The 2013-14 school year has come to a close. Hallways are empty with the exception of a few staff members and our custodial crews who have already begun preparing rooms for next year. This is an ideal time to reflect upon the year and express our gratitude for your continued support.
Our School Board begins every meeting with recognitions, including student, staff and school accomplishments. There have been far too many to identify. Many of these are in the field of academics, athletics or clubs. We are proud of them and their significant achievements.
As the year finished, we sent off the graduating class of 2014, with many headed to continued training for careers, the military, colleges and universities. The graduates, in receiving their diplomas, have completed this K-12 portion of their education. We anticipate their continued success as life-long learners.
Education in Maine is at a critical junction in the road. Our state has adopted new standards that are more rigorous than the previous version. With that comes an entirely new assessment system – Smarter-Balanced. Maine has also replaced the former graduation requirements based upon credits and years with a system that requires students to demonstrate proficiency in order to earn a diploma. Every district in Maine will decide for itself what that means, how proficiency is measured, and how we support those students at risk for not meeting proficiency. We have a Steering Committee that includes student, parent, teacher, administrator and School Board representatives. It is important we do this work wisely. Students graduating in 2018 are expected to demonstrate proficiency; and many districts, including M.S.A.D. No. 75, will seek an extension so that the changes we make can be thoughtful, deliberate and enduring.
As I look back on the year, it is clear to me that we are privileged to have such wonderful students. There is simply something different about them, a compassion and inclusion that separates them from the rest. We have teachers, support staff and administrators, who show their commitment hour by hour, day by day. Guiding it all is our School Board which sets the policies and direction for us.
Just as importantly, we have a community that supports us. Voters approved a budget for 2014-15 that removes our reliance on fund balance and for the first time in many years….allows us to retain all of our current programs and personnel! Thank you to Bowdoin, Bowdoinham, Harpswell and Topsham residents for making this happen.
I hope the summer break will provide rest, fun and time with those you love. The school bells will toll once again in the not-too-distant future. Until then, savor the success that has been accomplished in every school and department in our district.
Bradley V. Smith