RSU 56 to reinstate music program

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DIXFIELD — The Regional School Unit 56 board of directors voted Tuesday evening to reinstate a choral and music director position.

“It was cut a couple of years ago when there were a lot of things that were cut,” Superintendent Pam Doyen said.

Doyen said she and Business Manager Mary Dailey discussed the issue, and there is money for a music program for students in grades 6 through 12.

According to enrollment totals announced Tuesday, the district has 784 students in prekindergarten to 12th grade from Canton, Carthage, Dixfield and Peru. Its schools are Dirigo Elementary in Peru and Dirigo Middle and Dirigo High, both in Dixfield.

In other business, Director of Technology Brian Keene advised that students in kindergarten through third grade will use iPads, while fourth- and fifth-graders, and middle and high school students will use MacBook Air computers.

Keene provided school enrollments as follows: Elementary, 392, or 21 more than last year; middle, 183, 24 more than last year; and high, 209 students, 16 more than last year.

Elementary School Principal Charlie Swan said some of the increase is because Holy Savior School in Rumford closed in June, and prekindergarten and kindergarten classes “saw a big jump” in enrollment.

An overview of the district after-school program was presented by Miki Skehan, director of the Western Foothills Kids Association. Skehan said 50 students attended the summer program at Dirigo Elementary School to engage in art, science, technology and fitness activities.

The program is in its fifth and final year of a 21st Century Grant, and Skehan and school administrators are studying options to keep the program.

“We’re doing a lot of things in regards to finding different funding sources and trying to figure out if there is fiscal sponsorship, looking at (a possible) fiscal agent and having that opportunity to potentially apply for more grants,” Skehan said.

The program is also considering becoming a charitable organization so there are more opportunities to apply for grants.

The program is under the umbrella of Regional School Unit 10 in Rumford and includes after-school courses for students at Mountain Valley Middle School in Mexico and Dirigo Elementary School, Skehan said.

New hires announced are:

• Gretchen Curtis, physical education teacher at Dirigo Elementary School;

• Megean Eggert, second-grade teacher, at Dirigo Elementary School;

• Barbara Dolloff, special education educational technician III at Dirigo Middle School; and 

• Kara Campbell, special education educational technician III at Dirigo Elementary School. 

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Regional School Unit 56 Directors Carl Lueders of Canton, Angela Cushman of Peru, center, and Tammy Brown of Carthage, who were elected in June, attend Tuesday’s board meeting in Dixfield. (Marianne Hutchinson/Rumford Falls Times)

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