Dear Families and Caregivers,

As we approach Thanksgiving, I thought it important to share a few things that I am thankful for at SeDoMoCha. I will start by sharing how thankful I am for all staff, parents, and students for following all of the CDC guidelines for COVID-19 at school. It is so important that we follow them to be able to stay in school.  We appreciate how so many parents have been very understanding about not being able to come into the building so that we can keep community traffic to a minimum in the building.  To date there has only been one case of COVID-19 spreading in the building out of over 200 student cases in Maine.  We know that right now because of the requirement to wear masks, socially distance and wash, wash, wash; school is one of the safest places for our students to be as long as we can keep control of community spread.

I am so thankful that we have teaching staff doing amazing lessons and providing engaging opportunities with their students.  Mr. Cookson, a second-grade teacher, took his remote learners to Law Farm last week to assist with their science unit.  Mrs. Clark, our library media specialist, read a nonfiction book called Balloons Over Broadway by Melissa Sweet.  This story tells how Tony Sarg made the first parade balloons for the Macy’s Day Parade.  The focus of the lesson was to help students think about how you can use your strengths and your passion to find or create a job.  Ms. Stephen facilitated our One Book, One School program this year.  A highlight was Mr. Gudroe and Ms. Stephen creating a scavenger hunt on the RSU 68 Warren Nature Trail across the street from the school.  Classrooms had a terrific time trying to find all of the characters that were in Gooseberry Park by Cynthia Rylant.  And finally, Mr. Archer worked with a small team of teachers to create opportunities for middle school students to participate in intramurals.  It has been such a busy and productive fall at SeDoMoCha.

Our NWEA testing is completed and we are very proud of how well our students have done.  We were able to compare last fall scores to this fall and we saw increases in many of our scores. All of our reading scores were on average at least one point higher than last year and third grade scores were on average eight points higher! Our math scores were about the same except in grades 5, 6 and 7; those scores were on average four points lower than last year.  It gives us hope that the closure last spring didn’t leave large learning gaps in student knowledge.

Through the Governor’s Cares Relief Funds, which had very specific uses, we were able to upgrade our ventilation in the building, create a new playground for our PreK students and purchase the materials that teachers will need to help with COVID-19 conditions as well as upgrade student and staff technology including a new projector and screen in the gym.  We also had funds to be able to purchase an emergency generator to keep the school going should the power go out and to upgrade the classrooms in the Headstart building should we need to use them in the spring as we hope to bring back all of our students.  I am very thankful we had access to these funds to provide upgrades and give us a little more space.

And finally, I am thankful that we have such a welcoming school community.  I especially want to mention that we are proud to support and welcome our LGBTQ+ students and staff in our building.  This fall, we had some parent questions about a poster in our 7th/8th grade classrooms.  Many families talked a lot about teaching kindness, but I am disappointed to say that we didn’t always see it in practice.  Those questions though have given our staff and school board an opportunity to learn and grow together considering both our beliefs and what the law tells us.  I am hopeful as we move forward our full school community will continue to work and embrace our mission statement, especially our commitment to create “a strong partnership between families and school [that] nurtures [all] students.”

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving and can find time to think about all you are thankful for during this very crazy year.

Stacy Shorey
Superintendent of Schools