Craft Fair this Saturday
The Dorcas Guild’s annual Craft Fair at the First Congregational
Church, 24 Main Street, Pittsfield, is happening this Saturday,
December 7, 9-2. It will feature over a dozen local artisans with
fine seasonal crafts of all types including knits, decorative items,
fresh greenery, gourmet selections, the Dorcas Guild crafts and much
more. The Pittsfield Historical Society also has a table at the
fair. And make your final bids on those special items on the Silent
Auction table. The auction ends at 2 pm on December 7. Luncheon is
available and offered by the Dorcas Guild. There is parking and a
wheelchair accessible entrance at rear of church. More info at
Joyce Sanborn Memorial Concert
Saturday, December 14 at 7:30 PM
Featuring Trillium at the First Congregational Church of Pembroke,
UCC - 301 Pembroke Street, Pembroke, NH
Trillium brings the sounds and sentiments of the season in a joyful
concert called O Christmas T(h)ree. The title is taken from a set of
three Christmas songs arranged especially for Trillium by William
Fletcher, which will be premiered at this concert. Peggo Horstmann
Hodes, Hannah Schramm Murray and Jane Berlin Pauley, assisted by
Calvin Herst at the piano, will present selections from the
traditional to the new, including The Cherry Tree Carol, The
Christmas Song, The Twelve or So Days of Christmas and a few
sing-a-longs to get everyone singing.
Peggo, Hannah and Jane have been singing as Trillium for 7 years and
have also performed extensively as soloists throughout New Hampshire
and beyond. Calvin Herst has been accompanying singers brilliantly
for as long as we’ve known him. Between them, they have recorded
over 10 CDs, soloed throughout New England, won voice competitions,
performed on many stages together, taught voice, conducted and
managed the faculty at Concord Community Music School, where Calvin
is the Education Director, Peggo conducts Songweavers, and Hannah
and Jane both teach voice and conduct vocal ensembles. We sing for
the beauty and joy of making music together and the love of sharing
it with others.
For more information contact the church at 485-9639
or by e-mail:
[email protected] or
VA Marks The 10-Year Anniversary Of My Healthevet
Online Access Available To Support Veterans Health Care
Submitted By Merrill Vaughan, Past Commander
American Legion Peterson-Cram Post 75
In recognition of the 10th anniversary of its
award-winning Personal Health Record, My HealtheVet (www.myhealth.va.gov), the Department of Veterans Affairs is urging all
Veterans and Servicemembers to join the millions already accessing
VA health care information and services online.
VA is marking this milestone by spreading the word about the
benefits of My HealtheVet Personal Health Record, such as VA
prescription refill, VA notes, VA Blue Button and secure messaging
with VA health care providers.
“VA is a pioneer and a leader of health information technology that
improves patient-provider relationships, embraces wellness and
improves health outcomes for the brave men and women who have served
our Nation,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki.
“VA invites all Veterans and Servicemembers to get online to become
more active partners in their health care.”
Throughout November, My HealtheVet Coordinators at all 151 VA
medical centers organized community events, host enrollment and
education health fairs, lead training sessions and work with VA
Voluntary Service to showcase how My HealtheVet contributes to more
informed and more engaged Veteran patients. VA continues to build
its My HealtheVet online health record, adding new online tools and
features, and My HealtheVet Coordinators are geared up to accept new
My HealtheVet enrollees throughout November.
“VA is dedicated to providing Veterans with the best experience
possible, both at VA facilities and online,” said Under Secretary
for Health, Dr. Robert A. Petzel. “We are proud to celebrate a
decade of online access for Veterans and look forward to a future of
even more access to meet their evolving needs.”
My HealtheVet is VA’s award-winning website that offers Veterans
secure access to portions of information in their VA health care
records anywhere and anytime. Its web-based tools give users
greater control over their care and wellness, helping them become
active partners in their health care.
In addition to allowing Veterans access to their records, My
HealtheVet lets them save, print and share their health information
using the VA Blue Button, refill VA prescriptions online and track
their health activities. Veterans who upgrade their accounts, free
of charge, can use secure messaging to communicate electronically
with their VA health care teams between visits. They can also view
VA appointments, get VA Wellness Reminders, access VA lab results
“We urge Veterans and Servicemembers to go online during November
and throughout the year,” said Theresa Hancock, director of the My
HealtheVet program. “My HealtheVet offers a flexible and convenient
way for Veterans to become engaged in their health care and
My HealtheVet is celebrating 10 years of online
access. All Veterans and Servicemembers are encouraged to enroll or
upgrade today at
The ABC Kindness Club organized the PES food drive to support the
Pittsfield Food Pantry. The students brought in 590
items totaling 601 lbs of food. Back L to R Brandon Desilets, Cody
Hodgdon, Devin Bedell, Quinn Bissonnette. Front Abby Cote, Paige
Provencal, Rebecca Smith, Paige Boudreau and Aryannah Carter. Not in
picture Courtney Butler, Hailey Beliveau, Mackenzie Dumond and
Kianna Vincelette The group has also been busy reading stories to
classrooms around the issue of bullying. Students are learning what
to do when they see it. Who are the grown ups in their lives they
can talk to when an issue arises. They are also learning how to
respond in a kind way when a classmate’s feelings have been hurt.
Pittsfield Players’ Christmas Goodie Box Sale
All Proceeds go to The Scenic Theatre Sprinkler Fund
Each box contains 1 dozen cookies, white and dark chocolate bark,
English toffee pieces, a mini loaf of sweet bread, candy canes and
A perfect hostess gift or a box of many hostess gifts!
$12 per box
Boxes will be on sale at Dominic’s Restaurant during regular
business hours beginning Wednesday, December 11 through December 24,
or until sold out.
Dominic’s hours are Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday 10 am
to 8 pm and on Sunday from noon to 7 pm.
Letter To The Editor
To the good citizens of Pittsfield,
It’s almost 3:30 PM in Nottingham. Waiting for a concrete truck.
Looks like I’ll be working late. I’ll probably miss the selectmen’s
meeting tonight. That’s one thing I love about stonework, it gets
dark, you go home. Up here helping build an addition. It gets dark,
these guys pull out the lights.
Another thing I love about stonework is you don’t have to wait for
concrete. There generally are stones somewhere close.
Anyway, sitting in my car thinking about how Carole Richardson
called last night and told me to stop by. She had something for me,
a large decorated box filled with cheeses, crackers, cookies, couple
gift certificates, one to Jack’s Pizza, and cash.
What a gift. Nova also got a box of dog bones, which she will share
I am thankful for the Beautification Committee, and anyone who has
supported their efforts to improve our downtown. They are careful
how they spend their donations. For that, I am grateful. The only
think I’m missing is Nicole Ward’s Christmas candies.
God, I love my town.
Dan Schroth Piermarocchi
Congratulations to Paul & Lucia Metcalf who celebrated their 60th
wedding anniversary on November 21, 2013. A family celebration was
held on November 23, 2013 with 25 guests attending including
children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and special friends Ron
& Judi Ainslie from Scituate MA.
“Meet Our Members” – June Tillotson-Norman
Next up in Pittsfield Fire Department’s “Meet Our Members” series is
our secretary, June Tillotson-Norman.
Q: How long have you worked at the Fire Department and how have you
seen the department progress over the years?
A: Call volume has increased over 60% since I was offered the
position here almost 17 years ago. Changes in the fire service and
EMS steers a lot of what we need to accomplish and to meet those
challenges working smarter and being more resourceful has never been
more important as it has in recent years. One thing that hasn’t
changed is how deeply passionate our members are about fire and EMS,
their affiliation with the department, and their commitment to serve
the community. It’s an honor to work with them.
Q: What projects do you work on as a volunteer member of the
Pittsfield Firefighters Association?
A: I’ve been the secretary for 7 years for our 501 (c) 3
organization. I enjoy having the opportunity to work on our
Facebook page found at “Pittsfield Firefighters Association” and
this “Meet Our Members” series.
PMHS Presents A Christmas Carol
Introducing Actor Daren Brooks
By Emily Little
Daren Brooks, a senior at Pittsfield Middle High School, has been
involved in theatre since his sophomore year. This year for A
Christmas Carol, sadly one of his last plays with PMHS, he received
the part of Fred, Scrooge’s flamboyant, good-hearted nephew.
Daren started working in theatre in the tenth grade at the local
Pittsfield Players when a friend recruited him while in need of
backstage assistance. He was never interested in being on stage, so
he helped by setting up props for plays like State Fair and Bugsy
Malone; Daren was quite content with his backstage roles, claiming
he ran the play and “made it look good”.
Last year, in his junior year, Daren was recruited by the PMHS Drama
Club to play the role of Dirk Shadow in their performance of The
Boardinghouse when they were short on cast members. Daren enjoyed
working with the Drama Club immensely, loving his character, and
having “a grand old time” with his fellow actors.
Daren enjoyed working with the Drama Club so much that this year he
auditioned for a part in A Christmas Carol, taking on the role of
Fred. Daren expressed that he was very pleased with the selection of
the cast, saying that “they’re all really good actors” and “working
with this cast is exciting and different from the five-person play
last year. All in all it’s fun; there’s a lot of energy in this
group.” “It’s been three months or so and everyone’s pretty much got
their lines down. We’re ready to put on the show!”
As for his own part, Daren feels confident about his role, saying
“Fred is really fun to play because he’s an outgoing and charismatic
person just as yours truly. Fred is the heart of the show because he
tries to be fair to everyone. He gives his uncle, who wants nothing
to do with him, a chance for redemption. He tries to keep his
Christmas spirit throughout his whole life.”
Daren seems to admire Fred, and he admires A Christmas Carol just
as much, possibly more. When asked if he was happy with the choice
of A Christmas Carol for Drama Club’s winter performance, Daren
answered “How can you go wrong with A Christmas Carol? What hasn’t
been said about it? It’s a classic!” Daren appreciates the moral of
this holiday story: “The message of the story is, ‘don’t be
selfish.’ Try to be generous. Try to speak up for those who can’t.
Try to help those in need. Everything your parents should have
taught you when you were little.”
Now Daren can only hope that the message of the play is expressed in
their performances, and that it gets through to enough people. He is
very passionate about this play, and would like support as he plans
to continue in the drama field, going into directing after he
graduates. “Maybe I can make the next blockbuster. I want to do
something different from what everyone else wants to do; I want to
stand out in the crowd, I don’t want to be a sheep.” So come support
Daren and the rest of the Drama Club by watching their incredible
performances of A Christmas Carol.
Fred invites you to come experience Pittsfield Middle
High School’s magical performance of A Christmas Carol on Friday,
December 13 at 7:00 pm and Sunday, December 15 at 1:00 pm. Tickets
are on sale at the door ($10 for adults, $8 for students). Please
e-mail director Joshua Shawver at
[email protected] or
director Anne Banks at
[email protected] with any
2014 Calendar Highlights Pittsfield History
Willis Hurd toting his wife Grace somewhere along Webster Mills Road
as published in the 2014 Pittsfield Historical Society Calendar
Learn of the prominent South Pittsfield families that established
large and productive farms in the 1700’s and view old photographs of
their homes in the newly issued 2014 Pittsfield Historical Society
Calendar. This calendar also includes early photos and descriptions
of later residents, public buildings and views of South Pittsfield.
What was the most famous early industry whose products reside in
museums and with collectors today? Find out when you purchase your
2014 calendar (still only $10) at the Suncook Valley Sun offices,
Jitters Café, Carpenter Library, the Pittsfield Town Hall or at the
Congregational Church Christmas Fair on December 7th.
The Wednesday Schedule At Pittsfield Middle High School:
Over the past couple of decades, scientists and educators have been
investigating how people learn. How does the human brain
process information? What strategies enhance learning? What are the
barriers to learning and how can they be overcome?
Whether by looking inside the brain through sophisticated imaging
technology or by closely observing classroom practice, these experts
have been helping us understand what works best. Just as a
successful business keeps abreast of latest trends and brings the
newest products to market, a successful school system redesigns its
teaching and learning to incorporate the newest understandings from
Two research findings, in particular, have been at the center of our
efforts—and gave rise to what we call Late Start Wednesdays. First,
when educators collaborate with one another and learn together,
student outcomes improve. Second, when students are motivated to
learn, they become engaged in their learning in a deeper way--and
they are more successful as a result.
The first years of Late Start Wednesday were focused on the first
finding: that teacher collaboration and learning are essential to
student learning. Every Wednesday morning, our teachers arrived
ready to work together and improve their practice. Sometimes, national experts would demonstrate a new instructional
practice; often, members of our talented teaching force would share
new strategies and methods with their peers.
This time together made it possible for teachers to meaningfully
shift their practice. The downside was a shortened schedule for our
high school students (middle school students come at the usual
time). Yes, they may have gotten to sleep a little later, which
research shows is actually beneficial for adolescents, but many
parents felt that their children were losing valuable learning time.
So the Wednesday Schedule has evolved. While teachers continue to
work together for an hour and a half at the beginning of the day,
both middle and high school students have a more enriched schedule,
consisting of five periods. Here’s what students
experience every Wednesday:
Content Focus 1 & 2
At the beginning of the school day, students make a quick stop at
Advisory. Then, they spend the next two 40-minute periods in a
“Content Focus.” These periods are meant for review, support, and
enrichment. “The support blocks are meant as a preventive measure
BEFORE students need competency recovery, and the enrichment blocks
are meant for students who are proficient or above to further
explore concepts within the subjects that are interesting to them,”
said High School science teacher Christie Dunlavey.
Every Monday, teachers get together to decide what will be made
available to students on Wednesday. They post their Content Focus
topics, and students work with their advisors to select their areas
of focus, based on their learning needs at the time.
After the two Content Focus periods, students then attend an
hour-long “Learning Studio.” Learning Studios are project-based
learning environments in which pairs or groups of teachers from
different content areas work together to develop and implement
semester-long or yearlong project investigations. They can also
include collaborative partnerships between classroom teachers and
local professionals with expertise in such areas as science,
technology, engineering, and math. The National Commission on
Teaching and America’s Future (NCTAF) pioneered this strategy, and,
two years ago, at a Nellie Mae Education Foundation presentation on
flexible scheduling, PMHS staff heard how Learning Studios were
being implemented in other schools in New England.
In the High School, teachers create Learning Studios based on their
own interests and passions, and students select their top three
choices. This year, ten Learning Studios cover a wide range of
topics, as evidenced by their titles: Connecting Canonical Classics
to Context and Their Relevance Today; Event Production, Green Thumbs
Greenhouse, NASA Budget Committee; Preparing for a Successful
College & Career Experience; Poets and Printmakers; Stock Wars; The
Mount Rushmore of Sports; The Power of Asking Questions; and What
Ifs in History. All of these topics lend themselves to engaging
students in deeper learning and exploration. All of the high school
Learning Studios are credit-bearing.
In the Middle School, three different Learning Studios will each
last 12 weeks, with students assigned to them by their teachers.
During the first Learning Studio, students will be answering the
question: “What will you be when you grow up?” Students will explore
different career choices and speak with experts from many fields. At
the end of the Learning Studios, students will present their
findings in an Exhibition of Learning.
After a half-hour lunch break, students head to Advisory Focus for
an hour. During this time, students have the opportunity to
strengthen their “executive function” skills such as time
management, organization, and study skills. They also have time for
college and career planning.
Content Focus 3
The last hour and fifteen minutes of the day is devoted to a third
Content Focus. Again, all students have an opportunity to review
what they’ve learned, get support or deepen their learning. For
students who participate in the Site Council and the Justice
Committee, this time is also utilized for meetings. The Site Council
and Justice Committee meet on alternate weeks during Content Focus
3. “As a student-centered school, in order to have students in
authentic positions of authority, we had to keep pulling them out of
classes. This Content Focus period gives students, teachers, and
administrators time to meet without jeopardizing important class
time,” said Dunlavey.
“Our Wednesday schedule allows us to create a flexible learning
environment and lets both teachers and students engage more deeply
in the things they want to learn more about,” said Middle School
English teacher Chris Davitt. “It also gives teachers the
opportunity to incorporate all of the new strategies and tools we’ve
been learning over the last several years.”
In the spirit of continuous improvement, the Wednesday Schedule will
continue to evolve. As we monitor and evaluate the impact of
flexible scheduling and inquiry-based instruction on learning
outcomes, we always welcome ideas and suggestions from the
community. After all, when the community participates,
our schools are strengthened. And when our schools are strong, our
For more information about the Wednesday Schedule, join the
Pittsfield Parent Connection next Wednesday, December 11, at PMHS in
room 126 at 6:00 PM.