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

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