Re-Affirming Elementary Stakeholder Priorities In 2019 through early 2020, an “elementary stakeholder group” in RSU #34 led a community discussion about opportunities and needs for our community’s elementary students. This process included a number of open meetings, community survey, and reporting to the School Board. The committee discussed what our community was proud of, what remained on our wish list for students, enrollment projections, facilities, and a variety of possibilities. This fall, RSU #34 is conducting a more compact process to confirm that these are still the priorities of our community. We will use this information to inform our planning/budgeting for future years, as well as to inform our applications for grant funds such as ESEA and ESSER/ARP. We invite you to complete this brief survey, and/or to join us at an open discussion at one of these times: *with Alton Elementary PTC, @ November meeting (date TBD) *with Viola Rand School PRIDE, Monday 10/3, 6 PM (email Heidi.Gifford@rsu34.org for Zoom link) *with Old Town Elementary School PTC, Nov. 2nd, 2022 If you wish, please complete this survey by November 3rd, 2022: https://forms.gle/FuvZHH8NEzbhCrVL9 We also invite you to complete this survey about our use of federal Family Engagement Funds: https://forms.gle/PXY7wo2xipzEaMCfA If you would like to be more involved, please contact your school’s administration or RSU #34’s Assistant Superintendent (jon.doty@rsu34.org)! Similar outreach will be coming out in the coming month for Leonard Middle School and Old Town High School.
about 12 hours ago, Dr. Jon Doty
It’s been a great day for RSU #34! This morning our grant application was approved for $70,000 in supplies to support Computer Science learning at all of our schools; this will support and expand our current coding and robotics efforts, and give us new capacities in virtual and augmented reality. Many thanks to our STEM specialists Mrs. Daniel and Mrs. Zabierek for their hard work in preparing the grant application. Our schools have been leading the way in robotics and coding since a 2012-era community fundraising effort! In addition to our in-school programming for all students, over the course of the past decade competitive robotics teams from LMS and OTHS have each earned their way to international competitions. Then at lunchtime, the Department of Education announced that RSU #34 is one of just four grantees statewide under the Community Schools program. This $50,000 grant will enable us to continue our existing community outreach efforts led by Mrs. Goodwin. Many thanks to her and Mrs. Wilcox for their hard work preparing that grant application. $120,000 total in grant awards is a great way to end a busy week!
3 days ago, Dr. Jon Doty
Bee Bots
Legos
RSU#34 School Board meeting tonight (9/21/22) in the LMS cafeteria beginning at 6:30pm. https://networkmaine.zoom.us/j/83267025282
12 days ago, Matthew Cyr
September 17th (this coming Saturday) is Constitution Day and Citizenship Day in the United States. The 7th grade Puffin Team at LMS starts their year off with a unit on Civics and Government - which aligns with the Maine Learning Results. Our first effort is to establish a classroom constitution - where students have brainstormed ideas (much like our founding fathers!) on how to be a citizen in our school. From there, students explore citizenship and democracy as it connects to the Constitution. Students next explore how our branches of government were set up from the Constitution as well as case law that has been settled by SCOTUS. Constitution Day is celebrated every day during this unit, not just one day of the year. Our final lessons will be on the rights and responsibilities of citizens, which includes researching topics that are important to them as we head to the polls in November, in order to be an informed voter. More information about Constitution Day and Citizenship Day can be found at the National Archives: https://www.archives.gov/news/topics/constitution-day
20 days ago, Dr. Jon Doty
7th Grade Puffins Write Classroom Constitution
7th Grade Constitution Bulletin Board
RSU #34 School Board meeting tonight (8/24/22) in the LMS Cafeteria beginning at 6:30p.m. https://networkmaine.zoom.us/j/83918358505
about 1 month ago, Matthew Cyr
RSU #34 School Board meeting tonight (7/20/22) in the LMS Cafeteria beginning at 6:30p.m. https://networkmaine.zoom.us/j/88120858634
3 months ago, Matthew Cyr
The Science Lab at the University of Maine has some openings for PK - 3rd grade students from RSU #34 schools. This is an after-school opportunity once a month in the fall. To learn more please check out this link (https://5il.co/1ecxo ), and if you're interested in registering please contact Joanne Alex (her email is on the linked document). We're fortunate to have so many opportunities for kids in our community!
3 months ago, Dr. Jon Doty
Science Lab Fall 2022
Regional School Unit #34 June 15, 2022 School Board Meeting 6:30pm Leonard Middle School Cafeteria https://networkmaine.zoom.us/j/81826144460
4 months ago, David Walker
Our partners at Hirundo Wildlife Refuge are offering some interesting summer camps for kids aged 6-12 - if you're interested please visit their website at https://www.hirundomaine.org/summer-kids-programs
4 months ago, Dr. Jon Doty
Hirundo Summer Programs
RSU #34 is revising several plans in coordination with needs expressed by the public, staff, and School Board throughout the winter and spring. We appreciate all who have provided feedback / input so far through Board meetings, PTC meetings, web surveys, and public sessions. To provide additional feedback, please email Dr. Doty: jon.doty@rsu34.org Plans under revision to address expressed needs include: *ESSER II (federal funds related to COVID recovery) *ESSER III / American Rescue Plan (federal funds related to COVID recovery) *RSU #34 Comprehensive Needs Assessment and Consolidated Plan (this document is related to our use of federal funds under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act) *Comprehensive Needs Assessment and Consolidated Plans for Alton Elementary School, Viola Rand Elementary School, and Old Town Elementary School (these documents are related to our use of federal Title I funds under the Schoolwide Program at each of these schools) Thank you for your input!
4 months ago, Dr. Jon Doty
Regional School Unit #34 Annual Budget Meeting May 25, 2022 7:00pm Leonard Middle School Cafeteria
4 months ago, David Walker
At-Home COVID Tests for RSU #34 Students and Staff RSU #34 received today a shipment of at-home COVID tests for its students and staff. Over the course of the next week your child's school will share how to request these tests (each student is eligible for three boxes of two tests). These at-home tests can be a powerful way to help slow the spread of our current surge, and keep our community/state safe. Please also remember to do daily symptom screening with your child each and every day, and keep kids home when they're sick! We do not anticipate another shipment like this, even in the fall, so please be sure to also take advantage of the state and federal programs for free delivery of tests. https://special.usps.com/testkits and https://accesscovidtests.org Please be patient with us, as many requests will come in to each school at once. Thank you!
5 months ago, Dr. Jon Doty
At Home Binax Tests
We are proud to present our Spring 2022 issue of Community Connections. Along with the stories and photographs about our students, we are pleased that there are many pages with municipal information; the City of Old Town once again shared space and cost with the RSU for this issue. Finally, in this issue you will find the proposed budget for 2022-2023, along with information of how to be involved at the Public Budget Meeting and budget referendum. Many thanks to those who contributed to this issue - we had so many articles/photos that we needed to save some for the back-to-school issue in August! Here’s the link to the issue: https://5il.co/1ai4q
5 months ago, Dr. Jon Doty
CC Cover May 2022
RSU #34 May 11, 2022 Board meeting. 6:30pm Leonard Middle School Cafeteria Watch via Zoom: https://networkmaine.zoom.us/j/88321417871
5 months ago, David Walker
Dear RSU #34 Community, You have likely seen in the news that COVID-19 rates are high in our region. We also continue to see the spread of a number of other respiratory and gastrointestinal illnesses. Please help us keep kids and staff in school by doing these things: *Please remember to do at-home screening for symptoms each and every day. (link below) *Please order and use your no-cost at-home COVID tests from https://www.covid.gov/tests or https://www.accesscovidtests.org/ *Please keep kids home when they’re sick! *Please consider using masks to reduce transmission of lots of illnesses at school. This week, the week of May 9th, is the last week that the state is conducting the pooled testing program, which makes closely monitoring for symptoms at home all the more important! Thank you, and we’re glad to see the sun shining! https://www.maine.gov/doe/sites/maine.gov.doe/files/inline-files/Maine%20DOE%20Pre-Screening%20Tool%20for%20School%20Attendance%2010.19.2021_1.pdf
5 months ago, Dr. Jon Doty
screening tool
Dear RSU #34 Community, You have likely seen in the news that COVID-19 rates are high in our region. We also continue to see the spread of a number of other respiratory and gastrointestinal illnesses. Please help us keep kids and staff in school by doing these things: *Please remember to do at-home screening for symptoms each and every day. (link below) *Please order and use your no-cost at-home COVID tests from https://www.covid.gov/tests or https://www.accesscovidtests.org/ *Please keep kids home when they’re sick! *Please consider using masks to reduce transmission of lots of illnesses at school. This week, the week of May 9th, is the last week that the state is conducting the pooled testing program, which makes closely monitoring for symptoms at home all the more important! Thank you, and we’re glad to see the sun shining! https://www.maine.gov/doe/sites/maine.gov.doe/files/inline-files/Maine%20DOE%20Pre-Screening%20Tool%20for%20School%20Attendance%2010.19.2021_1.pdf
5 months ago, Dr. Jon Doty
Screening Tool
Dear RSU #34 Community, You have likely seen in the news that COVID-19 rates are on the rise in our region. We are also seeing here the spread of a number of other respiratory and gastrointestinal illnesses. Please help us keep kids and staff in school by doing these things: *Please remember to do at-home screening for symptoms each and every day. (link below) *Please order and use your no-cost at-home COVID tests from https://www.covid.gov/tests or https://www.accesscovidtests.org/ *Please keep kids home when they’re sick! Please consider using masks to reduce transmission of lots of illnesses at school. Thank you, and we’re glad to see the sun shining! https://www.maine.gov/doe/sites/maine.gov.doe/files/inline-files/Maine%20DOE%20Pre-Screening%20Tool%20for%20School%20Attendance%2010.19.2021_1.pdf https://bangordailynews.com/2022/04/11/news/bangor-wastewater-has-among-the-highest-levels-of-covid-19-in-the-country-xoasq1i29i/
6 months ago, Dr. Jon Doty
Daily Screening Tool
School and Student Safety Yesterday we were informed of a possible threat to the safety of our schools. We immediately initiated an investigation. In cooperation with the Old Town Police Department, we determined that a comment overheard by a student was perceived as a safety threat. The student did what we ask students to do, “If you see or hear something, say something.” Fortunately, there was no criminal or credible threat to the safety of our students. Nonetheless, the comment was perceived as a threat and as such, will be dealt with administratively. RSU#34 maintains our high-level commitment to the safety and wellbeing of all students and staff.
6 months ago, David Walker
March 9th, 2022: RSU #34 has released new COVID protocols. Please read them in full here: https://5il.co/16xq8 Summary: Dear RSU #34 School Community,  RSU #34 shares the following adjustments to our COVID protocols, in light of the state of Maine’s shift in indoor masking recommendations, and the subsequent RSU #34 School Board vote to make masking optional in our schools.  We still must follow the state’s Standard Operating Procedure, which can be found here:  https://www.maine.gov/doe/covid-19/sop.   Summary of key points (details at https://5il.co/16xq8 ) *Please continue to keep kids home when they’re sick (see details here: link) *Where feasible, RSU #34 will provide basic notification when we learn of a positive COVID case, typically through bulk email notification of the impacted class/bus/team *RSU #34 has discontinued its 24-7-365 “COVID Hotline” - if you learn of a positive case please contact the school office *RSU #34 continues to require a screening & test process for those seeking to return early from 10-day isolation or quarantine -Those who test positive but meet certain criteria, including reliable mask wearing, may request an early return to school (process described further below) -Those who have exposure but meet certain criteria, including reliable mask wearing, may request an early return to school (process described further below) *Continuous exposure to positive household members continues to require additional precautions *In almost every situation, masking is now optional on school buses and in RSU #34 schools -Exception:  CDC still states that those returning early from a 10-day quarantine or isolation must mask until the completion of Day 10. -Staff and students will respect those who choose to continue wearing a mask -With this shift to optional masking in our schools, a quarantine exception in the state’s SOP that kept many students in school is no longer available.  All are encouraged to seek vaccination and/or to participate in our weekly pooled testing; these would provide quarantine exceptions.  We are excited about these steps toward “normal.”  Please join us in remembering that members of our school community have a variety of risk factors in their lives and in the lives of those they care about.  Please remember steps that feel liberating to some may feel frightening to others.  COVID-19 remains a serious disease; we will remain vigilant about further threats to in-person learning and consider adjustments as necessary.
7 months ago, Dr. Jon Doty
Dear RSU #34 Community, As you are likely aware, there is great discussion going on in many school districts about the future of mitigation strategies such as mask wearing. RSU #34 is having those discussions as well, and I write to provide an update of where we have been, where we are, and possible paths forward. Like all Maine districts RSU #34 has some local latitude in how it conducts operations, but in combination with our safety concerns must also address things such as the state’s Standard Operating Procedures and safety plans required for some of our federal funding. Like many decisions in education, mitigation strategies are both complex and complicated, involving unintended consequences, the need for understandable protocols that our youngest learners can follow, and - in the forefront - the diverse needs of our students and the staff who care for them. Throughout the pandemic - nearly two years now - our school community has done a fantastic job of rapidly adapting to the needs of the day to serve our students well. We have kept schools open as much or more than nearly everyone else in the state, have kept our focus on students, and have much to be proud of. Candidly, there have been many times that were “touch and go,” particularly during the Omicron surge. Nationwide staffing shortages have impacted education as well as most other fields, and we have had some open positions all year. Substitutes have been very hard to find, to help us address the needs from those open positions, the frequent needs when our staff have been in quarantine or isolation, and the day-to-day absences for other illnesses. Our staff as a whole has pitched in tremendously throughout the year, covering each others’ classes, taking on unusual responsibilities, etc., to make it all work and keep our doors open. Only twice this year were circumstances such that a school needed to go remote for a short time; we have worked very hard to avoid that. This school year, both through the protection they provide in slowing the spread of COVID, and through the opportunities they provide in the state’s Standard Operating Procedure for COVID, mitigation strategies have had a huge impact, especially vaccination, masking, and our commitment to pooled testing. Recent weeks have seen a marked decline in our local cases from the peak of the Omicron surge. It is important to note that case rates are still very high; what seems low today compared to mid-January would have seemed awful in September. We are fortunate that while dangerous, the Omicron variant of COVID is somewhat more mild than its predecessors, especially to those who have chosen to be vaccinated. At its recent February meeting, the School Board reviewed what we are seeing locally, and chose to stay the course for one more month with our full set of mitigation strategies, including universal masking indoors at our schools. Many of us are hopeful that a shift to optional masking is near. We anticipate a bump in cases after the February school vacation (due to travel and other mixing), and will continue to closely monitor our cases. We will fully review the situation with the School Board at its March 16th meeting, and if the trend continues with case decline and more mild variants, hope to shift to optional masking soon after that. Under the current state Standard Operating Procedure, universal masking has kept a lot of kids out of quarantine. We urge our families to consider two actions. First, to sign up for our weekly pooled testing, which is a quick and painless swab (participation in pooled testing provides a quarantine exception under the state’s rules). Second, we encourage families to seek vaccination, talking with their school nurse or primary care provider if they have questions about vaccination (vaccination provides another quarantine exception under the state’s rules). This year we have begun to do more and more normal things - band concerts, athletics, after school programs, and more. We look ahead to the brighter days of spring, and with it, hopefully even more return to normal. Sincerely, David A. Walker, Superintendent of Schools
7 months ago, David Walker