Message August 3, 2015

Many people ask what school administrators actually do in the summer.  Even though students and staff are on vacation, summer is a very busy time of the year for administrators as we gear up for the new year.  This includes hiring new staff, developing schedules, assigning students and staff to classes, planning agendas for opening programs, orientations, and professional development days, meeting with various individuals and groups, and catching up on our own professional learning.

As an example, the GHS leadership team met with Principal Dan McKeone and Asst. Principal Jayme Jones for two days last week to review their plans for moving the school forward with regards to proficiency.  The school continues to make progress on many aspects of their proficiency plan with the assistance of Great Schools Partnership and consultant Reed Dyer. 

At the district office, we continue to process superintendent agreement requests.  To date, we have received 47 requests, including 42 to attend MSAD #51 schools and 5 to attend another district.  We review space, class size, and projected class size when making these determinations.The district leadership team will meet for two days later this week to continue planning for the 2015-16 year.  Part of these plans will include a focus on the strategic plan, RTI, Section 504, teacher and principal evaluation, and student attendance, among other topics.

I mentioned in my last message that I had attended two conferences this summer.  One of these conferences was the American Superintendents Association conference in Washington, DC in July. Here are some of the highlights that myself and superintendents from across the nation advocated for with their congressional delegation in line with AASA's platform:1.  Continue to use formulas to determine Title IA funding and oppose "portability" that allows Title IA funds to be moved between districts as a voucher.2.  Separate the use of assessments from school and district accountability and teacher evaluation systems.3.  Federal mandates should not be accomplished by spending state and local funds (unfunded mandates).

4.  Oppose continued use of ESEA waivers and extensions that seek to control and direct how states accomplish education goals.

5.  Increase funding for IDEA to achieve a goal of 40% of the national average per-pupil expenditure.

6.  Reform special education due process system to provide more effective and less costly and litigious means of resolving conflict.

7.  Make federal funds available for pre-Kindergarten programs.

8.  Oppose federal funding for non-public schools.

9.  Bring student data and privacy laws, such as FERPA, into the 21st century with regards to digital age considerations.

10.  Redefine a full-time employee as one who works 40 hours a week to reduce obligations for districts within the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as "Obamacare".

11.  Permanently resolve sequestration of federal funds, which is the federal equivalent of state curtailment of funds.

12.  Reduce whole-grain requirements from 100% back to 50% in light of increased food waste as a result of this requirement.

The Finance committee met last Thursday to discuss the additional $373,179 in state subsidy for our district. The legislature appropriated these funds as part of their statewide increase to the GPA for K-12 education in order to adequately fund schools for the 2015-16 fiscal year.  There will be a report from the finance committee later on its recommendation for use of these funds.

I would like to recognize three coaches for recent awards: Bob Anthoine, who was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in July; Derek Soule, the Forecaster's baseball coach of the year; and Ben Caswell, the Press Herald's tennis coach of the year.