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04/16/2019

School Board eyes new policy on distribution of non-school materials; alternatives for naming of school facilities

The School Board is considering a new policy governing school distribution of non-school materials.

The board's Policy Committee presented a draft to the full board for a first reading on April 4, 2019. The committee will continue review at their next meeting April 30 with possible approval by the full board May 14.

Currently the School Department has no policy for requests to post information in the schools, to distribute electronically or to send home in backpacks, said board member Hope Straw, chair of the Policy Committee.

"As we all know there's a flood of information and documents of all different kinds," Straw said.

To minimize intrusions on time for teaching and learning, the draft policy limits allowable materials to those directly related to school programs, curriculum or activities:

  1. Communications from the School Board, superintendent, school administrators and school staff such as newsletters, letters to parents, announcements of meetings or events, school forms, and classroom information;
  2. Information and notices concerning school-sponsored activities and programs for students and/or parents;
  3. Information and notices concerning activities and programs offered by groups affiliated with Cape Elizabeth Schools, such as parent-teacher organizations and booster groups; and
  4. Information and notices from municipal, state and federal agencies concerning programs available to students.

Straw encouraged everyone interested to take note of the proposed restrictions. "If it's not on this list, it's within the purview of the district to simply say, 'No'."

Naming of School Facilities Policy

Also on April 30, the Policy Committee will continue reviewing proposed updates to the policy governing the naming of school facilities.

The committee is suggesting alternative updates to the policy, which was created in 2007 and last reviewed in 2013. [current policy]. "Our policy is very simple," Straw said, and provides no process or criteria for naming.

One of the proposals directs the board to solicit public input before approving a naming request. Another would establish a committee to review and recommend requests, and would prohibit naming a facility after an individual, couple or family.

Board members at the April 4 meeting generally favored the committee idea, but some suggested restrictions, rather than a prohibition, on naming a facility after a person.

The proposals draw from examples in Maine and across the country. Straw said the details warrant a broader discussion and she encouraged board members and the public to submit suggestions or to attend the meeting April 30. The meeting will begin at 3 p.m. in the Jordan Conference Room at Town Hall.

A third update, to the policy governing English Language Learners, was also presented for first reading April 4. The draft modifies the language of the policy to reflect practices in the School Department's Lau Plan, a required plan that outlines services for English language learners.

Advertising, agenda policies approved

In other policy news, the board on April 4 approved updates to the policies governing:

  • Advertising in schools, bringing it in line with Maine School Management Association standards; and,
  • Agendas and agenda formats, codifying current practices for supplying and distributing supplemental materials