Many folks think when you work for a school system, you get the summer off. For teachers, ed techs, nurses, counselors, and other hands-on staff – that’s true. Following a flurry of get-things-done-by-the-last-day-of-school tasks (report cards, keeping behavior at bay, assemblies, rooms/locker clean-out, etc.), they NEED a time to get refreshed and recharged for a new group of students.
Summer break for principals is kind of an oxymoron. It’s a different schedule and pace, but the work and planning doesn’t stop and after the months of stress and tension, they need some vacation time where they can hopefully have a chance to unplug and recharge. But it’s certainly not the full summer!
Let’s take a look at some of the activities going on. This is only a partial list, but should give you the realistic idea that nothing really stops!
Patrick Flynn, Assistant Principal and Jo-Ellen Carter, Administrative Assistant, organize the summer school at Poland Regional High School, which provides students with the opportunity to make up standards they did not meet during the school year. Students can complete work in math, English, social studies, science, and Roundtable in order to avoid retaking courses next year. The session runs from the second week of July to the first week of August, three days a week, four hours a day. We usually begin the session with 50 or so students, but many students need just a few hours or a few days to complete their work. Once a student shows proficiency in the missing standards, they are finished with summer school. This year, with construction closing the lobby and the main office, we have shifted our classrooms to the back hall and are using entrance 14.
Bruce M. Whittier Middle School's Summer Learning Program will run on the same schedule as the high school program. Principal Shawn Vincent invited students to participate based on grades 6-8 teacher recommendations. The goal is to provide continued instruction and skills practice to help students continue to move forward as learners. The focus of the curriculum is practicing essential reading, writing, and math standards to help the student find increased success in the next school year. Some students struggle with transition or being away from school for a couple of months. This program allows for some front-loading of new standards and review of key standards. Instruction will be provided by three Whittier teachers.
Holly Day, Director of Special Education and Tracy Watson, Administrative Assistant, work to keep IEP and transportation requirements going all summer long. Some of our students are on what’s called ‘extended-year’ programs that need to be monitored and organized. For example, coordination of which students go to which classroom so they are in the correct grade. They determine and order all the special educational supplies for the upcoming school year. These supplies range from books, to math and reading programs; instructional supplies; as well as special equipment that will be needed.
Jean McNally, Registrar, is responsible for getting incoming students into our student information system. She tracks ‘superintendent agreements’ of students coming from outside our district, as well as students going to schools out of our district. RSU 16 is responsible for each and every school-age child who resides in Poland, Mechanic Falls, and Minot – regardless if they are home-schooled, going to another district, or they are outplaced at another school for special needs. This information CONTINUOUSLY needs to be tracked and monitored with the state.
Fred Barlow, Transportation Director; Karen Hill, Data Specialist; and Jean McNally, also the Transportation Administrative Assistant, work to make sure the Student Information System is up-to-date and feeding information to the transportation system correctly. Bus routes are determined and created for the new year, bus schedules are created looking at changes in daycare needs, special education needs, sports team’s needs, and field trips. On the first day of school for the new year – bus drivers must have a printed schedule to let them know their routes and students for pick up. They are working to get that information easily available to parents, as well. Jean is regularly communicating with parents to make sure we know a student’s transportation needs. If you are reading this and have any needs outside the regular bus schedule that will be based on your home address, please reach out to Jean at 998-2727, x111 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is a year-round department without a doubt! No summer vaca for these folks! While they maintain our buildings and grounds all year round, they kick into high gear when summer comes to clean and repair buildings, work on special projects, keep the grounds maintained and prepare for the fall sports season. Craig Worth, Operations Director; Tony Bennet and Dave Haskell, both maintenance supervisors, are all tapped into by principals, the superintendent, the athletic director – and pretty much all staff when something needs fixing! With this year’s renovation at the High and Middle School (more to come on that), they are busier than ever adding a sizeable move of staff from one area to another, to their already busy workload.
Some of Craig’s responsibilities include security, the renovation project, mandated employee training, the transportation department – and the meetings and tasks are endless all summer long . . . carried over from last school year right into the new school year. A program tapped into by RSU 16 and SAVED you tax dollars is the Alternative Sentencing Program (ASP), where 54 folks came to do community service. We estimate this saved the school up to $30,000 in labor with all the painting and cleaning done at all three of the elementary schools. Thank you to the Sheriff's Department for their assistance with this program!
High School and Middle School
Full steam ahead as the construction project is fully underway. Click here to see the update in the ‘News’ section to get the full update and more photos. The photo to the right is standing in a BWMS classroom looking out at the new building being constructed.
Poland Community School
The office at PCS is being moved to help make the school more secure. All floors are being stripped and waxed and will look shiny new when school starts. Parking lot markers are being redone this year to clarify parking spots, and new playground chips are being brought in for the play areas. Go Panthers!
Minot Consolidated School
All hallways and door frames are being painted this summer to be the school colors, a nice light colored wall with red trim. Go Mustangs! There will be new vinyl composite floors put in 4 classrooms and the hallway of the 5th/6th wing. All remaining floors will be waxed and shiny also, and new playground chips are being brought in for the play areas.
Elm Street School
Elm Street School is also having their school colors painted in the hallways. Nice light walls with dark blue cubbies and a nice gray trim on the doors. Go Wildcats! There will be brand new flooring in the lobby and upper hallways that also looks amazing with school colors. The front entrance is being landscaped with shrubs and flowers. Some ceilings are being replaced in a couple of classrooms and there will be a new curtain for the stage. In addition a new PA system is being mounted, and the entrance for the children will be completely dressed up with pencil posts and a ruler for the beam. How cool is that?
At all three elementary schools, some of the teachers have been painting their classrooms for a new look next year. These activities will have results that we are all excited for the kids and parents to see!
Linda Chaisson, IT Director, and the IT technicians, Dave Haley and Dennis Lacombe are busy this summer after collecting all the laptops from students in grade 6 through 12. The devices have to be cleaned, reimaged, inventoried and repaired when necessary in order to get them ready for redistribution in September. In addition, all the classroom and cart computers will be cleaned, updated and inventoried.
In the office they are updating their databases, renewing software contracts, preparing laptops for new teachers, reviewing backup systems and ordering and installing new equipment and software. With the middle school addition, they will be installing wireless networking and wall-mounted projectors.
School Security – Resource Officer
Jim Jacques runs the Cadet Program, an interesting and new opportunity for students to learn more about law enforcement. The first meeting of the Cadet Program, including Poland Regional High School Students, took place June 19th at the Auburn Police Department. Eleven students and several parents attended to learn what the program involves. Students were transported to the Central Maine Community College Campus and allowed to see and experience the latest technology used to train criminal justice students and police officers. Click here to learn more about the program. Students interested in the program should contact Deputy Jim Jacques by email: email@example.com.
Ellen Dore, Food Service Director, has lots of planning and implementation going on in the Food Service Department. A HUGE thank you to the Central Maine Credit Union as they made a $3,000 donation to keep the summer meals program going to provide nutritious meals to students who count on them during the summer months. The support from Federal dollars was lost for this program and there was no way the district could absorb the entire cost of the summer meals program without financial assistance. Click here if you would like to read the press release and learn more.
Ellen is also busy preparing for the new "On The Go Breakfast Cart!" new at the Minot Consolidated School (MCS). MCS students will now have an alternative breakfast option, a grab-n-go breakfast cart! The cart will be located in the hallway when you get off the bus to ensure getting a nutritious breakfast is as easy as possible, and will offer a variety of items including fresh fruits, low-fat milk, whole grain pastries, low-fat yogurt and much more!
The new budget kicks in and the new year starts! Stacie Field, Business Administrator/Manager is busy all summer rolling the new budget numbers into reports and spreadsheets, preparing new analysis for board meetings, closing out the prior school, etc. For Wendy Ritchie, Accounts Payable, and Carol Depot, Payroll Manager, it’s business as usual. Bills still need to be paid, and payroll still needs to be done. A new project this summer that Finance is responsible for is the Frontline Absence Management system, which will help administrators and their assistants secure substitutes for their schools. This will automate the manual procedure of finding substitutes, and will cut down on the time it currently takes to make numerous phone calls until a needed position is filled.
Karen Hill, Data Specialist, prepares the district and state student information systems for the 19-20 school year; completes year-end state reports for the superintendent to certify; does work on the website and will train employees how to keep their departments on the website updated; and assists with the data needs of project work as needed. Several other systems that use student information (Mosaic, the new lunch program; Transfinder, the transportation system; SWIS a behavior system) all need data work each summer to roll students forward to get the new year enrollment correct and put students in the correct grade. Our student information system offers a wealth of data for analysis to help determine if programs put in place are working, identify growth areas and/or trouble areas, and so forth. Summer months, when the data is not such a moving target – is a good time to create new reports and automate and/or develop procedures that are difficult to get to throughout the active school year.
Yes, Kenneth Healey, Superintendent of RSU 16, works all summer long. Think of every item mentioned above (and so much that wasn’t mentioned) and know that Ken is at the helm of it all. He is continuously attending meetings, continuously stays informed by his staff, and is continuously providing direction for the best possible outcome of any given situation – all while striving for student and staff safety. Juggling many issues, decisions and events there is one thing for sure . . .