Letter from Superintendent Dr. Givens

Friday, February 7, 2020

Dear Parents and members of the Newmarket community,
 

I wanted to take a minute to provide you with some important and timely information about upcoming events before the weekend so you can mark your calendar.

Elections/Professional Development Day - No School, February 11th
On Tuesday, February 11th, the New Hampshire Primary elections will be held at the elementary school from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM. Therefore, school will be closed for students. Faculty will report to the Junior Senior High School for a professional development day that will focus on topics related to our district and school improvement goals for this year. 


JSHS Principal Search  
New England School Development Council (NESDEC) will be conducting our Principal Search. NESDEC will be advertising for the position in the next day or so and we wanted you to be aware of this before it went out publicly.  We also wanted to share some information about the process and how you can get involved. There will be multiple opportunities for parents and members of the community to participate in the process - as a member of the screening committee, through surveys and focus groups, and during candidate site visits.  The principal search screening committee with include representation from multiple stakeholder groups including faculty from the middle and high school (4), other professional and non-certified staff (2), administration (1), parents (2), community members (1), and students (1). If you are interested in participating as a member of the screening committee, please send Penny Botterman a letter of interest by February 19th. Interviews will take place in March with a targeted nomination date of April 9th. NESDEC will work with the Committee to develop the official timeline once the screening committee has been appointed.  


Course Selection – Parent Information Night
On Thursday, February 13th, the Junior Senior High School Administration will be holding a Parent Information Night to review the upcoming high school course selection process and a draft of next year’s Program of Studies. Parents will be divided into two groups – 8th and 9th grade transition and parents of upper-class students. The workshop is scheduled for 6:00 PM in the Cafetorium.


Noteworthy Dates Ahead

JSHS Parents - Course Selection Workshop                  Thursday, February 13th, 6:00 PM

Public Forums on Important Educational Topics         Tuesday, February 18th, 6:00 PM JSHS Cafetorium

School Vacation Break                                                        Friday, February 21, 3:00 PM

 

Have a wonderful weekend.

Sincerely,

Susan K. Givens, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

 

Letter from Superintendent Dr. Givens

PUBLIC STATEMENT - Thursday, January 9th, 2020

Superintendent Susan Givens and Newmarket Junior-Senior High School Principal Christopher Mazzone release this joint statement in order to clarify any misunderstanding related to Principal Mazzone’s recent absence from Newmarket Junior-Senior High School.  The circumstances underlying Mr. Mazzone’s absence have been resolved.  Both Mr. Mazzone and Superintendent Givens have acted in good faith and want the public to know that aside from this statement, there will be no further comments made regarding this matter. 

As some of you may know, Mr. Gregory Marles, who has served as the Town and School Facilities Director for the past two and a half years has resigned, effective January 10, 2020, to take a position closer to his home.  In addition to the day-to-day tasks for facility maintenance, Mr. Marles is responsible for managing the school renovation project.

Given Mr. Mazzone’s familiarity with the construction project, as well as school operational systems, security protocols, and his prior construction experience, we are pleased to announce he will take over school facility responsibilities from Mr. Marles, as well as other administrative responsibilities for the school district.  Mr. Mazzone will continue in this capacity for the remainder of the school year.  Taking his place as Principal at Newmarket Junior-Senior High School is Mr. Sean Pine, who will serve as Interim Principal for the remainder of the school year.  The District will commence the search for a permanent replacement for the Junior-Senior High School principal in the coming weeks.    

We regret any confusion that exists and any uncertainty this situation has created for members of the public, staff, and students.  The Superintendent, School Board, and Mr. Mazzone will continue to work together in the best interest of our students.  The public is encouraged to positively support them all in these efforts.  
 

 

Letter from Superintendent Dr. Givens

Friday, December 20, 2019

Dear Parents and members of the Newmarket community, 

The administrative team has been meeting over the past couple of weeks to outline the work we have before us so that we are able to mindfully reshuffle our work assignments so that we have a primary point person in each building moving forward. Our plan is as follows. 

Sean Pine, currently the Principal at Newmarket Elementary School, will begin serving as Acting Principal of the Jr/Sr High School as of January 2nd. Mr. Pine’s strong relationships with students and families and his administrative acumen complement the strengths of the assistant principals and address the immediate needs of the school. In addition, it will afford him the opportunity to become more familiar with the Middle School programs and services provided to students transitioning from elementary school. This experience will help us strengthen our transition programming between the schools.

Debbie Roffo, our long standing (twenty-five years) Assistant Principal at Newmarket Elementary School, will serve as Acting Principal while Mr. Pine is at the Jr/Sr High School. Ms. Roffo’s many years of leadership at the Elementary School, long-term relationships with staff, families and students, knowledge of organizational workflows, timelines, and expectations will ensure the smooth operation of the school during this interim period.  

In their Acting Principal roles, Mr. Pine and Ms. Roffo serve as the administrative leaders of their respective buildings. Building-related questions are, therefore, most appropriately directed to either Mr. Pine or Ms. Roffo.

We thank you for your continued support and look forward to a great year ahead. 

Sincerely,

Susan Givens, Erica MacNeil, Patricia Kinsella, Sean Pine, Debbie Roffo,  Kristina Cochran, Sarah Denham, and Jennifer DeStefano

 

Letter from Superintendent Dr. Givens

Friday, December 6, 2019

Dear Parents and members of the Newmarket community- 
        
I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends. The snow from the recent weather events saves us from having to dream of a white Christmas/holiday season since it is unlikely the two feet of snow we received on Monday and Tuesday will melt away anytime soon. Before I mention opportunities to get involved in our school and district improvement efforts or the proposed budget for next year, I want to share with you some fun holiday events that are coming up this month in our schools and the broader community so they are not lost at the end of my letter. 

School and Community Happenings
December 7th, 5:00 PM, Newmarket’s Tree Lighting & Giving Tree Ceremony, Arbor Park (across from Post Office Downtown)  
December 7th, 8th, 14th, 15th, 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM, Lions Club - Santa Claus pictures, treats, trees, etc., Thrift Shop, 10 Main Street, Newmarket 
December 10th, 11:00 AM, Senior Citizens Christmas Dinner, Elementary Cafeteria
December 12th, 6:30 PM, Winter Concert, Jr/Sr High School Cafe/Library
December 17th, 6:17 PM, Kindergarten Holiday Show, Elementary Cafeteria   
December 18th, 6:30 PM, Grades 3-5 Chorus Group, Elementary Cafeteria


December Calendar for the Newmarket Library...
https://newmarketlibrary.org/uploads/1/0/5/0/105085461/2019_december_event_calendar.pdf 

School and District Improvement Committee Opportunities
We have been very busy this fall developing our District and School Improvement goals for the upcoming year and are excited to share opportunities for you to participate on committees that will focus on improving communication, my entry plan, and reviewing the JSHS student handbook. There will also be opportunities to participate on screening committees this winter and spring as we seek to recruit staff for next years vacancies. Your voice is invaluable to the conversations that will take place in these committees, and your service would be greatly appreciated. Amazing things happen when stakeholders come together to talk about important topics such as communication, meeting the needs of the whole child, and the expectations and supports that lead to student achievement.  The committees will begin their work in January. A brief description of the committees follow. 

      District Website Improvement Committee: This committee will help the district improve its overall online presence and the quality of communications on its website. Our goal includes ensuring that parents and members of the public are able to find commonly-sought documents and information intuitively and with no more than two navigational clicks. The committee will begin its work with a survey inviting the community to share their experience with the current website, as well as their hopes for improvements on an updated website.

     Superintendent’s Entry Plan Committee: This committee will assist Superintendent Givens with gathering information about the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT analysis) of the schools and community. A summary of findings will be shared with the community in the late spring/ early summer. 

    JSHS Student Handbook Review Committee: This committee will look at industry best practices (trauma informed schools, restorative practices, Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS), etc.) and based on this learning, identify how we can create a learning community that supports the development of the whole child and make recommendations to the student handbook that reflect current best practices in the field. 

     JSHS Communication Committee: In support of a JSHS Organizational Goal, this committee will help to develop a culture of participatory leadership and communication at the Newmarket Junior Senior High School.

     NEW Communication Committee: In support of an NES Organizational Goal, this committee will work to enhance internal and external communications among multiple stakeholder groups in the Newmarket educational community.
Ad Hoc Hiring Committees: Over the winter and spring, members of this committee will participate when needed in selection committees during the hiring process.

If you would like to participate on one of these committees, please submit a letter of interest, with details about any relevant experience and the name of the committee(s) on which you would like to serve, to Penny Botterman at bottermanp@newmarket.k12.nh.us. Letters may be delivered in person to the SAU office, as well. The deadline for submitting letters is Tuesday, December 17th. The committees will begin their work in January. 

If you are not able to participate in a committee, please know that there will be additional opportunities to provide input on this work throughout the school year.


FY21 Proposed Budget

Last evening, the School Board adopted the FY21 proposed budget. This budget includes funding for some important program enhancements centered on: 

1) Sustain or advance existing school improvement efforts; 
2) Attend to some essential needs that, if not addressed, will have a detrimental effect on student growth and development;  
3) Ensure our facilities are safe, secure, and accessible to all members of our school community

The adopted budget that will be reviewed with the Town Budget Committee on Monday, December 9th, at 7:00 PM, is posted on our website (https://www.newmarket.k12.nh.us/school-board/school-board-budget) under the School Board’s menu tab. 


Personnel Matter

As many of you know, our Principal, Mr. Mazzone has not been at school for the past few weeks and as previously mentioned, his attendance is not a topic that will be discussed publicly. The assistant principals continue to take care of the daily staff and student affairs and have completed the budget, goal setting, staff observations, supply ordering, etc. in his absence. That said, it is important to have one person ultimately in charge. With this in mind, I am developing an interim plan that I will share with you next week pending resolution of this matter. Thank you for your patience, advise, and notes of support.
 
I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season and look forward to seeing you at some of the events this month. 

Sincerely,

Susan K. Givens, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools


Letter from Superintendent Dr. Givens

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Dear parents/guardians,

I know people are curious about Mr. Mazzone’s attendance at school. Like any organization, attendance and other personnel matters are not topics that are discussed in public for many reasons including an employee’s right to privacy. Mr. Mazzone continues to be an employee and the district will continue to honor and respect his right to privacy. As is always the case, when the principal is absent, the assistant principals, take care of the day to day responsibilities associated with running the school. In addition, we have very capable and experienced teachers and staff dedicated to supporting the children. Rest assured that staff and students are in good hands and that all is going well in school.

We will not be making any further comment about this matter and ask the public to join us in respecting the privacy of the staff in our schools.

Have a nice evening.

Susan K. Givens, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

 

Letter from Superintendent Dr. Givens

Friday, September 20, 2019

Dear Parents and members of the Newmarket community-

Calling all educators! There are three institutions that together form an interconnected triad for learning, growth and development of students and adults alike; families, schools, and the community. The community is an integral educational partner and I thought you might find value in knowing about some of our community partners and the things they are doing to support student learning.  With this in mind, I asked each partner to provide a brief overview of what they do and a highlight or two of programming and/or upcoming events that they would like to share with you.

Newmarket Community Education Partnership

Newmarket Community Education Partnership (NCEP) has a 15-year history of supporting the social, recreational and educational experiences of children and youth in Newmarket. Over the years, NCEP has granted over $100,000 to our community, and Newmarket's schools have received the greatest amount of funding for things like: speaker programs, technology and other classroom equipment, field trips, seed funding for various clubs, special education materials, supporting our students with food insecurities, Mules Mission, and much more. NCEP’s major fundraiser is Newmarket EATS, a unique celebration of local restaurants and businesses. Set for Sunday, November 10 from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. at the historic Millspace downtown, attendees can expect food tastings, entertainment, a silent auction, raffle and a cash bar (21+ event). Tickets are $30/each, $55 for two in advance; $35 at the door. Please see NCEP's website or follow NCEP on Facebook for more information on this special community event.

Newmarket Public Library

The Newmarket Public Library is a learning center and gathering place for community residents of all ages.  We serve children, young adults & families with great collections, programs, and services designed to build kids’ love of reading and discovery.

The library offers a wide range of digital resources to help students with research and homework which can be accessed from home with a library card, from language learning to reading recommendations as well as easy-to-use research databases for any class or topic.  All of our digital resources can be found on our website newmarketlibrary.org, under resources, digital resources.  The New Britannica Library is an award winning resource that offers levels for children, young adults and adults.  We have recently added LearningExpress Library which provides test preparation to for important exams like the ACT®, SAT®, AP® Tests, and more. Included are career-related information and test preparation for college admissions, professional career licensing and certification, high school equivalency and much more.  You can’t trust all the resources in Google but you can trust the quality resources at the Newmarket Public Library.

NPL offers many on-going and special programs.  We have a weekly preschool story time and monthly book club “Nuts About Novels” for elementary aged children.  Check out our website and facebook page for all that we offer.  Every resident of Newmarket is entitled to a library card and we invite you to come and take advantage of the wonderful programs that we offer.  All programs are open and free to the public.  Please come in, meet the staff, and get your library card.  Visit us on our website newmarketlibrary.org and on facebook.

The NES PTA

The NES PTA supports Newmarket Elementary School’s students, parents and staff throughout the year.  We host community events throughout the year, such as movie nights, unplugged week, literacy events, and the Harlem Wizards versus Newmarket School District Teachers and Staff basketball game.  Please CLICK HERE for a calendar of events scheduled this year. We are currently fundraising for a new playground at the Elementary School, and are hoping to complete fundraising so that the project can move forward during the summer of 2020.  We are also fundraising to purchase additional Tower Gardens for the NES classrooms and cafeteria.  If you have any questions, or are interested in joining the NES PTA, please contact us at newmarketnhpta@gmail.com.

The Recreation Department

Support the Rec, Create Community! Your child’s participation in a diverse range of activity and  sport programs with Newmarket Rec helps to generate funds that goes directly back into our community. We offer a wide range of programming for all ages including soccer, hip hop, flag football, cartooning, ballet, creative arts, music and so much more. One of our exciting new programs is Sustainable Art on Wednesdays 10/30-12/18, which will provide students a chance to explore items in nature and turn them into art creations! More info about this program and all others can be found on our website. We have a new variety of programs year-round, so please join and refer to our FB page where we post lots of updates (Newmarket Rec). You may also see our flyers come home with your children in backpacks throughout the year and please give us call to find out what programs might be perfect for your kiddos anytime, we would love to hear from you!  We are grateful to be a partner and building block within our Newmarket community. 603-659-8581; recdesk@newmarketnh.gov  - Hope to chat soon! - Aimee, Andy, Alyssa, Anna & the whole Rec Team!!

The African adage it takes a village to raise a child reminds us of the importance these community programs play in the education of our children. Let’s celebrate the work of these organizations and the impact they have on raising them to become productive and engaged citizens of our world.

School Happenings

On September 28, 2019 we will be offering tours of our newly renovated Elementary School from 9:00 AM until noon. Tours, conducted by administrators and members of our student council, will run every half hour starting at 9:00 AM.  The last tour will begin at 11:30am. 

On September 30th, the construction company will begin the month long process of replacing the Cafetorium roof at the Jr/Sr High School. The roof being removed contains some hazardous materials that will require workers to take specific precautionary measures as required by OSHA and other agencies. This work will not pose any imminent danger to staff or students. During this period, there will be an increase in worker presence, heavy equipment on and around the building's east wing, and there may need to be changes to parking and traffic flow patterns in and around the building. More information will follow as it becomes available. In addition, Principal Mazzone, Director of Facilities Marles, and the contractor will be available to answer any questions you may have about the roofing portion of the construction project after the Open Houses at the times noted below.

Open House for the High School will take place on Tuesday, October 1st at 6:30 PM.

Open House for the Junior High School will take place on Wednesday, October 2nd at 6:30 PM.

A detailed schedule of events for both nights will be provided by Principal Mazzone next week.

Join with me in thanking our community partners for providing resources and opportunities that support the growth and development our children. I look forward to seeing you at school and community events during the upcoming weeks, months, and years. Have a wonderful weekend.

Sincerely,

Susan K. Givens, Ed.D.

 

 

Letter from the Superintendent

Friday, August 30, 2019

Dear Parents and members of the Newmarket community- 

There are so many exciting things going on in our school district that I am bursting with optimism and enthusiasm as we approach the opening of school. Here are some highlights about the amazing work that has been going on in our school community in preparation for the 2019-20 school year. 

Inspired, enthusiastic, highly qualified teachers, ignite the love of learning in our students.  For this reason, hiring well is job one! We are very fortunate to have a wonderful group of talented teachers and support staff joining our team this year.  As of this writing, we have filled all classroom teaching positions at the Elementary School and all but one at the Jr/Sr High School. We are optimistic that this last position will be filled by the second week of school.  In the interim, a retired teacher will be stepping in to ensure students have a qualified teacher to guide their learning as we begin the year. We will continue to actively recruit candidates for the remaining open positions until we have a full complement of staff.     

Over the summer and prior to school opening, faculty and staff have been very busy modifying their curriculum to align with new standards, developing curriculum for new courses, curating content and updating lesson plans to deliver high quality learning experiences for our students. They have also been actively engaged in professional development related to Competency Based Education (CBE), social emotional learning, and student engagement using Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles and other strategies that draw out the knowledge assets, passions, and interests of our students. All of this work supports our effort to create a culture of learning that celebrates and leverages the brilliance in every person who enters our doors. I look forward to working with the community, parents, School Board and our entire team of educators and support staff, to continue this important work. 

Construction at the Elementary School is substantially complete and teachers have been moving into their classrooms the past couple of days. The facility is beautiful and staff are feeling both relieved and excited to be in their new spaces. Significant progress has also been made at the Jr/Sr High School during the summer months. The new additions are substantially complete, the contractor has completed the first of three renovation phases to the older sections of the building, and all safety, security, network, and communication systems are installed and have been tested. Of course that also means that we will be under construction this year and will be moving classrooms around in November and April as the remaining phases are completed. This will inevitably cause some disruption for both staff and students but we know that the end is in sight and when it is complete, we will have wonderful environments that will support 21st Century teaching and learning experiences for our students. We would like to thank the community for this important investment in our schools. 

The Board has held several retreats over the summer to review feedback from staff, evaluate strengths and challenges, and develop goals or focus areas for our work this year. These goals include completing the building project, negotiating an initial contract for our paraprofessional bargaining unit, developing a salary and compensation program that will enable the district to attract and retain highly qualified staff, to begin transitioning our policies, procedures and practices to align with 21st Century, best practices that support or enhance quality teaching and learning experiences for students, and to support activities related to the Superintendent’s entry plan and subsequent report.  More information about the entry plan and opportunities to meet and share your suggestions, hopes and dreams with me will be forthcoming.

In closing, there is so much for us to be grateful for as we open our school doors; new schools, a dedicated staff and community, and an energized staff focused on finding ways to use their collective strengths to meet the needs of every child.  Let this year mark the dawn of a new beginning filled with hope and promise as we set our sights on the future. Your support and engagement is integral to our success and I look forward to learning more about this wonderful community in the upcoming year. 

Sincerely,

Susan K. Givens, Ed.D.


For more information regarding school opening details, please read the following letters from the principals.

A note from Principal Pine, Elementary School

A note from Principal Mazzone, Jr/Sr High School