Portsmouth High School Debate team sweeps awards: Seacoast education news

[Seacoastonline.com] Portsmouth High School Debate team sweeps awards: Seacoast education news

Portsmouth High School Debate team sweeps awards: Seacoast education news

Portsmouth High School hosts three schools in New Hampshire Debate League tournament

PORTSMOUTH — Portsmouth High School hosted three other schools in the first New Hampshire Debate League tournament of the 2022-2023 debate season.  Thirty-eight students from Spaulding High School, St. Thomas Aquinas, Alverine High School and Portsmouth competed in the Public Forum Debates.  Students flipped a coin to determine if they would argue pro or con on the resolution “should the United States invest more in high speed rail” 

Portsmouth picked up where it left off last year, sweeping both the team and individual awards.  The team of Lexi Lambart and Hailey Venuto were the first place team, followed by Anya Blake and Marlon Pinto in second place and Bahar Altinda and Nina Cummins in third.  Debaters are awarded individual speaker points across the four debate rounds with Pinto receiving the most points, followed by Venuto and Mariam Nada in third.  For Altinda, Blake, Nada, and Cummins it was their first debates.  PHS English Teacher and Debate Team Coach Joe Kraus said “It was an amazing showing for our students”. 

PHS does match experienced debaters with first years for the initial debates.  First year debater Daniel Sabalakov said, “It was an eye opening experience.  I learned so many skills that I can use in my everyday life.”  The PHS team graduated a number of debaters who competed nationally, but with a strong group of Freshman and new debaters, PHS is poised to have another good season in the NH Debate League. 

For every two competing debate teams, each school needs to provide a volunteer judge.  As this was a home meet a number of Portsmouth locals donated their morning and afternoon to judge.  No judging experience is required as there is new judge training prior to each tournament.  The next tournament is Nov. 19 at Oyster River High School.  If anyone is interested in assuring that all students who prepare to debate are able to compete in all four rounds please contact PHS volunteer coordinator Steven Borne at steven@consumegov.com.

SEED donates $25,000 to Dover Public Schools 

DOVER — Seacoast Educational Endowment for Dover (“SEED”), a nonprofit organization dedicated to lifting academic excellence in Dover, New Hampshire public schools, recently awarded approximately $24,825 for enhanced learning curriculum for Dover public schools. This is the second-largest grant cycle since SEED’s inception.

Woodman Park School Teacher Lisa Simko was awarded $4,416 to purchase Space Saver Color Changing Light Tables and accessories to allow multisensory play and learning for all kindergarten students, which will be particularly beneficial for neurodiverse learners. These materials will also allow each classroom to more effectively integrate play with the curriculum, foster social skills such as cooperation, and impact student achievement in both literacy and math.

Fellow Woodman Park School teacher, Katie Theriault was granted $3,769 to purchase the Green Bronx Machine Curriculum and Tower Garden, an immersive whole-school curriculum that aligns the art and science of growing vegetables with daily academic instruction in all subject areas. This project-based and standards-aligned learning experience help students learn critical thinking and problem-solving as they explore, discover, and create their own ecosystems.

In 2018, SEED awarded Katie Gorski with an initial grant to implement the Zones of Regulation program in her classroom. Not all students can sit and listen throughout the school day; by learning the zones and accessing tools, students learn strategies to be better listeners, learners, and active participants in the learning environment.  In this grant cycle, Gorski was awarded $1,685 to provide self-regulation tools and information on the "Zones of Regulation" throughout the entire school, benefiting all classrooms, teachers, and student families.

Also at Woodman Park School, Jill Fredrickson and Caitlin Duffy partnered to request a $925 SEED grant for podcast equipment bundles to create “Podcast at the Park” pilot program. The equipment will create two podcasting stations for third and fourth-grade students to increase competency in collaboration, critical and innovative thinking, communication, and citizenship.

At Dover Middle School, two SEED grants were given: the first to Language Arts Teacher Kim Conrad for an Author in Residency program for the entire 7th grade. With $750 of SEED funding, students will participate in video conferences with Ben Mikaelsen, author of Touching Spirit Bear. Pupils will have the opportunity to interact with a professional writer and learn about Mikaelsen’s writing process, how he came to be so involved and invested in the process of restorative justice, and hear his anti-bullying message.

The second Dover Middle School SEED grant went to Jane Salach to purchase Whiteboard Collaborative Table Sets, valued at $4,846. The whiteboard tabletop allows students to freely brainstorm, take notes or collaborate on ideas and can be easily rearranged for larger groups and suit a variety of activities.

Meanwhile, at Dover High School, ESOL teacher Kiley Hemphill earned an $8,159 SEED grant for her proposal to purchase iPads to provide linguistic support for beginning English learners. Integrating iPads into the ESOL program will provide a tool for students at all levels of English language proficiency to engage deeply in their learning. iPads benefits include increased student engagement and collaboration, an international keyboard, a print translator, and visual dictionaries. iPads can also provide students with alternative, multimodal means to demonstrate learning until their oral language in English is more developed.

Dover High School is currently without a broadcasting class, radio station, or TV studio, which limits student exposure to 21st-century communication tools. History teacher Eric Salmonsen was awarded a $275 SEED grant to purchase equipment to allow students to create and edit regular podcasts for the student body. Project-based learning helps students develop teamwork and problem-solving skills, along with the ability to communicate effectively with others. The collaborative nature of projects also reinforces the Social and Emotional Learning programs.

SEED has more than 10 years of underwriting tools, technology, and training in Dover public schools needed to create a 21st-century learning environment. Completely funded by philanthropic giving from businesses and individuals, SEED has provided more than $300,000 in grants to provide students with the skills needed for post-high school success. To learn more, volunteer, or donate, please visit www.DoverSEED.org.

New Hampshire’s lowest performing schools to receive federal funds for support 

CONCORD — As required by the Every Student Succeeds Act and in compliance with the New Hampshire Consolidated State Plan, the New Hampshire Department of Education has identified 23 schools throughout New Hampshire as Comprehensive Support and Improvement Schools, which are designated once every three years as schools that are showing the greatest challenges with academic achievement and student performance.

Comprehensive Support and Improvement Schools are the lowest-performing five percent of all schools in the state receiving Title I, Part A funds, as well as all high schools in the state with a four-year graduation rate less than 67 percent, regardless of Title I status.

The ESSA requires states to calculate and release the list of public schools identified for CSI every three years. The data represents elementary and middle school performance in four key areas – academic achievement, growth, progress toward English language proficiency and equity. Key indicators for high schools include academic achievement, graduation rates, progress toward English language proficiency and college and career readiness.

There are a total of 13 elementary and middle schools designated with CSI status. The schools in your area are: Middleton Elementary in Middleton and Milton Elementary in Milton.

There are a total of 10 high schools designated with CSI status. The schools in your area are: Bud Carlson Academy in Rochester.

“The New Hampshire Department of Education will be providing ongoing reviews, technical assistance and monitoring to support improvement efforts within each CSI school, and help aid with continued progress. These schools will develop improvement plans that ensure effective learning strategies are being implemented,” said Frank Edelblut, education commissioner. “They will also be awarded funds to allow viable, high leverage, evidence-based practices, strategies, programs and services to be executed in a thoughtful approach, with the goal of creating sustainable systems to help students and teachers achieve at higher levels.”

In accordance with ESSA, a total of $3,440,116.10 in federal funds was reserved by NHED from its $49,193,724 Title I allocation to provide direct funding and supports for the development and implementation of school improvement programming to identified schools.

There are nine schools that were previously identified as CSI schools in 2018 and have since met the necessary improvement criteria to exit CSI status. The schools in your area are: Nute Junior High in Milton.