Welcome to the 17-18 School Year!

It is hard to believe the end of August is closing in and students will be heading back into our schools shortly.  Teachers will arrive back into their classrooms next week for three days of professional development to prepare for the new school year.

Here are a few important dates to keep in mind as the school year begins.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017  Brewer Community School PreK-4 Open House 4:30PM-8:00PM

  • Click here for more specific dates and times for each grade level in the letter that was mailed home.

Thursday, August 31, 2017 Brewer Community School Grades 5-8 Open House 5:30 PM-7:00 PM

  • Click here for the letter that was mailed home.

Thursday, August 31, 2017 Brewer High School Grade Nine AND New Student Orientation Day 8AM-11AM

  • Buses will run to pick up and drop off students this day.

Monday, September 4, 2017 Labor Day No School Today

Tuesday, September 5, 2017  First Student Day PreK-Grade 12  Welcome Back Everyone!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017 BCS Fall Sports begin after school.  Please make sure your students have their physical examinations on file prior to team tryouts.  A physical exam is valid for three years.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017 Brewer High School Open House 6PM-8PM

New Bus Routes will be posted shortly.  We are waiting on final confirmation from Cyr Bus.  I am hopeful to have them posted for you by Friday, August 25, 2017.  Thank you for your patience.



August Superintendent Report

Superintendent of Schools 

School Committee Meeting

August 14, 2017  6PM

  1.  MSMA – Increased funding in budget comes with new rules, priorities (enclosure)  There will be an informational session by Drummond Woodsum on September 8.  I will be attending to get more information for the upcoming budget season.
  1. Athletic Meetings – I have been meeting with all eight high school teams to discuss new eligibility with parents and students.  This eligibility includes a separation of content grades and habits of work grades beginning the first quarter for all high school students.  The rubric can be found on the athletic web site.
  1. Golf Fundraiser – Congratulations to Mr. Utterback and everyone that volunteered.  The annual summer fundraiser brought in over 12K.  Thank you to the community, parents and athletes that volunteered their time. This money helps pay our MPA dues and helps fund uniforms for our students.
  1. TAP Renovation – Before you leave tonight, please poke your head into the TAP rooms.  The renovation is running ahead of schedule and coming along very nicely.  As a reminder, most of this renovation is being paid for by a grant we received.
  1. Administrative Retreat – (August 14-16) Administrators spent three days together planning for the start of school with teachers and students.  The retreat location was at our schools this year.
  2. District Enrollment/Student Count Numbers (enclosure)  Click here for enclosure. 

Note:  High school registrations have not been added.  This will be done on August 15.  More accurate data will be reflective in the September meeting.

  1. Summer Work Updates
    1. Preparing for Proficiency-based Education
      • Family Grading Guide – draft in process; will be posted on web page by start of school
      • Empower System – working to get all of our standards marked to our courses by start of school
      • Infinite Campus – working with IC to get our Habits of Work as a separate grade in IC for each course
      • ASL Standards – met with Mr. Wilbur to draft standards to align with our World Language standards to update in Empower
      • Habits of Work – redesigned our rubric to share with students and parents at eligibility meetings; teachers will receive more training on this during opening days of school especially at the high school
      • Website Update – updates are ongoing; a proficiency-based page will be added
      • TAP Renovations/BCS Floor Refinishing – on time and floor is done
  1. Admin Retreat/Planning for 17-18 Strategic Year – completed
  2. Title I and Title II Grants – completed
  3. EdYouSched Application Set Up for HS – sent to EdYouSched and waiting for login information to train teachers
  4. Job Descriptions Updated for District – all teacher/coaching positions updated; working on non-union descriptions currently
  5. Loss of funding to school based health clinic.  I am working with PCHC to find new funding and grant money.  Our clinics will run the same this year.

Superintendent’s Report July


Monday, July 10, 2017

6:00 pm

Brewer High School Lecture Hall

Superintendent of Schools

  1.  New Ambassadors- Nine new members will be joining the team in the fall:    Krystal Baillargeon, Olivia Catton, Alyssa Cottrell, Riley Curtis, Anna Jewell, Andrew Kiley, Cameron Monroe, Sean Neal, and Grace Robertson
  1.  Thank you letter from a grandparent attending graduation (enclosure)
  2.  Updated Regulation EFC-R-1 & 2 lunch prices for 2017-2018 These are mandated prices. (enclosure)
  1.  Brewer School Dept, Wellness Team, End of Year Report 2016-2017 (enclosure)
  1.  Budget Update and Discussion (waiting on MDOE for an update)
  2.  Meeting with Systems Engineering – An assessment of our system was completed and a report was shared.  Recommendations included installing new servers, firewalls, wireless devices and switches.  We will be making a plan to how we can best remedy this situation.  We also discussed employee security awareness training which we will do in the fall.  There is a possibility for some funding through erate funding but that application cannot be submitted until October.
  1.  District Numbers, June and July (Enclosure) This will be included in your monthly packets each month so there is no confusion on number in, number out and our total student count each month.  Click here for district number enclosure.
  1.  Student Eligibility Meeting with Mr. Utterback

       With Proficiency-based education, student eligibility will be changing some starting next year.  For Fall athletes, our old practices will stay the same where freshmen get a clean slate and 10th-12th graders cannot play if they fail three or more courses.  Failing two courses puts them on probation.  All of this will still hold true for the winter season except the entire high school will be grading habits of work next year.  This means that every course will get a content grade and a habits of work grade.  Students must have a habits of work grade of a 2.5 and still meet the same expectations of passing their courses as before.  If a student is placed on probation, he/she has two weeks to bring up his/her grades.  As a reminder Habits of Work includes completing homework, meeting deadlines, and being prepared for class.  We will be letting parents/students know about this change at multiple fall meetings so students will work at both grades in all classes to make sure they are still eligible to play.

  •  Summer “Projects”
  • Preparing for Proficiency-based Education
  • Family Grading Guide
  • Empower System
  • Infinite Campus
  • ASL Standards
  • Habits of Work
  • Website Update
  • IT Systemic Plan and Get ALL new machines ready
  • TAP Renovations/BCS Floor Refinishing
  • Admin Retreat/Planning for 17-18 Strategic Year
  • Title I and Title II Grants
  • EdYouSched Application Set Up for HS
  • Job Descriptions Updated for District


Superintendent’s Report May

Monday, May 15, 2017

6:00 pm

Brewer High School Lecture Hall

Superintendent of Schools Report

  1.  Review/discussion of 2017-2018 meeting schedule Regulation BE-R
  2.  Planning for Proficiency Based Education Briefs #7,8,9 update (enclosures)
  • #7 Assessing Maine’s Guiding Principles – Our curriculum does this through Habits of Mind and Complex Reasoning Processes.  
  • #8 The Report Card – Our Empower Reporting System prints out report cards that separate content standards, behavior and work habits from each other.  Teachers at the high school spent last Wednesday working on a family grading guide using our existing policies already passed by the school committee this year.
  • #9 Transcripts – The School Committee already approved a transcript policy and our new reporting system addresses the PBE requirements.
  1.  Robotics District Championship results (enclosure)

Orange Chaos finished the 2017 competition season ranked in 15th place out of the 196 New England Teams!  They also took home the Imagery Award.

  1.  BCS Math Team – From Cathy Atwood:  Ending the year with a third place in the Eastern Maine Math League was very satisfying.  Our students performed very well during the year and we came home from the meet with several awards.  We had at least 36 students participate during the year and we took 24 students to the final meet.  Other than our third place for the year, the 7th-grade Team 1 came in third for the year and we had several individuals honored as well.  Hanna Sabbagh was in the top ten for the year for 8th graders, Ryan Young, Swaroop Handral, and Cooper Parlee were all top ten for 7th graders, and Colin Kimball only missed by one point in the 6th graders.
  2.  From Michelle MacDonald – Senior, Lily Cohen won the state level Speak-Out contest held at the Black Bear Inn against 5 other contestants from regions around the state.  The state level was the final level of competition. We are so proud of her and how well she represented  Brewer High School all the way through this competition.  She really rocked it.  Go Lily!
  3.  From Art Libby – Hello,  I know it has been quite some time since we did the Pennies for Patients Fundraiser.  Sorry for the delay but it took a bit longer then we had thought to count and submit the funds and receive confirmation from Lymphoma and Leukemia Society.  The top three RTIgroups were Mrs. Jordan, Mrs. Butler/Emerson, and SMSgt. Campbell/Col. Magnan.  We were very pleased to have raised $462.49.  The Top three classrooms will receive a banner as a thank you.  While we fell short of the $650 for the Olive Garden prize, the NHS has decided to supply a small thank you (donuts and the like) for the top 3 classrooms for what they did to help out this cause. We will be in touch soon to work out the details with those RTI groups and again thank you to all those that took part.  Thank you, Art Libby NHS Advisor.
  4.  Luke Charette, a freshman, has earned his Eagle Scout. Congratulations to him!
  5.  Rebecca Wood, sophomore, received honorable mention at the Law Day essay contest for her essay on the 14th amendment.
  1.  Senior, Austin Lufkin earns top honors at Varsity Maine Awards (enclosure)
  2.  Update on Penobscot County Teacher of the Year selection (enclosure) Congratulations to Arthur Libby.  He was chosen as a finalist for the Penobscot County Teacher of the Year and interviewed in April.  While he was not chosen as the Penobscot Teacher of the Year, he is to be commended for the work he does in the classroom and outside of the classroom with the many co-curricular activities he supports.  Mr. Libby represented Brewer well with the Teacher of the Year selection committee.
  1.  Freshman, Kaycee Laffey was chosen as a semi-finalist in the national Letters About Literature contest from the Library of Congress.  (enclosure)
  1.  Attended the Law in Review Conference on Friday, May 12 to gain an understanding of the changes in statute that were implemented.

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 <jpactivityfund@gmail.com> Date: March 22, 2017 at 1:31:03 PM EDT
To: ctowle@breweredu.org
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 <jmoffitt@brewermaine.gov> Date: March 22, 2017 at 1:25:41 PM EDT
To: Cheri Towle <ctowle@breweredu.org> 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.