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Sanford School Committee Meeting Highlights 12/04/23

Emily Shefield

Former school committee member, Emily Sheffield, returns to fill a vacancy.

Photo Credit: Autumn Bliss Photography

By Kendra Williams

Members Present: Paula Cote, Amy Sevigny, Jennifer Davie and Melissa Simpson

Student Representatives: Aiden Gendron, Emma Adawadkar and Elise Gendron

Committee Updates

The Special Education Advisory Committee will be meeting again on Dec. 13. The focus will be on the responsibilities of the director and the IEP coordinator. Curriculum and the Bridge Program will be the focus going forward.

The Stipend Advisory Committee has met five times and has representation from all grade levels. Their purpose is to review stipends while getting ready for negotiations to determine possible changes and recommendations. Accomplishments to date were reviewed. The committee is now taking a hiatus while collective bargaining is going on.

Student Representatives Reports

Aiden Gendron announced that winter sports have begun. This past weekend, the basketball team had some games, and the wrestling team came in second place in a tournament. Also, the recent student play, Puffs, was well received. He said, “it was hilarious and the best one we’ve ever had.”

Elise Gendron spoke about the recent informational meeting for students interested in the trip to France this coming spring. The National Honor Society has recently begun planning a field trip to Boston fine arts museums in January so students can learn about ways art can contribute to future careers.

Emma Adawadkar announced that the National Honor Society is collecting toys for Toys for Tots and identified the collection box locations at the school. A mandatory travel abroad meeting for students planning to go on the trip to France was planned for Dec. 5.

The students then shared highlights of happenings throughout the Sanford schools from the most recent Spotlight Newsletter. See the full newsletter here.

Superintendent’s Report

Mr. Nelson announced upcoming field trips. He also shared that the Kittery Trading Post, along with Smith’s All Natural, has donated 350 pairs of boots for students, primarily targeting those in the elementary and middle schools. The Backpack Program was instrumental in securing this donation.

Directors Reports

Assistant Superintendent Steve Bussiere provided an update of the First Ten Grant at Sanford Pride Elementary School. He shared two goals the team will begin to work on in the next few weeks. The first is school-connected Play and Learns which consist of 6 sessions of parents and students. The second is to improve P-K to Kindergarten transition.

On Monday, Dec. 11, a homeless summit is planned for city, school, county and state leaders to discuss the homeless issue. Mr. Bussiere provided an overview of the number of homeless students in Sanford, which is 4% of all students. The greatest challenge to continuity for students is transportation to ensure they can remain in their own school community.

School Counseling Director Beth Letourneau led a presentation with her team and provided an overview of Pre-K-12 school counseling, social work and outreach. They shared information about the many student services being provided at each grade level as well as data, trends and needs going forward.

Career Exploration Coordinator Katie Schindler provided an overview of her work with middle school, high school and SRTC students. The program helps students discover their talents, interests and values and exposes them to opportunities. At Sanford Middle School, she focuses on interests and career exploration so they know early on what they may want to pursue in high school. They also hold a middle school camp in the summer. At Sanford High School, the focus is on possible career pathways, work-based learning and extended learning opportunities which provide community-based career explorations. At SRTC, job shadows, internships and things like ride-alongs with fire science and law enforcement programs are arranged. She concluded by identifying program challenges, progress and goals.

Athletic Director Zach Lemelin provided an overview of fall athletics and student recognition. Winter athletics began a few weeks ago. The high school sports include two girls’ and three boys’ basketball teams, cheering, indoor track, wrestling and ice hockey. At the middle school, there are two girls’ and two boys’ basketball teams and cheering. There will be over 70 home events at SHS and SMS during the winter sports season. Upcoming events were highlighted. The student leadership council, comprised of representatives from all sports, has continued this year and meets once a week for discussions of leadership goals, climate and culture.

School Committee Vacancy

A motion to approve Emily Sheffield to fill the School Committee vacancy, created by the resignation of Kelly Termath last month, was approved. Emily previously served on the School Committee from 2018-2020.

New Business

Business Manager Cheryl Fournier made a recommendation to approve the purchase of a 2024 GMC 3500HD GMC Sierra work truck with a trade-in of a 2004 service truck. The need was identified in the five-year capital plan. It was approved unanimously. She then presented the year-to-date financial statements from October which were also unanimously approved.


Resignations, retirements, staff appointments, stipends and transfers were announced by Superintendent Nelson.


Assistant Superintendent Steve Bussiere presented the first readings of Executive Session Procedure and Procedure for Reports of Dangerous Students which were both approved. The second reading of School Committee Standing and Advisory Committees was presented and approved.

The full meeting and presentations may be viewed here.

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