Technology and sharper focus for Coe Brown students this yearBy JOHN QUINN
Union Leader Correspondent
August 28. 2013 12:36AM
NORTHWOOD — In order to be better prepared for life after graduation, all Coe-Brown Northwood Academy students have been issued Netbooks, while others will be able to narrow the focus of their studies this year.
Headmaster David Smith said freshmen reported for the annual orientation Aug. 16, which allowed them to get to know the school and meet their classmates and teachers, before classes began for all Aug. 19.
"We're on our second week of excitement," Smith said. "We had a great start."
Along with a batch of 174 freshmen and nine new upperclassmen, Coe-Brown welcomes several new staff members, including French teacher Elizabeth Evans, who previously taught in Strafford, English teacher Jessica Ryan and paraprofessionals Jennifer Morrissette and Jessica Wentworth.
For the most part, Smith said students and staff have gotten over the first-day jitters and know their way around campus, which can be disorienting even for those who have been around a few years.
To add to the confusion, Smith said the school started moving the math department from the main building into its new facilities across the road to Smith Hall. He added all of the math teachers and classes will be in-place by January.
As part of a four-year process, Smith said this is the first time all students were issued Netbooks, which are used as part of classwork and at home. He added they could also be used during snow days if needed.
Coe-Brown made a few changes to better prepare students and graduates for college and the real world, according to Sally Aseltine, dean of student services.
Aseltine said senior English students will be able to focus on a particular genre — including heroes and villains, adventure in the great outdoors, dystopian future and New Hampshire authors.
"It gets them excited about reading," Aseltine said, adding the choice should empower students and allows them to put their English skills to a practical use.
Aseltine said students read from a variety of traditional books and e-books, which can be accessed on their Netbooks.
She said the history department is revamping the coursework to allow classes to make connections between the past and the modern era. She added they are planning to move up the block on the Civil War, which is usually taught in elementary schools, to earlier in the school year.
Along with Algebra, geometry and Calculus, Aseltine said the school is offering more practical math and economic classes where students can learn about balancing checkbooks, buying a car or a house and managing their money.
This was brought about by teachers who proposed the new focus based on suggestions from students and by relying on a return to core-curriculum based education, according to Aseltine
She said the change will allow teachers to focus on reality rather than theory, so students will be better prepared to go on to college or start a career after high school.
Coe-Brown, which was established in 1867, educates more than 700 high school students from the communities of Northwood, Strafford, Nottingham, Deerfield and Barrington this year.
For more information, visit http://coebrown.org.