Superintendent’s Report April

6:00 PM, Monday, April 10, 2017 Brewer High School Lecture Hall
Superintendent’s Report

1. Planning for Proficiency Based Education 101
a.Ensuring Success of Students with Disabilities (Briefing 4 Enclosure)
b.What You Need to Know:
• Proficiency-based learning promotes multiple learning pathways that enable all students to demonstrate common learning expectations.
• In a proficiency-based system, accommodations and supports provided for students with disabilities apply to learning standards and not to an entire course.
• Since graduation in a proficiency-based system is based on achievement of standards—and not the accumulation of course credits—replacing one or more required courses (e.g. Algebra II) with a less rigorous one (e.g. Business Mathematics) is not an option.
• As districts shift to a proficiency-based system, the Individualized Education Program (IEP) remains in effect so that students are provided with the most appropriate accommodations and supports.

a.Verification of Performance Indicators/Learning Targets (Briefing 5 Enclosure)
b.What You Need to Know:
• A proficiency-based system uses criterion-referenced assessments. This means that there are
clear criteria that students know and are able to do. Regular feedback of learning is given through formative assessment.
• There are a variety of performance indicator verification approaches schools can use like decaying average, power law, and most recent assessment. The enclosure defines these more. • In a proficiency-based learning system students are provided with multiple opportunities to complete assessments.
• Adopting or adapting high quality work from other districts may be very helpful. Collaborating with other schools that belong to the Maine Cohort for Customized Learning will be helpful to our teachers.

a. Verification of Graduation Standards (Briefing 6 Enclosure)
b. What You Need to Know:
•Graduation standards reflect the broad, integrated concepts of each discipline and require
students to demonstrate, apply, and evaluate knowledge in multiple ways.
•Schools should limit the number of graduation standards to 5–8 per content area. •Grade-tracking systems must have the flexibility to record assessment results by performance indicator and accommodate multiple attempts. Our Empower system allows us to do this.

2 . SPRPCE Innovative School – Maine DOE Awards Grant Funds to 7 Regional Education Opportunity and Efficiency Initiatives ( separate enclosure)
Enclosed is the MDOE media release where 7 grant awards for collaborative efforts were announced. SPRPCEproposedtocreatearegional,alternativeeducationschoolbeginningwith7t h and 8t h gradersintheFallof2017.SPRPCEisrequestingstartupfundingforYear1.TheSPRPCEInnovation School will be a regional Grade 7-10 alternative education school designed for hands-on, experiential learning to motivate and prepare at-risk youth for successful integration into the regional vocational center, UTC, in Grades 11 & 12. Possibilities at UTC during the junior and senior years include Bridge Year and/or dual credit for high school and college credit with our partner Eastern Maine Community
College. The goals of this project include creating educational and career pathways for those most at risk of graduating from high school, so students may successfully participate in the economy as adults. The SPRPCE Innovation School will prepare at-risk youth for college and careers, successful completion of the proficiency-based diploma, industry credentials, and possible dual enrollment earning college credit while attending high school. By accomplishing these goals, students will in turn have greater retention rates at the post-secondary level and/or be employable. UTC and EMCC have expanded their partnership with technical training based on current regional employment needs. A location for the school is currently being sought.

3. BHS Key Club winner of KPTI bike helmet sticker design contest.
From Anne Keliher, Project Specialist, Kiwanis Pediatric Trauma Institute (KPTI) to Arthur Libby March 16, 2107
I hope 2017 is going well for you. I’m writing with great news. Your student, Abigail Bennett, is one of 3 winners of the bike helmet sticker design contest. The design she created will be printed and produced into actual stickers and given out to the kids and families to stick on their helmets. The attached sticker design is her creation. Also, I’ll be announcing the 3 winners of the contest at the Kiwanis District Convention Luncheon on Saturday in Warwick, RI. If you and/or Abigail would like to attend, I’ll definitely be publicly congratulating her on her artistic talents! I’m expecting it would be too long a trip from Maine but I thought I’d let both of you know. And I apologize for the late notice about this – I just found out this morning from the Key Club executive committee that they had chosen the 3 winners!
Warm wishes, Anne

4. Robotics-North Shore Competition
Advisor, Everett Bennett provided results of the competition
Orange Chaos had a great start to the 2017 competition season in Reading MA, finishing qualifying matches in 1st place! The team was eliminated in the quarterfinals but put up a good fight. Orange Chaos was given the Innovation in control Award. This award celebrates innovative control system or application of control components to provide unique machine functions.

5. BHS Jazz – State Festival & All That Jazz results.
The month of March and April are always the busiest in the area of jazz with two festivals, concerts, and a lot of rehearsal. We wrapped up our competitive season last night and I wanted to take a moment to share the results.
State Jazz Festival
The jazz combo performed last Friday and received a rating of II. The rating is based on a rubric
that includes everything from musical elements to music choice and appearance. The students in the combo are self-motivated learners. They rehearse before school, after school, weekends, etc. The primary focus of a jazz combo is the development of jazz improvisation. They are learning to speak a language though their music ala John Coltrane and Miles Davis. They are also learning how to work together as a team, “talk” while they play, listen to each other, and grow as a learner and communicator. Though they received a rating of a II, these students are gaining skills and developing habits of mind that they will use down the road.
The jazz ensemble performed on Saturday and received a rating of I. This group is more structured where everything is written for the most part. The one component that this group had to do that the combo did was not sight read. Sight-reading is one activity that engages all areas of the brain simultaneously. Students walk into a room, open the music and have two minutes to look at it. Then I have two minutes to talk. Then we play it. We scored a three out of five which is right where I expected us to be.
The following students were recognized for their jazz improvisational work at the MMEA state jazz festival on March 17th and 18th Robben Harris, Cam Billings, Nate Williams, Paul Fortier, Matt Bryant, Aaron Beaulieu, Matt Mousseau, Jon Mousseau, and Siera Desjardins.
All That Jazz
Last night we performed at All That Jazz and won the judge’s choice award for most entertaining.
We had a great show and it showcased many of our students.

6. BCS Jazz State Results from Lanissa Nadeau
The winners of two of the five statewide outstanding musicianship trophies were: eighth grader Hanna Sabbagh on trumpet and flugelhorn and seventh grader Michael Desjardins on guitar. We earned one of only two god awards in Division II! (no places this year, just meeting high standards)
BCS Jazz – Grade 6 Emma Matson, ERicka Morrison, Isabella Tanis, Emma Look, Elaina Fitts, Landon Fitts, Kaleb Westman – Grade 7 Kaleb Silva, Logan Pelletier, Makenzie hanson, Ava Brody, Michael Desjardins – Grade 8 Brenna Wright, Hanna Sabbagh-Adrienne Fitts, Destiny Grover, Tyler Kahkonen, Claire Warmuth, Cassandra Knowles, Cheris Madore, Abby Stroup

7. UMaine Scholastic Chess Championship BCS from Sue Ann Gaitings:
An incredible outpouring of support and an increase in popularity of scholastic chess in Maine resulted in a turnout of three hundred twenty-seven players with ages ranging from six to eighteen and including all grades from kindergarten to high school senior. There were nine teams in the K-3 Championship section.
There was a two-way tie for second place in the K-3 Championship section between Abraham Lincoln School (who received the second place trophy on tiebreaks) and Brewer Community School Team B.
The remaining teams in the K-3 championship section in order of finish were: Brewer Community School Team A, Fort O’Brien School, Hope Elementary School, Piscataquis Elementary School (who received the first place K-3 Novice section trophy) and Great Falls School.
Fifty-eight players and twelve teams competed in the K-6 Championship section. In clear second and receiving the Runner Up trophy in the K-6 Championship section was Brewer Community School with 14.5 points. A special nod to Omar Khan who won all four matches.

8. Maine State Science Fair results from Arthur Libby
Lauren Richardson, Cecelia Ford and Nick Luce won second place in science fair for Microbiology Jacob Cote won second place in Biological Science and Engineering
ALSO, Jacob Cote WON a full 4 year scholarship, plus supply/book stipend, admission to the
Honors college and research appointment to the University of Maine and a full 4 year scholarship to the University of Southern Maine! Incredible. So proud of all the Brewer Students who took part: Lauren Richardson, Cecelia Ford, Nick Luce, Sam, Waters, Alyssa Patterson, Siera Desjardins, Ivy Beal, Jacob Cote, Jessica Hart, Jessica Sargent, and Lana Sabbagh

9. Bangor Mall Art Show Exhibit from Lori Spruce and Marion MacEwen
We had 23 students exhibit work at the Bangor Mall Art Show Exhibit. Of those 23, 4 were chosen for special recognition of their out standing artwork by the University of Maine Museum of Art.

Abigail Bennett received a gold star and her work will be on exhibit at the University of Maine Museum of Art from April 11th – April 22nd. Only 20 works of art were chosen out of the hundreds of displays so this a quite an honor. There will be a reception at the museum on April 11th from 6-8 pm for these artists. Hannah Daigle, Olivia Milan, and Ben Fitzpatrick received honorable mention blue stars.
Art students that participated in the exhibit: Ayal Hoyt, Rylee Hall, Ethan Tardy, Caitlyn Fraser, Alyana Brayson, Jazmyne Gallagher, Kaylee Thibault, Lily Audibert, Katherine Wilks, Sophi Veinote, Amy Halman, Laura Peteraf, Andrew Rackliff, Jenna McGrath, Hannah Daigle, Kassi Day, Dakota Getchell, Ben Fitzpatrick, Haven Veillette, Olivia Milan, Breanna McGuinness, Abigail Bennett, and Breanna Severance.

10. Responses to unspecified situation at BHS
From: sarah pinkham <> Date: March 22, 2017 at 1:31:03 PM EDT
Subject: Thank you!
Thank you for continuing to work hard at keeping the parents of the Brewer school department informed at all times. I appreciate the notifications and feel that my children are safe at Brewer school! Thanks again,
From: Jason Moffitt <> Date: March 22, 2017 at 1:25:41 PM EDT
To: Cheri Towle <> Subject: Threat Investigation
Cheri, please pass along my thanks to your staff. They are the reason why this situation was handled so quickly and efficiently. Excellent cooperation from all involved.
Jason Moffitt
Public Safety Director

11. Principal Hiring Process Update
We have narrowed down our search after completing to long nights of interviews with six interviewees. Each candidate completed a writing prompt, interviewed with a parent/student committee, and completed the round 1 session with an interview with administrators and teachers. Following a rating system, we deliberated for an hour to narrow down our selection to two final candidates that we felt would put students first, support teachers, get involved in the school and community, lead our school in proficiency-based education, add diversity to the administrative team, and bleed orange and black. The two finalists will visit the school on Tuesday and Thursday, meet the faculty, and complete a second interview and meet with the Superintendent. Names of the final two candidates will be released on Tuesday morning as both candidates asked for time to let their current faculties know on Monday. Both candidates have administrative experience at the high school level.

12. Lead Update
The Brewer School Department has addressed the positive testing of lead in the water at the high school and the Dan Lee Building by eliminating the use of any water fountain or sinks that tested positive or were not tested during the first round of testing. New testing kits were ordered and testing has been completed at both buildings. We are waiting for results on the additional tests. A plumber is required to complete the repairs and the trustees have voted to approve the funds to complete these repairs. We are looking at replacing the fixtures and water fountain that tested positive for lead. At this time, none of these areas are in use and alternative water sources are being provided to students and staff. As a reminder the water source is safe, it is the lead from the old pipes and fixtures causing the issue which is why we are replacing the fixtures.

13. Education News and Updates
a. Rep. Martin calls for statewide GPA comparisons – March 31, 2017
Summary: Rep. Martin is calling on lawmakers to put pressure on the Department of Education to produce a statewide spreadsheet that shows winners and losers of state aid, cautioning some legislators will be “running for cover” when the numbers come out. Martin, D-Eagle Lake, was referring to the statewide spreadsheet that is typically put together by the DOE almost immediately after individual school districts are informed about how much state aid they will be getting. Individual numbers went out to districts in mid-February, but the department has said it has too much work right now to do the statewide sheet. More than half the districts in the state are losing money under the governor’s proposed budget. In Aroostook County where Martin lives there are considerable loses. Caribou (RSU 39) is losing just under $800,000; Fort Kent (MSAD 27) $585,000; and, Presque Isle (MSAD 1) $222,000. “The spreadsheets have always been critical in the legislative debate about the budget because they point out where there are winners and losers. That information prompts a discussion about whether there is sufficient funding going out to schools. In this year’s case, it also sheds light on how policy decisions proposed in the budget are hurting certain districts,” Bailey said.
b. Majority on Education Committee keep system administration in budget – March 28, 2017
Summary: The Education Committee has voted 8-3 against the governor’s plan to eliminate the allocation for system administration as part of the K-12 portion of the state budget, with similar divided votes on what constitutes the state share of funding education.
The 8-3 vote on system administration included all three Senators on the Education Committee – Chairman Sen. Brian Langley, R-Hancock, Sen. Rebecca Millett, D-Cumberland, and Sen. Joyce Maker, R-Washington, and House Democrats.
The budget review, which began last week and was completed Monday evening, began with unanimity around the need for the state to support 55 percent of the cost of education, but quickly divided along party lines among House members on the committee.
At issue is what constitutes state share.
State Rep. Trey Stewart, R-Presque Isle, presented a plan that included the state’s payments of the unfunded liability for teacher retirement costs worth just under $173 million and $12 million for operating costs in the Department of Education as part of the state’s contribution to K-12. That coupled with the governor’s proposal to no longer recognize system administration as part of education costs, brought state share to around 55 percent.
Sen. Millett countered with a plan that rejected all policy changes in the governor’s biennial budget; restored system administration; and, essentially calls on the state to fund 55 percent of the cost of education as defined by the Essential Programs and Services funding formula. The unfunded liability is not part of EPS. Her plan was the one adopted as the majority report.
The Education Committee’s recommendations will now go to the Appropriations Committee, which is charged with crafting a final budget plan for the full Legislature’s consideration. There is no estimate at this time on when the budget will be voted out of that committee. This makes it very challenging to finalize our school budget as the ED 279 we received is not accurate. The MSMA is requesting new ED 279’s be sent to school districts.

Superintendent’s Report March

Regular Meeting
6:00 PM, Monday, March 13, 2017
Brewer High School Lecture Hall

Superintendent’s Report

1. Planning for Proficiency Based Education 101

a. Assessing Multiple Pathways (Handout)
What you need to know:
Students attain proficiency on graduation standards and the Guiding Principles by demonstrating their knowledge and skills on learning targets.

Students can accumulate evidence of learning from a variety of tasks in a variety of courses, programs, and experiences.

In Maine, it is the responsibility of the diploma-granting school to determine if students have met their district’s graduation standards, regardless if the learning occurs in a Career and Technical Education (CTE) program, an alternative program, or another approved experience, as we have defined in our Multiple Pathways policy.

b. Transfer Students (Handout)

What you need to know:
The assessment and interpretation of a transfer student’s transcript is the responsibility of the principal or his/her designee, as required by state law and determined by local policy.

A student’s transcript is the official document representing the full range of student work and achievement.

Proficiency-based transcripts should provide a more detailed representation concerning what students know and are able to do.

2. Maine Teacher of the Year Program communicated the following nominations for 2017 Penobscot County Teacher of the Year of Laura Stowe, Special Education Teacher at BCS; Al Chambers, Grade 6 teacher at BCS; Brittney McElvaine, Penquis Pre-K Teacher at BCS and Arthur Libby, Science Teacher at BHS.   (letters enclosed)

3. Budget Talking Points and Testimony March 3rd (Letter Enclosed)

Specific changes as proposed as part of the Biennial Budget bill include:

·         Title I Revenues Adjustment for Elementary & Secondary removed from per pupil rate calculation
o   Teacher Student: Staff Ratio for Grades 6-8 changed from 16:1 to 17:1
o   Teacher Student: Staff Ratio for Grades 9-12 changed from 15:1 to 16:1
o   Ed Techs Student: Staff Ratio for Grades K-5 changed from 100:1 to 114:1
o   Ed Techs Student: Staff Ratio for Grades 6-8 changed from 100:1 to 312:1
o   Ed Techs Student: Staff Ratio for Grades 9-12 changed from 250:1 to 316:1
·         System Admin Support for K-8 and 9-12 removed from per pupil rate calculation and funds directed to regional solutions instead
·         Targeted Funds for Pre-K Pupils discontinued
·         Targeted Funds for K-2 Pupils increased from .10 to .15
·         Declining Enrollment Adjustment discontinued
·         Minimum Special Education Adjustment increased from 30% to 33%

Gretchen will review the ED 279 during her report and what these proposed changes have done to our subsidy for the 17-18 year with 48 MORE subsidized students. This should have been a year where we saw a gain in subsidy. Instead we are seeing a loss in state subsidy.

4. Principal Hiring Process Update

The position has been posted and applications are coming in.  Committees have been formed.  Interview questions for each round and writing prompt are prepared, as well as, presentation topics selected.  Training for the committees has been scheduled.

5. Update on Federal Reversal of OCR Guidance on Transgender Students

Summary: As educators in Maine commonly know, the Maine Human Rights Act protects students from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.  Moreover, the Maine Supreme Court, in a historic 2014 decision – Doe v. Regional School Unit 26, 2014 ME 11 (Jan. 30, 2014) – ruled that denying a student access to a communal bathroom consistent with the student’s gender identity constituted sexual orientation discrimination in violation of the Maine Human Rights Act.  MSMA previously issued a memorandum explaining the Doe decision in February of 2014.  We also have a school policy that supports our transgender students.

The Maine Human Rights Commission has also issued guidance on the rights of transgender students, and that guidance makes clear that the Commission liberally construes the Maine Human Rights Act and its rules to facilitate inclusion and educational opportunity for transgender individuals.  In sum, schools in Maine cannot separate or segregate students, restrict their access to communal bathrooms or otherwise treat them differently because of their sexual orientation, which includes gender expression and gender identity.  The current loss of Title IX protection previously extended by the federal government to transgender students does not alter that responsibility in Maine schools.

6.  Strategic Planning Meeting was postponed due to a snow day.  This delays the presentation by a month as we need to meet one more time before we present to you.  The plan is completed, we just need to review it and then bring to the board for formal approval.

7.  Provided updated legislation list for the 128th Legislature.  Things to pay attention to:

a. An Act To Allow Municipal Governing Boards of 3 Members To Perform Official Duties via Technology – This could allow for official duties to be performed via technology including meetings.
b. An Act To Amend the Mathematics Requirements for High School Graduation- This helps all high school students graduate as it amends that not all students need all of Algebra II in order to graduate.
c. An Act To Reduce Absenteeism in Students from Kindergarten to Third Grade – While the intentions of this act are good, the incentives to offer gift cards to get students to come to school may cause problems and may entice some families to keep kids home to get the gift cards.  We need to create school systems where students want to come to school and are excited about learning and help parents with the issues they are facing at home.
d. An Act Making Unified Appropriations and Allocations for the Expenditures of State Government, General Fund and Other Funds and Changing Certain Provisions of the Law Necessary to the Proper Operations of State Government for the Fiscal Years Ending June 30, 2018 and June 30, 2019 – This one is opposed by MSSA.  Please read my testimony letter for March 3, 2017.

Superintendent’s Report February


Regular Meeting

6:00 PM, Monday, February 6, 2017

Brewer High School Lecture Hall

Superintendent’s Report

  1.  MSSA Legislative Committee – Position on Bills 128th Legislature-1st Session (enclosure)

Important takeaways:

  1. An Act to Strengthen Requirements for Water Testing for Schools – Brewer is currently testing the water through free testing sources provided by the state as a precautionary measure.
  2. An Act to Provide for Fairness in the Transfer of Students – This has to do with Superintendent’s agreements and superintendent’s continue to be concerned about the appeal process and the impacts this process has on our current student population.
  3. An Act to Improve Science and Engineering Education for Maine’s Students –This bill ensures that science and engineering standards are established.
  4. An Act to Amend the Laws Governing Teacher Certification – This is related to the updates provided to you two months ago. There are some concerns regarding additional costs and training district will need to provide teachers.
  5. An Act to Realign the State-Municipal Revenues Sharing Distribution – This bill proposes to realign the percentage of revenue from the sales and use taxes, 6 the service provider tax and the income taxes that is transferred monthly from the General Fund to the Local Government Fund under state-municipal revenue sharing.
  1.  Budget Overview with City

Gretchen and I met with Steve Bost and Karen Fussell to review our budget situation for the 17-18 school year.  We reviewed special education costs, teacher contract negotiations, salaries and insurance, state subsidy proposed reductions, and other expenditures impacting our budget.  This will be an unusually difficult year as many of our expenditures are items we cannot cut.  Increase enrollment is a good thing in some regards but we have seen an increase in 37% to our special education department which impacts our budget significantly.

  1. State Subsidy Concerns (MSSA Letter to Commissioner Hasson)

A letter was sent by the Executive Committee of the MSSA representing the Superintendents requesting we receive our ED 279 which will let us know our state subsidy.  With the governor’s proposed budget cuts and not having the ED 279, makes it incredibly difficult to prepare our budgets.  Some of the proposed cuts by the governor are:  no state subsidy for central office staff, no funding of MLTI, and increased coverage of our portion of Maine State Retirement.  We also do not know what the proposed EPS funding formula will be.  The state is also looking at a statewide teacher contract.

  1. 8th Grade Recruiting Visits/Step-Up Day/Parent Night

We have visited Hermon, Dedham, Orrington, Holbrook and All Saints.  There are 201 eighth-grade students in these schools and the visits went very well.  If we continue to receive similar percentages, we are looking at a large incoming 9th-grade class next year.  This also will impact our budget as current freshmen teachers teach one class off team and will most likely need to teach all freshmen classes next year.  We will know more as students register for classes.  The due date for enrolling into Brewer is March 31st .

  1. Proficiency-based Diploma Transition High School Update (Implementation Steps and Progress)
    1. Identify Content Area Measurement Topics and Learning Targets: We are finalizing this work through department meetings aligning to courses creating multiple pathways for students.  Teachers are also creating additional learning targets that are beyond “graduation requirements” for additional learning pathways and our more rigorous diploma options.
    2. Developing Scoring Criteria: All learning targets currently in Empower, our reporting system, has scoring criteria.  We will need to practice scoring student work to this criteria next year to ensure reliability and validity of our scoring system.
    3. Assess the Guiding Principles: Our educational system of planning learning, addresses the guiding principles on a regular basis.  Scoring criteria exists for the guiding principles.  We need to ensure that all guiding principles are being assessed multiple times throughout high school and are beginning this alignment.  The capstone project will be the culminating assessment.
    4. Align Learning Targets: We are currently meeting with all content areas aligning our learning targets to all of our courses.  This will then be put into a comprehensive program of studies and grading guide for students and families.
    5. Review and Revise District Policies: We have a plan and timeline to address the list of proficiency-based policies needed to be in place by September.
    6. Develop a Reporting System: We have a reporting system called Empower that allows students, teachers and parents to view proficiency on learning targets. It prints progress reports, report cards and transcripts.  It can be used as an online classroom as well.  Teachers are being trained on this system on March 3rd.
    7. Conduct Public Forums: We have held two public forums that have addressed proficiency-based education and two parent nights.  We will continue to address this with parents and our community.
    8. Redesign Organizational Structures and Strategies: This one has to do with scheduling, intervention systems and supports for a personalized learning environment.  The high school continues to work on these processes.  The teacher advisory group is currently working on scheduling options.
    9. Developing Assessments and Units: Teachers have many materials created that they are able to still use that are aligned to learning targets.  Once learning targets are completing aligned to courses, teachers will need to “tweak” current assignments and assessments to make sure they are aligned to the learning targets.  Creation of new learning opportunities may also be needed to help students benefit from diverse way of demonstrating achievement.
    10. Revise the Student Transcript: By being part of the Maine Cohort for Customized Learning, we have done this.  Our Empower system helps with this.  You will see an example of this when the transcript policy comes forward.
  1. Proficiency-based Diploma Policy List and Timeline (See Timeline)
  • Graduation Requirements (Policy File IKF) FEBRUARY
  • Multiple Pathways (Policy File IKFF) FEBRUARY
  • Academic Recognition: Latin Honors and Grade Point Averages (Policy File IKD) MARCH
  • Transcripts (Policy File IKC) MARCH
  • Grading and Reporting System (Policy File IKA) MARCH
  • Dual Enrollment and Early College (Policy File IHCDA) APRIL
  • Assessment of Student Learning (Policy File ILA) APRIL
  • Promotion, Retention, and Acceleration (Policy File IKE) APRIL
  • Demonstrations of Learning, Exhibitions, and Capstone Projects (Policy File ILA) MAY
  • Academic Interventions (Policy File JCDL) MAY
  • Personal Learning Plans (Policy File ILAPL) MAY
  • Portfolios (Policy Files ILA and ILAPL) JUNE
  • Attendance (Policy File JEA) JUNE
  • Academic Eligibility: Athletics and Co-Curricular Activities (Policy File JJIC) JUNE
  1. PBE Lesson 101:  Why we need to change to PBE? (Presentation)
  1. Strategic Planning Update

Met and reviewed the feedback data from the surveys. 96% positive from the community and teachers.  We are making final changes and placing into charts with timelines for our goals.  Meeting one more time in February and bringing forward in March.

  1. Principal Search Survey Results and Posting Update (Results shared)

We had over 400 people complete the survey. Posting for the Principal will be posted by the end of the week based on the survey results and our high school principal job description. I have already received one application from an out-of-state applicant based on viewing the survey.


Superintendent’s Report January


Regular Meeting

6:00 PM, Monday, January 9, 2017

Brewer High School Lecture Hall

Superintendent’s Report

A. December Recognitions

  1. JMG has a new partnership in coordination with DHHS (Department of Health and Human Services) and OCFS (Office of Child and Family Services)  to work with a specific group of students in foster care with intent. As we know, this is a population who often falls through the cracks, despite everyone’s best intention and all the resources available to them. Between Sarah White and our JMG LEAP coordinator, Michelle Bourne, we are looking to close some of those cracks to make sure these students are getting all they are eligible for to best help them pursue meaningful careers and livelihoods. Four students were identified for the LEAP program. On Friday, December 16th, the students attended a training called Opportunity Passport, a financial literacy training.  In return for doing the training, the students earned $100 and a savings account that JMG matches dollar for dollar, up to $1000 a year.  These students will continue to be mentored during the high school personalized learning time and have additional scholarship opportunities as well.  Congratulations to Sarah White for bringing this program to our students.
  2. Skype with Antarctica:   The third grade recently skyped with researcher Jean Pennycook who studies the nesting habits of the adelie penguin.
  3. Congratulations to the Brewer Music Department (Brady Harris, Heather MacLeod and Lanissa Nadeau) for another successful winter concert season in December.  All concerts were well attended and the music was superb.

B. Strategic Planning Update

The community forum was held on December 8th.  We had about twenty people in attendance and collected data on the five focus areas.  This data along with faculty feedback data will determine the final draft.  Our next strategic planning meeting is on January 19th at 5PM.

C. Student Voice Group Update

The student group if finalizing their ideas on cell phone regulations within the high school to present to the faculty.  It is taking them a little longer to organize their thoughts but they are working hard to get this done.

D. Acting Commissioner Hasson Announces $3 Million Available for Grants to School Administrative Units for Regionalization and Efficiency Efforts (Article):  Why is this important?

I wanted to inform you about the recent announcement regarding regionalization and efficiency efforts from the Department of Education.  There is 3 Million dollars available in grant money for these efforts.  Penquis superintendents have a model already existing for how we run professional development through PREP for our region.  Due to this, we have been speaking about other initiatives that might bring money to our region.  Alternative education regionalization at the middle school level and transportation are some of the ideas being explored.  Article is provided for you.  

E. Freshmen Teaming Professional Development Day

On Friday, January 6, Renita Ward-Downer and I, lead a professional development day with the freshmen team teachers at the high school.  This retreat day focused on best practices in teaming models, creating foundation for improving teaming model at the high school, looking at grading practices in a proficiency-based model, reflected on our own grading practices, created common grading practices, reviewed our new data management system and discussed how we will manage two systems until we are able to make a full transition.  It was a very beneficial day.  We plan to offer similar days with other groups of teachers within the high school.

F. Getting Ready for Our Incoming Freshmen Class – First PBE Diploma Class

Starting Tuesday, January 11th, the high school begins their sending school district visits as part of our recruiting efforts for the 2017-18 school year.  The materials that are typically shared had to be revamped due to changes in the first PBE diploma class. We are visiting the following schools in January:  Dedham, Holbrook, Glenburn, Center Drive and All Saints.  Airline has no 8th graders this year.  There are 201 potential 8th graders from sending school districts that we will meet.  High school ambassadors will come with Perry Bennett, Samantha Pangburn and myself to visit these students.  We will review our academic programming, athletics, AFJROTC, PCHC, STEM*, clubs/activities, music, theatre, robotics, etc. (*New initiative in the budget proposal).  All students will be invited to participate in Step Up Day on January 26th.

G. Presentation to Penquis Superintendents at UTC in December on Brewer’s PBE Model, Curriculum and Transcript Process

I recently presented to the Penquis Superintendents, UMaine and DOE representatives regarding Brewer’s PBE Model, Curriculum and Transcript Process.  It was well received and many questions were asked.  This presentation and overview will be presented to the school committee in small pieces each month through PBE Lesson 101.  

H. PBE Lesson 101:  Learning targets guide what it is we want students to know and be able to do.  Teachers are currently working to align all courses and classroom lessons to learning targets.  (Handout from Empower:  New Student Information System)

Teachers are using Empower to identify standards to create learning activities/lessons that are aligned to these learning targets. Teachers are beginning to ask themselves how do I help students demonstrate their learning of a learning target?  As we move to proficiency-based education, it is important that teachers focus on the learning that is obtained on each learning target and create pathways for how students can demonstrate learning in multiple ways.  We will continue to provide professional development. The handout I have provided this month, shows you the system we are using.  It has the learning targets across the top, students and where students are at with each learning target.  Teachers will be practicing with this system during the 3rd and 4th quarter.
I. Update on Trademark of Brewer Witches and Mascot Process

I researched briefly the process of trademarking the “Brewer Witch” and the actual logo.  It is a pretty simple process that requires a search, which I already completed and there is not another Brewer Witch copyright that has been submitted to the US Patent and Trademark Office.  I also researched through the National Federation of State High School Associations to find out what other schools have trademarked logos/mascots/etc.  There have been quite a few high schools that have received cease and desist from colleges that have same logos or mascots as there are increased revenues for colleges/universities from logoed apparel and merchandise.  

  • High schools might be best served by trademarking their nicknames, logos and mascots, and copyrighting all design-related artwork for logos and mascots. Trademarks are obtained through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office ( and copyrights are available through the U.S. Copyright Office administered by the Library of Congress ( Easily navigable, streamlined application processes have been created for both and they are available at low cost (see websites for details). ($300/trademark)
  • High schools might be best served by using the NFHS Licensing Program through the Licensing Resource Group (LRG) to protect their marks and benefit from LRG’s marketing efforts to earn royalties on their marks. Complete information and an easy-to-complete online licensing agreement are available at the LRG website (
    • For more than 20 years Licensing Resource Group (LRG) has helped colleges and universities protect their trademarks, promote their brands, and generate profit through the sale of licensed merchandise. Now LRG Prep makes this possible for high schools as well. By joining the NFHS Licensing Program your high school is partnering with the industry’s premier trademark protection and brand-building agency.
    • LRG Prep offers high school administrators assistance with financial auditing of licensees, legal consultation, retail merchandising, e-commerce, and brand development – all at no cost to high schools. Please contact LRG Prep to learn more about controlling the use of your school name, logos, and mascot through the NFHS Licensing Program.

J. Update on Brewer High School Principal Hiring Process 

Position will be posted in February with interviews to begin in March.  Candidate’s name will be brought forward in April/May depending on timeline completion.