K-5 Board Report

TO: RSU #74 Board of Directors

FROM: Jean Butler

DATE: March 30, 2021


The arrival of spring brings the promise of better times ahead during this pandemic. Warmer weather means we can open windows more than just an inch or two for better ventilation in our classrooms. Students are excited to spend more time outside once the snow is gone and things dry out. Teachers will take their classes outside for some learning activities as they did in the fall. Most staff members have had at least one COVID vaccination shot and will be fully vaccinated by the end of April. It seems like there is hope on the horizon for things to get back to normal in the near future.

Teachers are talking with parents about bringing remote learners back to school for the last quarter of the school year. Many have returned already, and a number have indicated that they would like their children to return to in-person learning in April. We are glad that most students will have a few months of school with us before the summer break to help them be prepared for the next school year both academically and socially.

Since the NWEA has been selected to be the new Maine Educational Assessment, teachers will be preparing to administer the test in May. Staff and students are familiar with the test, which we give in grades K-5 three times a year. However, there will be some new considerations that the Department of Education will put in place for the testing in grades 3-5 now that the NWEA is the state test. Scott Hall, our district assessment manager, will attend a leadership team meeting at Garret Schenck on April 1st and at Solon on April 5th to review any changes in the test administration guidelines and to answer questions about the test for the staff. We will also be teaching students some test-taking strategies for multiple choice tests to help them to do their best on this important test.

This fall math coach Brian Twitchell worked with a group of math teachers from grades K-12 to review curriculum programs and to select new math programs for our schools. We plan to purchase the EnVision math program for grades K-5 and the Illustrative Math program for grades 6-12 for next year. Training programs for staff will take place during the summer with some follow-up training next fall.

Next year we want to review programs for K-12 in English Language Arts and be able to recommend programs to purchase for the 2022-23 school year. I will work with the district Literacy Committee and some other teachers who want to join us to begin the process of looking at programs and materials that are available to help us make decisions. We will have our first meeting on April 8th and will continue to meet into next fall so that we will have a recommendation before budget time.

To promote health and wellness, Solon Elementary School will hold two Walking School Bus activities this spring, one on April 7th and the other on May 12th. Students and staff will meet at the Solon Thrift Shop at 7:15 AM. Parents will sign permission slips for the bus drivers to drop their children off at that location, and others will drop off their children there. Staff members will walk to the Thrift Shop to meet the students. The walk will start around 7:20, respecting social distancing guidelines. When students and staff arrive at school, they will enjoy a healthy breakfast prepared by our cook, Cindy Lawrence.

Garret Schenck Elementary School will have virtual presentations by the Chewonki Foundation from Wiscasset on April 14th and 15th. Chewonki staff can’t visit the school this spring as they have in other years, but they will present natural history programs through zoom for K-5 students, which they will watch on the Promethean boards in their classrooms. Grades K-1 will see a program called “Fur, Feet, and Feathers,” Grade 2 will see “The Bugmobile,” Grade 3 will see “Predators,” and Grades 4-5 will see “Animal Adaptations.” Teachers were able to choose a program that fit the science curriculum for their grade level. Chewonki programs always include live animals and lots of interesting and engaging information.

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

Have a lovely spring!