RUMFORD – SAD 43 directors learned of two honors Monday night focusing on health and wellness programs offered in the district.

They also learned of an upcoming staff grievance hearing and are about to begin negotiations with two district bargaining units.

Mountain Valley Middle School Principal Ryan Casey said his school will be honored in the September issue of Health magazine as one of the top 10 middle schools in the nation for its emphasis on healthy students. Health magazine, published since 1987, is published 10 months a year, and is owned by Time Warner Inc.

He said someone within the state Department of Education most likely nominated the school for the honor.

He believes the school health policies the district has incorporated over the years, along with health and nutrition excellence awards presented to the district by the state, the number of health-related staff within the district and school, the breakfasts offered to every student at the middle school, and the after-school program all contributed to the honor.

He said the magazine’s contact did not reveal the other nine schools nationwide so honored.

He said criteria for selecting a healthy school included the food and nutrition program, physical activities and emotional wellness.

In a related honor, Superintendent Jim Hodgkin said he received notice that SADs 43 and 21 will share in a total of $728,081 over two years from a federal physical education program.

“We are the first school system in the state to get this grant twice,” he said.

With the grant, the two districts will have received about $1.3 million in physical education money.

SAD 21 health coordinator Laurie Soucy and SAD 43 health coordinator Kathy Sutton applied for the grants. Hodgkin said details on use of the funds will be explained during a September board meeting.

The board will hear a grievance at its Sept. 2 meeting from a member of the special education department. Hodgkin said he denied the grievance. The next step is a hearing before the board.

When classes resume, the board will also begin negotiations for new contracts with the bus drivers/custodians bargaining unit of the Mountain Valley Education Association, and with the food and nutrition workers union.

Also on Monday, Hodgkin said the boards from SAD 43 and neighboring SAD 21 will likely meet in the next few weeks to discuss a possible administrative merger.

Hodgkin said when the two boards meet, they will discuss various scenarios.

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