BUCKFIELD — Chronic absenteeism “has dropped quite a bit” this fall at Hartford-Sumner Elementary School, said Principal Ryan Wilkins at Monday’s Regional School Unit 10 Board of Directors meeting.

A student is considered chronically absent when they miss 10% or more school days during the school year, or 18 days for a typical student enrolled for the entire school year.

Wilkins added that “no students with an (Individualized Education Plan) in grades three through five at our school are chronically absent.”

Later during the meeting, Board Director Allison Long of Buckfield, who is also a member of the board’s Curriculum Committee, added that chronic absenteeism at HSES “has fallen 6.5% from last year,” and the school’s chronic absenteeism rates are currently at 18.5% of the student population.

District-wide, RSU 10 schools currently have an overall average of 37% of students who are considered chronically absent, according to data provided by the district.

Long also said that Mountain Valley Middle School in Mexico and Rumford Elementary School both saw 13% more students who met the national math benchmark standards this fall than they did last past spring.


“And at Meroby Elementary School (in Mexico), 21% more students met the national reading benchmark than they did this past spring,” Long reported.

Other district-wide results show 37% of students scoring at or above average in math achievement on the spring administration of the national Northwest Evaluation Association testing and 48% of students scoring at or above average in reading.

In other business, the board of directors approved a cooking club advisor position that will be a stipend-paid position for an afterschool cooking program for students at Buckfield Junior-Senior High School.

Superintendent Deb Alden told the board that the afterschool cooking group for students in grades seven through 12 has been meeting since the fall of 2021.

“They’re learning basic skills, techniques, (and learning about) meal planning, (and) nutrition. Cooking utilizes math, reading skills, problem-solving and teaches peer cooperation because they do work in teams,” Alden said.

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