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School Committee Meeting February 5, 2024

school committee meeting

Photo: WSSRTV

By Kendra Williams 

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

Student Representatives: Aiden Gendron, Emma Adawadkar and Elise Gendron  

All were present. 

Student Representative Reports 
Emma announced that the Cheer Team will be competing in the finals on Saturday, Feb. 10, in Augusta. Step Africa performed for SHS students the day following its evening performance at the SPAC. It was well received with a lot of positive feedback. Aiden Gendron reported that the wrestling team won second place in the recent duals. They’ll compete in the finals on Saturday, Feb. 10.  Students are getting excited about the upcoming trip to Greece during February vacation. Elise shared that the National Honor Society’s recent trip to Boston museums was a success.  Junior meetings with school counselors are currently being scheduled to discuss plans and goals for the future. 

The Sanford Spotlight Newsletter, with happenings in schools throughout the district from P-K to Adult Ed, was reviewed. You can find it here

Superintendent’s Report 
Superintendent Matt Nelson announced an upcoming field trip for grades 10-12 to a foreign policy conference on the political future of Haiti. 

School Committee budget workshops have begun. The initial budget began with a 9.2% increase in expenses. Work to make necessary reductions has begun. The potential loss of positions is the most difficult challenge. The Sanford Schools’ website has a tab for the budget that people may view. Mr. Nelson encouraged people to become informed and get involved. At their Feb. 26 meeting, the School Committee will vote on their final recommendations which will then be sent to the City Council. Joint budget meetings will be held on Tuesday nights during March when the city and school budgets will be presented. A public hearing will be held on March 19 in Council Chambers or via zoom during the regular City Council meeting. The final recommendation will be voted on by the City Council at their April 2 meeting. It will then be on the ballot for the June referendum.  

Directors’ Reports 
Assistant Superintendent Steve Bussiere provided an update of the First 10 grant that began last July and is funded by the Maine Department of Education. The purpose of the grant is to improve the quality of education and care for young children and their families by deepening partnerships and providing comprehensive services for children and families. He reviewed progress on the community partnerships that have been developed and the goals and strategies they’re currently working on. Although the grant is currently focused on the Pride Elementary School, the progress and lessons learned will be implemented in all three of Sanford’s elementary schools. 

Curriculum Director Beth Lambert provided an update on the progress of the literacy committee that was established last year for grades K-5. The goal is to align the curriculum with current research. After exploring some research-based curriculums that had good reviews, one was selected and is being piloted by two teachers in each grade to gather impressions on its effectiveness. The work of the committee has positioned Sanford Schools to apply for literacy funding recently announced by Governor Mills. If the grant is awarded, the full curriculum can be implemented completely this coming year. If not, the implementation will be more gradual. 

2024-2025 School Calendar 
Mr. Nelson presented next year’s preliminary school calendar for feedback. One thing that is still uncertain is whether or not school will be in session on election day in November. It could be a regional decision in consultation with the SRTC Advisory Committee since there are a limited number of dissimilar days allowed. There is some talk of a decision being made at the state level. 

December 2023 Financials 
Business Administrator Cheryl Fournier presented a detailed look at the financial statements from December, which were unanimously approved. 

Staffing  
Resignations, retirements, staff appointments and transfers were announced by Mr. Nelson. His nomination of Shaylyn Gagnon as a Social Worker at Sanford Pride Elementary School was unanimously approved. 

Policies 
Mr. Bussiere presented the first reading of the updated policy and procedures for the Program for English Language Learners, which was unanimously approved.  He also presented the second readings of three policy updates including: the Child Find Policy, Live Work Policy and Agenda Policy.  All three were unanimously approved. 

After calendar announcements the meeting was adjourned at 7:06. 

You can view the full meeting here.   

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