Superintendent's Update - Cape Elizabeth School Department

R. Scott Wyman Business Manager Ruth Ellen Vaughn Director of Instruction Jane E. Golding Director of Instructional Support CAPE ELIZABETH SCHOOLS 320 Ocean House Road P.O. Box 6267 Cape Elizabeth, Maine 04107 Phone: (207) 799-­‐2217 Fax: (207) 799-­‐2914 Meredith S. Nadeau Superintendent of Schools November 21, 2014 Dear Capers, Earlier this week, the School Board adopted the Indicators of Success for the Strategic Plan. These indicators are the School Board's way of measuring the results of the work that has begun to implement the district's Strategic Plan goals adopted last fall. Both documents can be found online here: Reaching these goals will require the continued hard work of teachers and administrators but also the support and collaboration of students, parents, and community members. Nothing good comes easily, but it really is an exciting time to be in school! Congratulations to CEHS's Daniel Menz who was recognized this week by WCSH-­‐6 as one of the kindest kids in Maine and to our 5th and 6th grade VEX Robotics team who represented us well at a tournament last weekend in Upton, Massachusetts. If you have a spare evening-­‐-­‐or Sunday afternoon-­‐-­‐
before the Thanksgiving holiday, check out the high school theater department's production Take 5. The first show will be at 7:30 this evening in the CEHS auditorium. Last month's issue of The Atlantic, featured an article about stress and anxiety in schools (­‐anxiety-­‐hits-­‐at-­‐
school/380622/). Stress and anxiety have been a topic of conversation since I've been in the district, and it is certainly true here that our counseling/social work and nursing staff have seen an increase in the numbers of children and adolescents who are suffering from anxiety in the school setting during the last decade. This month, as we were assessing students for the Gifted and Talented program, we heard from a couple of young students who had been spending time doing "test prep" to get ready; their stress was palpable. This information left our administrative team feeling concerned about the well-­‐being of these young learners. While we as educators strongly believe that students need a strong academic foundation, we don't believe it should be developed at the expense of their mental health. As a result, we've selected How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character by Paul Tough to be our first Community Read. (Limited copies are available in the parenting section at the Thomas Memorial Library and through inter-­‐library loan or can be ordered from your favorite bookseller for roughly $11.) Given the few short weeks between now and the December break, we will hold our book discussion on January 7th, 2015 at 6:30 P.M. An RSVP e-­‐mail including location information will be sent out in December. If you're watching the forecast, you know, as I do, that looming out there somewhere is that first snow delay or cancellation. Information will continue to be sent to local tv and radio stations, and you can choose to subscribe to text alerts from your preferred station. We will also make use of the Cape Elizabeth website to post cancellations or delays and will send an early morning e-­‐mail through PowerSchool. Decisions regarding delays and cancellations are typically made by 5:30 A.M. In the case of an emergency, such as an early release, we will call, text, and e-­‐mail you simultaneously. Please make sure your PowerSchool contact information is up to date to make sure you don't miss out on any information. School District News 11.21.14 | page 2
The Cape Elizabeth Education Foundation gave out several grants this week including one to Dr. Alina Perez, our district psychologist, who will travel to India on a fellowship in May. Pond Cove also received a grant for work with 1st graders connected to the 250th anniversary of Cape Elizabeth, and Cape Elizabeth Middle School received a grant to convert the former wood shop area into the Open Minds Studio Maker Space. If you're not familiar with Maker Spaces, Edutopia is a great source for articles like this (­‐makerspaces-­‐transformative-­‐learning-­‐
stephanie-­‐west-­‐puckett) which describe what they are all about. A list of requested donation items for the Maker Space will be shared soon. Michael J. Chase, "The Kindness Guy," visited Cape Elizabeth High School this week thanks to the support of the High School Parent's Association and the hard work of the student senate. Mr. Chase spoke to the student body on Wednesday morning about how we can each do our part to create a more connected world through everyday acts of kindness. Students I spoke with appreciated his message of hope and shared with me that Cape can, at times, be a fairly unforgiving place. These students shared both some first-­‐person and cyber experiences that had left them or their friends feeling unwelcome or worse-­‐-­‐and admitted that there were times when their own actions had perhaps caused someone else to feel that way. These students expressed that the community had somehow lost sight of the importance of being kind. My hope for this Thanksgiving season is that we might each spend some time talking with our own children about what it means to be a community and how we might model the kindness we hope to receive from others. Best wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving! Meredith As cold and flu season are upon us, we would like to share the following
reminders (courtesy of the Maine CDC and our wonderful team of school
nurses) to help us all stay healthy. We are doing our part to spread this
information at school and to keep our buildings clean:
Keep your child home if she/he is sick.
Check with your health care provider about obtaining a flu shot.
Use good respiratory hygiene (i.e. cough into sleeves or tissues,
wash hands regularly with soap and water, throw away used
tissues, etc.)
Increase environmental cleaning. (Frequently clean high touch
surfaces, like door knobs, desks, and light switches.)
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