The Pittsfield Area Senior Center invites you to join us for a live
music performance by Bill Parker on Tuesday, February 9, at 10:30
AM. He sings a wide variety of music from the Great American
songbook while playing the keyboard and harmonica. Come, enjoy
the free concert, and stay for lunch. If planning to stay for lunch,
please call 435-8482 to RSVP so the meal can be planned accordingly.
Colby Clark of Pittsfield, a Freshman at
American International College has been named to the Fall 2015
Dean’s List. Dean’s List students are full-time students with a
grade point average between 3.3 and 4.0.
Letter To The
During my morning walk I stopped to talk
with Dan Schroth as he stood on Main Street with his signs
supporting legalizing marijuana. While I wholeheartedly disagree
with Dan on this subject (for numerous reasons) he said some things
that got me thinking. He shared his sincere burden for friends who
had been arrested for marijuana and are now convicted felons,
removed from society. His desire, as I understood it, is to “help
them get back into the fold” so he (and they) can enjoy life free
from bondage. What a parallel to our separation from God (felons
removed from His fold) and the freedom (from the bondage of sin)
that Jesus Christ offers to those who put their trust in Him.
Scripture is clear that all have sinned
and come short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23). Everyone is guilty of
breaking His Law, therefore eternally separated from Him. Like Dan,
however, it grieves God to have sheep outside of His fold. In His
burden for mankind, He provided us with a Remedy. God so loved the
world that He gave His only Son… (John 3:16). Jesus Christ came to
earth as a Man, lived a sinless life, was crucified on the cross as
payment in full for our transgressions, and was raised from the
dead, overcoming death (eternal separation from God). His purpose
from the very beginning has been to reconcile those who believe back
to our Heavenly Father (Colossians 1:19-20; II Corinthians 5:18). Do
you believe this?
I appreciate Dan’s passion. If only we who
do believe were so brazen to share the love of Jesus Christ with
others! I pray the Lord will open the heart of understanding to
those who, like Dan, want to enjoy freedom. Oh, for such enthusiasm
to be used for spiritual matters!
In His fold,
The January meeting of the Dorcas Guild of
the First Congregational Church of Pittsfield began with a call to
order and welcome by President Mary Jo Powelson.
For devotions, Evelyn Sheehy Richard read
a piece illustrating how one of God’s greatest gifts is for us to be
a blessing to others. Paula Corriveau read a devotional “Wisdom in a
Doughnut Shop” – concentrating on the doughnut and not the hole!
Updates were made on our shut-ins and the
cards sent. Other correspondence, including various thank-yous, was
read. The minutes were approved as written; the treasurer’s report
provided by Bev Murdough was also accepted.
The food basket brought by Evelyn went to
Nancy Fogg, who will bring it in February, next slated for Gailann
Newton; the mystery package brought by Mary Jo was won by Linda
Nella Hobson reported on the purchase of
new tablecloths for use at collations. There were several ideas
proposed for our 2016 Service Project: “A Million Pillowcases” for
local charities; care packages for the VA Home in Tilton; and
blankets for veterans. Nancy made a motion to do a project
concerning veterans of New Hampshire, which was approved. A motion
was made and approved for a donation to the church’s Building Fund
in memory of Sally Lewis, who passed away in December.
Discussion on our missions’ disbursements
followed with donations going to the four local food pantries:
Pittsfield, Barnstead, Chichester and Epsom; the Infant-Toddler
Diaper Pantry; and the Community Action Program.
The group discussed replacing the older
heavy wooden tables in the vestry and Pilgrim Room. Also discussed
were the current meeting time of 7 p.m. and a possible change to
6:30 p.m. A motion was made and passed to move our monthly Tuesday
evening meetings to 6:30 p.m.
The completed program guides for 2016 were
distributed as we enjoyed our refreshments on the birthday theme.
Our book exchange followed. We will continue to provide for the
Fellowship Hour the week after our evening meetings.
The next evening meeting will be February
9 at 6:30 with “Banana Splits” as the theme. Please bring along an
item or donation for the Diaper Pantry. Larger size diapers (5/6 or
overnight) and wipes are needed. Wednesday workgroup meetings will
begin February 3, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Chickens: The Basics (free)
Monday, February 1,
2016 at 6:30 PM
At the Boscawen Municipal Complex, 116 North Main Street, 4th floor,
Boscawen Dot Perkins, UNH Cooperative Extension Livestock Field
Specialist, will present information about breeds, housing, and
seasonal care of chickens. This talk will not cover butchering or
broilers. Come listen to all the facts and many practical tips
pertaining to raising chickens for eggs. Sponsored by the Boscawen
Agricultural Commission. Register on-line at:
http://bitly.com/UNHChickens Or contact Mary West at 796-2151 or
email: [email protected]
Ash Wednesday Services
The First Congregational Church, 24 Main
Street, Pittsfield, will observe the beginning of Lent with an Ash
Wednesday service, February 10, 7 p.m. As part of the service, there
will be a time of prayer and reflection, the imposition of ashes and
Holy Communion. The Rev. David Stasiak will lead the service with
the addition of special music by the Chancel Choir and the
JuBellation Handbell Choir. Everyone is welcome to attend.
Lent is the beginning of the 40-day season
of repentance and preparation for the remembrance of the passion,
death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It culminates on Easter
Sunday, March 27. Parking and wheelchair accessible entry are
available at the rear of the church building at Chestnut Street. For
more information, call the church office at 435-7471.
How Many Birds in Your Backyard?
N.H. Audubon Needs Your Help on Statewide
Concord – Fill up those bird feeders and
dig out your binoculars for New Hampshire Audubon’s Backyard Winter
Bird Survey. This annual statewide survey will take place on
Saturday, February 13, and Sunday, February 14. Biologists need
assistance from citizens all over the Granite State to get a clear
picture of what’s really happening with our winter birds.
Anyone can participate in the Backyard
Winter Bird Survey by counting the birds in their own backyard on
the survey weekend and reporting on-line or sending the results on a
special reporting form to NH Audubon. To receive a copy of the
reporting form and complete instructions on how to participate, send
a self-addressed, stamped, long envelope to:
New Hampshire Audubon, Winter Bird Survey
84 Silk Farm Road,
Concord, NH 03301
Forms are also available at NH Audubon centers in Auburn, Concord
and Manchester, and on-line. Find more information about the survey
at www.nhaudubon.org under
Data from the Backyard Winter Bird Survey
is used to track changes in the distribution and abundance of many
species. Each year about 1,400 observers across the state count the
birds coming to their feeders. “The strength of the survey is that
we can look at trends over the long term,” says Survey Coordinator,
Rebecca Suomala. “We now have almost 30 years of data and we can see
the patterns of ups and downs in different bird species.”
Last winter, for the second winter in a
row, new record high counts were recorded for several of our more
common winter birds, including Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers, Tufted
Titmouse, and Northern Cardinal. For the cardinal and titmouse,
these increases were more evident in southern regions than in the
north. According to Dr. Pamela Hunt, Senior Biologist at NH Audubon,
“These two species have been increasing for decades, and the reasons
probably have something to do with climate change, suburbanization,
bird feeders, or some combination.” Red-bellied Woodpecker set
another record last year as the Backyard Winter Bird Survey
documents their gradual move north. This species was recorded in
Coos County for the first time in 2015.
Reports of a lack of birds are just as
valuable as reports of many birds. “If everyone reported only when
they have a lot of birds, we wouldn’t be able to see the declines,”
says Suomala. The most important thing is to participate each year
regardless of how many or how few birds you have. This provides a
consistent long-term set of data that shows both the ups and downs.
All New Hampshire residents are encouraged to take part. Results
from past years are on the NH Audubon web site. For more information
about the Backyard Winter Bird Survey, please call NH Audubon at
224-9909 or go to the web site at www.nhaudubon.org and click
Note: There are two bird surveys in February. NH Audubon’s Backyard
Winter Bird Survey that takes place in New Hampshire only, and the
Great Backyard Bird Count, a nation-wide web-based survey;
About New Hampshire Audubon
New Hampshire Audubon is a nonprofit statewide membership
organization dedicated to the protection of New Hampshire’s natural
environment for wildlife and for people. Independent of the National
Audubon Society, New Hampshire Audubon has offered programs in
wildlife conservation, land protection, environmental policy, and
environmental education since 1914. Expert educators give programs
to children, families, and adults in schools and at four nature
centers throughout the state. Staff biologists and volunteers
conduct bird conservation efforts such as the Peregrine Falcon
restoration. New Hampshire Audubon protects thousands of acres of
wildlife habitat and is a voice for sound public policy on
environmental issues. For information on New Hampshire Audubon,
including membership, volunteering, programs, sanctuaries, and
publications, call 224-9909, or visit
Boosting Happiness Through Emotional Wellness
The Pittsfield Area
Senior Center is hosting a Concord Regional Visiting Nurses
Association program called, “Boosting Happiness Through Emotional
Wellness” on Tuesday, February 16, at 10:30 AM. Much like the
seasons, people constantly experience changes in their lives.
Emotional wellness is having ability to understand ourselves and
cope with the challenges that life can bring. As an individual ages
the opportunity to encounter, a major challenge increases. This can
include having to leave one’s home, loss of a loved one, diagnoses
of a disease, or a case of winter blues. All of these factors can
have a strong impact not only on our bodies, but on our minds as
well. Despite the obstacles, your emotional well-being is a crucial
factor of your overall health and this workshop will discuss
different strategies to manage our emotional health in the face of
change and a challenge. Please call the Pittsfield Senior Center at
435-8482 by February 11th if planning on attending so that the
workshop will not be cancelled.
Personal Transformation Intensive Free
A Wellness Institute trademarked program,
offered in several states in the US and several countries worldwide.
P.T.I. is a powerful Heart-Centered
Personal Program. Come learn how this program can transform you. In
this program one will experience heart-centered community and these
powerful techniques: HeartCentered, Hypnotherapy, Breath Therapy,
Energetic trance induced psychodrama, subtle body energy work and
The free introductory experience will be
February 7, 3-4:15pm at Sage Welleness Center & Spa, LLC, 175
Barnstead Road, Pittsfield.
This program is co-facilitated by Linda
Tremblay, LCMHC, MLADC, ACHT and Jerome Croan, LICSW, ACHT.
What Happens When Instead Of Suspensions,
Kids Talk Out Their Mistakes?
New Hampshire high school asks students to
talk, listen and make amends By Emily Richmond This story was
produced by The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit, independent news
organization focused on inequality and innovation in education. ©
2015 Emily Richmond, as first published by The Atlantic.
When freshman Hope Parent left her
cellphone unattended at Pittsfield Middle High School, last year,
her classmate Brandon Bojarsky saw his chance for a little fun.
Grabbing the device off a windowsill in
their Spanish class, he quickly shot off a few obnoxious text
messages to people in her contact list — including one to Hope’s
By the time Hope figured out what Brandon
had done, her phone battery had died. She couldn’t immediately
follow up with people to tell them the unkind words hadn’t
originated with her.
But even worse, her mother — who lives out
of state — was deeply upset. Brandon had texted “I hate you” to her,
particularly hurtful language at the time.
“The relationship with my mother wasn’t
that great so [the message] seemed believable,” Hope said.
At home after school, Hope had to convince
her father she had nothing to do with the prank message to her
mother. In the following days, having to encounter an apparently
unremorseful Brandon at school made it impossible to forget the
incident had happened, Hope said. She took her complaint to a
teacher who had a suggestion: What if the school’s new justice
committee heard the case?
In traditional school discipline programs,
students face an escalating scale of punishments for infractions
that can ultimately lead to expulsion. But there is now strong
research that shows pulling students out of class as punishment can
hurt their long-term academic prospects. What’s more, data show that
punishments are often unequal. Nationally, more black students are
suspended than white students, for example.
As a result, alternative programs like
restorative justice are gaining popularity in public schools from
Maine to Oregon. Early adopters of the practice report dramatic
declines in school discipline problems, as well as improved climates
on campuses and even gains in student achievement.
In 2009, Pittsfield was rated one of New
Hampshire’s weakest campuses. A massive influx of federal aid and
private grants (including the New England-based Nellie Mae Education
Foundation) has since been poured into the rural school, located in
a former mill town in the state’s Suncook Valley.
For the past year, The Hechinger Report
has been following Pittsfield’s transformation into a
“student-centered learning” environment. The 260 students at
Pittsfield are given more choices of how and when they learn, and
they are encouraged to pursue their interests through project-based
learning and internships.
The student-centered learning approach now
also extends to campus discipline. Lower-level offenses can be
redirected to the justice committee, which is made up of student
mediators, with school administrators and teachers serving as
advisors. The goal is to provide a nonconfrontational forum for
students to talk through their problems, address their underlying
reasons for their own behaviors, and make amends both to individuals
who have been affected as well as to the larger school community.
In addition to the growing body of
research supporting the benefits of alternative campus discipline
programs, there is now federal pressure for districts to rethink
their practices: schools may face sanctions if discipline policies
are found to unfairly target minority students. That is a
significant milestone, said attorney Thena Robinson-Mock of the
Advancement Project, a national civil rights organization.
“Students are learning what conflict
resolution really means, as well as critical social-emotional
skills,” Robinson-Mock said. “They’re developing empathy for their
peers, and building trust and understanding. Those are essential
skills that everybody needs.”
That being said, “you can’t crash-course
your way through restorative justice,” Robinson-Mock added. “One
PowerPoint training won’t produce a transformation in school
culture. It really has to be something that everyone inside of the
school building is a part of, and really buys into and supports.”
Brandon wasn’t sure at first that he
wanted his case heard by his peers at Pittsfield.
He’d been in trouble before and the
punishments, usually in-school suspension or having to show up for
an all-day study hall on the weekend, were bearable. But this time
things were different. Not only was Hope mad at him, but so was her
“Whenever I saw him I was thinking about
what I did,” Brandon said. “It was hanging over me all the time.”
(When asked just how often he crossed
paths with his classmate’s father in Pittsfield — a town where the
population hovers around 4,500 — Brandon laughed: “Like, every day.
He’s my mailman.”) Pittsfield’s justice committee meetings are held
in a circle. It’s expected that only one person has the floor at a
time, and interruptions are discouraged. Early in the planning
process, the Pittsfield students opted to write a loose outline for
each meeting, including a list of questions that all parties would
be expected to answer. The idea for a more formal script was dropped
when the committee began its actual work and students realized it
was limiting eye contact among the participants.
When the committee reviewed Brandon’s
cellphone prank, Hope, as the affected party, was asked to speak
first to describe the incident and how it impacted her. Sitting
across from Hope, Brandon was then given an opportunity to respond.
The peer mediators questioned him: What were you thinking when you
took Hope’s phone? How do you feel about what’s happened? Who do you
think has been affected by your actions?
Those were tough questions to answer,
Brandon said. It also wasn’t easy to hear Hope’s side of things.
“I felt like crap,” Brandon said. “I
thought I was doing something funny, and then I realized how badly
it affected her and her family and I felt really bad. I thought what
I was doing was a joke but it went too far.”
In addition to deciding that Brandon
needed to make amends, the committee also determined that Hope had
broken a school rule by having her cellphone out in class, and that
she needed to take responsibility for that.
“That astonished Brandon,” recalled Jenny
Wellington, who is in her fifth year teaching English at Pittsfield
and advises the justice committee. “I think it also made the kids
see that the process was more deliberate and thoughtful than just
handing out punishments.”
To be sure, restorative justice isn’t an
easy fix. It took time to convince Pittsfield’s broader community
that the investment of resources would be worthwhile. There were
multiple meetings with students and staff over the course of several
years, as well as community forums to help parents prepare for the
“People were afraid this was going to be a
‘hippy-dippy granola, nobody’s going to get into trouble’ concept,”
said Wellington. “This wouldn’t have been successful if we didn’t
start slowly and make sure everyone was really on board.”
Pittsfield’s students and staff underwent
training through the Center for School Climate and Learning in
Henniker, New Hampshire, and researched restorative justice programs
in other school districts, including Chicago. The justice committee
officially launched in 2014.
Anyone at Pittsfield, student or staff,
can fill out a community concern form and submit it for possible
referral to the committee. (Major infractions or ones that involve
potential criminal offenses are not eligible.) If all parties don’t
agree to participate, the school’s more traditional discipline
structure is followed.
Since last fall, Pittsfield’s committee
has handled a dozen mediations stemming from interpersonal disputes
among students, as well as five cases involving students and
teachers. In cases in which students raise concerns about teachers,
the staff member can opt to either participate in the full committee
(as most of them have) or talk with the student in a more private
Students who serve on the committee say
participating in the discussion circles has made them better
listeners and more thoughtful about their own behavior both in and
out of school.
“You definitely think twice about how
you’re going to handle a situation,” said Raquel Sheridan, a junior
at Pittsfield. “If there’s somebody I’m not getting along with,
before I might have freaked out and said things I shouldn’t have
said. Now I ask, ‘What would I do in a JC [justice committee]
situation?’ You wouldn’t lash out at them. You would stop and think
about what you’re going to say.”
Restorative justice programs are not
without risk, particularly in school settings, and poor
implementation can actually make problems worse, according to some
experts. In Los Angeles Unified, the nation’s second-largest school
district, it’s been a bumpy two years since suspensions for
classroom misbehavior were banned in favor of a restorative justice
Policy analyst Andrew Rotherham of
Bellwether Education Partners in Washington, D.C., said that while
he’s seen strong school-based restorative justice programs in
action, he has concerns about the sudden popularity of — and
political pressure for — alternative programs.
“We have a proven track record in the
American education system of taking things that are working,
replicating them quickly and badly and consequently discrediting the
otherwise good idea,” said Rotherham, who was a policy advisor to
the Clinton White House. “Restorative justice has become a hot issue
and everyone wants to do it — but it may not be what every school
Kathy Evans, an assistant professor at
Eastern Mennonite University, which offers a graduate certification
program in restorative justice for educators, shares Rotherham’s
concerns. Restorative justice can’t exist in a vacuum, Evans said.
Schools also have to address the campus climate issues that
contribute to student behavior.
Quantifying the number of schools using
restorative justice is difficult. In addition to the large-scale
district programs that have been well-documented, many teachers are
opting to use the model in their individual classrooms. That’s one
of the reasons why a group of restorative justice advocates and
educators met last summer to begin outlining plans for a national
association, according to Evans. The goal is to support grassroots
efforts and to ensure that there’s both consistency and
accountability for restorative justice programs in schools.
Evans said she observed a restorative
justice circle at a school recently in which the students were still
looking to the teacher for permission to speak. That’s a red flag,
“Educators do this quick-and-dirty one-day
training and they think they’re qualified to do restorative justice
work — they’re doing the best they can with what they do know,” she
said. “But the circles are supposed to equalize the power and give
students the right to speak. That didn’t happen.”
To be sure, it takes time to build trust
among students and adults for alternative discipline programs to
bear fruit. A school like Pittsfield where student-centered learning
is the norm has a head start, said Evans, but restorative justice
can — and does — work in many different kinds of campus settings.
“We often assume adolescents aren’t
capable of these kinds of thoughtful interactions, but they just
need to be given the opportunity to develop that capacity,” Evans
said. “We need to stop underestimating students and trying to
motivate and regulate them with carrots and sticks.”
After hearing from both Hope and Brandon,
Pittsfield’s student mediators asked Hope what she needed to resolve
the situation from her perspective, and she said she wanted Brandon
to apologize. The peer mediators suggested he write letters to the
people who had received the prank texts.
That would work for her mother who lives
out of state, Hope told the committee. But her father would want
The student mediators agreed that a
face-to-face apology was in order. Brandon admitted that he was
nervous to face Hope’s dad, but when the time came “he was actually
really nice about it. He accepted my apology and we had a good
Additionally, the mediators decided
Brandon should talk to students in younger grades about what he had
done and use the experience as a life lesson.
As he completed each of the obligations,
Brandon found it easier to meet Hope’s gaze when he saw her at
school. He also said he realized something else — he didn’t want to
be in trouble anymore. (In fact, that incident was his last serious
infraction, said committee advisor Jenny Wellington.) Hope was
impressed with how seriously Brandon took his duties — and her dad
was, as well. “A lot of kids would have just taken the suspension
and not owned up to what they did,” she said.
Taking part in the restorative justice
process has also left them on better terms. Now both in 10th-grade,
they say “hi” when passing in the hallway between classes, and Hope
said she’s no longer angry. Those feelings probably would still be
lingering if Brandon had only been given a more traditional
punishment like detention, Hope said.
“When you’re mad at another person and
you’re walking down the hallway, you don’t even want to look at
them,” Brandon said. “So when you talk it out in JC, it’s like the
good relationship you had with the other person is restored.”
Letter To The Editor
On Wednesday February 3rd the Pittsfield Municipal Budget Committee
will hold its annual public hearing on the municipal and school
budgets. Department heads, Selectmen, School Board members and
members of the Budget Committee have been working hard on putting
together budgets to present at the Town and School meetings in
March. After much hard work by both the School and the Town,
the Budget Committee is still concerned about increases in both the
Town and School Budgets that could ultimately increase your tax
We are working hard on additional adjustments to both budgets but,
truly want to hear from you the public as what you think of the
budgets as they stand now. So please attend the budget
hearings on February 3rd (snow date February 4th), starting at 7:00
PM in the Lecture hall at Pittsfield Middle High School. After
we have heard your comments, we will be making our final
recommendations at our next meeting(s). We hope you can attend.
The Town of Pittsfield Budget Committee