Superintendent Gartley’s Latest Update: 11/27/22

Families of our RSU 18 Students,

For those of you who appropriately waited for Thanksgiving to be over before putting up your Christmas decorations, good for you. For those of you who have had decorations out since Labor Day, I guess I understand you just needed to start celebrating the spirit of the holidays a little sooner this year. After what we have been through over the last three years, who can blame you. This year you get a pass. Either way, I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving with your families.  

We are a third of the way through another school year, and it has gone so fast. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I want to thank everyone for helping to make this a great year so far. We welcomed many new staff members over the past two years, and they have wasted no time jumping in to make a difference. What I love about watching how our new staff get involved helping students is that it shows the caring nature and dedication to learning is more than just individual people, it is a culture in our school community. This culture was on full display this week with our annual community Thanksgiving dinner. Such tremendous goodwill.  

Our high school drama department just finished putting on the fall play. A huge hit with rave reviews; there is so much talent in our student body. Our elementary schools hosted a variety of parent involvement events this fall that had tremendous turnout and support. Our athletic teams had great seasons, not only in the wins and losses, but what amazing involvement we get from families. This is so important. I rode in the homecoming parade earlier this fall, and I was blown away with the community turn out. All I can say is Thank You! Academically our students continue to shine. We have added additional dual enrollment classes at the high school so more students can earn college credits, and our elementary staff continues to do amazing things to help students crack the code and learn to read. Mr. Morin, our Assistant Superintendent, is leading a group of teachers to do a review of the resources we use for literacy instruction as well as reviewing our health and physical education curriculum. Every year we review at least one subject area. This work allows us to review our standards, our programs and materials, our testing data, our instructional practices, interventions, etc. It is just one of the many ways our district is committed to being a top academic district in the state.   

School safety continues to be of utmost importance in RSU 18. This was once again thrust into the spotlight this month with the mass casualty hoaxes called into schools around the country.   

· In the last couple of years, we have rewritten our safety plans (these are reviewed annually now).

· We have increased the number of drills we do, and how we conduct them.

· We are working with our resource officers and our local first responders to plan training sessions on a variety of safety scenarios that could happen in the district. These scenario drills will happen this spring for staff.

· Our resource officers have reconfigured their schedules so they can spend more time in the elementary schools

· Our new district safety officer and members of our district safety committee conduct regular walkthroughs in each school to identify any concerns that we may need to address.

· We have launched our safety issue reporting page. Anyone can use this link; it will take you to a page on our website where you can report a safety issue you want us to know about.   https://rsu18.org/network-menu/report-a-safety-issue/

Over the last three years, every chance I get, I have continued to tell people our two goals: 1. Keep our students and staff safe in a good learning environment, and 2. Provide our students with the excellent education they need and deserve. We must continue to meet both goals.

The month of December will go very quickly. Before we know it, we will be saying goodbye to 2022 and welcoming in a new, and hopefully a happy and healthy new year. For now, however you celebrate, I hope you have an excellent holiday season. Be well and take care of each other.   

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