RANGELEY — The Rangeley Lakes Regional School Board saw a detailed PowerPoint presentation from alternative education teacher Jeanette Jacobs at the board’s March 27 meeting.

After a slide show of some of the activities and field trips in which her students have participated, Jacobs showed the results of a student survey in which overall the four current students are satisfied with the program. This was followed by a report on behavior data and graphs illustrating academic achievement.

A section on the evolution of the alternative ed program proposed changes for next year, including adding an educational technician, expanding the work-study program, refining the admissions process and exploring team teaching. The program now serves grades 7 through 10, and Jacobs would like to expand it to include grades 6 through 12.

Jacobs passed out brochures and applications for the board to peruse. Because of limited space in the program, applications are made through a referral process. For more information or an application, contact Director of Student Services Heidi Deery at 864-3311, ext. 109.

Jacobs ended her presentation with a request for board approval for a whitewater rafting trip for her class. A former Maine Guide, Jacobs plans to take her students to Magic Rapids at The Forks on the Kennebec River for three days at the end of term. The finances for the trip are already well in hand, but Jacobs is still looking for a male chaperon to join the group. The board approved the trip unanimously.

During the public comments section earlier in the meeting, Mr. and Mrs. Steve Hall, parents of a third-grade pupil, expressed concern that the current third-grade teacher may not finish the year and wanted to know if the substitute was capable of continuing the academic program.

Principal Sherry Connally explained that the teacher’s medical absences had been difficult to calculate and that the substitute was close to being certified. The board asked Connally to keep them, and third-grader parents, informed about the situation.

Speaking as a parent, board member Michelle Elliot expressed concern that some Foster Tech courses taken by Rangeley students were not going to be counted as math and science credits. “This could put kids in a tight spot with regard to graduation credits,” she said.

Virginia Nuttall pointed out that the Rangeley board could determine how the Foster’s courses could be credited, but Connally said the school relies on Foster’s to give that information. Board Chairman Harold Schaetzle requested that the situation be put on the agenda for the next board meeting.

Superintendent Brian Foster reported that the state’s No Child Left Behind panel had finished up its review that day, taking an in-depth look at how dollars were being spent and how kids were being supported. Foster said that the panel had a number of commendations for students’ progress in literacy and math, and that their formal written report would probably come out in a couple of weeks.

In the principal’s report, Connally shared follow-up data on students and achievement, along with comparison data with other Maine schools of similar size. She also noted that on April 8 the SAVES crisis center in Farmington is presenting a one-person show on the subject of domestic violence. Students will travel to the Lakeside Theatre for the show, to be followed by a panel discussion.

Nuttall reported from the Technology Committee that the school’s new website now has all the information on it, but she is not sure of the switchover date. It currently looks as if the switchover to Gmail will not take place until next fall. Nuttall also said the committee is looking into ergonomics, specifically at how interacting with new technology affects the posture and health of staff and students.

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