RANGELEY — After a brief debate Tuesday, the RSU 78 school board approved the graduation standards for the proficiency-based diploma, which will start with the Class of 2018.

RSU 78 adopted a proficiency-based system of learning consistent with Maine law, which means that after Jan. 1, 2018, awarding a diploma will be contingent on the demonstration of proficiency in the content areas rather than the accumulation of credits.

Board member Harold Schaetzle opposed the adoption of the standards being mandated by the federal government. Superintendent Sue Pratt assured the board that Maine learning standards are aligned to the Common Core Curriculum, and that the faculty had discussed and amended the standards.

The board took 15 minutes to sign 60 copies of budget warrants for the June 3 regional school budget meeting, including 10 copies for each of the district’s townships. A referendum on the school budget is scheduled for June 10.

In other reports, board Chairwoman Jennifer Farmer said the reading program winners who attended a Portland Sea Dogs game were well behaved and had a tremendous time in spite of the cold weather.

Pratt said the prom will be June 7, senior Class Day will be June 12 and graduation will be at 1 p.m. June 14.

Two teams of five students and two staff members attended the Cool2Career event at Husson University in Bangor on May 2, and returned with enthusiastic reports on demonstrations of audio, video, still imagery and programming.

Pratt also reported that the school may have a counselor on site three days a week next year, thanks to the efforts of Tri-County Mental Health. Pratt was the only superintendent from Maine to attend the National School Superintendents Association’s conference in San Diego last week.

Pratt explained changes to the Teacher Evaluation Committee, mandated by a change in Maine law, which requires the committee to include a board member, a parent and a community member. Nancy Hilliard will represent the board.

Rangeley Lakes Regional School Principal Charles Brown said the spring concert is scheduled for May 29 in the gym, and will feature both choral and instrumental numbers.

Brown and Pratt said they enjoyed the recent student assembly that featured the two administrators as cream-pie targets, and admitted that there may be a video of the event.

The board approved a field trip for the Outing Club to Bog Brook Cove Preserve in Cutler, scheduled from May 30 to June 1. The board also approved $160 for fuel for two vehicles.

Outing Club leader and science teacher Lucy Simonds also requested short-term leave to participate in a two-week trip to Israel and Jordan under the auspices of the Maine Congregational Church. The trip includes visits to archaeological and geological sites, such as Ceasarea Maritima, the Dead Sea, Makhtesh Ramon Crater and the Nabataean ruins of Petra.

Simonds plans to document the trip in journals and video to share with her classes and community. After discussion about setting a precedent, the board voted to pay her three personal days and three professional days for the trip.

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