The Sanborn Regional School Board met on Wednesday, January 4, 2017. A big part of the night was a presentation on test scores for FY 16-17, from Curriculum Director Michael Turmelle.
Mr. Turmelle showed and discussed accountability charts which reveal very graphically that Sanborn kids do very well in grades K-8, compared to the rest of New Hampshire, and then fall off sharply in the High School years. This fall-off has been a concern for many years, and has been consistent no matter what standardized test has been used over the years, Dr. Pam Brown pointed out. Dr. Brown also has done research that shows that over 40% of Newton residents aged 25-64, parent-age, have college degrees and over 37% in Kingston, more than the average in the state. This invalidates the excuse that Sanborn children are less motivated toward college than others in the state, due to low family college achievement, she said. This discussion will be on the agenda for the next School Board meeting.
Jim Baker asked what is being done to address this accountability gap. It was agreed that School Board members would submit specific questions to the Administration, to be addressed at the next meeting in two weeks. Superintendent Tom Ambrose said he wants to give the facts, not remarks off the cuff. Mr. Turmelle noted that 80% of the jobs our kids will have are not invented yet, and he wants every child in the District to be prepared without limitations for the future.
New federal legislation called Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) permits more state and local control over definitions of success. The State is awaiting Federal Department of Education approval of a 10-point system, of which SAT scores will be only one, and achievements like dual enrollment courses, AP courses, trade certifications and so forth will be equally counted in measuring the success of the student and of the District. Mr. Ambrose believes that Sanborn students and the District will have high rankings if and when this system is instituted. He will be working with the Board to define Student Success for Sanborn.
The official minutes and video of the meeting as well as Mr. Turmelle’s charts can be found on the SAU17.org website. The Newton-Kingston Taxpayers Association (www.NKTA.vpweb.com) has the mission of educating voters for the best outcomes for students at property tax levels that are sustainable.