Tag Archives: first grade

Alton Town, By Letter, Requests Central School (ACS) To Adopt A Plan To Remedy Odours From The 1st Grade Class Room Sinks.


Anura Guruge

Related Post From Yesterday:
>> Alton Central School (ACS): Air Quality — Apr. 3, 2013.
….++++ Do SEARCH for ‘Miller’, ‘ACS’ or ‘Bond’ for other posts
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This letter, dated April 1, 2013 (though I really hope it was NOT an April Fool’s joke by the town), was read, without too much elaboration, at last night’s School Board meeting. Since I didn’t get to see the letter and I was not taking any notes I might have got some of the nuances wrong, but the gist of it, as I could see it, was that the Town, at last, was asking the school to look into the issues of the malodorous sinks in the classroom.

As with the ‘seating configuration‘, I know very well that this had nothing to do with me (and after 21 years of writing public opinion pieces I know the adage: ‘like a rooster claiming that it is his daily crowing that makes the Sun rise‘ only too well).

But, seems strange that just last Friday, March 29, 2013, I happened to speak to a Town official on exactly this matter and even spelled out how they used a piece of wood over the sink. Now, as is my wont, I might have, inadvertently, used my ‘code words’.

Bottom line is that I am delighted. Teischan who was also at the meeting was even more delighted.

Amazing how these things happen. We just started trying to get to the bottom of this ACS air quality issue — as I posted yesterday (where I did mention that I had been talking to people in Concord and the Town Hall).

Suddenly we have all these documents in front of me — and I THANK all those that scrambled to get them to us within ‘hours’.

I have Air Quality reports from 2010 and 2012 PLUS a NH Department of LaborSafety Inspection Report‘ for the SAU and ACS that was conducted this year, February 26, 2013.

Plus there is the second School Board meeting this coming Monday, April 8, 2013 where I gather some of these concerns will get aired.

Why They Changed The 1st Grade Seating In Alton Central School (ACS), NH.

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

by Anura Guruge

Related posts:
Unusual Seating Arrangement For 1st Grade Kids At Alton Central School (ACS), NHAugust 29, 2012.
They Changed The Seating In Alton Central School (ACS), NH, 1st Grade Kids At. Yippie! — Sept. 7, 2012.


When Teischan got back from school on Friday I asked her why the teacher had changed the seating arrangement.

Her words: “The kids were fighting … but I wasn’t one of them“. (Yep, she is our ‘angel’ — at school, making up for it, manifold and with vengence, at home.)

Just totally cracked me up. Fancy that. Wow.

As you can see if you look at my last post I was savvy enough not to take credit for this change, though two people told me that it must have been the result of my original post.

I was thinking about this. I need to check with a psychologist, maybe my daughter who will have a Master’s in Forensic Psychology in a few months. There must be a deep down, visceral territorial instinct that we all have that makes us at a minimum ‘restless’ when we are deprived of private space over long periods of time.

So, I have two questions.

1/ As far as I know all teachers, these days, have to have a teaching degree. Don’t they teach them anything about child psychology and even more importantly the basic ‘ABCs’ of classroom setup?

2/ As far as I know and can see, ACS has lot of administrative staff starting with the Superintendent. Didn’t any of them, especially the Principal and Assistant Principal, do a walk through of all the classrooms and have a chat with the teachers about the layout. OK, it is possible that they didn’t appreciate that having 6-year olds, face-to-face, with their noses 44″ apart probably might lead to conflict and disorder. I guess you live and learn.

I am just glad that this got done well before the flu season.

They Changed The Seating In Alton Central School (ACS), NH, 1st Grade Kids At. Yippie!

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

by Anura Guruge

Related post:
Unusual Seating Arrangement For 1st Grade Kids At Alton Central School (ACS), NHAugust 29, 2012.

Deanna, who takes Teischan to school every morning, came back this morning with the exciting, and very exciting news, that the desks have been rearranged; Teischan and her both doing a double-take when they saw it.

The kids are no longer seated nose-to-nose, 44″ apart. Hooray! Hooray!

They have gone to what I consider the more traditional row-based seating, with kids seating behind others (other than the ‘lucky’, chosen few at the very front). I guess for space reasons the kids are still sitting elbow-to-elbow with no separation of the desks in each row. I can live with that though I am sure a little separation might help. I am sure that ACS educators will tell me that this row-based seating is not good for the kids and that they will grow up with complexes all stemming from them staring at the back of somebody else’s head in 1st grade. So be it. C’est la vie. In NH with fall and winter soon upon us I would rather get them through 1st grade without missing too many days due to colds, coughs, low grade fever and the flu! It is all a compromise.

I will not take credit for making this change happen. Yes, my post got read by quite a few (the popularity of this blog, new to me, steadily increasing now that I have started to post more often). I am not sure whether anybody from or at ACS read it. We did not bring it to their attention. I already have a sterling reputation with them for being a troublemaker — just because I get a tad upset about bullying, a science teacher teaching the kids incorrect facts, a superintendent that thinks controversy trumps facts, or them hiring a math ‘consultant’ who is all anecdotes and no arithmetic. C’est la vie.

Somebody from Canada, who claims to be important, took umbrage to my ‘unusual seating’ post and told me, rather unpleasantly, to stop complaining and that I should be thankful that I have public schooling! Well, to me that explains why I REFUSE even to visit Canada these days — though I have to confess that I have been to Canada at least 25 times (and I have cousins and at least one alter ego who live in that frozen tundra). They have such low expectations. Well, this is NOT Canada, and oh boy am I so thankful for that. This is the U. S. of A. We strive to go forward and upward.

I am happy. I am GLAD for the kids and the other parents.

Unusual Seating Arrangement For 1st Grade Kids At Alton Central School (ACS), NH

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

by Anura Guruge

They changed the seating arrangement to a more traditional one on Friday, September 7, 2012.

Monday night, from 6pm to 7pm, was Open House at Alton Central. I liked Teischan’s 1st Grade Class Room. The teacher, who I had met last year, was very nice and you could tell that she was trying hard and had spent a lot of time over the Summer getting things ready for the classroom. You could tell. I was impressed. [My mother was a teacher; my father, at 83, still teaches and when I had called him that Monday I was told that he had gone to the University to set up his room.]

I was taken aback by how the tables for the 17 kids were arranged. I first thought that it was an ad hoc set up just for the Open House — but was told that it was how the kids will sit in the weeks and months to come. I was surprised but didn’t want to say anything in front of the other parents.

The set up is as depicted in my diagram above. I went and checked the dimensions of the desks online. From what I can see they are 18″ deep, 24″ wide and the height can be adjusted.

There is ZERO separation between the desks. They are pushed together, 9 tables to a pod.

The kids are sitting, at most 44 inches, NOSE-to-NOSE.

Yes, I know that the staff at ACS will produce 40 research studies, from around the world, to prove that this nose-to-nose, shoulder-to-shoulder seating configuration is the one most conducive for contemporary teaching (if not learning). I will only have one question: ‘were any of them done in a school in New Hampshire with at best, sub-bar mechanical ventilation?’

My foremost concern is health related.

Six weeks from now the sniffles will start. Then the sneezing and the coughing. Soon the flu season will be in full swing. With this kind of seating arrangement we are not giving these poor kids even a fighting chance. Of course, exchanging germs is a treasured rite of passage in New England. But, do we really want the kids exposed to this? Lets face it. These are 6 year olds. They are going to sneeze, wheeze and cough. Their noses and mouths are 44″ apart. Most married couples don’t sleep that close!

This teacher, most likely on her own dime, had provided two huge hand sanitizer pump bottles, one for the boys and the other for the girls, next to their bathroom passes. I was impressed. That was good. And then this …

Yes, space might be an issue, also given the modern notion that a classroom has to be multimodal, or whatever. If space is the issue I am sure an architect or somebody familiar with CAD/CAM can help the school out. Worst case I can do a perfectly to scale PowerPoint, with all the furniture and equipment, and they can drag and drop the objects to see how they can fit 17 desks without the kids having to be 44″ nose-to-nose.