By Mark Pechenik news@seacoastonline.comFebruary 05. 2015

SOUTH BERWICK, Maine — A review of academic enrichment funding highlighted the SAD 35 School Board meeting Wednesday night.

Board members received updates on the status of enrichment programs at Eliot Elementary School, plus the Marshwood Great Works School and Central School in South Berwick, which were made possible by $10,000 in district funding for each of these schools in the current year’s budget. All three schools chose to dedicate a portion of the funding to enhancing their students’ math skills.

“We wanted to help those students most in need so we established a camp that targets the children during the school day,” said Eliot Elementary School Principal Maureen Goering.

Consequently, funding has been used to pay a stipend to the school’s half-time pre-kindergarten teacher to work with 28 students, from first to third grade, on math skills such as telling time and measurements.

“These are 30-minute sessions that take place twice per week,” Goering said.

Any residual funds, she noted, will be used to incorporate math skills into her school’s summer reading program.

Math is also a top priority at Marshwood Great Works School where 18 students participated in a recent summer mathematics program. This effort has continued with after-school math clubs for the school’s fourth- and fifth-grade students.

“We are now hearing from parents that their kids’ confidence is really growing in this academic area,” said Marshwood Great Works School Principal Jerry Burnell.

Similarly, Central School now offers math remediation two hours per week for their students, plus a robotics program

Burnell also pointed out that district funding is supporting a wide variety of after-school activities including archery, chess, gardening, Spanish and book clubs, as well as establishment of a student-run school newspaper.

A Girls on the Run program has been “an incredible experience, helping our girls gain confidence, get more fit and realize that running is something they can do,” said Central School Principal Nina D’Aran about a portion of her enrichment funding. A similar program exists at Marshwood Great Works School.

Also at Central School, a before-school exercise program has “been so much fun,” according to D’Aran. “It has been so great to see how are kids are more successful after exercising,” she said.

Each of the principals expressed gratitude for the district support. “The money you provided was really a gift – it’s just been wonderful,” Burnell said.

In response, SAD 35 Superintendent Mary C. Nash said, “Thank you to all of you for your innovative, experiential programs for students.”

In other business, board members approved a Feb. 13 overnight trip for the Marshwood High School wrestling team to compete in the Maine State Wrestling Championships in Mt. Ararat.

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