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.

 

March Superintendent Report

BREWER SCHOOL COMMITTEE

Regular Meeting

6:00PM, Monday, March 7, 2016

Brewer High School Lecture Hall

Superintendent’s Report

A. February Recognitions

  1.  Letter to Mrs. MacInnes’ class from First Lady Barbara Bush 

I would like to take this opportunity to thank First Lady Barbara Bush for recognizing Mrs. MacInnes’s third grade class for their National Writing Award.  These students also were selected to ask a question during her Reading Discovery Distance Learning Program.

  1.  Letter to Mrs. MacInnes’ class from Senator Susan Collins 

Senator Susan Collins recognized the hard work of Mrs. MacInnes and her third grade class. The students were quite excited to receive this correspondence.

  1.  Letter to Mrs. MacInnes from City of Brewer 

On Monday, March 1, 2016, the City Council invited Mrs. MacInnes to their meeting to accept recognition.  City Councilor Joe Ferris asked that a resolve congratulating and recognizing Mrs. MacInnes and her class for winning the writing contest be on this City Council Agenda.  I want to personally thank the City Council for recognizing the wonderful actions taken by this teacher and the hard work her students continue to put forth.  Recently their story, Classroom Pets, was illustrated and read by Mrs. P.  Mrs. P. is actress Kathleen Kinney most remembered for her role as Mimi on The Drew Carey Show. Here is the link to the story:
https://youtu.be/2WVHsd4WJJM 

  1.  Letter from Senator Susan Collins to Superintendent Towle regarding Mrs. MacInnes’ third grade class

I also received correspondence from Senator Collins recognizing Mrs. MacInnes’s third grade class and encouraging all of the third grade to work with the state legislature to see the lobster become the Maine State Crustacean.  The news on this is that a bill has been written and the students will be lobbying down in Augusta this spring.  

  1.  Recognition of our Student Based Health Centers and Collaboration with Penobscot Community Health Center 10 Year Anniversary from the City of Brewer 

On Monday, March 1, 2016, the City Council invited Mr. Dusty Hillman, Ms. Kathy Sherman, and Ms. Carol Warmuth, as well as, all other staff that work in our our two student based health centers to attend the City Council meeting.  City Councilor Jerry Goss asked that a resolve recognizing each of them for the ten years that Penobscot Community Health Care has supported and partnered with the Brewer School Department to provide quality health care for the students of Brewer Schools be on the agenda.  I would like to commend PCHC and our dedicated staff for providing health care to our students.  Having been a teacher and an administrator in school systems that have a student health center and in some that do not, I was delighted to learn about our health centers.  Upon touring both of our health centers, I was impressed by the quality of health care we provide our students and the dedication to student health in Brewer.  I have always held the opinion that when students are healthy and all of their basic needs are met, students are in a wonderful place to learn.  I would also like to thank Jerry Goss for bringing this resolve forward and thank the City Council for recognizing PCHC and the Brewer Faculty for their dedication to our students and families for the last ten years.

  1.  International Students to Brewer High School 2016-2017 Update (Packet enclosed)

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.

This company has a strong reputation across upper New England for helping schools build successful international programs. They guide private and public schools through the entire process: from an introduction to SEVIS and its regulations, to an overview of the education system in China, and programs that will help faculty, students, and host families prepare for incoming international students. This organization provides faculty training, student orientation, host family background checks and placement services, monthly check-ins between the students and their home families, check-ins with the school, etc.

We are trying to set up a detailed meeting in March and I will have more to report out at our April meeting.  I’m specifically looking at numbers of students at public –vs- private school, start up costs and sustainability.

  1.  Strategic Planning Committee Update 

Committee met on February 25th.  During this meeting we reviewed the work that was previously done by Starboard Leadership and Jeff Wahlstrom.  It was nice to finally have clarity on what was completed in terms of a strategic plan.  The strategic planning framework was outlined with a mission, vision and six proposed strategic priorities.  This is as far as the committee did get in completing a strategic plan in 2012.  The current committee then broke into subgroups and compared strategic plans from other districts across the country discussing strengths in each creating a list of possible topics to include in our strategic plan.  We then reviewed our mission and vision and discussed the difference between these terms.  We also planned our community forum for March 10th at BCS at 6:30 PM and teacher feedback loop on March 3rd during the teacher workshop day. Our next meeting will be held on March 24th where we will review the input from the Community Forum and Teacher Feedback Loop to propose edits to our mission and vision, and draft our core beliefs.        

  1.  Budget Update 

Please see the one-page budget update regarding our progress on the budget process thus far.

 

February Superintendent Report

BREWER SCHOOL COMMITTEE
Regular Meeting
6:00PM, Monday, February 1, 2016
Brewer High School Lecture Hall

Superintendent’s Report

1a. Strengths of Brewer Activity/Blog and Responses
If you have not seen my blog yet, please read it on our district web site. This was an activity done with the teachers as part of our first week back to school after the holidays. It was a great way for me to learn about Brewer and a great way for teachers to reflect on their practice.

b. 8th Grade Step Up Day and Parent Night went very well. I want to commend Mr. Wall, Mr. Ruhlin, the faculty and student ambassadors that organized a great day that show cased the many reasons why Brewer High School should be their school of choice. Students went on tours, were welcomed into the gym and experienced a pep rally highlighting robotics and athletics, met the freshmen team teachers, had an interactive lunch, and completed a rotation where they learned about our art, JROTC, Outdoor Ed and Drama programs. The parent night was also very well attended.

2.  Strategic Planning Update
a. The strategic planning committee met on Thursday, January 28, 2016. After welcomes and an overview of school data and a brief discussion regarding current Maine law regarding Proficiency Based Diplomas, we discussed the work that was completed during the last gathering of the strategic planning committee in prior years. This was extremely informative as it helped with the understanding of the “missing strategic plan.” Jeff Wahlstrom from Starboard Leadership Consulting, worked with the strategic planning committee to develop survey questions. He then asked people from the community these questions and shared the data with the strategic team and a draft of a strategic plan which is included in your packets was developed by Jeff Wahlstrom. This draft consists of the following three goals with sample strategic action items:

1. Foster universally high expectations and aspirations for all students, while addressing inequities in learning opportunities across the curriculum and programs.
2. 21st Century Learning Expectations: Foster skills and knowledge for successful modern adult life, including critical thinking, collaboration, problem solving and innovation.
3. Develop and maintain a positive, student-centered school culture that reflects rigorous academics, strong habits of mind, a committed pursuit of excellence, and an environment of mutual, respect, responsibilities, and ethics.

It is important to note that the committee found this “draft plan” after our meeting. The Superintendent will bring this plan back to the committee. However, the plan was not finished and many of the committee members expressed wanting to see the surveys/plan to move forward to develop a finished product for our district. Finished products from innovative schools across the country were then distributed for the committee to review and critique.

b. Next steps for Feb. 25th Meeting

The committee will review the surveys/action plan that was started and compare this work to the completed strategic plans that were distributed. We will share thoughts of plan review from other districts and discuss preferred components of BSD strategic plan. We will also develop an action team for each component and plan our community forum.

3.  Budget Process Update

a. Met with Steve Bost and Karen Fussell on Friday, January 29, 2016 to discuss the budget process and highlight where the school department is currently in our early phases of the budget process.

b. Presentations to BCS and BHS
Delivered a total of three presentations to BCS and BHS. These presentations were well received and teachers, ed techs and directors have been completing budget requests. Please see the Budget Preparation Document in your packets for the questions that are guiding the work of the faculty. We have received 139 responses and the requests have been very reasonable.

c. Meeting with Trustees (BHS Building Improvements)
Trustees looked into a QZAB loan which would require a 10% matching donor for any new improvements to the high school. I shared concerns regarding reducing our debt service ratio prior to starting any new projects at the high school. While I support continued building improvements, I’d like to see us be able to put money back toward instructional supplies and professional development lines. With the tasks we need to complete regarding personalized learning in our mission statement, our teachers need the professional development and the supplies to make this mission a reality for our students. The trustees were very understanding of this and also understood I wanted our building to be in tip top shape and supported monthly building walk-throughs to make sure we are keeping up with maintenance.

d. Administrator Contracts (Feb 15th Deadline)
I am meeting with all administrators to discuss their contracts by the end of this month. All administrators will receive a letter by February 15th based on that conversation regarding extending their contract out an additional year or maintaining their current contract. Salaries will be discussed during the budget process.

e. Building EPS Studies
Please see the building EPS studies in your packets. Currently we have no teachers leaving due to retirement. There needs to be a conversation regarding where we are going to find some savings. We will have weekly meetings with admin in February and I will share updates with the school committee.

f. UTC Budget and Implications
UTC is looking at a 10-15% increase in their overall budget this year due to a number of years staying flat or having a minimal increase. They also are looking at capital improvements including a new roof, windows and parking lot costing approximately 2.5 million dollars. All of this has an effect on our budget.

g.  Revenue idea for 17-18 school year in New Business
Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) is a part of the National Security Investigations Division and acts as a bridge for government organizations that have an interest in information on nonimmigrants whose primary reason for coming to the United States is to be students. See expenditure sheet for new business.

4. Superintendent Convocation
Attended the Superintendent Convocation in January where I met many of my colleagues throughout the state. During this meeting, a number of issues were discussed around current legislation and a guest presenter, Dr. George Manning, shared on the topic “Organizational Climate” looking at how to build community in the workplace through shared vision, diversity, shared culture, communication, trust, shared leadership, developing your young members, positive reinforcements and alliances with outside groups. I was proud of Brewer as we have so many of these already in place or are working toward these with our strategic plan.

5. Thomas College Curriculum Coordinators/Superintendent’s Meeting
(Maine Curriculum Leader’s Association, Thomas College, January 29, 2016)

This meeting was a gathering of curriculum leaders, superintendents, and state representatives from the Education and Cultural Affairs Committee including Tori Kornfield who is the Chair of this committee. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss how to “right size” the current law LD 1422 regarding Proficiency Based Diplomas. We discussed the following:

1. Explore and identify cross-district common ground regarding standards, proficiency, and equitable opportunity to learn for all Maine students;
2. Identify the underlying issues and complexities contributing to common implementation challenges;
3. Draft key decision making criteria to inform state policy on standards, proficiency, and diplomas.

I do expect changes to this law but these changes will benefit students and fix the key issues and concerns within the law. Proficiency based diplomas will still be the main part of this law. The law will just be amended to meet the needs of ALL kids.

6. Cyr Bus Changes and Training of Bus Drivers
I met with Cyr bus with Reg Ruhlin, Jason Richards, and Dan Costain. We discussed how we can meet the needs of our parents, students and faculty and ensure the safety of our students while on the bus. We have arranged for a new bus discipline system where the school system will receive the bus slips and the students will meet with our administrators. There will be direct communication between the school and our parents. This system is used with many other districts and works well to have parents know that regardless of where their child might have a concern, they call the school. Our goal is for better communication between parent, student, school and bus driver with this system. We are here to help. We also have access to the video tapes without having to wait for them from Cyr Bus. We also will be doing a training with all the bus drivers after February vacation that will align with our school policies and expectations.

7. Penobscot Job Corps Luncheon/Visit and Tour
I was recently invited to the Penobscot Job Corps. I have always believed in Job Corps and the role this program can play for those few students that end up on our high school drop out list each year. The Penobscot Job Corps program gives these students another pathway to reach that diploma when all of our other pathways have not worked. I have seen this program provide job skills and provide a high school diploma that still meets the sending schools diploma requirements. I was impressed by the number of programs, how the academics are aligned with the high school and how easy the entry process is for the students. The number of students that graduate and have jobs lined up for them after graduation is also impressive. This program could save one or two students a year and would still count as a student graduate for Brewer instead of a student dropout. I will bring more on this program in March. I understand that the school committee discussed this last year but I would like for you to discuss it again with a clear understanding that this program is another pathway for maybe only 1 or 2 students a year if needed. There is no cost to Brewer for being a part of this program as the student still counts as a student on our roster.

Strengths of Brewer

Recently to start the year, I asked the faculty of Brewer to participate in a back to school activity where we reflect on our practice and our memories of Brewer, and share what makes Brewer School Department an exciting place to work and the best place to send our children to for their education.  In my first three months as Superintendent, one thing I have learned is that there is a strong commitment to education in Brewer and the community support is something I have not seen before in my 23 years in education.  I have heard the phrase, “teachers care about kids” and “teachers love what they do”, many times in my career.  I have met many remarkable teachers along my path as well. However, there is something special about Brewer.  I have been trying to describe it to the people that I meet, and the phrase “community of caring” is a good start but it is so much more than that.

From my very first interview, I remember telling my husband, we are moving!  The connection to the people around the table asking me questions and the connection to how this town supports not only their children but each other in times of need, I see everyday.  For example, when you get welcomed into Brewer, you get little care packages at your door, you get people that check in on you to see how you are doing, you get asked to dinner, you get that perfect little note in your mailbox when you are least expecting it.  In Brewer, everyone seems to know what is happening to everyone, but we also lend a helping hand without even thinking about it.  I have seen teachers during this holiday season, donate numerous gifts and food items to make sure children had a Christmas.  I have seen businesses call our schools to ask how they can help out and I have seen the numerous donations that support our schools each month at our School Committee meetings.

One of the things I have learned is that family has a strong presence in Brewer.  The generations of family that have gone through our schools and the number of employees that use to be students within our school system is amazing to me.  People always come back to Brewer to give to this community.  In the next few months, the district will be undergoing the strategic planning process where we will look at our vision and mission of our school department.  This process started in 2011 and fizzled out a little over the last few years.  Another strong showing of community is that when these members of this committee were called, they were all too eager to come back and represent their prospective areas and serve on our planning committee again. Another example of Brewer’s strong community and dedication to our schools!  During this process we will have a community forum and I will be asking for your voice in what we do well and what you would like to see us improve upon.  This is important in mapping out our plan for the next five years.  I look forward to having you participate through either online surveys, in person at our community forums, or in smaller neighborhood meetings.

Recently I presented to the faculty regarding pieces of our vision and mission focusing on student-centered and personalization of instruction.  Offering our students multiple pathways to demonstrate their learning and multiple pathways to earn a diploma with strong programming is a goal for Brewer.  We believe that all kids can learn and our faculty works hard to help each child find a way to demonstrate that learning.  We offer some of the most unique programs in the state from our Forestry and Outdoor Education program to our Air Force JROTC program where you can actually get your pilot’s license!  If art and music are your niche, our award winning band, new Art wing, and drama program are simply out of this world.  Brewer offers multiple AP courses, dual enrollment college courses, and support for all students to be successful.  I could go on and I have in my prior article that was in The Scholar  that was mailed to all of our Brewer residents written and published by our students.

As I close this entry, I wanted to share with you some of the statements sent to me by the teachers.  I have put a slideshow together for you that you can view.  Please enjoy.  And if you ever have a moment, please stop by the office and say hello.  I love to meet and talk with the people that make Brewer such a dynamic community to live in and raise our children in.

Please click here to enjoy the show!