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At the Sanford School Committee’s regular meeting on October 5, the following items were among those presented or discussed:

  • Superintendent of Schools Matt Nelson gave an update on the construction projects at the schools. The High School, Margaret Chase Smith School and Middle School are all nearing completion. The Converted Elementary School project is just beginning. The target date for substantial completion there is June 1, 2021, with final completion scheduled for August 1.
  • Emily Sheffield gave an update on the Performing Arts Center. A “Free For All” series of four live streamed performances is being planned. An announcement will be coming soon.
  • Superintendent Nelson updated the Committee on the status of the Covid-19 outbreak at SHS/SRTC. The total number of cases has not increased in the past week. The school is still on track to reopen October 13. He said a new positive case would not mean the school would be shut down again.
  • Assistant Superintendent Steve Bussiere gave an update on the Pre-K program. He said he had visited the class that morning and all students were wearing masks and having fun. There are currently 15 kids in the Pre-K program, with another 5 remote learners; and 17 in Head Start with 3 remote learners.
  • Curriculum Director Bethany Lambert talked about problems with the online Calvert Learning program for students in grades K-4. A number of parents were experiencing technical issues. She said part of the problem was that Calvert changed their software two weeks before school started, and did not notify the district. To resolve the problem, an alternate remote learning plan was identified and will be implemented immediately, with teachers providing direct instruction online two days a week. About half of the K-4 students will stay on Calvert and half will use the new direct instruction method.
  • Superintendent Nelson expressed concern about the number of students that have withdrawn from the district to homeschool or attend private school. He said this is an issue everywhere, not just in Sanford, but that it would affect the subsidy the district receives from the state. 116 fewer students are enrolled in the district than last year.
  • Principals of all the Sanford schools gave their reports. All praised their students, families, faculty and staff for their extra efforts. Sherri Baron of Carl J. Lamb said the school has a lot to be proud of this year, including a new roof, new nurse’s office and “Bee Well” room. Susan Inman of Willard School reported that Zooming a couple of classrooms together enabled the children to better connect with each other. Chuck Potter of Margaret Chase Smith said the renovations there give the impression of a brand new school, and said all his school’s positions are filled. Pamela Lydon of Sanford Middle School talked about the “amazing positive energy” at her school. Matt Petermann of Sanford High School said there have been no issues with mask wearing, and reported over 90% attendance on remote days. Kathy Sargent of SRTC also said attendance was “through the roof” and she is excited about getting the Adult Ed welding program back up and running.
  • The Committee approved a new two-year Plumbing program for SRTC. See separate story.
  • The Committee approved a donation/fee schedule for WSSR-TV, which includes fees for video recording of events, video production, drone video, and sponsorship of fall sports.

The full meeting can be viewed here.

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