Food for Thought

Information, Issues, and Dialogue

The Idea

Thank you for checking out this newsletter. I hope to write as a way to keep families informed about what we're up to at the Gilmanton School as well as learn from you. I would love to hear from you about what you would like to say, know about, or generally discuss. I will update and add as much as possible, trying to strike a balance between information and being a pest. What I like about this tool is the subscription feature. You do not have to be bombarded, you can come to this newsletter if you find it interesting or useful, but I won't force it on you at all.

Enjoy and contribute in any way you like.


Paula Mercier - Gilmanton School Principal

April 8th, 2020 Day 15 of Remote Learning by Coach Mac

Morning Announcements
Day 20 Morning Announcement
April 6th Morning Announcements

Happy Flex Friday!

Good morning everyone,

Today is our first Flex Friday. You as students have the day to do any work from this week that you were unable to complete. Your teachers will be spending the day planning, meeting with one another, and grading the work you have already handed in.

Thank you, enjoy Flex Friday and have a great weekend. The rain has to stop sometime, the weekend weather is looking good.

Miss you like crazy,

Mrs. Mercier

~April Vacation and Fourth Grade Materials~

Today's News to Share

We will be having April Vacation!

It's a good question some of you have begun asking

Grade four will not need materials picked up this Thursday

We have materials for grades

K, 1, and 2

Pick up time is

Thursday, April 2nd, from 8-11 am
March 31 Morning Announcement

News to Share 3/27/2020

Information to Share

There are several things to share about remote learning. Please let us know if you have questions by calling the school 364-5681. If you would like to leave a message for an administrator, please dial the first three letters of our first name ie, MER for Mercier, BER for Bergeron, and FOU for Fournier. You may also visit our Website

  • Governor Sununu has issued a Stay-at-Home order beginning today through May 4th. This means remote learning will continue during this period.

  • Attendance - please have your student(s) check-in with their teacher(s) in some way each day Monday through Friday by email, handing in an assignment, attending morning meeting, etc.

  • Lunch Delivery Schedule will begin Monday, March 30th. We will be delivering lunches by bus to families who have indicated they would like to receive them. The deliveries will be Mondays and Thursdays until further notice. The bus will leave the school at 11:15, and complete deliveries between 12:00 and 12:15 depending on where you live. If you decide you would like to have bag lunch delivered to your students please email our kitchen manager Arlene Green at she will add you to our list. We are offering bag lunches to all Gilmanton students free of charge.

  • Round Two Materials Pick-Up will be Thursday, April 2nd from 8 am - 11:00 am. We will have the same process for pick up we did last time. This time however the whole school will not have materials. The following grades will need to have materials picked up - Kindergarten, 1st grade, 2nd grade, and 4th grade. Individual teachers will reach out to you if they have something your child will need but is not in one of these grades. If other grades are added I will let you know.

The teachers are hard at work planning this next phase of remote learning. Thank you for supporting your students in their remote learning. We will continue to adjust as we go, and keep you informed as often as possible. So I won’t clutter your email too often I encourage you to visit my newsletter daily for the announcements and any new information. It seems like things changed daily for all of us right now.

Take care and stay healthy,

Paula J. Mercier


Gilmanton School

Mrs. Bergeron Bringing Your Announcements Today!

This morning we have our first student produced Morning Announcement from Mrs. Johnson's TAG!

MorningAnnouncement 3/26/2020
March 24 Morning Announcement
March 20, 2020 Day 2 Remote Learning
March 19, 2020 Morning Announcements
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~Gilmanton School Champions of the Suncook Valley League~

A big congratulations to the Gilmanton School Champs!

The Boys team had a strong third-place finish as well.

Congratulations to both teams

Annual Student Staff Basketball Game

Thursday, Feb. 20th, 6-6pm

1386 New Hampshire 140

Gilmanton, NH

A fun time to be had by all!

~ Come cheer on both teams ~

Young Invention Convention

Congratulations to all of our Young Inventors who celebrated at a successful Invention Convention Tuesday night.

Lots of creative minds in grades 2, 3, and 4 have been hard at work, and all inventors should be proud of themselves.

In second grade, third place went to Owen Phillips with his invention “Hands-Free Toothbrush.” Second place went to Skyler Davis with her invention “Davis Allergy Bracelets” AND the top scorer in grade 2 was Isaac Gilbert with his invention “Fang-IX-C.”

In third grade, third place went to Ben Lucier with his invention “The Litter Bug.” Second place went to Deanna Rondolet with her invention “The Cat Player” and the top scorer for grade 3 was Cooper Plourde with his invention “The Bag Changer.”

In fourth grade, second place went to Lucy Akerstrom with her invention “Stuff-Ray” and there was a tie for the top score in grade 4, between Grace Howe with her invention “The Pear Checker” and Andrew Taylor with his invention “Bobber Ball.”

A special thank you to all of our Amazing Guest Judges including; Mrs. Mercier, Mrs. Lichtenberg, Mrs. Bergeron, and Mrs. Makmann.

The top scorer from each grade level will have a chance to go to the Regional Invention Convention at Southern NH University in March.

Congratulations to all Young Inventors and best of luck to the top scorers at the next stage!

A big Thank You to Mrs. Hollingsworth for her great organization skills and guidance for our Young Inventors!

Internet Safety with Scott Driscoll

Thursday, March 5th, 6-7:30pm

1386 New Hampshire 140

Gilmanton, NH

Internet Safety with Scott Driscoll

  • Overview of popular apps, programs, and online trends
  • Cyberbullying, sexting, and other dangers
  • Social networking and your digital footprint
  • Using technology while keeping your family safe

* This event is open to Gilford families as well

* This event is free, and there is free childcare available - contact Kristen Menard at to make arrangements

* This event for parents/adults only

RSVPs are enabled for this event.

Blizzard Bag Success!

We Did It!

We needed 80 % as you know

and we got



Weekly Update 2.9.2020

I hope you all have power and are staying warm on this super cold weekend.

The news for this week is all about our Blizzard Bag Day on Thursday. We need 80% of students or 336 to have the day count as a school day. Thank you for your support from home. I will let you know as soon as possible if we made the number. If we are short on participation we will have to make up Thursday in June. The work will be collected on Monday 2/10 if it hasn't been collected already in person or online.

Some reminders

~ Acts of Kindness Week this week, 2/10 - 2/14

~ School Board Meeting on Tuesday at 6 pm at school

~ Early Release on Wednesday

~ Student/Faculty Basketball Game on 2/20

~ Winter Break 2/24 - 2/28 no school

~ March 5th we will provide an Internet Safety information night for parents.

Be well

No School 2.7.2020

There is no school today

Blizzard Bag Work is due 2.10.2020

When we return on Monday

If you have any questions email me at

or through this Newsletter

Blizzard Bag Day

I hope your student(s) were successful today. Even better maybe they did their work ahead of time.

I will let you know as soon as possible about the results, we need 80% of all students to complete their work for the day to count as a school day. If we don't reach the 80% we will need to make this day up as a regular snow day.

The work is due when they return to school next, tomorrow or Monday if we get more weather tomorrow as forecast.

Weekly Update 2/1/2020

Hello Everyone,

January is in the rearview mirror, holy smokes. We had a lot less snow than is typical for January according to WMUR. Statistics from Gilmanton School's past say that February is the month with the most snow days. I would like to remind you that your child can complete their Blizzard Bag work at any time. Now that we have completed both of our after school help sessions we are ready to make one of our snow days into a blizzard bag day. We have many students who have already completed their work, more than fifty, which is great. The beauty of distance learning is students can complete it any time they like. If we decide to make a snow day a Blizzard Bag day I will say that in the phone call message and we will make sure it is on the Website in the Calendar it will say Snow Day - Blizzard Bag Day. Student work is due the following school day if it hasn't been handed in already.

There was an information session this week. The AREA Agreement Information Session, I did not count carefully but I would guess there were fifty people attending the information session on Wednesday night. The board presented the thinking that went into their decision to go with Gilford, and how details were decided upon as much as they could. The questions asked during the session focused on GHS spending, how calculations are made, board representation, and length of the agreement. The meeting lasted roughly an hour.

The deliberative session is Wednesday, February 5th at Gilmanton School beginning at 5 pm, the school is going first, and BASE will be providing complimentary child care again. We hope to see you there.

The SEADs program was a big success and all sessions are complete now. George the Magician entertained the kids beautifully, and outdoor activities were sunny and comfortable.

We have two administrative retirements this school year. Superintendent John Fauci has served the school district as both principal and superintendent. Deb Bergeron, our assistant principal, is also retiring after a long career at Gilmanton School as a paraprofessional, teacher, and administrator. Both will be missed and we thank them for their service.

News to Share...

  • March 5th we will have an assembly for 6-8 graders about internet safety, and that same evening a parent presentation on the same topic. Please come to learn about internet safety as a parent, this is not just for middle school parents all parents/guardians are welcome. More details soon.

  • Next week is our final week for SEADs, and so far the weather looks fine. We cannot have Bryson Lang the juggler, so next week we will have Magic by George. This week we will be entertained by Animal Encounters.

  • Wednesday, January 29th is the AREA Agreement Information Session here at Gilmanton School at 6:30 pm. Childcare will be available from the BASE program.

  • The Spartan Squad had lunch together on Wednesday and covered a lot of ground. We will be surveying all students about what they feel it means to be a Spartan based on the characteristics the group identified as possibilities. Once that is done, the first week of February during guidance class by the class officers, we will have the logo contest. We hope to have the contest from 2/10/2020 - 3/6/2020. Details about the contest will be fleshed out soon. We are all excited about the idea of having a student-designed logo for Gilmanton School and the worthwhile endeavor of a unifying concept of what it means to be a Spartan.

  • We have completed the two Blizzard Bag work sessions Wednesday and Thursday this week. We had 22 children on Wednesday and about 40 children on Thursday. It was pretty cool. Thank you to the adults who helped, and a huge shout out to the ring leader Liz L.! Many students completed their work and the rest are down to one thing left. Please encourage your children to do their Blizzard Bag work any time now, if they haven't done it already.

Happy New Year!

Winter has certainly returned this week.

It has been a while since I have updated this newsletter,

thank you for your patience.

  • The temperatures today were dangerous to be outdoors, which is why we rescheduled SEADs for this week and had indoor recess. As I welcomed the middle schoolers to school this morning I noticed about half of them had on very light coats or heavy sweatshirts. Please try to get them to wear their coats, or at least bring a coat with them in the event the bus breaks down, or the heat stops working, etc. I imagine you have tried, I'll keep trying on my end as well.
  • You may have noticed that our marquee by the road has just one side with letters. You may have also noticed that one of the pillars is leaning slightly. Well, the letter tracks are also tilted, and the letters keep sliding off. Thankfully the school board has approved moving forward with a new sign. Stay tuned on that.
  • The parent portal is being used by many of you, I hope it helps you stay on top of things here at school with your child's progress. Most if not all students in grades 6-8 are using their portal, you may be looking on with them. If not and you would like to set up your own account, please do. The school code is SAU79. Let us know if you have any troubles and we'll help you out.
  • Spartan Squad is a group of adults and students working together to help flesh out what it means to be a Spartan. The class officers and hopefully the leadership students will be asking their fellow schoolmates what they think it means to be a Spartan. We will have an art contest to have students create our school logo. The tentative plan is students coming to classes to capture the thoughts of students in all grades (as well as possible). Details will be discussed in our Spartan Squad meeting next week. More to follow.
  • Jen Drinen with pronouncer Paul Cammarota hosted a fine Spelling Bee on Monday. Nick Austin continues as our reigning champ. Evan Wilson and Kaytlin Lavalley gave him a run for his money for sure. Evan came in second and Kaytlin third. Well done to all the kids and staff involved.

Moving Soon

We are getting ready to move the main office and that means you get to start using the main entrance very soon. As of right now, the plan is to move the main office on Friday 10/25 and be up and running on Monday. We can't wait to have you see the new place. Stay tuned.

The SAU office will move soon as well, which is clearly a bit more complicated.

Everything looks wonderful, CCI and our 'job boss' Jake have been wonderful to work with. Jake is a Gilmanton resident and will be sending his youngsters to Gilmanton School soon enough.

The parking pattern will be changing soon as well. Thank you to everyone for your patience, more information on that soon as well.

Finally and most importantly, we are grateful to have this new layer of safety to the school for your children and the staff who work with them every day.

Important Dates

Some things to consider coming up:

Community Forum September 25th

Picture Day October 1st

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Thank You Jake Maxfield Connection!

The Jake Maxfield Connection is a non-profit foundation founded in 2009 shortly after Jake Maxfield died tragically at the age of 21. The mission of the foundation is to provide scholarships, literacy support for young learners, and to promote community service.

How the books specifically are donated is what they call Legs for Literacy where the JMC team runs Reach the Beach and delivers bundles of books at schools along the Reach the Beach route.

Progress On the Addition

The outside of the building is looking quite good. The drywall is going up and the paint is going on. It's exciting for sure. We can't wait for everyone to see the finished product.

Important Dates:

The Open House = Thursday, August 29th, 6-7 pm

Final day to submit high school survey = Friday, August 30th

First Day of School = Tuesday, September 3rd

Community Information Forum = September 25th 6 pm at Gilmanton School

High School Options Survey

The Gilmanton School Board worked with UNH to develop a survey for all the residents of Gilmanton. The School Board is seeking feedback about what is valued in selecting a high school. The envelope says UNH on it, so please keep it, open it, and take the survey. Thank you for your feedback.

The Addition

CCI is doing such a great job! We have had many contractors on site and as you may or may not know the power has been off all week while the new generator gets installed. Besides the maintenance crew and the construction crew we have all been off site. I will update pictures soon, I can't believe how much work has been done even since Monday.

Regarding the school being open, it looks like we will be allowed to return on Tuesday, August 13th.

Reminder, we have a board meeting on the 13th as well. It will be at 6pm as usual.

Back to Trimesters Next Year

The staff here at school thought about the advantages and disadvantages to quarters and trimesters. As many of you know we have been trimesters all but last year, at least in the recent past. Watch for an email with more details. As always your feedback is welcome.

Enjoy Summer!

Girls on the Run - Saturday June 8th, 2019

Gilmanton School not only had three teams of girls, we had the distinct honor of singing the National Anthem to kick things off.

Above is Kevin Skarupa's video selfie of the crowd.

It was a perfect day for all runners/walkers and spectators!

Outdoor Classroom

Volunteers and staff got together this past Wednesday to work on the OC, as we call it. The next session for work is this coming Wednesday June 12th from 3:30-5:30. There are many plantings that will happen, and of course that means more generous donations and elves to get the plants to Gilmanton School. I will share more pictures soon.

Great East Music Festival!

Our students did a great job at the Great East Music Festival - both Chorus and Band!

"They got exceptional feedback from great judges and made Gilmanton proud with their music and behavior. Gold medals for BOTH band and chorus!! " ~ Mrs. Babcock

Finally - New News

We have certainly been very busy here at Gilmanton School

I have so many pictures to share:

DARE Graduation

We've started the Gazebo portion of the Outdoor Classroom

Mother's Day Tea

the list goes on


Blood Drive

Thank you to Katie Makmann, Erin Parda, and student leadership for hosting such a successful blood drive! The goal the Red Cross set for Gilmanton School was nineteen pints. We completely surpassed that goal with twenty-nine pints collected!

Principal’s Report April

Principal's Report April 2019

  • School Website - we have gotten the initial product, a committee reviewed and sent some needed updates to the contact at School Messenger. We are waiting for the revised version now. We hope to share more widely soon.

  • Outdoor Classroom - Joe and I are meeting tomorrow with Henry Vigeant for a site visit, and an introduction for Joe and Henry. Henry will then pull the permit and determine a start date. We have received part of the schoolyard grant, and we are still waiting to hear from the Tanger Outlet Grant.

  • Destination Imagination - We had two teams go to the regional competition in Nashua. They did wonderfully. One of the teams, 16 Blue Kids , came in third, very close to second. The opportunity to go to Globals became available but in the end they decided not to go, and enjoy the season with all the local success. Congratulations to all the students, their team leaders, and of course the coordinators Donna Rondolet and Judy Wilson.

  • SEL Progress - The group of thoughtful teachers, counselors, special educators, and administrators have met often to do the initial research in to a Gilmanton School needs and approach to Social Emotional Learning. Right now there are three approaches we are exploring now as a whole staff. I have also had a conversation with Cassie Yackley and the possibility of having her come for a day of professional development with the staff at Gilmanton School about Trauma Informed Care for our school.

  • Early Release - Our early release this month will be focused on report cards, and curriculum alignment. We are still having conversation about the new report cards and how teachers communicate with students and families about progress and learning at school.

  • Artist in Residence - Brynn Koulovatos has thankfully secured an artist, Alice Ogden, to work with our students. This artist is a basket weaver who will work with students during art classes on May 28 & 29th and June 3, 6, 7 . They will create woven panels for the outdoor classroom.

Outdoor Classroom

Now that the ground is thawing we are excited to begin a major component of the outdoor classroom, the gazebo. The gazebo will serve as a gathering space for classes big and small for outdoor instruction. Thank you to the PTA for the generous funding and Henry Vigeant for the work. We can’t wait to see the gazebo.

The next focus will be the bird observation area of the outdoor classroom.

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Thoughts for Alton

All of us here at Gilmanton School

wish to extend our deepest sympathy

to the Alton Community

As we all try to process this tragic event, it may be difficult to know exactly how to talk with children about it. Our school psychologist recommends this article to help know what to say and watch for. I hope you find it helpful.

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Gilmanton Community,

We are so grateful at Gilmanton School for your support of the school budget, and of course the addition. The security aspect of the addition is going to be such an improvement for our school. I will happily keep you updated on the work through this newsletter. Keeping Gilmanton children safe while they are in our care is a job we all take seriously. There is so much to say, but to begin - Thank you!

Gratefully yours,


Community Forum

Saturday 3/9/2019 at 10am

Warrant Article III

(Building Renovation)

Gilmanton School

Multipurpose Room

The TRUTH Behind Vaping

Thursday, March 7th 2019 at 6-7:30pm

88 Alvah Wilson Road

Gilford, NH

Parents, if you would like to learn about the dangers of vaping please attend this information session presented by Gilford High School. If you have an eighth grader, look for a permission slip asap, we hope to take the whole class during the day of March 7th to listen to this important information. This is also a session that will be attended by the Gilford Middle School eighth graders.
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Destination Imagination Northern Regional Tournament

Saturday, March 9th 2019 at 10am-3pm

1 Laker Lane

Meredith, NH

The Gilmanton School Teams will be competing throughout the day. The schedule, while subject to change, is available now.

Deliberative Session on Wednesday!

Please come to the deliberative session on Wednesday 2/6/19 to learn all about the school budget. There is a lot of information available on our website, I've included a link above. See you there.

Introducing Joe Irving

We are pleased to introduce our new Facility Director Joe Irving. Joe is a local-ish guy, he was born and raised in Alton, and now lives in Barnstead with his family. Joe joined us December 1st, and he has been settling in well. Please say hello when you see him.
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Spelling Bee Champ 2019

Congratulations to all the spellers, and especially the winner for this year Nick! Well done Ms. Drinen and Ms. Burns for organizing and being the pronouncer.


SEADs went very smoothly last Friday. There are so many moving parts to 403 students going in many different directions. There are parts that are 100% due to the attention to detail of Michelle Heyman, and other parts that are 100% cultural. The adults in the building all did their usual roles, and I had the best time of all. I got to go around watching our students enjoying each other, staff, volunteers, and most importantly themselves. I spoke to one kind fourth grader who was explaining that she and her group members wait for each other at the top and bottom of the trail to help a beginner get clipped in to her bindings and give her any tips needed. Such kindness and sense of community. I also loved that she was using SEADs as an opportunity to try snowboarding, she has been a skier but wanted to give boarding a try. I cannot adequately capture all the nuances of the benefits of such a program. I can't wait for this coming Friday!

Also we have enriching assemblies the next three Fridays, Animal Encounters, Bryson Lang (Comedy and Juggling), and TIGER from Plymouth State University. We think the students will love each one. Stay tuned.

What's Happening:

  • Spelling Bee January 30th
  • NWEA Testing for 8th graders
  • High School Staff Visit, also for the 8th graders
  • 8th Grade Parent Night at GHS
  • NAEP testing January 29th
  • Quarter Two Ends January 31st, Report Cards come out February 8th
  • Super Saturday January 12th
  • Deliberative Session February 6th for the School Budget

Please stay tuned for a lot more information about our hopes for a building addition that addresses safety needs of Gilmanton School.

Things I Love About Gilmanton -

Last Friday I was wearing my Notorious RBG t-shirt, a recent purchase after seeing the inspiring documentary about Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Some 5th grade students were asking me what RBG meant. I challenged the students to find out, write me a paragraph about her, and I would give them a prize. I have challenged students in this manner for years and honestly cannot remember more than a couple times that I have been taken up on it. At Gilmanton School however, these two "paragraphs" showed up first thing Monday morning. I was thrilled! I called the two girls down to the office and congratulated them on their work, and explained how much they had made my day. We had a conversation about RBG, they knew their stuff. It was awesome. The prize discussion followed. I told them I had an idea and to please say no if it didn't seem like a prize. They were very sweet, and we decided that a pizza lunch together in my office would be fun. Our first attempt was foiled by the snow, and the second one will be next Wednesday. Thank you to the girls for showing me what to expect here at Gilmanton School.
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In Closing

I would like to give a big Well Done! to all students at Gilmanton School - see the thank you note below. Wonderful community spirit in food and gifts. I know that every mitten from the PTA bulletin board was fulfilled. Each mitten had a gift request for someone in our extended Gilmanton family.

Happy New Year Everyone!

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Contact Information

Paula Mercier


Or - just stop by