Our full time high school faculty consists of: principal, assistant principal/athletic director, 19 teachers, nurse, librarian/media specialist, technology coordinator, maintenance director, receptionist, executive secretary, special education teacher/case manager, four paraprofessionals, three custodians/bus drivers, and six cafeteria food workers. Seventeen percent of the faculty holds Master’s Degrees and records of Advanced Study.
Our Guidance Department consists of: guidance counselor, administrative assistant, part-time behavior specialist, part-time student assistance counselor, and part-time school-to-career coordinator. The Guidance Department works hard to meet the students’ needs by helping them define and meet expectations in all aspects of their lives – personal, social, career, and educational.
The school year consists of a modified block schedule system with report periods every nine weeks. The standard academic course is ¼ credit, ½ credit or 1 credit. Two credit vocational courses are also offered through a collaborative vocational program with Berlin High School.
School and Community Profile
Gorham, New Hampshire, is the eastern gateway of the northern approaches to the Presidential Mountain Range and the White Mountain National Forest. Our proximity to majestic Mt. Washington as well as the pristine beauty makes the town of Gorham a popular destination for tourists and outdoor enthusiasts alike.
Gorham, N.H. was settled along the banks of the Androscoggin, Peabody and Moose rivers during the early 1800’s. The community schools have a rich, academic and athletic history that spans 126 years. Our two closest neighbors Randolph and Shelburne send their students to Gorham and in 2006 voted to form a cooperative school district to share the costs of education in a fair and equitable manner. Since that formation of the GRS Cooperative, our schools have been renovated and are once again able to provide a more modern venue for educating students.
Gorham is the largest of the three communities with a population of 2,848 people, Shelburne has 372 residents and Randolph has 310. The median family income for Gorham stands at $32,500. Shelburne is at $44,375 and Randolph at $50,139. All three communities are economically, culturally and ethnically similar.
The largest employers in our valley are the Federal Penitentiary with 347 employees, the Gorham Paper Mill with 200 employees, Walmart with 278 employees and Berlin City Dealerships with 207 employees. The unemployment rate is 7.1% for Gorham, 5.5% for Randolph and 3.3% for Shelburne. The region has experienced an economic downturn with the closing of the local pulp and paper mills in Berlin and Groveton which resulted in the loss of nearly 900 jobs. The State of New Hampshire has worked with local leaders and businesses to bring new employment opportunities into the region. Currently, the per pupil expenditure at Gorham High School is $14,687.92 and the state average is $12,036 per pupil. Budgetary shortfalls at the state and local levels are a constant concern due to our high property taxes. The school portion of the property taxes allocated to our schools is as follows: Gorham – 43.37%; Randolph – 43.55% and Shelburne – 49.19%.
The School –
The current Gorham Middle High School was built in several stages: 1924, 1929, 1959, 1969, 1993, and in 2009. It is located at 120 Main Street in Gorham, N.H. and is about 1/10th of a mile from the corner of routes 16 and 2. Currently, GMHS has an enrollment of 237 students (146 HS and 91 MS). The school’s population has seen a decline of 101 students since our last accreditation visit. Our ethnic, racial and cultural composition has remained a constant at 93% white, 3% Hispanic, 3% Asian and 1% Native American during the 2011-2012 school year. The drop-out rate for the past two years has been 0%, the average daily attendance at the middle school is 97.1% and at the high school is 95.94%. The attendance rate for teachers is 96%. Our current free and reduced numbers are 20.20% at the Middle School and 22.44% at the high school.
Gorham Middle High School employs 25 teachers (2 shared with our elementary school) and 6 teachers are shared between the Middle and High Schools for unified arts classes. Our school employs two full time guidance counselors. The student/teacher ratio at the Middle School is 13:1 and the High School is 9:1. The average class size is 14 students to a teacher. There is generally little provision for common planning time and all teachers are given a 90 minute plan period per day. All faculty are also provided with common planning during our five early release days per year. At present 61.6% of faculty members have earned just their Bachelor’s Degrees, 33.3% have Master’s Degrees and 5.1% have earned credits beyond their Masters. All have earned Highly Qualified Teacher status.
Gorham High School promotes the intellectual growth of our students by having parents, teachers, and students work together to place students in appropriately challenging courses. As our mission states, “to prepare all students to become 21st Century thinkers, learners, and citizens in a safe, nurturing environment.” Students are expected to seek excellence in academics and to be respectful, cooperative and responsible. Course selection should reflect preparation for post-secondary choices as well as provide an opportunity for personal development.
Our Program of Studies includes provisions for honors, college preparatory, C.T.E. courses, Advanced Placement, Running Start classes, distance learning, competency completion and several other extended learning options such as White Mountain Community College. All opportunities are detailed in our Program of Studies and our school profile. Currently 60% of our students take Honors classes, 6% take Advanced Placement courses and 27% take Running Start classes.
Gorham High uses a modified 4 x 4 block schedule system that was begun in September of 1997 and has report periods every 9 weeks. Students in grades 9 and 10 are typically scheduled into predominantly required courses. Beginning their junior years, more electives become available for students such as several vocational courses held at the Berlin High School Career and Technical Education Center. While there is no Community Service requirement, there is a required Senior Project for graduation. To graduate with a Gorham High School diploma, students need to earn 27 credits; 5 credits in English, 4 credits in Mathematics, 2 credits in Science, 3.5 credits in Social Studies/ 1.5 credits in computer/Literacy/Technology, 1 credit in Physical Education, .5 credit in Health, .5 credit in Fine Arts and .5 credit in Senior Project. There are also 8.5 credits needed for electives which includes world languages.
Statistical data from the last three graduating classes at Gorham Middle High indicates that 42% of our students attended four-year colleges, 36% are attending two-year colleges, 18% are seeking employment and 4% are entering the military. An increasing number of graduates are taking advantage of the local two-year White Mountain Community College for economic reasons. While opportunities are available to pursue continuing education through Granite State College, it is important to note that a majority of our college-bound students primarily attend colleges in New England.
Gorham Middle High School also offers a variety of extra and co-curricular activities for students: 6 male or female athletic programs; a cooperative female hockey team with Berlin High School; band and chorus; drama; Cabaret and 15 other clubs and student government opportunities. Nearly 78% of our students are involved in at least one extra or co-curricular activity on a yearly basis. Gorham Middle/High School is also a member of the New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association (N.H.I.A.A.) and we compete against other (Division 3 & 4) small schools throughout the State of New Hampshire.
Sixty-four percent of our last three graduating classes have taken the SAT exam. The average score was 497 in Critical Reading, a 535 in Math and a 490 in Writing. Our school has also had two National Merit Scholars in the past eleven years. We do recognize our students for their accomplishments through phone calls to parents, press releases, publishing honor rolls and college admissions in the two local papers, by holding academic celebrations such as Gold Tassel Assemblies and end of the year academic awards days.
Athletic Awards assemblies are held at the conclusion of each season and at night so the families of our student-athletes may attend. Posted plaques about the building also recognize current and past class valedictorians, salutatorians and scholarship winners. Student artwork also adorns our halls as well.
We believe that as a small Northern New Hampshire Middle/High School, that our size is part of our strength. It encourages a sense of cooperation, closeness, empathy and a safe school environment. We Hope the visiting team enjoys their time here in the “Gateway to the White Mountains.”