Staff Welcome Back 2018-2019 Information Letter

I hope this finds you well rested and enjoying some beautiful weather this summer. It is always bittersweet to write this letter as summer memories are still being recorded while we simultaneously prepare for a new school year. It is hard to believe that August is upon us and the school year is right around the corner. I hope that many of you made some wonderful new memories with family and friends! The weather was certainly wonderful this summer and I can’t remember so many hot days during a Maine summer in quite a long while. However, I will take those over snow days! I wonder what it would be like to have the hill at Doyle field covered in snow during one of our hot summer days! I imagine the children would love that!!!

First off, I want to recognize all employees for the enthusiasm and caring spirit that is brought to the Department, day-after-day, year-after-year. You bring it to one another, and you bring it to our learners, whether they are in the lunchroom, the hallways, on the fields or in the classroom. I truly believe that the energy our students have for learning, which is palpable as you walk through the schools, comes from the work being done by each of you – on the front lines as well as behind the scenes – throughout the Department. The enthusiasm, conversations, and activities stemming from the diverse learning environments exemplify the excellence of this Department and our community. I am eager to see what we will accomplish together this year.

Second, I am eager to collaborate with each of you. This is our second year of implementing our student-centered proficiency-based model at the high school. Some of you have asked questions regarding the change in statute and what this means for education in Brewer. Brewer holds itself to following the best teaching practices. We will continue those practices of being transparent in what we are teaching and why, formative and summative assessment practices to guide student learning, and offering students multiple pathways to demonstrate their learning as we know students do not learn in the same way or time frame. We will also take this opportunity to review our current policies to see if we can open up more opportunities for students to earn a diploma but still hold firm in our current mission/vision and core values. Below you can find a link to our Vision 2019 goals for all of you to review as it addresses this very topic.

Third, we will have the opportunity for professional development throughout the year as we learn from each other.  Peer review will be required through our evaluation tool this year. We will have continued opportunities to learn about best practices, classroom tools and structures, and assessment strategies to impact student outcomes and raise student achievement. Through our Comprehensive Needs Assessment that was submitted to the Maine Department of Education, we have identified goals that are aligned with our district vision and mission. These are also discussed in the Vision 2019. Through themes of professional development and small steps, we will continue our storyboard and create the “Brewer Way” as we strive to meet our vision and mission together incorporating best practices in instruction and assessment with all teachers and learners.

Fourth, I would like to welcome several new staff to the Department this year.  It has been a busy summer of hiring, and we are lucky to have each one of you join the Brewer School Department.

  • Julie Vinson – Title I (from one year position)
  • Michelle Leclair- Custodian III
  • Carl Crossman – Custodian I
  • James Robertson – Custodian I
  • Robert Ponzo – Custodian I
  • Carol Degrasse – Custodian I
  • James Degrasse – Custodian I
  • Hunter Pelkey – Custodian I
  • Heather Lyon – Ed Tech I
  • Blair Mamaril – Ed Tech I
  • Joshua Monroe – Ed Tech I
  • McKayla Gastia – Ed Tech I
  • Emily Penner – Ed Tech I
  • Olivia Lowery – Ed Tech I
  • Brianna Dorr – Ed Tech I
  • Darlene Mogul – Ed Tech I
  • Jennifer Bowman – Grade 3 Teacher
  • Belinda Gauvin – Grade 6 Teacher
  • Brenda Clawson – Elementary Integrative Tech Teacher
  • Ginger Stoneton – BHS Technology Teacher
  • Amy Clement – Social Studies Teacher
  • Stephanie Mishou – BHS Guidance Secretary

We also had some staff change positions within the Department this year. We wish them well in their new roles within our School Department. They are:

  • Robert Dominick – Grade 7 from Grade 6
  • Patricia Kelley – Ed Tech III from Ed Tech I
  • Yvonne Goodall – Ed Tech III from Ed Tech I
  • Robert Simko – Ed Tech I from IT Assistant
  • Sara Flagg – Ed Tech III from Ed Tech I
  • Kristi Carney – BCS Office from BHS Guidance Office

We also had some staff decide to leave us for new roles or retirement this summer.  We wish them well in their new positions or retirement.

  • Brenda Crosby – retirement
  • Michael Jeffrey – retirement
  • Janice Libbey – retirement
  • Cathy Atwood – retirement
  • Carrie Nadeau – retirement
  • Debra Egan – retirement
  • Bernie Rudnicki – retirement
  • Fred Ravan – new employment
  • Crystal Jackins – new employment
  • Shane Boyes – new employment
  • Phillip MacDougal – new employment
  • Vicky Bennett – new employment
  • Scott Magnan – new employment

The administrative team has just completed a very productive administrative retreat at Machias Savings Bank.  During this retreat, the administrators reviewed the strategic plan, the vision 2019, the comprehensive needs assessment goals and planned professional development around these three documents. We practiced observation and feedback methods to help support teachers in continuous improvement and created an action plan based on staff feedback and district needs.  We also spent a lot of time reviewing truancy/attendance protocols and procedures for our learners. We are eager to share this work with you during our three opening days starting on August 27th, 2018.

You will find links below to a copy of the agenda for the first three days of school. It is very important you look over the three-day agenda to see when you are expected to be at which events. It was very important that all faculty be with us on the opening days of training and we have made special arrangements to pay our Ed Tech I’s for an additional half day of work this year to make sure we are all together and that we receive the same information. This year’s theme is “Being a Champion” for all!

Please enjoy the remainder of the summer. Take time to pause, reflect, rekindle, renew, to create memories, and to celebrate life. I look forward to seeing you soon!

Go Brewer Witches!

Cheri

Superintendent of Schools

Vision 2019 Goals

Welcome 2018-2019 Agendas

Libra Foundation Supports PCHC’s Brewer School Based Health Centers

April 24, 2018 8:44 am

BREWER — Penobscot Community Health Care is pleased to announce that the Libra Foundation Fund recently awarded a $10,000 grant in support of PCHC’s Brewer School Based Health Centers. With clinics at the Brewer Community School and Brewer High School, PCHC provides more than 1700 students access to medical, dental, and mental health services.

Lori Dwyer, Esq., President and CEO states, “Much like the Libra Foundation, PCHC strives to empower our patients and the communities we serve by improving their health and well-being and enhancing their quality of life. The funding awarded by the Libra Foundation to PCHC’s Brewer School Based Health Centers will support the provision of medical, dental, and mental health services to children in the Brewer schools who otherwise might be without access to these crucial services. Our future certainly lies with our children and we are thankful the Libra Foundation recognizes our important work.”

Not only are the services convenient and affordable, data from the National Assembly on School Based Health Care demonstrates that “School Health Centers provide an optimal setting to foster learning readiness and academic achievement while giving children the resources they need to improve their health.” Students who use school-based health center services have better attendance and are less likely to drop out of school compared to students who do not use them.

The Brewer School-Based Health Center was established in 2006 as a partnership between the Brewer School Department and Penobscot Community Health Care to provide accessible medical, dental and mental health services to Brewer students in grades K-12. The Student Health Center staff consists of an experienced certified physician assistant, dental hygienist, licensed therapists, and a medical assistant. Although the school nurse and guidance counselors are not members of PCHC’s School Based Health Center staff, they work closely with the team to coordinate student referrals to the clinic and assist with follow-up as needed.

A link to the original Bangor Daily News article can be found here.

March 14, 2018 – Student Plans

March 5, 2018

Dear Brewer School Department Parents:

The purpose of this message is to communicate to you the plans that your children have developed and thought about for March 14, 2018.  There has been a great deal of discussion and debate across our country on the purpose of this day and what this walkout means to students. For Brewer, our students have chosen to focus on honoring the victims of school shootings across our country and having the opportunity to ask questions about school safety and security. Your children have asked for an indoor space after hearing the Brewer Police Department and Brewer Administration had concerns about students congregating outside at a specific date and time.  Given the number of threats being made to schools recently, our students have been incredibly understanding and responsible as they plan this event on March 14.

High School Plans

This event is organized by the students.  They have asked that it be voluntary and that any student wishing to participate and honor the victims go to the gym at 10 AM on this day.  During this time, the students will have a moment of silence, put their thoughts on a banner, make new friends, and create cards building on the Brewer Community of Caring they already value and appreciate.  Students also have questions about school safety.  During this time, the Brewer Police Department and administration will be present to answer questions they may have on school safety and security.  The goal of this event is to give students the voice they are asking for in honoring the victims and helping our students feel safer in our schools by providing them with the answers to the questions they are asking.

Community School Plans

The teachers have been listening to the students this week for any questions or needs regarding school safety.  During a faculty meeting this Thursday, a discussion will occur to see if a similar plan to the high school is needed for the middle school students.  At this time, any questions that are being asked by students are being handled by the administration, school resource officer or the teacher.  A possible inside gathering for students with questions may occur if the need rises.  Mr. Leithiser or I will communicate any further Community School plans with you.

I have listened to many of you over the last week and stated I would get back to you with the plans for this twenty-minute time frame.  I am proud of the work that students have chosen to do and the proactive approach to the “walkout” they have taken.  Our administrative team, school resource officers, faculty and emergency response teams continue to review and practice our safety and security protocols.  We also continue to look for ways to enhance and build upon the practices we already have in place.

I thank you for your patience over the last two weeks.  I hope you can appreciate the work of your children. It is an honor to work with them daily. They truly are incredible children with caring hearts and a capacity to give to their community by learning how they can improve the safety of their schools.  If you have further questions, please call the Superintendent’s office at 989-3160.

Sincerely,
Cheri Towle, Ed. D.
Superintendent of Schools

Pick up and Drop off at Brewer Community School

Dear BCS Parent(s)/Guardian(s) and Community Members:

We need your help ensuring the safety of all students before and after school hours.  Please be advised that Brewer Community School has two pick up and drop off times due to having two start and end times of our school day for K-4 and 5-8.  In an effort to improve the flow of traffic and school safety, we encourage you to follow the following pick up and drop off times.

Grades K-4   Drop Off Time   8:10-8:30                    Pick Up Time  2:50

Please do not arrive to drop off your grade K-4 child prior to 8:10 AM or pick up your child prior to 2:45 PM.

Grades 5-8   Drop Off Time   7:30-7:50                    Pick Up Time  2:00

Please do not arrive to drop off your grade 5-8 child prior to 7:30 AM or pick up your child prior to 1:55 PM.

In an effort to improve school safety and security for students, we encourage you to follow the following pick up and drop off rules. 

  1. Parents who drive their children to BCS should use the circle driveway, in front of the school, to drop off students.  Proceed around the circle to find a clear drop-off space; don’t stop at the front doors.  Please do not use the visitor lot as a drive thru drop off lane. This will help with the traffic flow.
  2. Please pull up to the curb on the right-hand side, in the area painted yellow, and let your children out on the right-hand side of the car. If they get out the left doors, they are exiting the car into traffic.  DO NOT let kids out of the car in the middle lane; that is the travel lane, for thru traffic only.
  3. Parents should remain in the car while the students are dropped off.  If you need to get out of the car and enter the building, please park in the visitor parking area (directly in front of the school), or the parking lot adjacent to Parkway South (the lot where the digital sign is located).  You may have to drive around the circle a few times, or wait for a space to open up. Please be patient.
  4. Finally, please keep in mind that student safety is our primary concern, and that these safety steps may inconvenience drivers who have to wait in their cars longer than usual.  We apologize for any inconvenience and look forward to warmer weather.

We realize the snow and cold weather have added to an already difficult parking situation at BCS, but as we work on long-term solutions, we are asking for your continued efforts in following these guidelines to ensure student safety.  We will continue to look for alternative options to improve the flow of traffic and increase our parking capacity for BCS.

In the meantime, please assist us in maximizing student safety by adhering to our drop off/pick up guidelines.  If you have any questions regarding these guidelines, please contact Dr. Cheri Towle, Superintendent of Schools, at 207-989-3160 or ctowle@breweredu.org.  Thank you for your continued support.

 
Sincerely,
Cheri Towle, Ed. D.
Superintendent of Schools

Storm Day Information

Dear Parents/Guardians,

It is that time of year again where we have to worry about the inevitable white stuff falling from the skies here in Maine. Because of this, I wanted to make sure you were all aware of our snow cancellation processes and procedures here in Brewer. Below is information that will assist you in understanding what to expect on bad weather days that might impact our schools:

*  Cancellations and delays are generally based on overall road conditions in Brewer and our sending towns and our ability to safely run buses. We also base decisions on our maintenance and public works crew’s ability to plow and clean sidewalks. In some circumstances, cancellations and delays may also be based on forecasted conditions.

*  The Brewer School Department utilizes full day cancellations, 1-hour delays, and 2-hour delays as well as early dismissals depending upon the forecasted conditions and timing of storms. If school is delayed for 1 hour, all bus pick-up times and school start times will be delayed by exactly 1 hour. Similarly, for a 2-hour delay, all bus pick-up times and school start times will be delayed by exactly 2 hours.  Early release dismissal times will generally be as follows: 

School Hours for Early Release Due to Storms:

BHS                       11:00 am

BCS (5-8)              11:00 am 

BCS (K-4)              12:00 pm

Pre-K                     Does not meet on these days

Note:  Your child will be dropped off at the address indicated on your child’s emergency card for early release days unless a note is given to the school stating otherwise.

*  If school is canceled or delayed, communication regarding these decisions will be relayed to you via: One Call (our automated phone, text, and email system). This notification would typically occur at approximately 5:30 AM. 

*  In very rare circumstances, a decision to dismiss early may be made during the day.  It is important that we have an accurate phone number for all students so that children are dropped off to homes with adults at home. These decisions will be made by 10:00 AM. We also notify the following:

    • TV Stations: Channel 2, Channel 5 and Channel 7
    • Radio Stations: W QCB (Q106.5), WBZN (Z107.3), WEZQ (92.9), WWMJ (95.7), WDEA-AM (1370), Kiss 94.5, The Bear 104.7, and WAVI AM (910)
    • Bangor Daily News

*  If school is canceled for the day, all after-school programs, activities, and athletic events are automatically canceled unless the district specifically communicates otherwise.

*  There may be times when school is in session, but the weather is expected to worsen throughout the day and into the evening, causing the district to cancel all after-school programs, activities, and athletic events. Communication on these occasions will be via announcements in schools, our automated messaging system, and our website.

Please understand that attempting to forecast the weather conditions here in Maine is difficult even for our professional meteorologists. The Brewer School Department will always attempt to make the best decisions possible with the safety of our students at the forefront of each decision. On a day that is forecasted to have poor weather conditions, I typically will start my morning at 4:30 a.m. getting up to watch the weather, calling our public works crew who are on the road, and other area Superintendents to see what conditions are likely to be in their area. I will then log onto several weather sites, check radar and satellite images and timing of the storm, all before making my final decision. Then once the decision is made, all I can do is sit back and hope that all of that data is correct and that mother nature cooperates!

None of this, as you might imagine is an exact science. The Brewer School Department will always do its best to make the right call, however, please know we understand that it is always the parent/guardian who makes the final decisions regarding the safety of your student(s). If there is ever a circumstance where school has not been canceled or delayed, yet you feel as though it is best to keep your child home because of road conditions please do not hesitate to do so.  This would also be considered an excused absence.

If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at ctowle@breweredu.org.

Thank you!

Cheri Towle, Ed. D.
Brewer Superintendent