JAY — The RSU 73 board Thursday unanimously voted to begin a study with the aim of exploring methods or changes that would increase student scores and help students become more successful.
The original idea, presented by Superintendent Robert Wall earlier this month, was to conduct a nearly yearlong study of whether restructuring Jay Elementary School and Livermore Elementary School so that one would serve K-2 youngsters, and the other would serve grades three through five. However, following a lengthy discussion by board members, teachers and parents, the decision was to conduct a more general study.
The board wants as many parents and community members, teachers and other staff to participate in the group sessions as possible. Those who participate may be divided into subgroups, Wall said.
“Restructuring (the elementary schools) may be one way,” he said. “With a new configuration, there’s more likelihood the students will be competent.”
Now, both elementary schools serve K-5 pupils.
The frequency, times and places for the sessions have not yet been determined, but Wall was emphatic that brainstorming sessions by a large group of people would produce greater results, as opposed to establishing a committee.
Prior to the vote, several ideas for achieving better student success were made by some of the 50 or so teachers, or dozen or so community members who attended.
Board member Tammi Frost was concerned that the two elementary schools don’t follow the same curriculum. She said, too, that math, reading and other elementary programs change frequently.
“Parents need to know what their kids are learning,” she said.
Teacher Lynn Ouellette suggested that a 5- or 10-year plan for the newly consolidated district be created.
“We’ve made a lot of changes in two years,” she said.
Julie Taylor, another RSU 73 teacher, said that with the secondary students together, it’s time to start looking at a new curriculum for grades kindergarten to 12.
“You have experts here. There are ways to help kids,” she said.
Board Chairwoman Denise Rodzen wants the study to include all grade levels, and not be restricted to kindergarten to five.
“We need to look at what works and doesn’t work. If something is not working, what is a better way to serve the kids?” she asked.
Any parent or other community member who wants to take part in the study process is asked to call the Central Office at 897-6722.
In other matters, the board approved a time change for the district’s four schools. At Spruce Mountain High School, Spruce Mountain Middle School, and Jay Elementary School, class hours will be 7:30 a.m. to 2:20 p.m. At Livermore Elementary School, hours will be 7:50 a.m. to 2:40 p.m. The change was made to provide for smoother bus transportation.
The board also welcomed newly appointed member, Shari Ouellette, to represent Jay. She replaces Mary Redmond-Luce who resigned in May.