Morse named new LRVC director; school board notes

By Wayne E. Rivet

Staff Writer

With his parents and wife residing in Gray, David Morse will be making somewhat of a “coming home” move when he becomes Lake Region Vocational Center’s director on July 1.

The SAD 61 School Board unanimously approved Morse as the new director at Monday’s meeting in the Great Room at LRVC.

Morse succeeds Rosie Schacht, who is retiring.

Superintendent of Schools Al Smith said the district had 19 applicants for the position, and four were interviewed. With 12 years of vocational experience as a director, Morse will be a “great fit for the needs that we have here,” Smith said.

Morse is currently the director of St. John Valley Technology Center in Frenchville, which is part of SAD 33. The center includes sending schools Fort Kent, Madawaska and Wisdom.

Morse earned a master’s degree in Education Administration from St. Joseph’s College in Standish in July 2008 and a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Southern Maine. He holds certification as a building administrator (principal/career and technical administration).

Previously, he was a family teacher at Northern Maine General (a residential training facility) in Eagle Lake from 1999 to 2005, when he became director of the St. John Valley Technology Center.  Morse has been active on a number of municipal and corporate boards, as well.

In other school board news:

Meeting standards to move on. As Lake Region High School moves closer to a proficiency-based diploma, some concerns have surfaced regarding whether the new standards could become roadblocks for some students.

The school board voted 9–1 to approve new graduation standards. Casco Director Phil Shane voted against, after questioning what happens to a student who works as hard as he or she can, but is unable to show “proficiency” in a subject.

Example of some “standards” include:

English.

  • For Reading Literature and Informational Texts — Read, comprehend, interpret, analyze and evaluate appropriately complex literary texts independently and proficiently.
  • For Writing — Produce clear and coherent writing for a range of tasks, purposes and audiences.
  • For Speaking and Listening — In discussions and presentations, communicate information, findings and supporting evidence, respond thoughtfully to diverse perspectives and express ideas clearly and persuasively.

Mathematics.

  • Number and Quantity — Reason and model quantitatively, using units and number systems to solve problems.
  • Algebra — Interpret, represent, create and solve algebraic equations and inequalities.
  • Functions — Interpret, analyze, construct and apply linear, exponential and trigonometric functions to solve problems.
  • Geometry — Prove, understand and model geometric concepts, theorems and constructions to solve problems.
  • Statistics and Probability — Interpret, infer and apply statistics and probability to analyze data and justify conclusions.

LRHS Principal Erik Good said students would need to demonstrate “proficiency” in each discipline, thus showing they are “college or career ready.”

If students fail to meet the standards, he or she would require remedial work and extra instructional support. Shane asked that if the student — despite additional help — fails to show proficiency, will he or she be retained for a fifth year or ultimately not receive a diploma?

Good noted that a key to the proficiency-based learning model would indeed be “support” given to students who struggle to meet standards. And yes, some students could require an additional year, or ultimately seek out “something” other than a high school diploma.

Good also pointed out that the school board will ultimately determine what “level of proficiency” students will be required to meet to earn a high school diploma.

LR senior Mallory Strain, who serves as a nonvoting member on the school board, gave a different perspective. She supports a higher standard, feeling many of her classmates underachieve and need to be held more accountable in the classroom.

Strain knows of classmates who are carrying grades in the 20s, 30s and 50s who will still likely be part of the upcoming graduation ceremony.

“They just aren’t working as hard as they could,” she said. “Why give them a diploma if they can’t do the bare minimum? There is a reason why the school won’t be the best in the state, why it has low graduation rates and why it has low test scores. Kids need to see what happens if they don’t do the work.”

Superintendent Smith said the guidance department will develop “intricate” portfolios for each student, which will spell out what he or she is “capable of doing.”

Shane felt the guidance department “could use some work” since, in some cases it is not “helping steer students in the right direction.”

Under “public comment on nonagenda items,” Strain relayed a concern raised by a fellow student regarding the current practice at the high school that allows a student to complete a quiz or a test the following day if he or she was unable to finish.

The student questioned the fairness to others who completed the exams in the first session. By being able to complete the test the next day, students could look up answers to questions they were unable to address the day earlier.

Superintendent Smith plans to discuss the matter with LRHS Principal Erik Good.

Digging up the past. When Sebago Elementary celebrates annual Grandpal’s Day on May 26, there will be an interesting exhibit accompanying the festivities.

Armed with a metal detector, Principal Kirsten Goff and former principal Mike Foye located a time capsule buried on the school site back in 1987. Along with a letter, the capsule included a variety of items from the day including popular kids’ games, a VHS tape with 1980s TV shows footage and a cassette recording of interviews conducted by students.

Foye hopes to locate some of the students from the SES class that put together the time capsule back in 1987, and have them return to the school on Grandpal’s Day to give a “walk down memory lane.”

In honor & memory of Ben. When several classes left Lake Region High School, they failed to designate how remaining money in their account should be spent.

As years passed, the amount of leftover money started to grow and grow. One way the district will look to “clean up” the financial books is to use those leftover funds to create a scholarship in memory of the late Ben Bowditch, who passed away April 19, after suffering a heart attack at the age of 75, and who was a SAD 61 school board member representing Sebago.

Starting this year, SAD 61 will award two $500 scholarships to students planning to attend Maine Maritime Academy. Bowditch was a 1964 graduate of MMA. According to his obituary, Ben began a career with the Lykes Steamship Company lasting 42 years. As a First Mate with the MSTS during the Vietnam War, he braved enemy fire to carry military cargo to shore. Ben quickly worked his way to the position of captain. He later came stateside, serving as Port Captain for the ports of Houston and New Orleans, and Manager of Marine Division in New Orleans, and then on to become the Compliance Manager in Tampa.

Personnel. Brenda Leo was reappointed as an in-school suspension/study hall monitor; Christina Castonguay resigned as a school bus driver, effective May 5; and Jasmine Kennan submitted her intent to resign as a special education teacher at Songo Locks School at the end of the 2017–18 school year.

Donations accepted. Matt Capano of Capano Logging and Sons donated lumber valued at $250 to be used for raised beds at Lake Region Middle School.

David and Sandy Perloff donated a FlashForge Finder 3D printer, valued at $360.

Showing their pride. The Great Room was full of proud parents Monday night as the latest round of Laker Pride Awards were presented to students and staff members.

Recognized for their hard work and good deeds were:

Sebago Elementary — Isaac Clow, kindergarten, nominated by Mrs. Bennett; Dominic Delisle, first grade, by Mrs. Harmon; Maiya Lantz, second grade, by Mrs. Harmon; Jackson Pilcher, third grade, by Mr. Bridge-Koenigsberg; Averie Smith, fourth grade, by Mrs. Quinlan; and Inge Inninger, fifth grade, by Niki Palmer; staff member Ted Bridge-Koenigsberg, nominated by Principal Kirsten Goff.

Songo Locks School — Emilia Hancock, first grade, by Alyson Schadler; Zachary Gagne, second grade, by Mrs. Norris; Rommell Myrthil, third grade, by Lila Theriault; Nicholas Morton, fourth grade, by Ms. Arbour; Nadia Hall, fifth grade, by Holly Tremblay; staff member Johanna Bartlett, by Lila Theriault.

Stevens Brook Elementary — Elle Pendexter, kindergarten, by Ms. Shea; Mason Shain, first grade, by Mrs. Clark; Marley Payton, second grade, by Mrs. Roy; Madison Shepard, third grade, by Mrs. Lepage; Jordan Blanton, fourth grade, by Mrs. Varney; Susie Butler, fifth grade, by Mrs. Woodward; staff member Tammy Clark, by Mrs. Van Atta and Ms. Howes.

Lake Region Middle School — Katherine Akeley, sixth grade, by Kibby Team; Caitlin Lees, sixth grade, by Cadillac Team; Caydence Riley, seventh grade, by Team Katahdin; Emma Cole, eighth grade, by Kineo Team; Madison Martin, eighth grade, by Team Sugarloaf.

Lake Region High School — Emerson Dinsmore, sophomore, by Ms. Smalley; Carter Hall, sophomore, by Mrs. Toohey; Coty Edwards, junior, by Mr. Shible; Jordan Magiera, junior, by Ms. O’Donnell; Michael Peterson, senior, by Ms. Kantro and Mr. Warren; Katherine Springer, senior, by Mr. Long; staff member Linda Freese.

Lake Region Vocational Center — staff member Rosie Schacht, by the LRVC staff.

Transportation, Facilities & Food Service — staff member James Cleveland, by TF&FS staff.

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