MSAD #51 District Newsletter - April 28, 2022

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From the Superintendent

I know the last two years have been nothing short of challenging for many students, staff, and families. But we must look for the silver lining in all of it, and this week we were reminded of this. US News and World Report, which publishes one of the premier national rankings for education, named Greely High School and Greely Middle School 6-8 as the #1 high school and #1 middle school in Maine, respectively. This is Greely High School's 3rd consecutive year and Greely Middle School's 2nd year being placed at the top. Both schools are also among the best in the nation, with GHS ranked with 18,000 other high schools and GMS ranked with over 100,000 other middle and elementary schools.
 
With two schools and multiple years of top-spot recognition, it is hard to argue that this is merely a fluke or an accident. It is important to note that the success of students in our secondary grades could not be achieved without a solid academic foundation established during the elementary years. So, then, what exactly is the 'secret recipe' for this success? As it turns out, it's not all that secret after all:
  1. Hard-working, all-around fantastic students;
  2. Dedicated, knowledgeable, and caring teachers and staff;
  3. Committed, consistent, and effective leadership by administrators in setting the conditions for learning;
  4. Supportive parents, families, and community members;
  5. Consistent, coordinated curriculum planning and professional learning time for teachers and staff (often during Wednesday early release time); and
  6. Relentless focus on student learning and instruction, despite two years of pandemic conditions and uncertainty.
This final 'ingredient' includes a key strategic priority lifted near the beginning of the pandemic by administrators and teachers. Focusing on the Essential Learning Standards at each grade level and content area helped keep everyone's attention on skills that were most important for students to attain by the end of each school year. A concerted effort to keep learning at the forefront helped schools largely avoid being unnecessarily distracted by the various competing demands for attention we witnessed over the last couple of years.
 
The US News rankings are just one indicator of our schools' effectiveness. There are many other indicators, as outlined in the district's Annual Report, but this recognition should nonetheless be proudly shared by all students, staff, families, and community members of MSAD #51. This is a clear testament to the value that is placed on education in our community, and it deserves our collective celebration. 

Regards,
Jeff Porter

5th graders
5th Graders at GMS 4-5 re-enact the Boston Tea Party as part of their study of the American Revolution.
 

Notices from the Office of the Superintendent

DRAFT Equity Policy Set for Review

An initial DRAFT Policy ACA: Equity, was first introduced by the Equity Leadership Steering Committee in June 2021. After much discussion, Policy ACA was sent to the district’s legal counsel for review, with recommendations to refine the policy and hold out more specific language for an equity plan. 

In January 2022, the Equity Leadership Steering Committee held a public event with approximately 90 staff, parents, students and community members attending. The policy was discussed and the consensus was that it was ready to be sent back to the Policy Committee to continue their work.  On February 17, the Superintendent shared a copy of the draft policy in the district’s weekly newsletter. The committee received some feedback from the MSAD #51 community at that time. 

Policy ACA: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Education will be presented and discussed at the Policy Committee on Monday, May 2 at 5:00 pm via Google Meet. If you have feedback that you would like to provide to the Policy Committee regarding this proposed policy, you may do so by completing this Google Form or by emailing the Policy Committee’s Board representatives: Ann Maksymowicz (amaksmowics@msad51.org), Mike Williams (mwilliams@msad51.org) and Vanessa Bryant (vbryant@msad51.org).

If the policy is approved at the May 2 meeting, it will be sent to the Board of Directors for their review and possible adoption. Otherwise, the policy will be sent back to the Equity Leadership Steering Committee for additional work.

COVID-19 Information Center

Updates have been made to the district's COVID-19 Information Center.  This page can answer your questions regarding:

  • Are you home sick today?
  • Have you tested positive for COVID-19 and have no symptoms?
  • Have you tested positive for COVID-19 and have symptoms?
  • Do I need to test to end isolation after testing positive before returning to school?
  • What if I am a close contact/ household contact to someone who tests positive?
  • What if my student is sick at school?

are you sick

UPDATE: Lead Water Testing at all Schools Now Completed

  • With the passage of LD 153 (An Act to Strengthen Testing for Lead in School Drinking Water), the Maine Legislature has mandated that all schools in Maine test their drinking water for the presence of lead. The Drinking Water Program has been charged with coordinating the effort, which went into effect October 1, 2021, and must be completed by May 2022.
  • Test results for lead in school drinking water are measured in parts-per-billion (ppb). Water fixtures with results over 4ppb are recommended for mitigation/remediation.
  • We surpassed the intended law and tested all water fixtures, including fixtures in non-drinking and non-cooking areas.
  • Earlier this year, we completed testing at GHS and MIW and the results were previously reported and posted on the district website. We have since remediated any fixtures that contained lead at or above 4ppb at both of those schools.
  • We have now completed testing at GMS 4-8, with the following fixtures found to contain lead and requiring remediation: Grade 8 bathroom #2; Room 139 sink with fountain; Room 139 sink #3; Room 139 sink #4 by windows; Room 110 sink; OT/PT room; Room 210 sink.
  • We are ensuring all drinking fixtures as listed above receive corrective measures, including full replacement as necessary. Until such time as remediation is completed, these fixtures will be unavailable for student and staff use.
  • It is important to stress that our buildings were idle for 3 months back in March-June 2020 and there are likely some effects from this on lead buildup in pipes.
  • Click test results to view all test results to date or go to the district's website at www.msad51.org.

Stay Connected

Subscribe to our District's weekly newsletter by clicking here.
Follow us on Twitter @SuperMSAD51
Like us on Facebook at MSAD #51
Find us Instagram @msad_51
YouTube Channel MSAD #51
 

COVID-19 Cases

Below is a snapshot of the current positive COVID-19 cases.  For more information, including updated information regarding COVID-19, please visit the COVID-19 Information Center at: https://sites.google.com/msad51.org/covid-19-information-center

Current COVID-19 Cases

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MSAD #51 Board of Directors Information

Meetings start at 6:30 pm in the Greely Center for the Arts at GHS unless otherwise noted.


May 2 - Regular Meeting: Board Approval of FY 22-23 Budget

Remember you can watch our meetings on YouTube LIVE (http://bit.ly/msad51livevideo).

Links
Meeting Dates, Agendas & Minutes
Board of Directors Meeting Videos
 

Budget Information 2022-23

Detailed budget information can be found on the District's website at: https://www.msad51.org/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=2401132&type=d&pREC_ID=2225922

22-23 Budget Update

On Monday night, May 2, the Board of Directors is scheduled to vote on the proposed 2022-23 school district budget. You can access the latest information on the budget HERE. Two important ways to participate and stay engaged in the budget process are upcoming: in-person vote at the District Budget Meeting on Thursday, May 19 @ 7pm in the GCA and by ballot on Tuesday, June 14 at your town's polling station.
 

Community Partners

Our Community Partners are strong supporters of various areas of the school.  Without them, our students would not have many of the wonderful opportunities and experiences that they receive.

Fill A Bus, Fill A Belly (May 2 - May 6)

The Greely PTO invites you to help feed local families in need as we attempt to fill a MSAD #51 school bus with non-perishable food items for the Cumberland Food pantry. The bus will be parked in the GMS lot from Monday-Friday and we will accept donations from 7am-6pm at the bus or at each school entrance. We invite you to also help us UNLOAD & CELEBRATE at the Cumberland Food Pantry on Saturday, May 7 for a family-friendly event from 7:30-8:30am. Thank you in advance for your support!  FMI, click HERE.

PTO Parent University: "Understanding Our 'Why'": Advancing Inclusion & Belonging in Our Community

Please join Greely PTO, Foundation 51 and the MSAD #51/Equity Leadership Steering Committee in welcoming Lawrence Alexander for an evening focused on “Understanding Our ‘Why’”: Advancing Inclusion & Belonging in Our Community. In this Parent University workshop, participants will build common language together to understand the value proposition of inclusion and belonging work, and families will learn how to best support their students as they develop their cultural competencies inside and outside of the classroom. Lawrence currently serves as a consultant on equity work to MSAD #51. All are welcome to attend.  Registration & More Information at bit.ly/UnderstandingOurWhy

Staff Appreciation Week! May 9-13

Please join the Greely PTO by celebrating our amazing staff and teachers at our three schools during the week of May 9-13! Help us show them gratitude and shower them with love for all the hard work they are doing. Please see the flyer for ideas or get creative with your own ideas!
 

Useful Links

Employment Opportunities

MSAD #51 Website

2018-2021 Strategic Plan

District Calendar

GHS Athletics Schedule

Greely Center for the Arts Events

 

If you would like something included in our weekly newsletter, please send a brief write up with title along with a JPEG or PNG image of your flyer (if applicable) to Fran Prentice for approval. The deadline each week is Sunday. Any requests received after Sunday will be reviewed for possible submission in the following week's newsletter. All approved submissions will be posted on the district's website.

Not all items in this email are MSAD #51 sponsored programs. If you need more information, please contact the group or organization that is sponsoring the event.

Maine School Administrative District #51
357 Tuttle Road, PO Box 6A, Cumberland, ME 04021
Contact Us   |    207.829.4800