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School Committee Meeting Highlights

School Committee Meeting January 8th 2024

By Kendra Williams

Emily Sheffield was reappointed and sworn in to fill a vacancy to the end of 2024 after having been previously appointed in December to complete the 2023 year.

2024 Organizational Meeting

Paula Cote was re-elected as chairperson and Amy Sevigny was re-elected as vice-chairperson.

Committee appointments were made as follows: Adult Education-Amy Sevigny; Curriculum-Paula Cote and Melissa Simpson; Dropout Prevention-Jennifer Davie; Personnel/Negotiations-Davie and Sevigny; SRTC Advisory-Emily Sheffield; Facilities/Grounds/Safety and Capital Improvement-Sheffield; Policy-Cote and Simpson; Performing Arts Advisory-Cote and Simpson; Wellness-Cote; Legacy Foundation-Simpson; Special Ed Advisory-Sevigny and Simpson; Professional Growth Advisory-Cote.

The 2022/2023 audit report was presented by Christian Smith, a partner in the accounting firm of independent auditors, WIPFLI. The result was a clean audit with no negative findings. Mr. Smith reviewed the highlights of the report that was presented in more detail at an earlier workshop with the School Committee.

The junior class officers presented a proposal to hold the 2024 prom at Spring Hill in South Berwick on Friday, May 3. There would be a sit-down dinner before the dance as well as other amenities, including a photo booth and DJ. The ticket price is proposed at $75. In response to School Committee members’ questioning of the reasonableness of the cost, the students outlined the expenses involved in justifying their proposed price. After further discussion, the School Committee voted to approve the venue with strong encouragement to minimize some costs with a goal of a $65 ticket price to ensure affordability for all students.

An elementary academic coaches presentation was provided by District K-4 Math Coach Jennifer Daniels, along with Literacy Coaches Christy Crowley and Marie Sclafani. They explained how they work within the classrooms to support teachers and ed techs in a variety of ways including professional development. Their overall goal is to ensure that all students have what they need to be successful in the classroom by assessing, setting and monitoring individual goals.

Student representative Emma Adawadkar reported the Environmental Club is coordinating with Eco Maine to provide recycling bins in the SHS cafeteria in February. This is the last full week of the first semester with exams next week. The Backpack Program has been running the “Spart Mart” since October. It provides fresh foods for free and is open on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday after school from 2:20-4.

Mr. Nelson reviewed the new issue of the Sanford Spotlight Newsletter. It includes many stories about events going on in each school and highlights many of the student initiatives designed for giving during the holiday season as well as upcoming events. You can read the whole newsletter to learn about the impressive things going on in our schools Here.

Curriculum Director Beth Lambert gave an update about the fall assessments that took place which measure students’ growth over time and help to strengthen teaching interventions. In the spring, summative assessments along with the results from the fall assessments determine proficiency on grade level standards. She also summarized the various efforts in place to support student growth.

Assistant Superintendent Steve Bussiere provided an update of ESOL enrollment. There’s an increase of 12 students this year and some with greater needs. He then explained the annual national assessment for English language learners which is given to all ESOL students except kindergartners. It measures progress towards English language proficiency and determines service eligibility. The results are used for instructional purposes.

The budget season has begun with administrative meetings. The proposed 2024/25 budget calendar was presented and unanimously approved.

Steve Bussiere and Business Administrator Cheryl Fournier presented their recommendation for awarding the transportation bid. Two bids were received in response to the RFP issued in October. One from First Student and one from Transportation of America (Ledgemere). After interviews with both, the recommendation is to enter into a three-year contract with Transportation of America (the current provider) with the option to extend it an additional two years. The factors that made them the strongest candidate were reviewed. The recommendation was unanimously approved.

The November financial statements presented by Cheryl Fournier were unanimously approved.

Superintendent Nelson announced resignations, retirements, staff appointments and transfers. His nomination of Glenn Hoag as a SEAL teacher in the Special Education program at the Sanford Middle School was unanimously approved.

First readings of three policies: Child Find; Live Work Policy and Agenda were accepted as presented. The second reading of the Executive Law Procedure was accepted.

The meeting was adjourned after calendar announcements.

The full meeting may be viewed Here

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