Message December 5, 2016


All 4th and 5th grade students will participate in “The Hour of Code” during technology class the week of Dec. 5th. This is an introduction to computer science to help nurture their problem-solving skills, logic and creativity. As an extension of this week, students and their families are invited to attend The Coder Express from 6-7 p.m. on Wednesday, December 14, 2016 in the Greely Middle School cafeteria. Participants will have the opportunity to take part in computer programming and coding activities using iPads. Students are encouraged to wear pajamas and bring stuffies and blankets as they take part in a fun evening of coding. Thanks in advance to our Greely PTO for providing cocoa and cookies. This is in line with our Strategic Plan action step around STEM.

All sophomores participated recently in Challenge Day, a national program that helps build relationships between students and promotes empathy as an important tool in combating bullying and bias. Many thanks to all of the adult staff members, parents, and community members who participated. Special thanks to Jayme Jones and Ashley Caswell for their work in securing this program for a second year. I had an opportunity to participate and was impressed with the wonderful students we have at Greely.

GHS Science teacher Brian Blum was one of 16 teachers from across Maine who spent a week at Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor learning the laboratory science and ethical implications of personal genomics. Personal genomics is new area of research that examines subltle variations in each person's unique genetic code to help diagnose, treat, and prevent disease. Brian continues to participate in professional development and research with Jackson Lab, in conjunction with the National Institutes for Health and alongside representatives of 64 New England high schools.

Senior standout Ryan Twitchell makes Greely baseball proud! Signs letter of intent to play D-1 ball at The University of Rhode Island. Congrats, Ryan!

Congrats to Julie Olsen and the entire Instructional Support department for recieving no citations on the state's periodic IDEA audit. The state found that the district has fully coplied with all provisions of delivering services to students with special needs and requires no areas for improvement.

Sally Loughlin and myself had fun visiting 9 classrooms at the high school last week as part of the district's new evaluation program, where we conducted walkthroughs of Year 2 teachers. It was great to see our terrific teachers facilitating learning in our classrooms in ways that engage student interest. This is in line with the Strategic Plan action step around staff evaluation.

The FY 18 budget process has begun. Administrators are currently working with their staff to develop school and department budgets, with alignment to the Strategic Plan around new priorities. In January, the district office will meet with each school and department leader to further develop the new budget.

Many thanks to Cumberland Police Chief Chip Rumsey for his help in training a new crossing guard to help with the elementary school walkers and bikers. The district now has a crossing guard stationed at Tuttle Road for those students who need assistance. We will be reviewing the best location for the crossing guard in the coming weeks to maximize safety.

Composting has begun in grades K-8. All students attended a kick-off assembly in November to learn about composting and opportunities for practice occurred during the lunchtime for several days. This is tied to the environmental stewardship action step in the district's Strategic Plan and is in partnership with Garbage to Garden.

MIW students learn about composting

The PAC project is moving ahead. A new building committee has been formed, consisting of Board members, administrators, students, parents, staff, and community members. The building committee will begin meeting this week and will be in place until late winter helping to guide a detailed version of the concept plan that voters approved. Soil testing is currently being completed, which is standard protocol. Related to the PAC project is the refunding of the 2009 high school renovation/addition bonds at a lower interest rate. This will take place quickly due to the imminent rise in rates since the election. Scott Poulin is also working on securing bond anticipation notes to begin funding the project.

The PAC project is moving ahead