Category archives for: Book Learnin

Scarborough Schools Need an Extra $3.3 Million to Put New Tennis Balls on all the Chair Legs

Classroom. Maine news from The Rumford MeteorScarborough Council Chairwoman Jessica Holbrook was clear this week that she would not support a 6 percent proposed increase in spending, while other councilors stressed there’s still a long way to go before a final budget is adopted. Under the nearly $80 million spending package unveiled last week, residents could see a 8.5 percent tax rate increase to $1.28 per $1,000 of valuation, which represents an increase of almost $4.6 million, according to documents presented to the council by Town Manager Tom Hall. The increase would cost an additional $383 for a property worth $300,000. The proposed municipal budget for the new fiscal year, which begins July 1, is $30.4 million, which is a $1.1 million increase in spending. The proposed school budget stands at nearly $47 million, which represents an increase of about $3.3 million. The sharp increase in school spending includes a proposal to spend $935,000 on new technology, including laptops for every high school student; a $336,173 increase in debt service; and an additional $386,000 for what the school department is calling an education improvement plan. Hall presented the combined municipal and school budgets to the council at its meeting on April 1. After hearing the initial details, Holbrook told the Current, “I do not support the proposed budget for several reasons – the first being the total cumulative impact to the tax levy.” (read more at the Scarborough Current)

Good News: Maine’s 10 Persistently Lowest-Achieving Schools Now Just Plain Suck

Classroom. Maine news from The Rumford MeteorBANGOR, Maine — Five years ago, 10 Maine schools got either a wake-up call, a slap in the face, or both when the state Department of Education released its first list of “persistently lowest-achieving schools.” Included on the list were K-12 schools where students showed low levels of proficiency in math and reading results during the previous three years. The schools were located across the state — the Gov. James B. Longley Elementary School in Lewiston, Riverton Elementary School in Portland, Deer Isle-Stonington High School, Sumner Memorial High School in Sullivan, Houlton High School, Carrabec High School in North Anson, Hodgdon High School, Lake Region High School in Naples, Livermore Falls High School and Madison Area High School. The list was a hard pill to swallow for these schools and their communities. Parents suddenly discovered their kids were attending schools that, according to federal standards, weren’t passing muster. Still, there was an upside, several administrators said in recent interviews as they reflected on the inglorious designation. It got the communities involved and on board with change, and qualified the schools for financial assistance to help right the ship. Since being placed on the list, six schools have seen varying degrees of improvement in standardized testing results, two have stayed relatively flat, one with significant demographic challenges continues to struggle to meet standards and one school no longer exists. Even those that didn’t see marked improvement in proficiency results reported other forms of success, including increased graduation rates, reduced disciplinary issues or improved overall “school culture.” Six of the schools took federal funding to help sort through their issues, while the rest tackled the problems on their own.(read more at the Bangor Daily News)

Maine Woman Accepts Teaching Prize From Sheik Yerbouti. And an Actual Sheik

maine teacher wins prizeDUBAI, United Arab Emirates — An English teacher from rural Maine won the $1 million Global Teacher Prize on Sunday after 42 years of work as an innovator and pioneer in teaching literature. Nancie Atwell plans to donate the full amount to the Center for Teaching and Learning which she founded in 1990 in Edgecomb, Maine as a nonprofit demonstration school created for the purpose of developing and disseminating teaching methods. The school says 97 percent of its graduates have gone on to university. Atwell said that winning the award is a valedictory for her life’s work, but that her true validation comes from the responses of students. “I really find that I’m validated every day just by the experiences I have with children in the classroom,” she told The Associated Press after receiving the award. Atwell was selected from a pool of 1,300 applicants from 127 countries. The top 10 finalists, which included two other teachers from the U.S. and others from Afghanistan, India, Haiti, Cambodia, Malaysia, Kenya, and the U.K., were flown to Dubai, United Arab Emirates for the ceremony. The winner was announced on stage by Sunny Varkey, founder of the non-profit Varkey Foundation that focuses on education issues and founder of the for-profit GEMS Education company that has more than 130 schools around the world. (read more at the Maine Edge)

Tween Girl Says She Likes That Song From Glee. No, Not That One. The Other One

ellsworth middle schoolELLSWORTH — Audiences at Ellsworth High School were royally entertained for eight solid hours last Friday by high school and middle school show choirs at the District VI Vocal Jazz Festival. Through song and dance, these talented kids took us on a fabulous itinerary of fanciful and actual places such as the African Savannah, Detroit, a Gaelic Emerald City, the pleasure domes of Xanadu and New York, New York. They also treated us to some of the best music ever written for the stage with selections from Stephen Sondheim, Kander and Ebb, Harold Arlen and Berry Gordy’s Motown as well as some more contemporary contenders from the pop and rock genres. They did so well, in fact, that all 11 District VI school contenders received one or two ratings and will be advancing to the states, which will be held Friday-Saturday, March 27-28, in Millinocket. Both Mount Desert Island and Ellsworth High schools revealed once again they are going to be hard to beat in their categories with two stunning performances. MDIHS, which had a bar-shattering win last year with its performance of “The Armed Man,” is following it up with an equally riveting compilation of rock songs titled “The Machine.” With evocative songs from Pink Floyd, Styx and Metallica, the performers were transformed into a single piece of working machinery, which we watched, in horror and fascination, as it absorbed a loose “cog” into its perfectly calibrated gut. As per usual, this was only a taste of the full performance to be unleashed at the state competitions, but already it had us at the edge of our seats. (read more at the Ellsworth American)

Obamacare Fans Don’t Like Paying for Their New Petard Coverage

student councilStudents at Cornell University are feeling the after-effects of Obamacare: a new $350 student health fee if they opt out of the university health plan, even if they have separate insurance plans. Announced last week by President David Skorton, the news spurred a series of rallies on campus, the Twitter hashtag #FightTheFee and an accompanying Twitter handle, which encouraged students to “pack” Thursday’s Student Assembly meeting. The new health fee would “impact approximately 70 percent of undergraduates, 30 percent of professional and 10 percent of graduate students,” Skorton said in a Feb. 5 statement. In light of the rise of health services costs, Cornell is restructuring the finances of its Student Health Insurance Plan, or SHIP. Students who do not opt in to the $2,352 plan will get hit with the $350 fee, which “most likely” won’t be covered by financial aid, according to The Cornell Review. The newspaper said the university plan is run through Aetna, whose CEO is a Cornell MBA grad. “The current funding approach for student health services relies on central university resources, funds from SHIP for services delivered to its members, and fees charged at the time of services to individuals,” Skorton wrote. (read more at the College Fix)

In Xanaduport Did the RSU 21 a Stately Pleasure Dome Decree: Where Mousam the Sacred River, Ran Through Taxes Measureless to Man Down to The Sunless Sea

Committee meeting. Maine news from the Rumford MeteorKENNEBUNK – The RSU 21 Board of Directors got a new figure for building renovations Monday night, also learning about worsening deficiencies at the M.L. Day School. PC Construction and Harriman Architects provided the new $58,368,294 cost estimate to the board Monday for renovations to Kennebunk High School, Kennebunkport Consolidated School and the Mildred L. Day School – coming in below the $58.6 million target set by the board as a project cost to bring before voters. The board turned to PC Construction, the runner-up contractor, after Consigli Construction presented a $59.8 million estimate for the project this past fall. “You are under budget with the same scope as has been envisioned,” said Dan Cecil of Harriman Architects, referring to the Kennebunk High School plan that includes new and renovated spaces, a 400 seat auditorium, and site plan improvements. The cost for the high school plan is estimated at $43.9 million under the numbers presented Monday. The Consolidated plan, currently estimated at $5.6 million includes a multi-purpose room, and other improvements like removing modular classrooms currently in use at the school. “It will be a very, very energy efficient and safe place to be,” Cecil said. (read more at Seacoast Online)

That One, Brief, Glorious Moment When There Were Only Nineteen Feet on the Floor Will Be Remembered by All, Forever

boothbay girls basketballOn a night before a blizzard, it rained three-pointers in Wiscasset. The Boothbay Region High School girls varsity basketball team was able to use the perimeter to their advantage and sunk the Wiscasset High School Wolverines, 70-33 on Monday, Jan. 26. The Seahawks (15-1) netted eight first-half three-pointers, including five by Morgan Crocker, who scored a game-high 27 points, and three from Sara Durgan, who scored 11 points. Despite the lopsided final score, the two teams were competitive throughout, and the first quarter featured two longstanding rivals trading big shots and blows.Boothbay Region was able to strike via the three-pointer early in the first quarter, but Wiscasset’s Kayla Gordon scored six points to cut the lead to 15-8 after one quarter. Alecia Faulkingham (team-high 14 points) found seams in the Seahawk defense to score 10 first-half points and to help Wiscasset remain in the game with a halftime score of 39-20 in favor of Boothbay Region. In the second half the Seahawks were able to muscle Wiscasset to pull out the victory. Gordon finished with 12 points for Wiscasset (4-11), who will travel to Auburn on Friday, Jan. 30 to play St. Dom’s. (read more at the Wiscasset Newspaper)

Library To Review CIPA That Overrides LSTA Title III N-CIPA Compliance For E-Rate ESEA And TLCF Funds. Wouldn’t It Be Easier To Say The Bums Are Touching Themselves At The Computer Again?

livermore maine public libraryLIVERMORE — On October 16th at 5:30 a meeting will be held at the Livermore Public Library to discuss CIPA.  The Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) is a law that place restrictions on the use of certain funding available through the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA), Title III of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and on federal E-ratediscounts for Internet services in public libraries and schools. CIPA requires that the library have an established Internet safety policies and technology which blocks or filters visual depictions from being accessed through the Internet in the library. The Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) and the Neighborhood Children’s Internet Protection Act (N-CIPA) passed Congress in December of 2000. Both were part of a large federal appropriations measure (PL 106-554). Although CIPA compliance impacts specific use of funds from three federal programs (E-rate, ESEA Title III [TLCF], and LSTA), compliance with under the E-Rate program, which provides direct discounts on Internet access, is more complex than LSTA. The library is revising its current Internet policy to be totally compliant was CIPA. We welcome the public to attend and learn more about CIPA and our new internet policy.

Ellsworth-Sumner Football Team To Remain In The League For Scrawny Pale Kids With Inhalers For At Least Two More Seasons

ellsworth-sumner high school football teamELLSWORTH — After three winless seasons, the Ellsworth-Sumner cooperative varsity football program will likely remain in Class D East for another two years.The two schools’ combined enrollment would have bumped the team up to Class B next fall, but the Maine Principals’ Association’s football committee decided to make an exception for the Eagles. “It takes a long time to build a football program,” said Ellsworth-Sumner coach Duane Crawford. “Especially when you’re facing teams who have been in existence since the ’40s and ’50s, where football is ingrained in the community.” The MPA football committee convenes biannually to classify its member schools into four classes by enrollment. On Monday, Dec. 8, the panel recommended allowing both the Ellsworth-Sumner and Camden Hills football teams to continue playing in the smallest school division. The committee’s proposal to offer these schools a hand has raised some questions about what’s a realistic timeframe for a new program to grow and when should the MPA decline intervention. (read more at the Ellsworth American

College Starts Sustainable Agriculture Farm On The Site Of A Sustainable Organic Dairy Farm That Went Out Of Business

Inigo Montoya. You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it meansFAIRFIELD — A layer of crunchy snow covers the 120-acre former dairy farm in a corner of Kennebec Valley Community College’s Harold Alfond Campus on a gray afternoon in mid-December. It’s the last day of the fall semester and there’s hardly anyone around, but signs of all the work that has been put into the farm are everywhere. There are laying hens, Katahdin sheep and pigs in a newly refurbished barn and two large high tunnels, which are like greenhouses, teeming with spinach, swiss chard, lettuce and other vegetables. Not far away, construction workers are putting the final touches on a brand new building, the Center for Farm-to-Table Innovation, which is scheduled to open in January. The end of the semester and the first harvest of the farm’s produce — which totaled more than 6,800 pounds this fall — mark an important milestone for KVCC and it’s fledgling sustainable agriculture program. It’s been just more than one year since the school launched the program, along with a culinary arts program, making it the only community college in the state to offer a degree in sustainable agriculture and give students the chance to run a working farm. “I think this time of year is the real test of what we’ve been able to do,” said Richard Hopper, KVCC president, as he made his way through the snow to one of the high tunnels. “When you come out here in the snow and ice, and open up one of these white buildings and see all the vegetables, it’s phenomenal.” (read more at the Kennebec Journal)

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