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“You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”
–A.A. Milne
Volume 26, No. 1
Autumn 2014
The Muskr t
The Community School Newsletter
TCS Is A Quarter Century Strong
Not one but two alumni are working here this fall; we just
brought home three ribbons and a trophy from the
Sandwich Fair; our fields are freshly mown; our dynamite
faculty has already taken their students on nine field trips
and are gearing up for a visit to the Supreme Court; Farmers’ Table lunches are bringing back old friends and welcoming new, for our 6th year of serving delectable locally-sourced meals; our website is getting a facelift; we’ve
hosted one gourmet dinner and a wedding; our fall CSA
has a record enrollment and winter crops are being dug
and stored in our new walk-in cooler; and that’s in just the
first 8 weeks of school!
This fall, like so many others in our 25 year history, feels
great. The energy coursing through the schoolhouse is positive, with music ringing during breaks, impromptu games of Magic and soccer taking equal numbers of players
at lunch, really interesting classes challenging kids to think creatively and critically, and our beloved school house
looking pretty spiffy after a summer’s worth of paint and putty (plus some loving and only occasionally grudging
chore work by kids each day). There’s a nice balance of new and old faces at morning meeting, and every seat
around our staff meeting table is full.
When our two student board members heard we were putting together this fall tidbit of a Muskrat, Galen
immediately asked if there were going to be space dedicated to kids’ musings on their education, friendships,
challenges, and growth at TCS, so here you go, the definitive word on why this place is amazing. Thanks so much
for continuing to be a friend to The Community School. We hope you’re as proud of our accomplishments as we
Gratitude is the inward feeling of kindness received. Thankfulness is the natural impulse to
express that feeling. Thanksgiving is the following of that impulse. -Henry VanDyke
I am grateful for the feeling that
everybody cares about each other.
I’m looked at as an individual.
People notice when I’m upset. It
makes me feel important.
--Kaylee, grade 12
I’m grateful that I’m able to be
myself and respected as who I
am and cared about for who I
am. It’s kind of like we’re all
family, and I’m thankful for that.
--Sara, grade 9
The feelings of acceptance and
being welcome, “come on in,” with
no judgement, make me glad,
happy, and excited to be here.
--Devon, post-grad
I feel grateful to work in a place
where I’m free to teach what I’m
passionate about and to follow
students’ passions, and for a
really rich community of teachers
and people who share our space.
--Courtney, teacher
Everybody here accepts everybody.
There’s no, “I hate you because
you’re new.” This
community is open for
--Marvin, exchange student
from Germany
I’m grateful for the sharing of
ideas from people of different
ages and backgrounds, and the
comfortable and open environment that this place provides.
--Ole, teacher
Tracy & Lianne’s Top Ten(s)
The Community School is unique
in many ways, including our administrative model. Co-directorship brings with it not only a
sensible division of workload,
but also fantastic opportunities
for collaborative leadership,
teamwork, and shared visioning. All the critical skills we hope
to impart to our students, we
are able to model on a daily basis. We regularly check
in with each other about how to best meet the needs
of our school, farm, and land, but we also discuss our
general dreams for TCS. Here’s a quick snapshot of our
“top ten” for the coming year; can you guess which of
us connects to each? We want:
1. to see more new faces at our Thursday Farmer’s
Tables lunches, while continuing to welcome our longtime and well-loved “regulars”.
1. world peace, beginning with our own mediation
and problem solving skills.
2. the foxes to choose meals that don’t include
Hannah and Shannon’s chickens, so we can have
more fresh eggs.
2. next year’s Gourmet Dinner to be even more fabulous
and delicious than our first...the menu is in the works!
3. our students and our staff to leave here each day
feeling accomplished, well-fed, and happy.
3. about 7.5 more hours in every day, including time for
at least one walk or maybe office yoga.
4. Mother Nature, the gods of highway traffic, and the
TSA to help our many well-planned school trips to go off
without a hitch.
4. three more cord of dry firewood, another box of
matches, and a stash of used newspapers--shiny and
colorful ads removed.
5. lots of people to feel compelled to spread the word
about us, so plenty of kind, curious, open-minded, selfmotivated new students find their way here and join
our ever-growing community.
5. another van to cart all those kids around!
6. Our farmer Hannah to revel in bountiful harvests and
plentiful CSA shares next season.
6. exuberant participation in our adult and community
arts classes, led by fiber artist Ellen Hedglin.
7. our Administrative Assistant, Kim Grace, to feel valued for all she so freely gives to the school (and that
she never has to miss a day of work!)
7. even more visits and contact from our alumni; we
miss you! And that goes for you former teachers,
parents, and board members, too!
8. plenty of opportunities for genuine community involvement, and our ethos of service and stewardship
to spread like wildfire.
8. our farm to grow and grow as a real model of community connectivity, sustainable practice, and vision.
9. our students to continue to read and love books in
this age of Snapchat, Facebook, and texting.
9. our students to continue to read and love books in
this age of Snapchat, Facebook, and texting.
10. our strong base of local supporters to add new
faces and wisdom to its rank, so that we’ll thrive for at
least another 25 years.
10. Amen, and thank you!
Regardless of which of these wishes resonates with you,
we hope this finds you content in your life, happy for
the joyful vibe here at TCS, and thinking about coming
by for a visit.
& Lianne
“So a squirrel
walks into a room
with a uke and a
paintbrush....” *
Art and music feed our souls, but they also contribute
to greater learning capacity in a range of social and
academic areas, including math and languages. The
debate about funding arts education has raged for decades in public school districts, but it has always been
a given that art and music are integral to a student’s
experience at The Community School. Our students
have plenty of opportunity to use and develop their artistic selves through coursework, break-time collaborations and short-term stewardship classes, and this year
we welcome year-long art and music classes back into
our curriculum. Each Monday morning students create art with
local artist, musician and longtime TCS faculty/board
member Candace Maher, who has helped us tap the
power in each of us to create things of beauty. Shana
Aisenberg is also here every week, sharing her myriad
gifts of song and rhythm. In addition to her teaching,
Shana may very well be remembered as the first person
to play a ukulele as part of our Sandwich Fair parade
entry (that’s her, center left, on our front page pic).
*PUNCHLINE: “Hey, we can all create something beautiful, even
without opposable thumbs!
You Need Fiber In Your Life
Weeping for the Willow
What, you say? Kids shouldn’t
have all the fun, soaking up the
exciting learning energy at TCS
this year? We agree!
We’ve created a series
of classes designed for community members of all ages,
who are able to work independently (so no little ‘uns, please).
We’ll begin with a fiber arts series, and then move into some
writing and cooking offerings,
later in the spring. Talented fiber artist Ellen Hedglin will share
her skill and creative talent, as
she takes you through the steps of stretching yourself in
colorful new ways. Gorgeous materials are included in
all fees. Call for info or to reserve a spot!
Linda’s classes wrote poems
under it. Out and About campers ate their lunch under it. Abbey Heimlich was married under it. Everyone has climbed
it. But an era has passed. Recent fall winds yanked yet another big limb from our
stately willow, exposing serious core rot. These same
winds ripped large branches from the field oak and the
ancient maple, now hugely rotten, which shaded the
Perkins’ graveyard. When next you visit, you’ll mourn
the passing of the willow and the maple, tidily cut by
Vincent Cook and his crew. Maybe, though, you’ll
clamber up the tall willow stump, left high for climbing
and perching, and take in a new view.
Fiber Art Beads
Saturday, 11/29, 10am-2pm
Learn to make one-of-a-kind beads that can be used in
jewelry, weaving, and quilting.
Materials & instruction: $50, bring lunch; coffee
& snacks provided
Needle-Felted Christmas Ornaments
Thursday, 12/11, noon lunch/1-4pm class
The holidays are near, and it’s a perfect time to make
needle-felted ornaments for your tree or home.
Materials & instruction: $40, with lunch $45
Building A Felt Vessel
Thursday, 1/8, 10am-3pm
Use wet felt and a resist to build a 3-d woolen vessel.
Materials & instruction: $60, with lunch $65
Painting with Wool 101
Saturday, 1/24, 9am-1pm
Learn the basics or hone your skills as you needlefelt
a simply-drawn wool “painting.”
Materials & instruction: $60, bring lunch; coffee
& snacks provided
Painting with Wool 102
Saturday, 2/7, 9am-1pm
Continue on, putting your needlefelting skills to work as you
learn to do a free-form wool “painting.”
Materials & instruction: $60, bring lunch; coffee
& snacks provided
Holiday Fair
December 6
A Tremendous Gathering of Artisans
and Crafters with Gifts, Wreaths, Cookie
Walk, Festival of Trees, Holiday Bazaar
for the kids. Delicious hot lunch. Join
us! Come All Ye Faithful!
Commemorative Tappan Chair
to Celebrate Our 25th
Though our beloved
trees are no longer here
to shade us, we can
gain comfort from them
in perpetuity.
Nudd-Homeyer, of Tappan Chairs LLC in Sandwich, is designing and
building a special chair,
using wood from our willow, oak and maple. This
absolutely unique chair
is literally and figuratively
steeped in the essence of The Community School and
will be presented for online and live bidding in April, as
part of our Celebrate Community Auction. We’ll post
pictures online, as soon as the tree parts yield into chair
parts. In the meantime, check out the possibilities at
Giving Thanks Feast
Wednesday, November 26, 11:30-1pm, at TCS
A Traditional Harvest Meal, By Donation. RSVP
What Goes Around....
Over Hill, Over Dale
Whether they are tending to
the farm, caring for each other, engaging in social action
or taking out the recycling, our
students learn that the choices
they make and the determination with which they undertake a task have an impact
on others. All of us at TCS strive
to “pay it forward” – to volunteer and give what we can of
our time and treasure with the
hope that our positive actions
will have a trickle effect of kindness and positive action. If it is true that we reap what we sow, then we are
certainly harvesting a bounty this year in the form of
alumni who have joined our staff.
Katie Smith returns to us with a degree in Writing
and Literature and Master’s degree in education. Katie
has taught poetry classes for us in the past, but this year
she is serving as our full time Americorps employee – advising students, helping with a nascent post-grad program, providing academic support where it’s needed,
leading community service and extracurricular activities, and driving our Conway bus. Katie often speaks of
how important it is to her to give back to TCS, a place
that supported and encouraged her individuality and
Katie is not the only former student sharing of
herself with TCS. Juliana Beecher came back to her
old stomping grounds to co-teach an outdoor leadership class with Sam Bensley. One of our core values is to
connect with nature, and as an outdoor educator, Juliana is sharing her skills and love of the outdoors with our
students. Though she has recently moved to Vermont,
she hopes to make guest appearances throughout the
year to assist Sam in leading hiking trips, including a potential “100-mile hike” in the spring.
What goes around comes around – Katie and
Juliana are now inspiring and supporting another generation of TCS stewards.
When asked what drew them to TCS, many of our students respond that they are excited about the travel
opportunities which are
intrinsic to our curriculum
and overall community experience. At a time when
field trips are becoming
less common in many
middle and high schools,
we are committed to expanding travel opportunities for our students. We
find that bringing our learning into communities near and far not only connects
classroom lessons to real-world experience, but also
speaks to our core values of honoring the individual,
acting responsibly with all people and places, facing
challenge with courage, and experiencing education.
Mark Twain, an author with whom several of our students are becoming quite familiar this year, was right
on when he said, “travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry,
and narrow-mindedness.” Our students return from their
travels with a broader world-view and a greater sense
of wonder, curiosity and confidence.
This year most of our classes have some kind of
travel component linked to them, ranging from day
trips to week-long adventures. Whether it is walking
the Freedom Trail in Boston as part of a class on the
American Revolution or taking part in a hawk count for
Migration class, day trips are all about connecting the
learning and activities that happen in the classroom
with a clear sense of place and purpose.
Students in the Slavery and America’s Roots
block recently visited the Black Heritage Trail in Portsmouth and were astounded to stand at a port right
here in New Hampshire where slaves disembarked to
a life of servitude. Suddenly, the reality that slavery was
not just a southern issue took hold, and one student
said she’d never look at Market Square the same way
This year our students will travel to Washington
D.C. to sit in on U.S. Supreme Court proceedings as part
of our The Constitution and the Supreme Court class.
Marine Biology students will study ocean life along the
shores of Acadia National Park. Our Spain and the
Americas class will spend a week studying Spanish and
indigenous influences in New Mexico; and students in
Our Neighbors to the North class will take a deeper look
at our shared history with Canada as they visit Montreal.
Have a favorite destination? Think it might connect to a learning opportunity? Let us know and maybe we can build it in to next year’s offerings.
are grateful for the
times we were able to
soak up wisdom, joy, and
warmth from
Suzanne Coolidge,
a beloved teacher and
board member.
She knew
that hot soup and bread
made a difference, and
shared generously of her
delicious self.
Our thoughts and love go
out to Bob, Max and family.
Jocelyn Gutchess was a kind supporter and bold role
model for us. We are grateful for having known her.
Happy Trails To You....
Farmers’ Table Goes Gourmet,
And How!
At $100 per ticket for a local
foods fundraising dinner, you
can imagine how nervous
we were. Would the cooking
live up to the expectations?
Could we source enough local ingredients to do justice
to the concept and recipes? Would the space be
beautiful or would it feel like
old spaghetti fundraising dinners in a 1984 cafeteria?
Would anyone come? Any and all fears were quickly
put to rest, this fall, as we hosted the first of many galas
featuring robust company and festive foods.
While the evening was too cold for us to ramble
around outside and dine by candlelight under a tent,
the students, staff, and parents pulled out the white
linen cloths and napkins, rounded up family silver, and
built exquisite bouquets, transforming the lobby and
the science wing.
The evening began with a cocktail and hors
d’ouevre hour, made all the more special by the inclusion of TCS grad Eric Dube, founder of Dube Cider. His
mixology skills were much appreciated as he poured
cocktails using his hard cider, and other NH and VTsourced libations, as a focal point. Folk wandered from
hors d’oeuvre table to bar and back again, sampling
the pate de campagne of ground pork, ham and
pork liver, delicately seasoned with nutmeg and allspice, made velvety wtih cream,
the perfectly aged sheep’s milk
cheeses from The Big Farm, and
cauliflower tempura.
Our dear friends Peter Barnard
and John Cleveland brought
their oenophilic talents to the celebration, choosing wines to pair
with each course. Peter and a
cohort of parents served wines
throughout the meal, lingering
with guests, answering questions,
and exclaiming over each sip.
Six students volunteered as wait staff. Guests
were grouped at tables, and served each course family-style, with portions designed to let diners taste every
offering. The kids listened raptly when they were presented with platter after platter, questioning cooking
technique, spicing, and ingredients so that they could
convey accurate info to our
Finally, all that was left to
serve was a platter of bitesized rhubarb tarts--made
by alumna Hillary Mangan,
home from her bakery job
for the weekend-- and chocolate truffles, each infused
with different herbs and exotics grown here on the
farm: ginger, lemongrass, and lavender. The last sips
of wine were quaffed, hugs were shared, and some of
the final words of the evening are still ringing here...”so,
can you serve twice as many people next year? We’re
coming back, and we’re bringing friends.”
There’s A New Farmer In Town
We joyfully welcome our new farm manager, Hannah
Fleischmann, as she transitions from working as John’s
assistant into our first-ever full-time farm manager. Because our farm production is now solidly a three-season endeavor, and moving perhaps into a four-season
realm, we need a farmer who is with us year ‘round.
Hannah will spend her first winter with us bringing crops
to markets; working with teachers, Lianne, and Tracy to
develop farm-based curricula; working with an ad hoc
farm committee to develop a capital improvement
plan for maintenance and replacement of farm infrastructure; raising chickens; and getting our new farm
stand and walk in cooler ready for spring.
We say a fond farewell to John and Emma, wishing them manageable pests and few rocks on their new
path. Emma is a doctoral student at UMaine Orono,
and John--after an extended cross country journey--is
going to be tackling new soils in Maine. Their tireless
efforts have forever dispelled
the myth that abundant, diverse crops can’t be grown
on our farm. They leave us
with a new perspective, a
small young orchard, a student garden, a solid start
with permaculture plantings,
and a very healthy garden.
Puma Concolor
Mountain lions don’t exist in New Hampshire, though
they don’t seem to realize this to be true. You won’t
have to ask too many people before you’ll find stories
of signs and sightings in Tamworth and Sandwich, some
very close to The Community School.
This reclusive animal has a habitat of about 100
square miles. They prey on rodents, raccoons, deer,
and even creatures, out West, as large as elk. Do they
eat pig? This is our $64 question. This summer, neighbors Will Robinson and Kevin Fullam, along with our
farmer John, raised pigs in one of our pastures. There
was plenty of bear sign throughout South Tamworth this
summer, including around our pig pen. One night, a
pig disappeared completely, with nary
a sign--no blood, no drag marks--left
behind. This hog, at 150 pounds, would
have been difficult (though not impossible) for even a large black bear to cart
off. But how about a mountain lion?
Non-Profit Org.
U.S. Postage Paid
So. Tamworth, NH
Permit No. 1
The Community School
1164 Bunker Hill Road
South Tamworth, NH 03883
(603) 323-7000
$1.00, $10,000 or anything in between is a boon!
Here’s my gift. Please use it for the following:
general financial aid
farm, forest & fields stewardship, Farmers’ Table
Rowe Leadership Award, celebrating a community leader
Gabriel Orff Scholarship, honoring a student from Maine
Consider Planned Giving--for a year or in perpetuity!
You can have a pre-determined amount withdrawn from your account monthly, make a donation of
appreciated stocks, or include The Community School in your will! Make out-of-the-box education, raising
real food for people you know, and stewardship of a beautiful parcel of land your legacy. Contact Lianne
Prentice at (603) 323-7000 or [email protected] for more information on how to make your
Please use the enclosed envelope to mail your donation.
THANK YOU to those who have already given!