OXFORD — School Administrative District 17 directors Monday unanimously approved adding a fourth special education teacher for Guy E. Rowe Elementary School in Norway.

The request was made by Special Services Director Jan Neureuther, who cited an additional 16 students to the program since the beginning of the school year.

The position will be paid from the Contingency Fund.

In other matters, directors approved overnight field trips to the University of Maine 4-H Camp & Learning Center in Bryant Pond  for Harrison and Hebron elementary schools, and a trip to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum in New York City for Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School students.

Melanie Ellsworth, the district’s coordinator for the Elementary and Secondary Educatoin Act, recapped the summer education program Camp Achieve. A total of 101 students from prekindergarten through fourth grade attended the program focused on a math and science.

Students engaged in hands-on learning and field trips. Activities included studies on plants, composting, pollinators, tending gardens and healthy foods and their preparation. Students learned about animals through Spark’s Ark and Camp Chewonki presentations. They took field trips to Roberts Farm and Alan Day Gardens in Norway.

Annabelle, left, and Renee Chapman of Hebron addressed the SAD 17 board of directors Monday night to show their support for the district’s summer school program, Camp Achieve.

In-class activities focused on literacy and knowledge of book concepts — from physical book structure to vocabulary. Teachers reporting on the program to the board cited that 87% of the students in the program showed improvement from the end of the 2018-19 school year, with improved behavior toward learning and heightened levels of engagement.

Camp Achieve is part of Kinder Jump Start, which was developed by Maine-based educators Carrie Thurston and Audrey O’Clair. They determined that children entering public schools were not having individual, specific educational needs met and that intervention was not happening early enough to correct.

The model has expanded to higher grades and includes an interventionist who works in the classroom setting targets specific to each child.

Fourth-grader Annabelle Chapman and her mother, Renee Chapman, addressed the board on Camp Achieve. Annabelle and her younger brother, Sam, who is in first grade, participated in the program.

Renee Chapman said her children, who have different strengths and learning styles, benefited from the hands-on structure of the program.

Annabelle presented a display summarizing what she learned in outdoor sciences and circulated a book she created about her experience.

Asked what her favorite part of Camp Achieve was, she said: “I can’t even decide. It was all great.”


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