- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

July 28—MARLOW — The town’s elementary school is going back to its roots with a new name, which also signifies larger changes coming to the kindergarten- through 6th-grade school.

This fall, the school’s name will change from the John D. Perkins Sr. Elementary School to the John D. Perkins Sr. Academy of Marlow, officials at N.H. School Administrative Unit 29 announced Monday.

The new name reflects a time in Marlow’s history when students from across the country attended Marlow Academy, according to Walter G. Huston, principal of Perkins Academy. Marlow Academy was open from the mid-1800s until about 1910, Huston said.

Huston said the new name projects an expectation of more rigorous academics, which may help address declining enrollment at the school, a problem many other schools in the area are facing.

Huston said the goal is to increase enrollment by attracting families to Marlow and getting other communities to send their students to the school. The enrollment for Perkins Academy next fall is 26 students, according to a news release from Unit 29.

“Our hope is that families will look at this as a viable option, a different approach to education than most schools in the area are using and that they’d want their child to be part of that,” Huston said.

Other schools in the area have also started programs aimed to attract students from outside the district to combat falling numbers, including Harrisville-Wells Memorial School and the Gilsum STEAM Academy.

The new Marlow curriculum will include project-based learning and place-based education, according to Huston.

Beginning this fall, students will spend more time out in the community to take advantage of the learning experiences around the school.

Before, those kinds of learning opportunities were spontaneous and not regularly planned, according to Huston.

With the revamped curriculum, the hope is that the school will become more of a fixture in the community, Huston said.

“Right now, I think where we are in the town is, we kind of operate separately,” he said.

The name change and new curriculum is the culmination of work by the Marlow School District’s vision committee, which has been meeting since December to develop a mission for the school because there wasn’t one before, Huston said.

Huston was the chairman of the six-member vision committee, which also consists of school board member Ty Tomasko, a parent representative, a teacher and two community representatives.

The committee also developed a new mission statement for the school, which can be summarized in three words: care, engage and interact.

The school should care for itself, others, and build a relationship with families and the community, according to Huston. The school curriculum should engage students with challenging academics, and the school should interact with the resources in the community and environment to enhance the curriculum, Huston said in March.

Matt Nanci can be reached at 352-1234, extension 1439, or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @MNanciKS.

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(c)2015 The Keene Sentinel (Keene, N.H.)

Visit The Keene Sentinel (Keene, N.H.) at www.sentinelsource.com

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