Shortened Thursday Schedule Set for all SAD 35 Schools

By Ralph Morang

news@seacoastonline.com August 27. 2015

SOUTH BERWICK, Maine – A shortened school day for high school students on Thursdays is expanding to all schools in the SAD 35 district.

At Wednesday night’s School Board meeting, members presented the new Thursday “delayed start/early release” schedule. For three years, Marshwood High School students have had a delayed start on Thursdays so teachers could hold collaborative work sessions in the morning. The program now has been extended.

Teachers will use the work sessions to develop programs to meet new state proficiency standards that kick in for the Class of 2021. Those students are now in seventh grade.

Eliot Elementary School and Central School in South Berwick will release students at 1:50 p.m. on Thursday instead of 3:20 p.m. Marshwood Great Works School will release students at 1:40 p.m. on Thursday instead of 3:20 p.m. Teachers will hold the collaborative workshops until 3:25 p.m. Students who remain at the schools until normal dismissal time will have various supervised activities and academic support. The day will begin at normal times.

Marshwood Middle School and the high school will have delayed starts on Thursday, 9 a.m. instead of 7:30 a.m. Teachers will still begin at7:20 a.m. but will hold the collaborative workshops until 9 a.m. Students who arrive at the normal time will have activities and programs until 9 a.m. The day will end at normal times.

“The state impressed with the mechanics of implementing the program at all five of our schools,” said SAD 35 Superintendent Dr. Mary Nash.

A new bus garage planned for a space behind Marshwood Middle School in Eliot will not be built.

Nash announced the decision to withdrawn the site plan, reading a letter to the Eliot Planning Board Chairman Stephen Beckert.

For nine years, the district has sub-leased space for buses from South Berwick in garage owned by Mick, Inc, on Route 4 in Berwick. South Berwick notified the district in May 2014 that the lease would not be renewed after June 30, 2016.

The district hired Civil Consultants of South Berwick to evaluate new bus garage sites. They came up with four options: Build a new facility behind Marshwood Middle School for $525,000; build a facility beside Marshwood Middle School for $900,000; add on to the existing garage at Noble High School for $475,000 and purchase land and build a garage for $11,000,000 to $13,000,000.

The district chose to build the garage behind the middle school and the district was proceeding through the Planning Board process in Eliot. But on Aug. 18, according to Nash, a conference group of herself, board members Fred Wildnauer and Keri Tice and SAD 35 Business Manager Randall Stewart met and decided not to proceed for two reasons. First, the district planned to complete construction this summer, before school opened and time has run out this year. To build outside of school hours was deemed too expensive. Second, on June 4, 2015, Nash said she was notified by Mick, Inc., owners of the leased garage, that it was interested in extending the lease. A lease renewable for five years has been worked out.

In the letter, Nash said it is not inconceivable that the district would consider building a garage at the middle school in the future.

The board approved the hiring of Elaine Robinson as administrative assistant to the superintendent. It also approved the hiring of two clinical social workers at the high school, a guidance counselor at Eliot Elementary School and a math teacher for the middle school. The board voted to accept a gift from the field hockey boosters of a video camera system or team use.

Nash said the Eliot Select Board is scheduled to announce on Sept. 10 a replacement for School Board member Janet Saurman, who resigned Aug. 13.

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