Meroby Elementary School Principal Kim Fuller speaks to the RSU 10 board of directors Monday in Rumford. Rumford Falls Times photo by Marianne Hutchinson

RUMFORD — Principals of Regional School Unit 10 schools gave overviews on enrollment, statffing, programs and activities at Monday night’s board of directors meeting.

Total student enrollment is 1,799, including students placed at schools outside the district because of special education needs. The count for students within the schools is 35 fewer.

The district includes seven schools: Hartford-Sumner Elementary in Sumner, Buckfield Junior-Senior High in Buckfield, Meroby Elementary in Mexico, Rumford Elementary, Mountain Valley Middle School in Mexico, Mountain Valley High School in Rumford and the Western Foothills Regional Program, a school for children with special needs in the former Pennacook Learning Center in Rumford.

The school principals gave short overviews on the first days of the new year.

Mountain Valley High School Principal Matt Gilbert said there were 370 students at the high school, including eight exchange students, four boys and four girls, representing every continent except Australia.

Gilbert also remarked on the return of an alternative education program for 10th- through 12th-grade students housed at the Mexico Recreation Center. Mountain Valley High School has 16 students in the program.

The alternative program was “brought back to help students who struggle in a traditional classroom setting,” Gilbert said. For freshmen needing extra help with academics, the school employs the Building Assets Reducing Risks program, in its third year of a federal grant.

Ryan Casey, principal of Mountain Valley Middle School, told the board there are 93 fifth-graders this year, a first for the school which has housed only sixth- through eighth-grade students in the past.

Casey said the school is fully staffed but the student population of about “380 plus” has been in flux within the past week and a half. “We had 36 kids come in and 24 kids leave; so, we really haven’t gained that many, other than 12 kids, but that’s a lot of ins and outs within a week and a half.”

Principal George Reuter of Buckfield Junior-Senior High School reported a “smooth start” with 231 students enrolled. “We have a few new students in the middle school, probably even fewer than that in the high school, probably four,” Reuter said. The school has two exchange students from Germany this year, he said.

Kim Fuller, principal of Meroby Elementary School, said there are 240 students. “The big bump is (enrollment in the) second grade, we’re kind of watching it; it’s 21 (pupils).”

Rumford Elementary School Principal Jill Bartash noted the change in the school with fifth-graders now attending the middle school.

Of the 224 students at Rumford Elementary, 59 are kindergartners. Bartash noted that she was glad to have a fourth classroom for the group. “They are a really needy group, so it’s been helpful to have all hands on deck to be able to support them,” she said.

Ryan Wilkins, principal of Hartford-Sumner Elementary School, said enrollment was at 315 students. “It’s challenging in the fact that we’re still not fully staffed,” Wilkins said. The school is looking for a teacher for grades three and four, and two educational technicians, he said.

Wilkins also said the school’s new playground equipment was set up over the weekend by members of the playground committee, volunteers and staff, and he hopes the new playground will be open to pupils by next week.

In other business, the board of directors approved a $25,000 donation from John and Sarah Beliveau for a meal van to be used by the district’s school nutrition program in Rumford and Mexico.

RSU 10 Nutrition Director Jeanne LaPointe told the board that the donation will be used to buy a van “to drive around the community and stop in the neighborhoods and connect with the kids where they are.”

The family has ties to the area for over three generations and wants “to give something back to our hometown community that has meant so much to us,” the Beliveaus said in an email to LaPointe.

The meal van will be used in the summer and eventually for after-school meals, LaPointe said. “We’ll have (the van) wrapped; we’ll have graphics on it. It will be known in this community for what it will be doing to serve the children of this town.”

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RSU 10 logo. RSU 10 website.

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