November 2, 2012 Update from the Superintendent

posted Nov 2, 2012, 10:23 AM by Fran Prentice   [ updated Nov 6, 2012, 8:01 AM ]

Storm Notes

Although we were ready, I don’t think many of us thought we’d be using our storm alert procedures in October, but Hurricane Sandy proved otherwise.  A huge thank you goes out to all our custodians who made sure our buildings were secure through the power outage then up and running when power returned.  We also know all these fine men and women do a tremendous job every day, but times like “Sandy” make the appreciation more apparent.

I will take this opportunity to remind everyone we use an automated message system for all alerts, including storm closing and early releases.  If you did not receive a call at approximately 5:30 AM on October 30, please call Fran Prentice at 646-8331 so we can update your information.

School Committee

Jackie Bevins, Ogunquit School Committee member has resigned her position.  The Town of Ogunquit is now responsible for appointing a member to finish Jackie’s term.  They will be doing this at their November meeting.  If you are an Ogunquit resident interested in serving, contact Tom Fortier, Ogunquit Town Manager.

WHS Building Project

At the October 10th meeting of the Building Committee Zachary “Zak” Harding and Josh Gould were elected Co-Chairs of the Committee.  Both have experience with school building projects and will be enthusiastic and hard working leaders.  We congratulate them on their unanimous appointments.

The School Committee is scheduled to appoint an architect firm on Wednesday, November 7th at their regularly scheduled meeting.  They will also agree to a contract at that meeting.  Immediately following the School Committee meeting they will begin a workshop with the Building Committee members and representatives of the architect firm.  A tentative project timeline will be available.  We will post new information on the district website under “WHS Building Project”.

Legislation Impacts Our Schools

The 125th Maine Legislature was perhaps the most involved in educational issues of any in recent memory.  As a result, schools across Maine are responding to new laws and regulations.  Your School Committee is aware of the requirements and has asked us to develop appropriate policies and procedures for compliance.

I will list a few here and explain our progress in future updates:

LD 1422: “An Act to Prepare Maine People for the Future Economy”. This requires standards based (a/k/a proficiency based) high school diplomas by 2017 (now extended to 2018)

  • We have discussed this with the Administrators, attended conferences and webinars on the topic and met with a Phase One Committee to study the issue.  It will continue to be a focus since this will change curriculum, instruction, assessment and reporting.  The DOE is working on defining the requirement more clearly.

LD 1237: “An Act to Prohibit Bullying/Cyber Bullying in the School”.  This requires the Commissioner of Education to develop – by January 2013 – a model policy for schools to follow.

  • The Policy Committee is following the Commissioner’s work on this and will bring forward a policy when it is ready.  This will require explanation and dissemination through various channels such as student handbooks.

LD 1865: This allows for only five dissimilar days in the school calendars of Technical Centers and sending high schools.

  • This will require work on the part of all the sending schools and will be taken up when we create the 2013-14 school calendar.  Work on the calendar begins in February.  We use the two readings practice as we do with policy adoption so there is time for the public to comment.

Question of the Month

How many of our students continue their education after high school?

The latest information released from the National Student Clearinghouse via the Mitchell Institute indicates in 2011, 67% of Wells High School graduating seniors enrolled in post-secondary education giving us a six year average of 69%.  This is higher than the statewide result of 61%.

In fact, between 2001 and 2011 while the state rate rose from 57% to 61%, and York County’s rate rose from 51% to 61%, Wells High School’s rate rose from 60% to 69%.

If you have a question you would like asked, please contact me via e-mail or phone. 

Enjoy November and Happy Thanksgiving to you, your families, and everyone in your lives for whom you are thankful.