It is with great excitement and anticipation that I write to our Marshwood Community today. I cannot remember a time when I was more excited about the upcoming school year! Tuesday morning, I spent time at Marshwood High School, greeting students and faculty as our New Student Orientation took place. Seeing the incoming MHS students approach the day with excitement and wonder was an incredible reminder of just how fortunate I am to work with the families and students of this community. In addition to my role within the School District, like many of you, my family has been diligently preparing our kindergartener and second grader for their return to school. To me, there is something magical about this time of year. Maybe it is the excitement and anticipation of the things to come, or maybe it is the chance to make new connections. There is a special feeling in the air.
In a letter to our district staff earlier this month, I shared the opportunities I see on the horizon as we head into this school year. Today is a great day. August 31st is going to be a great start. This year will be a great year. Why do I believe this with all of my heart? We have the opportunity to take what we have learned from the past three years and integrate it as we return to some of our most treasured and powerful experiences for students. Whether it be a trip to Pinkham Notch or performing in the District Musical without social distancing or wearing masks, we are returning to those moments that make Marshwood special.
I am proud to share that over the course of this summer, over 200 students received academic support through our Summer Boost program. This momentum will continue as we embark on the 2022 - 2023 Academic Year. The district will be focusing on differentiating instruction based on student achievement data. It is critical that we continue to address and remediate any content or skills deficits that students may be experiencing; addressing these potential struggles begins with creating an environment where students feel safe, seen, and valued at school. In addition, students need to be in regular attendance to maximize their learning experience. Creating positive attendance habits is critically important to student success, and we need your help to ensure that your children are in school whenever possible.
We look forward to collaborating with you as we all play a role in our children's education. The partnership between schools and families is one thing that makes this community special. Our students need us; we all need each other. One of the most significant impacts of the pandemic was the loss of personal connections and the ability to communicate with each other face to face. We have a shared responsibility to the students, and to each other, to create a safe environment where all children can learn. Every one of them. Civility and responsibility will be emphasized across each of our buildings this year, and I ask that you join me in this endeavor. Together we can help students move away from social media and begin to talk with peers face to face. Instead of online video games, let’s encourage kids to go outside and play or simply take a walk. Each one of us can commit to modeling civil discourse and tolerance. Even though they may not always agree with something or someone, we must all teach our young people that they can still be good listeners and be respectful of their peers and staff.
That is why I am so excited about the year ahead. This is that moment in time when we move forward. Each one of us makes a difference.
Please be aware that like many school districts across the country, there is a shortage of bus drivers. As a result, we have needed to eliminate bus routes. Some of our routes may now be up to an hour long. Although this is within the parameters of our district policy, it does result in a change for students and families. We will continue to actively recruit drivers, but in the interim, we ask for your patience. If you are looking for additional information regarding District transportation, please visit our website.
Free Breakfast and Lunch will again be available for all students at MSAD 35. Providing free meals to students is made possible by legislation passed by the State of Maine.
The district expectation is that if a child is ill, they should stay home. The Maine Department of Education has provided an outline for schools to follow, much of which is focused on recommendations. The Maine Department of Education has provided an outline for schools to follow, based on the US CDC K-12 guidance of August 11.
Our wonderful school nurses will continue to provide individual families with information and support as necessary. If you have any questions regarding COVID-19, please feel free to reach out to your child’s school nurse. We will continue with our building hygiene and cleaning protocols and maintain increased air exchange levels in all buildings.
MSAD 35 is excited to welcome your child(ren) to school. We look forward to the opportunity to help them grow and learn. This year we are grateful for the opportunity for our schools to reconnect with civility, empathy, and compassion. It is moments like this that reinforce why I became an educator. This new beginning will be a magical moment for the students of MSAD 35.