Elementary Board Report

TO: RSU #74 Board of Directors

FROM: Jean Butler

DATE: September 26, 2017



What a beautiful month of September we have had! The students have enjoyed the warm temperatures to play outside at recess without needing jackets and to go outside for phys. ed. class almost every week. I'm sure the cooler temperatures of fall in Maine will arrive along with the colorful leaves very soon.

Civil Rights Teams are forming in the Garret Schenck and Solon Schools this fall. The teams will attend the Civil Rights Team Fall Conference in November at the University of Maine at Farmington. Our Civil Rights Teams play an important role in helping to educate our students about the harmful aspects of bullying, harassment, and bias behavior.

Our math coach Brian Twitchell will meet with the K-8 teachers at the district workshop day on October 6th to introduce them to the concept of proficiency-based education being implemented at Carrabec High School. Our goal is to move that process to the elementary schools over the next couple of years. K-5 teachers will also have time to work in grade level teams to become more familiar with their new Wonders literacy program.

Our two preschool classes visited the Apple Farm on September 26th, and our three first grade classes will visit North Star Orchards on October 16th. This is an annual trip for students to learn about the apple industry in Maine, and students always come back with bags of apples to take home.

During Fire Prevention Week the second week of October, local firefighters will visit the elementary schools to conduct fire safety presentations for the students in PreK-5. They will talk to the students about how to get out of a burning building and how to develop a family plan for emergencies and will show students the different parts of their firefighting uniform and gear. We appreciate the support of Fire Chief Jeremy Manzer from the Anson Fire Department and Fire Chief Duayne Rollins from the Solon Fire Department in providing these important lessons for our young students to help keep them and their families safe.

Bus Safety Week is the third week of October. Our bus drivers do safety training with our youngest students that week. Students give gifts and cards to our bus drivers to show their appreciation for the drivers getting them to and from school safely each day.

The towns of Anson and Solon are once again sponsoring After-School Programs at the elementary schools. Parents and staff are very supportive of these programs, which provide fun and educational activities, field trips, healthy snacks, and homework support for our students throughout the school year.

The L.C. Bates Museum in Hinckley has received a grant which is benefiting students at Garret Schenck and Solon this fall. A museum staff member is visiting each school once a week for six weeks to present natural history outreach programs to students in second and fourth grades. Topics for these presentations are wetland habitat, forest habitat, ocean habitat, Maine birds, bugs, and pollination. The LC Bates Museum and the Colby College Museum of Art have invited our second and third graders to participate in a “Bird Day.” Students will first go to the L.C. Bates Museum, where they will take part in activities to learn about bird habitats and adaptations, tour the gallery to see birds from John J. Audubon's books, and do hands-on bird study activities. Then they will go to the Colby College Museum of Art where they will take a "nature walk" through the museum galleries, compare and draw bird bills, feet, and feathers in the Audubon exhibit, do a bird-related workshop, and eat lunch in the Colby dining hall. The grant is paying the cost of the bussing, the museum programs, and lunch for the students, staff, and chaperones. Garret Schenck will go on October 3rd and Solon on October 24th.

When you're an elementary student, Halloween is one of your favorite days of the year! Students will bring their costumes and change into them for parades around town in the afternoon. Many parents, younger siblings, grandparents, and community members usually join us for the parade or stand along the parade route to wave to the students. After the parade, the students enjoy some Halloween treats, and we encourage parents to contribute healthy snacks for these parties.

Garret Schenck

Garret Schenck is holding an Open House and Spaghetti Supper featuring produce from the community garden on September 28th. Each class is responsible for preparing something for the meal. Preschool and kindergarten students are making table decorations, first graders are making table tents to tell about the different types of produce people will see and taste at the dinner, second graders are making the salad, third and fourth graders are making the spaghetti sauce, and fifth graders are making zucchini bread and chocolate zucchini cake for dessert. We expect a large crowd!

Garret Schenck is continuing our walking project called the Mileage Club this year. Students walk or run around the playground several times on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, receiving mileage markers for each mile they walk or run. For every five miles they walk, they receive a toe token designed to wear on their shoelaces. This program promotes fitness and good health among our students. The theme this year is the Winter Olympics, which are scheduled to take place in South Korea in February. The goal is for each class to walk the equivalent of 200 miles to get them to the airport in Boston to fly to South Korea. When that goal is reached, the school will have a healthy celebration. We thank first grade teacher Tanya Carey for organizing this event for our school.

Barbara Branch from the Positive Action Company in Idaho will visit Garret Schenck on October 5th to observe classrooms in which teachers are teaching Positive Action lessons in the program being implemented in the school this year as part of our School Improvement Grant. Barbara will also interview staff and provide training to them at an after-school meeting that day.

Part of the Positive Action program is a series of family classes to introduce parents to the concepts their children are learning in the program at school and to provide them with resources to use at home. There will be a family class to go along with each of the six units of the Positive Action program. The first family class will be October 16th from 5:30-7:00 starting with dinner for the families. Following dinner, students and parents will engage in activities around the theme of the unit of study. The first unit is on the topic of self-concept, in which students learn that self-concept is the way they feel about themselves and that factors such as families and friends influence whether they have a positive or negative self-concept. Funding for these family classes comes from our SIG.


Solon Elementary School held a “Walking School Bus” activity on September 19th and will have another one on National Walk to School Day, October 4th. Parents drop their children off at the Solon Thrift Shop by 7:20 on those mornings, and busses drop students off there as well. Staff and PTO members meet the students there, and everyone walks to school. There is a healthy breakfast for students to enjoy when they arrive at school thanks to our cook Cindy Lawrence. This activity is done as part of the Move More Kids program.

On October 31st, the students in Grades K-2 will visit the Somerset Residential and Rehabilitation Center in Bingham dressed in their Halloween costumes to bring some treats for the residents. It is a long-standing tradition for at least one class to visit the nursing home every month, and the residents really seem to enjoy these visits.

If you have any questions about anything at Garret Schenck or Solon,

please contact me.