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

Emergency Training at High School During Vacation Week

Good Afternoon,

I wanted to send out an email to let the community know that there will be the annual emergency training at the high school on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday this week by the Brewer Police Department and emergency responders. If you see cruisers and other vehicles present, they are there for training. The building will be closed to the public during this time. This training is for police and emergency responders only. In light of recent events in Florida, I did not want you to question what was happening at the high school as we are all saddened by the tragic shooting in Florida and feel for the families and communities that have been so impacted. Such events heighten concerns and anxieties of parents and students in our own community, and everyone rightly looks to school leaders to ensure the safety of children in our care. I want to give comfort to our city that our schools are safe places for learning.

Safety is of the utmost concern to any school superintendent or building administrator, and there are things that we can and must do in our area of responsibilities. Every incident further raises the bar on what our response should be as well as the very notion of what an educational environment should look like. Should, for example, we have bulletproof glass and monitored metal detectors in every school? And, when that may prove insufficient, should there be armed guards at every door? And, once our schools become prisons in the name of safety, what is the impact on education? Every school shooting incident is a time for reflection. On occasion, we have made changes to our protocols, and we will continue to monitor what is learned from Florida. We have an active Safety Team that meets monthly and our Board of Trustees and School Committee discuss safety regularly.

In our schools this past week, we allowed for open communication for those students that had questions and had counselors available to students that might have needed it. We offered support to our children and our faculty as we assured them we have protocols in place to protect them. As a reminder, doors in every school are locked and all visitors are required to sign in and be on a student’s emergency list to pick a child up. We do background checks on all volunteers and employees. We have resource officers in our schools and practice evacuations and lockdowns in various scenarios. I have answered many questions this past week on a one by one basis and welcome more if you have others. I wish I could give even more assurances, but know that we are made strong by our whole community being vigilant to any possible threats. I also know that the staff of Brewer School Department and the Brewer Police Department is dedicated to our students, and they continue to put safety at the top of the list.

Sincerely,

Cheri Towle
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