RUMFORD — Regional School Unit 10 Technology Director Brian Carrier and three teachers gave a presentation on the computer science program during Monday’s board of directors meeting at Mountain Valley High School.

The computer science and computational thinking program is from the Maine Math and Science Alliance, a nonprofit organization for science, technology, engineering and math. According to its website, the goal is to increase equitable access to computer science learning in rural classrooms.

Carrier said the program has been part of prekindergarten through eighth grade classes at two elementary schools and one middle school in the district since last school year.

The district is in its second year of the original three-year grant for the program from the Harold Alfond Foundation. Carrier said the foundation is investing an additional $8.2 million ino the original $1 million grant, allowing the district to extend the computer science program an additional five years.

The district is a part of STEM Workforce Ready Project 2030 put on by the alliance, Carrier said, and the project plans to train 1,000 educators and impact 20,000 students

Rumford Elementary School teacher Sarah Marshall demonstrates Monday how her first grade students use a computerized robot car during the Regional School Unit 10 board of directors meeting at Mountain Valley High School in Rumford. From left are Chairman Greg Buccina, Ed Bulger, Peter DeFilipp, Erin Hinkley, Kristen Chapman and Darcy Klein. Marianne Hutchinson/Rumford Falls Times

Rumford Elementary School teacher Sarah Marshall and Meroby Elementary School teacher Michelle Scribner gave a demonstration of two small, computerized robots — a Bee-Bot and a Sphero Indi car — that their first grade students have been playing with and learning how to operate.


Scribner said the Bee-Bot robots are “very intuitive for the students to be able to kind of pick this up and play with it and find out what the buttons do.” She said she has used the robots as part of her classes’ math curriculum, spelling and storytelling.

“Even just the computer science (part) of figuring out what something does and being able to preplan how to get something from one place to another; it’s an executive functioning piece of (learning) we’re trying to get students to do all of the time,” Scribner said.

Buckfield Junior-Senior High School juniors Cori Merrill, right, and Kai Trenoweth stand Monday at a podium next to their class advisers, Trisha Merrill, left, and Kristy Durgin, as they receive the Regional School Unit 10 board of directors’ approval for their class trip to the Bahamas in April 2025. Marianne Hutchinson/Rumford Falls Times

When students apply what they are learning from the Indi car, they learn which card-like mat will tell the car “to do something specific” as it rolls over the mat and students develop higher level thinking skills when they make decisions based upon what they have learned, Scribner said.

Mountain Valley Middle School science teacher Lacey Todd spoke to the crowd at the meeting about the computer science program via a conference video, saying “the cool thing about (the computer science program) is that it’s really appealing to kids when they do these really big important things, and it’s exciting for them, so it’s exciting for me.”

In other business, Buckfield Junior-Senior High School juniors Kai Trenoweth and Cori Merrill, along with their class advisers Trisha Merrill and Kristy Durgin, received the board of directors’ approval for their class trip for April 2025.

The students and their classmates have been fundraising for their seven-night and eight-day cruise to the Bahamas, they said.

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