By Lisa Wilcox
CARIBOU — Looming financial limitations led to the approval of two teaching positions being eliminated during RSU 39’s school board meeting held on Feb. 26.
The two positions, a kindergarten teaching position at Hilltop Elementary and the family consumer science teaching position at Caribou High School, will both be vacated at the end of the school year. Two kindergarten teachers will be retiring at Hilltop and only one will be replaced. The current family consumer science teacher will be transferring to the Tech Center’s culinary arts program, and the family consumer science position will be eliminated. The board unanimously approved eliminating both positions.
Standards-based education was discussed after board members watched a video, “Changing Education Paradigms,” by Sir Ken Robinson. Superintendent Frank McElwain presented the short film, which offers reasoning behind the new method of learning that the state of Maine is proposing to implement in its schools in order to graduate college- and work-ready students. Standards-based education focuses on students achieving basic goals instead of grade levels and letter grades. When students achieve one level, they move on to the next. The board agreed that it is definitely a revolutionary method of learning and a lot of work needs to be done to prepare for its implementation.
Three policies were reviewed, with the board unanimously approving the Breathalyzer policy that was discussed at their last meeting and second readings for the Truancy and Student Discipline policies.
Job descriptions for a youth wrestling coach, middle level coach, junior varsity coach, varsity coach and L Club adviser were unanimously passed by the board.
McElwain’s superintendent’s report included news of resignations from Von Taggert, educational technician, after school program, and Pauline Sweetser, educational technician, Caribou Middle School. McElwain reported that Mathew Adams was hired as a volunteer assistant drama coach.
A draft of the 2013-14 school year calendar was presented to the board by McElwain, and he reported that a two-year waiver was granted by the Maine Principals’ Association to Limestone/MSSM for the schools to remain in Class D.
The school board meeting concluded with administrators from Teague Park School, Limestone Community School, Caribou Middle School and Hilltop Elementary School providing updates of recent activities at their schools.
Jane McCall, principal of Hilltop Elementary, provided a copy of a letter awarding her school with a package of fitness equipment, including basketballs, soccer balls, jump ropes and other items, as part of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s Get Active, Get Fit Challenge. The value of the package is estimated to be around $500.
The next RSU 39 school board meeting will be held this evening at the Superintendent’s Office in Caribou at 7 p.m.