Today, (October 14, 2014) Commissioner of Education, Virginia M. Barry, Ph.D., recognized 23 districts, schools, and educators that are aspiring towards excellence in order to provide the best educational opportunities for NH children. These awards build community awareness of our state's finest schools and districts, while providing positive messages about the teaching profession.
“In order to keep our economy moving in the right direction, we must provide a rigorous and robust education at every step of the way and ensure that our workforce develops the skills and innovative thinking necessary for success in 21st century jobs,” Governor Maggie Hassan said. “These districts, schools and educators are outstanding leaders in our ongoing efforts to ensure that our state’s young people are ready for the innovation economy, and I thank them for their efforts.”
“The future prosperity of our state is dependent on our educational system and I am proud to say that as I travel throughout the state and visit countless schools, I continue to be proud of what we accomplish in New Hampshire,” said Commissioner Barry. She added, “These awards would not be possible without the forward thinking of our NH educators and I am pleased to honor schools and districts that demonstrate innovative and successful educational practices to support our students future.”
The Commissioner’s Circle of Excellence recognizes schools and districts that aspire to excellence by being bold and innovative in order to provide the best educational opportunities possible for our children. Bakersville School, Manchester; Bridgewater Hebron Village School; Clark Wilkins School, Amherst; Madison Elementary, Maple Street School, Hopkinton; Matthew Thornton Elementary, Londonderry; and Webster Elementary are being named for inclusion to the Commissioner’s Circle of Excellence this year.
This recognition also includes schools nominated by the New Hampshire Department of Education for inclusion in the Blue Ribbon Schools Program which recognizes schools where students achieve at high academic levels and/or where the achievement gap is narrowing. The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program is part of a larger United States Department of Education (USED) effort to identify and disseminate knowledge about best schools’ leadership and teaching practices. The 2014 Blue Ribbon Schools are: Chichester Central School, Hampton Centre School, and Thornton Central School.
We have identified schools that are making important strides in closing the gap between regular education students and special education students. It is thrilling for us to recognize the schools that have developed successful strategies and policies. These schools are: Bartlett Elementary, Goffstown; Dr. George Emerson Elementary, Fitzwilliam; and Sunapee Central School.
We would like to recognize the Rochester School District for their Innovative Practice. The Rochester school district has a long history of innovative strategies encompassing educational and community supports to assist families, children, and youth experiencing homelessness. Over the past two years Rochester School District’s Homeless Education and Title I Program Manager, Steve Leclair has developed a regional homeless education liaison network. The intent of this network, known as SEAL (south east area liaisons) is to build supportive collegial relationships for homeless education liaisons.
We are also recognizing the promising work of six League of Innovative Schools, a part of the New England Secondary School Consortium. Campbell High School, Litchfield; Fall Mountain Regional High School, Langdon; Great Bay elearning Charter School, Exeter; Manchester School of Technology; Making Community Connections Charter School, Manchester; and Winnacunnet High School, Hampton are working together to deliver the best possible learning experiences and graduate every student prepared for adult life. Each of these schools spent a week at a design institute this summer and are now working closely with a coach to refine and develop their design.
And finally, we want to recognize and acknowledge the 2015 NH Teacher of the Year, Elizabeth Lichtenberg, a fourth grade teacher at Alton Central School. We are proud to honor the work of past recipients: Joey Lee, 2014, a social studies teacher at Pinkerton Academy; Heidi Welch, 2013, a music teacher at Hillsboro-Deering High School; and Bethany Bernasconi, 2012, a science teacher at Windham High School. These teachers are the best and provide our children with incredible opportunities to learn and grow. Each year, New Hampshire schools take part in the State and National Teacher of the Year Program. It is the mission of the National Teacher of the Year Program to recognize and honor the contributions of the American classroom teacher. The National Teacher of the Year Program is the oldest and most prestigious honors program to focus public attention on excellence in teaching.
Promotion of recognition awards goes a long way towards keeping New Hampshire’s teachers engaged and excited about education. By recognizing the importance of outstanding educators we hope to inspire continued conversation about what works to support our children to graduate college and career ready. Nothing touches more lives, or gives more promise to the future than education.
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