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March 7, 2017 | Seven Robert Frost Public Charter School Students were inducted into National Junior Honor Society (cont.)

In order to qualify for NJHS membership, a student must have five distinct qualities of excellence.  They include scholarship, leadership, service, character, and citizenship.  Michelle Cruz, a teacher at the school, as well as the school’s NJHS advisor claims, “These characteristics not only embody the seven inductees, but they also embody most students enrolled in Robert Frost Public Charter School.”

The seven inductees are well beyond their grade level in multiple areas of study, and Cruz believes this has much to do with the school’s emphasis on allowing student collaboration and the student’s ability to move forward at their own pace with no limits, “Our approach to inquiry based learning provides students the opportunity to deeply immerse themselves in all topics of discussion, broadening their comprehension.”

Some project-based programs unique to the RFPCS include Frost Service Projects and Outdoor Learning.  The Outdoor Learning initiative is new this school year.  It consists of an off-site experience each week, such as weekly trips to a local farm, sessions on basic mountaineering, or a visit to the local water district.  These trips highlight what goes into a variety of aspects of community life, such as the business of farming or the running the town’s water system. Each Outdoor Learning block culminates with a project by the students.

The seven inductees have not only met and exceeded the academic requirements of the Society, but they have also exceeded the bar within the RFPCS programming.  The school’s Montessori and project-based learning model has created an environment where classroom walls are non-constraining, allowing a student to pursue topics at his or her own a pace.  According to Head of School, Ellen Ohlenbusch, “Our comprehensive Junior High curriculum is academically rigorous, integrated and interactive.  Whenever possible we incorporate authentic experiential learning in our studies.  Our student-led approach allows students to excel, unconstrained by their school grade.  Thanks to this approach, students have the skills to tackle subjects and concepts from multiple angles.”

February 3, 2014 | Discover the Benefits of Learning through Montessori and Collaborative Projects (cont.) 


Terranova will share an overview of the Montessori educational experience addressing what Montessori-based education is and how it differs from other educational approaches. He will discuss the various benefits of this approach for elementary aged children, as well as junior high aged students. These benefits include fostering a love of learning and helping students develop confidence, problem-solving and organizational skills needed to succeed in the 21st Century. Terranova will also address some of the programming initiatives specific to the local RFCS, specifically the emphasis placed on Project Based Learning and how this enhances the educational experience for students.

Enrollment at the RFCS for 2014/2015 school year is open, and this initial enrollment period will end on February 28. For more details on information sessions, open houses, curriculum and general RFCS information head to the school’s web-site, The RFCS is a free, public charter school for children entering kindergarten through grades six for the 2014-2015 school year. To enroll, children must be five years old by September 30, 2014 and reside in New Hampshire. Applications and more specific details on the application process can be obtained from the charter school’s website.

December 9, 2013 | RFCS Explorers took first place in the project category for their Pet Bubble invention at the FIRST Lego League (FLL) Tournament (cont.)

The event, a qualifying tournament for further competition culminating with the World Festival in April, had 20 teams which consisted of three to 10 kids, with ages usually from nine to 14.  There were few teams with competitors as young as the RFCS group, with one eight-year old and two 10-year olds. According to Robert Zakon, one of the team’s coaches, “Most teams had approximately five to 10 kids, with many on the upper age range.  Our young kids bested many more experienced teams.  Their overall tournament score was just shy of what was needed to proceed onto the state finals.”

The FIRST program was founded by New Hampshire’s Dean Kamen in 1989, and the first FLL was held in 1998.  Each year has a different theme; this year it was Nature’s Fury.  The project consists of researching an aspect of the year’s theme and coming up with an invention which is then presented to the judges. There are several components to the annual competition.  One is the robot game where three matches are held against other teams; the highest team score is included in the calculation for overall tournament score.  In addition to the robot game, competitors are also judged on project presentation, robot design presentation and the FLL Core Values.   Some of these Core Values include finding solutions with guidance from coaches and mentors, working as a team, learning together and honoring the spirit of friendly competition.

Aside from Zakon, George Galev was also a team coach, and Will Broussard from the Mount Washington Observatory assisted the students early in the season as a topic expert for the project piece.  Coach Zakon states, “I’m very proud of what the Explorers team was able to accomplish.  Their performance was even more impressive given that they got a late start in the season, and were such a young rookie team.”

The RFCS students have been able to participate in the Explorers Club due to funding assistance from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.  The organization donated a $500 Pre-University grant for the 2012-2013.  They did so again for the current school year.

November 14, 2013 | Ellen Ohlenbusch of RFCS was honored with a Spirit of New Hampshire Award (cont.)

which opened its doors to New Hampshire students in 2012. The criteria for this award include such things as the amount of time given to an organization in a volunteer capacity, as well as how large a role the individual had in the organization.  The volunteer’s impact was another factor.

According the RFCS Head of School Jennifer Karnopp, Ohlenbusch is extremely dedicated.  She explains, “Ellen saw a need in our community for educational options for all families, regardless of income, and worked to write the charter and launch the only elementary public charter school north of Concord.  She took time away from her career and has devoted the past three years in a volunteer capacity to this project. Now, she serves as School Board Chair and puts in an average of 20-30 hours of volunteer time per week managing the oversight of our school. She also serves as a mentor to our staff and to parents looking to fulfill leadership roles within our parent volunteer community.”

Karnopp goes on to explain that the work Ohlenbusch has put in has created economic growth in our region, making it a more attractive area for employers and creating 12 new jobs.  In terms of impacting area children, Karnopp states, “Ellen’s work has built a solid foundation for our new school, which has directly benefited over 75 families in and around the Mount Washington Valley.”

When speaking with RFCS board members and families, it is mentioned that Ohlenbusch is extremely dedicated.  She manages the Federal Grant that provided funding to start up the school, she volunteers as the business manager for the school, volunteers in the classroom, and she heads to the slopes with the kids on ski day.  One RFCS parent explains, “She also volunteers with the Arts In Motion a local theater company, and at the Memorial Hospital.  She’s impressive… I need some of her energy!”

The 2013 Spirit of NH Award Ceremony was held on November 14, 2013 from 6:45 to 8:30 PM.  Doors at the Capitol Center for the Arts opened at 5:00 PM for a reception with other award winners. Governor Hassan kicked off the evening speaking specifically of the great work that is being done in the Mount Washington Valley and the North Country.  Family and friends attended the 2013 Spirit of NH Award Ceremony to honor the recipients.

November 5, 2013 | Robert Frost Charter School’s Head of School Wins National Award (cont.)

The book examines educational shifts from an historic perspective; these shifts occur everywhere and in every industry.  For instance, transportation is an example.  Years ago, the common mode of transportation was the horse and buggy.  The railroad came next, then the car, and then planes.

Karnopp and Raglieuth explore the current system of education, which was designed for the industrial age, focusing on the needs it met when it was developed.  Things such as obedience, punctuality, stamina and standardization were the main focus.   In their book, they examine today’s system of education.  Society is in the midst of the information age, with an emphasis on creativity, initiative and self-direction, collaboration and customization.  There has been a paradigm shift leading to a conflict between the needs of the current society and the educational system.  The book goes on to look at what key elements are critical in supporting the needs of the information age.  Strategies for the development of things such as district-wide changes, charter schools and government supported change are discussed.

RFCS School Board Chair, Ellen Ohlenbusch, feels that the school community is extremely fortunate to have a talented and well-rounded staff working with the students, parents and community.  She goes on to explain, “We strongly believe that their accomplishments, both in our school, as well as out of our school, enhance our students’ overall experience.  It contributes to the success of our school!”

The book can be found locally at White Birch Books or on-line at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  Karnopp will be holding a book signing at White Birch Books in January.

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