Superintendent’s Report June 6, 2016


Regular Meeting

6:00PM, Monday, June 6, 2016

Brewer High School Lecture Hall

Superintendent’s Report

District Recognitions for May

  1. Cherrie MacInnes was honored at the State House Hall of Flags on May 13, 2016, as the Penquis County Teacher of the Year. She will hold this honor for the next school year where she will be required to attend a number of engagements speaking on behalf of the Penquis regional teachers.  Brewer School Department is extremely proud of her and wishes her well on her journey for Maine Teacher of the Year.
  2. On May 16th, I took part in the annual interviews for the Bridge Year students where I interviewed four Bridge Year students: Angel Greer, Amber Burris, Tyler Friel and Jacob Dawson. These students demonstrated poise, character, and were knowledgeable in their areas of interest. Our Bridge Year teachers are to be commended for how they inspire these students to pursue college readiness and credits while in high school.  These students will essentially be graduating with their first year of college completed.
  3. BCS and BHS Jazz Concert on May 18th was remarkable! Celebrating the state champions of BCS and the magnificent sounds of BHS, the concert was mesmerizing. From the first song, My Funny Valentine, which featured Hannah Sabbagh on trumpet and flugelhorn, the individual state champion winner, to the opening number Brass Machine, which opened with a percussion solo by Peter Hilyard, to the very end where both groups received a standing ovation, you couldn’t help but have your feet tap along. All the students and the directors are to be commended. I, myself, would purchase the recording of this concert if made available.
  4. May 19th recognized two important events at the high school. The annual academic awards were given out in the morning and the evening, the senior scholarship night was held.  Both events were very well attended by parents and family.  It was great to see the number of students receive awards in the morning for attendance, athletics, academics in all content areas and overall academic performance.  In the evening, students were recognized for their four years of academic achievement through the support of many community businesses and other organizations that provide scholarships.  I am thankful to all of these organizations that recognize our students and education by providing the funding so our students can fulfill their dreams.
  5. May 24th was our 10th Anniversary Celebration of PCHC and the Brewer School Department Health Centers. Kevin Mannix was the guest speaker at the event.  I found his story extremely moving as he recounted pieces of his childhood about growing up in a household with parents that had mental illness and alcoholism. I also want to recognize PCHC and the BSD for working together for 10 years to provide physical, dental and mental health services to our students.  When students’ health needs are met, they are able to focus on learning in the classroom. Congratulations on 10 years and many more to come!
  6. May 25 marked the closing ceremony for the high school JMG program. This evening summarized the successes of the year, shared how they contributed to the community over the year, and ended with a class video. Sarah White and her students presented two checks, called the JOY award for 500 dollars each. The students fundraised, researched and decided whom should receive these awards. The JOY checks were: $500 to the Bangor Public Library to support their initiative to offer movies for children with Autism and other sensory sensitivities. The other $500 was to the American Red Cross to support a new training they are offering for teenagers who want to help with disaster relief. The 1st ever JMG Champion award went to the BHS Maintenance department for their help with our CDC displays and continued support.
  7. May 26 marked the AFJROTC awards banquet, UTC awards banquet and the BCS Spring Jazz Concert. It was a very busy night for our families that needed to be at all three events! AFJROTC had the senior cadets each make a speech about the program.  There were quotes from Forest Gump, thank you messages to parents, fellow cadets, and the instructors, and stories of growth over the last few years.  The message of how the seniors have bonded as a family was certainly present that evening.
  8. The UTC awards banquet recognized many Brewer students.  We had awards in multiple programs and overall academic awards as well.
    1. National Technical Honor Society: Allyx Hilman, Amber Burris, Angel Greer, Elijah Fournier, Emily Watkins, Emma Reynolds, Haley Earle, Hannah Laskey, Jacob Dawson, Mallory Bubier, Margaret Davis, Leah Swanson, Shane Mayo
    2. Life Smarts: Annalee Chute, Margaret Davis, Angel Greer
    3. Skills USA: Jake Boyorak, Automotive Tool Identification; Joshua Baillargeon, Firefighting; Riley Coleman, First Aid/CPR; Caleb Tarr, Power Equipment Technology
    4. Student Ambassadors: Jacob Dawson
    5. Most Improved Students: Lee Walsh
    6. Outstanding Student Awards: Christian Goodard, Sean McGinn, Haley Earle, Elijah Fournier, Mallory Bubier, Caleb Tarr, Joshua Baillargeon, Christopher Targett, Maxwell Hewes
    7. CNA: Riley Coleman, Nicole Holcomb, Alexandra Rideout
    8. CNA/CRMA: Selenia Giogia, Hannah Laskey, Emma Reynolds, Hannah Spencer-Cross

9. The BCS Spring Jazz Concert was the last concert for the 8th graders with this group and they were recognized for their hard work and dedication to this band.  The Brewer Music Association also gave out scholarships for music lessons and music camp to a number of students.  The final number of the night included Hollywood Milestones which had 11 iconic songs from Hollywood films.  It was a challenging piece for any high school band and to hear the perfection by a middle school band was simply out of this world.

10. May 27, the ALPHA program held their graduation ceremony. Several students gave speeches on what the ALPHA program meant to them, some made videos, and many talked about how the ALPHA program teachers made a significant impact on their lives. This program is an incredible attribute to our school department.  It meets the needs of our students that need a “simpler, quieter, supportive” atmosphere to complete their schoolwork.  Mr. Bloodsworth and Mr. Morris have amazing hearts that care deeply about the lives of their students.

  1. Strategic Planning Committee Update

The committee sent out a survey on the vision, mission and value statements to the faculty and other stakeholders.  The results of the survey have been extremely positive. We will be reviewing this survey and making final recommendations on the vision, mission and value statements to bring to the board for a vote in July.

  1. BCS/DOE Building Visit and Next Steps

We have met with the DOE regarding the following issues at BCS that stem from poor workmanship:  air leakage at windows, roof drain plumbing, water leaks, fire strobes in classrooms, roof windows, building heat, ventilation air, hood issue and hot water issue.

We have received permission to use remaining DOE building funds to repair these issues but we will be seeking repair costs from Nickerson and O’Day, WBRC, and Pella Windows. Letters to these companies drafted by attorney and myself will be sent this week.  The DOE is in full support of this plan of action.

  1. Drummond/Woodsum Superintendent Seminar Information

Attended Superintendent’s Conference with Drummond/Woodsum in May where we reviewed the changes in the laws school departments should all be aware of.  These were the highlights:

  • Educator Effectiveness Evaluation Approval due by June 1 (We have submitted with all required documentation.)
  • DOE Authorization/Certification/Approval – All employees must have either DOE approval/authorization and/or certification. We cannot hire anyone to work without these.  If we need to get someone in the classroom, the DOE does give an 8-week approval card.  They cannot work until they have this card.  They would be hired as a substitute during this time.  Brewer follows these laws.
  • Mental Health and Employees: What can and can’t we do? Train our supervisors on this.  We will add this training to our summer retreat workshop for our administrative team.
  • The Importance of Title IX- Training for all staff needs to be provided. We will use MSMA to provide this training in the fall.
  • Guidelines on Vendor Contracts and Common Pitfalls
  • Cash in Lieu and the Affordable Care Act
    1. Cash in Lieu should only be done if the employer is using spouse’s or significant other’s health care. We need this documented.  We do this already.
  • Special Education changes to how a student will be identified with a specific learning disability.
  • Standard Based Diplomas and how the new law changes how the IEP may drive the diploma for special education students.

5. AP Process and Selection

I wanted to take a minute to inform you of the process for the open Assistant Principal position.  While no one can fill Mr. Ruhlin’s shoes and he will be missed, we did have to begin finding someone who at least wanted to try.  If you looked over the job posting, you would see that the position moving forward had a few changes to it as we were looking at the needs for Brewer High School.  This meant finding a dynamic leader with knowledge about proficiency-based education, an understanding of best practices using our new curriculum, and an educational leader ready to provide support to students, teachers, and the community.  The job description was created by using the old job description and was then updated with a few changes regarding current educational practices with PBE and evaluation methods, as well as, our new curriculum.  Currently our AP works a great deal with student discipline as well as with faculty in the evaluation process.  We needed a candidate that had strengths in both of these areas.

All applicants were screened using a rubric based on the job description.  All members of the committee scored each applicant.  The administrative assistant then totaled up everyone’s scores and the top five were invited for interviews.  We then narrowed down to our top two candidates based on Round 1 interview questions which were also scored using a rubric.  The final two candidates were invited to visit BHS for the day on separate days. Each candidate then went through a second interview and was given a presentation topic to prepare a staff professional development training which they would then present when we visited their schools the following week.  Each person had the same exact time to prepare for the second interview and our site visit.

The interview committee then visited each candidate in their current settings.  At the visit we met with parents, students, colleagues and administrators.  We also viewed each candidate in the classroom. At the end of this entire process, the faculty at BHS was surveyed and the final candidate name was the preferred candidate 70% to 30% and was unanimously selected by the committee.

I am proud to nominate Samantha Pangburn of Ellsworth for the Assistant Principal position.  This will be her first administrator position, but she has been left “in charge” of the Ellsworth Technical Center on many occasions and is a leader within her building in many leadership roles.  She is ready for this task and comes to us with a lot of enthusiasm and skills.  This is what this high school needs.  The committee is very excited to have her.  She has experience in Restorative Justice, Proficiency Based Education, a background in Special Education, and is extremely organized and has a strong work ethic.  The connections she makes with students, parents and her community was a great strength that was evident throughout the process as well. She will begin to transition to her new position by working a couple of days with Mr. Ruhlin in June.  Welcome Samantha Pangburn to Brewer!





Superintendent Report May 9, 2016


May 9, 2016

1. April Recognitions

a. Law Day Essay Contest

Four Brewer students were honored for their efforts in the Law Day essay contest. Alyssa Patterson won first place; Evan Vidas took second place, and Annie Jewell and Annabelle Fernandez-Faucher received honorable mention for their essays. Congratulations to these students for their accomplishments and representing Brewer well at the event.

b. Robotics Report from Everett Bennett

What an adventure! The robotics team has returned from the World Championships in St. Louis. 600 teams from around the worlds were divided among eight playing fields; Orange Chaos was assigned the Archimedes field. After two days of qualifying rounds, the team finished as the 8th seed captain (out of 75 teams). During alliance selection, our team was chosen by the number 2 seed captain, an invitation we graciously accepted. The alliance was strong and made it into the semi-finals, after a few unfortunate mishaps of robot flipping, connectivity issues, and ball jams we were eliminated in the 3rd match. It was a disappointing finish but what an amazing 2016 Stronghold season! The team earned a captain status at every event attended and played through semi-finals or finals!

Big thanks to the mentors, parents, and grandparents who took personal time and money to travel with the team to St. Louis!! This experience would not have been possible without you! Special thanks to our chauffeur Peter, who shuttled the team back and forth from hotel to dome and everywhere needed! All this was possible because of the hard work and dedication of the team members, mentors, sponsors and our special donor who funded the registration for this competition. Thank you!!

c. Feature School Maine Special Olympics Newsletter

David Utterback received information and an electronic copy of the Maine Special Olympics Newsletter. In this newsletter, Brewer High School was the feature school for our experiences with Project Unify for the last three years.

d. KVAC Scholar Athletes

The following students were selected as the KVAC Scholar Athletes for 2016: Jamison Rhoads-Doyle, Kyle St. Thomas, Carter Smith, Oisin Biswas, Reed Davis, Meg Davis, Grace Smith, Madison Oxley, Ember Perry, Amber Burris and Drew Bennett. Students are selected based on GPA and participating as a student-athlete for at least one activity. The students attended a banquet on May 4, 2016, at the August Civic Center where they were recognized for their accomplishments. Congratulations!

2. Strategic Planning Committee Update

The Strategic Planning Committee met on April 28, 2016. During this meeting, the committee discussed and drafted a new mission and vision statement and also worked on the core values for the Brewer School Department that all stakeholders will work to uphold and use in our decision- making processes.

Draft Vision Statement: Brewer School Department is an innovative learning community preparing students to reach their full potential as leaders, learners, and critical thinkers in a complex and changing world. (Remember: Vision is a long-term picture of what the organization wants to become.)

Draft Mission Statement: Brewer School Department educates all students through relevant and engaging instruction to achieve personal success and contributes to their community. (Remember: Mission is a formal short written statement defining the purpose of the organization.)

Draft Core Values:

  1. We agree to promote positive relationships with all stakeholders, through transparent communications.
  2. We agree to prepare students for entrepreneurial thinking, college, and workforce readiness.
  3. We agree to respect our community through cultural and instructional responsiveness and communicative practices.
  4. We agree to develop personalized learning pathways for students through collaboration, student ownership, and goal setting.
  5. We agree to use cutting edge technology to enhance highly engaged teaching and learning.
  6. We agree that we will enhance our craft through personal and professional development, collaboration and continuous improvement.

At our next meeting, we will reflect on our work on the mission, vision, and values and prepare to send this to our stakeholders for feedback. We will also continue to work on developing our objectives in our five focus areas that have been identified for our strategic plan:

Focus Areas:

  1. Curriculum and Instruction: To provide teachers and students with the opportunity to participate in a relevant, rigorous, innovative and comprehensive learning environment.
  2. Professional Culture: To promote positive and trusting relationships with all stakeholders, through honesty and transparency, where people come first.
  3. Resources and Management: To identify, procure, develop and retain highly effective programs, materials and people consistent with the communities’ expectations of a high performing school district.
  4. Commitment to Community: To foster shared responsibility for students’ success by building trust, collaboration, and engagement among staff, families and community partners.
  5. Physical and Technological Infrastructure: To provide a functional and safe infrastructure that embraces technology as a tool to enhance highly engaged teaching and learning.

3. NEASC Visitation

We had Dr. Gasper from Connecticut and the NEASC committee complete their visit in April. I wanted to thank the David Wall, the steering committee, faculty, school committee, trustees, parents and students for helping to make the visit a success. Dr. Gasper mentioned time and time again how welcomed Brewer made him and the committee feel and left us with some valuable feedback to look at the reasons for our actions and to come up with our driving beliefs as a district. I believe we are on that pathway. I look forward to the NEASC report in the fall.

4. BHS Data Collection and Scheduling Meetings

Most of the month of April was spent working on the budget which included looking at student course requests for the 16-17 school year at the high school including incoming freshmen numbers. After all of these requests were pulled and sections created with class sizes of 20, each department was reviewed for an appropriate number of teachers compared to initial budget reviews based on this year’s student numbers in courses. We found that with an increasing need in English, Math, and World Language, that we added these 2.5 positions back into the budget for next year. Credit recovery courses were also added to the schedule so that students would be taught by certified teachers which are a requirement for the proficiency-based diploma in each content area. Bridge Year will continue for our current juniors in the program and due to lack of interest, we will not have a Bridge Year for next year’s junior class. However, we will try one more time next year to recruit for Bridge Year. We are looking at increasing college course offerings at Brewer High School through a program called Rural U. This would allow students to take a college course like US History, Anatomy, or Psychology with a teacher from Brewer. Guidance and administration need to work with teachers to see which courses can be offered next year. These courses would replace a section of a regular course we already offer. For example, if we have three sections of anatomy next year for a total of 50 students in anatomy and 20 students want to take that course for college credit, we could create one section for college credit and the other two sections for high school credit. This is an exciting opportunity for our students. After meeting with Mr. Wall and guidance on a couple of occasions, I have also met with teachers to help answer questions. Curriculum leaders are now working to assign teachers to the appropriate number, of course, sections to help guidance build the master schedule.

5. Administration Evaluations

I have met with administrators to complete their “mid-year” reviews, discuss their feedback surveys and discuss the final steps in the evaluation process. We will be finishing up their evaluations in June.