Superintendent’s Report July

BREWER SCHOOL COMMITTEE

Regular Meeting

6:00 PM, Monday, July 11, 2016

Brewer High School Lecture Hall

Superintendent’s Report

District Recognitions for June

  1. Cherrie MacInnes has been selected for the next round of Maine Teacher of the Year. We wish her well as she prepares her documents for the next step in the process and her interview process. Her beliefs around engaging students in the classroom through authentic learning experiences is commendable.
  2. Graduation was a beautiful event. We had 160 graduates this year and a special guest from the military surprise one of our graduates with a homecoming. Our chorus sounded beautiful, and Mr. Wall, Ms. Whalen, Mr. Ruhlin, and Mr. Maxsimic are to be thanked for a wonderful graduation.  Congratulations to all the graduates and their families.
  3. Closing ceremonies for our faculty were held on June 16th. We started the morning with a wonderful breakfast, and I’d like to thank Sandy Hodgins and crew for our tasty beginning to our day.  I presented on our “Storyboard” focusing on where we have been, where we are and where we are going building on the strengths of all in the room and learning from each other.  This storyboard will become a display and will be added to in the District Office hallway.  We also had awards for our faculty for their years of service, recognized our retirees, and had a closing video with a soundtrack from our Music Department with quotes from those leaving the Brewer District this year.

Strategic Planning Committee Update

 We met and celebrated our hard work for the year.  We made final recommendations based on the feedback survey we sent to the “ALL” mail group in the Brewer email system.  We had over 100 participants and a 97% approval rating on our vision.  We were pleased with the feedback, tweaked a few things and will present this policy to you later in the agenda.  We will continue our work next year bringing forward the focus categories and objectives for the district.

BCS/DOE Building Visit and CISV

Jerry Crouter from Drummond and Woodsum and I have discussed our building concerns with William Faucher from Allied Engineering.  This person will be helping us oversee the issues at BCS and helping Brian collect the evidence we need as we move forward on our repair issues and documenting any workmanship issues.  We have fixed the hot water issue within BCS in time for the Children’s International Summer Village (CISV) to begin.  They moved in on July 7th and will be using two wings of our building for the month of July as dormitories.

Administrative Retreat Plans 

The Admin Retreat will take place on August 10-12.  Our agenda will include the following topics: Empower (our new proficiency-based tool), Supervision/Evaluation Calibration and reflect on SLO data, MCCL curriculum and professional development timeline, New Teacher Orientation, District Goals for 2016-17 (SMART), Admin Evaluation Time (Peer Review & Observations of Admin giving feedback), Going over the 3-day kickoff, Mini-Walk-Throughs Feedback Form, Other

Admin folders will be created to include the following: dates of supervision meeting, site visits, A-team meetings, observation meetings.

Renita and I will be meeting on July 12 to plan the three days’ agendas.

Location:  TBD

End of Year DOE Reports

The following end of year DOE reports have been submitted:  Regional School Calendar, Student Enrollment Responsibilities, Behavior Reporting, Special Education Exit Reporting, Truancy, Attendance, Staff Data Requirements, PEPG Submittal.  These were all submitted on time.

The restraint and seclusion report is due on July 15th and will be submitted this week.

 

Superintendent’s Report June 6, 2016

BREWER SCHOOL COMMITTEE

Regular Meeting

6:00PM, Monday, June 6, 2016

Brewer High School Lecture Hall

Superintendent’s Report

District Recognitions for May

  1. Cherrie MacInnes was honored at the State House Hall of Flags on May 13, 2016, as the Penquis County Teacher of the Year. She will hold this honor for the next school year where she will be required to attend a number of engagements speaking on behalf of the Penquis regional teachers.  Brewer School Department is extremely proud of her and wishes her well on her journey for Maine Teacher of the Year.
  2. On May 16th, I took part in the annual interviews for the Bridge Year students where I interviewed four Bridge Year students: Angel Greer, Amber Burris, Tyler Friel and Jacob Dawson. These students demonstrated poise, character, and were knowledgeable in their areas of interest. Our Bridge Year teachers are to be commended for how they inspire these students to pursue college readiness and credits while in high school.  These students will essentially be graduating with their first year of college completed.
  3. BCS and BHS Jazz Concert on May 18th was remarkable! Celebrating the state champions of BCS and the magnificent sounds of BHS, the concert was mesmerizing. From the first song, My Funny Valentine, which featured Hannah Sabbagh on trumpet and flugelhorn, the individual state champion winner, to the opening number Brass Machine, which opened with a percussion solo by Peter Hilyard, to the very end where both groups received a standing ovation, you couldn’t help but have your feet tap along. All the students and the directors are to be commended. I, myself, would purchase the recording of this concert if made available.
  4. May 19th recognized two important events at the high school. The annual academic awards were given out in the morning and the evening, the senior scholarship night was held.  Both events were very well attended by parents and family.  It was great to see the number of students receive awards in the morning for attendance, athletics, academics in all content areas and overall academic performance.  In the evening, students were recognized for their four years of academic achievement through the support of many community businesses and other organizations that provide scholarships.  I am thankful to all of these organizations that recognize our students and education by providing the funding so our students can fulfill their dreams.
  5. May 24th was our 10th Anniversary Celebration of PCHC and the Brewer School Department Health Centers. Kevin Mannix was the guest speaker at the event.  I found his story extremely moving as he recounted pieces of his childhood about growing up in a household with parents that had mental illness and alcoholism. I also want to recognize PCHC and the BSD for working together for 10 years to provide physical, dental and mental health services to our students.  When students’ health needs are met, they are able to focus on learning in the classroom. Congratulations on 10 years and many more to come!
  6. May 25 marked the closing ceremony for the high school JMG program. This evening summarized the successes of the year, shared how they contributed to the community over the year, and ended with a class video. Sarah White and her students presented two checks, called the JOY award for 500 dollars each. The students fundraised, researched and decided whom should receive these awards. The JOY checks were: $500 to the Bangor Public Library to support their initiative to offer movies for children with Autism and other sensory sensitivities. The other $500 was to the American Red Cross to support a new training they are offering for teenagers who want to help with disaster relief. The 1st ever JMG Champion award went to the BHS Maintenance department for their help with our CDC displays and continued support.
  7. May 26 marked the AFJROTC awards banquet, UTC awards banquet and the BCS Spring Jazz Concert. It was a very busy night for our families that needed to be at all three events! AFJROTC had the senior cadets each make a speech about the program.  There were quotes from Forest Gump, thank you messages to parents, fellow cadets, and the instructors, and stories of growth over the last few years.  The message of how the seniors have bonded as a family was certainly present that evening.
  8. The UTC awards banquet recognized many Brewer students.  We had awards in multiple programs and overall academic awards as well.
    1. National Technical Honor Society: Allyx Hilman, Amber Burris, Angel Greer, Elijah Fournier, Emily Watkins, Emma Reynolds, Haley Earle, Hannah Laskey, Jacob Dawson, Mallory Bubier, Margaret Davis, Leah Swanson, Shane Mayo
    2. Life Smarts: Annalee Chute, Margaret Davis, Angel Greer
    3. Skills USA: Jake Boyorak, Automotive Tool Identification; Joshua Baillargeon, Firefighting; Riley Coleman, First Aid/CPR; Caleb Tarr, Power Equipment Technology
    4. Student Ambassadors: Jacob Dawson
    5. Most Improved Students: Lee Walsh
    6. Outstanding Student Awards: Christian Goodard, Sean McGinn, Haley Earle, Elijah Fournier, Mallory Bubier, Caleb Tarr, Joshua Baillargeon, Christopher Targett, Maxwell Hewes
    7. CNA: Riley Coleman, Nicole Holcomb, Alexandra Rideout
    8. CNA/CRMA: Selenia Giogia, Hannah Laskey, Emma Reynolds, Hannah Spencer-Cross

9. The BCS Spring Jazz Concert was the last concert for the 8th graders with this group and they were recognized for their hard work and dedication to this band.  The Brewer Music Association also gave out scholarships for music lessons and music camp to a number of students.  The final number of the night included Hollywood Milestones which had 11 iconic songs from Hollywood films.  It was a challenging piece for any high school band and to hear the perfection by a middle school band was simply out of this world.

10. May 27, the ALPHA program held their graduation ceremony. Several students gave speeches on what the ALPHA program meant to them, some made videos, and many talked about how the ALPHA program teachers made a significant impact on their lives. This program is an incredible attribute to our school department.  It meets the needs of our students that need a “simpler, quieter, supportive” atmosphere to complete their schoolwork.  Mr. Bloodsworth and Mr. Morris have amazing hearts that care deeply about the lives of their students.

  1. Strategic Planning Committee Update

The committee sent out a survey on the vision, mission and value statements to the faculty and other stakeholders.  The results of the survey have been extremely positive. We will be reviewing this survey and making final recommendations on the vision, mission and value statements to bring to the board for a vote in July.

  1. BCS/DOE Building Visit and Next Steps

We have met with the DOE regarding the following issues at BCS that stem from poor workmanship:  air leakage at windows, roof drain plumbing, water leaks, fire strobes in classrooms, roof windows, building heat, ventilation air, hood issue and hot water issue.

We have received permission to use remaining DOE building funds to repair these issues but we will be seeking repair costs from Nickerson and O’Day, WBRC, and Pella Windows. Letters to these companies drafted by attorney and myself will be sent this week.  The DOE is in full support of this plan of action.

  1. Drummond/Woodsum Superintendent Seminar Information

Attended Superintendent’s Conference with Drummond/Woodsum in May where we reviewed the changes in the laws school departments should all be aware of.  These were the highlights:

  • Educator Effectiveness Evaluation Approval due by June 1 (We have submitted with all required documentation.)
  • DOE Authorization/Certification/Approval – All employees must have either DOE approval/authorization and/or certification. We cannot hire anyone to work without these.  If we need to get someone in the classroom, the DOE does give an 8-week approval card.  They cannot work until they have this card.  They would be hired as a substitute during this time.  Brewer follows these laws.
  • Mental Health and Employees: What can and can’t we do? Train our supervisors on this.  We will add this training to our summer retreat workshop for our administrative team.
  • The Importance of Title IX- Training for all staff needs to be provided. We will use MSMA to provide this training in the fall.
  • Guidelines on Vendor Contracts and Common Pitfalls
  • Cash in Lieu and the Affordable Care Act
    1. Cash in Lieu should only be done if the employer is using spouse’s or significant other’s health care. We need this documented.  We do this already.
  • Special Education changes to how a student will be identified with a specific learning disability.
  • Standard Based Diplomas and how the new law changes how the IEP may drive the diploma for special education students.

5. AP Process and Selection

I wanted to take a minute to inform you of the process for the open Assistant Principal position.  While no one can fill Mr. Ruhlin’s shoes and he will be missed, we did have to begin finding someone who at least wanted to try.  If you looked over the job posting, you would see that the position moving forward had a few changes to it as we were looking at the needs for Brewer High School.  This meant finding a dynamic leader with knowledge about proficiency-based education, an understanding of best practices using our new curriculum, and an educational leader ready to provide support to students, teachers, and the community.  The job description was created by using the old job description and was then updated with a few changes regarding current educational practices with PBE and evaluation methods, as well as, our new curriculum.  Currently our AP works a great deal with student discipline as well as with faculty in the evaluation process.  We needed a candidate that had strengths in both of these areas.

All applicants were screened using a rubric based on the job description.  All members of the committee scored each applicant.  The administrative assistant then totaled up everyone’s scores and the top five were invited for interviews.  We then narrowed down to our top two candidates based on Round 1 interview questions which were also scored using a rubric.  The final two candidates were invited to visit BHS for the day on separate days. Each candidate then went through a second interview and was given a presentation topic to prepare a staff professional development training which they would then present when we visited their schools the following week.  Each person had the same exact time to prepare for the second interview and our site visit.

The interview committee then visited each candidate in their current settings.  At the visit we met with parents, students, colleagues and administrators.  We also viewed each candidate in the classroom. At the end of this entire process, the faculty at BHS was surveyed and the final candidate name was the preferred candidate 70% to 30% and was unanimously selected by the committee.

I am proud to nominate Samantha Pangburn of Ellsworth for the Assistant Principal position.  This will be her first administrator position, but she has been left “in charge” of the Ellsworth Technical Center on many occasions and is a leader within her building in many leadership roles.  She is ready for this task and comes to us with a lot of enthusiasm and skills.  This is what this high school needs.  The committee is very excited to have her.  She has experience in Restorative Justice, Proficiency Based Education, a background in Special Education, and is extremely organized and has a strong work ethic.  The connections she makes with students, parents and her community was a great strength that was evident throughout the process as well. She will begin to transition to her new position by working a couple of days with Mr. Ruhlin in June.  Welcome Samantha Pangburn to Brewer!

 

 

 

 

Superintendent Report May 9, 2016

BREWER SCHOOL COMMITTEE

May 9, 2016

1. April Recognitions

a. Law Day Essay Contest

Four Brewer students were honored for their efforts in the Law Day essay contest. Alyssa Patterson won first place; Evan Vidas took second place, and Annie Jewell and Annabelle Fernandez-Faucher received honorable mention for their essays. Congratulations to these students for their accomplishments and representing Brewer well at the event.

b. Robotics Report from Everett Bennett

What an adventure! The robotics team has returned from the World Championships in St. Louis. 600 teams from around the worlds were divided among eight playing fields; Orange Chaos was assigned the Archimedes field. After two days of qualifying rounds, the team finished as the 8th seed captain (out of 75 teams). During alliance selection, our team was chosen by the number 2 seed captain, an invitation we graciously accepted. The alliance was strong and made it into the semi-finals, after a few unfortunate mishaps of robot flipping, connectivity issues, and ball jams we were eliminated in the 3rd match. It was a disappointing finish but what an amazing 2016 Stronghold season! The team earned a captain status at every event attended and played through semi-finals or finals!

Big thanks to the mentors, parents, and grandparents who took personal time and money to travel with the team to St. Louis!! This experience would not have been possible without you! Special thanks to our chauffeur Peter, who shuttled the team back and forth from hotel to dome and everywhere needed! All this was possible because of the hard work and dedication of the team members, mentors, sponsors and our special donor who funded the registration for this competition. Thank you!!

c. Feature School Maine Special Olympics Newsletter

David Utterback received information and an electronic copy of the Maine Special Olympics Newsletter. In this newsletter, Brewer High School was the feature school for our experiences with Project Unify for the last three years.

d. KVAC Scholar Athletes

The following students were selected as the KVAC Scholar Athletes for 2016: Jamison Rhoads-Doyle, Kyle St. Thomas, Carter Smith, Oisin Biswas, Reed Davis, Meg Davis, Grace Smith, Madison Oxley, Ember Perry, Amber Burris and Drew Bennett. Students are selected based on GPA and participating as a student-athlete for at least one activity. The students attended a banquet on May 4, 2016, at the August Civic Center where they were recognized for their accomplishments. Congratulations!

2. Strategic Planning Committee Update

The Strategic Planning Committee met on April 28, 2016. During this meeting, the committee discussed and drafted a new mission and vision statement and also worked on the core values for the Brewer School Department that all stakeholders will work to uphold and use in our decision- making processes.

Draft Vision Statement: Brewer School Department is an innovative learning community preparing students to reach their full potential as leaders, learners, and critical thinkers in a complex and changing world. (Remember: Vision is a long-term picture of what the organization wants to become.)

Draft Mission Statement: Brewer School Department educates all students through relevant and engaging instruction to achieve personal success and contributes to their community. (Remember: Mission is a formal short written statement defining the purpose of the organization.)

Draft Core Values:

  1. We agree to promote positive relationships with all stakeholders, through transparent communications.
  2. We agree to prepare students for entrepreneurial thinking, college, and workforce readiness.
  3. We agree to respect our community through cultural and instructional responsiveness and communicative practices.
  4. We agree to develop personalized learning pathways for students through collaboration, student ownership, and goal setting.
  5. We agree to use cutting edge technology to enhance highly engaged teaching and learning.
  6. We agree that we will enhance our craft through personal and professional development, collaboration and continuous improvement.

At our next meeting, we will reflect on our work on the mission, vision, and values and prepare to send this to our stakeholders for feedback. We will also continue to work on developing our objectives in our five focus areas that have been identified for our strategic plan:

Focus Areas:

  1. Curriculum and Instruction: To provide teachers and students with the opportunity to participate in a relevant, rigorous, innovative and comprehensive learning environment.
  2. Professional Culture: To promote positive and trusting relationships with all stakeholders, through honesty and transparency, where people come first.
  3. Resources and Management: To identify, procure, develop and retain highly effective programs, materials and people consistent with the communities’ expectations of a high performing school district.
  4. Commitment to Community: To foster shared responsibility for students’ success by building trust, collaboration, and engagement among staff, families and community partners.
  5. Physical and Technological Infrastructure: To provide a functional and safe infrastructure that embraces technology as a tool to enhance highly engaged teaching and learning.

3. NEASC Visitation

We had Dr. Gasper from Connecticut and the NEASC committee complete their visit in April. I wanted to thank the David Wall, the steering committee, faculty, school committee, trustees, parents and students for helping to make the visit a success. Dr. Gasper mentioned time and time again how welcomed Brewer made him and the committee feel and left us with some valuable feedback to look at the reasons for our actions and to come up with our driving beliefs as a district. I believe we are on that pathway. I look forward to the NEASC report in the fall.

4. BHS Data Collection and Scheduling Meetings

Most of the month of April was spent working on the budget which included looking at student course requests for the 16-17 school year at the high school including incoming freshmen numbers. After all of these requests were pulled and sections created with class sizes of 20, each department was reviewed for an appropriate number of teachers compared to initial budget reviews based on this year’s student numbers in courses. We found that with an increasing need in English, Math, and World Language, that we added these 2.5 positions back into the budget for next year. Credit recovery courses were also added to the schedule so that students would be taught by certified teachers which are a requirement for the proficiency-based diploma in each content area. Bridge Year will continue for our current juniors in the program and due to lack of interest, we will not have a Bridge Year for next year’s junior class. However, we will try one more time next year to recruit for Bridge Year. We are looking at increasing college course offerings at Brewer High School through a program called Rural U. This would allow students to take a college course like US History, Anatomy, or Psychology with a teacher from Brewer. Guidance and administration need to work with teachers to see which courses can be offered next year. These courses would replace a section of a regular course we already offer. For example, if we have three sections of anatomy next year for a total of 50 students in anatomy and 20 students want to take that course for college credit, we could create one section for college credit and the other two sections for high school credit. This is an exciting opportunity for our students. After meeting with Mr. Wall and guidance on a couple of occasions, I have also met with teachers to help answer questions. Curriculum leaders are now working to assign teachers to the appropriate number, of course, sections to help guidance build the master schedule.

5. Administration Evaluations

I have met with administrators to complete their “mid-year” reviews, discuss their feedback surveys and discuss the final steps in the evaluation process. We will be finishing up their evaluations in June.

 

Brewer School Department Budget Process

April 13, 2016

Dear Brewer Community,

As I sit this afternoon at my desk reflecting on our week together, I wanted to take a moment and update everyone on our next steps through the budget process.  Our faculty members were recently notified of potential layoffs due to a decline in enrollment over the last ten years, a reduction in state subsidy, an increase to salaries and benefits and the fiscal responsibility we have to the tax payers of Brewer.  Many of you were able to attend my presentation to the faculty and many of you attended the school committee meeting on April 11th.  In an attempt to be transparent, I will post my presentation below for the community to understand why we are in need to “right size” our school department.  It is always difficult to hear about a reduction in force as we care deeply about the teachers that have helped our children gain an education, offer them guidance on and off the fields, and assist in life challenges.  To help ease this situation, the school department has offered a retirement incentive to those that are eligible to honor the work of our veteran teachers but also perhaps save some of our new teachers from losing their positions.  Please remember that when we have a reduction in force, the school department needs to follow the steps outlined in the teacher’s contract.

As we formed our budget, we had four goals in mind.  They were:

  1.  Create an educational spending plan centered around our students that prepares them for college, career and life.
  2.  A budget that is fiscally responsible to our Brewer taxpayers.
  3.  Maintain:
    1. Our academic programs aligned to our vision and mission
    2. Our athletic and club activities
    3. Opportunities in the arts and music
    4. Appropriate staffing and class sizes
  4. Keep up with facility maintenance and improvements

We also had some guiding questions in this process that we used to help us make difficult decisions.  Those questions were:

  1. What is in the best interest of our students?
  2. What is needed to continually pursue our mission of helping all students realize their full potential through high quality educational experiences that are personalized, differentiated and meaningful?
  3. What is needed to move forward on our five-year strategic plan?
  4. What is fiscally responsible to the tax payers of Brewer?

Through this thorough process, we looked at every corner of the budget.  We looked at patterns of expenditures and revenues.  We analyzed student projections, tuition students, reviewed course sign ups, class sizes, retirements, certification, insurance rates, and teacher requests.  However after building our first draft of our budget, we found ourselves with a revenue shortfall of 1.4 million dollars.  We needed to look deeper into what was happening in Brewer.  By looking at how the state funds our school district and our declining enrollments due to population declining in our city over the last ten years, we simply could not run our schools like we did in 2006.  We analyzed every program and found that we could offer the SAME educational programs with FEWER teachers.  While our student enrollment had declined by 300 students in the last ten years, our teacher numbers had declined by 6 and many of these were due to programs ending like co-op and industrial arts.

So what does this budget include?  A lot of wonderful items for our teachers and students.  It includes increased professional development for our faculty to help move our proficiency based educational system forward where students have choices in how they demonstrate their learning.  It includes a K-12 systemic curriculum that will help guide the work and instructional practices for our faculty.  It includes an informational data system to help our teachers group/regroup students based on their individual needs.  It also contains technology implementation for our younger students so that every classroom in BCS will be able to have a technology center.  It includes many of the supplies that teachers requested.  It includes access to online materials, purchasing of books, and new science supplies for K-12.  You may ask how can we afford all of this?  It’s simple.  This budget was built from the ground up refocusing our tax dollars on the true needs of our teachers and students.  This part of the budget is exciting.

So while we may have to say good-bye to some of our beloved teachers, the most difficult part of this budget, we are committed to helping them find new positions.  We are hopeful the retirement incentive will help in this process and know that next month will show a great deal of movement in our budget.  We are also still looking at other cost saving measures as well.

I am attaching a few items for you to look at and welcome any questions you may have. I look forward to providing the best educational system for our children.  They deserve it!

 

 

Sincerely,

Cheri Towle

Brewer Superintendent of Schools

Budget Presentation  Click here

Budget Summary Click here

Budget Explanation Click here

Expenditure Reductions Click here

 

 

 

 

 

April Superintendent’s Report

BREWER SCHOOL COMMITTEE

Regular Meeting

6:00PM, Monday, April 11, 2016

Brewer High School Lecture Hall

Superintendent’s Report

  1.    March Recognitions  Besides the many student recognitions at the beginning of our meeting, I wanted to recognize the following groups and their accomplishments in March:
    1. 3rd Graders Lobbying for the Crustacean Bill to become a Law
    2. Orange Chaos had an amazing district competition at Worcester Polytechnic Institute March 12th.  The team competed against 40 other teams from around the New England area, finishing 2 days of qualifying matches in 1st place! During the finals round, Orange Chaos was team captain of the 1st place alliance and was eliminated in the semi-finals.   The team was awardedExcellence in Engineering by the judging panel. This award celebrates elegant and advantageous machine features. Our robot scored the most high goals of the entire competition, had available a variety of autonomous programs for the robot to cross opponents’ defenses in the first 20 sec of play and was the first of only two robots to scale the castle wall. The judges recognized that our robot could tackle all aspects of the 2016 FRC Stronghold Challenge and looked amazing.  There next competition is Pine Tree on April 8th and 9th in Lewiston.
    3. Storybird Project: Michelle Macdonald and her creative writing students were awarded a $4000 grant by the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation to help them carry out their 1st grade personal story writing project for the next four years. (Letter enclosed).
    4. On Saturday, March 19, the Brewer Community School Jazz Band dazzled the adjudicators and audience at the MMEA State Middle School Jazz Festival at Nokomis HS, receiving a gold award and first place in the State for Division 2!  In addition, for her outstanding work on trumpet and flugelhorn, seventh grader Hanna S. was awarded one of 5 individual outstanding musicianship trophies.  Soloists Matt M. on trombone, Zoe V. on tenor sax and bass, Hanna S. on trumpet and flugelhorn and Adrienne F. on trumpet received outstanding musicianship certificates for their solos.  Judges comments included “most high school bands don’t play this well” and “fantastic job by all”.  The large audience in the Nokomis gym gave the band a standing ovation after their performance and word spread quickly throughout the festival about how well Brewer had performed.
    5. All that Jazz: For those that were in attendance at the All That Jazz Event at Peakes Auditorium on March 29th, you were truly treated to a great show by several area schools, but our jazz ensemble was the headliner. From the time we took the stage to begin setting up through the last note, the audience was engaged, entertained, and educated by our students and our performance. Peter Hilyard and Christopher Harris were the crowd favorites from an intense opening drum solo to some great trumpet playing. Several other soloists including Siera Desjardins, Nate Williams, Ben Byorak, Jon Donnelly, Paul Fortier, and Cam Billings also added to the level of excitement. When all was said and done, Brewer received the only standing ovation and the judges’ choice award. Outstanding work by our student-musicians!
    6. Key Club: I just wanted to share that the Brewer Key Club is pleased to be one of the clubs featured in quarters YanKey, the New England Key Club District Magazine.  This goes out to every Key Club in New England and Bermuda. This include over 175 clubs and 6,500 fellow Key   Irene Neal, our editor, submitted the article to the district.  She did a wonderful job.Here is the link to the publication: http://nedkeyclub.homestead.com/YanKey/YanKey-January-2016.pdf  Please take a look.  Her article is on Page 7.
    7. JMG students competed in the JMG Career Development Conference which was featured on the local news. We had a number of award winners at the competition.  They are:

3rd place – Group Challenge (had to create a mechanism to get across a finish line using a small motor, one battery, toothbrushes, tape, and a tongue depressor): Macey Sherburne, Marcus Nash, Nate Malo

2nd place – Job Application packets (resumes, job application, cover letter, and short answer questions): Jolene Hughes, Taylor Gamblin

1st place – Rat Race (get all members of a team through a puzzle without talking): Macey Sherburne, Nate Malo, Jolene Hughes, Marcus Nash, Mike McRae

1st place – Public Speaking (what JMG means to me): Sadie Ellis (received standing ovation)

1st place – College Admissions Interview (interview with college admissions representative): Macey Sherburne (not only did she win for our division, she won for the ENTIRE competition, beating out the next closest competitor by a landslide, yes, a landslide).

1st place – Marketplace (create a display representing the goals of JMG and present to a panel of judges, answering questions): Sadie Ellis, Taylor Gamblin

  1. League of Innovative Schools Conference  On March 17th and 18th, I traveled with Mr. Wall and a team of high school teachers to Massachusetts to attend a conference called “High School Redesign in Action.”  This conference represented the best schools in New England that have been innovative in meeting students’ needs in a personalized proficiency based system.  It was exciting as a leader to be reaffirmed in my beliefs, to have discussions with Mr. Wall and the high school team about proficiency based education, and to learn from others’ experiences.  To see the steps that the administrative team is discussing including professional development, curriculum and instruction development, and our strategic planning focus areas align to what these other school districts are doing was very powerful.  The administrative team will be participating in a summer retreat to set goals for the district aligned to our strategic plan, best practices, and making sure that everyone in the district is moving in the same direction with a clear understanding of our vision and mission as a school department.
  1.  International Students to Brewer High School 2016-2017 Update  I have continued to research bringing International students to Brewer High School through the help of Suzanne Fox, an International Consultant who has been helping schools set up International Programs for over 30 years.  She is currently working with the following public high schools:  Falmouth, Grant-Deuel, Kennebunk, Leland, Gray, Orono and Stearns.  She also works with the following private schools:  MCI, John Bapst, Erskine, Catherine McAuley, Lee Academy and many more in New England.  She works with schools to travel abroad where she already has connections to arrange for students to study in your school. Due to travel abroad times to recruit from various countries at school fairs, we have had difficulties meeting. At this time, I recommend taking the 16-17 school year to thoroughly research this process including community interest, training needs, processes, etc.
  1.  Strategic Planning Committee Update

            Committee met on March 24th.  During this meeting we reviewed the legislative updates regarding proficiency based diplomas.  The class of 2021 will be required by statute to be proficient in 4 content areas, class of 2023 must demonstrate 6 content areas and the class of 2025 must demonstrate all 8 content areas.  The state has given more time to implement all 8 content areas.

The committee also reviewed the data from the faculty feedback loops and the community forum.  We categorized the data by themes and organized these themes into the following categories to be addressed in our strategic plan: Curriculum/Instruction; Professional Culture; Commitment to Community; Resource Management; Physical/Technological Infrastructure and Student Services and Counseling.   At our next meeting we will review mission statement and develop core vision statements for each key area on the plan.  Each of these areas will eventually have goals with action steps.

  1. Governor LePage Visit

Brewer School Department would like to thank Governor LePage for recognizing our students and faculty by taking time out of his schedule to visit our school and sign the “Lobster Bill” in the presence of our students.  It meant a great deal to the students and they were excited to see the official document.  This authentic learning opportunity will be one the students will remember for a long time.

  1. Correspondence: Letter to Ms. MacInnes from Maine Lobster Festival

We received correspondence from the Maine Lobster Festival Board of Directors. This letter recognized the energy that the students of Brewer Community School have dedicated towards recognizing the Maine Lobster, the importance the lobster plays within the State of Maine as a natural resource, and the benefits that are enjoyed by promoting this unique resource.

  1. Ms. MacInnes Semi-Finalist for County Teacher of the Year

Finally, I would like to congratulate Ms. MacInnes as being selected as a semi-finalist for County Teacher of the Year.  We wish her luck as she moves on in the selection process.