RUMFORD – SAD 43 board members readmitted one high school student and took no action on a second following expulsion hearings Monday night.

Directors voted unanimously to readmit the Mountain Valley High School boy after a 20-minute closed meeting with Principal Matt Gilbert and assistant special education director Cindy Theriault. The readmission to classes is immediate.

The second closed session, however, took more than an hour. The board met with the high school principal, assistant Principal Chris Decker, the ninth-grade boy who was the center of the hearing, his parents and a younger brother.

Details were not released about either of the expulsion sessions.

In other matters, Wendy Ault, executive director of the MELMAC Education Foundation, outlined a new program to encourage high school students to pursue post secondary education.

The district recently received a five-year grant totaling $61,000 that enables a coordinator to work with students so they might aspire to further education after high school. The first year’s grant of $5,000, during school year 2007-2008, was for planning purposes. The district receives $14,000 for each of the following four years, beginning with the current 2008-2009 school year.

Barbara Radmore, a former educational technician in the district, coordinates the local program, along with the GEAR-UP program. Both programs aim to improve chances that students will go on to higher education.

Former University of Maine at Farmington admissions director Anthony McLaughlin also serves as coach for the MELMAC program. He serves the same role at several other high schools that have received the grants.

Among the activities provided by the MELMAC program are trips to colleges in and out of state, primarily for high school sophomores.

Ault said the percentage of students furthering their education increases when a Melmac program is in place. She said Mountain Valley High School was among 23 applicants to receive funding during the current grant cycle.

The board also heard a report from the district’s Mountain Valley Middle School alternative education teacher, Richard French, who said nine students are now in the alternative ed program. It can accept up to 15.

The purpose of the alternative education program is to address student attendance and academic issues, then get the youngster back into mainstream classes.

This is the third year that an alternative program has been in place at SAD 43 for middle school students who have difficulty adjusting to traditional classroom education.

Superintendent Jim Hodgkin said the middle school program is not intended to serve as a feeder program for the high school alternative education program.

Young people at the high school who require nontraditional education generally do not enter the alternative program until later in their high school careers.

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