PARIS — Maine School Administrative District 17’s Curriculum Committee is working to make it easier for the board of directors to understand programs instituted in Oxford Hills schools.

Oxford Hills School District Director Julia Lester of Paris is chairwoman of the Curriculum Committee. Nicole Carter/Advertiser Democrat

“We spent months trying to understand that which was being done in the district, to the point that we created a cheat sheet” (to define them),” Curriculum  Committee Chairperson Julia Lester told directors at their meeting Monday.

Lester represents Paris on the board.

The committee set a goal to go beyond learning the meaning of the myriad of acronyms at use in education — PBIS for positive behavior interventions and supports — so the board could understand the concepts behind the names.

“So when we do talk about the things that we use in the district and curriculum for our students that we kind of know what the people we employ are doing, rather than resetting conversations,” Lester said. “That’s our responsibility. We’ve talked a lot about accountability here. And one of the things that it’s important for the board to understand is the concepts.”

In addition, Lester said the curriculum is available to board members online, along with other information such as explaining how the process for intervention response works.


“I hope the board takes an interest in this,” she said. “So when we wonder why we do things or ask questions like ‘how do we get every student’ or ‘is everybody included? It’s not to say that all the answers are there, but the framework, the paths forward – whatever jargons – it there for us to understand it.'”

Lester said some of the work the committee is focusing on started years ago, and it can take one to three years to put programs in place that require training, budgeting and other logistics before they can be measured. The committee has created a monthly schedule to review curriculum topics starting in October with language arts, social studies in November and science the following month. The findings will be posted online for elementary, middle and high schools.

The Curriculum Committee is also recommending that directors schedule visits of the schools in their community.

“It’s important for us to see what’s going in the classroom firsthand,” Lester stressed.

Oxford Hills School District Director Peter Wood of Norway will serve as vice chairman of the Operations Committee. Nicole Carter/Advertiser Democrat

In other business, Hebron Director Lew Williams reported he had again been selected as chairman of the Operations Committee and this year there would also be a vice chairman, Peter Wood, of Norway.

In addition, the new facilities director, Michael Manning, had started his position and is filling several vacant positions.

Williams said he does not expect the site work for the portable school unit being added at Otisfield Community School to be completed before the school year begins but the target date for the building to be ready has not changed. He also said Waterford Memorial School’s basketball court has been damaged by leaking water pipes and is being ripped out.

Director Judy Green of Waterford was again selected chairwoman of the Policy Committee. She reported the committee is planning to revise a number of policies over the coming year.

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