Schools Start Talking Reorganization
Next Year's Calendar Approved, Plus Good School News
BAR HARBOR—On Wednesday, March 29, the MDIRSS-AOS 91 School Board held a workshop discussing a potential school reorganization of Mount Desert Island schools and Trenton. The meeting was set to be aired on YouTube but wasn’t due to difficulties and the format of the interactive meeting, School Superintendent Mike Zboray said.
Currently the schools are in AOS 91, which allows each town to have a separate budget. According to the documents shared at the meeting, the reorganization effort “is to reorganize its current structure from a collection of individual schools into a coherent and more equitable model to better serve our students and educators. It makes sense to look at how we can provide the best education for everyone with our collective resources.”
That same document states potential negative outcomes if a reorganization doesn’t occur.
Reorganizing requires the creation of a regional school unit (RSU). There have been several possible reconfigurations of the schools previously mentioned, which are also in the March 29 meeting documents (all linked below).
Maine statute lays out the procedures to form an RSU. Some of that is detailed in the images below. The AOS has also presented a potential timeline, which begins with the March 29 workshop and has individual boards vote to sign a letter of intent to form a Regional Planning Committee (RPC), which does not mean that the boards are now committing their towns to joining a RSU. The timeline has the plan ending in spring or fall of 2024 with town votes about joining a newly formed school district.
School board members present at the reorganization workshop included Gail Marshall (Mount Desert), Jennica Piecuch (MD), Brian Henkel (MD), James Whitehead (MD), Jarrod Kushla (MD), Robin-Sue Tapley (Bar Harbor), Marie Yarborough (BH), Alexandra Simis (BH), John Bench (Southwest Harbor), Susan Allen (SWH), Jim Sawyer (SWH), Jessica Stewart (Tremont), Jessica Bass (TREM), Keri Hayes (TREM), Eliza Bishop (TREM), and Gary Burr (Trenton). Others who attended included Superintendent Mike Zboray, Julie Keblinsky, Cathy Kozaryn, Melissa Beckwith, Christine Gray, Rob Liebow, Gloria Delsandro, Mimi Rainford, Cindy Lambert, Cathy Oehmke, Jandrea True, Nancy Thurlow, and Selena Dunbar.
NEXT YEAR’S SCHOOL CALENDAR
At its April 10 meeting, the AOS board approved a school calendar for the next school year. Zboray and staff removed the original weekly early release calendar component to the calendars. The board was presented with two versions of next year’s calendar. Version #2 was this current year’s calender copied to become next year’s calendar. Version #1 added two new early release days. The second version passed.
The new early release days are in the second week of September and in March. The number of student days hasn’t changed.
CONNERS EMERSON SCIENCE TEAM BRINGS BACK 22 MEDALS
Ms. Mackay’s Science Olympiad Team has worked together since July and according to Conners Emerson Principal Heather Webster, it has really paid off. Last weekend, the team took second place at the State of Maine Science Olympiad, bringing home 22 medals (12 gold, 7 silver, and 3 bronze).
PROTEST AGAINST GUN VIOLENCE
On Wednesday, many middle school students at the Bar Harbor school participated in a nationwide protest against gun violence. According to Webster, the students walked out of their classes and recess time to participate.
She wrote in Tiger Talk, “We applaud our students for keeping current with issues that directly affect their lives and for speaking out for what they believe.”
MDI One Act Cast & Crew State Runners-Up & Big Band Gets Gold & Show Choir Soars
The MDI One Act cast and crew members were runners-up in the State Class A One Act Festival for their performance of "Orlando."
Rex DeMuro, Ly Dillon, Eva Crikelair, Alifair Durand, and Mia Eason made the all-festival cast.
Isa Raven (frame design) and Ryder Haines (outstanding video production) received special commendations.
Also, according to the MDI High School newsletter,
“The MDI High School has had a busy last two weeks, performing at the State Jazz Festival at Hampden Academy on March 18 and the University of New Hampshire Clark Terry Jazz Festival on March 11.
In Hampden the MDI Big Band received a Gold Award and outstanding musicianship awards were given to senior Jonathon Matthieu for his lead trumpet playing/soloing and to senior Treyan Nelson for his drumming.
In New Hampshire, the Big Band received an "Outstanding Band" award for their class, which was the highest award at that festival.
Again, Matthieu and Nelson were recognized for their playing.”
The show choir also wowed the crowds off the island with its production of "Samsara," which earned a gold award, scoring 99 (out of 100) from all 3 of the judges at the state competition.
According to the newsletter,
“The judges all commented on how beautiful the show looked and sounded, including the costumes, the choreography and vocal and musical arrangement. The pit, under the direction of Ryder Haines earned the outstanding pit award. Our choreography, created by Alifair Durand, Julianna Lee and CassieLyn Willis earned the outstanding choreography award. Sophomore Evangeline Meister and senior Rex DeMuro each earned an outstanding vocalist award for their solo performances. All of our soloists earned One Plus rankings, (the highest award, short of the outstanding vocalist trophy).
One of the judges commented "I don't always know exactly what is going on in your shows, but I don't care, it's just so beautiful."
Another judge commented that we had "Absolutely hit it out of the park."
"The show was a complete stunner!" Director Bronwyn Kortge said, "and the judges' scores definitely reflected that. Three 99s is close to unprecedented; I'll be astonished if we didn't earn the highest score in the state."
MATH TEAM COMPETES AT STATES
Seven MDI High School students competed at the 2023 State Math Meet on Wednesday, April 5. The school placed 11 out of 21 teams in its division.
Steven Izenour and Caden Braun were in the top 30 high scores for juniors at the meet.
*Apologies. Because the March 29 workshop was scheduled to be on YouTube, we did not attend in person and can’t report on discussion at that workshop.
LINKS TO LEARN MORE
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