Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving from Seacoast Community School!

Happy Holiday to the SCS Community!:  Naturally, as a school dedicated to families there are lots of great things going on at SCS to celebrate one of our favorite holidays - Thanksgiving!  Classes are having activities such as churning butter, baking bread, and participating in a family turkey project, while the Campus ECE classes celebrated as a full group with an assembly of songs, fun, and a group quilt project.  A great time was had by all! 

New SCS Extended Half-Day Preschool opening on January 7th: As many of you know we are super-happy to announce that we will be opening a new Preschool for ages 3-5 called SCS at the Meadows at the beginning of the new year.  Answering the call for the highest quality Preschool services for all families of the Seacoast, we will enjoy renovated facilities, expert teachers, and special hours (7:30am-1:30pm).  It's open to all current and potential SCS families so if you know someone who may be interested in this service, please contact Admissions Director Jess Couture immediately to get a spot!  Jess can be reached at: 603-422-8223 x113.

Portsmouth Holiday Parade December 1st:  Each year we parade our school in front of thousands of people (and prospective families) in this annual event.  This year it will occur on December 1st at 5:30-7:30pm and we would love to have you join us and have your kids IN THE PARADE!  Our theme this year is "Hot Cocoa" and we are looking for folks who would like to dress as marshmallows to hand out packets.  (Yup, you read that right!)  Contact Sarah Fleck sfleck@Seacoastcommunityschool.org if you want to take part!

  SCS Strategic Planning Gathering a Success!:  After six months of planning and preparation the gathering to brainstorm the new direction for the school brought out over 45 people to do the "heavy lifting".  We gathered as a whole group and imagined what our school would look like, broke into smaller groups to work out the details, and then reviewed the Survey we sent out to the larger community over the past few weeks.  Now comes the culling of ideas into larger concepts that will be done by the Strategic Plan Committee and the Board in retreat in January.  Special thanks goes out to everyone who turned a good event plan into a great day!

Giving Tuesday is a GREAT day to Give!  How do we do so much as a school and still keep our tuition costs reasonable for families?  Why, the Annual Fund of course!  Because we never charge what it takes to fund the full experience for each child at SCS, we use our Annual Appeal to make up that difference.  Last year we set a record of raising $50,000 from our community and this year we will be shooting for $65,000.  PLEASE GIVE GENEROUSLY ON GIVING TUESDAY, Nov. 27th.  We need your help!

Thursday, November 15, 2018

New SCS Preschool to Open in Portsmouth!

Seacoast Community School Preschool at the Meadows

 The Portsmouth Housing Authority, the Portsmouth Public Schools, and Seacoast Community School are pleased to announce the establishment of “The Preschool at the Meadows” located at The Gosling Meadows Recreation Center in Portsmouth.  Dedicated to early childhood education for ages 3-5, the school will be operated, staffed, and administered as a branch of Seacoast Community School, and will formally open its doors on January 7th, 2019.

The new school reflects the missions of the three institutions as the Housing Authority seeks to provide quality services to families in the Gosling Meadows neighborhood, the Portsmouth School Department seeks to ensure all families have the option to attend high quality preschool before entering Kindergarten, and the Seacoast Community School has provided “nurturing care and exceptional education” for children in the region for over 50 years.

The idea for the school came from meetings between the three organizations that started last spring and continued through the summer.  A special research committee formed by the school system in 2017 had identified the need for quality preschool for incoming Kindergartners in Portsmouth, and simultaneously the Housing Authority recognized that in its quest to improve quality of life for families in the Gosling Meadows neighborhood, a preschool within walking distance of the families would be a great help to the community.  Seacoast Community School saw this as an opportunity to fulfill its mission by opening a “licensed plus” early childhood education facility beyond its current programs at The Community Campus.

The school will primarily serve families in the Gosling Meadows community and surrounding neighborhoods with admissions preference given to those families in PHA housing, and other families in the broader SCS community as well.  Children ages 3-5 will experience an extended half-day program open from 7:30am-1:30pm Monday through Friday.  Highly experienced SCS teachers will deliver a curriculum emphasizing interpersonal skills, creative play, intellectual development, and physical activities.  The renovated facility located in the heart of the Gosling Meadows neighborhood will include new classrooms and play areas.  The school will offer 2, 3, and 5 day schedules each week with breakfast and lunch served each day at no extra charge.

Applications for admission are available now, and the process can be started by contacting Seacoast Community School at 603-422-8223.  Tuitions are competitive, billed weekly, and may be supplemented by New Hampshire childcare subsidies as well as scholarships provided by the school.  Families are encouraged to seek assistance when applying for subsidies and scholarships by contacting Admissions Director Jess Couture at 603-422-8223 x113.  For more information about Seacoast Community School please visit the website at www.seacoastcommunityschool.org.  In addition to public donations, organizations supporting SCS include The United Way, The New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, The Lindsay Trust, and The Foundation for Seacoast Health.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

School Year Starts with Gusto!

Events Launch Community FeelOur 2018-19 school year is off to a wonderful start with full classes, new staff, and a sense of freshness in the air!  The Parents Picnic was a great success as dozens of families gathered to participate in the Pot Luck and reconnect at Community Campus.  Our Memorial Bridge 5K Road Race went off with a bang this past weekend and hundreds of runners joined the smooth route through Portsmouth under clear skies Lots more events are on the horizon so keep looking for ways you can be part of this great school community!

New Families, New ClassesAs I pointed out in my previous blogpost, Fall means the welcoming of new families to many parts of the school, but did you also know that it is a common time for matriculation to new classes too?  Many children in the Early Childhood levels have been testing out their new digs as they mature into being with older kids.  The good news is that they are often reunited with old friends who may have made the transition before them - and that makes the whole experience easier!  We are always careful to plan in lots of "adjustment" time for every child as they move up, and the teachers are very careful to help kids with the move.

SCS Admissions Reflects Increased Popularity Each year we start work on designing the budget in January, and the Board of Directors approves it at the Annual Meeting in June.  Constantly aware of producing and living by a balanced budget, we try to project our percentage of enrollment across the school using lots of tried and true metrics.  This year we basically projected that our classes would run at about 92% capacity across all ECE and PEAK programs, but in reality we are now running at 99% capacity!  Our popularity is not by chance, as we work incredibly hard to be the best school in the seacoast.  Spreading the good word about SCS to family and friends helps a great deal - so please keep up the good work!

Grandparents/Special Friends Days are on the Horizon:  Our annual events celebrating grandparents, special friends, and of course our children are happening soon!  On October 18th we will be welcoming folks to all PEAK after school programs at our Little Harbor, Dondero, New Franklin, and Greenland Sites.  On October 19th we will be opening up classrooms at our Community Campus site for ages Infant-5yr olds.  New this year our Community Pre-School at Little Harbour will be entertaining visitors also - this will happen from 9-12 on October 19th.  Click below to sign up Grandparents and/or Special Friends NOW:


$65,000 Annual Fund to Launch November 1st How do we do so much as a school and still keep our tuition costs reasonable for families?  Why, the Annual Fund of course!  Because we never charge what it takes to fund the full experience for each child at SCS, we use our Annual Appeal to make up that difference.  Last year we set a record of raising $50,000 from our community and this year we will be shooting for $65,000.  PLEASE GIVE GENEROUSLY when we solicit for the fund this year!  We need your help!

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Summer ends ... School Year begins!

Welcome New Families Fall is such a great time of year - and always filled with the feelings of starting something new.  It also means school beginnings, new friends, and the launch of the new academic year calendar.  All this is underscored at SCS this September by the large number of new families now in attendance.  Serving "All Children" of the seacoast means being open to literally everyone; including all socioeconomic groups, races, classes, religions, and orientations of people in our area.  Many of our new families are a diverse reflection of the area.  Welcome everyone!

Summer PEAK's Final Days After a wonderful summer of fun in the sun, our PEAK Program finished up last week by letting the air our of the blow-up swim floats and folding up the beach chairs.  Looking back, it was a great season as the new KPEAK was a success, and the new fieldtrip schedule worked out just fine for everyone.  Thanks to all the kids and families who attended, and special thanks to all the great staff!
SCS Parents Committee Needs You!  The SCS Parents Committee will be forming up soon for the 2018-19 school year - WE NEED YOUR HELP!  Be involved in making SCS the best it can be by joining a great group of folks who want to have fun doing it.  Contact Sarah Fleck at SFleck@Seacoastcommunityschool.org now!

Save the Date!  The SCS Family Back to School Pot Luck Picnic Gathering will be on September 12th 5:00pm-7:00pm.  Be sure to mark your calendars for this wonderful event sponsored by the Parent Committee and featuring food from many of our families.  The event is open to ALL and will happen at Community Campus, 100 Campus Drive in Portsmouth.  More information will be on the way, and remember ALL siblings are welcome!

  Imagination Library Starts in SeptemberEvery SCS student under the age of 5 has been offered the opportunity to join our new reading initiative and over 110 are signed up!  Dolly Parton's Imagination Library will be sending free reading books monthly to all these families starting with the introductory book "The Little Engine That Could" in September.  If you are enrolled in SCS (or have non-SCS siblings under 5) and are not already signed up, you can get free reading books too.  Just contact Amie Cole in the main office at ACole@Seacoastcommunityschool.org.  The books are age appropriate, and intended to be read by parents to their kids.

Seacoast Community School C.A.R.E.S. theme"ACCEPTANCE":  This year's school theme could not be more appropriate.  To us, Acceptance means recognizing that all people have feelings, hopes and dreams.  It is an appreciation for diversity in all its aspects.  It is being patient, forgiving, and affirming of others.  It is also means being understanding of things in our lives we may not be able to control.  All the teachers and classes will be working our theme into their experiences and daily activities this year, so feel free to help us celebrate!

The Annual Memorial Bridge 5K Road Race: October 7th!  Sponsoring this great event in cooperation with Prescott Park Arts Festival has become a yearly happening that many folks look forward to.  Running through the streets of Portsmouth on a brisk fall Sunday morning is just heaven to many locals - so why not join them?  You  can also join our hearty group of Race Volunteers by contacting Sarah Fleck at SFleck@Seacoastcommunityschool.org.  Our sponsors this year include: Kennebunk Savings, Cambridge Trust Bank, Tidal Media Group, Beswick Engineering, Salem Five, and many more!  Click here to sign up now: http://www.memorialbridgeroadrace.com 

Strategic Planning Starts This Fall The SCS Board of Directors will be launching a new Strategic Planning Project this fall and we hope to produce a new Strategic Plan by the Spring.  This type of work helps the school look far out into the future and imagine what SCS looks like, and then determines how to get there!  Look forward to more information on how you can participate in the coming weeks!

Monday, July 23, 2018

Summer News!

 SCS Summer PEAK Returns!:  Each year kids and families look forward to the amazing program we call Summer PEAK!  Fun days, field trips, pool time and many other great activities become the highlight of the season for many SCS kids.  New this year, the separate-but-just-as-fun KPEAK Kindergarteners program opened with fanfare.  Designed to help working families with extended hours and a flexible enrollment schedule, the K-5 program uses Little Harbour School as a base camp.  Also new this year was the online registration that allowed families to choose any day they wanted to attend as long as there were openings.  If you are interested in extra days of fun this summer we have a few scattered slots open so please contact the school 603-422-8223.

 Memorial Bridge 5K Road Race October 7th, 2018:  Sign-ups for our annual road race are now open and this year we are once again guaranteeing a great race/run experience!  Starting in Kittery and passing over the huge Memorial Bridge, the 3.2 mile race takes a gentle loop through nice Portsmouth neighborhoods.  The course is flat and fast so get your running shoes on and make this a culmination of your summer exercise program.  Kids are welcome to run too, and there is a "Kids Run" for real little ones at the end, which is always a lot of fun.  REGISTER NOW: http://www.memorialbridgeroadrace.com

 Jess Couture becomes Director of Admissions:  In a reorganization of administration that better describes her responsibilities, our own Jess Couture will be taking on a new title as Director of Admissions and Family Services at Seacoast Community School.  Overseeing all enrollment and matriculation management as well as our Financial Aid to families, Jess will continue the fine work she has done in many areas, and take on some new challenges too.  Congratulations Jess!

 The Imagination Library Launches!: Coordinated by Dolly Parton's Foundation, our new program to bring free reading books to all children at SCS ages Infant to 5 will be launching this week!  We are incredibly excited to participate in the distribution (through the mail) of new books every month to each age group.  That's 12 free children's books every year!  On Wednesday (afternoon) and Thursday (morning) of this week registration will begin at Community Campus and we want EVERYONE with children of this age to register and participate.  The books are entirely free and the program is designed to encourage age-appropriate experiences with each child.  Click here for more information: https://imaginationlibrary.com/

Monday, June 18, 2018

End of Year Brings Lots of Exciting Happenings!

 SCS Annual Meeting:  At the end of each academic year the Faculty gather to celebrate the year behind us - this time it took place in early May.  We celebrated longevity milestones for faculty who have been with us for 5, 10, 15 etc. years.  This year we celebrated the commitment of two of our staff (Alicia Tonelli and Beccy Daley) who have been with SCS for 15 and 5 years respectively.  We also said goodbye to three other faculty (Shawn, Charissa, and Elizabeth) who will be moving on this summer and missed greatly.  Later this month we will be awarding one faculty member with a C.A.R.E.S Award for outstanding practice of our "Cooperation" theme this year.

 K-Ready Backpacks for Preschoolers: Each year The United Way supplies every child who is getting ready to leave us and join the ranks of Kindergartners, with a quality "K-Ready Backpack" filled with many of the supplies they will need to succeed in their school ahead.  The 30+ children flowing out of our Clownfish, Stingrays, Sea Otters, and Spotted Turtles classes over the next few months have each received theirs.  With the End of Year celebrations happening in each of these classes, it is easy to see that the kids are ready to spread their wings and head off!  Although many will be here with us over the summer, we wish them all the best in the months ahead.
Stingrays Preparing for End of Year Ceremonies
 Magnet Promotion Ends - But not forever!:  With the last of our "Free Week of Childcare" awards distributed, we will be putting an end to our campaign - for now.  The magnet promotion was a huge success as many of you agreed to place the decorative icons on your cars.  Our public image skyrocketed due to all those vehicles proudly displaying connections to our school.  As we pass into the next fiscal year, we will be offering the contest again and give you all plenty of warning ... and don't worry, your magnets are still good for next time!
Children's Day in Portsmouth
 Strategic Planning Ahead: After the super-successful completion of our 2015-18 Strategic Plan which brought such big changes as the changing of our governance structure, the adoption of technology in all aspects of administration, the improvement of faculty compensation, benefits, and professional development, as well as many other advances, the Board of Directors will be launching off onto our next Plan in the months ahead.  Is this something you would be interested in getting involved with?  Please contact us at 603-422-8223 and volunteer.

 Program Changes for 2018-19: Adjustments to our program offerings happen every year in response to the needs of our families, our staffing available, and the market in which we exist as an independent school, (among many other factors).  Last year for example, the change in daily schedules in the Portsmouth public schools forced us to redesign our PEAK programs significantly.  This year we will be adjusting again to reflect needs and therefore asking all SCS Little Harbor and Dondero families to participate in the longer "PEAK Plus" program offered each afternoon.  (Please contact us immediately if you have concerns about affording this program - we are here to help!)  Another change is the move of our half-day Starfish Program to Little Harbor School due to construction at Dondero School.  The Portsmouth school system is being VERY accommodating including adding a special separate playground, bathrooms, and classroom facilities.

Magic Fred visits PEAK
 Annual Fund Nears Amazing $50,000 goal!: Crazy as it may seem we are incredibly close to reaching our "$50K for 50 Years" goal!  Less than $1000.00 to go!  PLEASE help us cross the finish line if you are still considering a gift by clicking the link below.  It has been a year of surprises and incredible generosity from every constituency at the school.  100% giving from the faculty was achieved just last week, and current parent giving has been significantly rising.  Also fascinating has been the giving from former parents, faculty, Board members, and friends when they set a record as a group this year.

Give Generously Here: http://www.seacoastcommunityschool.org/support-us

Friday, May 11, 2018

Busy Week at SCS!

 NAEYC Accreditation Visit Behind Us:  Every 5 years our school undergoes a year-long self-study and preparation that culminates in a visit by members of the National Association for the Education of Young Children.  Well, they surprised us in choosing two days this week, and although it was a bit stressful to be observed, rated, poked, and prodded, all went smoothly.  Previous re-accreditations have resulted in SCS being rated "Excellent" and this time should be no different.  High standards, excellent teachers, a great facility, and our dedication to every child is what truly sets our school apart.  Only 8% of childcare centers in the US are accredited by NAEYC - that's 92% who are not!

 Teachers Appreciated During the Week:  Clearly our ECE and PEAK teachers deserve every accolade they earn but wow, they were certainly shown the love this week during Teacher Appreciation Week!  Our Parents Committee provided wonderful gifts each day in the forms of lunches, breakfasts, and classroom supplies, and our administrators washed teacher's cars on Tuesday.  But the most amazing gift of all was the announcement of a "Spring Bonus" for the entire faculty from the Board of Directors at the Annual Meeting Thursday night!  The teachers were incredibly thankful.  Thanks to EVERYONE who made this such a super week to show appreciation for all of those who dedicate their careers to helping children!

 Give With Liberty:  Each year a crew from Liberty Mutual Insurance arrives at the campus and puts in a hard day of dedicated work for our school, and they showed up this Friday along with the great weather.   The Give With Liberty program allows organizations such as ours to benefit from the efforts of employees who want to give back to their local communities.  This year spreading over 25 sq yds of wood chips on the back playground provided the crew of workers a full morning of giving!  Thanks to everyone who helped us out today!

 Ticks: Yes, it's that season again and as we are a school that loves to take kids outside where those little critters are awaitin' to hop a ride, we are taking healthy precautions at PEAK sites and the ECE Campus programs.  This year we are being extra careful as it is projected to be a busy season for the buggers.  Regular tick checks, bug spray, covering clothing, and carefully planned trips outside are our watchwords, but be sure to check your own kids regularly too! 

 Magnet Promotion Winner!:  Help them find us!  If you know the winner can you please direct them to us?  Don't worry it's cricket!  Here is this week's winner:  Plate  NH 413-4073  Contact us at 603-422-8223

LAST WEEK"S WINNER: Last week's prize has yet to be claimed so please help us find them!  If you are the owner of this Subaru with the plate NH 4233127 then please contact us at 603-422-8223 and claim your prize! (PS This picture was taken at Dondero School.)