Big Step Forward update

The school board voted 10-1 last Thursday night,March 11, 2010, to move forward with the BSF proposal and the new/third high school. This was essentially the second of three critical votes/decisions.

* The first step was back in December 2008. This was the vote to study/consider the BSF idea of moving to three schools. 

* Thursday night’s vote was the second step. The board has essentially decided “yes, let’s do this” (but without final details as to location, funding, cost, etc. of new/third school). 

* The third and final critical decision will likely come about a year from now.  At that time, with all of the details in place (particularly funding commitments), the school board, city council, and a joint building committee will make the final call – yes or no. 

 If we secure approval at this final stage (likely winter or early spring of the 2010-11 school year), it would set us up to open the new/third high school in 2012-13 (as originally proposed/planned). Enrollment at the new school would then roll out gradually over four years – at about 100 students per year – until it reached capacity of 400-plus in 2015-16.

* This means Spaulding enrollment would be down about 100 students (all from the 9th grade) in 2012-13. 

* Then, in 2013-14, enrollment would be down a total of about 200 students (from the 9th & 10th grades).  

* In 2014-15, Spaulding would be down about 300 students (from the 9th, 10th, and 11th grades). 

* Finally, in 2015-16, Spaulding would  be down about 400 students (from all four grades) and will have reached its new size of about 1000 students. 

It would be over these four years (2012-13 through 2015-16) that the size of the Spaulding faculty and administration would also be reduced. Specifically, staffing implications for the subsequent year would be sorted out in the spring of 2012, spring 2013, spring 2014, and spring 2015. 

Mr. John Shea has agreed to spearhead the efforts to get the new/third high school up and running.  

Mr. Shea will continue to serve as Spaulding’s principal through the end of this school year. 

Mike Hopkins will be organizing the selection process and search committee for the new Spaulding principal and posting the opening as soon as possible. The anticipated start date would be July 1. 

 The superintendent’s and the school board’s commitment to the multi-year school improvement goals and strategies that are currently in place here at our high school will not change with a new principal. The work that we’ve done, are doing, and still have in front of us related to competencies and assessment will not change. Finishing up the schedule review process with a decision about future direction will remain a priority into next year. Further development of the homeroom advisory program will continue. Improving our NECAP scores, our SINI plans, and the Focused Monitoring initiative will remain priorities. And sorting out the best approach to the critical ninth grade year  – especially in light of the enrollment and facilities implications of a prospectively smaller student body – will be an elevated priority in the coming years. 

Please remember that the first goal of the BSF proposal, from the beginning, has been to continue working to make Spaulding – especially a smaller 1000-student Spaulding – one of the best comprehensive public high schools in the state. And establishing BCA as one of the best small alternative schools in the region has always been the second goal. Though much of the discussion of late has been focused (not surprisingly) on the proposed new/third high school, it is the direction of our whole secondary education system here in Rochester that is so exciting.

Big Step Forward

Here is the Big Step Forward Report in PDF format.

The Special School Board meeting for the presentation of the Big Step Forward is January 28th, 7 p.m. in the downstairs conference room.  Mr. Shea will present the report and the Board members may follow up with questions.

The public forum on the report is scheduled for February 8th.


BSF_Presentation 10-01-28

Big Step Forward Update

At last night’s Instruction Committee Mr. Shea presented an outline of the BSF proposal.  The outline is linked below. 

The next steps in the process are listed below:

January 28th,  Special School Board meeting, 7 p.m. at location to be announced.  Mr. Shea will present a summary of the proposal for 45 minutes, with questions and answers from the Board for the remainder of the meeting.  We anticipate this meeting being televised live on public television.  This will be a meeting for the Board get answers about the process.  The next meeting will include the public in questions and comments.

February 8th, a similar review/presentation from Mr. Shea as part of a public forum.  The public would then be invited to comment and ask questions on the proposal.  If there is more public comment required, another public forum will scheduled after this meeting. 

We should have a location for both meetings determined in the next two weeks. 

Here is the outline of the BSF proposal.

BSF_Update 09-12-17 (2)

Schedule update

Full schedule

McClelland – Wed 10/7 at 7 pm.

RMS – Thurs 10/15 at 6:30 pm.

Maple Street – Friday 10/16 at 8:30 am.

William Allen – Wed 10/28 at 6:30 pm.

ERS/NLS (at East Rochester School) – Thurs 11/5 at 6 pm (but maybe a bit earlier or later).

Gonic School – Thurs evening 11/12 at 6 pm.

School Street – Tues 11/17 at 6:30 pm.

SHS – Wed 11/18 at 6 pm (library).

Paul School (and all Wakefield residents) – Thurs 11/19 at 6:30 pm.

Chamberlain – Thurs 10/29 at 6:30 pm

Big Step Forward meetings

The following is a list of times and locations in which John Shea will be meeting with parents to discuss the Big Step Forward.  

Scheduled forums (focus on parents and Rochester citizens):

 * McClelland – Wed 10/7 at 7 pm.

 * RMS – Thurs 10/15 at 6:30 pm.

 * Maple Street – Friday 10/16 at 8:30 am.

 * William Allen – Wed 10/28 at 6:30 pm.

 * ERS/NLS (at East Rochester School) – Thurs 11/5 at 6 pm.

 * Gonic School – Thurs evening 11/12 at (6 p.m.). Gonic School – Thurs evening 11/12 at 6 pm…  NOT HAPPENING – NEW DATE/TIME IN THE WORKS.

 * School Street – Tues 11/17 at 6:30 pm.

 * SHS – Wed 11/18 at 6 pm (library).

 * Chamberlain –  THURS 10/29 AT 6:30 PM

Big Step Forward Update


August 17, 2009

 Vision/idea (five years out)

* Spaulding High School – approx. 1000 students – one of the best comprehensive public high

   schools in the state.

* Bud Carlson Academy – approx. 100-150 students – one of the best small alternative schools in

   the state.

* new high school designed for the 21st Century – approx. 400-450 students – one of the best high

   schools in the country.

 Critical indicators (problems/needs – and longer-term goals)

1. average daily attendance

2. discipline/culture

3. drop-out rate

4. percentage of graduates going on to post secondary education, 4-year colleges, successful 1-2

    years later.

5. standardized test scores (PSAT, SAT, NECAP, NWEA, ACT, AP, etc.)


* past 5-6 months (forums, discussions, preliminary research, prospective partnerships/funders,

   site exploration, etc.)

* now through December (nine more public forums – and preparation/completion of full proposal)

* full proposal/report to school board (December/January)

* approval/disapproval process (school board, city council, etc.) – December through spring.

 If approved, the new school would likely open to 100-200 students in the fall of 2012 – and rollout to full capacity (400-450 students) over the following three years – as SHS downsizes to approximately 1000 students.

 New school design elements

1 – integrated curriculum organized around questions/problems.

2 – real/adult world immersion.

3 – more direct, simple, and useful assessment systems.

4 – graduation/diploma when earned (elimination of the 4-year assumption/default).

5 – adaptive, proactive, entrepreneurial organizational structure.

 At the same operating budget (per student) as Spaulding – which is below the state average.

Start-up costs – estimated at $5 to $10 million – with an emphasis on state/federal assistance, foundation support, private contributions.

 Four important convictions

 * We absolutely have to do better for our high school students.

 * Importance of school size.

 * The need for a new approach/model.

 * Benefits/value of school choice – three options rather than one or two.

Governor’s Summit on Graduation

Governor’s summit on graduation

Friday, April 10th was the Summit on increasing graduation in New Hampshire.  A video was shown at lunchtime including the students from the Bud Carlson Academy. 

 Here is the link from the youtube video that includes the Bud Carlson Students. 

 The video from this Friday’s Governors’ Summit can be found on youtube at:

Forum at Rochester Middle School




Rochester Middle School

6:30 to 7:30 pm


With Spaulding High School Principal John Shea and Mr. Mike Hopkins

* Summary of a study to consider possible changes

* Discussion about secondary education.

* Questions and answers


This is the second of many public forums to discuss the study of secondary education in Rochester.  This is focused on parents in grades K-8 and thoughts, ideas, questions and concerns they might have about the study of secondary education.