Serving the New Hampshire communities of Proximity to Boston, the Atlantic shoreline, the Lakes Region and White Mountains provides atypical access to an array of cultural and educational resources. The Oyster River Cooperative School District, established in 1954 and having celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2004, is one of the oldest cooperative districts in the state. From its small beginning serving 661 students in one facility, the district has grown to nearly 2100 students educated in four schools. While the district is made up of three separate towns, it is a single political unit that operates under the rules of RSA 40:13. This means that the district votes by official ballot rather than the traditional "town meeting" form of government. All of the registered voters in the three communities make up the legislative body that elects a seven-member school board to govern the district.
The Oyster River Cooperative School District has a long history of providing excellent educational opportunities for its students. The Oyster River community is committed to and supportive of quality education. This commitment and support have helped the district recruit and maintain an excellent teaching staff and outstanding administrative leadership team.
School District Information
Residents must register with Supervisors of the Checklist in their town to be eligible to vote on cooperative school district affairs.
Filing for Offices:
School Board or School Moderator--No earlier than 7th Wednesday nor later than 6th Friday before voting day
Submission School Warrant Articles:
By 2nd Tuesday in January
School District Budget* Hearing:Before the 3rd Tuesday in January
* Funding for the cooperative is based on an apportionment formula of 50% ADM (Average Daily Membership) and 50% Equalized Valuation
School District Meeting - Session I -Deliberative Session:
Held on or between the 1st and 2nd Saturdays following the last Monday in January
School District Report:Available mid-February: website or pick-up.
School District Meeting - Session II - Voting Day:Held on the 2nd Tuesday in March
The School Board has seven members (one elected from each town, and four elected at-large) and a nonvoting high school student representative. Meetings are usually held the first and third Wednesdays of each month, and comments by visitors are accepted at the beginning and end of each meeting. Meetings are broadcast on local cable channel 22 and minutes are posted on the www.orcsd.org site.
The School Board News publication is mailed three times per year and can be found online at www.orcsd.org and the proposed budget for the Deliberative Session.
The Board supports the volunteer activities of the organizations below as vital to the welfare of the community as a healthy place to live and grow. Your participation is encouraged.
Home/School Organizations--Call schools.
Oyster River Community for Healthy Youth (ORCHY)
Provides community dialogue to promote healthy alternatives for youth. Call 868-5100.
Oyster River Parents and Preschoolers
Nonprofit volunteer group providing social and educational activities for children (birth through kindergarten)
and their families. For more information or to join, go to www.orppFamilyFun.org.
Want more information?
WORKING TOGETHER TO ENGAGE EVERY LEARNER
Oyster River is served by two elementary schools housing children in kindergarten through grade 4. To enroll in kindergarten children must have attained the age of five (5) by September 30. The two schools are located in the towns of Lee and Madbury. Students are generally assigned to the school in proximity toresidence: however, exceptions are made to balance school enrollments. The schools offer a balanced program of instruction integrating direct teaching of skills embedded in meaningful activities. Children read, write and communicate each day in a variety of contexts. Good children'sliterature forms the basis of reading instruction and skills are taught individually, in small groups, and in whole class settings. The mathematics curriculum of the school district reflects the State of NH Curriculum Frameworks and national standards. The mathematics program provides opportunities for hands-on experiences for concept development as well as pencil and paper activities designed to enhance proficiency and problem solving ability. Students are grouped heterogeneously with teachers focused on providing for unique differences in aptitude and learning styles. Multi-age grouping is an alternative strategy to both recognize learning as a continuum and to balance student-teacher ratios. The school district endeavors to maintain class size averages in grades 1 through 4 of 23:1 and in kindergarten 19:1. Progress is reported through conferences, using a checklist format, a narrative format, or a combination of both.
Essential elements of the elementary program are instruction in the visual and performing arts, health and physical education, and the environment. The schools are committed to rigorous yet nurturing learning environments for students in both single-age groups and multi-age classroom settings. Classroom programing includes thematic and interdisciplinary approaches. Students are often involved with projects and hands-on activities. Teachers try to balance high expectations for learning with choice, risk taking and cooperation. Technology is an important tool in the elementary schools and is integrated into various aspects of curriculum. While we still have much to learn as educators, students have opportunities to use computers for a variety of purposes, including word processing, curriculum integration, and telecommunications. Other technologies such as analysis of television viewing and using video are among the needs that we have to explore for our children and ourselves. Modification of curriculum to meet individual needs is a strategy teachers use to address the complex process of effectively teaching all. Undergirding this mission is constant encouragement of constructive work habits and expectation of high performance standards. Acknowledgment by peers and adults is schoolwide; social responsibility is recognized and practiced early on as part of quality schooling.
The Oyster River elementary staff accepts the responsibility of continually developing their skills as professionals.The dynamic nature of educating our children makes it essential that we continually revise curriculum and the strategies used to implement it as well as the structures used to deliver it.
MAST WAY, Lee
Carrie Vaich, Principal 659-3001
Grades Kindergarten - 4
Dennis Harrington, Principal 742-2900
OYSTER RIVER MIDDLE
Grades 5-8, Durham
Jay Richard, Principal 868-2820
The middle school is a dynamic learning environment specializing in challenging and meeting the needs of young adolescents, ages 10-14. At the heart of the school is a 20,000 volume media center. Students and teachers can readily access technology in a totally networked facility with both laboratory and classroom computer availability.
Fifth grade students begin the middle school experience in self-contained classrooms. During grades 6, 7, and 8 students are assigned to interdisciplinary teams focusing on math, science, social studies and language arts. These teams provide smaller units within the school with which students can identify. Throughout these years the students work to solidify and to expand their understanding of basic concepts, skills and attitudes in preparation for more independent learning experiences. For the most part, class groupings are heterogeneous. Quarterly unified arts classes in music, art, health, and technical education/life skills are offered at each grade level. These provide an opportunity for the students to create a balance in their lives and to develop interests of which they might not be aware. Physical education is offered two days a week for all students. Foreign language studies begin in grade 7. Students study either Spanish or French. The goal of the Middle School is to provide an environment that empowers all students to achievetheir potential. Students are encouraged to participatein a variety of cocurricular and extracurricular activities to broaden their experience.
OYSTER RIVER HIGH
Todd Allen, Principal 868-2375
Grades 9-12, Durham
The high school is home to approximately 700 students in grades 9-12. Having enjoyed a reputationfor academic excellence since its beginnings in the 1960's, it attracts and sustains an exceptionally strong faculty that assumes leadership roles in state and regional professional organizations. Completed in 2005, a state-of-the-art building of 200,000 sq ft provides a wide range of resources to facilitate the educational programs. Classrooms, science and technology labs, performing and visual art spaces, coupled with an auditorium, gymnasium, library and roomy cafeteria comprise the school. While about 75% of the student body continues on to various forms of higher education, we recognize and embrace diversity and individuality. We focus on providing students with individualized instruction, providing a full range of courses that allowour students to pursue their own interests anddevelop a personal educational plan. The majorityof our classes reflect a strong belief in heterogeneousand multiage grouping. Approximately 50 studentsannually enroll in courses at regional vocational centers.Each year several of our seniors are able totake classes at UNH as they seek to further exploretheir educational options.A high percentage of students (85%) participatein co-curricular activities including Student Senate, Interact Club, Community Service Club, French and Spanish Clubs, Russian Exchange, and Race Unity/Diversity Club, chorus, jazz ensemble and theaterproductions. Math team members participate in academiccompetitions; students publish the yearbook,the student newspaper and literary magazine and directprograms in environmental activism. In addition,the school supports over 40 athletic teams during three seasons of interscholastic sports.