Pre K-5 Elemetary Report

TO:                  RSU #74 Board of Directors


FROM:            Jean Butler


DATE:             August 29, 2017



                               PreK-5 ELEMENTARY REPORT



This week the elementary students in RSU #74 returned to school from their summer break, which they think was all too short. However, most of them are happy to be back in the school routine and their social circles. Many of our students participated in the Title I Summer School Program, the Preschool Summer Program, and their towns' Summer Recreation Programs. Our Summer Breakfast and Lunch Program fed a large number of students in those programs throughout the district, and we thank CCS cook Tammy Lane for preparing all of those meals all summer long. 


I attended the Early Childhood Education Summer Institute in Augusta on August 14-15 along with our three kindergarten teachers and the preschool staff. This institute was sponsored by the Maine Department of Education.The first day featured a keynote speech from Doug Clements on early math skills. Our preschool staff also received training in their new math program, Building Blocks. The kindergarten teachers were trained in how to use Teaching Strategies Gold as an assessment measure during the first sixty days of the kindergarten year as the Kindergarten Entry Assessment. The purpose of the KEA is to measure the effectiveness of our preschool programs as part of the requirements of our Preschool Expansion Grant.


Garret Schenck Elementary School and Solon Elementary School held Kindergarten Open Houses the week before school started to help orient students to the kindergarten experience. We wish to thank our new Transportation Director Chris Roy for arranging the bussing so that the kindergartners could ride the bus to their Open House. Once at school, each group of students got to meet their teacher, listen to a story, do a classroom scavenger hunt and an activity, enjoy a snack, and try out the school playground. Because most of our students now go to preschool, we see such a positive difference in their comfort level and readiness for kindergarten than before we had a preschool program.


Our new English language arts program Wonders has been purchased, and teachers have had a day of training and a chance to explore and learn how to use the new program at our August 28th workshop day. Beverly Bell from McGraw-Hill spent the day with us introducing teachers and ed techs to the program components and online resources. Teachers had time to work in grade level groups to do some lesson planning together, and Special Ed and Title I staff learned about the intervention materials to use with students who need extra support in reading and writing. We will offer training in the new Lucy Caulkins writing program for grades 5-8 a little later this fall.


We are fortunate to have the Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Grant at the elementary schools again this year. The grant provides healthy fruit and vegetable snacks for all students every day as well as foods that teachers can request to go along with nutrition, wellness, and other curriculum units and activities they are doing in their classrooms. This is a great way to introduce students to a variety of healthy foods that hopefully will shape their food choices in the future. We thank Tammy Conners for writing and submitting the application that secures this grant for us each year.


Each school will hold a Fall Open House to provide parents the opportunity to meet the teachers and staff, visit their children's classrooms, and enjoy refreshments. Solon's Open House will be September 13th at 6:00. Garret Schenck's Open House will be combined with a spaghetti supper featuring produce from our community garden. The date has not been set for that event.


The Let's Go! Program of the Barbara Bush Children's Hospital at Maine Medical Center has recognized all three of our elementary schools and school cafeterias for successfully implementing the Let's Go! Program goals during the 2016-17 school year. Schools are recognized when they are implementing Let's Go!'s environmental and policy standards that support healthy eating and active living. School cafeterias are recognized when they are implementing best practices that reduce waste, increase participation, and make changes that help “nudge” students to make healthier choices. We applaud the efforts of our district champion Kirk Robinson and our school champions Candy LeBeau (CCS), Tanya Carey (Garret Schenck), and Debby Haynie (Solon) for their work organizing and documenting the activities that achieved this recognition for us. We also recognize our cooks Tammy Lane, Eileen McDonald, and Lorie Agren (CCS), Rhonda Edwards (Garret Schenck), and Cindy Lawrence (Solon) for their Smarter Lunchroom practices.


Six members of the Garret Schenck staff attended a workshop called “High Impact Instructional Strategies to Support Growth Mindset” on August 1st. Other professional development activities are scheduled by the Maine Department of Education this year to support our priority school work.


This fall Garret Schenck Elementary School will begin the implementation of its new Positive Action Program after a planning year last year. Teachers will teach a positive action lesson to their students at least three times a week, and the whole staff will recognize and promote positive behaviors in our school. Mrs. Lisa Savage will serve as our program coordinator as well as a reading interventionist working with struggling readers. The Positive Action Company will send staff members to provide ongoing training and support for our staff throughout the year. This program is funded through our School Improvement Grant (SIG). We believe this program will dovetail well with the district's efforts to incorporate a Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) system in the three elementary schools.


The leadership teams of Garret Schenck and Solon will meet in September to review student achievement data and to plan for the year. Both teams plan to work on their Response to Intervention (RTI) processes to strengthen them so that students get the help they need. Developing a PBIS system is another goal for both schools. The teams will meet once or twice a month to work on their school improvement action plans.


Two actor/educators from Children's Stage Adventures of Sullivan, New Hampshire will visit Solon Elementary School the week of September 25-29 to help our students stage a musical production of “The Elves and the Shoemaker.” Shows will be September 29th at 12:30 and 6:00.


Each fall Lakewood Theater puts on a special musical production just for children in the area schools. Our PTO's fund this opportunity for our students to experience live theater so close to home. This year's play is “Johnny Appleseed.” Our K-5 students will be attending the show in late September.



If you have any questions, please stop by or contact me. Enjoy a beautiful fall!