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The Sanford School Committee met December 5, 2022. John Roux was absent, all other members were present. The minutes of the previous meetings were approved.

There were no public comments, communications or committee reports.

Superintendent’s Report

Marching Band: Superintendent of Schools Matt Nelson welcomed Sanford High School Band Director Hailey Francoeur and members of the Marching Band up to the podium to speak about the season and gold medal win at the Maine Band Directors’ Association finals in October. Ms. Francoeur said the band began working together in August, and about half of the members were brand new. The band includes students from several area schools as well as SHS. Planning for this year’s show, entitled “We Are Spartans,” began almost a year ago. The show focused on three central characteristics of a Spartan, which were discipline, persistence and strength, with recorded audio clips relating to Sanford’s history, and featured complex maneuvers by the band and color guard. She introduced the band’s three drum majors, Hannah Patterson, Charlotte Smith and Grayson Needham. School Committee members praised the hard work of all involved and thanked them for their efforts. Ms. Francoeur invited all to attend the SMS and SHS winter concerts December 14 and 15 at the Sanford Performing Arts Center.

Boys Soccer: Athletic Director Zach Lemelin recognized the efforts of the Boys Varsity Soccer Team, who were awarded the Maine Principals’ Association Sportsmanship Award, voted by athletic directors, coaches and officials. The team had a new coach this year, Bill Puffer, who said the award speaks to the leadership from Captains John Paul Alexandre and Tyler LeBeuf.

Student Representatives: JP Alexandre reported that the National Honor Society induction is happening this week, and the NHS is also sponsoring a toy drive for Santa’s Cause on the opening night of basketball season December 9, when all five SHS teams will play against Scarborough. Emma Adawadkar reported that the Spree of Trees raised over $20,000 for the Sanford Alumni Association for projects that will benefit Sanford schools. Aidan Gendron reported that the SHS wrestling team attended a tournament at Oxford Hills over the weekend where they finished third.

Communications: Communications Coordinator Sam Bonsey gave a report on his activities since being hired by the School Department in August. He has visited each school to gauge the strength and weaknesses of their communications, and drafted a plan to improve, clarify and encourage communication between the school district and families, the community and media. Mr. Bonsey outlined his strategies which include keeping communication simple, brief and to the point; communicating early and often, and face to face when appropriate; training staff on the Thrillshare app and Apptegy software; and developing relationships within the community. He is developing a schedule which includes all schools so that events can be highlighted. He said his biggest priorities are making sure the community knows what is going on and that communications are timely. Committee members thanked him for his hard work.

Director’s Reports

Fall Sports Wrap Up: Mr. Lemelin returned to give a brief summary of the varsity fall sports program at SHS.

  • Cross Country – individual members of the team qualified for regionals
  • Football – the team advanced to the semifinals
  • Field Hockey – made it to the quarterfinals, where they lost to Gorham
  • Boys Soccer – won the Sportsmanship Award as noted above
  • Girls Soccer – hosted a home playoff game for the first time in many years, maybe ever
  • Volleyball – in only its fifth year, the team advanced to the regional finals where they lost to the “juggernaut” Biddeford team

In other fall highlights, he announced that 45 students were recognized as All-Academic, including 16 members of the Girls Soccer team. Students have to have a grade point average of over 92 to qualify. 15 athletes achieved All-Conference recognition and 6 were on the All-State roster. Joel Morrison of the Boys Soccer team was named MVP of the Maine Soccer Coaches Senior Bowl, scoring all three goals in the game.

Winter Athletics Preview: Mr. Lemelin said at the Middle School, there will be three Boys Basketball teams with a total of 27 athletes participating; two Cheer teams with 26 athletes; and two Girls Basketball teams with 21 athletes. There will be a second season with a wrestling program beginning in February. At SHS, there will be three Boys Basketball teams with 27 athletes participating; 14 athletes on the Cheer team, two teams of Girls Basketball with 23 athletes; one athlete on the co-op Ice Hockey team; 17 on Indoor Track, the first time SHS has had its own team in recent memory; 11 athletes on the co-op Swim Team; and 35 boys and girls on the Wrestling team. The Unified Basketball team will begin in January. He said there will be over 50 home events this winter, including the Wrestling team’s home opener on December 21, where they hope to have last year’s state duals championship banner to show off. WSSR streaming of all home games means that family who live out of town can watch the games. The leadership council for student athletes is starting this week. He thanked the Red & White Foundation which runs the concession stand at games. They welcome donations of food to sell at games.

Pre-K: Assistant Superintendent Steve Bussiere gave an update on the observations of the Pre-K program by the Maine Department of Education. Two observers came and observed all the classes and met with administrators. The observers noted that many things are going well, including full enrollment with a short wait list, sufficient furniture and supplies, and logistics. Some of the things the program is working through include academic and behavioral challenges. Recommendations included getting families more involved; expanding the role of art, music and physical education; and planning for the transition to Kindergarten. Written reports with feedback for each teacher will be provided. Overall, he said it was a positive visit.

Other Items

There was no new business or old business.

Mr. Nelson read through the list of resignations, appointments and transfers.

Policies and Procedures: A second reading was held on updates to the policy and procedure on purchasing and contracting, to comply with federal grant guidance; and on updates to the policy on administration of medication to students, which added rules for the use of naloxone, epinephrine injectors and sunscreen. The Committee approved all updates unaninmously.

Calendar: The School Committee will meet next on December 19. It will be the final meeting for outgoing members John Roux and Jonathan Mapes. January meetings will be held on the 9th and 23rd. The first meeting in the new year will include the election of chair and vice chair.

As a final note, Committee member Jen Davie thanked Police Chief Andersen, Deputy Chief Small and School Resource Officer Jourdain for assisting with the delivery of 60 Boxes of Joy for the Sanford Backpack Program.

The full meeting video may be viewed on Town Hall Streams here or on YouTube here.

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