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Futures Task Force Meeting Summary

Meeting Date: July 31, 2023

Revisited Items:

  • Our task is to make a recommendation to the School Board in September. The final decision lies with the School Board.
  • Ronald Heifetz work on Technical vs Adaptive challenges to change. Technical - problem, solution and implementation is clear. Adaptive takes a collective group to learn towards solutions. This is an adaptive challenge as it requires new ways of thinking, new knowledge, new skills and needs to be solved by people.

New Items:

  • Group discussion on Educational Opportunities that RSU 16 does not offer. Brittany Hemond reported out then members provided additional ideas.  Ideas included, but this is not a complete list: late bus, after school activities, foreign language, band and chorus, drama, theater and dance, life skills, STEM, outdoor learning, computer science, home economics/family science, career exploration, partnership with organizations for internships, HS mentors, more inclusion with typically developing peers. Could these ideas shape the future of RSU 16 educational opportunities?
  • Shawn Vincent shared middle school configurations. 47 schools in Maine are grades 6-8. 10 schools in Maine are grades 7-8 (4 of those 10 are in Androscoggin County). Other grade ranges include PK-8: 66 schools, K-8: 16 schools, Grades 5-8: 22 schools. Can we move 6th grade to Whittier? Yes, however a modular addition would be needed to increase square footage. A modular addition is an addition to a building like ESS and MCS has now - there is no going outside to access it, it is part of the building. 
  • Functional Capacity Sub-Group shared a final report.  A brief summary of each scenario is as follows. (Please visit our website to review all slides)
    • Scenario 1: In terms of impact, from a functional capacity point of view, this scenario did not require any input or consideration from the group. 
    • Scenario 2: A combination of ESS and MCS is possible, but would require alterations to the use of current spaces and the placement of a modular addition in order for the building to accommodate the students. Alterations to outside space would also be required to accommodate the increase in students and staff attending school at ESS if the two schools were to be combined.
    • Scenario 3: A reconfiguration of ESS/MCS/PCS is possible, but would require alterations to the use of current spaces and the placement of a modular addition in order for the building to accommodate the students.  Alterations to outside space would also be required
    • Scenario 4: ESS would house students in grades PK-2. PCS would house students in grades 3-4 and house Adult Education. MCS would house students in grades 5-6. Alterations to space would be required.
  • The Functional Capacity Sub-Group has been officially adjourned at this time. 
  • A Task Force member brought forward Scenario 5 for the team consideration. The scenario was to keep all three elementary buildings (fund them, fix them, staff them), keep PCS as is, reconfigure MCS and EES into grade spans. Using the voting procedure, by a vote of 15-2 (and one abstention), the team decided not pursue this scenario. Reasons included, but are not limited to: Mix all or leave the schools as is, still have 3 schools to maintain, we want to create a unified education not further divide, don’t have the ability to provide special services to a K-6, then a PreK-2 and a 3-6 school (unless we continue to bus students with disabilities to one location), concerns for isolation and perception for/of PCS - Us vs Them.
  • The Public Relations (PR) Plan was reviewed and support was given. Be on the watch for: video walking tours of the elementary schools, pros and cons into statements with evidence, a snail mail flyer delivered by mail, research on adult learners and space needed for Adult Education and enrichment, information on the Revolving Renovation Fund, frequent updates from our FAQ, and of course check out the website: https://www.rsu16.org/about/futures-task-force


  • RSU 16 Issues Teacher shortage - difficulty filling open positions with fully certified teachers, Class sizes are inequitable across the three elementary schools, Transportation/Driver shortage - canceled bus routes, Increase in salaries due to contract negotiations, Aging buildings (including our “newest” 23-year old HS/MS), Title I services and Title I comparability, Rising cost of everything, Needs of our students

Next meeting is August 15 

Task Force membership: Todd Sanders, Amy Hediger, Erik Anderson, Shawn Vincent, Jessica Madsen, Kaitlynn Brown, Brandi Comeau, Jenny Rose, Jo St Peter, John Hawley, Jacque Russo, Jennifer Gagnon, D'Arcy Robinson, Steve Robinson, Brittany Hemond, Robert Klar, Terri Arsenault, Tarsha Downing, Randy Lautz, Angela Swenson, Elizabeth Martin, Emily Rinchich, Mary Martin.

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