Education Faculty Member is a Catalyst for New Hampshire's First Magnet School
"Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world." -- Joel Barker, author and futurist
Students in Endicott's School of Education have heard this quote, and the accompanying story, since Dr. Anthony Pastelis joined the Endicott faculty in 2001. Barker's story features a wise older man who walks along the seashore before he begins his writing. One morning he spots a figure in the distance that appears to be dancing on the shoreline. Curious, he walked closer only to see a young women gently tossing starfish into the sea, because the sun is rising, the tide is going out, and they would otherwise die. He reminds the young woman that there are miles of shoreline and thousands of starfish and she couldn't possibly make a difference. The women gently tossed another starfish past the breaking waves, saying, "made a difference to that one."
For years, Dr. Pastelis has believed that the general structure of America's education system was in need of change, especially the 180-day school calendar based on agrarian times when students were needed to work the fields of the family farm in the summer. As an elected member of the Rochester (NH) School Board, Pastelis conceived of the idea of transforming one of the district's K-5 elementary schools into a school of the future, most notable a 200-day school year. The Board supported the plan and Superintendent Mike Hopkins and his administrative team, along with teachers, parents and other community members, turned this vision into reality.
The Maple Street Magnet School opened its doors on August 7, 2012 to approximately 100 students with a ribbon cutting ceremony, the first such school in the State of New Hampshire. The school features the following hallmarks, in addition to the revised school calendar:
•A personal Learning plan to accelerate all student’s learning
•French language instruction starting at Kindergarten
•A core instructional program focused on reading, mathematics, science, social studies and writing
•An integrated project based academic/arts instruction on a daily basis
•Five terms based on an overriding theme of the school. Each term will have a theme based on the school year theme. The integrated activities and content activities will be based on the themes
•Partnership with local sponsors and community service requirements
•Specific parental expectations and responsibilities
More parents were interested in sending their children to the newly formed Magnet School than the maximum capacity of 97 allowed, so a lottery system was developed to determine which students would attend.
Dr. Pastelis said he is excited about the school's future, and looks forward to the next few years when student achievement data can be collected and analyzed and compared to the other district elementary schools.
Congratulations to Anthony for playing an active role in this groundbreaking endeavor! And, you can bet that he will be using this as an example to his students of how they, too, can make a difference in education.