School Board Annual Report 1/30/18

posted Feb 7, 2018, 6:35 AM by
The calendar year 2017 saw several significant events in the Deerfield School District. Changes to DCS administration, statewide recognition as recipients of the K-8 NH Edies Award, targeted work on the DCS math program, and a focused analysis of the DCS physical plant all headlined school-district news over the last twelve months. 

The beginning of school in August marked more than just a return from summer vacation this year. Paul Yergeau’s tenure at DCS, during which he oversaw many changes to education in Deerfield and established many strong connections with our community, came to an end. Principal Chris Smith, who worked as DCS assistant principal for 2016-2017, and Assistant Principal Brian Grieve, who worked as DCS assistant principal prior to Mr. Smith, took over the reins and have spent the last six months transitioning into their new roles. 

This was a fitting close to Mr. Yergeau’s time at DCS because our school was recognized this past spring by the NH Excellence in Education Awards program as the New Hampshire K-8 School of Excellence. Criteria for this award include “a rigorous, relevant, and engaging learning environment,” “an effective system for utilizing data and information that supports personalization,” and “a culture of empowerment among students, staff, teachers, administration, and community members.” Years of dedication from the administration and faculty resulted in this honor, and it was good to see this recognition in Mr. Yergeau’s final year. 

New at the SAU level this year is our director of curriculum and instruction, Mr. Chris Motika. Mr. Motika works with all of the schools in our SAU, but he has spent considerable time with DCS, assisting with curriculum development and competency work, collaborating on focusing professional development opportunities, and helping identify places where our program can be fine-tuned. 

While improving the learning in our school is always a goal, one particular area of curricular attention this year has been the math program. At the elementary level, the board budgeted for a new math program to bring our instruction in line with current educational approaches; two candidate programs are currently in the final stages of the selection process. At the middle-school level, Mr. Motika has been contributing to curricular alignment between DCS and Concord High School by facilitating visits to CHS by our math department. 

Additionally, at the administration’s request, the board decided to add a math coach position to the elementary grades this year. The board felt that this position would accomplish two improvements to the program: providing targeted coaching and resource availability to the elementary-level teachers as well as permitting the DCS math specialist to focus on the middle-school ages. In just a few months of this new arrangement we are already seeing it pay dividends; with increased support, elementary teachers are increasingly confident and comfortable in working with students on the newer aspects of our math curriculum. 
At the high-school level, Deerfield graduated 40 students from 12th grade this year: 36 from Concord High School, 3 from Coe-Brown Northwood Academy, and 1 from Manchester Central. 53% of graduates from CHS went on to a four-year college program, 17% began a two- or three-year program, 17% found employment after high school, and 3% entered the armed forces. 

DCS is approaching its 30th birthday and has begun to show more signs of its age. In the interest of long term planning and budgeting the board is taking several steps this year. Over the summer an engineering study of the DCS physical plant was commissioned to identify areas of concern as well as areas that could potentially be improved in order to support student learning. This engineering study has produced an extensive list for the board to use as it prioritizes various projects and budgets for their completion. A demographic study that will help the board project population numbers into the foreseeable future is also due back shortly. Finally, the school board has begun working in concert with the planning board and select board to establish a town-wide capitol improvement plan (CIP) that will ultimately describe how the town intends to maintain and, as necessary, expand our resources to accommodate an increasing population. 

Jim Deely – Chair 
Ken Heckman 
Zach Langlois 
Nate Oxnard 
Shelley Tetrault
Feb 7, 2018, 6:35 AM