MSAD #51 District Newsletter - February 29, 2024

From the Superintendent

porterBefore the break, I began a multi-part series around the Science of Reading, an approach being adopted by MSAD 51. This is the second of a four-part series on this topic.
During the first segment, I noted the recent research on literacy acquisition, also known as the Science of Reading, is not a 'program' but an approach that helps students deconstruct reading in ways that best set them up for success by using research-based instructional methodology. Being able to read fluently, i.e. at a comfortable pace with precision, is the goal of early readers. Reading proficiency is based on both the ability to decode (convert written words into speech) and comprehension (being able to understand what is decoded).

One of the main tenets of the Science of Reading is something known as the 'Reading Rope' developed by Dr. Hollis Scarborough. The premise behind this research is that the process of reading is not effective when isolated skills work independently of each other. Rather, reading must be an interwoven mix of strands that work together to help students master the process of reading. Dr. Scarborough found that when word recognition is integrated with language comprehension, reading fluency and comprehension strengthen. Word recognition emphasizes syllables and phonemes (phonological awareness), letter-sound correspondence (decoding), and sight recognition of familiar words. By grade 3, it is important for students to "anchor" 10-15 new words each day into their sight word memories so that they can recognize these words without relying on decoding.

The point behind word recognition is that early reading becomes increasingly automatic in nature. Though word recognition and comprehension skills work cooperatively, if a student is struggling with phonological awareness (parts of words) then this will slow down the ability to decode, recognize whole words, and ultimately to make meaning of these words. Next segment: Deeper dive into language comprehension.

Also, on Monday evening I will be presenting my recommended budget for the 2024-25 school year, to the Board of Directors, initiating the public budget process that continues through the budget referendum on June 11. Many thanks to the 2,425 respondents to the 2024 stakeholder surveys that were sent out in January to all parents/guardians, staff, and students in grades 3-12, representing about 45% of all stakeholders in these groups. A summary report of this year's survey results, along with comparative data from 2023, will be presented at Monday's Board meeting and shared in next week's newsletter.

Jeff Porter

GHS students have returned from another successful French Exchange Program in Barr, France. 

Notices from the Office of the Superintendent

Attendance Reporting

To further streamline our attendance reporting, families can now alert schools of their child’s late arrivals, early dismissals and full day absences through the PowerSchool Parent Portal by following these instructions.  
Note: Under Maine Statute §5001-A, planned absences require administrator pre-approval.  Therefore, these may not be reported in the portal and still require completion of a Planned Absence Form.
Attendance can still be reported with an email or phone call to your child’s school office.

Stay Connected 

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Find all the ways MSAD #51 shares information here.


MSAD #51 Board of Directors Information

All meetings will take place at 6:00 pm in the Gyger Room at Greely High School.  For those of you unfamiliar with that room, the Gyger Room can be accessed from the GHS parking lot (the side without the electronic sign).

March 4 - Regular Meeting

Remember you can watch our meetings on YouTube LIVE (

Meeting Dates, Agendas & Minutes
Board of Directors Meeting Videos

Community Partners

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

Parent University

March PTO Events

Community Notices

Community Notices are not affiliated with MSAD #51.  Please contact the organization directly with any questions.  For a full listing of Community Notices, please click HERE.

Cumberland/ North Yarmouth Lions Club Speak Out Competition

Oxfam Hunger Banquet

Footloose the Musical

Useful Links

Employment Opportunities

MSAD #51 Website

2018-2023 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 Melissa Porter 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