated to the pursuit of the principles of
sound education, let it not be afraid to seek improvement, let it not be deterred from what is right and
proper for its student body;
And furthermore let the student body be dedicated to the acceptance of these principles and in so doing
increase its capabilities to perform the tasks which lie ahead.

This is the founding statement of our district. It is displayed in the lobby of Fall Mountain Regional High
School as a reminder of our original tenets of 1964. This annual report will reference excerpts from an older one, to an earlier generation of educators and their governing boards.

The 1893 New Hampshire Annual Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction opens a window into the history of education in our state. Many concerns raised in that year are similar to issues we face today.

This 19th century record includes extracts of School Reports from boards of education around the state.
From Lempster:
“The world is moving forward every year, and the only way to keep our place in the march of its progress
is to use all of the improvements in the methods of instruction, and furnish our schools with those things
which will interest and instruct the young.”

Fall Mountain School District is in the beginning stages of a middle school Chromebook initiative, and the
fourth year of a 1:1 laptop model at FMRHS. This program puts a powerful computer in the hands of each student to blend today’s learning with the technological baseline for future careers. These tools allow the classroom to grow beyond the limits of time and space when put to work under the care of a great teacher, and our district is full of great teachers.

From Alstead’s S. A. Mitchell, Geo. A. Mayo, C.H. Cooke:
“It is well known that larger schools offer many advantages. Better teachers can be secured, greater unity
of method and purpose attained, and increased interest on the part of the pupils assured. On the other
hand, there is a natural reluctance to having the old school-house vacated and our children taken to more
distant ones. To adjust these conflicting interests is often the most difficult problem the school board has
to solve.”

Now in 2018, Warrant Article #3 offers district voters a Yea or Nay to form a committee to explore options and present a plan to the entire district for the consolidation of our individual town’s middle schools. Please consider joining and working with this committee to present viable options for the educational needs of all our junior high students.

Walpole’s 1893 report from Lucius Wellington, James H. Brown, Henry E. Putnam:
“There is no more difficult problem that the school board is called upon to solve…than how to successfully graft the town system of schools to the old district accommodations. In this connection we refer you to the treasurer’s report, which allows $244 as the sum paid during the year for conveying scholars to and from school….This is always a delicate matter for the school board to handle, and seldom can they arrange it satisfactorily either to themselves or to parents. If the town system is to continue as at present we recommend to the serious consideration of the district whether it would not be wiser to abandon the makeshift policy that we have been obliged to pursue in the past, and re-locate some of the houses in the sparsely settled parts of the town; thereby avoiding in great measure the cost of conveyance.”

Decisions on where to invest limited funds and allocating our combined resources is still a delicate matter
for this school board. The Administration of your Fall Mountain District is dedicated to a comprehensive
educational investment for each member of its student body.

As recognized by our region’s political leaders in Concord and Montpelier, the cost of education is growing at a faster pace than many communities are comfortable paying. The state of New Hampshire is decreasing its financial aid to school districts, while increasing the unfunded mandates deemed necessary for an adequate education. Locally, effort has been made to evaluate, innovate, and renovate how education is delivered. Through the ongoing initiatives of Competency Based Assessment and Universal Design for Learning, the capital invested is expected to grow with the increased capacity of both student and teacher alike. This district is dedicated to the principles of sound education. It is not afraid to seek improvement.

This past year we have prospered in many ways thanks to teachers, parents, and our community. Alstead
Primary became a model school through the New Hampshire School Improvement Grant program.
Walpole students debuted in the Science Olympiad by winning regionals and going on to perform at the
national competition in Ohio. Place based learning has developed in Charlestown through collaboration
with the Wellborn Institute. Extended Learning Opportunities at Fall Mountain bring students closer to
their work through apprenticeship and practical training. Our Wildcat Battalion, one of the finest programs
available to any student in our region, ranks in the 98th percentile nationally in the JROTC program.
FMRHS offers Career and Technical Education courses which prepare students with industry recognized
credentials for life readiness. FM students are enrolled at the Cheshire Career Center in Keene as well as
River Valley Technical Center in Springfield.

Our district is proud to be the school of choice for students who choose to take advantage of our district and the programs it has to offer by tuitioning in from outside our five towns.

In our 51st year of cooperation as a school district, the impact of Fall Mountain’s education is ever
expanding, reaching around the world and to all heights of success. Thank you to all the teachers and staff, the continuing support from parents, grandparents, and all those who advocate for our children, and the support from our local businesses.

In closing, I wish to acknowledge the contributions of two educators who served our district well, which the profession mourned the passing of this past year. Dianne Hicks, former teacher and principal, and Betty Snide, teacher and reading specialist. These icons of their profession put forth an extraordinary passion to the field of education. Their efforts planted and nourished the seeds of learning in young people, which grow in perpetuity.

Respectfully submitted,
Gabriel St. Pierre, School Board Chairperson

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