The December School Committee meeting began with Great Falls stu- dent Alison Smith showcasing her entry for the Count Me In poster contest which promotes school attendance. Her poster won 2nd prize and reminds students “You Can Learn Something Every Day.”
Superintendent Heather Perry reported on a meeting of the five-district Sebago Alliance where discussion centered on increasing opportunities for cooperation. Currently the districts have joint projects for special services, technology, and professional development. She also reported that the Proficiency Based Learning (PBL) committees are continuing their work on issues such as creating common language and defining measurements of proficiency.
The District is applying for state approval to purchase three new buses and three replacement buses. Approval would not commit the District to buying them, but would make Gorham eligible for reimbursement of up to 90% of their cost.
Middle school students Olivia Bryant, Hayden Anderson, Aedan MacDougall, and Olivia Hopkins made a presentation about their STEM project, Aquaponics in the Classroom. Funded by a $2500 grant awarded to their science teacher, Angela Gospodarek, the project involved students using a 3-D printer to create a bell system for draining a plant tray that is part of the aquaponics system.
Dennis Crowe, director of technology, introduced a review of creative technology projects, particularly those using 3-D printers. The District currently has eight printers that students use for coding and printing projects. Some were acquired with a grant from the Perloff Family Foundation.
Terri Dawson, technology integrator, and Terry Bartick, STEM teacher, described how students use them in connection with the District’s 130 Edison robots. They also described the very successful Coding Day that attracted more than one hundred student participants (see GMS Hosts Code Day). The criteria for acquiring more technological equipment is that it encourages problem-solving. They emphasized that the goal is to help students become “creators of content, not just consumers.”
In other business, the SC approved the District’s five-year Strategic Plan (6-0, Currier absent). Committee member Dennis Libby and Superintendent Perry emphasized that this is a living document “not set in stone,” and can be revised as situations warrant. They approved (6-0) the annual election of the Superintendent, a state-required formality, and also the hiring of Schedule C and D personnel, primarily for extracurricular activities.
The School Committee held its regular meeting on January 10, after the deadline for this issue. A report of that meeting and the discussion of K-5 school configuration that followed will be included in our January 25 issue.