From the Desk of Pat Hopkins: Information about the Increase in Social Networking

April 15, 2014

Students’ increased access to technology is resulting in their increased use of social networking. In recent years, MSAD 11 staff have seen a significant rise in the number of issues stemming from comments made on social networking sites outside of the school day. It is common for those issues to make their way into school, thus creating conflict that requires school administrator and staff intervention. While social networking offers many positive benefits, including the enhancement of communication, when not used appropriately problems can be created.

As parents/guardians, there are challenges connected to using social media that you need to be aware of to protect your child(ren). Below are a few important facts to keep in mind (www.netnanny.com) that I thought you might find helpful:

• Age Discrimination – If a child signs up for a Facebook account at age 10, claiming to be the required age 13, in five years when the child is 15, they will begin receiving articles/ materials of an adult nature based on the assumption the child is 18.
• Cyberbullying and Fighting – “Over half of teens with a social network account have experienced negative consequences” including arguments, receiving mean or threatening messages, having rumors or lies or embarrassing pictures posted, etc. Also, “your child(ren) can be targeted for inappropriate ads because of things they chose to casually ‘like’ without really thinking about consequences.”
• Predators – Predators frequently use social media sites to exploit teens.
• Colleges – “Kaplan conducted a survey in 2012 that revealed that colleges are looking at prospective applicants’ online presence, including Facebook and Twitter. Not surprisingly, college applicants who post inappropriate things are more likely to be rejected.”

Seniors' Project to Build a Greenhouse at Pittston Consolidated Approved!

Congratulations the Senior Engineering class for their outstanding presentation to the School Board! Their greenhouse project for Pittston Consolidated was unanimously approved! Thank you to Shelly Simpson for the opportunity and Brian Greenlaw and RayeAnne DeSoto for opening the door to their classroom!!!

You’re Invited to a Book Fair!

The community is invited to Gardiner Regional Middle School’s Arthur R. Warren Library on April 14 and 16 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. for a book fair with a twist! We will be featuring only graphic novels from Casablanca Comics, a nationally recognized bookstore, in Portland. There will be books for all ages. We are featuring a 10% discount. Don't forget to enter the drawing for a chance to win a free book!

The Gift of Reading

Many thanks to Gardiner City Council and Anne Davis, Gardiner Public Library Director, for the donation of books from the closed Boys and Girls Club Library. MSAD 11 library staff reviewed and shared the books to be included in district libraries. The books that were once enjoyed at the Boys and Girls Club will now be back in the hands of our students. The very generous donation is greatly appreciated.

MSAD#11 Pre-K and Kindergarten Registrations Underway

Pre-K - Four Year Old Program- Registrations are now being accepted for the 2014-2015 school year. Children must be four years of age on or before October 15, 2014 and may not turn five before September 1, 2014. Space is limited.

Kindergarten - Now is the time to register children for the 2014-2015 school year. Kindergarten registration takes place through your local neighborhood school. Any children who will be five years old on or before October 15, 2014 are eligible to register. Children entering Kindergarten will need to have the registration packet completed and returned to the appropriate school along with an original birth certificate and immunization record of the child before kindergarten screening can be scheduled.

For more information regarding either Pre-K or Kindergarten, please contact the appropriate school listed.

Kindergarten screening dates are as follows:

Thursday, May 1, 2014
Helen Thompson School
West Gardiner – phone: 724-3930

Friday, May 2, 2014
Laura E. Richards School
Gardiner – phone: 582-3612

Tuesday, May 6, 2014
Pittston Consolidated School
Pittston – phone: 582-6268

Wednesday, May 7, 2014
Teresa C. Hamlin School
Randolph – phone: 582-4252

New Graduation Requirements for the Class of 2018 and Beyond

A Shift in State Policy
On the heels of the adoption of the Common Core State Standards, the State of Maine recently decided to make some other significant shifts in how it intends to prepare students for college and careers. Maine recently passed a new statute requiring all Maine school districts, starting with the Class of 2018 (the current eighth graders), to award diplomas to students based on the mastery of the standards they study in their classes. Historically, students have earned their diplomas by collecting a required number of credits and passing grades. In the past, all of their assignments would get averaged together to generate the final grade for a class. A seventy percent or above was passing. Now, students will need to show they are proficient in each standard within a class, not just proficient overall. This shift in policy promotes a more rigorous understanding of what it means to learn and what knowledge is required to graduate, as students are held accountable on a more detailed level.

Reasons for the Policy Change
This statewide change in mindset around graduation requirements evolved from feedback shared by college administrators and employers about the general lack of preparedness of Maine students and students nationwide. State education leaders argue that a change to proficiency-based education will better prepare students for post-high school experiences as students will be held more accountable for mastering all of the material covered in their classes, not just the average of the standards which would allow them to pass and graduate while still retaining gaps in their learning.

The New Requirements
The statutory guidelines for proficiency-based education that apply to next year’s ninth graders provide guidance on the requirements while still allowing for local decision making in some areas. The key components are both academic and include skills related to work habits.

From the Board Chair: Reconfiguration Update

February 2014

Dear MSAD 11 Community Members:

For numerous years, the School Board has analyzed the use of its facilities to determine whether more efficient models would address our various capacity issues. Most recently we began analyzing scenarios back in the spring and ended up eliminating each of these scenarios as we realized that the issues we were looking to solve would not be addressed in a way that was in the best interest of children. Over the winter holidays, we had asked our Director of Operations, Jon Stonier, and his assistant, Gabe Dostie, to again look at the district map and show us what the student configuration in each of our elementary community schools would look like if we drew lines different from town lines. Upon reflection, extensive study, and with public participation, the School Board determined this option would also not solve the question of “how do we use our resources best.” Transportation has proven to be a challenge in all of the models and none of the models create the savings we would need to have if we were to make such a sizable change.

Therefore, at this time, we will not be closing any of our schools, nor will we be reconfiguring any of our elementary schools. Our district will remain in the “status quo” mode. At this point in time, we have budget priorities in our immediate future. We face enormous challenges both on the educational side as well as the municipal side. My hope is that you will participate in our budget process and that together we will ensure the best educational present and future for all of our children.

From the Board Chairs: Final Reconfiguration Conversation

January 2014

Dear MSAD 11 Community Members:

Last year, the School Board once again began evaluating the use of its facilities and has spent a number of months evaluating numerous options to address the underutilization of the T.C. Hamlin School and the overcrowding of the Helen Thompson School. At its last meeting, the School Board narrowed its focus to two options:

• Redraw the lines determining which students attend which school (i.e. some Gardiner students would attend T.C. Hamlin and some West Gardiner students would attend Laura E. Richards and River View).
• Turn the Laura E. Richards and the River View Schools back to Pre-K – Grade 5 schools, close T.C. Hamlin, and purchase portable units at Helen Thompson School.

Given the impact these decisions will have on our communities, we are seeking as much input from the 4 communities as possible. Beginning last spring, we have held a series of public meetings to share space and efficiency issues within our District. The issues of spacing and of financial responsibility are of utmost importance to the School Board. The feedback and input from the community and administrators have benefited our decision-making. After careful and mindful consideration, the School Board hopes to reach a decision at our next meeting, which will be held on Thursday, February 6, 2014 at the middle school at 6pm.

Understanding that change is difficult for all communities, we ask for your participation at this meeting. We will answer as many questions as time permits. It is our hope to limit the meeting to 2 hours and we will limit the amount of regular business in an effort to give this conversation the prominence it requires. These are very emotional conversations that can be polarizing and it is our personal hope we will remember that we are one school district… MSAD 11.

School Board Reconfiguration Meeting Live Streamed

You can watch tonight's School Board Reconfiguration Meeting live at the following link:
http://www.ustream.tv/channel/msad11-school-board-2013-2014

Please read the letter From the Board Chairs: Final Reconfiguration Conversation for more details.

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