Common graduation requirements in works
DIXFIELD -- Beginning with the class of 2014 or 2015, the three high schools in RSU 10 will require 24 credits in order to graduate.
At their meeting on Jan. 31, the Western Foothills Regional School Unit 10 board reviewed a proposal that has been put together by an administrative team.
Currently, Dirigo requires 24 credits, Mountain Valley, 22, and Buckfield, 23. Students in each high school would be expected to successfully complete four credits each in English, math, science and social studies. Such requirements would be phased in so all mandates could be met.
Supt. Tom Ward began the discussion by saying that the current freshman, the Class of 2014, would be required to earn 24 credits across the RSU. "It's still up to the individual high schools how they do that."
Dirigo High School Prinicipal Mike Poulin said, "We're actually already at 24 credits right now."
Ward said DHS has what is called the Cougar Paw portfolio program. Students earn a quarter of a credit each year for the program. Both of the other high schools are looking at adopting something similar for an exit portfolio program.
"It's resulted in some excellent work. Basically, it's an accumulation of work for all four years of school," he said.
Board member Betty Barrett said she would prefer that it begin with the present eighth grade class because some of the freshmen who are not getting credit for this type of portfolio program are at a disadvantage. She said some of the kids need all the credits they can get because they're struggling with what they're getting.
At least one other board member agreed with Barrett to make this happen for the Class of 2015.
Ward said, "You could wait to do it with the present eighth grade class or the present freshmen class."
In other business, board members also took some time to review the unit's 2010-2014 strategic plan, which consists of seven different areas as a guideline for the RSU.
"This is a living, breathing document that we can update as we move along," noted Ward.
The vision statement is for RSU 10 to provide opportunities for all students to realize their potential.
The mission statement is that RSU 10's highly trained staff will provide a rigorous and engaging curriculum that empowers all students to take responsibility for their learning.
Review highlights include:
1. Involving parents in social skills efforts.
2. Policy work with health/wellness/safe schools, i.e., and bullying prevention. It also involves crisis response planning. Examples include the School Health Advisory Council working on a bullying policy, Mtn. Valley Middle School restorative practices, the Dirigo Elementary School Cub Pride that is connected to six pillars of character/traits and a pledge, and the morning meetings at Meroby and Rumford elementary schools.
3. Highlighting RSU 10 staff for professional technology development, ties to curriculum.
4. Personalization; ties to technology, intervention, safe schools. The future search theme of every student is unique. Students will have a strong foundation of success. Students require diverse resources to meet their needs, interests and learning styles.
5. Moving from designing a system to making it work in the schools and coordinating the academic and the behavior intervention systems.
6. Learning in the community by using service learning and learning at career and technical education, i.e. Region 9 and Region 11.
7. Finding efficiencies, evaluating needs, using the budget process to evaluate and communicate needs.