From the Desk of Pat Hopkins: The Importance of Good Attendance at School

August 2015

Dear Parent/Guardian:

Welcome Back! As we begin the school year, I want to welcome you as our partner in your child’s education. We value, appreciate, and seek out your involvement and collaboration for the success of your child.

Our goal this year is to ensure that every student attends school regularly. Positive attendance is a key ingredient to keeping kids on track academically and in engaging them in all aspects of school life.

Showing up for school has a huge impact on a student’s academic success starting in kindergarten and continuing through high school. Even as children grow older and more independent, families play a key role in making sure students get to school safely every day and understand why attendance is so important for success in school and in life.

We realize some absences are unavoidable due to health problems or other circumstances. But, we also know that when students miss too much school— regardless of the reason – it can cause them to fall behind academically. Your child is less likely to succeed if he or she is chronically absent—which means missing 18 or more days over the course of an entire school year. Research shows:

• Children chronically absent in kindergarten and 1st grade are much less likely to read at grade level by the end of 3rd grade.
• By 6th grade, chronic absence is a proven early warning sign for students at risk for dropping out of school.
• By 9th grade good attendance can predict graduation rates as well as success in college.

Absences can add up quickly. A child is chronically absent if he or she misses just two days every month!!

Clearly going to school regularly matters!

When our students are not in school, we notice because we care!

Thank You to Coutts Brothers!

August 26, 2015

Attn: Brittany Moody
Coutts Brothers
PO Box 58
Gardiner, ME 04345

Dear Ms. Moody:

On behalf of MSAD 11, I would like to thank Coutts Brothers and all its employees for the generous donation of 56 backpacks filled with school supplies for MSAD 11 children. Your employees demonstrated true kindness and generosity in their effort to support struggling families and students in MSAD 11.

As you can imagine, back to school is a stressful time for some families. The expense to purchase supplies and clothing causes a real financial hardship for many. Your incredibly thoughtful donation will help ease the burden those families’ experience.

We in MSAD 11 are truly appreciative to have local businesses, such as Coutts Brothers, serve as a supporter for all of our children. Thank you!


Patricia Hopkins
Superintendent of Schools

Be Ready for Reading!

We are all excited for those lazy, hazy summer days of reading. When it is too hot to do anything or those gentle rains are coming down, don't forget to have a book ready for reading. Sometimes summer slides occur in reading skills, continuing to read is a great way to keep those skills on level and growing. Gardiner Public Library is offering a summer reading program for elementary students. Stop by to get involved in their program. Happy reading and all of the MSAD 11 librarians can't wait to discuss your reading adventures when you return this fall.

For the Love of Reading

Maria Padian, recipient of the prestigious Maine Library Association 2013 Juvenile/Young Adult Lupine Award for her novel Out of Nowhere, visited three of Ms. Gingras's Freshman English classes at GAHS. The author's tea featured Somali style tea and flatbread. Students were eager to discuss the book with the author and get the inside scoop. They urged Ms. Padian to continue writing young adult novels, and even made suggestions for a sequel. Sharing her research process on the Somali immigration to Lewiston, ME, was valuable and timely for their literary memoir assignment. One student expressed, "I fell in love with the character Myla, as much as Tom did." Another student read in character a passage from the book at the urging of his classmates. Impressed with the level of student preparedness, Ms. Padian plans to adjust her website to include author visit materials thanks to the feedback from the students. They look forward to the next great book to love as much as this one.

No Policy Committee Meeting Tonight - June 4, 2015

There will be no Policy Committee Meeting tonight, June 4, 2015.

2015 Budget Report

Please click on the attachment below to access the 2015 MSAD11 Budget Report.

GAHS Civil Rights Team Teaches Students in Windsor

The GAHS Civil Rights Team was invited to Windsor Elementary School on May 8th to teach over 200 students in grades 3 through 8 what "bias" is and how to avoid it. Accompanied by 2014 CRT Alumnus Nate MacDonald, team members Kylie Peacock, Josh Mathews, Mariah Lang, Robert Blier, Jillian Moore, and Melanie Mansir dazzled the younger students in presentations that included a slide show, interactive games, and Dr. Seuss's "The Sneetches." Our CRT was such a hit that Windsor students now want to start their own civil rights team ! Bravo, CRT!

MSAD 11 Teacher Wins Kennebec County Teacher of the Year!

Congratulations to Gretchen Nickerson, Grade 4 Teacher at the Helen Thompson School, the 2015 Kennebec Country Teacher of the Teacher! We are so proud!

GAHS Student Wins Award for Her Video!

The Holocaust & Human Rights Center of Maine has chosen Emma Hickey, a GAHS student, as their 2015 Schlossberger Outstanding Student of the Year for her video "Drop the Gender Mask." Emma will be honored at a banquet in South Portland at the end of May. Thank you to teacher Rob Munzing for his efforts to support her work. Congratulations to Emma on such an outstanding achievement!

From the Desk of Pat Hopkins: 2015-16 Budget Letter to MSAD 11 Staff

April 27, 2015

Dear Colleagues:

The MSAD 11 School Board recently approved the 2015-2016 Proposed Budget. The continued reduction of state subsidy and the shift of MePERS from the state to local school districts made this year’s budget especially challenging.

Thanks to the hard work of Andrea Disch, Business Manager, Jon Stonier, Director of Operations and Maintenance, and the entire administrative team, the Board approved a proposed budget that equates to a $94,723 or .42% increase.

The 2015-2016 proposed budget of $22,771,000 represents a 1.55% or $348,000 increase over the current budget. It is important to note, however, that the budget includes incentive rebates from Efficiency Maine in the amount of $253,000 that is budget neutral; the amount is budgeted as both revenue and expense. Excluding both the Efficiency Maine Rebate revenue and expense, the actual increase to the budget is .42%.

The 2015-2016 Proposed Budget reflects an overall increase to the District’s municipalities of $480,870.26 or 5.5%. A major reason for the increase to taxpayers is the raising of the Mill Rate by the State from 8.10 to 8.48, as proposed in the Governor’s Budget. This shift requires local taxpayers to raise an additional $335,438 in order to receive State Subsidy. Included also, is the shift requiring local districts to pay an additional 0.71%, or $81,105, to MePERS for teacher retirements, monies that had previously been paid by the State. Had our state subsidy remained the same as last year, we would be looking at only a $64,327.26 increase to taxpayers.

Below are many of the changes made in the budget to reach just a 0.42% increase:

• Salary, as contracted
• 3 District Elementary Educational Technicians

• -1.8% health insurance reduction
• 1 Elementary Teacher Position
• 1 Middle School Special Education Teacher Position
• Additional Laptops for Educational Technicians and/or students

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