State of substitutes addressed

Girls in STEAM presented at BOE meeting

Telegraph photo by GRACE PECCI From left, Rose Wakelin, Grace Lehto and Samantha Meredith present to the Board of Education about their experiences participating in a pilot program called Girls in STEAM, during the board’s meeting Monday night.

NASHUA – School District Superintendent Jahmal Mosley said during the Monday Nashua Board of Education meeting more than 50 substitute teachers have been hired to work.

This has been an issue in the district for months, as high school students previously reported it was common for them to go without substitutes.

In other matters, Nashua High School North students began the the meeting with a presentation about a new program involving drones. Last year, the Nashua Technology Center received a grant for about $10,000 from the New Hampshire Department of Education to develop a pilot program called Girls in STEAM, which focuses on drawing young women to the fields of science, technology, engineering, art and math, while using drones.

During the Monday meeting, Girls in STEAM instructor Erin Knoetig, Nashua Technology Center’s Co-Directors Amanda Bastoni and Mike McQuilkin, and three students presented to the board.

Knoetig discussed her background and the process of getting started with receiving her drone pilot’s license from the Federal Aviation Administration. The students took turns discussing why they chose to participate in the pilot program.

Student Grace Lehto said she joined for fun and for the chance to extend growth mindset. She said the first thing they learned was growth mindset and the idea that “you can work to improve yourself only if you think you can.” They also took time to learn about women and minorities in the STEAM fields.

“Drone careers are growing at rapid rates and it is very good to invest in education at this stage,” Lehto told the board.

Samantha Meredith discussed the statistics they had found in class regarding women in the STEAM fields. Meredith said she believed it was cool to encourage girls to get involved in STEAM. They had found that women make up about 29 percent of the science and engineering work force and only 7.9 percent of mechanical engineers, which she said is not very encouraging.

“But when you look at those numbers, it should empower you to want to raise that number,” Meredith said.

Rose Wakelin said what she took away was the teamwork aspect and growth mindset. Wakelin said she originally thought that drones would be a one person job. She quickly found out that working in a group was a must.

The presentation received a positive response from board members.

After the presentation on Girls in STEAM, there was also a presentation about Nashua Community Conversation on Race and Justice from Deputy Police Chief Mike Carignan and Alderwoman and State Representative Linda Harriott-Gathright. They were there to ask the board for permission to have a community conversation between the Nashua Police Department, Nashua Community Conversation on Race and Justice and juniors and seniors at both Nashua High School North and South.

The community conversations began about four years ago, Carignan said. He said members of the Nashua Police Department and members of the community were becoming concerned about relationships and what was going on across the country among law enforcement and members of community, particularly people of color.

Carignan said from his perspective, the conversations were impactful and important.

“Each of those events was impactful to me and all the police officers because we were able to understand a little bit about the perspective of how we were being viewed as police officers, not necessarily in Nashua specifically but nationally,” Carignan said.

Harriott-Gathright also expressed that she felt these conversations were important in building relationships among the community.