LEWISTON — Lewiston Public Schools has been approved to receive 15 mobile science labs through a state program, district administrators told School Committee members Monday.

The labs would provide additional facilities to introduce students to computer science fields such as programming and virtual reality.

Assistant Superintendent Karen Paquette said the state program is funded by remaining COVID-19 relief funds.

“This is a great addition to our already . . . pretty robust computer science program in our district,” she said. “This was a good opportunity for us to supplement (that program).”

The district was additionally awarded a $20,000 grant to create a literacy center at Connors Elementary School with a one-way mirror to help train new teachers.

The configuration will allow new teachers to observe veteran teachers in action, without changing the dynamics of the lesson.


“Attending the University of Orono in early childhood development, I have had the honor of sitting in a room like this . . . observing their preschool, day care program,” Ward 6 representative Meghan Hird said. “It is very beneficial, because as you said, as soon as someone comes into the room, it’s disruption.”

The committee additionally approved the first reading of eight new and revised policies — all 8-0 votes — including a new policy that provides guidelines on interactions between committee members and school staff.

The committee indicated it intends to adopt the sample policy from the Maine School Management Association nearly as suggested, except for removing two paragraphs that directed school staff to communicate with the committee through the superintendent, “channels established for grievances or through applicable School Committee policies.”

“In the past, we’ve gotten feedback from teachers or school administration staff that they feel like they can’t communicate with the School Committee,” at-large representative Megan Parks said. “We wanted to make sure everyone in Lewiston Public Schools knows they can reach out to us, but also we’re  . . . going to bring (concerns) back to the appropriate channel and address it.”

A second new policy, which provides guidelines for School Committee members’ interaction with the media, was also passed.

Members received several messages from media groups, including the Sun Journal, who expressed concerns that the new policy could be interpreted to mean that School Committee members, except the chairperson, are restricted from speaking or sharing information with the media.

The proposed policy is suggested by the Maine School Management Association and has been adopted word-for-word by districts across the state, according to Superintendent Jake Langlais.

Members said the policy is intended to designate the chairperson as the spokesperson for the committee, but individual members will be able to speak to the media on behalf of their own opinions and actions.

All eight policies will require a second vote before they are approved.

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