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10/02/2017

Superintendent search resumes, volunteers sought for search committee

The School Board is looking for volunteers to serve on the search committee as it resumes its search for a permanent superintendent. Parents and community members interested in being a part of the search committee should email Elizabeth Scifres, School Board chair, no later than Thursday Oct. 5. The board will appoint the committee at their Oct. 10 business meeting.

"The board is pursuing an aggressive timeline, with the goal of hiring a superintendent before the 2017 winter break" in December, the board announced in its newsletter dated Oct. 2, 2017. Start date for the new superintendent will be July 1.

The search committee will be made up of board members, central office and building administrators, teachers, parents, and community members. This committee will attend a mandatory training, then read, rank and make recommendations for first-round interviews. This same committee will conduct both first- and second-round interviews.

For more information about the time commitment of the search committee, please see the timeline page of the superintendent search website.

Here is the text of the newsletter:

Superintendent Search

The Cape Elizabeth School Board is excited to announce the commencement of its 2017 Superintendent Search.  The board is pursuing an aggressive timeline, with the goal of hiring a Superintendent before the 2017 Winter Break.  The start date for the new Superintendent is July 1, 2018.  The board is currently calling for volunteers to serve on the Search Committee, which will be made up of board members, central office and building administrators, teachers, parents, and community members.  This committee will attend a mandatory training, then read, rank and make recommendations for first round interviews.  This same committee will conduct both first and second round interviews.  For more information about the time commitment of the Search Committee, please visit the Timeline page of our Superintendent Search site, which is linked to the school department website.  Parents and community members interested in being a part of the Search Committee should email board chair Elizabeth Scifres, elizabeth.scifres@gmail.com, no later than Thursday October 5.  Members will be appointed at the October 10 business meeting.

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What's on the Agenda?

At our Tuesday September 12 business meeting the School Board welcomed new High School student representatives, Ali Ingalls and Emily Healy, who reported on athletics, as well as programs such as school-wide book groups, Seeds of Peace events, and FreshLink. (Upperclass students are paired with incoming freshman to help them better transition and navigate their new school.)  The students noted that there has been some initial student frustration around the implementation and use of the new iPads with keyboards, but that having a uniform set of technology throughout the building will work out well.  

High School Principal Jeff Shedd gave an update on continued communication about Proficiency Based Education and Habits of Work, that they were taking incremental steps to implement things, and brought attention to two upcoming parent forums, October 3 and 12, dedicated to those topics.  

The board then heard from our two new principals, Troy Eastman at the Middle School and Jason Manjourides at Pond Cove.  Mr. Eastman commented that he has felt great energy and enthusiasm in the building.  He noted that he has been impressed by the capability and kindness of our students and staff, and has loved getting into classrooms to get to know everyone.  Mr. Manjourides also commented on the positive energy of students and staff, and noted that there was great excitement in his building about the twice-monthly Professional Development Wednesdays.  Teachers are so grateful to have that much-needed time.  He sends out a very informative weekly newsletter that is also posted on the district website.  

Director of Special Services Jessica Clark reported that we currently have 157 students qualified for Special Education, with 13 more in referral.  She highlighted training for verbal de-escalation, which is open to regular ed teachers as well, and noted that incidents of restraint have dropped dramatically since staff have been trained in this method. 

Superintendent Howard Colter's report included a note that our enrollment appears to have stabilized (September count of 1605 students).   The School Board receives monthly enrollment reports, with numbers broken down by school, grade, as well historical data for comparison.  

Our September 26 Workshop was a walking tour of all three school buildings, led by our new Director of Facilities and transportation, Perry Schwartz.  Mr. Schwartz showed the board completed projects from the summer, such as new lockers in the 4th grade wing, deep cleaning and painting in the 6th grade wing, and new flooring in the HS band room.  He also talked about what was still in progress, including the Pond Cove playground.  The board noted the much improved conditions of all the buildings, and was impressed with the cleanliness.   Kudos to our maintenance and custodial staff!

Business meetings are typically held on the second Tuesday of every month and workshops are held on the fourth Tuesday of the month.  Agendas and topics are posted ahead of time and meetings are open to the public.  Please check the school district website calendar for specific dates, times, and locations. 
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Policy Update

The Policy Committee recently recommended passage of four policy revisions at the September 12th School Board meeting:

IGA:  Curriculum Development
IKE:  Promotion, Retention, and Acceleration of Students
IKF:  Graduation Requirements
JL:  Student Wellness

All revisions were crafted to better serve students in our schools and at times to meet current statutory requirements.  Curriculum must be regularly updated in accordance with Maine Department of Education learning standards, and substantive changes must be brought before the board prior to implementation. If regular grade promotion is to be interrupted through either retention or acceleration, parents will be inclusively and importantly part of that careful and well-reviewed decision.  Graduation requirements beginning with the Class of 2021 must reflect changes in diploma standards as required by the Maine Department of Education, with demonstration of proficiency in the areas of English language arts, math, science, and social studies.  Finally, changes in the wellness policy reflected recommendations made by the district's wellness committee, which included several staff members and a board member and a series of meetings over the past several months.  Highlights of the revisions involve the requirement of nutrition education, increased opportunity for physical activity for all students, and a new section with goals for social/emotional well being.  Goals will also be monitored and measured.

At the October 10th school board meeting revisions to Policy JJJ High School Co-Curricular and Extra-Curricular Activities Eligibility and Code of Conduct will be moved for approval.  Participation in athletic and co-curricular activities has always had an eligibility requirement based on academic grades, which is a requirement of the Maine Principals Association.  High school students will now also have to meet minimum standards in two "Habits of Work," which are an explicit and measured expectation for all students beginning this year:  timely completion of work, and remaining for extra help from school staff when scheduled.  Including them in eligibility requirements is an effort to encourage excellent work habits.

Monthly policy committee meetings are posted and open to the public.  Please check the department website calendar for dates, times, and locations.