AE/MS Is Busy Seven Days A Week

Veterans Day, Grandparents Thankgiving, Holiday Concerts keep the school humming.

By Jane Slayton, Principal, AE/MS
Veterans Day and the all-school ceremony for local veterans is always an important day at AE/MS. Noah Berry, Jeramiah Proulx, Alisha Smart, and Jacqui Morris were on hand to serve refreshments to the veterans after the ceremony. Photo: Charlie Darling

Twenty School Street is busy seven days a week now. It is a rare occasion that you will find the parking lot empty. There are holiday concerts, basketball practices, school projects, and many meetings. Classrooms are filled with enthusiastic learners trying hard not to be distracted by the holidays and the fun to be had during the upcoming vacation.

Some may not realize that we have learners of all ages at AE/MS. It is no surprise that we have kindergarten through eighth grade students learning every day at AE/MS. But you may be surprised to know that older students also come to our school on a regular basis.

We are a popular choice for New England College students to come and immerse themselves in K-8 learning and decide whether becoming an educator is an option they want to explore further as they begin their college program. AE/MS is also a frequent choice for college students at the other end of their course of studies, when it is time for student teaching. Interns and student teachers from New England College, Colby-Sawyer College, Plymouth State University, and the Upper Valley Educators Institute all further their education at AE/MS.

Most years there is also a graduate course offered onsite at AE/MS, in which most of our teachers enroll. There is a course currently being offered through New England College starting in January, and it will run through the spring. It is titled “Collaborative Action Research: 21st Century Teaching and Learning Practices.” Community members looking for an excellent graduate course are welcome to join us. Contact me for the registration paperwork.

I love the fact that we have this opportunity in our building, as it is important for our younger students to see that learning is a lifelong process.

Also on hand for the ceremony were veterans Mike Dauwer, Roger Champagne, and Edward Fish. Photo: Charlie Darling


Grandparents Thanksgiving and Veterans Day were two school-wide events in November that brought the community into the school. Both events were well attended, and photos can be seen on the new Beacon Web site at and on our new school Web site at

Seventh and eighth grade basketball teams started practicing before Thanksgiving and have picked up the pace since then. Coach Jim Tucker and the AE/MS fans are looking forward to another great season for the Andover Eagles.

It’s winter concert season! The first holiday program is on Thursday, December 6, and will include students in kindergarten through fifth grades performing with their classes. The second holiday program on Thurday, December 13, is more of an instrumental evening for the bands and individual musicians. Community members are invited to come and enjoy both winter concerts!

It’s always fun to see the kindergarten students take the stage at the holiday concert for their first time! This year will be particularly cute, as the plan is for the kindergarten students to wear glowing Rudolph noses. We have a morning and an afternoon kindergarten class, and they don’t rehearse together, so when they walk onto the stage for the first time, anything can happen! Often they’ll scan the crowd, maybe sing, and when family members are noticed in the audience, there is lots of waving and excitement.

The Holiday Shoppe will be held on Friday, December 14. This is the much-anticipated shopping day for all students. It gives the students an opportunity to surprise their immediate family members with gifts they pick out all by themselves. Due to the generosity of the community, we are able to have a bountiful Holiday Shoppe every December. AE/MS School Nurse Christine Frost will be coordinating the special day again this year.

Congratulations to the large number of Andover students who were named to the Honor Roll at MVHS for the first quarter! We continue to follow their progress after AE/MS and are justifiably proud of their accomplishments.

We are always looking for musical instruments. If you have an instrument in good shape that you no longer use, please consider donating it to the school. Contact Paul Hubert, AE/MS music teacher, if interested. Playing an instrument can be unaffordable for some families, so we try to have instruments available for students.

We are already looking ahead to next year. Our enrollment is on the rise, and we will need an additional teacher for fourth grade.

At the same time, we are again exploring the option of full-day kindergarten. Four years ago we brought it to the attention of the Andover School Board. Now, with the pressing expectations of the Common Core State Standards, we have again brought forth the need.

The Common Core State Standards have been designed for a full-day kindergarten. One thousand eighty hours of instruction are needed to address the standards, which is difficult to squeeze into our present 540-hour half-day program.

Certainly a kindergarten day will never be all work and no play, as it is always important to remember that kindergarten students are only five years old. Our present three-hour day already limits what we are able to teach, and the Common Core State Standards will only increase our concerns. More and more school districts in New Hampshire have implemented full-day kindergarten.

Ski Program

The Town of Andover is once again generously making the ski program available and affordable to Andover families. The first ski day is Friday, January 4. Students have the opportunity to alpine ski or snowboard at Ragged Mountain. Any questions regarding this program should be directed to Ellie George.

Participating students will be dismissed early on Friday afternoons to participate in the Town program. Those students who do not ski on Friday afternoons will have the opportunity to skate at the Proctor Academy rink. Skating also starts on Friday, January 4. Students must have skates and helmets. We have acquired a pretty good collection of skates and helmets at school, so please feel free to borrow.

As I write this during the Thanksgiving break, I can’t help but think about all we have to be thankful for in our school community. I am grateful to be part of such a caring, supportive, and generous school community. We are fortunate to have excellent, dedicated, and caring professionals who work with enthusiastic students.

Learning at AE/MS is thriving! I appreciate the town of Andover and all it does for our children.