Consultant delivers report on Sedgwick school issues

SEDGWICK — Three principals in as many years at the Sedgwick Elementary School after the departure of longtime principal Don Buckingham has prompted the hiring of a consultant to help resolve a number of problems.

“The transition from a principal that was at Sedgwick Elementary for 29 years has been difficult for parents and staff,” said Union 76 Superintendent Christian Elkington.

The Sedgwick School Board held a special meeting on July 30 at which the board voted to accept consultant Richard Barnes’ report.

The report also will be available at the board’s regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 20, at 5:30 p.m.

Barnes stated in an introduction to his eight-page report that he was brought on to help “inform the school board about a recent increase in unhappiness and negative opinions held about the school.”

Here’s a bit of history:

In 2017, Buckingham retired after 29 years as principal.

Buckingham was replaced by John Dow, who resigned after his first year. That was in 2018.

Dow was replaced by Andrea Faurot for the 2018-19 school year. However, there was a mid-year teacher departure, so Faurot was moved into a classroom to teach.

At that time, Carla Magoon, former Deer Isle-Stonington Elementary School principal, was brought in to serve as interim principal at the Sedgwick school.

Magoon also will serve as interim principal for the 2019-20 school year.

Elkington said Barnes made a handful of recommendations.

One suggestion is that the staff makes academics more of a priority. That recommendation is based on concerns that parents and staff gave Barnes during his interviews with them.

“Academics need to receive the same amount of focus as the emotional and social well-being of our students,” Elkington said. “We need to raise academic aspirations of our students and what our staff believes our students can do.”

The school needs a more “systemic area of communicating.” In particular, interventions for conduct and academic issues need to be more clearly explained to students and staff, Elkington said.

The staff needs to work together for the good of all the student body, he said.

“This is a pre-K through 8 school and we own the results pre-K through 8,” Elkington said.

Another suggestion is increasing organization between regular education and special education services.

Elkington told the board that the school has all the resources it needs to do the work: “a caring and kind staff” and parents and guardians who are “invested.”

“We have great kids,” the superintendent said. “We just need to move forward with the resources we have.”

The fee for the consultant and his report was around $1,200, Elkington said.

Jennifer Osborn

Jennifer Osborn

Reporter and columnist at The Ellsworth American
News Reporter Jennifer Osborn covers news and features on the Blue Hill Peninsula and Deer Isle-Stonington. She welcomes tips and story ideas. She also writes the Gone Shopping column. Email Jennifer with your suggestions at [email protected] or call 667-2576.
Jennifer Osborn

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