JAY – Following the voters’ directive, the School Committee eliminated several teaching positions within the School Department at a special meeting Monday.

The termination of the teaching contracts takes effect on Aug. 31. The teachers eliminated were special education teacher Christina Bamford; health/physical education teacher Tennie Harrington; world language teacher Catherine Whitmore; science teacher Jan Collins; and social studies teacher Jeffrey Jewell.

Also eliminated were two six-hour educational technicians III, one six-hour educational technician II, and one three-hour educational technician II. These reductions take effect June 10.

The School Committee voted to approve a first-year continuing contract for Kelly Leclerc, contingent upon certification and budget.

With numerous Jay High School courses having fewer than 10 students registered for the 2009-10 school year, the board engaged in a prolonged discussion about the direction of education at the school. A parent attending the meeting, Bob Deane, asked that the School Committee keep the honors art course and explained that his daughter was one of several students needing it.

“She needs that honors art training to do her portfolio,” he said, adding that his daughter was looking at a related career.

School Committee member Judy Diaz asked the administrators present about combining some courses with study halls.

“I couldn’t imagine a teacher teaching 12 kids in freshman English and having 12 kids in study hall,” said JHS Principal Joe Moore, strongly recommending against it.

Chairwoman Mary Luce asked if teachers were providing support with course work to their study hall students. Moore responded that he saw the staff assisting in study halls on a consistent basis.

“This is the best high school staff I’ve ever worked with in terms of being dedicated to kids, dedicated to content,” Moore said. “They’ve done whatever I’ve asked them to do.”

He noted that he had been working in conjunction with Livermore Falls High School, Mt. Blue High School, and Foster Regional Applied Technology Center to figure out ways of offering joint courses to students. The School Committee asked that the collaborative effort be enhanced, but Moore cautioned that this would take time.

“Our goal is the same thing,” he added regarding joint efforts with surrounding schools.

The board added that online course offerings would be one way of enriching the high school learning environment. Superintendent Robert Wall pointed out that some courses could be offered every other year instead of every year to allow more classes for students.

Next year, a middle school science teacher will be teaching high school chemistry. Moore said that the instructor was taking college courses, talking to high school science teachers, and perusing related literature to prepare for the task.

“He certainly knows his safety protocols,” Moore pointed out. “I think once he closes his year with the seventh- and eighth-grade students, he’ll be energized and ready to go.”

He added that he regretted the termination of science teacher Jan Collins’ contract, noting she had been a valuable resource for students and her experience would be missed.


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