MEXICO — Mountain Valley High School’s principal and athletic director told the school board Monday evening that an eight-man football team would be safer, offer more varsity participation and be competitive with similar size schools.

Principal Matt Gilbert and Assistant Principal/Athletic Director Tom Danylik presented Regional School Unit 10 directors their reasons for switching from an 11-man roster this year.

They also wrote a letter of explanation to Superintendent Deb Alden.

“We believe 20 students is not enough to safely run a traditional 11-man varsity football program and a developmental junior varsity program,” the letter said.

“The (Maine Principals Association) provides an option for schools to offer a varsity-level program, which allows for lower participation rates yet is, in essence, the same game,” Gilbert and Danylik said.

And, since a large number of Maine schools are also making the change in their teams’ numbers, the high school would have a “competitive field of competition which allows our students to compete in a meaningful way against like size schools,” Danylik said.

In other news, Leanne Condon, director of curriculum, instruction and assessment, updated the board on Portrait of a Graduate, a collective vision that articulates the community’s aspirations for all students. The work is in collaboration with the Western Maine Education Collaborative, which includes 17 districts.

The districts have received a $250,000 grant from the Barr Foundation to produce a vision, Condon said. The group of educators, administrators, and a community leader have a deadline of the end of June.

In other business, directors voted to donate the gate proceeds from the high school girls and boys home varsity basketball games Feb. 4 and 5 to the American Cancer Society’s Coaches versus Cancer.

Some of the money will go to local families who suffer from cancer and some to the Stay Strong Foundation, a charitable organization supporting those with cancer, Danylik said.

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