A Spruce Mountain High School Envirothon team received permission from the Regional School Unit 73 Board of Directors Thursday, June 9, to compete at the national competition in July. Pictured from left at the meeting are team members Owen Schwab, Ben Wilson, Abrahm Geissinger and co-advisor Ken Baker. Team members Leah Burgess, Liz Grondin and co-advisor Rob Taylor were absent. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

JAY — Regional School Unit 73 Board of Directors voted unanimously Thursday evening, June 9, to remove health and physical education as requirements for adult learners to graduate and replace them with credits in financial and digital literacy.

Spruce Mountain Adult Education Director Robyn Raymond made the request. She said instructors have developed curriculum around health awareness through a financial literacy lens that includes:

• How to create nutritious, affordable meals.

• Calculating the cost per serving.

• Understanding health insurance premiums and co-pays, etc.

“The health piece will not be lost but rather shifted to include more relevance to our learners’ everyday lives so they can feel more confident living independently and making well-informed decisions about their finances,” Raymond said.


Physical education has been a tricky course to navigate with requirements met through flexible, independent projects such as journaling daily walks and morning yoga routines, she noted.

“Exercise is not safe or inclusive for all of my learners and I do want to be mindful of that,” Raymond said. “Utilizing a computer and navigating the internet in a safe, responsible way seems to make more sense when our vision and mission is to “prepare citizens for the 21st century.” Thankfully we will be receiving funding to pilot some additional digital literacy classes which will assist our adult students in learning how to do online banking, navigate online job application systems, write well-crafted emails and stay in touch digitally with friends and family.”

Knowing that the health aspect wouldn’t be lost was a nice aspect, Director Patrick Milligan said.

“What you are gaining is a very broad knowledge across many spectrums and so many other independent living activities,” he noted. “I am really excited for that.”

There are no state requirements for health and physical education, Raymond said when asked.

Director Joel Pike verified that the request was only for adult learners and wouldn’t apply to high school students. He also asked what the target date for making the change effective would be.


“I would like to start with the fall semester,” Raymond said. “I wanted to give you enough lead time in case you didn’t want to make a decision tonight.”

In other business, the first reading of a new policy regarding visitors to the schools was approved.

Director Andrew Sylvester asked if the section stating “all visitors must call the school ahead of time” could be interpreted to include texting and/or emailing.

Those are general guidelines, Director Joel Pike said. “A lot of policies include administrative procedures, each building is supposed to come up with its own,” he stated. The new policy for Spruce Mountain schools came out before the school shooting in Texas and the threats made in Spruce schools last week, he added.

“It’s mind boggling to see that kind of stuff happening here,” Director D. Robin Beck said. She noted staff and administrators did a fantastic job during the two events. “We really appreciate that,” she added.

Directors also approved a trip for the Spruce Mountain Envirothon team to compete at the National Conservation Foundation Envirothon at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, July 24 – 30.


Team member Owen Schwab said his team was the high scorer in four of the five areas tested at the Maine State Envirothon. The other team from Spruce scored highest in that one, he added.

To have Spruce Mountain represent Maine is quite an honor, Director Patrick Milligan said.

Director Andrew Sylvester asked if there was money in the budget for the trip.

The teams used a van instead of a bus which reduced costs, co-advisor Ken Baker said. “It will cost about $3,000 to go,” he noted. “We are looking to fundraise. I am confident we will be able to cover those costs.

“[Rob] Taylor deserves most of the credit [for the success of Spruce Mountain’s Envirothon program].”

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