Poland, Winthrop join growing roster

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Communities aren’t just talking. Now they’re acting.

Poland and Winthrop are the latest additions to the Sports Done Right roster of communities seeking the candidacy process. Both received school board approval Wednesday to become official Sports Done Right schools.

When the University of Maine unveiled the Sports Done Right document over a year ago, the goal was to promote conversation in communities about righting the wrongs of high school and middle school sports. Cony was the first to formally proceed with its candidacy process last month and are joined by Poland and Winthrop.

“This is what we wanted when we started the pilot program in March of 2005,” said Karen Brown, the director for the Maine Center for Sport and Coaching.

“To have all three receive unanimous votes from their school boards certainly is encouraging.”

Poland received approval a month ago but made it official this week. Don King, the co-curricular director, went before the school board last month seeking feedback in hopes of shaping a presentation.

“They asked me the questions right there,” he said. “The next thing we know, they made a motion to go forward. It’s nice to know that the work you’re doing is supported by the people around you.”

Wednesday’s meeting with the board, which features representatives of Poland, Mechanic Falls and Minot, was just the final step. King, boys’ basketball coach Chris Willer and sophomore student Paige Piper spoke and reviewed the document.

“When we finished going over the document, I simply said. Reading this, I can’t imagine any school not wanting this for their kids,'” said King. “They were very receptive to it.”

Laurie Levine, the chairman of the school board, Bill Doughty, the principal, Nina Schlikin, the superintendent, and King all signed the SDR compact.

Adoption is the third step in a five-stage process for accreditation.

Communities with board approval will next present their case to the MCSC. The school must submit a self-evaluation and be subject to review by MCSC representatives.

The MCSC then issues a full accreditation or accreditation with contingencies.

Brown says she expects the pilot community in Cumberland to go before its board this month, with Rockland looking at June. Others are targeting the fall.

She expects the review process to be completed during the summer and accreditation determined at the MCSC board meeting in October.

Brown says having three schools complete the process not only speaks well of their work and dedication, but also serves as a model for others – helping others anticipate what issues and hurdles might lie ahead in their respective communities.

“This will be helpful to the other schools in the future,” she said.

Poland was one of the original 12 pilot sites selected last spring to help implement the initiative. King, Willer, Rick Kramer, Mark Soehren, Julie Mocciola and students Joe Douglas and Piper comprise its leadership team.

In the last year, officials have recognized Poland teams with sportsmanship awards in soccer, baseball and football.

“Those are certainly real feathers in the cap,” said King. “People will say that those are good things to get.

“That certainly helps show that things are going in the right direction.”

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