Schools may take on extra special ed services

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SUMNER — Special education services for children ages 3 to 5 would be required of public schools beginning in 2018 under a proposal from the Maine Department of Education, Superintendent Deborah Alden told RSU 10 directors Monday.

The announcement from the DOE’s Child Development Services arrived last Friday. The DOE would “need to figure out how to have the funding flow to us,” Alden said, and if RSU 10 “had enough time to set it up and do it right, (the services) will be better for children because we’ll have the system going on in our schools.”

But first, funding for the schools would have to be in place and staffing and space requirements would have to be determined, she said.

In other business, RSU 10 Library Media Specialists Eileen Broderick of Rumford Elementary School, Barbara Hammond of Meroby Elementary School, Michele Cushman of Hartford-Sumner Elementary School and Mary Gamble of Mountain Valley High School gave presentations on the schools’ library programs.

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The RES library staff teaches students in conjunction with what they are learning in the classroom, Broderick said.

For example, fourth-graders learned to use field guides at the library before taking a field trip and third-graders learned how to use an interactive website when they are studying Plymouth Plantation, she said.

In the RES library last year, third- through fifth-graders learned how to use electronic mail and this year fifth-graders are learning how to save and share files and to collaborate, she said.

At Hartford-Sumner, Cushman is an Apple Refresh Research teacher leader. She said she attends two regional meetings every year to help support improvement through students learning technology. “There is no cost to the district and (Apple) pays for my mileage and for substitute teaching,” she said.

MVHS librarian Mary Gamble said that the high school library “has a lot of resources that we use (for) getting students ready for life after high school.”

Computer services and library specialists help students with their transitions from high school to college. “(We) give them that ‘cheat sheet’ to move forward with their common applications, their college boards and their gmail,” she said.

At Meroby, Hammond said, the library teaches students about digital citizenship. The school uses an application called Common Sense Media for the curriculum for kindergarten through grade 12, she said. “The fourth grade is going to be working on Circles of Responsibility, where they learn about what they are responsible for themselves and online.”

They also learn about wider circles of online responsibility which includes friends and family and their communities. “A lot of this digital citizenship is how you conduct yourself when you’re online, but it’s also how you keep yourself safe. It’s messages of how to deal with cyberbullying and identity theft because people target kids,” Hammond said.

The library media specialists encouraged everyone to visit the school libraries in person or online by accessing their library websites.

In new business, Hartford-Sumner Elementary School teacher Melissa Underwood presented the board with some copies of chapters of the book she wrote during her sabbatical last year. The book is titled “Superhero You!: An Interactive Adventure to Discover, Unlock, and Soar into your Power,” written for children ages 8 through 12.

The book is about self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationships, Underwood said. “It encourages kids to leap into self-exploration, uncover inner strengths, unleash curiosity, tame self-doubt and activate the power of imagination.”

Underwood created all of the artwork in her book and her goal is a December publication date.

Also on Monday: 

* Mountain Valley High School secretary Peggy Lapointe will retire at the end of December. She has worked at the school for 17 years.

* MES Title I teacher Sally Puiia is also retiring at the end of the school year after a career of 34 years at the school.

* Jonathan Maltz of Rumford was hired as a special education technician at MVHS.

* Director Jennifer LeDuc told the board about the MVHS Zombie Run at Hosmer Field Athletic Complex on Sunday, Oct. 22, at 2 p.m. Proceeds from the one- and two-mile walk/runs will benefit MVHS Project Graduation and the next four graduating classes, she said.

“It’s a run at the Hosmer Field complex to see if you can come out alive,” LeDuc joked. Any expenses incurred by the event have been paid for by local businesses and all income goes to the kids and their classes equally, she told the board.

mhutchinson@sunmediagroup.net

RSU 10 library media specialists told the school board about library programs at the schools at the board meeting on Monday. Left to right are Barbara Hammond of Meroby Elementary School, Michele Cushman of Hartford-Sumner Elementary School, Mary Gamble of Mountain Valley High School and Eileen Broderick of Rumford Elementary School.

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