June 9 Message from Acting Superintendent Mary Paine
Hello RSU 2 Communities:
I hope this finds you well and enjoying early summer in Maine. There’s a lot going on at RSU 2 as the school year winds down, and I have a few announcements.
Congratulations! to the graduates of RSU 2 and to the parents and guardians who have supported them along the way. The high school principals and faculty worked ‘round the clock to give our classes of 2020 safe, beautiful, and memorable ceremonies. It was all hands on deck with buildings and grounds crews and tech teams preparing outdoor and indoor facilities for ceremonies that followed safety guidelines and accommodated the maximum number of participants allowed under CDC guidelines. The three high schools had different kinds of graduation ceremonies last weekend, dodging a few storms that came through on Saturday. Each graduation included a procession to give our entire communities a chance to celebrate. The ceremonies were live-streamed to allow more family members and well-wishers to see the graduates receive their diplomas. You can watch the ceremonies of your favorite graduates using the links below.
A huge shout-out to our police and fire departments: If not for your guidance in planning our alternative ceremonies and your presence, none of this would have been possible.
End of school year 2019-20 and Return to School in the Fall: Monday marked the end of the academic year for students, and it is surely an ending we will all remember. Following the sudden closure of schools in March, we eventually settled into a routine, but our educational program has been more like an ongoing emergency response than education. We are glad for the chance to pause and prepare for the fall. Many questions remain as to what the new school year will bring, but until the virus is no longer a threat to the public, we can and should anticipate the possibility that school will not return fully to normal. Our principals have set aside time during the workshop days for teachers to debrief, assess, and prepare, as much as possible, to deliver education remotely should the need arise. They have also been considering the academic, social, and emotional supports students will need following the disruption and isolation. We all hope that we can reopen our schools and welcome our students back, so we also need to plan for school-based instruction and activity that may look different than normal. Depending on the guidance we receive from the Maine CDC and Department of Education, we may need, for example, to modify settings and schedules and establish protocols to maximize safety. I am in the process of forming a steering committee to tackle the tough job of planning for a return to school. I want to assure you that this planning will include input from our families and ongoing communications.
I visited Yellowstone National Park a few years after the 1988 fire. As I walked along the charred, barren ground, every once in a while, I’d discover a bright pink or yellow flower or a vibrant green sapling, made more beautiful next to the black earth. The difficult time we are in now has yielded a few bright flowers already. I’ve seen relationships grow stronger, more community involvement, and new possibilities for teaching and learning. As we go forward, we will nurture the seedlings of growth that a major disruption always brings.
School Budget Process: On Wednesday, June 3, Governor Mills issued an executive order that means a change in our budget process. Typically, we hold a moderated budget meeting where citizens vote on each article of the school budget. This part of the budget process is being eliminated, and the only vote on the budget will be on July 14 during the primary election. To inform our citizens about the budget and take public comment, we will hold a virtual public hearing on June 23, and we will post the budget online so the public can see the details. We hope the virtual budget hearing will allow for wide participation, just as we have seen with our virtual board meetings. Please be looking for a budget flyer in your mail and check out our website next week for more information. Thank you for your continued support of our schools.
RSU 2 Meal Sites: Please be advised that June 30, 2020 will be the last day of RSU 2 meal site operation throughout the RSU. The current sites will continue to provide meals through June 30, 2020. The non-RSU meal site at the Monmouth Town Office parking lot will continue to operate and is available to all children 0-18. There will possibly be a second one at the Marcia Buker School in Richmond. For the complete memo from Our Food Service Director, Chrissy Michaud, including information about food resources available to families, please click here.
The RSU would like to thank all of our food service staff along with the drivers who helped out at the Richmond site for their caring dedication and hard work in providing meals for children seven days a week. They have done a remarkable job!
I will bring you more information and updates as the need arises.
Wishing you good health and a wonderful summer,
Your Acting Superintendent