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

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, 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, 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