Friday, December 14, 2018

Holidaze Are Here!

Holiday Parade a Wild Time! The "Hot Cocoa Float" was a huge success in the Portsmouth Parade as we waved to cheering thousands of delirious alumni, parents, and fans throughout the route.  Kicking off the holiday season was never so much fun!  Faculty and kids dressed as human "marshmallows" handed out over 1000 packets of hot cocoa with our school logo on them.  Oh, what a night for Portsmouth and for SCS too!

The Meadows Preschool Opening Soon! The new SCS at the Meadows school is under construction and on schedule to open for 3-5 yr olds soon.  It will offer the same GREAT service as all our full-day programs in a special "extended half-day" format.  Open to all current and potential SCS families, the Meadows will be a super experience for families who join us there.  If you know someone who may be interested in signing up, please contact Admissions Director Jess Couture immediately to get a spot!  Jess can be reached at: 603-422-8223 x113.

Portsmouth Elks Supports Imagination Library: Wow, our new program to help all children at SCS ages 0-5 read more with adults is really taking off!  The Imagination Library program is now open for sponsorship and the Portsmouth Elks have stepped up in a big way!  Their generous gift will help make it possible for all 115 eligible kids in our school to receive new books in the mail every month.  Thank you Elks!!

 Annual Fund Needs Your Help!!  As we close in on the end of the calendar year our Annual Fund is cooking right along but we NEED YOUR EOY DONATIONS!  With 100% of our Trustees pledged or donated we have had a strong start, and your gift or pledge before the end of this year on December 31st will keep it going.  PLEASE GIVE GENEROUSLY by selecting the link below:  Giving online is no cost to you so donate NOW!

  SCS Holiday Traditions Abound:  Obviously this is a special time of year for everyone at our school as we celebrate the many traditions of the season.  Starting with the Hanukkah sing-along, we moved to the Gingerbread House Making event this week, and now on to Holiday Spirit Week.  Here's the line-up for each day next week:  Classes with the highest percent participation will win prizes!

Monday: Holiday Hat Day
Tuesday: Whoville Hair Day
Wednesday: Holiday Colors Day
Thursday: Class Choice Day 
(Look for information from teachers!)
Friday: Polar Express Pajama Day

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 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  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 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  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  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: 

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:

 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:

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:

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.)

Friday, May 4, 2018

Happenings Blog Now Available to Everybody at SCS!

 Important Notice to Current Parents/Guardians: Due to a minor snafu in our information systems at SCS we missed getting the SCS Happenings Blog out to ALL our current parents/guardians this year.  That situation is now fixed and if you are reading the Blog for the first time, welcome!!  You certainly have missed a lot over the last few weeks so please take the time to scroll down and visit the previous posts.  You may experience many "Aha" moments as you realize that we are indeed communicating regularly on events at SCS!

 SCS Spring Art Show "Imagine Nation" a Super Success!:  Each year the Art Show at SCS Community Campus is an opportunity for all our kids to show off their budding abilities, and for teachers to offer up masterpieces of artwork for acquisition by private collectors (i.e. you folks).  Well this year's "Imagine Nation" themed event was very well attended and a great opportunity for parents, kids, and family members to enjoy the displays and classrooms.  The galleries in the Main Meeting Room showcased works from every PEAK child, and the individual classrooms reflected works by ECE kids (even by infants!)  There are still silent auction items available so drop on by and buy!

 Summer PEAK Registration and Enrollment: Just a reminder that Summer PEAK Registration and Enrollment in our Kindergarten PEAK and Grades 1-5 PEAK is now open for all families (including your non-SCS friends).  So, look for the instructional email and claim your PEAK days NOW.  The new online system allows you to choose whatever days you want (as long as they are not already filled).  Remember, this year add/drop ends on May 15th and you will be billed for all chosen days on May 16th.  After that date, open days will be awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis.  Contact Jess Couture at 603-422-8223 for more information.

 Magnet Promotion Winner!: Yes, our amazing spotters once again discovered a car with the SCS Magnet on it (this time in the parking lot of an unnamed Portsmouth elementary school!) and presto! A winner!  Are you the owner of this Subaru with the plate NH 4233127?  Then please contact us at 603-422-8223 and claim your prize!  So far we have given out four weeks of free child care and the winners have been ecstatic! 

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

SCS Art Show is Coming!

 Magnet Promotion Winner: Last week's winner contacted us and decided to anonymously contribute the prize of a week of free chidcare to a needy SCS family - well, as you can imagine, that went over huge with some folks who are just making ends meet.  The family asked us to express their heartfelt thanks!  The beautiful red vehicle below was sighted by our spotters and low and behold it just so happened to have an SCS magnet right on the side!  Are you the owner of Plate NH 361-9327?   Please contact Amie Cole at 603-422-8223 and claim your week of free childcare or other prize.

 SCS Spring Art Show "Imagine Nation" Tuesday May 1st:  You have probably heard directly from the classes that the yearly SCS Art Show is just around the corner on next Tuesday.  Kids of all ages (including infants) will be producing wonderful works of art and displaying them at Community Campus from 5:30-7:00pm that evening for all to enjoy.  All families from all programs (ECE and PEAK) are invited.  Light refreshments will be served, and some of the art will be auctioned off to support classes.

 Summer PEAK Registration and Enrollment: Just a reminder that exclusive Summer PEAK Registration and Enrollment for current families ends May 1st.  After that, all remaining Summer PEAK slots will be opened to non-current families.  So, claim your PEAK days NOW.  The new online system allows you to choose whatever days you want (as long as they are not already filled) and at this moment the summer schedule is wide open.  After May 1st all waitlist families will be allowed to choose days and then later the schedule will be opened to the public.  Remember, this year add/drop ends on May 15th and you will be billed for all chosen days on May 16th.  After that date, days will be awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis.  Contact Jess Couture at 603-422-8223 for more information.
 2018-19 School Year ECE Enrollment Opens May 1st:  Yes, it is time to start thinking about 2018-19 and we have made it super-easy for you to re-enroll for the next SCS school year right from your SchoolCareWorks Connect Portal online.  On May 1st a new option will appear in your Registration Tile that will allow you to sign up for 2018-19.  All current ECE children who are planning to be with us on July 1st need to re-enroll, including those who will only be with us until September and then enter Kindergarten.  Fortunately, re-enrollment is simple and you will not have to resend us data we already have in our system.  Also, there is no deposit to hold your space.  Hot Tip: Be sure your addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, and contacts are up to date in your portal online before re-enrolling.  (Fall PEAK students in Portsmouth will be offered re-enrollment later this Spring for start at the beginning of the school year.)

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Special SCS Food Edition

 Car Magnet Promotion Winners:  Wow, the magnet promotion is really taking off and our first sighting have come across my desk.  The first winners were the Kovick family and little Sam will be having a free week of childcare in the Seahorse Room!  Here is our next sighting:  Plate # 3147271 NH.  Call 603-422-8223 to claim your week of free ECE or PEAK care!

 UNH Moms and Kids Reasearch Study is Seeking Volunteers: If you are a mom of kids ages 4-8 and would be interested in participating in a Research study with your children run by the UNH Department of Psychology under the guidance of Prof. Michelle Leichtman please step forward.  Participation involves a simple interview (15min) with you and your child, as well as two short questionnaires online.  Please contact Erin Kenney at to volunteer or call 603-862-3806 for more information.

 Your Roving Food Reporter Eats Kids Lunches for a Week:  Ever wonder what your kids are eating through the USDA approved lunch and snack program we run here at SCS?  Well, so did I, and I decided to eat kids lunches for a week.  Here are the early results and ratings:

Monday: Well, I started the week with what was touted as the "best lunch we offer" in the form of chicken burgers with lettuce & tomato slices, as well as potato salad and apples for desert.  I rated this meal an A- because it tasted good but the potato salad had no mayo (apparently they are trying a new recipe).  The fresh apple was a nice finish.  The kids seemed to love everything smothered in ketchup, and in the end I figure the whole thing was just a good excuse to eat ketchup anyway.

Tuesday: Sweet and sour chicken with Asian vegetables and noodles, strawberries, milk.  This was an impressive name for a dish that really looked more Italian than Asian.  I rated it a B- because the serving I got had very few veggies in it (although other kids got lots more of veggies), and it was basically just spaghetti noodles with a hint of something sweet in there.  The chicken I had was excellent - but other kids got less attractive slices.  Strawberries were good - especially when the kids showed me how to dunk them in the milk!

Wednesday: Beefy macaroni, tomato and cucumber salad, and melon slices.  I gotta admit, I liked this more than I thought I would.  The fresh veggies and melons were tasty and I went for seconds on the macaroni dish, of which there was plenty. (No, I did not have to fight off a four year old!)  Certainly the vinaigrette dressing helped a lot.  Rating B.

So far things have been pretty good - albeit fairly bland as the kids don't subscribe to much in the way of sauces and spices.  I'm thinking of sneaking my Sriracha bottle in tomorrow!

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Awards, Sunset, Magnets, and More!

 Lori Parsons: New Hampshire Early Childhood Educator of the Year!  Each year when the Early Learning New Hampshire organization searches for the unique educator who could possibly fill the bill as "Early Childhood Educator of the Year," they look for someone who is a master in their craft, has a long tenure of service in the field, is respected by parents and peers, and has touched and brightened the lives of hundreds of children.  Well, this year that person is none other than our own Lori Parsons of Minnows fame!  If you have ever experienced this woman teaching kids you know instantly why this was the right choice.  Organized, intelligent, understanding, and most importantly loving, she is the full package.  The attached photo is Lori with two former and one current Executive Directors (Deb Stokel, Jackie Cowell, and me), but there were easily 200 other people at this event, including the NH Commissioners of Education, Labor, and Health and Human Services.  Please take a moment to congratulate Lori on receiving this prestigious award and let her know how much we appreciate the wonderful work she has done over the years.  Congratulations Lori!

 Sunset 2018 Success:  Wow!  What an evening it was!  After months of planning by various Committees comprised of parents, board members, faculty, and admin staff, the event last Friday night was a real corker!  Over 120 people showed up at 3S Artspace, Portsmouth in some fairly nasty weather to enjoy the warmth of the SCS community, and celebrate a school that has done nothing but grow stronger over the last half century.  Supporting three programs (Scholarships, Professional Development for Teachers, and Enrichment for Kids,) the crowd raised over $17,000 through various measures.  From the stage, I can tell you this was a sight to see - people digging deep at every level to show their true support for a school they know is doing good work with their children, and great work for the Seacoast as a whole.  Thanks to everyone who volunteered, planned, participated, contributed, and enjoyed a great evening together.  Couldn't make it?  Be sure to join us next year at Sunset 2019!

 Car Magnet Promotion Launches:  Ladies and Gentlemen let the SCS Car Magnet showing begin!  For those of you who now have on the back of your Subaru, Ford Fiesta, Dodge Caravan, or Audi Q5 one of the coveted "Miracle Magnets of Mirth" your time has come and your chance to win a week of free ECE or PEAK is here!.  Below are the rules, and our first winner is posted below.  Remember, if sighted, your plate number will stay posted for multiple blogposts so check the blog!

Magnet Game Rules:
  • All cars with magnets are eligible to win.  If you do not own a car you can "adopt" one for your use and put the magnet on that - you will have to know the plate number to identify it in the blog.  Cars must be parked, but may be occupied!  Unlimited Magnets may be displayed on unlimited cars!  Just call 603-422-8223 to get more for $5 each.
  • Spotters (members of the SCS staff) will snap a picture of the car and plate and that will be posted in the Blog.  Spotters must not know who owns the car for it to be eligible.  If multiple pictures come in, we will randomly draw one winner.
  • The Blog is restricted to members of the SCS community.  If you got a magnet and do not want to participate please put your magnet on your refrigerator (we won't snap a picture of that!)
  • Current Parents will win one week of ECE or PEAK for one child - all others will win gift cards for local restaurants etc.
  • Families can only win once.  Winning parents with multiple children can choose one of the children's weeks.  The prize will show as a credit on your bill.
  • We will run the contest for six weeks.  We will potentially run it again in the future.
  • As the Overseer of the contest I will strive to remain impartial, make all decisions about winners, and my say will be final on all questions.  Good Luck!
Our First Winner:  NH 3208998     Whoever you are please call: 603-422-8223

 Reading is Fundamental Here is an interesting article about the many values of reading to children aloud - and continuing to read to them well into their middle school years.  It turns out that it is great for both them and you!  Btw, as I was reading this it dawned on me that I still love to have books read to me - I am an avid listener at and the melodious voice of a reader like Charlton Griffin is music to my ears.  In fact, I have spent hours and hours enjoying volumes of history (riding my lawn mower or commuting to work) in blissful thought just as my parents provided for me years ago.  What a life long treasure!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

SCS Happenings in March

 Sunset Gala Needs You! On Friday April 6th our largest fundraising event of the season will launch off at the 3S Artspace in Portsmouth and WE NEED YOU TO ATTEND!  This super-fun event will feature great eats from local restaurants such as Nibblesworth, Durbar Square, and Tasty Thai, great music, lots of prizes including a weekend getaway for two, and the awesome live giving event where you can help us reach our fundraising goal.  Tickets are on sale now so don't miss it.


 Sitter Services for Sunset Event!   Now you can use pre-scheduled sitter services on the evening of the Sunset Event so you can attend and your kids can have a great time too!  The following special options for SCS families are available on Friday, April 6th:
  • Airzone Exeter’s Parents Night Out:  This option is for ages 3+ and includes 3 hours of bounce time, pizza, drinks, and a craft.  Coverage from 5:30-8:30. It is $30/child. Call 603-580-1406 or register online and mention 4/6 Parents Night Out. Spaces are limited so call today!
  • Firefly Pottery’s Parents Night Out:  Ages 3+  This option includes a clay project with painting and more depending on time.  Pizza and drinks will be provided. Coverage from 5:30-8:30. Cost is $30 per child.  Call 603-431-7682 to sign up.  Spaces are limited so call today!
  • Rumble Tumble: Supervised indoor recreation center for younger children ages 3,4,5 in Portsmouth.  Coverage 5:30-8:30.  Phone: 603-427-5437

 SchoolCareWorks for PEAK launches!  Parents of PEAK children will start logging into iPads this week so please read your instructional emails and be ready to use your passwords given to you during the launch days at your child's site.  The programs at New Franklin and Greenland will be the first ones to start this week - children will be checked in by PEAK teachers and checked out by parents/guardians.  The morning and afternoon PEAK programs at Dondero and Little Harbor will start next week.  All sites will be adding secure pictures of the children to their files as we set up.  Look for information soon about setting up your Parent Portal accounts too!

 St. Patrick's Day Breakfast for Older Toddlers:  On March 15th at 8:30AM the Campus Gym will once again be filled with little leprechauns as the Older Toddler classes will sponsor their annual breakfast for their families.  Are you ready for Green Eggs and Ham?  Well, we will spare you the coloring but this is a full breakfast.  Please be sure to RSVP to your teacher to let them know who is coming.

 Accreditation and Licensing for SCS:  This year our school and each of its programs will undergo rigorous evaluations by the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, as well as a visit from a team of educators representing our accrediting body - NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children).  Both PEAK and ECE programs are regulated by the state and require that we uphold rigorous standards of staff ratios, staff training, health conditions, etc.  Announced and unannounced visits happen fairly regularly.  NAEYC accreditation focuses on the curriculum, teaching techniques, teacher training, and other areas of education, and requires that our organization hold very high standards in all of these areas.  The NAEYC visiting team will arrive unannounced this Spring.  We take these visits very seriously and live by all these standards every day.  Children are at the heart of everything we do, so naturally we care about how we do it!

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

The Latest from SCS 2-7-18

 SCS Receives $60,000 New Hampshire Charitable Foundation Grant: Our school has been chosen to receive one of the most coveted grants in the region from one of the most prestigious organizations in the state.  Supporting early childhood education has become a major tenet of NHCF recently and as one of the largest and finest ECE Centers in the area, our school has become a very thankful beneficiary.  The money will be used mostly to support programming and Professional Development for teachers.  Thank you NHCF!

 Important: New date for Sunset Gala: APRIL 6th One of the most important Annual Appeal fund raisers of our school year is the fun and entertaining Sunset Over Portsmouth Event.  Recently we sent out a Save the Date reminder of this year’s gathering but  SINCE THAT TIME WE HAVE BEEN GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY TO HAVE THE EVENT AT THE LARGER 3S ARTSPACE SO THE DATE WILL NOW BE APRIL 6TH.  The event time will still be 6-8:30pm and more information will be on the way.  Please mark (or change) your calendars for this date and plan to attend - it will be a lot of fun for a great cause! 

 Jamie Schaaf Steps up With the leaving of Kelly Lee, the search to replace her as PEAK Program Director has led us to a pretty obvious choice.  Jamie Schaaf has been working at SCS for 16 years and in that time has been a mainstay of our before and after school programs.  As "field manager" to Kelly's programs, Jamie has worked with hundreds of children and dozens of faculty over the years. He played the important role of liaison to each of the public schools in which he was assigned, and often worked well beyond the call of duty to represent our needs.  Further, as leader of our Summer PEAK program for many years, Jamie showed his ability to be flexible, creative, and caring - all of which are traits he will need in this role.  Please join me in welcoming Jamie to this new position!

 Coats and Car Seats Many of you know that there is a new theory out there that coats and car seats don't mix.  I'll let you decide for yourselves about this, but there are companies now fashioning winter child wear so that the straps fit underneath a child's coat and tightly around them.  One of our parents shared this link that may be helpful:

 SchoolCareWorks rolls out With the new software affecting every aspect of life at SCS, parents will be experiencing differences in the systems we use here.  For example, starting today, all ECE parents will sign in and out only on the iPads.  The meal tracking is moving along well, and the batch email and emergency texting systems are ready too.  Since we always put your children first, keeping them, and your data safe is paramount.  Fortunately, Cirrus Software uses a redundant backup system that includes multiple layers of data protection on its servers.  SCS administrators can access the system from anywhere so in the case of an emergency everything will be protected and accessible.  You too can access information and keep it up to date from anywhere through the new Parent Portal named "Connect."  If you are an ECE family and have not received information about opening your Parent Portal account please contact the main desk immediately.  PEAK families should look forward to information about the portal coming their way soon!

 Dance Party a Rollicking Success:  Last Friday evening the SCS Parents Committee put on a fun dance party for everyone age 5 and below - and reports are that it was a ton of fun.  Special thanks go out to the moms who organized the affair and to the PEAK students who supplied fun dance ribbon sticks.  Apparently the dance floor was alive with moves bustin' out all over!

Friday, January 12, 2018

January 12, 2018

 SCS Family Night Dance Party Happening on Friday February 2nd from 5-7pm!  Join us for a super-cool Dance Party at Community Campus.  Mark your calendars for food, fun, and funky dancing.  Also, we are looking for a parent volunteer DJ so if you are interested please come forward!  Please contact Michelle Wheeler for more details at

  SchoolCareWorks System launching now! If you are seeing teachers with lots of new iPads at SCS recently it's because we have launched our new administrative software system SchoolCareWorks!  Thanks to everyone who has helped with signing kids in and out so far.  With the basic elements of the system running smoothly, we will be adding exciting new features over the next few months, so be on the look out for important emails.  PEAK classes will be rolling out soon as well!

  Kindergarten Information Night - February 8th - Save the Date!  Ready or not it's time for some parents to start thinking about your child's transition to Kindergarten.  Whether your preschooler will be entering Kindergarten this fall or next, now is the time to learn about this important transition.  Our agenda includes a presentation on what we do at SCS to ready children, a parent panel of those who have made the move before, and an open time for learning about public and independent school options.  More information will be on the way.

Sunset Over Portsmouth 2018 is Happening April 14th!  Mark your calendars now for the social event of the year at SCS.  Last year we had a raucous evening with parents wining, dining, and enjoying a great night out all for a great cause: SCS Programs such as scholarships, professional development, and enrichment.  And yes, we will be returning with the Amazing Pyramids of Giving that we enjoyed last year!

  Early Childhood Lecture at Portsmouth Public Library: The key to high-quality early childhood education that facilitates learning and development depends on what happens inside a classroom, namely the interactions between the teacher and child. Yet, as families, we often find it difficult to know if our children are engaging in enriching and age-appropriate experiences. To help families be more informed advocates for their children’s learning, Dr. Kimberly Nesbitt will discuss best practices in early childhood education that are verified by evidence to support children’s academic, physical, and social-emotional development. The event is happening on January 16th at 6:30pm.  It is free and open to the public with walk-ins welcome.  This event is sponsored by Berwick Academy and the University of New Hampshire.

 Join the SCS Parent Committee! Are you looking to volunteer in a targeted and limited way but have some real influence at SCS?  The Parent Committee would love to have you!  Build Community, voice your ideas, make a difference!  Please contact Michelle Wheeler for more details at!