Oyster River hosts district-wide Coding and Cocoa event
DURHAM – Students throughout the Oyster River Cooperative School District recently participated in the inaugural Coding and Cocoa event..
Coding and Cocoa, held on Wednesday, Dec. 8, was Oyster River’s first district-wide coding event, with all 1,450 students taking part in a variety of Hour of Code activities and enjoying hot chocolate. While elementary school students have taken part in Hour of Code activities for several years, this week marked the first time that middle and high school students also joined.
High school students ran two live feeds for elementary and middle school students during which they demonstrated 3D printing and robotics. Many older students also volunteered to work help desks, supporting students and staff efforts to debug the programs they built.
Several district parents filmed videos for the event in which they showcased how they use code in their professional lives.
Students and staff earned an Hour of Code certificate and hot chocolate as a reward for their efforts.
“It was great to be able to expand Hour of Code to all of our students and staff, as well as to welcome the contributions of parents who utilize code in their daily lives,” Superintendent Morse said. “Coding is a fundamental skill that all students should have the opportunity to learn, and I’m grateful to everyone who helped make this event possible for our school community.”
UNH receives $3.5m to develop innovative STEM programs
DURHAM, N.— Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have received $3.5 million over five years from the U.S. Department of Education to develop a multi-tiered program that will support New Hampshire middle and high schoolers in learning topics related to STEM – science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The program will supply enrichment training to teachers and establish a peer mentoring program for students, focusing largely on English learners, students often underrepresented in the STEM field.
“As a group, multilingual students continue to be inadequately represented in STEM in college and in the workforce, and these issues have been further complicated by recent education disruptions, for all students, because of COVID-19,” said Julie Bryce, professor in Earth sciences and principal director of the initiative. “Our goal is to find ways to provide students with the assistance they need for communicating and understanding the scientific curriculum in order to gain interest and ultimately succeed in STEM fields.”
The program known as SLATE (STEM-Language Arts Teaching/learning Ecosystems) will be implemented by UNH’s Leitzel Center, the NH Literacy Institutes and UNH’s Community Literacy Center, in partnership with the UNH Discovery Lab, in the Manchester school system and then eventually broadened across the state. The goal is to create multiple pathways to engage in and communicate STEM.
“We want to help support kids who may have interest in STEM but may be struggling in other ways,” said Christina Ortmeier-Hooper, an associate professor of English, director of the New Hampshire Literacy Institutes and SLATE co-director. “By taking a different avenue, such as hands-on environmental research, coding and science communication, we hope to reach some of those underserved students in the area of STEM and also aid them in developing their reading and writing skills.”
Other co-principal investigators include Bethany Silva, research assistant professor in education and director of UNH’s Community Literacy Center; Laura Nickerson, project director at the Leitzel Center; and Jennifer Bourgeault, project director at the Leitzel Center and U.S. Country Coordinator for The GLOBE Program.
Interest in Technical Skill Programs offered at GBCC Rochester growing
ROCHESTER — Time and again, Kurt Douglas, program coordinator for the high-tech trades at Great Bay Community College’s Rochester campus, receives calls and messages from Seacoast manufacturers searching for qualified, skilled people to join their workforce – and they need them as soon as possible.
“They are looking for ways to get employees very quickly to the shop floor, and that is the gist of what we’re trying to do,” Douglas said.
Great Bay trains students in the high-tech fields of computer numeric control, commonly known as CNC, and non-destructive testing, or NDT. It offers short-term certificates in both fields, giving students a fast track to great careers, and has just launched a four-week foundational manufacturing skills course for people new to the trades.
“These are high-demand jobs, and these are good jobs,” Douglas said. “Once you get to a certain level, you are looking at $60,000 to $70,000 a year. If you keep going, it’s six-figure money. So, high demand and good pay – that’s a nice combination.”
But Douglas, who spent 35 years in the nuclear energy industry before coming to Great Bay to share his skills and experience, (is eager to train more). The demand is there – now more than ever, he said, and it continues to grow.
Generally, the CNC classes are full or close to full, with a dozen students in each cohort, but Douglas can accommodate more students in NDT. Douglas encourages anyone with an inkling of curiosity to reach out to GBCC Admissions to learn more. There has rarely been a better time to start a new career, he said.
“In both CNC and NDT right now, demand is high — and that demand is very consistently high. New Hampshire and Maine are experiencing low unemployment rates, and manufacturers are looking for both skilled employees and even less-skilled but trainable employees,” he said.
That’s where Great Bay comes into play. In addition to offering a number high demand programs, leading to career and transfer pathways to four-year degrees, the College specializes in quickly preparing people for careers in today’s high-tech fields. And that’s what the new non-credit four-week foundational skills class, Manufacturing and Technical Skills Training, is all about.
“We are teaching shop math — the mathematical functions a CNC operator needs to be successful on the job – we are teaching blueprint reading, manufacturing skills and knowledge, and we’ll also teach them about the hand tools and shop tools they’ll need to know how to use.”
CNC refers to a computer-controlled cutting machine that is widely used across global industrial and manufacturing sectors, and across the region at Seacoast manufacturers. The machines precisely mill parts used in the manufacturing process.
Great Bay prepares students to become CNC set-up operators, which means they are trained to take a raw material, position it in the machine, load a program that tells the machine how to mill the material into a part, and then oversee that operation. At some companies, operators will oversee two machines at once.
Nondestructive testing, or NDT, involves the examination, or testing, of parts without destroying or altering those parts. It is a critical step in the manufacturing process because it evaluates the integrity of a part and tests it under different conditions, Douglas said.
Students from Great Bay who graduate with NDT certificates often land jobs at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, he added. “They are always asking for our NDT students, and we have many other companies who contact us to ask, ‘Do you have any NDT students looking for work?’ I can’t emphasize enough — demand is great.”
And so is the pay.
For more information on the technical skill programs offered in Rochester, visit greatbay.edu/in-demand-skills-training or contact GBCC Admissions at email@example.com, 603-427-7632,
Rochester’s Maple Street Magnet School to host info night, lottery
ROCHESTER – Superintendent Kyle Repucci and Principal Dr. Erin Mahoney have announced the Maple Street Magnet School will soon host an information night and annual lottery for families interested in learning more about or applying to the school.
The Maple Street Magnet School is a project-based learning community with a focus on community and sustainability. The school uses project-based learning, a dynamic approach to teaching in which students explore real-world problems and challenges and then use critical thinking and creativity to seek solutions.
The school is also focused heavily on family and school partnerships, in which regular, two-way communication between families and school staff create meaningful participation in student learning.
“We use hands-on learning and close partnerships with families and community partners to engage students in exploration of real-world issues, problem solving and critical thinking in a collaborative framework,” said Dr. Mahoney. “I’d like to invite any students and families to explore the school, meet our staff, and learn about our programming.”
Students and educators at the Maple Street Magnet School bring hands-on learning to life using outdoor learning spaces to learn about the community they live in and to explore how the work they do can impact their local and regional environments. The School and Parent Teacher Association are working together to expand outdoor learning spaces.
Recently, students created food systems, designed hydroponics and engineered devices that harness the power of wind by working with materials provided by Karen Deighan of the University of New Hampshire Extension. Students in grades 2 to 5 also met virtually with mentors from the UNH Extension as they worked on hands-on projects.
The school also encourages students to be creative and to make choices by offering Boundless Exploration time, in which students select a topic of interest and get to learn more about the selected topics on Friday afternoons.
The school includes full-day Kindergarten from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., and a 200-day school year — 20 days more than other schools — to help students retain more of what they learn and to give teachers more time to provide enriching activities.
French language classes are offered to all grades, as are gym, art, music and library.
An information night for new families will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 9, from 6 to 7 p.m., in-person at the school, which is located at 27 Maple St.
Application packets for prospective families can be picked up from Superintendent Repucci’s office starting Jan. 31. The deadline to return applications packets to the superintendent’s office for the Maple Street Magnet School lottery is March 11, with the lottery scheduled for March 17.
“Rochester Public Schools seek to provide students and families with a variety of educational opportunities and pathways to fit the needs of individuals,” said Superintendent Repucci. “The Maple Street Magnet School is a great example of how hands-on learning can be used to engage students and teach critical thinking skills while covering all the usual basics in our curriculum as well. I hope all who are interested will stop by and learn more.”
For more information on the Maple Street Magnet School, visit rochesterschools.com/o/msms