Superintendent’s Report November


Regular Meeting

6:00PM, Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Brewer High School Lecture Hall

Superintendent’s Report

District Recognitions for October

  • Fall Athletics – All fall athletics made it into the playoff season this year. Congratulations to the students and their coaches! Well done!
  • NHS Blood Drive – National Honor Society had another successful blood drive having collected 29 units from students, teachers and staff.
  • Hall of Fame Banquet was a wonderful event attended many alumni, community members, faculty and students. I learned a great deal about our schools and the history and traditions in athletics. All inductees were honored with a plaque and stories were shared about their glory days and the bright futures they continued to have after Brewer High School.  Congratulations to David Utterback and the Committee for such a wonderful evening and event.
  • ASET Autism Safety Training occurred in October at the Performing Arts Center. This was a combined training for faculty, law enforcement and EMT’s in the community. It was very well attended and it was a big step in education of autism for our region. Thank you to Angela Moore and Chief Moffitt for collaborating on this presentation.
  • For Halloween teachers at the high school dressed up as Emoji’s. Thank you to Joanne Adair for leading this fun activity. The high school also recently participated in some team building activities that Samantha Pangburn will speak about later in her presentation.
  • Jazz All-State: Congratulations to Matt Mousseau as he was selected as a freshmen to play bass trombone in the All-State Jazz Band.
  1. Upcoming NEASC Report

            Meetings with Dr. Tony Gasper have been occurring to discuss the release of the High School NEASC (Accreditation Report) in the next few weeks.  This report will outline the commendations according to the standards that are assessed and give Brewer High School a list of recommendations that need to be completed in a 2-year and 5-year report.  We are having a conference call later this week to discuss whether we need a special report for this year based on the recommendations.

  1. Strategic Planning Committee Update

The committee met and had a productive meeting discussing objectives for the five areas in the strategic plan.  Our next meeting will be to place timelines to our objectives, as well as, who is responsible for each objective in the plan.  We are also planning our second community forum and staff feedback loop regarding the plan objectives.  Our goal is to bring the plan to the board in February for a first reading. 

  1. SRO/Admin Meeting on Truancy

We met as a team in October to discuss the truancy law and review our truancy policy and regulation.  As a team we reviewed a ten step process for our district in following state statute and updated the regulation.  Our next step is to meet one more time to finalize this process.  It is now required by the state of Maine to submit truancy reports quarterly.  Last year truancy reports were due once a year at the end of the year.

  1. BHS Student Council Meeting 

Met with the high school student council to discuss student voice and how they can play an active role in their school.  They mentioned several concerns that they would like to discuss and work on with the student body and the faculty.  The plan is to “vote” on their top priority, work with the teachers on a solution and then present to the school committee at a later date. We will be meeting during RTI time a couple of times a month to work on their ideas. Their areas of concerns are:

  1. During cold weather they would like to access the building through other doors first thing in the morning if possible? They understood safety concerns.
  2. They would like to have some bulletin boards that are designated by classes or organizations so that they can display or hang posters and information.
  3. They discussed access to the hallways prior to 7:45 in the morning.
  4. AM UTC misses part of RTI and asked if the bus that lines up at UTC can be moved to the front. This would get them back a few minutes earlier for more RTI time. Students claimed they love RTI time and are finding this very useful.
  5. They wanted to know if they could use laptops from home on school’s network? Possibly pass a bring your own device policy.
  6. They wanted to look at the cell phone policy and see about using their cell phones before school and at lunch time.
  7. PM UTC students would like to have a longer lunch time. Some feel rushed eating their lunch to catch the bus.
  1. BCS/DOE Building Visit and Next Steps

We want to recognize Mark Chambers at a future event for his 12 years on the school committee and his 5 years on the trustees.  As for the building issues at BCS, we will be reaching out to Valerie Chiang and Scott Brown at the DOE, to set up a meeting to discuss bid documents and an action plan.  Contacts to our attorneys regarding funding for these bids have also been made.  We are concerned about not having enough money left in the construction fund to cover the cost of repairs.

  1. Update on Bullying Statute and Quarterly Reporting

The State of Maine has recently changed the bullying statute and requires quarterly reporting.  This means changes to our bullying policy which you will see next month. 

  1. MSMA Superintendent’s Conference

This conference was on October 27th and 28th.  Kevin Forest attended with me on the 27th.  During this conference, I attended workshops on the following:

  • Building Stronger Communities through School Board Relationships
  • Running a Tight Ship: School Board Meetings and the Law
  • Protecting Students from Sexual Harassment and Sexual Abuse
  • Who is in Charge: Dealing with Employment Issues as a Board of Directors
  • A Collaborative Effort at Supporting PBE Teachers and Schools
  • Understanding the Rights of Transgendered Students in the Public Schools
  • Fix What Needs Fixing: Legal Pathways for Structural Change
  • Picking up STEAM: Using Integration to Engage and Get Results












Superintendent’s Report October


  • Regular Meeting
  • 6:00PM, Monday, October 3, 2016

Superintendent’s Report

District Recognitions/Events

  • Ms. Teresa Holyoke, BCS Librarian/Media Specialist, Allison Kahkonen, Instructional Supervisor, staff and students of BCS Brewer Community School has won the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge for the state of Maine.
  • BHS seniors, Drew Baker, Isaac Small and sophomore, Trey Baker took quick action on the evening of August 22, 2016, while traveling on Eastern Ave.  They saw smoke coming from the roof of a home.  They alerted the occupants and called 911.  Their quick action resulted in the safe evacuation of nine people and fire departments were able to save a majority of the structure.  We would like to thank them and commend them for their actions.
  • Cherrie MacInnes had her day with the state review panel for Teacher of the Year! We are now waiting for the announcement.
  • The Maine Moment for Sept. 19-15 goes to Trey Wood and the rest of Brewer football. The Witches took the field against Skowhegan on Friday in a matchup of two undefeated teams in Class B. After the two teams combined for 95 points, Brewer came out victorious, 54-41, behind a five-touchdown performance from Trey Wood.
  • A group of GT students at BHS coached by Fred Ravan will be a part of the High School Quiz Show on Maine Public Broadcast Network. This televised academic quiz show tournament could win the school up to a $1000. The eight teams that score the highest on the written test will be selected to compete for the televised contest which will begin recording in March.
  • GT students are looking for community sites to create a community mural. They are currently creating a list of possible locations and have reached out to city hall as well as the school department for these locations. The idea is to bring students, art and Brewer together in various locations.
  1.  The Principal:  Three Keys to Maximizing Impact “Book Study”

            The administrative team is taking part in professional development this year by completing a book study.  They are reading The Principal: Three Keys to Maximizing Impact  by Michael Fullan.  This book emphasizes how principals are often called the second crucial in-school influencers (after teachers) of student learning.  It will provide specific ways to build capacity, focus on pedagogy, abandon fragmented strategies and strive for systemic change with a collaborative effort.  Fullan shares how principals can foster the professional capital of teachers and get far more accomplished for all students.  We will learn about being the learning leader, the district and system player and the change agent through the use of specific action items.

  1.  Learning Standards Theme

The first theme of the year is understanding what a learning standard or target is.  Learning standards are concise, clearly articulated descriptions of what students should know and be able to do at a specific stage of their educational journey. An example of a 5th grade standard might be: Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative language such as metaphors and similes.  An example of a high school standard might be:  Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task, purpose, and audience.  Each of these standards don’t dictate the curriculum.  Standards are not a prepackaged curriculum or a course of study, although this is a common misperception.  Standards are a fundamental set of academic, intellectual and skill expectations for students but it’s school boards, administrators and teachers who decide how they get taught.  Standards like the ones above do not tell the teacher what text to assign, how to teach students or even how to determine if they have achieved the expected standard.  Learning goals are consistent and common, but the teaching remains a local decision.

Standards draw a line in the sand.  Standards stipulate that students must learn a particular selection of critical skills and concepts before they can be considered prepared for the next step in education.  Teachers can teach more, but not less.  The standards establish a common baseline for what it means to be educated in the state of Maine or even across our country.

Having these standards, allow for greater collaboration and innovation.  Teachers are able to share lessons they develop, the instructional strategies they use, and the learning materials they create.  There are now several national online exchanges that have teachers sharing materials aligned to standards.  Common standards also make it easier and less expensive to develop textbooks, learning software and other educational resources.

Brewer School Department is working with the Maine Cohort for Customized Learning which has established learning standards and progressions for all eight content areas, including complex reasoning skills and habits of mind.  We plan to share more of what this looks like as the year continues.

  1.  Busing Plans

We are working with Cyr Bus to establish a start time for all of our buses to begin our regular bus routines as the construction winds up on Eastern Avenue.  Those bus runs will begin on October 3rd.  I want to thank Jason Richards for the countless hours he has spent working with Cyr Bus to ensure the safety of our students and to rework bus routes to accommodate the needs of our district.  We are also working to reestablish the Transfinder software system which has not been updated in five years.  This will be helpful in creating bus routes next year.

  1.  Upcoming November Policies

The admin team is meeting with our SRO’s on October 5, 2016, to address these two policies.

  • Revised Bullying/Cyberbullying Statutes (Posted September 1, 2016 by DOE)

The model bullying and cyberbullying prevention policy, first adopted in 2013 as a result of An Act to Prohibit Bullying and Cyberbullying in Schools (PL 659), has been revised to include comprehensive, detailed, and user-friendly procedural forms as well as an administrative procedure. All school administrative units’ school boards are to ensure that their policies and procedures are consistent with the revised model policy and procedures.

In addition, each SAU must file its policies to address bullying and cyberbullying to the Department (20-A MRSA §6554, sub-§8). Districts are further notified that beginning in the 2016-17 school year, substantiated incidents of bullying are no longer reported in Infinite Campus State Edition. Instead, these incidents are to be reported in NEO’s Bullying Reporting System on a quarterly basis. Superintendents will need to request staff access to this form by using the NEO access request form. Additional resources for monitoring and compliance with the law will become available this fall. More information regarding bullying prevention can be found at or contact the Department’s Student Assistance Coordinator, Sarah H. Ricker at 624-6685 or with any questions.

  • Truancy Regulation for the District

Truancy Reporting is done through the Infinite Campus Truancy module. It is important that not only truancy incidents are created once a student meets the definition of truancy but also that the truancy incident is “Resolved” or “Closed” once the student returns to school or transfers to a different district.  The definition of truancy can be found in §5051-A (
A truancy incident must be recorded once a student meets one or more of the following conditions:

  • 10 Full Days and completed grade 6
  • 7 Consecutive Days and completed grade 6
  • 7 Full Days and at least 7 yrs of age and has NOT completed grade 6
  • 5 Consecutive Days and at least 7 yrs of age and has NOT completed grade 6

Once an incident has been identified, it must be recorded in the truancy module. Steps must also be followed in order as outlined in §5051-A until the incident is either “closed” or “resolved”.

A truancy protocol has been established and we will be discussing the steps of this process before bringing this regulation to the board.  Our goal is to improve attendance for Brewer School Department.  Last year BCS was at 95.5% and BHS was at 93.3%.

  1.  Question 2 Upcoming Vote – MSMA White Paper

Included in the school committee packet is a paper on the pros and cons of question 2.  There are some significant points in this article.  While wanting to see education funded at 55%, there are some issues with the EPS formula, the impact this may or may not have on property taxes, driving businesses and newly graduated students out of our state are all mentioned as concerns. The article gives a nice overview of what has happened to funding of education over the last ten years and why both sides have merit to their argument.

  1. Strategic Planning Committee Update

The committee met on September 22, 2016, with an agenda that did not quite get completed.  However, there was a great discussion about our schools and our needs in two areas:  curriculum and instruction and professional culture.  The committee will meet again on October 20 to finish the agenda from September 22 and plan the next community forum.  The meeting schedule for 2016-17 is included in your packets.  Some dates may need to be adjusted based on the progress of the committee.

  1. Upcoming Events

-MSSA Fall Conference @ Augusta Civic Center October 26 and 27, 2016

-MSBA Delegate Assembly @ Augusta Civic Center October 27, 2016 1:15-4PM

-Full Plates Full Potential Annual Summit to End Childhood Hunger @ Colby College October 4, 2016

-State Funding Committee Meeting @ MSMA October 6, 2016

-Teacher Workshop Day October 7, 2016

-Hall of Fame Banquet October 13, 2016 5:30-8 @ BHS

-Autism Safety Training October 13, 2016 6-8:30 @ PAC

-Trustees Meeting October 18, 2016 6PM @ BHS Main Office

-Mrs. Lepage Visit to BCS to Read to 3rd Graders October 19, 2016 @ 9:30 AM

-Strategic Planning Committee October 20, 2016 6PM @ BCS Conference Room D

New Bus Routes

Good Afternoon Everyone,

Now that Eastern Avenue is passable, we have posted updated bus runs on our district website. If your child/children ride the bus, please double check approximate pick-up and drop-off times as well as which bus letter they will be riding. Please keep in mind that this construction impacted several buses, so EVERYONE should double check the updated run. New runs will begin tomorrow morning, October 5, 2016.

Click here to download updated bus runs: 2016-2017 Updated Bus Routes

Also, this is a reminder that there is no school on Friday, October 7, and Monday, October 10. On Friday we will be having a teacher workshop day, and on Monday we will be observing the Columbus Day holiday.

Have a great evening!

Superintendent’s Report September

6:00PM, Monday, September 12, 2016
Brewer High School Lecture Hall
Superintendent’s Report
1. District Recognitions for August
a. Glendon Rand –Coach of the Year – Recognized by David Utterback and the Brewer School Department for his accomplishments and commitment to his students and the community during the Spring 2016 track season.
b. Cherrie MacInnes was notified that she was a finalist for the Teacher of the Year. The Maine State Review Panel will visit Brewer Community School during the week of September 19-23. We will be notified of the exact date shortly. The state has provided a suggested schedule of events for the day.
The State Review Panel will base their scoring on:
• Classroom organization and instructional delivery (includes – student
engagement, creativity, relevance of teaching content to the “Guiding Principles
of the Maine Learning Results”)
• Relationship with students, colleagues, school administrators, and community
• Personal and professional traits
• Overall impression (includes but not limited to alignment of professional portfolio
and school observation)

The State Review Panel Members are: Tayla Edlund, 2016 Maine Teacher of the Year; Karen MacDonald, 2014 Maine Teacher of the Year; Bill Nave 1990 Maine Teacher of the Year; Rachelle Tome, Chief Academic Officer, Maine DOE; Peter Geiger, State Board of Education; Rich Meserve, Head of School, Katahdin School, 2009 Milken Educator, and Dolly Sullivan, Program Director, Educate Maine.

Congratulations to Cherrie! I wish her continued success with her students, parents and colleagues. Cherrie was recognized in front of her colleagues during the Opening of Schools Professional Staff Development with applause, a standing ovation, hugs and flowers. Brewer School Department is proud of her and knows she represents the many quality teachers we have within the Brewer School Department.

c. Teresa Holyoke was named a committee member of the Maine Chickadee Award. This is an honor to be selected to this committee. As a selected participant, she was recognized for her extensive background in literacy and her experiences as a librarian. Since she was selected, this means that publishers send books to her to evaluate and the school gets to keep them. For BCS, this means about 300-400 new picture books for our collection for free!

2. Strategic Planning Committee Update

Our next strategic planning meeting is on September 22, 2016 at 6PM in the BCS Conference
Room D. During this meeting, our agenda will include a review of our work, setting of Brewer
School Department Outcomes aligned with the vision, mission and core values, and a review
of focus areas: curriculum and instruction, professional development, resources and
management, commitment to community, physical and technological infrastructure.
3. Opening of Schools Update

Administrative reports will share out on how this went in each of their buildings and programs.
However, I want to thank everyone for their dedication to a smooth start to the year. Walking
through the buildings on Day One, it seemed like students had been in school for months! Kudos
to a well-planned opening and to the administrative team and faculty for their efforts.
4. Administrative Retreat/BSD Goals

Day One: Our focus on Day One was to start by giving an update on each of our schools and
departments. We then moved into District Goal Setting and “unpacked” our vision and mission
statements discussing how important these statements were to help drive our goals for the year
and the decisions we make as an administrative team. We reviewed our professional
development plan for the year that is aligned with themes (provided in your packet) and
brainstormed how to engage the district, community and update policies to align with this work.
These outcomes and strategies are outlined on Brewer School Departments Vision 2017
(provided in your packet). We also focused on our faculty meetings and discussed how these
will look in each of our buildings focusing on the professional development our teachers need to
accomplish our goals for the year.

Day Two: Our focus for Day Two was on teacher feedback and improving practices within our
classrooms to impact student growth. We watched a video by Ken Robinson, How to Escape
Education’s Death Valley. This video provided three clear steps to improving student data:
individualize teaching and learning, invest in professional development to support the work of
teachers, and empower teachers at the school level. We reviewed the new evaluation forms for
teachers and administrators. All administrators were provided professional development on
providing feedback based on evidence and aligned to rubrics and standards. Walkthroughs and
frequent feedback were also discussed and how to commit ourselves to frequent feedback for

Day Three: Our focus on Day Three was on planning our three-day opening session with the
entire faculty. We created the opening three-day schedule, reviewed an agenda for our new
teacher orientation, and participated in a webinar training on Empower, our new proficiency-
based management software system.

Please see the following documents provided in your packets:

1. Teacher professional development themes for the year
2. Vision 2017 for Brewer School Department
3. Day 2 Faculty Training on Growth Mindset

Student Information 2016-17 School Year

The first day of school is fast approaching. Bus routes will be posted shortly.

August 31, 2016: Orientation Day for Grade 9 and New High School students from 7:55 AM -11 AM at Brewer High School.

September 1, 2016: First Day of School for ALL students.

Here is a copy of the 16-17 School Year Calendar.

Enjoy the last few days of summer. We are all looking forward to a wonderful school year and have many great activities and plans ready to go. Here are a few things to look forward to this year:

1. Community forums to share what your children are doing in their schools and how education is changing with proficiency-based education.

2. Monthly newsletters from the Superintendent and Administrators sharing highlights, opportunities, and celebrations within our district.

3. Continued work on our Strategic Plan for our school department with a presentation to the board in the winter.

4. A focus on teacher professional development and the connection to learning within the classroom. How do we focus on personalized learning and allow for continuous improvement within our schools?

5. Morning coffee and talk sessions with parents and community members to discuss educational needs and plans.

Raising our children in this ever changing world grows more and more difficult. As a school system, our new vision and mission aims at providing the skills necessary for our children to be successful in school and after school in whatever path they may choose. I hope you all can make either a community forum or a coffee and chat session this year.