This school has been a wonderfully warm and supportive place for my highly motivated and high achieving child. We moved to this district for Souhegan and I will not move away until both my kids have graduated, despite a long commute to work and other exciting job opportunities. I'd rather have my kids at Souhegan than the pressure cooker public schools we were looking at in Massachusetts. We had tolerate a few not so great years at the elementary and middle schools in the district before getting to Souhegan but now that we are here I am very pleased.
I have been an educator for 25 years. When my daughter was born, we moved to Amherst specifically for the high school. Souhegan is a member of the coalition of essential schools and we wanted our children to learn in an environment built on teaching students to "use their minds well" and "demonstrate mastery".
For accurate information on the school philosophy you might visit http://essentialschools.org/common-principles/.
I would also say that if you are considering Amherst as a community, please know that the vast majority of our residents are thoughtful partners with the schools in the education of our children. The teachers and administrators in all of our buildings work tirelessly to support our children. I have worked in MANY schools throughout my career and know from experience that the learning environment created by the staff and administration at Souhegan High School is exactly what our children need to thrive and succeed.
I would say thanks to all of the teachers for being so intentional in planning for and teaching students. We look forward to the years ahead and all of the experiences, both within the school day and beyond. There are so many ways to be involved with the school from National Honors Society to the plays to community rock climbing. We appreciate all that you do to provide meaningful learning experiences both in and out of the classroom. Know that the fact you go above and beyond is recognized by the vast majority of the parents and students in our community.
The classes offer both challenge and support. There is an expectation that all can learn and grow. There is a lot of research on the impact of grit and perseverance on success. This research by Angela Duckworth and Carol Dwek is present in the ways in which teachers interact with students at Souhegan. I work in a different school district that is just starting to alter it's practices to reflect this research but Souhegan was founded on the understanding that children need to be challenged and learn to persevere in order to be ready for life's challenges as adults.
Respect is an essential foundation for learning and the school fosters this systemically through programs like advisory and in the way that teachers and students interact with each other in a "student as worker, teacher as coach" environment.
The advisory, a small group of students that meets with an adult daily, fosters compassion, caring and empathy in students by developing an environment where students can get to know other students and help each other work toward academic success.
The community service requirement for every student builds compassion, caring and empathy as well.
The school has an active community council which includes community members, parents and students. The students work to represent the voices of their peers in decision making. They create a check and balance system to ensure fairness within the community. Another feature of the school is the advisory system. Small groups of students meet with an adult advisor daily to review academic performance, build a sense of team and discuss issues related to honesty, integrity and fairness. This school is intentional about fostering community and citizenship.