K-5 Board Report

TO: RSU #74 Board of Directors

FROM: Jean Butler

DATE: May 24, 2022


We are nearing the end of the 2021-22 school year, when we will send our students and staff off to enjoy their summer vacation. The coronavirus pandemic has continued to challenge us this year, but we have made it through successfully. We hope that cases will abate so that by fall we will have fewer disruptions to our lives and our school community.

In May our students have been busy taking the NWEA, which is also the Maine Educational Assessment for grades 3-5 students. Students in grades K-2 take the test as well, but their scores are for district purposes only. All students in grades 3-5 are testing in reading, language use, and math, and fifth graders are taking a science assessment from New Meridian. All tests are done online. We applaud the hard work of IT Manager Scott Hall in overseeing the district testing program for us. Our school leadership teams will analyze the data to see if students made their target growth over the course of the year and to identify students who will need support in the fall.

Our library media assistant Shirley Mellows is taking students to town libraries in hopes that they will continue to visit libraries with their families over the summer. Solon K-5 students will visit the Coolidge Public Library in Solon on June 1st, and Garret Schenck K-5 students will visit the Madison Public Library on June 10th.

Solon Elementary School is holding a Spring Open House on June 2nd from 5:00-6:30 PM. Families are invited to attend this Open House for a barbecue and outdoor activities and games. Because we weren’t able to have an Open House in the fall, we wanted to be sure to invite families to join us this spring.

Garret Schenck will hold a Bikes for Books assembly with the Masons on June 3rd. Students have been reading books and submitting forms on which they write about each book they have read. At the assembly, we draw from all the forms that have been submitted to find a winning boy and girl from each class. Those students win a new bike, helmet, and T-shirt from the Masons.

Our fifth graders have been invited to attend Step-Up Day at Carrabec Community School on June 7th. They will go there for the afternoon with fifth graders from the other schools to meet their sixth grade teachers, learn a little about what sixth grade will be like, tour the school, and do some team-building activities. Every year the students look forward to this visit and always feel less anxious about starting middle school once they have gone to Step-Up Day. We also have Step-Up Days at the schools for students in preschool through fourth grade so they can spend a little time in the classroom where they will be next year and hear from the teacher about what that will be like.

Jasmyn Wagg’s third grade students at Garret Schenck have been working on “Genius Hour” projects and will exhibit them at an Open House on June 9th from 1:00-2:00 PM. Genius Hour is a project in the classroom in which students are allowed to pick a topic of their own, usually framed around an inquiry question, based on their own passions or wonders.

Our District Band and Chorus Spring Concert will take place on June 9th at 6:30 PM at CCS. Under the direction of district music teacher Lindsay Burke-Cinsov, students will showcase their musical skills and talents for their parents and friends. Students are nervous but very excited for this event!

Garret Schenck will hold its traditional outdoor Flea Market on June 14th from 12:45-2:00. Families are invited to join the students and staff for this event. Each classroom will sponsor a booth such as a White Elephant table, a photo booth, food for sale such as fruit kabobs and popcorn, rock painting, bracelet making, games, and a book swap.

At each school we are wrapping up the year with an outdoor Field Day and barbecue and awards assemblies. The Field Days (June 10th at Solon and June 13th at Garret Schenck) will involve students working in multiage teams to participate in a number of activity challenges set up around the fields. Our physical education teacher Paul Kaplan has collaborated with school staff to plan Field Days. We will hold awards assemblies (June 15th at Garret Schenck and June 16th at Solon) at which teachers will recognize students for academic achievement, good behavior, improvement, good attendance, helpfulness, citizenship, and hard work. It is wonderful that we can once again invite parents and family members to join us for Field Days and Awards Assemblies!

Animals will visit Garret Schenck to help us close out the school year. The preschool students from both Solon and Garret Schenck will meet at Garret Schenck with their parents for lunch and a visit with “Mr. Drew and His Animals Too” on June 15th. On the last day of school, June 16th, the Pony X-press Zoo will visit Garret Schenck with a variety of animals to show the students.

Special Ed Director Grace Cram and I are organizing the second year of our joint summer school program for three weeks in July at CCS. We hope to address students’ learning needs through a hands-on, theme-based “Camp Carrabec” experience. The program will be open to all PreK-5 students in the district, and we will provide busing, breakfast, and lunch. Last year we had sixty-five students in the program so we hope to have a good turn-out again this year. Most of the cost of this program is covered by one of our coronavirus relief grants.

If you have any questions about anything at either of my schools, please contact me.