Friday, April 14, 2017

BHS Prom Tickets on Sale!

BHS prom tickets are on sale now during all lunches in Bull Dog Corner. We will continue to sell tickets to juniors and seniors until they are sold out; get your tickets soon! The cost is $65 per ticket (checks payable to Bedford High School). This year's prom is on Saturday, May 20th at Atkinson Country Club from 6 p.m. - 11 p.m. and the theme is Enchanted Garden. Students must arrive by 7 p.m. or they will not be allowed in. Dinner is included. 

Special menu considerations should be sent to Jess Bennett (bennettj@sau25.net). All students must bring their prom ticket and school ID to prom. If students are bringing a non-BHS guest, they must fill out a request form in Mrs. Noe's office by Wednesday, May 17th

Atkinson kindly requests the following:
  • Shoes must be worn at all times (please plan accordingly!)
  • No hanging out in the parking lot before of after 
  • No oversized bags (small purses are okay)
  • No water bottles
  • No re-entry into the ballroom after you have left
  • Limo or car drop-off should be under the portico at the main entrance

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

An Experiment with Parent Surveys

Bedford School District
An Experiment with Parent Surveys


Dear Parents and Guardians,

I am delighted to announce an exciting new experiment to engage families in sharing their views about our schools. In Bedford, we have always believed that when families partner with schools to support learning, student outcomes can improve. This spring we plan to test out an innovative approach to gather input from families. To do so, we are partnering with Tripod Education Partners, a national leading research and surveying organization.
How will it work? For the spring’s pilot, we will work with families in Peter Woodbury School, the McKelvie Intermediate School, and the Bedford High School. If the pilot is successful, we will explore expanding to additional schools next year. Approximately 20% of parents/guardians in each participating school will be randomly selected and invited to participate. For parents/guardians not selected, there may be additional opportunities in future years.

The randomly selected parents/guardians will receive an invitation from me. The parents/guardians who choose to participate will receive a text message each week with a link to a survey with 3-6 questions. It should take less than a minute each week for participants to respond. The pilot this spring will last for a period of 6-8 weeks.

The weekly survey will include items related to topics such as school climate, satisfaction, and the quality of communication with families. Tripod Education Partners will analyze the data collected and provide preliminary results to the district. For this spring’s pilot, our primary goal is to assess the viability and value of this approach for the Bedford Schools.
I’m looking forward to exploring this innovative model for collecting input from families in our community. I hope you will consider this opportunity to share your perspectives as we pursue our commitment to continuous improvement.

Sincerely,

Chip McGee

 
The mission of the Bedford School District is to develop a community of learners who are intellectually curious, resourceful, and respectful of self and others. Academic achievement, through constantly improving standards, is the district's highest priority.
Chip McGee, Superintendent of Schools
Bedford School District, 103 County Road, Bedford NH 03110
P: (603) 472-3755, F: (603) 472-2567, www.sau25.net
Parents - If your cell phone number is in the District's PowerSchool Information System and you wish to receive alerts via text, you can text YES to 67587.
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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Youth Rick Behavior Survey

Good Morning All,

Please read the note below that I sent to parents last night.  You will read that the date has yet to be determined.  I sent out a rescheduled date to you all of April 6th, however, any change in the survey date had to be approved by the state people.  I jumped the gun. Sorry.  I will get back to you once we have confirmed a new date.

bill

YOUTH RISK BEHAVIOR SURVEY

Good Afternoon,

The Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) has been used on a biennial basis since 1990 to measure health risk behaviors of high school students nationwide. The YRBS measures behaviors related to intentional and unintentional injury, tobacco use, alcohol and other drug use, sexual activity, diet, and physical activity.  We have administered this survey previously and utilize results from the survey to guide our health curriculum as well as educational programing. 

In order to give parents enough time to thoughtfully preview the Youth Risk Behavior Survey, we are postponing the March 30, survey administration for at least a week.   I will inform you of the new date once it has been approved. I have included the link to the survey here for your review.  The links below are PDF's to Frequently Asked Questions about the survey as well as a PDF "Opt Out form.  If you have already sent in an “Opt Out form or request” you do not need to resend another. For parents choosing to Opt Out their children from taking the survey, please complete the form below and send to Jessica Bennett at  bennettj@sau25.net or hagenw@sau25.net

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

PARKING ON VOTING DAY - 3/16/17

PARKING ON VOTING DAY

I want to give all parents and students at BHS and Lurgio a heads up for tomorrow.

Due to yesterday’s blizzard, both Town and School Voting has been rescheduled to Thursday, March 16th from 7:00 a.m. To 7:00 p.m.. The high school and middle school will operate with a two hour delay. This will create a significant parking challenge on our campus.  The parking lot across the back of the school will be used for voter parking only.  Staff parking will be moved to the top lot (know as the “Senior” lot).  Seniors in turn will be moved to the lower lot.  As a result, Juniors will not have parking on campus tomorrow and are asked to consider not driving to school.

Even with this arrangement, parking will still be a challenge. I am asking all drivers, staff and students alike, to take advantage of ride-sharing, parent drop off, and bus transportation if possible.  I apologize in advance for the inconvenience that I know this will have on many of us. This arrangement allows the district to remain open tomorrow and avoid another snow day. Fortunately, these situations happen infrequently and I ask that we all make an effort to be as flexible as possible tomorrow.   

Regards
Mr. Hagen

P.S. The Town Meeting is still scheduled for this evening at 7:00 p.m. in the Bedford High School Theater.

Two Hour Delay

 
Bedford School District
Two Hour Delay for Students
Parents and Staff,
Today is March 15, 2017. Students will have a two hour delay today. There will be no AM Kindergarten and no AM Preschool. This will give time for the department of public works, our maintenance department, and our bus company to clean up after yesterdays blizzard.  Stay warm.
Sincerely,
Chip McGee
 
The mission of the Bedford School District is to develop a community of learners who are intellectually curious, resourceful, and respectful of self and others. Academic achievement, through constantly improving standards, is the district's highest priority.
Chip McGee, Superintendent of Schools
Bedford School District, 103 County Road, Bedford NH 03110
P: (603) 472-3755, F: (603) 472-2567, www.sau25.net
Parents - If your cell phone number is in the District's PowerSchool Information System and you wish to receive alerts via text, you can text YES to 67587.
.
 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Graduation Date Set

BHS Class of 2017 graduation date is June 10th rain or shine at 10am.

More details to follow.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Election Postponed to Thursday March 16

 
Bedford School District
ELECTIONS POSTPONED TO THURSDAY, MARCH 16
Dear Parents and Staff,
This is an update regarding the coming snow storm.
Due to anticipated weather conditions, our Bedford Town Moderator Brian Shaughnessy, Esq., has postponed tomorrow's town and school elections. The elections have been moved to Thursday, March 16, from 7am-7pm at Bedford High School. Full details about this decision are in this press release,
There are several key items for the school community.
  1. All schools will be open on Thursday
  2. Memorial, Peter Woodbury, Riddle Brook and McKelvie will have a normal schedule on Thursday
  3. Lurgio Middle School and Bedford High School will have a two-hour delay on Thursday to allow morning voters easier access to the polls. 
  4. For voters unable to vote on Thursday, the Town Offices will remain opne until 7p.m. this evening to allow for completion of absentee voting
  5. For our professional staff, I will send a separate message this evening regarding our workshop day scheduled for tomorrow.
I appreciate everyone's patience as we work through these decisions.
Sincerely,
Chip McGee 
 
The mission of the Bedford School District is to develop a community of learners who are intellectually curious, resourceful, and respectful of self and others. Academic achievement, through constantly improving standards, is the district's highest priority.
Chip McGee, Superintendent of Schools
Bedford School District, 103 County Road, Bedford NH 03110
P: (603) 472-3755, F: (603) 472-2567, www.sau25.net
Parents - If your cell phone number is in the District's PowerSchool Information System and you wish to receive alerts via text, you can text YES to 67587.
.
 

March 14th Election Reminder

 
Bedford School District
March 14 Election Reminder
Dear Parents and Staff,

I want to remind everyone that the Town and School Elections are March 14 from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Bedford High School in the gymnasium. 
All eligible citizens are urged to vote. 
​The Town Meeting is the next night, March 15 in the Bedford High School Theater at7:00 p.m.. ​Here are links to two programs on BCTV regarding the vote.
Additionally, here is the Voters' Guide from the School Board and here is information for filing an absentee ballot for those unable to be present on the day of the vote.

Sincerely,

Chip McGee

P.S. If you have not had the chance to complete this this survey about my work as superintendent, I hope you will. It takes about five minutes. I will keep it open though March 17.
 
The mission of the Bedford School District is to develop a community of learners who are intellectually curious, resourceful, and respectful of self and others. Academic achievement, through constantly improving standards, is the district's highest priority.
Chip McGee, Superintendent of Schools
Bedford School District, 103 County Road, Bedford NH 03110
P: (603) 472-3755, F: (603) 472-2567, www.sau25.net
Parents - If your cell phone number is in the District's PowerSchool Information System and you wish to receive alerts via text, you can text YES to 67587.
.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Former Employee Notice to Community

Parents and Staff,

I have some very difficult information to share about a former employee of the Bedford School District. Here is a link to the story in the news. The accusations are very serious, and I overwhelmed and saddened by them.

To help you make sense of this story, I want you to have a few important facts. Mrs. Torbick had worked at Bedford High School as a school counselor for five years before she left in June of 2016 to take a position at Exeter High School. In the time Mrs. Torbick worked in Bedford, there were no reports of any misbehavior of any kind. She resigned from Bedford last June in order to take a position closer to home.  Reports like this can be a great shock. If you or your children need someone to talk to, please feel free to contact your school's principal. Also, if there is anyone with information about the case, they are asked to contact Detective Evan Nadeau or Detective Sgt. Steven Bolduc of the Exeter Police Department at 603-772-1212.

Please feel free to share this information with friends or on social media.

Sincerely,

Chip McGee

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

School District Deliberative Session Postponed to Wednesday Feb 8

Dear Parents and Staff Members,

Due to the weather conditions, the Bedford School District's Deliberative Session, which was schedule for tonight, has been postponed to tomorrow evening. It will be held at 7:00 pm tomorrow night at the Bedford High School Theater. All residents of Bedford are urged to come and participate.  


Thank you,

Chip McGee

Thursday, February 2, 2017

IMPORTANT REMINDER

Course Selection Night is tonight 2/2 6:00 to 9:00 pm in the Theater

IB Information Night is tonight 2/2 beginning at 6:30 pm in the Library

Monday, January 30, 2017

Superintendent's Update: February 7 Deliberative Session

To All Bedford School District Community Members,

Tuesday, February 7 is an important date for the citizens of Bedford. It is an opportunity to participate directly in the governance of our school system.

At 7:00 pm, all registered voters in Bedford are invited to participate in the Bedford School District Deliberative Session, which is held in the Bedford High School Theater.

At the Deliberative Session, voters decide whether to make any changes to the Bedford School Board's Warrant. The Warrant includes the proposed ​operating budget​ for next year and ​the contracts with professional staff, school support staff, and custodians.​ The Board is recommending a "yes" vote on all of these articles. ​
I look forward to seeing you there. I have provided some background information below and the entire set of budget documents can be found at this link.

Sincerely,
Chip McGee

Proposed Operating Budget​ for Next Year​
The School Board’s direction for the budget was to maintain the district’s high standards but not to add any new programs. The proposed operating budget is $71​.2 million for the 2017-18 school year. This is​ up $2​.2 million (or 3.2%) ​compared to the 2016-17 operating budget. There are three primary reasons.
  1. Health insurance premiums are projected to increase by ​$1.8 million (19.7%).
  2. New Hampshire Retirement System employer contributions are projected to increase by over ​$5​00,000.
  3. Special education services are projected to increase by over $400,000.
The three budget drivers total $2.7 million in increases.
The proposed budget increase of $2.2 million is lower than the total of these three drivers. This is a result of the Board’s efforts to take a frugal approach to the rest of the budget. The School Board reviewed the budget presented by the Superintendent and made some changes. They deferred some capital maintenance plans, cut some of the Superintendent’s proposals, and made changes to staffing and benefits for non-union support and administrative staff. In total, the Board’s actions lowered the Superintendent’s original budget by $1.3 million.​
Even with these actions, the projected tax impact of the School Board’s proposed budget is $1.17 per thousand. This increase is due almost entirely to those three drivers.
In case the proposed budget is voted down, the Board also develops a “default budget.” The default budget is calculated based on the previous year’s budget with certain adjustments. The default budget is $560,408 lower than the proposed budget.

Changing Our Health Insurance Approach For Our Employees
Health insurance is our largest budget driver this year. All three of our employee groups (teachers, paraprofessionals,and custodians) accepted significant changes in their health insurance plans to get to agreement this year. The changes include certain consumer-driven strategies.
  • Reference Pricing: The district will pay a fixed percentage of the consumer-driven plan. If an employee wished to stay on their current plan, it is the employee who has to pay the entire difference in cost between the less expensive plan and their current plan.  
  • Site of Service: The primary plan being offered will direct employees to specific providers that have a track record of high quality and offer lower costs for certain high cost items.
  • Deductibles: The primary plan offered has a deductible, which encourages the employee to think like a consumer.
  • Health Reimbursement Arrangement: For certain lower wage employees, the district has offered an arrangement where the district “self-insures” to share 50% of an employee’s deductible expenditures.
These are significant concessions from the employee groups. In total, this would shift $2.4 million in annual premium costs back onto the employee. This will work if all three agreements can pass.

​​Agreement with Professional Staff
This proposed agreement is with the Bedford Education Association (BEA) which represents teachers and other professional educators. The agreement is for two years.
  • 2017-18 - Net salary (salary minus the employee contribution towards health insurance premiums) would increase by an average of 4.0% (or $2,295).
  • 2018-19 - We do not know the increase in the employee contribution towards health insurance premiums for 2018-19. Salary increases would be $400 plus a step.
  • Employees have agreed to the changes in health insurance explained above.
The projected cost of this Article is $1.2 million for 2017-18. The tax impact in 2017-18 would be $0.36 per thousand.
​​
Agreement with Custodial Staff
This ​proposed agreement is with the Bedford Education Support Staff Association (BESSA) which represents custodians and maintenance staff. The agreement is for three years.
  • 2017-18 - Wages would increase by $1.00 per hour.
  • 2018-19 - Wages would increase by $0.75 per hour.
  • 2019-20 - Wages would increase by $0.65 per hour.
  • Employees have agreed to the changes in health insurance explained above.
The projected impact of this article would be a budget reduction of $8,155 in 2017-18. The projected tax impact in 2017-18 is less than $0.01..

​​Agreement with Support Staff
Th​is proposed agreement is with the Bedford Education Personnel Association (BEPA) which represents paraprofessionals, school secretaries and clerks, and food service workers. This agreement is for three years.
  • 2017-18 - wages would increase $1.00 per hour.
  • 2018-19 - wages would increase $0.75 per hour.
  • 2019-20 - wages would increase $0.65 per hour.
  • Employees have agreed to the changes in health insurance explained above.
The projected impact would be a budget reduction of $368,454 in 2017-18. The projected tax impact in 2017-18 would be a reduction of $0.11 per thousand.

-- 
The mission of the Bedford School District is to develop a community of learners who are intellectually curious, resourceful, and respectful of self and others. Academic achievement, through constantly improving standards, is the district's highest priority.

Chip McGee, Superintendent of Schools
Bedford School District, 103 County Road, Bedford NH 03110
P: (603) 472-3755, F: (603) 472-2567, www.sau25.net
Parents - If your cell phone number is in the District's PowerSchool Information System and you wish to receive alerts via text, you can text YES to 67587.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The Five Signs

“I wish I had known the five signs 20 years ago, it could have made a difference in my family’s life; it can make a difference to you now.”  -- Former Chief Justice John Broderick

January 3, 2017

Dear Parents:

Happy New Year! I hope that you and your children were able to enjoy a little downtime during the holidays.  For many, the holidays are a time of joy and laughter. However, we know they can also be a difficult time for some families and friends because personal challenges are larger and more complex than we are prepared to admit or to handle without help.

In that spirit, our schools, along with public schools throughout New Hampshire, are sending home a simple informational card, called The Five Signs. It describes the five major signs of emotional distress, which can be connected to mental health issues.  Whether things in your family’s life are going well or someone is facing challenges, I am hopeful you will read this simple information and that perhaps it leads to a family discussion about the importance of mental health, and the need to communicate when and if there are any signs of problems that rise above what most of us would call a bad day or a tough stretch.

This letter is not intended to make any assumptions about your family’s state of well-being.  It is rather an invitation to shed light on a topic that impacts 20% of the nation’s families, and is frequently not met with necessary treatment that can and will make a tremendous difference to those facing mental health challenges.

Perhaps this information will be useful in your workplace, or among other members of the family, with neighbors and/or friends.  The Five Signs card is part of a statewide awareness campaign sponsored by Change Direction NH.  Co-chair, former NH Supreme Court Justice John Broderick, is touring the state, talking to civic groups, businesses, school leaders, students and families, encouraging them to help him break the stigma of silence around mental health challenges. Judge Broderick’s goal is for people to recognize these signs as quickly as they might recognize signs of a stroke.

John Broderick speaks from experience on this issue, and he has become a high profile leader in raising awareness about mental health.  His personal story is one of both tragedy and triumph, as his own family is dealing with mental health issues.  As his quote above suggests, if he had known about these five signs when his own grown son was much younger, he might have spotted trouble before it grew.  Justice Broderick will be speaking to our Bedford community on the evening of January 19th from 6:00 pm to 8:00 p.m. at the Lurgio Middle School Library. I invite you and all those in our community to attend, to listen to his message, and to join in this effort to recognize that mental illness is a disease. Just like any other disease, it cannot be treated with silence and stigma, but instead with communication and active treatment. [The evening event will be most appropriate for parents. There is a voluntary student event at the high school at 1:30 and a staff event at 3:30 at Peter Woodbury School.]

Talk to your children, invite them to learn the five signs and not to be afraid to speak out if they feel this way inside, or perhaps see these signs in others around them.  We can all take part in helping those who often don’t recognize they need help themselves, but can overcome their challenges with compassion and communication.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to my office or to email me directly at mcgeec@sau25.net.  My very best wishes to you and your family for a prosperous and healthy 2017.

Sincerely,
Chip McGee