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Four New Hampshire Schools Honored As a 2017 NH School of Excellence

The New Hampshire Excellence in Education Awards Board is pleased to announce the four schools of excellence. The Elementary School of Excellence is the Pleasant St. School in Laconia, the K-8 School of Excellence is the Deerfield Community School, the Middle School of Excellence is David R. Cawley Middle School in Hooksett, and the High School of Excellence is Winnacunnet High School in Hampton. The Excellence in Education Initiative recognizes New Hampshire public schools that meet high standards of excellence and can serve as representatives of the many excellent schools throughout the state.

“These schools are to be commended for this achievement,” said Frank Edelblut, Commissioner of Education. “They all demonstrate the importance of making sure each child gets what he or she needs to be successful.”

Selection committees composed of experienced New Hampshire educators and community leaders assess schools through written applications, presentations, and on-site visitations. Schools are asked to demonstrate their effectiveness in the areas of Curriculum and Instruction, Teaching/Learning Process, Student Achievement, Leadership/Decision-Making, Community/Parental Involvement and School Climate.

About the Schools

Winnacunnet High School was chosen as NH’s high school of excellence by demonstrating a very clear focus and support to personalize and connect students, parents and teachers to their high school. There is an excitement for learning that vibrates throughout the school. There is displayed a tremendous commitment to meet all student academic needs with a clearly communicated vision of student success, with a rigorous, carefully planned and supportive curriculum, program of supports, and resources, and with tremendous faculty and staff training and professional development. There is also clear dedication within the District and the communities it serves to make student experiences relevant, to extend beyond the classroom, and to prepare them for the 21st century expectations around them.

A few of the reasons David R. Cawley has been selected as New Hampshire Middle School of the Year are…Cawley offers much to its students. Teachers have high expectations for students, provide rigorous learning opportunities, and use data to differentiate instruction for all students. Teachers, staff, and the community work together to provide unique learning experiences for students. The environment at Cawley is one of mutual respect, caring, and kindness. This is award is a direct result of the wonderful students, staff, parents, administration and the Hooksett Community who continually supports education.

The K-8 “EDies” School of Excellence Selection Committee unanimously chose Deerfield Community School as their use of data to drive personalized instruction and develop structured interventions is evident at all grade levels. Grade level teams use flexible grouping and progress monitoring enforcing academic rigor and they communicate among other grade levels, Special Education, and Title I teams to provide the best environment where students and staff feel empowered to take ownership of the learning environment. With a strong emphasis on “Community” the staff provides an exceptional level of student-centered programming tailored to all abilities and needs. In their application their commitment to their students is summed up as follows: “As part of our mission we made the following commitments to our students, their families and the greater community. We will: Set high expectations based on each student's abilities; Foster imagination and creativity; Create a safe, respectful and cooperative school community; Promote individual responsibility, honesty, and service; and Prepare our students to meet the world with competence, courage, confidence, compassion and commitment to their communities.” This commitment was evident to the committee throughout the process of application, presentation, and school visit.

At the Pleasant Street School the simple saying “We Are” has helped to redefine the school’s climate, culture, and ultimate goal of becoming a school of excellence in New Hampshire. Their road to excellence has meant building a positive community from the inside out. Pleasant Street School has made the difference in each student’s life through personalization, innovation, and inspiration. Laconia is one of the pilot sites under the Safe Schools/Healthy Students grant, administered through the Office of Student Wellness, that helped enable the Pleasant Street School review how childhood trauma impacts how students learn. This level of caring for students provides further supports and helps students to reframe their outlook on their own lives. Who “We Are” has driven the Pleasant Street School to consistently meet and exceed providing for the needs of all students. Pride was created by helping students feel as though they belong to something bigger than just a school.

On Saturday, June 10th, all of New Hampshire’s Schools of Excellence will be honored at the twenty-fourth annual EDies award celebration. This gala event is a collaborative effort of most of the major state-wide education associations. It is the purpose of the NH EDies to recognize New Hampshire schools and individuals who meet high standards of excellence. The primary sponsor, McDonald’s of New Hampshire, has been dedicated to sponsoring the EDies since they began in 1994. The Excellence in Education Initiative is an independent, nonprofit endeavor that is not a function of state government. A volunteer Board of Directors composed of educators and community members administers the program. For more information about the EDies go to

New Hampshire Department of Education
101 Pleasant Street | Concord, NH | 03301-3494
Telephone: (603) 271-3494 | TDD Access: Relay NH 711