TMS Title I program aims for whole-school approach
Telstar Middle School students who need to improve their reading and math skills are currently receiving help from three Title I teachers.
Two of those teachers are paid for by additional federal funds designated for the school because students overall were not making sufficient progress in math, according to standardized testing done in 2008.
“We’ve seen real growth in the past couple of years,” Supt. Dave Murphy told the School Board last week.
But after this coming school year, the federal funding for the teachers could be reduced, and the school would return to having only one such teacher.
To compensate for that possibility, SAD 44 administrators hope to instruct classroom teachers in some of the skills provided by the Title I staff.
That approach, which must be approved by the Maine Department of Education, is known as a "School-Wide Program."
An added benefit: students who might not otherwise qualify for Title I help would be eligible.
Currently, Principal Sandy Schroeder told the School Board last week, “we had to target a population. We had to decide at what point we turned some students away.”
Under the new plan, said Schroeder, classroom teachers would learn “intervention strategies” to identify learning gaps in any student and teach to eliminate them.
“This is what Title 1 Teachers do routinely,” Schroeder said Monday. We know that if the Title 1 funding for TMS decreases after this year, the best support we can provide our students is to spend time helping teachers learn what Title 1 teachers do so that they may mimic that in their regular classroom. Every teacher will not be a Title 1 teacher, but every student can benefit from the skills that Title 1 teachers have, if we are successful in meeting our goal.”
The School Board approved the request to submit an application to change to a school-wide plan to the state Department of Education.
Fence for CPS; salary agreements
In other business at last week’s meeting, the board approved $20,000 to construct a fence around the Crescent Park Elementary School. Federal stimulus money will fund the project, and Quality Fencing of Rumford will do the work, Murphy said.
The fence will wrap around the school’s playground, he said, and will serve two purposes: prevent children from wandering off into the surrounding wooded area, and prevent animals from coming on to the playground.
Murphy said he expected work to begin right away.
After an executive session, the board approved several salary/wage agreements for individual employees, according to Murphy.
For FY'10: retroactive 3 percent increases for Peter Kuzyk (technician), Elise Thomas (special education director) and Ron Deegan (transportation director).
The contract of Ray Geiger (Telstar technician) was extended through FY'11 (salary and benefits tied to educational technician III salaries and benefits under the Telstar Educators Association contract).
Deegan was also appointed as the district safety coordinator. Instead of a stipend, he will receive an additional 20 vacation days (for a new total of 30). He can carry up to 10 over into the following year. Finally, the board approved a 3 percent retroactive increase to the three teaching principal stipends for FY'10 ($292.50) increasing the total from $9,750 to $10,042.50.