SAD 44 receives $51,800 in Homeland Security grants
SAD 44 has received a $47,000 Homeland Security grant to purchase a 90 KW portable generator to power an elementary school in the event of an emergency.
The district also received a $4,600 grant for 40 “Safety Mate” devices and training to provide electronic instructions to aid people in a medical emergency.
The funds came from about $200,000 in “leftover” 2010 funds available through the Oxford County Emergency Management Agency, Supt. Dave Murphy told the School Board Monday. The board voted to accept the money.
After hearing about the available grant funds recently, Transportation/Maintenance Supervisor Ron Deegan, quickly put together six different applications, Murphy said. SAD 44 received the largest amount of money in the county.
Having a generator, said Murphy, “is something we’ve talked about for a long time. We can bring the generator around to the schools if it’s needed.”
The Telstar complex has had a generator for several years.
The Safety Mates will be distributed around the schools and possibly on school busses, Deegan said. Details are yet to be worked out.
The devices can be programmed to provide steps to follow for particular emergencies, such as a heart attack, he said.
District Curriculum Coordinator Lee Graham did a presentation on the fall 2012 performance of SAD 44 elementary students on standardized testing, known as the New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP).
Students were scored in math and reading according to four levels of proficiency, two of which are at or above a level deemed “proficient.”
For the elementary schools, overall percentage results of students considered proficient, compared to the state, were as follows: Statewide, 66 percent proficient in reading, 61 percent in math; Andover Elementary School, 50 percent in reading, 26 percent in math; Crescent Park Elementary School, 71 percent and 64 percent; Woodstock Elementary School, 72 percent and 66 percent.
For Telstar Middle School: Statewide, 72 percent in reading, 62 percent in math; TMS, 69 percent and 56 percent.
Murphy said that TMS scores have improved in recent years over four or five years ago. He credited staff development efforts and a stepped up Title I program.
Graham also told directors that next year SAD 44 will switch to a new nationwide testing system known as “Smarter Balance.”
“There are some very good things about it,” she said, including rapid results via computer.
But Woodstock Director Marcel Polak noted that the types of tests used have changed every few years, making consistent comparisons over that time difficult.
“It’s a moving target,” he said.
Graham acknowledged the problem. “You’re not the only one frustrated by that,” she said.
Directors also heard a presentation from TMS students participating in the Greenhouse of Telstar (GOT) program, which was started in 2009.
GOT Farms is a service-learning project at Telstar Middle/High School intended to improve the health of citizens in SAD 44 by working toward goals that include using the school gardens and greenhouse to grow food for the Telstar complex; raising awareness of the importance of eating organically and locally; strengthening the “Farm to School” connections and working together with the kitchen staff and the community to bring local foods to the Telstar table more often; developing sustainable and mutually beneficial partnerships with organizations and business in the SAD 44 community.
The students, who are under the guidance of teachers Melissa Prescott and Kate Slattery, described to directors various parts of the project, including refurbishing the greenhouse, choosing and growing the vegetables (also including a “Gourd House” and a “Squash Hill” ) collaborating with gardeners from the Western Mountains Senior College to tend the gardens during the summer; and cooking with the harvested vegetables.
This past year 67 students and 70 adults put in 3,860 hours on the project, which has received an average of $2,000 in grant funds each year.
For more on the project go to the website at http://gotfarms.wordpress.com/.
In other business Monday, Murphy told the board he has not yet received a counterproposal from the Andover Withdrawal Committee. The town and the district are negotiating an agreement under which Andover might vote to leave SAD 44.
Under personnel, directors appointed Michelle Brown as a school social worker at the Telstar complex; Brian LaVerdiere as maintenance employee (replaces now-retired Larry Coffin); and retired teacher Linda Kuzyk as an educational technician for Title I program at CPS.