TURNER — Maine School Administrative District 52 is wrapping up its first two weeks of classes with half of students attending Monday and Tuesday and half Thursday and Friday with “very, very positive feedback,” Superintendent Kimberly Brandt said Friday.

“A lot of work went into getting ready for this fall, but it has really paid off,” she said. “Students have been happy to be back and we’ve all been so thrilled to have our students back.”

The school year started in the district on Aug. 31.

Brandt said staff had to draft two bus routes and parents are also pitching in, driving in 35% or more of students at some schools.

Two more bus drivers were hired during the school board meeting Thursday night, leaving only one substitute driver position open, a better position than some districts have found themselves in.

“We do training in-house and we also have our prospective candidates spend a little time riding on the bus with students — they can get a real flavor of what it will feel like with children on the bus versus getting your bus license with an empty vehicle,” Brandt said. “I think that that has really helped the candidates understand, oh, I love this, or maybe I don’t, and it’s helped us get an idea of how the candidates interact with the children as well, which is a really important part.”

Openings remain for two teachers at Greene Central School, one at Turner Elementary School and one at Turner Primary School. Brandt said she’s hoping to have at least one hire to nominate at the next school board meeting in two weeks.

She said she’s also hoping to have iPads handed out to grades prekindergarten 2 on Friday or early next week. After an order of Chromebooks arrives for grades 3 to 6, every student in the district will have a device.

“Last (school) year, when we first got access to the CARES Act funds, we said, ‘What would be the best use of this money looking forward to next year,’ and our decision was to make sure that we have a 1:1 device for every single student,” Brandt said. “For elementary students, we’ve never had a 1:1; we’ve had carts that students share. Our hope is that they will come in handy no matter what the model looks like.”

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