CONWAY — With the Robert Frost Public Charter School Board of Trustees approving a plan drafted by the Re-Entry Committee last Thursday, school is scheduled to begin next Tuesday for both face-to-face and remote learners.
A lot of planning and work put into preparing for students to return to the school building. Volunteers have been cleaning, sorting, organizing, gardening and constructing outdoor classroom space for each of the classrooms to utilize once school is back in session.
“We are very excited to welcome Frost families back to the building on Sept. 8,” said board chair Tracy Strout.
Strout expects 50 students this year in grades K-8 with most doing in-person classes; however, she said, everyone can through the use of technology as much as possible.
“Once the state released its (COVID-19) back-to-school guidance, our committee got to work creating a plan to get our students back into the building,” Head of School Janine McLauchlan said.
Located in Conway Village on Route 16, the school is spread across two floors in the Salyards Building, where, according to Strout, the high vaulted ceilings, windows and open layout allow for great air flow.
Students will also be split between floors, minimizing the level of exposure to other students within the building.
Strout said face masks will be required when students are not in their assigned seats or outside for recess provided they are able to social distance.
The school’s plan three models — red, orange and green — and each model has one or multiple community events and the response that the school will implement.
The committee, according to Strout, consists of parents, teachers, staff and board members who thought it was important “to give the school community as much stability as possible in these uncertain times.”
“This model allows for a consistent response to changes in the COVID-19 landscape and reduces confusion over why a certain model might be in place,” said McLauchlan.
The Robert Frost teaching team returned to the building Aug. 26 for Montessori training.
According to Wikipedia, “Montessori education is characterized by an emphasis on independence, freedom within limits, and respect for a child’s natural psychological development, as well as technological advancements.”
Teachers also are participating in CPR training along with additional preparations needed to have things in place for the first day of school.
“It has been nice to be together again — even with the social distancing and masks, there is nothing like being together; we are a team,” said lead teacher Kimberly Lee. “We are just excited to begin the new school year.”
The re-entry plan allows for families to choose a remote learning option if they would rather not have their student in the building. If families choose this option, however, they must commit to it for the entire trimester.
Robert Frost enrolled 44 youngsters in grades 1-4 when it first opened its doors as the first charter school in Conway in 2012.
“Delivering educational choice to the families of New Hampshire, while simultaneously creating jobs and supporting the trades here in the Mount Washington Valley brings much-anticipated joy to our team,” Ellen Ohlenbusch, then-chair of the Robert Frost Charter School board of trustees, said after that first day on Sept. 3.
“Robert Frost Public Charter School was founded to deliver a powerful integration of Montessori and project-based learning,” McLauchlan states on the school’s website.
“The mixed-age groupings and an approach to child-centered teaching enable our students to move at their own pace, and supports children of all abilities and backgrounds to be successful.”
Project-Based Learning, according to Wikipedia, is “an instructional method that provides students with complex tasks based on challenging questions or problems that involve the students’ problem solving, decision making, investigative skills, and reflection that includes teacher facilitation, but not direction.”
There are a few openings in kindergarten, first/second-grade and third/fourth-grade classes for the current school year at the Robert Frost Charter School.
For information or to schedule a tour, call the (603) 356-6332 or go to robertfrostcharterschool.org.