Chronic Absenteeism and Attendance Information

Dear Parent/Guardian:

This year, Brewer School Department is making a special effort to ensure that all students fully benefit from their education by attending school regularly.  Attending school regularly helps children feel better about school—and themselves. Your student can start building this habit in preschool so they learn right away that going to school on time, every day is important. Consistent attendance will help children do well in high school, college, and at work.

DID YOU KNOW?

  • Starting in kindergarten, too many absences (excused and unexcused) can cause children to fall behind in school.
  • Missing 10 percent (or about 18 days) increases the chance that your student will not read or master math at the same level as their peers.
  • Students can still fall behind if they miss just a day or two days every few weeks.
  • Being late to school may lead to poor attendance.
  • Absences can affect the whole classroom if the teacher has to slow down learning to help children catch up.
  • By 6th grade, absenteeism is one of three signs that a student may drop out of high school.
  • By being present at school, your child learns valuable social skills and has the opportunity to develop meaningful relationships with other students and school staff.
  • Absences can be a sign that a student is losing interest in school, struggling with school work, dealing with a bully or facing some other potentially serious difficulty.
  • By 9th grade, regular and high attendance is a better predictor of graduation rates than 8th grade test scores.

WHAT WE NEED FROM YOU

We miss your student when they are gone and we value their contributions to our school. We would like you to help ensure that your student attends regularly and is successful in school. 

Brewer High School Procedure for Student Absences: When a student is absent, his/her parent or guardian should call the school at 989-4140 before 9 AM to report the absence. In addition, the student must also bring a signed note no later than the second day of their return to school; late notes will not be accepted.  Unless the school is notified by note, the absence will be treated as an unexcused absence.

Brewer Community School Procedure for Student Absences: When a student is absent, his/her parent or guardian should call the school at 404-5702 before their child’s official start to the school day (7:50 for students in grades 5-8 and 8:30 for students in grades PK-4) to report the absence. If the school is not notified, the absence will be considered unexcused.  A written note may also be sent in to the office when the student returns to school to excuse the absence no later than 2 days after the date of the absence.

OUR PROMISE TO YOU

We know that there are a wide variety of reasons that students are absent from school, from health concerns to transportation challenges. There are many people in our building prepared to help you if you or your student face challenges in getting to school regularly or on time.  Our guidance counselors, school nurse, and administrative team are here to listen and help with issues that may impact the challenges you face in getting to school regularly.  We promise to track attendance daily, to notice when your student is missing from class, communicate with you to understand why they were absent, and to identify barriers and supports available to overcome challenges you may face in helping your student attend school.

SCHOOL POLICIES AND STATE LAWS

It is important that you understand our school policies and procedures, as well as Maine State Law, to ensure your child is successful in school. State law for compulsory attendance requires children from age 7 to 17 to attend a public school, private school, or a district-approved home school program. Youth who are 15 or older may be excused from attending public school if they meet certain requirements. 

There have been some changes that have been implemented in Maine State law regarding chronic absenteeism. Chronic absenteeism occurs when your child misses 10% of the days they are enrolled in school for any reason including excused, unexcused and disciplinary absences.  In Brewer, for a student attending the entire school year, chronic absenteeism would be 17 days or an average of approximately two days a month! Students are also considered absent if they are not present for more than 50% of the day.

Please know your child(ren) will be identified as chronically absent at the state level, as the Brewer School Department is required to report all chronically absent students to the Maine Department of Education. If a child is also considered truant, then reports must be sent to the Department of Health and Human Services as well as to law enforcement. Parents are responsible for making sure their children attend school regularly.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

  • Set a regular bed time and morning routine.
  • Prepare for school the night before, finishing homework and getting a good night’s sleep.
  • Find out what day school starts and make sure your child has the required immunizations.
  • Don’t let your student stay home unless they are truly sick. Keep in mind complaints of a stomach ache or headache can be a sign of anxiety and not a reason to stay home.
  • Avoid appointments and extended trips when school is in session.
  • Develop back-up plans for getting to school if something comes up. Call on a family member, a neighbor, or another parent.
  • Keep track of your student’s attendance. Missing more than 9 days could put your student at risk of falling behind. 
  • Talk to your student about the importance of attendance.
  • Talk to your students’ teachers if you notice sudden changes in behavior. These could be tied to something going on at school.
  • Encourage meaningful after-school activities, including sports and clubs.

Sincerely,

Cheri Towle, Ed. D.

Superintendent of Schools

 

 

2018-2019 School Bus Routes

Please see the link below to view the 2018-2019 bus routes.  In an effort to improve safety for our children, we have removed all house numbers from the bus routes.  The roads and times are listed that the bus will be traveling down your road.  The bus driver will stop at the locations listed on the route.  Please have children that live in the same area congregate at these bus stops to be picked up/dropped off.  If your child is in PreK-Grade 2, an adult must be present when the child is dropped off and we highly suggest walking your child to the bus stop.  All possible efforts will be made to drop off and pick up at your house for PreK-2 if the bus is able to go down your road and turn around. 
 
As in all previous years, I would kindly request patience and understanding for the first few weeks of school as we iron out the details of our bus routes for another school year. It is not atypical to have buses run 10-20 minutes late in the morning and afternoon routes as we get things rolling, so please plan accordingly for the first few weeks of school and as always, if you are concerned or have questions, please call the Superintendent’s office.
 

2018-19 Morning Bus Routes Click here

2018-19 Afternoon Bus Routes Click here

 

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