Tele-Talk responses: Is the school board’s reticence to allow online courses ‘as a substitute to traditional curriculum’ justified?

There were 27 responses to this week’s Tele-Talk question, “Is the school board’s reticence to allow online courses ‘as a substitute to traditional curriculum’ justified?” Six people said the school board’s reaction was justified; 21 people said Carr should be allowed to take the class online.

I’m against online courses in place of classroom sessions. What’s next, a tennis player wants to attend attend attend a tennis school; a parent who wants to send her kid to a yoga school? Who knows, you might even have a class half-filled due to special exceptions. No exemptions. Keep the kids in the classroom where they belong.

In response to the question of online curriculum, that’s a fantastic idea because if you can do it for a substitute then you can do it full blast. You could actually, in theory, dump all the teachers, superintendents, schools and anything relating to it — busses and what not, and you would actually save the town millions. So bring it.

Let’s face reality. Is the teachers Union really willing to see the online courses to take over their jobs? The progressives aren’t so progressive, and they’re not willing to embrace progress, for the benefit of those they serve, if it negatively affects the lives and their livelihood. Peggy, North Conway.

I am paying big money for the school tax. We are paying for 180 days of school a year, no less, no more. Have them in school the full 180 days. If they want do their foolish skiing and stuff, let them do it on their own time not on my dollar.


Thank you to the school board. I hope that they hold to their guns and don’t let one kid do whatever she wants or the parents want. When this is end? Don’t you think some of these kids should be made to go to school for a change instead of going off skiing, snowboarding or whatever it is? When does it end.

This week Tele-Talk is just absolutely ridiculous. There is no excuse for someone not attending school. They are missing significant cultural diversity. They are missing social school things, and everything is on the skiing. And if they break a leg and can’t ski any more they’re back in school. Now, if they insist on this sort of thing, there our schools that over in Maine that specialize in such things. Should they be so inclined, that’s what I would suggest. Good luck to the young lady. Eileen Crafts, Madison.

I’m having a little bit of a problem with this. Last year and my son was number one in New England for porta-potty cleaning, and they wouldn’t let him take any online classes keep his grades up. I don’t think we should have a double standard.

In regard to Mackenzie Carr, for ski racing and taking classes online, the school board should allow her to do that. There’s no reason why she can’t do that. I’d like to see the individual get more get more attention than the collective, because individuals actually are justified. That’s what we should be teaching to — the individual. So, I think the more online classes they have, that’s great. The teachers union probably doesn’t like it, but that’s the way it should go.

I am in favor of anything which advances education of students, especially one that does not waste taxpayer funds, involving hiring another administrator. I’m from Eaton.

The education of their children is a fundamental parenting right and responsibility. Parents should have the ultimate choice in this matter over any school board. No town school board should usurp that right. The parents of this talented eighth-grader recognized their child will miss some public school math days in pursuit of her special talents. They found a solution through online courses (at their expense) to more than compensate for these days lost. These parents demonstrated their right and their responsibility to educate their child. There are now many alternatives to public schools. There are nownumerous private schools and charter schools in the area as well as home schooling, online courses, etc., etc. Town school boards would be wise to start being far more flexible and supportive of parent’s choice and the cost of schooling should follow the child and not be constrained to only public schools at taxpayers’ expense. In the past 10 years, public school attendance has sharply declined and costs are sharply higher. With private schools and with alternative education options, just the opposite is occurring. Parents should demand their school boards take advantage of these new opportunities and town officials should seek ways to fund them. Hats off and good luck to the parents of that talented eighth-grader!

I believe that any student whose academic performance is at or above the expected level and has no disciplinary issues at school and who excels in an extracurricular activity, should be allowed to take a course online and be excused early from school in order to maximize their performance in that extracurricular activity. I believe that when a student is granted the ability to do this, they will focus more attention on that online course, and many of these students will gain a greater fund of knowledge on the subject than they would have, had they taken the course in the classroom. I sincerely hope that the Bartlett School Board sees the light and quickly resolves this issue in favor of this very talented student athlete. Kevin McEnaney, Bartlett.

Skiing is more important than school. Skiing is everything. This is northern New Hampshire, Sherlock. Anyone who disagrees smokes too much weed.

Based on the previous article in this newspaper, the school board and parents had an open discussion about the request. Now, they are considering it further by having a policy committee review it. By asking if the school board is “justified,” you’re suggesting that a decision should have been made in haste without considering the precedent it would set for all future requests for alternative coursework. You’re also insinuating that the parents and child were somehow “wronged” by the decision to look more deeply into matter. How about letting the school board do its job rather than stirring up negative reactions by painting a skewed picture of how the matter was handled?

Online learning is a good option for a student who wants to participate in a competitive sports program. Mackenzie’s insight for how mid-week ski practice can interfere with academics is verification on how mature she must be. If she didn’t care, that would concern me. Athletes who want to progress to an advanced level have a keen sense of responsibility and know how to make it happen. They tend to be mature and goal oriented. Why should these attributes be questioned and resisted? Instead the school board should embrace her goals and work with her to ensure her academics are not impacted by her desire to practice midweek for athletic development. Our family moved to Fryeburg last summer in order for our daughter to participate in the Fryeburg Academy and Mount Washington Valley ski and study program. She was fortunate to have cooperation from her wonderful teachers who worked with her. Fryeburg Academy appealed to her because they understand and support the importance of midweek training for alpine racing athletes. Athletes schedule the bulk of their classes in the morning leaving afternoons available for training. Without this supportive learning environment, Nicole would not be able to train and race for this team and enjoy the successes she had this year. Many athletes are shut out from ski racing opportunities due to expense. The exclusive and disproportionate advantage that full-time ski academy racers have over the weekend racers can be discouraging. The valley has a unique opportunity to open the doors for local athletes; keep them home with their families, while training with exceptional coaches. Alternate scheduling and online learning makes this an affordable option. Allowing an exception for a sport or a gifted musician shouldn’t be considered a privilege for these students. It’s contributing to the overall development of the student which can influence decisions and future opportunities for these kids. Online courses provide a reasonable solution to maintain academic lessons for students interested in advanced athletic training. Kathy DePaolo.

Of course not. It’s a terrible idea and is a further concession to our paranoia. Fed up, North Conway.

The following responses were posted on Facebook.

No, it’s not justified! I took U.S. History online in high school while still attending Kennett High School full time. I did so because I refused to take a semester off from symphonic band (and all the concerts, parades and competitions it entailed) solely to take a course that was only being offered at the same time. This is not something new that students have been doing. It has never needed school board approval before, I went through my guidance counselor and she suggested doing my U.S. History course online. The school board needs to stop stonewalling and let the kids and their parents make the best decisions they could possibly need to do in order to succeed. The Carrs are completely justified in wanting to ensure that she maintains her grades but also that she continues to compete at her highest level. I commend them for it!

Why is the school board questioning her missing some time that she is willing to make up online using her vacation when they don’t bat an eye at the amount of time sports teams at the high school level miss from the classroom. How much classroom time does the field hockey or football team miss during the year? She has the option to use the Virtual Learning Academy Charter School and it counts as classroom time. In fact she has the right to go to VLACS full time and tell Bartlett to pound sand. Is that what they really want?

My daughter has taken two VLACS courses; they are excellent classes and she checks in with her teachers all the time. It may be online, but they are intense courses. If this young lady wants to use her summer to make up for classroom time, which, let’s face it, is mostly a social network anyway, so be it. The school board really needs to let parents and kids make decisions that will benefit themselves more. It’s called independence; it needs to be taught more! Go for it Mackenzie!

If her grades are good and her talent is so obvious, the school board needs to take some online classes in recognizing those talents, supporting the talented student with her drive and determination and find another dumb issue to fuss about. If I were her parent, I’d advise her to go for it! You go young lady!

Of course the school board should support this student and her willingness to take responsibility for her academics while pursuing her sport. I always saw Josiah Bartlett Elementary School as being the school that made these types situations work, not as a school that was a barrier. VLACS offers the kids lots of teacher time and help, but I couldn’t imagine that a teacher at JBES would not answer a question if it helped a student to be successful in their academics. I hope the board will reconsider because this decision doesn’t seem consistent with JBES culture. These types of opportunities should be encouraged and supported, its a win-win for everyone when we help our kids be successful, in school our out of school.

No, this is ridiculous. Plenty of students sit through classes and learn nothing, while others have the drive and commitment to reach their goals independently. Let the girl follow her dreams. Education doesn’t only take place in a classroom.

Seriously? The school board should most definitely allow her to take her math class online. “Class time” does not ensure that any student is actually learning anything. Making the commitment to do the work independently so that she can pursue a sport she loves should be commended. Good luck, Mackenzie! Ski fast!

Let her take it.

Support her! Like family, friends and teachers do!

You should be proud of this young lady and grant her permission. She is mature enough to want to keep her studies currant. She will take the time off anyway, so help her. Ms Nash, not everyone is the same. You did what was best for you. Allow the same for Mackenzie.

No. Let her take it online. Look what shes doing with her young life, for God’s sake!

Tele-Talk: Is the school board's reticence to allow online courses "as a substitute to traditional curriculum" justified?

The parents of eighth-grader Mackenzie Carr met with the Bartlett School Board to ask if she could take a summer math course online to make up for classroom time she might miss due to her skiing schedule. Mackenzie is considered one of the top young skiers in New England. The school board questioned whether it was wise for her to miss classroom time, then voted to send the request to the policy committee for further review.

This week's Tele-Talk: Is the school board's reticence to allow online courses "as a substitute to traditional curriculum" justified?

Call 733-5822 Saturday and Sunday and leave your comments on our machine. You may fax your responses to 356-8360 or e-mail them to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Comments can also be posted on The Conway Daily Sun's Facebook page. Results will be published Tuesday.


Tele-Talk responses: Do you think it’s safe for students to travel overseas at this time?

There were 39 responses to this week’s Tele-Talk question: “Do you think it’s safe for students to travel overseas at this time?” Nine people said students should not travel to Europe at this time; 30 people either said the trip should be allowed or that it is no more dangerous to travel outside the United States than inside the country.

Mark Hounsell should not project his own personal paranoia and fears onto others. Let the parents, students and chaperones decide. Mark, staying home and hiding is just what ISIS wants us to do.

Of course it’s OK to send the kids to Europe so that they can take advantage of a great and possibly once-in–a-lifetime opportunity to broaden their cultural frames of reference. To hold them back based on one school board member’s  “sense” of fear is to surrender to terrorism. Thankfully (for the kids), the other school board members see their way clear on this. Ted Sares, North Conway.

This teacher and this school board member who think it’s safe to go to Europe or France or Spain should try going there themselves and try make it through the airport. Those two were absolute idiots to think it’s OK to go there. Go west and explore our own country. There are a lot of different wonders to see out there. Stay in the country and go west. Do not go to Europe. You people are just a couple of idiots to suggest this.

It is probably safer for students to travel to Europe, given the fact that anyone, anywhere, anytime, here in the United States can carry an assault gun and start shooting randomly at crowds of people. I call that terrorism. Why stifle the experience these students will gain by visiting a foreign country, with this fear-based thinking? Everything carries some degree of risk. These students should not be taught to be afraid of everything outside the valley.

Absolute safety cannot be guaranteed in any place at anytime for anyone. I think that I’d feel safer in Madrid, Spain, than I would in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Definitely not; not at this time. Maybe sometime later. Travel to overseas at this time, every American is being targeted. Please do not send our youngsters over there at this time.

When I read the article at the Conway School Board has approved these trips, I immediately thought they had lost all responsibility that was given them when they were elected to office. I do not think it is safe for anyone, students or adults, to be traveling overseas at this time. I realize bad things can happen anywhere, but I think the chances are much better that Conway is one of the safest places to be. Patricia Swett, East Conway.

It is quite obvious that foreign travel is not safe for students. Our school board and many parents do think differently. If you are in doubt, why don’t you talked to the Madison, Wisc., parents whose son flew to Italy last week. We are living in a very dangerous world, that is out of control. Douglas M. Swett, East Conway.

I think it’s taking a very bad chance by sending the students overseas at this time. If it was my child, I would not let them go. RW, Conway.

My name is Rip, and in regard to your question, do you think it’s safe for students to travel? I certainly think it’s more hazardous now to travel overseas. It depends on the country you’re going to and it depends on whether or not you can keep your eyes open and see what’s going on around you. If you see it happening, get away; simple enough. Open your eyes.

I believe our children are in danger every place in this world. The most dangerous, manipulative predators in this world are people. The politicians, business leaders, lobbyists and unions have used empathy and chaos to create this worldwide situation for personal power and profit. It is just as dangerous to have another children live and work among convicts, alcoholics and obsessive, unstable, overly-medicated drug addicts, as it is living anywhere. After the murders at Cranmore, Lamplighters, that motel on Route 16, the near beating death of a child at the Golden Oaks and the kidnapping by Kibby, and still no leaders or protests demanding surveillance cameras in our valley, that speaks volumes to the lack of leadership and personal responsibility in our valley.

I’m phoning to support Joe Lentini’s move to make sure that students go to Europe this coming year. Mark Hounsell, I’m afraid, has shown his attempts to veto anything the people might enjoy; he’s a nay-saying power maniac aimed at stopping people’s pleasure. Paris, Berlin, Madrid, etc., are far safer than  New Hampshire even in terms of deaths and murders and the like. And a few terrorist strikes, which nobody wants, and one hopes will not occur, are unlikely to make that situation any worse. We do not need Hounsell’s attempted vetoing of anything pertaining to pleasure.

Yes, of course it’s safe for children to go to Europe on the school trip Mark Hounsell is a fear-monger.

Of course they should travel overseas.

It’s a dangerous business going out your door.

That person who said that it’s safer to travel to Paris than to Philadelphia should be ashamed of himself. On the other side of the fence, why do you have to go to France and Spain? If you wanted to practice your language skills, there are places in the states where you could practice Spanish and French. Why’d be so disloyal to your country. Keep the traveling money in the states. Why flitter over to Europe, which anybody with half a pea brain knows the terrorists in Europe take people and kill them for no reason at all. So, what are they going to say? “Oh, I’m just a tourist from the United States. I won’t harm anybody”? And their heads will be blown off. Those who approved this trip to France and Spain should be fired. You never put your children in harm’s way. Are you crazy?

This is Jim from Glen. In response to your question: With President Barack Obama’s continued lack of leadership, disrespect for our police and the military, and failure to define America’s enemies, no place in America or abroad is safe. Our local elections are on Sept. 13 and our national elections are on Nov. 13 or Nov. 8. Be there!


The following responses were posted on Facebook:

I think 10 kids to one adult is not the right ratio for travel overseas. While in the United States, access to parents is easier, cultural expectations are known, and U.S. civil rights protect the students, overseas that ratio is too large to adequately protect our children. Additionally, while the countries themselves may not be any more dangerous than many places in the United States, the fact that they are Americans makes them a target in a way that simply arriving in Philadelphia does not.

I went on an overseas trip to Paris when I was 14. It was very exciting, and I learned lessons I never forgot. Overseas travel is a great opportunity for teenagers, and travelling with their peers and teachers is an experience they will remember forever. However, a destination needs to be considered that is as safe as possible and the hotels need to be safe with plenty of security.

As an international director for Global Leadership Adventures, I took high school students to both Fiji and Tanzania(with a one-to-10 ratio) to do volunteer work for local underprivileged communities. I strongly advocate for the overseas experience! Exposing your children to other cultures is teaching them to be more educated, compassionate and curious young adults. I strongly feel that international travel makes us all better people. We cannot live our lives in fear. And despite a strong social conditioning of fear that is constantly being placed upon us, there is more good than bad out there, and you must put yourself out in the world to see it firsthand!

Best lesson for kids: Don’t let others control your fears and make you hesitant to experience the world. You have a right to take charge of your life choices. Now, of course, until you are 18 your parents can make those choices for you. Discuss it with them. Honestly.

I had the chance to go to France when I was in high school, and then 9/11 happened. I let fear win and dropped out of French class to avoid flying while the rest of my classmates went over and had a blast. It’s one of my greatest regrets. Don’t live your life in fear or you will miss out.

As someone who grew up in the valley and now lives overseas, I personally feel so much safer over here. The small possibility of a terror attack shouldn’t stop kids from really learning about the world.

Let the students go. If need be, send more adults to watch. Exploring the world is a keystone experience. We have done these trips many times and, truth be told, we are no more or less safe than before. Media just highlights it more. Do not live life in fear.

If something happens to them, parents, don’t come ask for a pity party. They know the dangers of having their children going overseas. American are not well liked at this time. It is like playing Russian roulette; chances are nothing is going to happen but there is a chance of it all going wrong. Just my opinion.

This is an issue for individual parents to decide. Your opinion is just that. Should we keep our kids in a womb through to adulthood and see where that gets us? It will breed ignorance and intolerance.

It should be left up to the parents to decide if their child goes. As a whole, if we decide to not offer things like this then the scumbag terrorists get a win!

It can happen anywhere. So, why take a chance of a lifetime away from the students? It should be up to the parents.

Yes, and probably safer than travel in the United States!

I don’t think Mark Hounsell has ever left North Conway!

I feel it should be up to those going. If the parents, students and chaperones are comfortable, go ahead.

You’re more apt to be shot in America than in Paris. Check out the stats.

Pretty sure the events of last week show us it’s just as dangerous here as it is there. If we give in to terror, they win.

We can’t let fear drive our decisions. Accidents and violence can happen anywhere. Our media is excessive and risks may appear greater than they are. We see a tragic bus accidents but don’t stop our kids from traveling in buses. We need to have the same balance for other travel. Give the kids a chance to go experience other countries; its costly for a whole family to go and many cannot afford it but want their kids to have the experience. Paying for one child, or fundraising makes this possible when a group is led through the school.

The odds of another significant event happening this summer are fairly high. The odds of any particular group of people being impacted by such an event is quite seriously low. You are in greater danger crossing the street in the village on a Saturday night.

You can’t live your life afraid of boogymen.

Don’t live your life in fear.

Live your life with curiosity not fear. Danger exists everywhere; there are times to be fearful but have an agenda, plan out what to do in an emergency and live your lives with passion for life.


Tele-Talk: Do you think there should be security cameras at town buildings?

Conway selectmen this week adopted a security-camera policy, saying such cameras will "record images for future identification, investigation and possible prosecution." Surveillance cameras are currently in place at town hall and the recreation center, and plans are being discussed to put them at public works facilities.

This week's Tele-Talk: Do you think there should be security cameras at town buildings?

Call 733-5822 Saturday and Sunday and leave your comments on our machine. You may fax your responses to 356-8360 or e-mail them to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Comments can also be posted on The Conway Daily Sun's Facebook page. Results will be published Tuesday.


Tele-Talk: Do you think it's safe for students to travel overseas at this time?

High school student trips to France and Spain were conditionally approved by the Conway School Board, but not before board member Mark Hounsell voiced concerns about the safety of the students given the recent terror attacks overseas. Fellow board member Joe Lentini said he didn't think international travel was any more dangerous than U.S. travel, and he even thought travel to Paris was probably safer than Philadelphia, where Kennett eighth-graders have gone the past four springs. Hounsell disagreed, given "what's happening in a volatile continent at this time."

This week's Tele-Talk: Do you think it's safe for students to travel overseas at this time?

Call 733-5822 Saturday and Sunday and leave your comments on our machine. You may fax your responses to 356-8360 or e-mail them to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Comments can also be posted on The Conway Daily Sun's Facebook page. Results will be published Tuesday.