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May 20 School Committee Highlights

school committee meeting

By Kendra Williams

School Committee members on May 20 learned more about a new program that will expand access to high-quality pre-kindergarten education for 4-year-olds in town. Assistant Superintendent Steve Bussiere explained that the P-K Partnership grant from the Maine Department of Education will fund programming for 16 students at the YMCA, where many youngsters already go for daycare.

The pre-K component will be offered at no cost to parents or the School Department, Bussiere said. The YMCA will oversee the program and provide staffing, while the School Department will provide transportation and meals. The grant is for one year, but students served will be included in the future state subsidy funding formula, making this a program that will be sustainable over time.

Also at last week’s meeting:

  • The committee unanimously approved contracts with teachers and ed techs, pending approval by the respective unions. Administrator continuing contracts were also announced.
  • Sanford Regional Technical Center Director Matthew Petermann provided information about updates to programs that have declined in their relevance for today’s world. The committee unanimously approved his recommendations to update Digital Design to a Commercial Art Program and Robotics to Engineering Technologies.
  • Based on surveys to students in partner schools as well as available space, Petermann recommended adding two new SRTC programs in the 2025/26 school year. The addition of a Baking and Pastry Program and an Athletic Training Program was unanimously approved. A formal application to Maine’s Department of Education will now follow.
  • Petermann was recognized as recipient of the annual Backpack Benefit with the “Friend of Backpack” Award. He has supported the program in many ways, including providing space for food distribution and support for the development of the Spart Mart.
  • Curriculum Director Beth Lambert and Bussiere provided a follow-up to the previous presentation of changes to the federal title programs, with more information on how the funds will be allocated. An opportunity for public comment about the changes will take place in the near future.
  • A PSA video created by students from the Sanford High Theater Club, about the harm caused by vaping, was shown. It encourages students to make good choices for their future health.
  • A brochure of available summer activities developed by Lambert and Communications Coordinator Sam Bonsey was presented with the plan for distribution. Also, the latest Sanford Spotlight Newsletter highlighting happenings in the schools throughout the district was presented. It can be read here.
  • Student Representatives Aiden Gendron and Emma Adawadkar were honored for their commitment to the School Committee for the past two years. Both are graduating in the top ten of their class and shared their college and other plans.
  • A donation from the Sanford Schools Legacy Foundation for the naming of the Margaret Chase Smith School Library in honor of Sharon Remick was unanimously approved. The naming celebration, open to the public, was to be held on Thursday, May 30.
  • Superintendent Nelson presented staff resignations retirements, appointments and transfers.
  • Several year-end school events were announced, including the SHS graduation on June 5 and Adult Education graduation on June 12. The School Budget Referendum is on June 11.

The full meeting may be viewed here.

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