K-5 Board Report

TO: RSU #74 Board of Directors

FROM: Jean Butler

DATE: November 30, 2022


At this special time of year, we are delighted to be able to once again open our schools to our students’ families so they can attend holiday festivities, something they haven’t been able to do since December of 2019. We will welcome parent and community volunteers to help out with some of our holiday activities, and we’ll invite families to attend performances and events featuring their children. It promises to be a very festive and bright holiday season!

During November it was my pleasure to present math and reading awards as part of our District Awards Program to students in grades 3-6 at the three elementary schools. Each winner of the 2021-22 awards received the highest score in math or reading in the district on their NWEA tests in the spring of 2022. Each winner received a certificate, his or her name on a plaque hanging in the hall at CCS, and a check for $50. Funds for these awards come from Mr. Chet Hickox and our three PTO’s. Congratulations go to math winners Alexia Bartlett of Garret Schenck, Keegan Caparotta of CCS, and Hunter Pouliot and Spencer Rogers of Solon. Congratulations also go to reading award winners Kolbe Day of CCS, Brayden Robbins of Garret Schenck, and Hunter Pouliot of Solon. We are very proud of the high achievement of these students!

Mr. Campbell visited the Solon kindergarten class on November 17th to interact with the students, help them weave placemats, and join them for our traditional turkey dinner prepared by school cook Cindy Lawrence. The students were happy to meet Mr. Campbell and spend some time getting to know him. He promised to come back and do some math with them at a later date.

To teach students the spirit of giving, both schools ran Thanksgiving Food Drives during the month of November. The Garret Schenck PTFO ran one to benefit the Center Point Community Church’s food cupboard, while the Solon School ran theirs for the Solon Food Cupboard. Garret Schenck students collected 424 items, while Solon students brought in 425 items. Those donations will help many families facing food insecurity at this time of year.

Math coach Cynthia Hillman-Forbush from Savvas Publishing Company spent three days in our district, one at each elementary school, working with teachers to support their implementation of the enVision math program. This is our K-5 teachers’ second year using this program. We have tried to provide ongoing support from the publishers as well as from district math coach Brian Twitchell to help orient teachers to the program components so that they can use it as effectively as possible to help our students reach higher achievement goals in math. During her visits, Mrs. Hillman-Forbush modeled lessons and met with teachers to talk about strategies and resources.

The Band and Chorus Holiday Concert is sure to be a highlight of the Christmas season. Band and chorus director Lindsay Burke-Cinsov has been working with band students in grades 5-8 and chorus students in grades 4-8 to prepare for this special event, which will take place on December 8th at 6:30 PM at Carrabec Community School. We expect a big crowd of family and friends. You won’t want to miss it!

Garret Schenck Elementary School will hold a Christmas Program on December 6th at 6:00 PM. Families and friends who attend the program will see our students performing songs, skits, and Readers’ Theaters and can also shop at the PTFO Book Fair.

Solon first grade teacher Rachel Layman has organized a pajama drive at Solon Elementary School for the holiday season. Scholastic Books will donate a book to go with each set of pajamas and give them to needy children in places such as the Maine Children’s Home in Waterville.

Our PTO’s are taking an active role in the schools during the holiday season. Besides sponsoring a Book Fair the week of December 6-10, the Garret Schenck PTFO will also sponsor a Holiday Gift Shop on December 20th. Students can purchase gifts for their parents and siblings from this shop, which has new and gently used items donated by staff and families. They are also sponsoring a Holiday Spirit Week the week of December 12-16. The Solon PTO will hold a Holiday Gift Shop on December 15th. They also will give teachers a chance to submit a wish list for their classrooms, and the PTO will shop for and provide items from those wish lists for each class.

Solon Elementary School is planning a Holiday Stroll on December 21st or 22nd for students and families. Plans are still in the works, but we believe that each classroom will have a theme, and students and families can visit the rooms to do crafts, play games, enjoy snacks, watch videos, and get into the Christmas spirit. We hope Santa Claus will visit us, and everyone will join in singing some Christmas carols.

For the first time, staff from all four schools got together to coordinate our Giving Tree activities for the season. The purpose was to be sure that we included all PreK-12 students whose families needed some help purchasing gifts for their Christmas celebrations. Since we have families with children in multiple schools, this coordination helped us make sure no one was left out. The point person for each school made sure families were called to find out each child’s clothing sizes and favorite things so that gift tags could be made to give out to staff and community groups. Gifts will be brought to the schools by December 16th so that families can be contacted to pick up the gifts for their children. We appreciate the help of the Carrabec High School JMG students and community groups such as the Varney Agency, the Center Point Community Church in Anson, the Solon Congregational Church, and the New Hope Church in Solon in this effort.

If you have questions about anything in my schools, please contact me.

Have a wonderful holiday season and a Merry Christmas!