Letter to the Newmarket School Community August 21 2020

Good evening parents, guardians and members of the Newmarket community.

As promised, here is some additional information on our school opening

School Reopening- Information for Staff and Families

We will have a town hall style virtual meeting on Tuesday evening, August 25th at 6:00 PM to reivew the information and answer questions. I will send you an email with information to join the meeting on Monday morning. Information about schedules, how arrival and depatures will occur and other details are still being worked on and will be provided before school starts. We will share them as soon as we have the plans worked out.

Thank  you for your understanding.

Susan K. Givens, Ed. D.
Superintendent of Schools

Letter to the Newmarket School Community August 14, 2020

August 14, 2020

Good evening, parents, guardians, and Members of the Newmarket community,

I suspect you are starting to get a little excited and anxious as the weeks wind down to our school opening, especially this year. I wanted to share a few updates with you before the weekend and will send you more information on our school opening progress and plans next week. 

Survey Results
Last week the parent survey requesting information about the instruction delivery model that you are choosing for your children and your transportation needs for the upcoming school year closed.  As of today, we have survey results for 1072 students representing 98% of our anticipated student population for the coming year. Here are the results:

Instructional Model:
On Campus               839 or 78%
Remote                      212 or 20%
Other                            24 or   2% (private School, home schooling, etc.)

Morning Transportation:
School Bus                 175      (Prior year 486)
Parents                       556
Walk/Bike                   64
Parking on Campus   92
Other                           174

Afternoon Transportation:
School Bus                261      (Prior year 614)
Parents                      406
Walk/Bike                 114
Parking on Campus  93
Other                          183

This information is needed to redesign schedules and make teacher and class assignments for our hybrid model of instructional delivery.  We are currently developing the schedules to accommodate the two instructional models (on campus and remote learning), social distancing guidelines (ideally on campus class sizes of 15 students), and staff and student needs. This is a very involved process and will take several weeks to complete. Your patience and understanding are very much appreciated as we work our way through this process. 

New Mules and Mini-Mules
Summer has never been so busy! We have hired 20 new faculty members for the upcoming year. Please join me in welcoming the newest group of amazing educators joining our community: 

Allison Tessier, Music/Band Teacher (HS)
CristinaBoisvert, Art teacher (JSHS)
ClaytonJacques, Life Science Teacher (HS)
Nathan Groth, Social Studies Teacher (HS)
KarynHinkley, Grade 1 Teacher (NES)
EmilyFavaloro, Special Education Case Manager (NES)
Donna MacKenzie, Special Education Case Manager (NES)

Also, Jayne Sanborn, the Administrative Assistant to Guidance, has been promoted to Administrative Assistant to the Principal at the Junior Senior High School.  

Masks and Face Coverings
We will be implementing many new health and safety protocols this year. There are several strategies that when implemented in combination have proven to significantly reduce the risk of COVID transmission. Masks and face coverings are one of them. To help us all remain safe and to understand the importance of this, the Health and Wellness workgroup has created or curated the following resources and guidance.

1)      PBS has published a video that shows how virus transmission is reduced by using face coverings.  
2)     Information about masks (Why they are important, what type to buy, how they should fit, cleaning instructions)
3)     Protocol for student mask wearing problems

In these uncertain times, we ask for your continued patience as we navigate unfamiliar waters with the best interests of students, staff, and the greater community. As re-entry plans and strategies are finalized, we will provide updates.  In the upcoming days and weeks, we will be providing videos for students and parents related to movement in and out, and within the school, mask etiquette, screening, and classroom settings.

Susan K. Givens, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools


Letter to the Newmarket School Community July 29, 2020

Dear parents, guardians, and members of the Newmarket community,

Last night the School Board reviewed and approved the Steering Committee's recommendation for school opening. This plan is based on the suggestions put forth by the working groups which included parents, students, staff, community members, teachers, and administration – 81 in total. There is much work that remains and many more questions to answer. We are asking parents to decide the method of educational deliver (on-campus vs. remote learning) for each of their children by August 3rd so we can figure out all the remaining logistics.  SURVEY LINK

Thursday evening we will hold a parent meeting using Google Hangout from 6:00 to 7:00 PM to review this document.

Please join us if you can.

Susan K. Givens, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools



Letter to the Newmarket School Community July 16, 2020

Dear parents, guardians and members of the Newmarket community,

We hope you all are well and enjoying the summer recess! The schools are in various stages of the summer cleaning cycle, the building project punch list continues to get shorter, summer school is underway, and the school reopening committee and work groups have been meeting weekly to discuss and plan how we can safely reopen our schools at the end of August.  The Steering Committee thought it might be helpful to send you an update, gather some information, invite you to a Google meeting on Tuesday, July 21st at 5:00 PM to review this update, and provide you an opportunity to share what is on your mind. 

In recent days and weeks, school reopening and safety protocols have become a politicized topic in our state and nationally. Our work and decisions will not be based on politics rather they will be based on the advice of public health authorities, state guidelines, and the experience of schools that have safely reopened this spring and during the prior SARs outbreak. Please know that the foremost thought in planning for our school reopening has always been and will continue to be safety. If it is not possible to open safely, or stay open, then we won’t. 

Our student, parent, and staff surveys indicate the vast majority of stakeholders are comfortable returning to school if social distancing and other health and safety measures are in place. With this in mind, the steering committee and workgroups have been planning for three possible reopening scenarios; on-site, remote, and a combination or hybrid approach. The graphic below outlines our decision tree for reopening. 

Reopening Decision Tree

All three approaches require modifications to our routines and practices in order to keep all staff and students safe and engaged in learning. Here are some highlights from the work that has taken place so far.


The Teaching and Learning and Student Services workgroups have identified ways to improve remote learning and services to students. These include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Maintain a consistent daily and weekly schedule
  • Develop more project-based learning experiences
  • Provide more teacher-student learning experiences


Attending school on campus will require cooperation and the commitment of parents, staff, and students to health and safety procedures and guidelines. Some of these changes are likely to include the following in some form:

  • Transportation, entry, and dismissal may be staggered
  • Multiple entrances may be utilized when entering and exiting the buildings
  • Health screening upon entry to the buildings and contact monitoring for all staff and students may be required
  • Students and staff members may be required to quarantine for two weeks following illness or exposure
  • Enhanced sanitizing and cleaning processes and hand washing procedures will be in place
  • Social distancing (class size - ideally under 15) and the use of masks consistent with guidelines
  • Sharing furniture, equipment, and instructional materials will be minimized
  • Building use may continue to be limited to students and staff for educational purposes only
  • Parents and visitors may be permitted in buildings by appointment only, meeting remotely remains the lowest risk method of communication
  • Lunch will likely continue to be provided in a decentralized manner


The word hybrid does not have a consistent meaning among educational entities. Hybrid in one district can mean a rotating schedule (some students reporting on some days and others on another day) and in other districts it can mean offering two different delivery models simultaneously. The hybrid model in all schools is designed based on local circumstances, resources, and limitations. For example, school districts with multi-towns, large class sizes and limited space, are likely considering a rotating schedule to implement social distancing practices. Based on the input from our staff, parents and students, we are looking at the possibility of opening schools in some fashion that includes both on campus learning and remote learning/services to those who cannot attend in person because they are high risk or require some other accommodations. 


One of many challenges that must be overcome in order to safely open schools on campus, centers on how to transport students to and from school. Public schools are required by law to offer transportation to all student’s grades K-8 who live more than 2 miles from the school building and any student who cannot safely walk to school, regardless of distance from the school. Though public schools are NOT required by law to transport High School students, Newmarket has historically offered this service to all students regardless of grade level or distance from school. Implementation of social distancing guidelines on buses limit bus capacity to 13 students and 1 driver. Analysis of our busing needs to transport 826 student one-way trips per day (½ in AM and ½ in PM) based on implementation of these guidelines reveals that we would need to triple the number of buses we are currently using. Unfortunately, the bus company does not have the capacity to provide these additional busses and drivers. To provide transportation to and from schools, it will not be possible to adhere to social distancing guidelines if the same number of students use the bus. Regardless of the number of students transported, other safety protocols will need to be followed including all riders wearing a mask. Given the need to plan for transportation and related traffic impacts in the morning and at dismissal, please indicate whether your student (s) will ride the bus (masks required) or if you will be transporting them yourself. Thank you in advance for completing this survey so we can move forward with our planning efforts. TRANSPORTATION SURVEY (link has been corrected)

The workgroups are continuing to plan and discuss strategies to safely provide on campus learning. We have created another opportunity for you to engage in the process. Please attend our virtual “Town Hall” style meeting, Tuesday July 21st  at 5:00 PM via Google Meet. We encourage you to submit questions to Principal Pine (pines@newmarket.k12.nh.us) or Principal Dalton (daltond@newmarket.k12.nh.us) by Tuesday July 21st at 3:00 pm so that we can best respond to your queries.

Have a great day!

School Opening Steering Committee

Nicole Benson, Kristina Cochran, David Dalton, Sarah Denham, Jen DeStefano, Susan Givens, Dave Jack, Mike Kenison, Joanne Lazarus, Erica MacNeil, Janna Mellon, Sean Pine, Debbie Roffo, Delaney Rosenberg, Sheana Thorell

Letter to the Newmarket School Community June 18, 2020

Dear parents, staff and members of the Newmarket Community-

The School Reopening Steering Committee synthesized the survey information collected from staff, students, and parents. Here is a summary of highpoints and themes from the responses collected. 


We thank those who took the time to complete the surveys - the data is one of many factors that will inform the plan for school this Fall in Newmarket.  A few important points as you review this summary.  The survey is a snapshot based on current conditions - answers will likely change with developments inside and outside our homes.  For example, the status of COVID-19 spread may change, for better or worse, as school approaches.  Reopening plans of other school districts and employers will likely emerge and change over the coming months, which will affect the ways our staff, students and parents can participate in school in Newmarket.  The New Hampshire Department of Education will issue guidelines over the summer as well.  In summary, the survey data is helpful, but please be mindful that there are many dynamic factors that will influence Newmarket’s plan for school - the safety of everyone in our learning community is paramount.

Parent Responses

Parents were asked, “If social distancing and other applicable health and safety measures were implemented, would you feel comfortable sending your child to school - yes/no?  563 responses were received (51% of all students) - 82% said yes, 18% said no.  

Regarding the broader survey, 351 parents responded.  The biggest concerns for parents overall are: 1) family stress; 2) ability to learn online; and 3) emotional health. Most parents were satisfied with communication (84%) and their students’ ability to participate in remote learning (75%). 

Open responses reflected a range of comments (praise, thoughts, and suggestions) regarding the following themes: Communication, Learning/Student Engagement, Social/Emotional Health, Technology, and Student Services.

Staff Responses

A total of 107 responses were received from school staff including teachers (69%), non-certified staff (29%), administration (2%).  As to whether staff felt comfortable returning to school if appropriate safety measures were implemented, 11.2% stated they were not at all comfortable returning, 22.4% were completely comfortable, and all others felt comfortable to some degree. 

Some staff (8%) expressed concern about how plans in other school districts where they live will affect ability to come into work (e.g., if their own district continues with remote learning or some hybrid, how will they support their children at home and teach or provide them with transportation).  Staff expressed concern about staff and students consistently practicing safety measures upon returning to school, but believe it is possible with some “out of the box” thinking.

Staff also said that they enjoyed collaborating with staff members, students, and parents, “seeing” students daily, learning new technological strategies and utilizing new platforms. 

Student Responses

A total of 176 (35%) responses were received from students in grades 6 through 12. Top concerns of students were: 1) people not practicing safety (distancing, wearing masks, washing hands, in and out of school); 2) getting or spreading virus to family members; 3) how to stay safe in halls and classrooms; and 4) fear of not returning to school. 

As to whether students felt stressed about returning to school if appropriate safety measures were implemented, 17.6% stated they were very stressed about returning, 27.8% were not stressed at all, and all others felt fell within these two end points. 

Students also noted that they enjoyed meeting via Google Meets with teachers and peers, having flexible work time schedules, and completing project-based learning assignments. 

Steering Committee

Nicole Benson, Kristina Cochran, David Dalton, Sarah Denham, Jen DeStefano, Susan Givens, Dave Jack, Mike Kenison, Joanne Lazarus, Erica MacNeil, Janna Mellon, Sean Pine, Debbie Roffo, Delaney Rosenberg, Sheana Thorell

Letter to the Newmarket School Community June 10, 2020

Dear parents, guardians, staff, and members of the Newmarket community,

You've made it! 

My hat is off to each and every one of you. During these months of challenge, you have persevered and improvised. You dug deep and created moments of joy during times of uncertainty. You remained steadfast and focused on what truly matters, the health and well-being of your children.

Congratulations on this last day of school. You deserve every accolade we can shower upon you, as well as our very best wishes for a summer of rest, rejuvenation, and time with those you love.

To help transition to our summer recess, Supermule would like to wish everyone a safe and healthy summer (LINK). Also, please take a moment to enjoy the annual elementary school drama production, directed and produced by Joanne Lazarus.

End of Year Updates

New Mules and Mini-Mules
A heartfelt thank you to everyone who has participated in the screening processes for new staff. Please join me in welcoming the newest group of stellar educators joining our community:
Debra Black, Assistant Superintendent
Sheana Thorell, Assistant Principal for Student Services (JSHS)
Louise Beal, Speech and Language Pathologist (JSHS)

Extended Lunch Program
Please let us know if you would like to continue receiving lunch from now until the end of the month using this LINK. Please enter your requests for lunch weekly (by Sunday night) so our Food Service Department knows how many meals to prepare. Meals can be picked up between 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM, Monday through Friday behind the Elementary school.

Reopening School Committee
Last, but not least, the school reopening steering committee and work groups continue to meet and process the results of surveys, state and federal guidelines for reopening, and lessons learned from schools that have reopened in other parts of the world. Next week, the steering committee will share a summary of the survey information that has been collected.  

With my deepest respect and warm wishes for a peaceful and healthy summer,

Susan K. Givens, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

Letter to the Newmarket School Community June 3, 2020

Dear parents, guardians, and members of the Newmarket community-

Last Friday, I sent out a link to the Lip Sync Video with 30 -60 second snippets submitted by members of our learning community. The link did not render so I am sending you a new link that seems to be working much better
(NEW LINK). Please enjoy our local talent.

Thank you for responding to the School Reopening Steering Committee survey that was sent out on Friday. The Committee has been reviewing the responses we received this week and realized that for us to proceed with planning, we need to know how many students will most likely be accessing school remotely and how many will attend in person this fall. Please let us know via this two question survey, if you are comfortable sending your child(ren) to school in the fall. Please complete this for every child in your household.

Graduation is on Friday and as of today, we have one week left of school! You are really doing a remarkable job with all you have on your plate. We are here to support you and are cheering you on!

Susan K. Givens, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

Letter to the Newmarket School Community May 29, 2020

Good afternoon, parents, guardians, and members of the Newmarket community,

It has been a very busy short week and I wanted to share two things with you before the weekend begins.

First, just a reminder that the Lip Sync Lockdown video will air on Channel 13 tonight at 5:15 PM. Please take twenty minutes to enjoy our performers belting out their favorite tunes.  

Second, the School Reopening Steering Committee met twice this week to develop a values statement that will be used to guide decision making throughout the planning process. The Committee is also developing a survey to gather some preliminary information from staff, parents/guardians, and students. The staff and student survey will be sent out next week, but the parent/guardian survey has been completed. Please take some time over the next week to complete this survey. Understanding your needs, concerns, and preferences is an important part of the process for developing a plan for our community. The survey should not take more than 5 minutes to complete per child.

Note: Some of you may have completed a state-wide survey recently. This data is not available to us locally. The survey above is specific to our community.

We are almost to the end of the school year. Hang in there and take it one day at a time!

Susan K. Givens, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

Letter to the Newmarket School Community May 22, 2020

Good afternoon, parents, guardians, and members of the Newmarket community,

You made it through the week and now it is time to relax and enjoy the long weekend ahead. Before the weekend begins,  I wanted to share some important updates and information but first, here are the NES and JSHS Guess Who answer keys.

Search for more Mules and Mini Mules
In addition to supporting students, many staff have given time to participate in the screening process for open faculty and administrative positions this spring. We have successfully completed the hiring process for fourteen educators. Last night the School Board confirmed the nomination for two more teachers. Please join us in welcoming the following Mules to our learning community.

Stephanie Cleary - HS Business Education Teacher  
Silas Richards - HS Social Studies Teacher

The screening committee for the Assistant Superintendent has completed their work and has moved Nathan Byrne and Debra Armfield Black forward as finalists. Next week the Leadership Team will interview these candidates and conduct reference checks. We hope to announce the new Assistant Superintendent the following week.

School Reopening Steering Committee and Work Group Planning 
The steering committee will begin the reopening planning process on Tuesday, May 26th. The agenda for this meeting includes identifying core values and beliefs to guide decision-making. If time permits, the committee will begin developing a questionnaire to gather data from staff, students, and parents about their experience with remote learning this year. If you are interested in learning more about the process, workplan and members of the various workgroups, click here.

Memorial Day message from Supermule
On behalf of Supermule and the Newmarket School District, we would like to encourage you to take time to reflect and remember all the brave men and women whose lives were lost protecting our wonderful country. In these trying times, it is important not to lose sight of the life we are afforded because of these heroes. Our gratitude runs deep this weekend, and every day, because of the selfless acts of so many veterans. Thank you, have a safe and fun long weekend, but don’t forget the reasons why we are able to enjoy these freedoms.  

Supermule video 

In gratitude for all your hard work. Unplug, relax, and have some fun!

Susan K. Givens, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

Letter to the Newmarket School Community May 16, 2020

Good afternoon, parents, guardians, and Newmarket community members-

I wanted to take a minute to provide you with a few updates and reminders about events, happenings, and ways you can become active in school activities.

Opportunity to Help Plan for the Upcoming School Year

As we near the end of this school year, we are beginning to plan for the next school year.  The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic will present challenges for conducting school in the traditional manner next year - planning is necessary to address this dynamic situation.  To assist with advanced planning, we are forming several workgroups to address various aspects of the school program, led by a steering committee.  We would like input from all stakeholders, including staff, students, and parents. I will assign interested parties to the various workgroups once they have been created to ensure stakeholders groups are represented.  The work will begin soon and volunteers should be sure they can commit time to this effort over the next several weeks and periodically during the summer - we anticipate that the workload will be heaviest at the beginning with the details of planning worked out by school staff over the Summer.  We anticipate the subcommittees will have at least one remote meeting per week for the next four or five weeks as we arrive at possible solutions.  If you are interested in serving, kindly submit a brief letter of interest with your relevant background to the Superintendent's office on or before noontime on Wednesday, May 20, 2020.  Thank you in advance for your willingness to assist with this important effort! 

Lock Down Lip Sync
Last call for Lip Sync videos. If you would like to submit an entry, please do so before the end of the day. Here are the link to the Entry Form.

New Mules and Mini-Mules!
We have been very busy interviewing teachers and administrators to fill open positions for the upcoming year. On Thursday evening, the School Board approved the following nominations for certified staff.

Xixi Ran – HS World Language Mandarin Teacher

Elizabeth Miller – JSHS Music Teacher

Leslie Horne – HS Science teacher – Chemistry

Dana McKenna – Elementary Speech Language Pathologist

Alyson Bristol - Elementary School Grade 3 Teacher

Alina Steadman – Elementary Title I Math Tutor

Please join in welcoming these amazingly talented, forward thinking educators to our learning community. 

Would you like us to feed your children lunch next week?
If so, please let us know use know by completing this form. LUNCH FORM.

Enjoy the beautiful weather this weekend!

Susan K. Givens, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

May 15, 2020 Op Ed

Is frustration, stress, and anxiety always bad? 

In 2016, Angela Duckworth, Ph.D., psychologist, professor, and author of the bestselling book GRIT, shared what she learned from her research about what influences outstanding achievement. Dr. Duckworth found that passion and perseverance or grit, is a better predictor of success than IQ, social intelligence, family income, health, or good looks.  According to Carol Dweck, Ph.D., psychologist, professor, and author of Mindset, grit is developed by overcoming or persevering through difficult situations to accomplish a goal.  

One of the challenges before us (students, parents, and teachers) for the next several weeks is to ensure all students acquire the competencies necessary to advance and be successful next year using a completely different model of teaching and learning. When our strategies for solving or resolving a problem or achieving a goal do not bear fruit, we can become frustrated, overwhelmed, and/or stressed out. These are normal human experiences associated with struggle and learning to manage these feelings and this tension is an important part of our growth and development as human beings. The point is, all of us feel this way at different times and to varying degrees. Here are some things you can do to manage these feelings:

  1. Take a break, regroup and reenter - Take a break and do something fun, have a good cry, talk to a friend, get some exercise, savor a piece of chocolate or a cup of coffee or listen to some music. Once you have cleared your amygdala and released your emotions in a healthy way, give it another try.
  2. Structure your time. Structure and predictability help reduce anxiety.
  3. Take things one step at a time. Make a list, just do one thing, and check it off the list.
  4. Practice mindfulness – breathing techniques or meditation (I find this hard to do when I am frustrated).

Once beyond the emotion, give it another try. This will help you to see things more clearly and open your mind to new ideas, strategies, and possibilities. So when you feel this way, it means that you are in the process of developing new ways of thinking and responding to life challenges. When you persevere through this challenge you will have grown in ways that you never would have otherwise, and your life will be richer as a result. 

One positive byproduct of this situation is that our grit capacity will expand, and grit is the factor that leads to our ability to be successful in accomplishing our dreams. So I ask, is frustration, stress, and anxiety always bad or is it just part of the learning process?

This school year will be over in a few short weeks. You have all worked so very hard to accomplish this common goal we share. You are growing and learning so much and have accomplished so much. Please take time this weekend to acknowledge this and bask in your successes.  Next weekend is a long weekend and then we will return to gracefully land this year together knowing that we have all learned so much more because of this situation than we otherwise would have. 

Enjoy the weekend.

Susan K. Givens, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

Letter to the Newmarket School Community May 8, 2020

Good afternoon, parents, guardians, and Newmarket community members-

Thank you all for making the reverse parade such a great community event yesterday. It was so nice to see so many parents and students drive by to say hello. Don't forget next Wednesday is crazy hair day and lip sync video clips are due on Friday. Here are the links to lip sync flier and entry form

 The JSHS has had a very busy and exciting week planning the Class of 2020 graduation week program and celebrating the Class of 2020 Top Ten Seniors. These individuals were recognized for their outstanding academic performance with a personal visit to their home by members of the staff and administration Wednesday afternoon. Channel 13 was on hand to record the festivities so everyone can share in their success. Please join us in congratulating these students for their outstanding accomplishments!

  1. Navya Kotturu
  2. Felix Hoehner
  3. Samuel Frede
  4. Maria Willerer
  5. David Eckland
  6. Nicole Berry
  7. Alyson Mooney
  8. Allison Burleigh
  9. Eric Diaz
  10. Nicholas Berthiaume

Note: Moving up ceremonies for the current 5th and 8th grade will take place at the beginning of next year. 

Sending you well wishes for a wonderful Mother's Day weekend.

Susan K. Givens, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

Letter to the Newmarket School Community May 1, 2020

Good evening, parents, guardians, and Newmarket community members-

We hope you all have had a wonderful week and are looking forward to spending some time outdoors enjoying the awesome spring weather they are forecasting for the weekend. We have lots of exciting news to share with you today about some fun, community building events we are planning for the Mules Month of May! 

The Culture and Climate Committee and a few other members of our staff have been very busy the past several weeks contemplating ways we can have some fun, create a sense of community and connect with one another during this time of social distancing. Many great ideas were considered and out of these efforts, a calendar of uplifting community events have been planned for the remainder of the school year:

Mules Month of May

May 1st  (Friday) - Kick-off  Lock Down Lip Sync (For details check out the Flier and Entry Form
May 7th (Thursday) - Reverse Parade - 3:00 - 4:00 PM
May 13th (Wednesday) - Crazy Hair Day
May 15th (Friday) - Lock Down Lip Sync videos due
May 20th (Wednesday) - Guess Who- Staff Addition
May 23, 24, 25, 26th - Mini Spring Break
May 29th (Friday) - Lock Down Lip Sync Viewing Party

Other important dates:
June 5th (Friday) - Graduation
June 10th (Wednesday) - Last day for Students
June 18th (Thursday) - Last Day for Staff

All events are inclusive, voluntary, and will be great fun!  We understand that everyone is busy and at times may be overwhelmed so please join in the fun when and if you can. No pressure, just some light-hearted ways to connect as a community. 

Reverse Parade Details
In honor of School Staff Appreciation Week next week, the Culture and Climate Committee is organizing a "reverse parade"! This "reverse parade" will involve school staff lining up at our corresponding schools so parents and children can drive by to say hello! 

Who: YOU! Parents and students who would like to drive by and say hello (from afar) to school staff members.
When: Thursday, May 7th, from 3-4 pm. Please do not arrive before 3 pm; we have been instructed by police that we need to keep the roads clear!
Elementary: Participants will be lined up along the back of the Newmarket Elementary School building, the side of the building, and the front. Enter via the parent drop off and pick up entrance, loop around once and leave through the playground exit.  Participants will be lined up along the back of the building, the side of the building, and the front. They will stand six feet apart to comply with social distancing measures. 

Junior/Senior High School: Participants will be lined up along the back of the building and side entrance. Enter via the parent drop off entrance and go around the parking lot once, leaving via the parent drop off exit. School staff will be lined up along the back of the building and side entrance six feet apart to comply with social distancing measures.

How: Wear your Mule or Newmarket gear and feel free to decorate your cars!

New Mules and Mini-Mules!

Last night the School Board approved the following nominations.

David Dalton - Junior Senior High School Principal
Sarah Denham - Elementary School Case Manager
Nicholas Evans - Elementary School Grade 2 Teacher

Please join in welcoming these amazingly talented, forward thinking educators to our learning community. 

Would you like us to feed your children lunch next week?
If so, please let us know use know by completing this form. LUNCH FORM

Have a great weekend! 

Susan K. Givens, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

Letter to the Newmarket School Community 4/29/20

Good evening, Parents, guardians, and members of the Newmarket community,

I hope you all enjoyed the mini-break and are looking forward to the month ahead. I thought I would share some exciting news on about some of our student athletes and a parent’s activity guide with resources that can help if you or your child (ren) get “bored” as we continue to social distance.

Our senior, student-athletes continue to make the news. Please take a moment to watch the interview of two of our senior track and field athletes, Cam Young and Callan Malone. NHIAA also recognized ten of our student-athletes in the scholar athletes virtual award ceremony this month. Please click here to view the presentation.   The great news continues; Navya Kotturu won the Division 4 girls Scholar Athlete Scholarship.  Please join me in congratulating these our senior, student athletes!

Parent’s Guide to Education and Activity Resources
Looking for ways to explore the world through books, games, and other activities? The Washington Post has created a parent’s guide with interesting opportunities to explore and organized it by into the following categories: reading, education, travel, mental wellness, physical activities, music, art, theater and dance, languages, and entertainment. If you are looking for something to do, peruse this guide for some ideas!

Happy Newmarket Spirit Day!

Susan K. Givens, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

Letter from Superintendent Dr. Susan Givens

Letter to the Newmarket School Community 4/22/20

Dear Parents, Guardians, and members of the Newmarket community,

I am sure you are looking forward to this much awaited mini spring-break. I wanted to share a few items of interest before the break begins.

State Resources Available to Families
The Division for Children, Youth and Families has published a list of resources available to residents who may need support. Support areas include financial, food, housing, crisis, substance abuse, child care, and CVID-19

Technology Support 
To support you at home, we would like to develop webinars or drop-in sessions based on your common topics of interest.  Please complete this Google form so that we can tailor the programming to fit your needs.  

Newmarket Spirit Day
Next Wednesday, please show your Newmarket spirit by wearing red, black and/or other Newmarket clothing to celebrate your community and school pride. This will be the first of several community connection events we are planning for the upcoming month. Stay tuned.

Super Mule, our school mascot, has a message to share with you. Click here

Grading - 4th quarter (JSHS) and third trimester (NES)
Last Thursday, April 16th, the School Board approved an alternative grading plan for the 4th quarter and third trimester of this school year. Below are the highlights of the plan for the two schools. 

NES: We have identified a fair and simple way to document each student’s remote learning experience. Report cards will remain as is and will represent trimesters one and two. Trimester three will be a separate assessment which will include a brief narrative for each student, along with a Pass/Fail grade for essential academics. For grades PreK- 2, these will be Language Arts and Mathematics. Grades 3-5 will also include Science and Social Studies. Unified Arts will give one combined Pass/Fail grade. 

NJSHS: NJSHS is moving to a Pass/Fail grading model for all 4th quarter classes. This change will allow teachers and students the opportunity to focus on teaching and learning the essential skills students need to master. Teachers have pared down the curriculum to cover only essential skills and concepts. Next week, teachers who have not already done so, will review fourth quarter expectations with students. In order to earn a passing grade, students must demonstrate mastery of these essential skills.

The P or F would appear on the student’s report card but will not have an impact on their overall grade point average (GPA). If a student passes 4th quarter, the course grade for second semester will be the student’s 3rd quarter grade. Essentially, all grades and the overall GPA will be frozen at the end of 3rd quarter. For this reason, students whose 3rd quarter grades were significantly impacted by the transition to remote learning have had the opportunity to receive an Incomplete for Q3 allowing them some time to revise and/or or make up work that they missed during that time.  

We will be offering students credit recovery opportunities over the summer to pull up any 4th quarter failing grades to passing, so students can receive credit for any class they failed. 

Will Pass/Fail Grades Affect My Chances of Getting into College?
The Commissioner of Education has reached out to all colleges and universities in the state as well as the National Association for College Admissions Counseling (NACAC) and asked them if going to a pass/fail grading system in the fourth quarter will negatively impact a student’s college applications, admissions, and/or scholarships opportunities. The answer from all these institutions was an emphatic, no. Pass/Fail will not affect a student's application or scholarship eligibility. 

Most schools already have a holistic approach to the application review and admissions process and look at the entire student application (courses, co-curricular, out-of-school experiences, essays, letters of recommendation, etc.) when making admissions decisions.  Colleges that do not have a holistic approach in place now are actively reviewing and modifying criteria for the upcoming application season. Below are statements released by several College and Universities that clarify their understanding of these unique times and their commitment to reviewing prospective student applications.

UNH supports the decisions made by high school faculty and administrators regarding what grading methods they think most appropriate given the academic adjustments required by the public health challenges we are all facing.  Accordingly, we are deferring to what the high school believes most appropriate for grading methods in the spring semester 2020. Students should still take full course loads, do as well as they can, and take courses pass/fail based on advice from teachers and school counselors.  Both core and elective courses can be completed as pass/fail.  Our guiding principles are to be flexible in these atypical times, not hold students accountable for things beyond their control, but still expect them to engage their school work to the best of their ability (acknowledging that circumstances will not be consistent for all students based on home arrangements/dynamics, access to internet, etc.).  Students must still take required courses needed for admission and/or the major they hope to study.  If a student presents, in our opinion, too much ‘F’ achievement, admissions staff will consult with school counselors for additional detail and context of the student’s experience.

Yale University: Just as secondary schools take a diverse set of approaches to curricula and assessment during normal times, schools are taking a diverse set of approaches when responding to the outbreak. We expect that many transcripts will look different for at least the spring 2020 semester. Regardless of your school’s decisions, we will work to understand your school’s unique context and will not penalize students whose transcripts lack letter grades. It may be helpful to know that Yale does not re-calculate or re-weight grade point averages to a uniform scale.

Brandeis University: If your school decides to move to an alternative grading system (i.e. pass/fail, credit/no credit), our office is fully prepared to accept these changes as made by individual schools. Any information explaining these changes is always welcome, whether on the transcript itself or in a communication from your school counselor.

Georgetown will be flexible and understanding regarding the transition many of you are making to virtual learning environment. We also understand that the school year has come to an abrupt end for others. We anticipate that some of you will receive traditional grades for this semester and other simply be issued a pass/fail grade Whatever the scenario you are facing, rest assured that we will work with you and your school counselor as needed. Individual schools and school districts are making decisions for their student populations that we will respect and honor when reviewing your transcript.

If you have any questions, please reach out to Principal Pine, Assistant Principal DeStefano, or Assistant Principal Denham.

Enjoy the first spring hiatus from remote learning!

Susan K. Givens, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

Letter from Superintendent Dr. Susan Givens

Letter to the Newmarket School Community 4/17/20


Dear Staff, Parents and members of the Newmarket community-

We are headed into the weekend and I thought I would send out a couple of quick reminders before the day was over.

We are only in session next week Monday through Wednesday so students, families, and staff can take a much needed and well-deserved respite from the school. Therefore, lunch and breakfast will only be served on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Please let us know if you would like lunch on those days by completing the form at the link below:


We also wanted to remind you that report cards for the third quarter (JSHS) and the second trimester (NES) are available in Infinite Campus.

Enjoy the lovely spring weather (or is that winter weather?) this weekend.

Susan K. Givens, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

Letter from Superintendent Dr. Susan Givens

Letter to the Newmarket School Community 4/16/20

Dear staff, parents and members of the Newmarket community-

It has yet again been another very busy week with interviews, building project completion, and remote learning. I thought I would provide you with some very timely information on each of these topics.

Principal Forum and Welcoming New Educators

First, we want to thank the parents who submitted questions for the Candidate Forums today.  A student forum is scheduled for tomorrow with both candidates.  Below you will see the Channel 13 links to the on-demand versions of the forums.  Please take a few minutes to provide feedback on the candidates through the google forms below.  We will use the feedback from staff, parents and students to guide our interview questions and make the final decision in the selection process. The hope is to have a nomination for the school board at their next meeting. 

David Dalton - Parent Forum Feedback Form:

David Dalton Video:

Shannon Caron - Parent Forum Feedback Form:

Shannon Caron Video:

In addition to the principal’s search, we have completed the hiring process and would like to welcome the following educators to our Newmarket team for the FY21 school year.

Janna Mellon, Business Administrator

Michelle Merrow, JSHS - Computer Science

Jailin Zhang, JSHS – World Language Teacher - Mandarin

Joanna House, JSHS – World Language Teacher – Spanish

Dana McKenna, NES – Speech Language Pathologist


Building Project

We are pleased to announce that the renovation of the Jr./Sr. High School is nearly complete, with only minor items left to be done.  The project remains under budget and we do not anticipate that will change.  Between now and June, punch list items will be completed along with final commissioning of the systems.  A request for bids for the new school sign has gone out and the new electronic sign will be installed in the May/June time frame. The spaces are beautiful and we look forward to the day that the public can see them, and students and staff can begin using the spaces again.  Thanks to all of the many people who helped to make this project a success and to the residents of Newmarket for their support.


Governors Announcement

This afternoon Governor Sununu announced that he will extend Emergency Orders directing schools to continue with the remote learning, remote support for the rest of the academic year. He also stated that this would continue through the summer months. This translates into a remote learning, remote support approach to summer school (credit recovery and special education) this summer. Sadly, this has also caused the NHIAA to cancel the spring 2020 athletic season.  More information to follow on this soon.

Working together, we will get through this one day at a time!

Susan K. Givens, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

Letter from Superintendent Dr. Susan Givens

Letter to the Newmarket School Community 4/9/20

Good evening,

There are two important developments to share with you this evening: the final calendar for this school year and an update on the JSHS Principal search. 

Final Calendar for School Year 2019-2020

Last night the School Board approved the calendar for the remainder of the school year (see calendar here). Much thought went into the design of the calendar as we sought to balance the academic, social, emotional, and psychological needs of students, faculty, and parents. There was a strong interest among parents (89.4%) and teachers (88.7%) to end the school year early by eliminating April vacation (view survey here). There was also a desire to pause and catch our breath. Here are the highlights of the calendar that was approved:

  • Two four-day weekends; April 23-26 and May 23 - 26 inclusive - this distributes the days off as evenly as possible during the week (M, T, Th, F) and provides monthly mental health breaks
  • High School Graduation will take place on Friday, June 5th.  The 5th and 8th grade graduation will shift to a moving up day at the beginning of next year – more details to follow in a few weeks
  • The last day for students will be June 10th
  • The last day for faculty will be June 18th.  June 11 – 18 will be used to 1) evaluate the impact remote learning had on student progress this year, identify gaps, develop a plan to address gaps over the summer break or when school opens, 2) contemplate the prospect that we may need to open using a remote instructional model next year, and 3) participate in mandatory and self-select Professional Development. 

JSHS Principal Search

The JSHS Principal Screening Committee has brought forward two candidates for our consideration as the next principal: Shannon Caron, currently Associate Principal, Thomas Aquinas High School, Dover, NH and former Counseling Team Leader at Spaulding High School, Rochester, NH and David R. Dalton, currently Education Program Supervisor, Merrimack College, Andover, MA and former High School Principal, Ipswich High School, Ipswich, MA. View their resumes.

Erica MacNeil, the Screening Committee Chair, is putting the final touches on plans for everyone (staff, students, and parents) to meet the candidates, ask questions, and to offer feedback and impressions of them. Erica will be sending more information tomorrow about the dates and times for these important opportunities for you to participate in the selection process. The feedback collected will be summarized, shared with the leadership team, and used to develop questions for the final interview. Final interviews and reference checks will take place from April 20th through the 28th. 

Please take time for yourself each day and safely enjoy the spring weather over the weekend. 
Susan K. Givens, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

Letter from Superintendent Dr. Susan Givens

Letter to the Newmarket School Community 4/3/20

Dear Parents and Newmarket community members,

What is the skinny on happiness? Is it nature or nurture? Are there ways we can influence this sought-after state of mind? Well…Yale University believes that we can influence the degree to which we experience happiness and they have developed a course to share their findings!

Yale University’s Wildly Popular Happiness Class Is Now Available Online For Free
In an effort to help the general public pursue joy in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Yale University is making the most popular class in the ivy league school’s 318 year history, a “happiness” course, available for free via Coursera.

Read in Forbes

Link to register (scroll down below the introductory video)

In keeping with the happiness theme…the weekend is here, and it is time to lay aside the school work and enjoy some recreation. Two last assignments before we break:

1) Place your order for meals next week.

2) Mark your calendars to drop off NES assignments from the packets your  children have been working on and pick up a new packet (and Chromebook – grades 3, 4, and 5) on Monday!

PreK through grade 1 drop off / pick up         8 -10 pm
Grade 2 & 3 drop off/ pick up                         10 -12 pm
Grade 4 & 5 drop off / pick up                        12 – 2pm

Now it is time to relax and enjoy the weekend. Likewise, I have asked all staff to unplug and take care of themselves and their families until school starts on Monday morning.

Thank you for your flexibility, courage, and support. Enjoy the weekend hiatus!

Susan K. Givens, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools



Letter from Superintendent Dr. Susan Givens

Letter to the Newmarket School Community 4/1/20

Dear Parents and Newmarket community members,

One way that we can shift our minds and lift our spirit is through music. Whether rocking out to a tune while exercising, riding to the grocery store or enjoying a relaxing meal while listening to something soothing, music can enhance the experience. Tonight, I thought I would share a couple of music related resources that might enhance your love of music or expand your skills as a musician. All are free so if you want a little break, check them out!

Boston Symphony Orchestra’s Home School  
Rock & Roll – Hall of Fame
Berklee School of Music – Music for Wellness

I have read all 395 comments from the survey that was sent out on Monday. Several participants wanted to know when a decision would be made about this year’s calendar, graduation, and other related topics. As you know, we are gathering data from you as well as our teachers to gauge interest in continuing through the upcoming April vacation and ending school a week early. Simultaneously, we are waiting for guidance from the Commissioner of Education about potential options or waivers the state might offer in light of their mandate to continue providing remote learning and services for at least another month. Once we have all this information, the Leadership Team and Teachers Union will develop a calendar recommendation that will be brought to the Board for consideration next week. Once the calendar is set, we will shift our attention to end of year event planning, grading and the impact this will have on the upcoming school year.

Last, we received a waiver that allows us to feed every student from preschool to age 18 for free through our school meal program. If you would like to receive breakfast and lunch for your children, please let us know by completing this request form:  https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScCjmsT7hSwi0uG8KicFTGLNrdeDMfiKpu8KZ_cgLbe5zv6ig/viewform

Have a great night.

Susan K. Givens, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

Letter from Superintendent Dr. Susan Givens

Letter to the Newmarket School Community 3/30/20

Dear Parents and Newmarket community members,

Remote learning (learning away from the classroom setting) will continue in New Hampshire until May 4 and possibly beyond.  As nearby states go into various stages of shelter in place, and the number of COVID-19 cases continue to increase all over the United States, it seems prudent to expect to deliver our educational program and support services remotely for the remainder of the year.   The District leadership team and Joanne Lazarus, President of the Newmarket Teachers Association, have been meeting daily to develop a plan to support the physical and mental well-being, growth and development of all members of our academic learning community including faculty, students, and parents. 

Starting on Monday, April 6 faculty will teach four days per week and spend one day a week collaboratively identifying power standards and essential skills by discipline and grade level; calibrating, curating and sharing instructional materials; and participating in remote learning related professional development.  The planning day will be staggered by grade level/discipline. This will allow us to advance our online instructional practices and ensure that the workload moving forward is more manageable for students and parents.

On Monday April 6, the elementary school will be collecting completed work and handing out a two-week packet. All students in grades 3, 4, and 5 will be issued a Chromebook at this time. The drop off/pick up schedule is as follows:
PreK through grade 1 drop off / pick up 8 -10 am
Grade 2 & 3 drop off/ pick up 10 -12 pm
Grade 4 & 5 drop off / pick up 12 – 2pm

Thereafter, all instructional materials will be provided to parents electronically.

SAUs across the state are weighing whether to cancel April vacation this year given that most travel, entertainment, and hospitality industries are closed. Continuing through the April vacation break will also allow us to close school a week earlier on June 18 instead of Thursday, June 25.  To help inform our decision, we would like to gather some information from you. Please take a few minutes to complete this survey.  https://forms.gle/dkmR6EqrqQAxDkj16

Have a good night!

Susan K. Givens, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

Letter from Superintendent Dr. Susan Givens

Letter to the Newmarket School Community 3/26/20

Good evening, parents and Newmarket community members:

Our Athletic Director shared some exciting information about some of our student athletes that we wanted to communicate to our entire community.

As many of you know, winter championship tournaments were cancelled by the NHIAA so our boys were not able to play in the basketball championship game. Given this unprecedented turn of events, the NHIAA named Newmarket the 2020 Division 4 Co-Champions.  The boys finished the season with a 20-1 record and a 15-game winning streak.  We are very pleased that the boys were rewarded for their effort and dedication this season. 

The following student-athletes were named Division 4 All State teams by the NH Basketball Coaches Organization:

Will Chase
Brianna Filion
Keenan Mills
Logan Willey

In addition, Will Chase was named the Division 4 Jack Ford Award winner.  This award is given the student-athlete that shows excellence in Academics, Basketball, and Community Service in our division.  All three parts are equally weighted.  This is one of the most prestigious awards given each season.

The good news continues… The following student-athletes were named to the Division 4, All-Academic Team.  The NHBCO All Academic Team is awarded to any varsity basketball player in their junior and senior year, who maintains a B+ average or is in the top 20% of their class.

Nicole Berry
Will Chase
Ashley Dyer
Brianna Filion
Owen Hayes
Abby Henry
Keenan Mills
Zach Mosher
Jack Noon
Riley Palasciano
Julia Perry
Chloe Tobin

Last, but not least, both of our JV basketball coaches were named the Division 4 JV Coach of the Year.  Congratulations to Meghan Fiore and Nick Farrer!

Please join me in congratulating our winter student-athletes and coaches for representing our community so well and for a season well played.

Susan K. Givens, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

Letter from Superintendent Dr. Susan Givens

Letter to the Newmarket School Community 3/25/20

Good evening, parents and members of the Newmarket community:

You have completed a week of remote learning and we hope that you are starting to develop a routine that suits your particular home situation. Please let us know if you need any support, we are here to help. Tomorrow we will have a more in-depth update about the work we have been doing these past few days but tonight we thought you might appreciate some resources and/or ideas for how to decompress if you find yourself experiencing stress. Your physical, mental, and emotional health should remain a top priority during this time of uncertainty.

Some of my favorite ways to relax and decompress are cooking, enjoying nature, getting some exercise, meditation, watching the Home and Garden channel, Face-timing with friends and family, and playing frisbee with my Australian Shepherd, Sophie. Here are some cool tools that our counseling staff has curated to help students and families cope with anxiety, stress and frustration. Also, I have included a link to Cooking with Kids to share my love of cooking with you and your family.

1)      Take a Break - 50 ways to shift your focus

2)      Calming Down Tools (Elementary)

3)      Coping Skills for Anxiety

4)      Family friendly games that help develop self-regulation skills (Elementary)

5)      Cooking with Kids

Have a wonderful night.

Susan K. Givens, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

Letter from Superintendent Dr. Susan Givens

Letter to the Newmarket School Community 3/23/20

Good evening, parents and members of the Newmarket learning community:

We have now completed day four of remote learning and our goal for this week is to continue to provide you with the support you need at home as you adjust to this new style of learning. Essential to its success is adopting new ways to communicate and collaborate. The communication and collaboration tools we will be using and can support in our school district are the G Suite for Education tools. 

Students in upper grade levels have used many, but not all, of the G Suite for education applications as part of the one-to-one initiative.  The students, and many teachers, at the elementary level have not used these applications in the past for communicating and collaborating because skill development in the lower grades is focused on introducing and cultivating foundational social, emotional, literacy, and numeracy skills.

Using consistent tools effectively will enable us to build the collective capacity of our learning community (staff, students, and parents). Once the capacity to communicate and share information is built, we can focus on exploring ways we can leverage these tools to advance engagement in our new digital, remote learning environment.

Today, the featured G Suite tool is Google Hangout Meet. For an overview of this tool, please watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pdNxUrXryrA. I am also re-sending the two Google Classroom training resources I sent last week in case you missed them.

1)      Google slideshow – https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1bY4IXxmS8hJFK-VzMtS6LB6FfoR6ugkKn32B9gEF8Ao/edit?usp=sharing

2)     YouTube Video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xfgqtCi7hdo

Have a wonderful evening.

Susan K. Givens, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

Letter from Superintendent Dr. Susan Givens

Letter to the Newmarket School Community 3/19/20

Dear parents and members of the Newmarket community:

Congratulations, you have just finished your first week of remote learning! Your final assignment for the week is… letting us know if your children need breakfast and lunch next week by filling out this form:


Food pick-up is behind NES from 11:00 AM to 12:00PM Monday through Friday.

Now it is time to relax and enjoy the weekend. Likewise, I have asked all staff to unplug and take care of themselves and their families until school starts on Monday morning.

Have a great weekend.

Susan K. Givens, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

Letter from Superintendent Dr. Susan Givens

Letter to the Newmarket School Community 3/19/20

Dear parents and members of the Newmarket community:

Wow! It has been a very active remote learning day and we are so glad everyone is reaching out for the support they need. We so appreciate all the positive feedback and emails of support. A little note of appreciation goes a long way when people are trying something new! 

The theme of tonight’s letter is providing support and guidance in this new learning world. First, it is very important to attend to our social and emotional needs, especially during times of uncertainty. To help support families, I want to share several resources that you might find helpful. These topics on well-being are an important part of the educational experience we provide in school and may help manage anxiety, fears, and frustrations as you adapt.

  1. The Department of Education published an article on Health Habits for Well-Being that reminds us to take care of ourselves, connect with others, and relax.
  2. Jamie Hayes shared two resources to help us stay active with some home fitness options.
    - Darebee provides over 1300 workouts
    10 different workout options ranging from Yoga to weight lifting

Another resource I thought you might appreciate is an article written by Reshan Richards and Stephen Valentine titled “How to Keep School Rhythm and Routines for Young Children at Home.” This is an easy read with some interesting resources and commentary provided by the authors. 

For parents who are not familiar with Google Classroom and want a quick primer, our Elementary school computer science teacher, Laura Bascom, prepared a Google Slideshow, and I also found a video that might be helpful to give you a preview of this tool.

Just a reminder that the Elementary school home learning packets sent home have 15 days of material and the focus this week and next is to establish new routines that include the social and emotional needs of your students and each other. Pace yourself, relax, and enjoy the moments together.

We hope you find these resources helpful to your home school transition. Please continue to reach out for help; we are here to support you.

Susan K. Givens, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

Letter from Superintendent Dr. Givens

Letter to the Newmarket School Community 3/18/20

Dear parents and members of the Newmarket community:

The inauguration of our remote learning plan is under way and it has actually gone quite well, in spite of the very short time given for planning and preparation. If you have any questions or need support, please contact your child’s teacher(s) via email, the Building Administration during the day or complete a support request online and we will get back to you with the help you are seeking.

Thank you to the many parents, guardians and friends who picked up the NES Home Learning Packets and to the many staff members who assisted with this process.  All packets were distributed by 10:00 am today!  Our Newmarket Community is amazing!

Let us know what we can do to support you.

Susan K. Givens, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

Letter from Superintendent Dr. Givens

Letter to Newmarket School Community 3/17/20

Good evening, parents and members of the Newmarket community, 

Tomorrow is our first remote learning day and we wanted to provide you with some information that you might find helpful as you think about how to adjust to this change.

Junior Senior High School

Junior Senior High School students should be receiving electronic invitations to Google classrooms developed by their teachers.  Teachers who had already been using Google classroom will continue with their same page.  All students should “enroll” in their Google classrooms by tomorrow morning, the official beginning of remote learning. Teachers will be working remotely each day. 

Elementary School

Teachers at the Elementary School have prepared Home Learning Packets with learning activities and supplies. These packets, along with any resources you requested, will be available for pick at the front entrance at NES tomorrow morning between 7:30 AM and 9:30 AM.

Virtual Office Hours

Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays          9:00 AM to 11:00 AM 

Tuesdays and Thursdays                            12:00 PM to 2:00 PM

All faculty will be available online during these hours to provide direct support to parents and students. Faculty will do their best to respond to emails within a day (24 hours). 

Parent/Student Support Request

In addition to Virtual Office Hours, parents and students can request the following support by completing the help request form.

Support available includes meals (breakfast, lunch, 68 hour program, food pantry), technology, psychologist, nurse, counselors, social worker, school supplies, administrative help, delivery vs. pick up or anything else not listed here.  We will respond to requests for support daily.

Sample Home Remote Learning Schedule

Parent Talking Points for Students

School Breakfast and Lunch Program:

Orders for our school lunch program should be placed through the parent/student request link. Parents pick-up will take place between 11:00 AM and 12:00 PM at NES, using the parent drop off road behind the building. 

We know you may feel overwhelmed and we are here to help you in any way. Remote Learning en masse is new to everyone. Our goal this week is to make sure our systems are working, everyone has access to the internet and has a device, students/parents can access and communicate with their teachers, and delivery systems work. Once these basics are in place, we will begin to provide more robust programming and support.

We are all in this together and I am confident that as a community we can provide for our children by modeling flexibility, creativity, and resiliency. Best of luck tomorrow.

Susan K. Givens, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

Letter from Superintendent Dr. Givens

Letter to Newmarket School Community 3/16/2020

Good evening, parents and members of the Newmarket community-

I wanted to provide you with an update this evening about our progress and happenings today. In just a few days, our amazing staff have been able to prepare enough lessons to deliver learning opportunities in every discipline to launch our remote learning program on Wednesday. We will finalize the delivery of support services and mobilize tomorrow. 

Given the pace of changing information and guidance, I have decided to move to a remote work environment until further notice effective Wednesday, March 18th.  Only essential staff will continue reporting for work to ensure remote services are able to be delivered. I will continue to assess our needs and modify our operational practices to limit the number of employees in our buildings.

All JSHS courses and services will be delivered using Google classroom, Infinite Campus and other web-based tools. Teachers at the Elementary school have prepared Home Learning Packets with learning activities and supplies. These packets, along with any resources your requested, will be available for pick at the front entrance at NES tomorrow between 3:00 PM and 6:00 PM and Wednesday morning between 7:30 AM and 9:30 AM. More details will be provided tomorrow and in the upcoming days.

In gratitude for your cooperation and flexibility as we navigate this unprecedented challenge.

Susan K. Givens, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

Letter from Superintendent Dr. Givens

Letter to Newmarket school community 3/15/2020

Good afternoon, staff, parents and members of the Newmarket community-

I communicated this morning the closure of Newmarket schools as a precaution due to the COVID-19 situation.  In light of developments yesterday with this fluid situation, I contacted the NH Commissioner of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services last night to review current circumstances and based on their assessment, made a decision to close school to students for at least two weeks.  I communicated the closure decision early this morning so parents and students have maximum time to prepare.  We are deep cleaning the facilities using a combination of our inhouse staff and a professional service out of abundance of caution, and we may do this on a periodic basis going forward.  Relatedly, we ordered a Clorox Total 360 electrostatic sprayer several weeks ago before the outbreak and we should receive it soon to assist with disinfecting.     

Since my communication this morning, the Governor of New Hampshire has directed that all public schools in the State close to students effective immediately through at least April 3rd  due to COVID-19.  The Governor and Commissioner of Education further directed that all public schools implement remote learning on or before March 23rd.  Here is a link to the Governor’s press conference today.  Governor Press Conference 3/15  Closure will be reassessed based on relevant conditions closer to April 3rd.  Because of our planning efforts thus far, we intend to implement remote learning well before then.

Schools in Newmarket will be closed to students from now until at least April 3rd.  Our goal is that remote learning shall commence in Newmarket by Wednesday, March 18th.  I will know better after the day tomorrow whether this is an achievable goal by Wednesday, and I will let you know tomorrow evening.  Over the next couple days, I would encourage students to complete any unfinished work they currently have and perhaps work ahead if able in their school or online classes and/or do some reading on their own.

All school staff will report to work this week to finalize necessary preparations for the remote learning plan to provide education and support services to students during the closure.  Thereafter, staff will be working at the schools during normal hours during in support of the remote learning program.  Ideally, we think students learn best with teachers and other students present where ideas and thoughts can be exchanged.  Our professional staff will provide creative opportunities for exchange during this remote learning period, and will be in touch with, and available to, all learners through remote connections.  How that will look will of course vary from elementary to high school learners.  Remote learning will not be limited to “online” learning. 

We will soon provide further information as to precisely how remote learning and support services will function.  For example: how lessons will be provided to students; how students will submit work and receive feedback; how individual education plan (IEP) services will be provided; how food services will be provided; etc.  In the interim, here is a link to a Parent/Student Assistance Form we have prepared to better assess needs of individual students and families as remote learning is implemented.  For example, if a student needs a mobile hotspot for online access, we can provide those so all students have remote access.  Kindly complete this SURVEY at your earliest convenience so we may understand and satisfy your particular needs. 

Social distancing is one reason for school closure - the idea is to limit contact and potential spread of COVID-19.  It makes sense for families to do the same away from school as well during this period.  Accordingly, we will provide information soon about social distancing best practices as well as talking points to review with your children. Information about how to talk to your children about COVID-19.

It will be important for all students to maintain a routine learning schedule at home, but also address the possible effects of isolation.  Here is a link to a sample remote learning schedule for guidance in assisting students during the remote learning period: ScheduleTalking Points. In addition to learning, to mitigate as best we can the detriment of social isolation, students are encouraged to stay in touch with their peers, friends, family and relatives through phone calls, video chat, and other non-contact methods.   

We will be in touch with more information soon so you can better understand precisely how learning and services will take place during this period.  We thank you for your patience as we work through the details.

Thank you,

Susan K. Givens, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

Letter from Superintendent Dr. Givens

Letter to Newmarket school community 3/15/2020

Dear staff, parents and members of the Newmarket community-

Though the number of presumptive cases of the Coronavirus in New Hampshire are relatively low (seven), there are three known cases in Rockingham county and last night one in Manchester was confirmed. Given these cases continue to be identified in our general area and it will become increasingly more difficult to trace contact with others outside of our school setting, I no longer feel comfortable having students return to school on Monday. For this reason, and out of an abundance of caution, we will be closing school for students for at least the next two weeks. I wanted to give you as much advance notice of this as possible to allow you time to make plans.

Monday and Tuesday, staff will continue making necessary preparations to initiate a remote learning plan that will allow us to provide education and support services to students during the closure. We will be talking to the commissioner at noontime today to seek guidance about current remote learning expectations and we will provide you with more information about our plan over the next several days.

Thank you for your cooperation and flexibility as we navigate this very dynamic situation. More information will follow later today.

Susan K. Givens, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

Letter from Superintendent Dr. Givens

Letter to Newmarket school community 3/14/2020

Good afternoon, staff, parents and members of the Newmarket community-

Here is an update from last evening.  We still plan to open school on Monday, with an early release for students (dismal for NES is 12:00 PM and 11:15 AM at the JSHS).  School staff will use the rest of the day to finalize remote learning plans.  

The Administration Team is meeting today to finalize plans if there is a closure.  Among other things, the Team is addressing:

  • Remote Learning Details (including access to technology, etc.)
  • Food Service
  • After School Programs

More particular information will be provided on all aspects of the remote learning plan if there is an extended closure.

There is much conflicting information regarding COVID-19 and school closures.  Please know that our decision making is guided by expert information from the Federal Center for Disease Control (CDC), the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (NHHHS), the New Hampshire Department of Education (NHDOE), and specific local circumstances.  For your information, here is a link to the CDC’s current guidance on school closures: CDC Considerations for School Closure  As you can see, there are many factors to consider and we will continually assess them in the best interests of Newmarket students, parents and the community.  Currently, the CDC and the State of New Hampshire are not recommending school closure.  We are not aware of any local COVID-19 cases in Newmarket at this time.

As this is a developing situation on the forefront of our minds, we will issue updates daily and as needed for any significant developments.  Again, we can all help by exercising common sense health precautions – please see the CDC’s recommendations: CDC Health Precautions

Finally, we are fortunate to have so many skilled and dedicated professionals who have contributed to planning – I want to express my heartfelt thanks to all involved!

Thank you,

 Susan K. Givens, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

Letter from Superintendent Dr. Givens

Letter to Newmarket school community 3/13/2020

Good evening, staff, parents and members of the Newmarket community-

At the outset, we are not planning to close schools at this time but we continue to work on plans for remote learning in the event a school closing becomes necessary.  We plan to open school on Monday, however, it will be an early release day so teachers can finalize remote learning plans. While we realize this is not ideal, we feel it is essential given the trend in school closures locally.

I also wanted to provide you with some important information related to school closures, event postponements and other cancellations that impact Newmarket as well as provide you with an update on our remote learning plan and other precautions we have taken to ensure the health and safety of our students, staff and visitors.

Closures, postponements, and cancellations

  • Exeter schools have closed and are moving to a remote learning method of teaching and learning for the next two weeks. Newmarket students who are enrolled in SST during the morning session should report to NJSH as usual @ 9:30am. Those who attend the afternoon session, will be allowed to leave NJSHS as normally scheduled @ 11:45am to work on their online SST coursework.
  • The NHIAA has postponed all tournament events over the weekend and will reevaluate the situation next week. They have also decided to postpone the start of the spring sports season. Practices will not begin until the first or second week in April and games will not begin until the last week of April or first week of May.
  • All District field trips and events will be cancelled until April 1st. We will continue to monitor this and make further adjustments if necessary.
  • Access to the schools will be limited to staff, students, and volunteers who have been serving in schools on a routine basis this year.

Health Precautions
We are following all sanitation protocols (disinfecting doorknobs, water fountains, tables, bathrooms, sinks, etc. nightly, cafeteria tables between lunches, and entrance ways in the morning and afternoon). We have reviewed the hand washing protocols with staff and students and hung posters in bathrooms to remind people to do this. The bus companies are disinfecting their buses daily as well. This past Sunday night and Monday all of our facilities were sanitized and cleaned again by an outside contractor. We are asking anyone who feels sick to stay home and following up on all information shared to make sure we have all the facts when making decisions.

Remote Learning Plan
On Tuesday, our faculty spent the day developing five days of remote learning lessons in each subject area that can be used should we need to cancel school. We need to develop an additional five days of lessons and finalize how we will provide student supports services remotely. Families that do not have internet connectivity or a device for their children with at least an eight inch screen size should contact Jackie Santiago (santiagoj@newmarket.k12.nh.us) at the JSHS or Brenda Collins (collinsb@newmarket.k12.nh.us) at NES. We will provide more information about the plan on Monday.

As this is an evolving situation, we will keep you informed of any changes that will cause us to reevaluate our decision to remain open.  

Susan K. Givens

Superintendent of Schools

Letter from Superintendent Dr. Givens

Letter to Newmarket school community 3/9/20

Dear staff, parents, and members of the Newmarket community

I am writing with an update to the message you received last night about today’s school closure and the self-quarantining of a Newmarket staff member. 

As we received the information about our staff member late in the evening, I decided to close schools in order to provide the district with critical time to gather guidance from experts and to make a plan for next steps. As previously planned, students are not in class tomorrow as it is an all day Professional Development. School will resume as per normal schedule on Wednesday.

Coordination with the State Department of Education 
I spoke this morning with Frank Edelblut, State Commissioner of Education. Commissioner Edelblut reassured us that the state was not aware of any specific risk from COVID-19 to any NH school communities. Should such a risk be identified in the future, both the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services will notify the district and will work with us collaboratively to address that risk.

Town Administrator Steve Fournier, Town Health Officer Michael Hoffman, and Fire Chief Rick Malasky joined school administrators in reviewing our current situation and coordinating plans for moving forward.

Coordination with the Department of Health & Human Services
Our administrative team held a conference call with Dr. Benjamin Chan, State Epidemiologist. Dr. Chan seconded the points made earlier by Commissioner Edelblut: The state is not aware of anyone in Newmarket School District (NSD) who would currently pose a risk of infection to members of our community. Should that situation change, DHHS will contact me and will work with us to identify appropriate next steps. 

Dr. Chan reminded us of helpful information about exposure and quarantines:

  • Most people who develop COVID-19 show symptoms within one week, with the range of days for appearance of symptoms being 2-14. (The NSD staff person under self-quarantine has passed the one-week mark, as they were exposed eight days ago. The staff member has shown no symptoms.)
  • Asymptomatic people, including those under quarantine, do not generally pose a risk of infection to members of the public. 
  • Schools and school districts do not, therefore, need to take special steps when they learn of a community member who is asymptomatic and under quarantine. (NSD did take the precautionary step of closing school today in order to gather information and, out of an abundance of caution, to sanitize our schools and central offices.)
  • The state has no recommendation that school districts cancel mass events at this time. Tonight’s basketball game will take place as regularly scheduled, and tomorrow’s town vote will proceed as planned.
  • The state does recommend that we continue to promote preventive measures, such as staying home if sick, practicing frequent hand hygiene, and frequent disinfection of surfaces.

Professional Development Day tomorrow, Tuesday, 3/10/20
Again, tomorrow’s PD day for staff was already on the 2019-20 school year calendar. The agenda for tomorrow has been revised to focus on the continuity of student learning and contingency planning. While there is no current need for a longer-term closure of schools, we are taking this opportunity to review the district’s existing emergency preparedness plans. Staff and faculty will also be reviewing age-appropriate talking points for discussing COVID-19 and its prevention with students

Resources for Families
We encourage families to seek information from reputable sources, including the following organizations:

In particular, the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), in conjunction with the National Association of School Nurses, has provided an excellent guide for parents and guardians when talking with children about COVID-19.

The health and safety of all members of our community continues to be our priority, and we will continue to provide you with information as it becomes available.

Susan K. Givens, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

Letter from Superintendent Dr. Givens

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Dear Parents and members of the Newmarket community,

I truly hope everyone had an enjoyable break from their regular routine last week during our winter break. I wanted to share some important information with you about the Coronavirus, additional school warrant articles, and remind you of some important upcoming events.  

Coronavirus Information Update

The Town Manager, Police Chief, Fire Chief, Town Health Officer, and I met yesterday to review information about the Coronavirus and discuss the best way to share accurate and timely information with all members of the Newmarket community. Town Manager, Steve Fournier, prepared a very nice letter about the virus with links to credible sources for those who want more information. His letter, with information about the preparatory actions we have taken, can be found here: Coronavirus Letter  

School Warrant Article Information

Before the February vacation break, we sent out a summary of Article 2 – the school budget, to highlight how the budget request will positively impact teaching and learning next year if it is passed next Tuesday, March 10th, at Town Meeting. This week we created a summary of the remaining school warrant articles with information about their tax impact. We ask for you to support the recently negotiated Support Staff contract, the use of some of the building project bond investment interest proceeds to enhance or preserve our schools, and grant us permission to use a portion of any unspent resources from the current year budget to help fund renovations to the elementary school playground. For more information, please review the summary infographic link here.

Noteworthy Events Ahead

JSHS Parents - Course Selection Workshop                Wednesday, March 4th, 6:00 PM

NESDEC Focus Group – Parents/Community              Saturday, March 7th, 9:00 AM

Public Forum - FY21 Budget & Student Success          Saturday, March 7th, 10:00 AM

NESDEC Principal Characteristics Survey                     Monday, March 9th, Noon -closes

Town Meeting – School Warrants/Elections                  Tuesday, March 10th

Enjoy the beautiful summer-like evening.

Susan K. Givens, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

Letter from Superintendent Dr. Givens

Friday, February 21, 2020

Dear Parents and members of the Newmarket community,

Hot off the presses! I wanted to share some ways that you can provide input in the development of the candidate profile for our next JSHS principal. 

NESDEC, who is overseeing the principal search, has designed an anonymous survey to gather information about qualities, skills, characteristics, experience, and knowledge that you believe we need in our next principal and to also ascertain what you perceive are the challenges and tasks the new principal should focus on in their first year on the job. When you have a moment over the next two weeks, please complete this survey so they can develop the profile the screening committee will use when they review applicants.

In addition, NESDEC will be holding a parent and community focus group in the JSHS library media center from 9:00 AM to 10:00 AM on Saturday, March 7th so that you can share with them your thoughts, wishes, and insights about the school and/or the leadership qualities you believe are important in our new principal.  

Your input is greatly appreciated!

Noteworthy Dates Ahead

  • JSHS Parents - Course Selection Workshop                 Wednesday, March 4th, 6:00 PM
  • NESDEC Focus Group – Parents/Community               Saturday, March 7th, 9:00 AM
  • Public Forum - FY21 Budget & Student Success          Saturday, March 7th, 10:00 AM
  • Town Meeting – School Warrants/Elections                   Tuesday, March 10th

I look forward to seeing you at these events in March.


Susan K. Givens, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

Letter from Superintendent Dr. Givens

Friday, February 7, 2020

Dear Parents and members of the Newmarket community,

I wanted to take a minute to provide you with some important and timely information about upcoming events before the weekend so you can mark your calendar.

Elections/Professional Development Day - No School, February 11th
On Tuesday, February 11th, the New Hampshire Primary elections will be held at the elementary school from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM. Therefore, school will be closed for students. Faculty will report to the Junior Senior High School for a professional development day that will focus on topics related to our district and school improvement goals for this year. 

JSHS Principal Search  
New England School Development Council (NESDEC) will be conducting our Principal Search. NESDEC will be advertising for the position in the next day or so and we wanted you to be aware of this before it went out publicly.  We also wanted to share some information about the process and how you can get involved. There will be multiple opportunities for parents and members of the community to participate in the process - as a member of the screening committee, through surveys and focus groups, and during candidate site visits.  The principal search screening committee with include representation from multiple stakeholder groups including faculty from the middle and high school (4), other professional and non-certified staff (2), administration (1), parents (2), community members (1), and students (1). If you are interested in participating as a member of the screening committee, please send Penny Botterman a letter of interest by February 19th. Interviews will take place in March with a targeted nomination date of April 9th. NESDEC will work with the Committee to develop the official timeline once the screening committee has been appointed.  

Course Selection – Parent Information Night
On Thursday, February 13th, the Junior Senior High School Administration will be holding a Parent Information Night to review the upcoming high school course selection process and a draft of next year’s Program of Studies. Parents will be divided into two groups – 8th and 9th grade transition and parents of upper-class students. The workshop is scheduled for 6:00 PM in the Cafetorium.

Noteworthy Dates Ahead

JSHS Parents - Course Selection Workshop                  Thursday, February 13th, 6:00 PM

Public Forums on Important Educational Topics         Tuesday, February 18th, 6:00 PM JSHS Cafetorium

School Vacation Break                                                        Friday, February 21, 3:00 PM

Have a wonderful weekend.


Susan K. Givens, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

Letter from Superintendent Dr. Givens

PUBLIC STATEMENT - Thursday, January 9th, 2020

Superintendent Susan Givens and Newmarket Junior-Senior High School Principal Christopher Mazzone release this joint statement in order to clarify any misunderstanding related to Principal Mazzone’s recent absence from Newmarket Junior-Senior High School.  The circumstances underlying Mr. Mazzone’s absence have been resolved.  Both Mr. Mazzone and Superintendent Givens have acted in good faith and want the public to know that aside from this statement, there will be no further comments made regarding this matter. 

As some of you may know, Mr. Gregory Marles, who has served as the Town and School Facilities Director for the past two and a half years has resigned, effective January 10, 2020, to take a position closer to his home.  In addition to the day-to-day tasks for facility maintenance, Mr. Marles is responsible for managing the school renovation project.

Given Mr. Mazzone’s familiarity with the construction project, as well as school operational systems, security protocols, and his prior construction experience, we are pleased to announce he will take over school facility responsibilities from Mr. Marles, as well as other administrative responsibilities for the school district.  Mr. Mazzone will continue in this capacity for the remainder of the school year.  Taking his place as Principal at Newmarket Junior-Senior High School is Mr. Sean Pine, who will serve as Interim Principal for the remainder of the school year.  The District will commence the search for a permanent replacement for the Junior-Senior High School principal in the coming weeks.    

We regret any confusion that exists and any uncertainty this situation has created for members of the public, staff, and students.  The Superintendent, School Board, and Mr. Mazzone will continue to work together in the best interest of our students.  The public is encouraged to positively support them all in these efforts.  


Letter from Superintendent Dr. Givens

Friday, December 20, 2019

Dear Parents and members of the Newmarket community, 

The administrative team has been meeting over the past couple of weeks to outline the work we have before us so that we are able to mindfully reshuffle our work assignments so that we have a primary point person in each building moving forward. Our plan is as follows. 

Sean Pine, currently the Principal at Newmarket Elementary School, will begin serving as Acting Principal of the Jr/Sr High School as of January 2nd. Mr. Pine’s strong relationships with students and families and his administrative acumen complement the strengths of the assistant principals and address the immediate needs of the school. In addition, it will afford him the opportunity to become more familiar with the Middle School programs and services provided to students transitioning from elementary school. This experience will help us strengthen our transition programming between the schools.

Debbie Roffo, our long standing (twenty-five years) Assistant Principal at Newmarket Elementary School, will serve as Acting Principal while Mr. Pine is at the Jr/Sr High School. Ms. Roffo’s many years of leadership at the Elementary School, long-term relationships with staff, families and students, knowledge of organizational workflows, timelines, and expectations will ensure the smooth operation of the school during this interim period.  

In their Acting Principal roles, Mr. Pine and Ms. Roffo serve as the administrative leaders of their respective buildings. Building-related questions are, therefore, most appropriately directed to either Mr. Pine or Ms. Roffo.

We thank you for your continued support and look forward to a great year ahead. 


Susan Givens, Erica MacNeil, Patricia Kinsella, Sean Pine, Debbie Roffo,  Kristina Cochran, Sarah Denham, and Jennifer DeStefano


Letter from Superintendent Dr. Givens

Friday, December 6, 2019

Dear Parents and members of the Newmarket community- 
I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends. The snow from the recent weather events saves us from having to dream of a white Christmas/holiday season since it is unlikely the two feet of snow we received on Monday and Tuesday will melt away anytime soon. Before I mention opportunities to get involved in our school and district improvement efforts or the proposed budget for next year, I want to share with you some fun holiday events that are coming up this month in our schools and the broader community so they are not lost at the end of my letter. 

School and Community Happenings
December 7th, 5:00 PM, Newmarket’s Tree Lighting & Giving Tree Ceremony, Arbor Park (across from Post Office Downtown)  
December 7th, 8th, 14th, 15th, 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM, Lions Club - Santa Claus pictures, treats, trees, etc., Thrift Shop, 10 Main Street, Newmarket 
December 10th, 11:00 AM, Senior Citizens Christmas Dinner, Elementary Cafeteria
December 12th, 6:30 PM, Winter Concert, Jr/Sr High School Cafe/Library
December 17th, 6:17 PM, Kindergarten Holiday Show, Elementary Cafeteria   
December 18th, 6:30 PM, Grades 3-5 Chorus Group, Elementary Cafeteria

December Calendar for the Newmarket Library...

School and District Improvement Committee Opportunities
We have been very busy this fall developing our District and School Improvement goals for the upcoming year and are excited to share opportunities for you to participate on committees that will focus on improving communication, my entry plan, and reviewing the JSHS student handbook. There will also be opportunities to participate on screening committees this winter and spring as we seek to recruit staff for next years vacancies. Your voice is invaluable to the conversations that will take place in these committees, and your service would be greatly appreciated. Amazing things happen when stakeholders come together to talk about important topics such as communication, meeting the needs of the whole child, and the expectations and supports that lead to student achievement.  The committees will begin their work in January. A brief description of the committees follow. 

      District Website Improvement Committee: This committee will help the district improve its overall online presence and the quality of communications on its website. Our goal includes ensuring that parents and members of the public are able to find commonly-sought documents and information intuitively and with no more than two navigational clicks. The committee will begin its work with a survey inviting the community to share their experience with the current website, as well as their hopes for improvements on an updated website.

     Superintendent’s Entry Plan Committee: This committee will assist Superintendent Givens with gathering information about the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT analysis) of the schools and community. A summary of findings will be shared with the community in the late spring/ early summer. 

    JSHS Student Handbook Review Committee: This committee will look at industry best practices (trauma informed schools, restorative practices, Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS), etc.) and based on this learning, identify how we can create a learning community that supports the development of the whole child and make recommendations to the student handbook that reflect current best practices in the field. 

     JSHS Communication Committee: In support of a JSHS Organizational Goal, this committee will help to develop a culture of participatory leadership and communication at the Newmarket Junior Senior High School.

     NEW Communication Committee: In support of an NES Organizational Goal, this committee will work to enhance internal and external communications among multiple stakeholder groups in the Newmarket educational community.
Ad Hoc Hiring Committees: Over the winter and spring, members of this committee will participate when needed in selection committees during the hiring process.

If you would like to participate on one of these committees, please submit a letter of interest, with details about any relevant experience and the name of the committee(s) on which you would like to serve, to Penny Botterman at bottermanp@newmarket.k12.nh.us. Letters may be delivered in person to the SAU office, as well. The deadline for submitting letters is Tuesday, December 17th. The committees will begin their work in January. 

If you are not able to participate in a committee, please know that there will be additional opportunities to provide input on this work throughout the school year.

FY21 Proposed Budget

Last evening, the School Board adopted the FY21 proposed budget. This budget includes funding for some important program enhancements centered on: 

1) Sustain or advance existing school improvement efforts; 
2) Attend to some essential needs that, if not addressed, will have a detrimental effect on student growth and development;  
3) Ensure our facilities are safe, secure, and accessible to all members of our school community

The adopted budget that will be reviewed with the Town Budget Committee on Monday, December 9th, at 7:00 PM, is posted on our website (https://www.newmarket.k12.nh.us/school-board/school-board-budget) under the School Board’s menu tab. 

Personnel Matter

As many of you know, our Principal, Mr. Mazzone has not been at school for the past few weeks and as previously mentioned, his attendance is not a topic that will be discussed publicly. The assistant principals continue to take care of the daily staff and student affairs and have completed the budget, goal setting, staff observations, supply ordering, etc. in his absence. That said, it is important to have one person ultimately in charge. With this in mind, I am developing an interim plan that I will share with you next week pending resolution of this matter. Thank you for your patience, advise, and notes of support.
I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season and look forward to seeing you at some of the events this month. 


Susan K. Givens, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

Letter from Superintendent Dr. Givens

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Dear parents/guardians,

I know people are curious about Mr. Mazzone’s attendance at school. Like any organization, attendance and other personnel matters are not topics that are discussed in public for many reasons including an employee’s right to privacy. Mr. Mazzone continues to be an employee and the district will continue to honor and respect his right to privacy. As is always the case, when the principal is absent, the assistant principals, take care of the day to day responsibilities associated with running the school. In addition, we have very capable and experienced teachers and staff dedicated to supporting the children. Rest assured that staff and students are in good hands and that all is going well in school.

We will not be making any further comment about this matter and ask the public to join us in respecting the privacy of the staff in our schools.

Have a nice evening.

Susan K. Givens, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools


Letter from Superintendent Dr. Givens

Friday, September 20, 2019

Dear Parents and members of the Newmarket community-

Calling all educators! There are three institutions that together form an interconnected triad for learning, growth and development of students and adults alike; families, schools, and the community. The community is an integral educational partner and I thought you might find value in knowing about some of our community partners and the things they are doing to support student learning.  With this in mind, I asked each partner to provide a brief overview of what they do and a highlight or two of programming and/or upcoming events that they would like to share with you.

Newmarket Community Education Partnership

Newmarket Community Education Partnership (NCEP) has a 15-year history of supporting the social, recreational and educational experiences of children and youth in Newmarket. Over the years, NCEP has granted over $100,000 to our community, and Newmarket's schools have received the greatest amount of funding for things like: speaker programs, technology and other classroom equipment, field trips, seed funding for various clubs, special education materials, supporting our students with food insecurities, Mules Mission, and much more. NCEP’s major fundraiser is Newmarket EATS, a unique celebration of local restaurants and businesses. Set for Sunday, November 10 from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. at the historic Millspace downtown, attendees can expect food tastings, entertainment, a silent auction, raffle and a cash bar (21+ event). Tickets are $30/each, $55 for two in advance; $35 at the door. Please see NCEP's website or follow NCEP on Facebook for more information on this special community event.

Newmarket Public Library

The Newmarket Public Library is a learning center and gathering place for community residents of all ages.  We serve children, young adults & families with great collections, programs, and services designed to build kids’ love of reading and discovery.

The library offers a wide range of digital resources to help students with research and homework which can be accessed from home with a library card, from language learning to reading recommendations as well as easy-to-use research databases for any class or topic.  All of our digital resources can be found on our website newmarketlibrary.org, under resources, digital resources.  The New Britannica Library is an award winning resource that offers levels for children, young adults and adults.  We have recently added LearningExpress Library which provides test preparation to for important exams like the ACT®, SAT®, AP® Tests, and more. Included are career-related information and test preparation for college admissions, professional career licensing and certification, high school equivalency and much more.  You can’t trust all the resources in Google but you can trust the quality resources at the Newmarket Public Library.

NPL offers many on-going and special programs.  We have a weekly preschool story time and monthly book club “Nuts About Novels” for elementary aged children.  Check out our website and facebook page for all that we offer.  Every resident of Newmarket is entitled to a library card and we invite you to come and take advantage of the wonderful programs that we offer.  All programs are open and free to the public.  Please come in, meet the staff, and get your library card.  Visit us on our website newmarketlibrary.org and on facebook.


The NES PTA supports Newmarket Elementary School’s students, parents and staff throughout the year.  We host community events throughout the year, such as movie nights, unplugged week, literacy events, and the Harlem Wizards versus Newmarket School District Teachers and Staff basketball game.  View a calendar of events scheduled this year. We are currently fundraising for a new playground at the Elementary School, and are hoping to complete fundraising so that the project can move forward during the summer of 2020.  We are also fundraising to purchase additional Tower Gardens for the NES classrooms and cafeteria.  If you have any questions, or are interested in joining the NES PTA, please contact us at newmarketnhpta@gmail.com.

The Recreation Department

Support the Rec, Create Community! Your child’s participation in a diverse range of activity and  sport programs with Newmarket Rec helps to generate funds that goes directly back into our community. We offer a wide range of programming for all ages including soccer, hip hop, flag football, cartooning, ballet, creative arts, music and so much more. One of our exciting new programs is Sustainable Art on Wednesdays 10/30-12/18, which will provide students a chance to explore items in nature and turn them into art creations! More info about this program and all others can be found on our website. We have a new variety of programs year-round, so please join and refer to our FB page where we post lots of updates (Newmarket Rec). You may also see our flyers come home with your children in backpacks throughout the year and please give us call to find out what programs might be perfect for your kiddos anytime, we would love to hear from you!  We are grateful to be a partner and building block within our Newmarket community. 603-659-8581; recdesk@newmarketnh.gov  - Hope to chat soon! - Aimee, Andy, Alyssa, Anna & the whole Rec Team!!

The African adage it takes a village to raise a child reminds us of the importance these community programs play in the education of our children. Let’s celebrate the work of these organizations and the impact they have on raising them to become productive and engaged citizens of our world.

School Happenings

On September 28, 2019 we will be offering tours of our newly renovated Elementary School from 9:00 AM until noon. Tours, conducted by administrators and members of our student council, will run every half hour starting at 9:00 AM.  The last tour will begin at 11:30am. 

On September 30th, the construction company will begin the month long process of replacing the Cafetorium roof at the Jr/Sr High School. The roof being removed contains some hazardous materials that will require workers to take specific precautionary measures as required by OSHA and other agencies. This work will not pose any imminent danger to staff or students. During this period, there will be an increase in worker presence, heavy equipment on and around the building's east wing, and there may need to be changes to parking and traffic flow patterns in and around the building. More information will follow as it becomes available. In addition, Principal Mazzone, Director of Facilities Marles, and the contractor will be available to answer any questions you may have about the roofing portion of the construction project after the Open Houses at the times noted below.

Open House for the High School will take place on Tuesday, October 1st at 6:30 PM.

Open House for the Junior High School will take place on Wednesday, October 2nd at 6:30 PM.

A detailed schedule of events for both nights will be provided by Principal Mazzone next week.

Join with me in thanking our community partners for providing resources and opportunities that support the growth and development our children. I look forward to seeing you at school and community events during the upcoming weeks, months, and years. Have a wonderful weekend.


Susan K. Givens, Ed.D.



Letter from the Superintendent

Friday, August 30, 2019

Dear Parents and members of the Newmarket community- 

There are so many exciting things going on in our school district that I am bursting with optimism and enthusiasm as we approach the opening of school. Here are some highlights about the amazing work that has been going on in our school community in preparation for the 2019-20 school year. 

Inspired, enthusiastic, highly qualified teachers, ignite the love of learning in our students.  For this reason, hiring well is job one! We are very fortunate to have a wonderful group of talented teachers and support staff joining our team this year.  As of this writing, we have filled all classroom teaching positions at the Elementary School and all but one at the Jr/Sr High School. We are optimistic that this last position will be filled by the second week of school.  In the interim, a retired teacher will be stepping in to ensure students have a qualified teacher to guide their learning as we begin the year. We will continue to actively recruit candidates for the remaining open positions until we have a full complement of staff.     

Over the summer and prior to school opening, faculty and staff have been very busy modifying their curriculum to align with new standards, developing curriculum for new courses, curating content and updating lesson plans to deliver high quality learning experiences for our students. They have also been actively engaged in professional development related to Competency Based Education (CBE), social emotional learning, and student engagement using Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles and other strategies that draw out the knowledge assets, passions, and interests of our students. All of this work supports our effort to create a culture of learning that celebrates and leverages the brilliance in every person who enters our doors. I look forward to working with the community, parents, School Board and our entire team of educators and support staff, to continue this important work. 

Construction at the Elementary School is substantially complete and teachers have been moving into their classrooms the past couple of days. The facility is beautiful and staff are feeling both relieved and excited to be in their new spaces. Significant progress has also been made at the Jr/Sr High School during the summer months. The new additions are substantially complete, the contractor has completed the first of three renovation phases to the older sections of the building, and all safety, security, network, and communication systems are installed and have been tested. Of course that also means that we will be under construction this year and will be moving classrooms around in November and April as the remaining phases are completed. This will inevitably cause some disruption for both staff and students but we know that the end is in sight and when it is complete, we will have wonderful environments that will support 21st Century teaching and learning experiences for our students. We would like to thank the community for this important investment in our schools. 

The Board has held several retreats over the summer to review feedback from staff, evaluate strengths and challenges, and develop goals or focus areas for our work this year. These goals include completing the building project, negotiating an initial contract for our paraprofessional bargaining unit, developing a salary and compensation program that will enable the district to attract and retain highly qualified staff, to begin transitioning our policies, procedures and practices to align with 21st Century, best practices that support or enhance quality teaching and learning experiences for students, and to support activities related to the Superintendent’s entry plan and subsequent report.  More information about the entry plan and opportunities to meet and share your suggestions, hopes and dreams with me will be forthcoming.

In closing, there is so much for us to be grateful for as we open our school doors; new schools, a dedicated staff and community, and an energized staff focused on finding ways to use their collective strengths to meet the needs of every child.  Let this year mark the dawn of a new beginning filled with hope and promise as we set our sights on the future. Your support and engagement is integral to our success and I look forward to learning more about this wonderful community in the upcoming year. 


Susan K. Givens, Ed.D.

For more information regarding school opening details, please read the following letters from the principals.

A note from Principal Pine, Elementary School

A note from Principal Mazzone, Jr/Sr High School