POLAND — The Regional School Unit 16 directors were presented Monday night with proposals for a Jobs for Maine Graduates course and an evaluation of the three elementary schools for the upcoming school year.

Poland Regional High School Principal Cari Medd said JMG works to keep students actively engaged in the school environment. She said it’s focus is on “helping kids transition from high school either into college or into workforce career in an apprenticeship program outside of high school.”

The program connects students with Maine employers and provides a learning experience outside school walls, she said. It would provide a “specialist” who develops a “comprehensive and intensive curriculum” to about 50 students.

The school and JMG would establish a JMG Advisory Board comprised of teachers, guidance counselors and administration personnel. The course would be a 70-minute block and considered an elective credit.

Medd said funding from the Maine Department of Health and Human Services would make the program free to participating schools for two years. The school would contribute $18,000 in the third and subsequent years.

The only stipulation is that 65% of the enrolled students must be socioeconomically disadvantaged.

Regarding a facilities evaluator, Superintendent Ken Healey said he will begin discussion with a school board subcommittee on how to best utilize the three schools, both in terms of building needs and educational necessities.

He said he would like RSU 16 to hire a specialist or an education evaluator to explore and fact-find whether a reconfiguration of the schools is necessary. Now, each school houses grades kindergarten to six.

It was mentioned that the schools, which are in Mechanic Falls, Minot and Poland, may be divided by grades, such as one for kindergarten throught second, one for their and four, and one for fifth and sixth.

Healey and board Chairwoman Mary Martin emphasized that this is being discussed and it would take over a year to develop an actual strategy.

In other business, Healey announced the administration and school bus drivers will enter into fact-finding in late July as part of contract negotiations. The two sides have been at an impasse for more than two years.

The nearly two dozen drivers joined Teamsters Local 340 after several attempts to secure a contract with the district failed.

Congratulated on their retirement were Pat D’Amboise, 18 years, social worker at the high school; Patricia Boston, two years, educational technician III at the school school; Sherri Chagnon, 24 years, admininstrative assistant at Elm Street School in Mechanic Falls; Gary Purington, 38 years, maintenance supervisor.

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