Regional School Unit 10 director Jerry Wiley, left, was honored Monday at the board of directors meeting at Buckfield Junior-Senior High School for 51 years of service to the schools. This photo was taken in May 2021 at Mountain Valley High School in Rumford at a board meeting. Marianne Hutchinson/Rumford Falls Times file

BUCKFIELD — Regional School Unit 10 recognized Jerry Wiley of Buckfield for his 51 years as a director on the boards of RSU 10 and Region 11 Oxford Hills Technical School in Norway at Monday’s meeting at Buckfield Junior-Senior High School.

Board of directors Chairman Greg Buccina of Rumford praised Wiley’s character and dedication for his 51 years of service “which far (outnumber) anybody else in the state of Maine.”

Wiley also received recognition for his years of service and dedication from the Maine School Management Association, the Maine School Boards Association, and the Maine School Superintendents Association at a conference held by those organizations last week.

In other business, the board voted to apply $8.48 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act grant money to the rest of the school year through 2024.

At the end of October, school administrators updated use of the funds toward 11 separate projects including reducing student class size, providing mental health services and supports, and planning for implementation of activities during long-term closures such as providing technology for online learning and meals for eligible students, among other projects.

Superintendent Deb Alden told the board that the district has been using the plan for two years, including this school year as the second year of the district’s plan.


“As you plan projects, and you have things that you pay for under the project, some of those things change in terms of the cost of those things,” she said. Alden also told the board that their vote was not actually required to approve the grant funds, but the directors decided to proceed with a vote since it was listed on their agenda.

Mountain Valley Middle School fifth-grade students Alexandra Heikkinen, left, and Saphera Kneeland, along with their classmates, look for organisms in the rockweed at Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park in Freeport as part of the Intertidal Ecosystem Investigation Program. Teacher Lacey Todd has received guidance from the Gulf of Maine Research Institute. Submitted photo.

In other news, the board of directors listened to school department reports and viewed photos from Lacey Todd, a teacher at Mountain Valley Middle School in Mexico, and Caleb McNaughton and Gretchen Kimball, teachers at Buckfield Junior-Senior High School.

Todd told the board about her fifth-grade students’ activities in their Intertidal Ecosystem Investigation Program and their work with the Gulf of Maine Research Institute. The institute has provided professional development instruction for Todd and has guided her with scientific learning practices for her classes, she said.

Recently, the class has been on some coastal field trips to Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park to study the ecosystem there, Todd said.

“In that initial visit students got to go and notice anything that they might notice; they got to ask a lot of questions, (and) we had some species identification cards,” Todd said. The students also studied the invasive European green crab and how it has impacted the ecosystem in the Gulf of Maine, she said. They have a 75-gallon microcosm tank in their classroom where they are keeping their own collection of green crabs and other organisms for study.

Mountain Valley Middle School fifth-grade students Charlie Danylik, left, and Bretton Arsenault look for organisms under rocks as their class participates in an Intertidal Ecosystem Investigation Program in October at Wolf’s Neck Woods State Park.  Submitted photo.

Following Todd’s report, Buckfield Junior-Senior High School teachers Caleb McNaughton and Gretchen Kimball spoke about their outdoor education program, Project Outdoor, now in its second year.


A group of teachers including McNaughton and Kimball created the program in order to “re-engage the disengaged” students, Kimball said.

“Teachers came up with the idea of this Project Outdoor, where we would help the kids have authentic experiences (and) we would wrap it around science and reading and writing and researching and thinking and (the students) said ‘yes, let’s try it,’” Kimball said.

The project has used some money from COVID funds to buy outdoor gear for the students who have learned how to build Swedish fire stoves and how to make their own outdoor lunch on the stoves. They have also learned how to fly fish at local ponds and have been hiking at nearby mountains and ice fishing on Swan Pond in Buckfield, McNaughton said.

“It’s really nice to create an opportunity for students to appreciate what’s in their own backyard,” he noted.

The educators score the students on their outdoor projects by considering their cooperation, communication, leadership, effort, respect for themselves, respect for their peers and respect for the environment, Kimball said.

Mountain Valley Middle School fifth-grade student Lucy Arbor sketches a picture in her science notebook of a crab that she found during an Intertidal Ecosystem Investigation Program with her class in October at Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park in Freeport. Teacher Lacey Todd’s students have been participating in the program with guidance from the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, Todd told the Regional School Unit 10 board of directors Monday. Submitted photo.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.